Flowers inspire beauty, generosity, hope and love

Our church photographer, Martha H., is shown above with an arrangement of lilies and greenery from our church flower garden in one of the dozen vases that were gifted to the flower team by Lorraine Surlak. Also pictured is our “flower pied piper,” Linda P.   Ask Linda how you can be involved by digging, weeding, giving, delivering.


Biggest Tomato and Garden Work Party May 20th

Here is Lisa-Marie with a ‘mater from one of the seedlings Cat and Julia started for the church garden. It’s a whopper. I encouraged Lisa to pick it before it was fully ripe to make sure none of our critter friends took a bite out of it.

It is far and away the biggest tomato we’ve ever produced!

A very big thank you to the gardeners who helped make it happen.

All welcome to come participate in the next Garden Work Party on May 20, 2023 any time from 9 AM to 12 PM for more garden fun.

~Rene (Garden Coordinator)

Work Days at 1U

Preparing to plant new bromeliads , painting car stops rainbow colors and installing an Assembly Room table rail were some of the jobs taken on during the March work days, followed by fellowship and refreshments. Looking forward to seeing you next Workday.


Safety at 1U and a Big Thanks

As we approach the spring congregational meeting, it seems a good time for 1U to thank the Building and Grounds Team, Safety Planning Team, Welcome Team, and other members who together are working to make our 1U campus a safer place for all.  These efforts could not have happened without many volunteer hours, many meetings and several trainings, supported by thoughtful staff and member input.

Two members provided significant support to our safety planning effort. George H. researched safety protocols and prepared our Campus Safety Plan. The safety plan and our building handbooks are now on our website, and evacuation maps are posted in all our buildings. Ann P.  developed a disaster planning schedule and reviewed our Hurricane Plan. When the work was near completion for the year, Ann and Bob P.  generously donated a new, large capacity transit chair to 1U. 

Please note safety additions on campus: radios for staff and volunteers; a voice-activated intercom system in most of our rooms, three AEDs ([automated electronic defibrillators], and three transit chairs for rapid evacuations and other uses. 

Look for these additions in our buildings and be prepared to help as needed. As possible, sign up for trainings. The more we all know, the safer we are. 


Hearts and Hands Auction 2023 — A Beloved Community Event

Our Hearts and Hands Auction evening was a wonderful occasion of community and joy as people socialized, bid, snacked, bid, laughed, and bid for hundreds of offerings at the Silent Auction (see table displays) and the Live Auction (see Sanctuary photos). Thanks to the incredible number of high-quality donations, a workforce of volunteers, and attendees with discretionary income for making this so successful; we expect to net more than $22,000!

Many thanks from Carolina and Steph (co-chairs) and the rest of the Auction Team: Cindy W. and Cathy S., food; Katherine V., donations lead, assisted by Ann P., Joan E., Adena B., Sally M., and Mary Ann H.; Charlotte K., bar and beverages; Nicki D., art, decorations, and signage; Ken L. for facilities, framed photos next to bidding sheets, financials; Tim W., raffle and game tickets, assisted by Noell and Janie; Chip D., Rene S., Sandy P., and Alex M. for entertainment. Bob Ewald was our auctioneer, assisted by wife Tammy and two employees. John B. took care of A/V tech. It took our whole fellowship and our many friends to reach this evening’s success.

Many Thanks to all who made this possible and successful!


Spring 2023 Garden Work Parties!

Dear 1U Gardeners,

I’ve got a crazy number of updates for you. Better sit down.

First off, a big thank you to Saturday’s crew for all the work in the church garden on Dec. 17, 2022. Take a bow Alison I., Rose B., Dan H., Kathy H. and Andy B. We planted more veggies, prepped the blueberries for what we hope is an abundant crop, harvested seeds, created a new path through the back of the perma-garden (Papaya Alley), pulled weeds, spread mulch and picked long beans, eggplant and tomatoes. A special shout-out to Dan and Andy for creating yet another, easy to follow path through the perma-garden. (See the photo below to what I’m calling Papaya Alley.) 

