The Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast has owned the former Methodist Church building at 35 Miller Street since 2002. Built in 1859, the historic building was the UU congregation’s first permanent home. Over the years UUCB has outgrown its present facilities, which have space and privacy limitations, ADA accessibility barriers, inadequate light and sound systems in the sanctuary, insufficient storage, safety concerns, and environmental challenges.
A Space Needs Committee considered a number of possibilities for meeting UUCB’s needs before recommending in 2015 that the church interior be fully torn out and rebuilt, a proposal that was enthusiastically endorsed by members. This means that the original church sanctuary, unused and sealed off since 1931, will be rehabilitated and the historic colored glass windows and tin ceiling will again be visible. The large new sanctuary will be a flexible space, suitable for a variety of uses. The first floor of the church will be reconfigured into classrooms, meeting rooms, and staff offices. Systems will be updated, an elevator and good lighting and sound systems will be installed, safety and environmental problems will be addressed, and environmental upgrades and efficiencies made.
In addition to meeting UUCB needs, the sanctuary will offer an attractive and useful venue for performances and gatherings by local groups, and the flexibly sized meeting rooms will appeal to many organizations.