Since the congregation moved into its church home in the Belmont/Carlton neighborhood, we’ve looked for ways to be good earth stewards and to focus on community outreach. Over the years we have provided affordable rental space for a range of purposes and welcome the chance to extend our mission in this way. If you’d like to talk about the possibility of renting our space, please contact the church office.
Sojourners worked with the Rivanna Conservation Society and the Center for Watershed Protection on a project to reduce the storm water run-off on our property. The project established bioretention (another name for “rain garden”) on our land. We’re excited about this collaboration.
So, today the runoff water from our parking lot and the western side of our roof is flowing into drains, through underground tubing and emptying into two large bio-retention cells. During a heavy rainfall, the water is captured in these cells long enough to allow it to “perk” down through a system of gravel and soil that filters pollutants out of the water before it travels on into the water table.
We worked from a planting plan prepared for us by the Center for Urban Habitats that focused on plants that are native to our area. This makes the plantings hardier and helps counteract insect colony collapse.
In 2014 we were contacted by the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards about its Notable Trees Project with a request to include one of our trees. At our Earth Day worship service April 26, 2015 we welcomed Robin Hanes to talk about this American elm. We blessed the tree and posed for a picture taken by Bill Emory. (http://notabletrees.org/; http://www.billemory.com/)
The Alyssa House
The Alyssa House, named for ten year old Alyssa Grace Divers, provides holistic care to families with a child in medical crises who are not from the local area. It is located in a home next to the church. This mission is a joint-plan of work with Virginia Organizing and has already received generous donations from local businesses, faith communities and individuals and contributions from a wide array of sources including a grant from Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band. You may learn more about this on the Alyssa House Facebook page or online at the blog here.
Sharing our space
Some examples of events held at Sojourners and groups who have used the building include:
- 12 step meetings
- Film screenings with filmmakers
- Fundraisers: Bake N’ Bike, benefit dinners
- Many musical events: dance workshops, concerts by local and international musicians, chamber orchestra and women’s choir rehearsals, folk music jam sessions, private music lessons, children’s music camps, West African Cultural Experience & drumming circles, recorder workshops and a shape note singing convention
- Lectures & panel discussions
- Comedy performances
- Health related: Exercise classes such as yoga and tai chi, healthcare forum, health screenings
- Dialogue on Race meetings
- Children’s theater productions
- Private parties such as family Christmas gatherings, baby showers, a retirement party and an inauguration celebration
- Board meetings
- Interfaith gatherings
- Ecumenical study groups
- Professional training sessions
- Education related events such as a school graduation, post graduation party or classes with the Community Homeschool Enrichment Center
- American Indian presentations
- Meditation retreats & workshops
- Mediation sessions