Those of us who drive Division Street past OUUC may have noticed that the yellow and white house up on the hill (formerly known as Out of the Woods) is boarded up with plywood to secure it from possible intruders. As you likely know, this house was a shelter for homeless families for many years. The Out of the Woods (OTW) Board, after exploring many options, had to conclude that remaining as a transitional housing shelter for families was no longer viable. Once they decided they could no longer house that clientele, the OUUC Board and the OTW Board agreed to terminate their Memorandum of Agreement, thereby closing the shelter late last spring. Now the house and property sit vacant, awaiting its next incarnation. OUUC finds itself again in an exciting and opportunity-filled transition period, this time for our property next door.

Your Board of Trustees, with the valued assistance of OUUC members and the cooperation of many others in the larger community, has been in the process of gathering extensive information and data about the property and house. To understand the potential of the property there was a need for a baseline of data and information about that property which OUUC purchased 22 years ago. Now that most of the data has been assembled and organized, it has been handed to a Task Force that includes 1 Board member, Alice Curtis, and 4 members of the Faith in Action leadership team, Harmon Eaton, Carolyn Keck, Tim Ransom, and  Steve Tilley.

The Annex Task Force will examine the assembled data, pursue other information as needed,  and then make one or more recommendations to OUUC’s congregation, staff and Board of Trustees regarding potential uses of the annex property. These recommendations must meet the criteria of congruence with OUUC’s Ends as well as that of fiscal responsibility.

After the Task Force recommendations have been reviewed and approved by both OUUC staff and the Board of Trustees, the recommendations and the rationale for each recommendation will be widely published for the consideration of OUUC’s membership. Then, Q & A meetings will be held to discuss the recommendations. After sufficient time and serious consideration of the task force recommendations, the Board of Trustees will call a congregational meeting to determine what the majority of OUUC’s membership considers to be the wisest use of the annex property to achieve (which of) our Ends in a fiscally responsible manner.

This update is written in gratitude and appreciation to everyone who supported Out of the Woods  and to those who have contributed their time and efforts to bring us to this point in our decision-making process after the beloved OTW closed its doors last spring.


Michele Hendrickson

President, Board of Trustees