Would you like to join us?


The work of maintaining our community buildings and grounds is work for us all. The Buildings and Grounds Committee is led by Jerald Dodson and provides the volunteer leadership, and is supported by staff members Marie Arensmeyer (Caretaker) and Darlene Sarkela (Administrator). Many more volunteers make it possible to maintain our facility, and the annex that was once used to house the “Out of the Woods” family shelter.  A list of typical tasks may be found on the B&G web page.

Jim Lengenfelder, Steve Tilley and Rich Kalman volunteering for Coffee Crew

You probably knew that. You may not know about the help provided to other ministries. From installation of the “Black Lives Matter” banner to implementation of the OUUC auction raise the paddle donations for the sanctuary renovation, B&G gets involved. If you read further, friends with whom B&G has collaborated write about working with the committee to accomplish the playground and memorial garden projects.


Jim Lengenfelder and Don Melnick installing OUUC sign

This work together is important, because at the core of the OUUC mission and ends statement is a well-functioning and inviting facility. We have that now, but it takes a lot of work to keep it. You don’t need to come to meetings, just please help. If you know a little about electrical work, use a paint brush, adopt a small plot of the landscape, or even own a weed whacker, please let a B&G committee member know you are willing to help. Please answer the rallying cry when you see a work party announcement. Contact Committee Chair, Jerald Dodson. Here are some of the members you may contact:

Jerald Dodson( Chair), Don Melnick, Susan Dodson, Brian Hovis, Erik Felch, Joe Joy (Green Sanctuary Committee representative), Jim Lengenfelder, Eric Ness, Brian Walsh, Rob Radford, Barrett  Burr (member on leave), Chris Parke, Rich Kalman, Marie Arensmeyer (Caretaker)and Darlene Sarkela (Staff Liaison).

Thanks to the many helping hands at OUUC!



As you consider where to donate your time and talents, please consider helping the buildings and grounds (B&G) committee maintain our beautiful community home. Thank you to Sara Lewis for recognizing this B&G project and for sharing these words:

Creating the playground

The Buildings and Grounds committee are amazing and wonderful individuals who hear of a need or an idea and then actually make it happen. This year they helped the Family Ministry Team get the earth literally moved for our playground project. We had a muddy slope, and no idea how to go from that to what we needed. Members of the Buildings and Grounds committee, in particular Jerald Dodson and Jim Lengenfelder, listened to us describe our vision and needs, walked around the space with us, and then took care of finding a contractor, working with the contractor, and getting the earth moved, a retaining wall built, fence put in, and fill spread.

A young member of OUUC hard at work on the playground project

It’s so important to have folks with the expertise and willingness to carry out these projects. Ideas can be generated by many within our community, but someone has to carry those ideas from paper to actuality. I so appreciate everyone on the B & G committee for taking care of this physical place and all the people of all ages who make use of it.

Sara Lewis, Director of Lifespan Religious Education


Committee members also worked on the Memorial Garden project. Thank you to Connie Ruhl for sharing these words:

The Memorial Garden and Memorial Plaque project will be fully completed by the end of November 2016 and the sun will set on the committee after 10 years of work. Critical to the completion of the memorial garden and installation of the columbarium was the direct support of the Building and Grounds Committee (B&G.) In particular we thank Rob Radford from B&G.

OUUC’s Columbarium and Memorial Garden

B&G members provided feedback during the design process and when the design was adopted helped choose and coordinate work with the contractor. Rob, myself (Connie Ruhl), and other members from the Memorial Garden Committee were a team that helped to shepherd the project through the construction phase.

The Memorial Garden Committee had the vision and drive to keep the memorial garden and Columbarium project alive. It is my belief that the beauty and sustainability of the Memorial Garden project could not have been accomplished without the collaborative and direct support of Buildings and Grounds. The joint effort led to the successful completion of the columbarium and memorial garden which had been tenaciously pursued for more than ten years.

Connie Ruhl, Chair, Memorial Garden Team


Graced with a beautiful natural native Northwest landscape at OUUC, an Adopt a Plot program was created by the B&G Committee to help maintain and steward (prune and weed) the church property. More than 30 church members recently volunteered to adopt 22 plots to tend the landscape.

Previously some members had taken on stewardship of some parts of the property and quietly had   maintained a portion of the grounds. But it was member Maureen Canny who suggested that while many people cannot attend the planned work parties, many can spend time before or after visits to church to steward a portion of the landscape. From this suggestion a more formal Adopt a Plot grounds maintenance program was born.


B&G 1
Weeding party!


Thank you to the many landscape volunteers who include Helen Henry, Jim Lengenfelder, Anne Radford, Maureen   and Kent Canny, Tom Best, Chris Parke, Nancy Curtiss, Miriam Lorch, Jean Phillips, Carol Williams, Mary Moore, Teresa Vail, Ann Rockway, Rich Kalman, Rae Verhoeuf, Otto Buhls, Joyce and Bernie Steckler, Billie Williams, Diana Finch, Anatha Attar, Ruby Elliott, Carolyn and Charlie Keck, the Felch family, Karen Romanelli, Bobbi Adams, Jo Ann and Mikel Young, Eric Ness, Adele and Mike Donohoe, and the Green Sanctuary members for the joint work parties. Special thanks to Jerry Hendrickson who has shoveled many loads of bark, and has even been known to help blow off our new parking lot when the trees shed.

Apologies if anyone was unintentionally missed. If you have not adopted a plot and want one of your own or to share with another person please contact Rob Radford or any Buildings & Grounds Committee member.


Church Leaders: Do you have a ministry, committee, or activity you would like highlighted in our website blog? Please contact Darlene Sarkela, Administrator for more information.