Online audience learns more about UCC building sale, office move
A United Church of Christ leader shared more details Sept. 30 about the church’s plan to sell its office building and move its national staff to a nearby space in downtown Cleveland.
In a Zoom webinar, General Minister and President John Dorhauer discussed the process that led to the move and why he’s excited about it. A recording of the presentation, “Ministry on the Move,” is now online at the UCC YouTube Channel.
The move, announced Sept. 21, involves the sale of the 700 Prospect Avenue building, home to most of the UCC’s national offices since 1990. The national staff is now in the process of moving those offices to leased space on the 11th floor of the AECOM building, 1300 E. 9th St.
Dorhauer shared details such as these:
- Of the 117 employees of the UCC’s four Covenanted Ministries, 75 are based in Cleveland.
- Post-COVID plans are for most staff to continue a remote or hybrid work style. Around three-fourths of those 75 will work from home full-time or come into the office no more than two days a week.
- According to a financial analysis, Dorhauer said, the church will “save about three-quarters of a million dollars by leasing” instead of continuing to own and maintain the 700 Prospect building.
- Joining the Covenanted Ministries on the 11th floor of the AECOM building will be offices of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries and the Open and Affirming Coalition.
- Portions of the Amistad Chapel — an architectural gem on the ground floor of 700 Prospect — may be able to transfer to a smaller worship space on the 11th floor at AECOM. Dorhauer said the church is working with an architect to see if “we can take some of those important pieces that make the Amistad Chapel come alive and tell the story of the Amistad with us into that worship space — elements like the cross, the communion table, the replica of the Amistad ship, the painting of Joseph Cinque, who led the rebellion aboard the Amistad.” Even the distinctive glass suspended in the center of the chapel is being studied to see if it “can be re-architected” in new ways in the new space, he said.
National staffer Roberto Ochoa, who hosted the conversation, asked if “there’s a message here for congregations that are looking to redefine or review the stewardship of their own buildings.”
“That’s a very important question,” Dorhauer said. “The moral of this story isn’t sell your building and move. … The real message here is focus on your mission, and make sure, as good stewards, that every resource you have is currently serving the mission. And if it’s not, find a way to repurpose it for the sake of the mission. That’s what this has been about…
“Everything that you possess, and every resource that has been entrusted to you, is entrusted to you for the sake of the mission.”
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