In addition in what came dangerously close to a real meeting, we made several decisions:

Coffee hour: We plan to host coffee hour Sunday, Jan. 8 and Sunday, April 23 in the garden. Who can help? We’ll need volunteers. On Jan. 8th whille we’ve got ’em rounded up, we’ll also ask church members what, if any, changes they’d like to see in the garden and get a sense of what they value and what they don’t. If there are changes YOU want to see, shout ’em out. Don’t wait. Don’t be shy. I’m ready to listen. You can reach us at!

Monthly workdays: We’ll stick with the third Saturday of the month for our monthly workdays in the New Year. Get your calendars out. That’ll be Jan. 21, Feb. 18,  March 18, April 15, May 20 and June 17. July and August? Yeah, right.

Budget: We’re officially working on a budget request for FY 2023-23 that begins July 1. Got items you want included, shoot me an email.

Those weird-looking waist-high plants behind the plum trees that have baseball-sized seed pods? Those are a kind of milkweed called cotton balls. Want some seeds? Rose harvested some yesterday, and they’re now sitting in an envelope in my dining room. Give a shout if you want some or come into the garden and harvest some yourself. Tis the season.

Come sit under the plum trees: Well, not quite yet, but soon, we hope. We’re working to find a pair of benches to buy and put under the plum trees. If you’re looking for a way to contribute to the garden, watch this space. There’ll be more info soon about exactly what suits our needs and the cost.

Thanks, everybody for all the sweat and toil you’ve contributed this year in the church garden. It’s a wonderful place. 


Garden Work Day on Dec 17, 2022 at 9 AM

A big thank you to everyone who turned out and took part in the 1U Garden workday on November 19th. Lots of chores: Done!

Do you like strawberries? The lovely and generous Alison I. donated and planted a dozen strawberry plants in the wooden raised bed. Good things ahead there. She also donated and planted red-leaf romaine, spinach and collards. Check ’em out in bed No. 6.

Mary M. was there with her laptop, finishing work on a map of the beds, perma-garden and fruit trees that we’ll print out and mount on a wooden sign board, kinda like what you see at a trailhead: You are here. The blueberries and mulberries are over there. Turn right and you’ll find plum trees, banana and an elderberry shrub. 

Alison also harvested more sweet potatoes that Nicole and Ryan cleaned up and sorted. We’ll give those out in December or January.

Thanks also to Rose and Andy, who helped re-ink signs and do some touch-up painting on the picnic table. They and lots of folks pulled weeds.

Great job, everyone.

Thanks for all the effort. Hope to see you at our next workday, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 at 9 a.m.

Flower Team Welcomes New Helpers!

The Pulpit Flowers team is responsible for the lovely flowers in the pulpit each Sunday. We are thrilled to welcome new team member, Joy D., shown with the gorgeous hydrangea flowers that she recently brought for our Sunday service.

2022-10-24 Joy with Hydrangeas

We also work closely with the Flower Garden group, which grows flowers and greenery for pulpit flowers, Caring Circle arrangements, and more.  At our recent work party amidst the blooms we welcomed new visitors Kayla,  and Nikki with her son.  Also joining us in flower gardening is a long-term established wonderful member of our church, Jean S! She is new to working in our flower garden also.  Anyone is welcome to attend our gardening events! 

2022-10-24 New Helpers in Flower Garden


We will be ordering flowers from the University of Florida Extension Service which coordinates with a  4H club for their service project to “give” poinsettias for a donation.  These will be our holiday poinsettia flowers in the sanctuary during December. Would you like to help the flower team to water them once each Sunday before or after services in December so they don’t wilt?

The poinsettias will be available for delivery to nursing homes afterwards, so let flower team know, please,  if you want to take some to a nursing home or other appropriate person or place.

You can reach us at to help or for more details on our projects!