December 20, 2018

Everybody needs a HUUB!

Our new signage on Cleveland St

We loved having you all be part of the HUUB this year!  Perhaps you joined us for our Eid celebration, attended the Music City Festival, came to a Solidarity Potluck, or worshipped with one of the congregations housed under our roof.  Whatever connected you to the HUUB, we hope you left feeling more engaged with your neighbors and more hopeful about the future of our city and all cities. We certainly do — we’ve learned that, by making the HUUB together, we are building strength for a better future.  

When we started the HUUB in 2015, we designed it to be a center of activity with UU values at its core.  We wanted to be a place that recognized assets and helped people use them to make Orange a great city. Now the campus hosts a plethora of events, from concerts and community service functions to adult courses in business strategy and development.  It is becoming the place we imagined.

One of the greatest changes this year has been the departure of our long-time tenant, Peaceful Waters, a supportive service program which used the first floor Hale House.  We were sad to see them go, but it meant that we could reimagine how we would use Hale House. The first floor is a wonderfully welcoming space, perfect for parties or meetings.  The second floor is the new home of the University of Orange, our new “anchor tenant.” The UofO celebrated its tenth anniversary with a party on the first two floors. And on the third floor our wonderful sexton, Tony Jones, makes his home with his family.  Having all these uses of Hale House will give us many ways to welcome people to our campus.

Street Dedication to Reverend Joseph Thomasberger with Councilwoman Donna Williams, Joe’s wife and HUUB Board Member Rebecca Doggett, and Mayor Dwayne Warren

And one of our most joyous occasions was naming our fellows program in honor of Reverend Joseph Thomasberger, a hero of Orange, whose ministry was devoted to asset-based community development.  The City of Orange honored Rev Joe by naming a street after him. Then friends and family came to First UU/The HUUB for the naming service. Our fellows program was the first initiative we started.  We wanted a way to meet our neighbors and learn about what they were doing to solve the problems of Orange. It has been a core part of our success in developing The HUUB.

There are many events in the hopper for 2019.  We’ll be continuing our monthly series of potlucks, scheduled for January 14th, February 18th, March 18th, April 22nd (Passover Seder), May 13th and June 17th.  An “Art Club” for high school students will be meeting in the first floor of Hale House’s Art Room. Others who want to draw, paint and print are also welcome to join Thomasberger Fellow Stephen Batiz there.  In May, we’ll be joining the congregation of First UU to plant the walkway in their annual “Flower Communion.” And October 12-18th, we’ll be joining University of Orange to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Africans landing in Virginia, as part of “400 Years of Inequality.”

Not all of the work is easy or quick: years of delayed maintenance cannot be righted overnight.  We are working to get the building ”envelopes” tightened up before the winter storms begin. Then we will turn to the beautification, getting our sanctuary to shine, our stained glass windows to glow, our stage to project sound, and our kitchens to win the hearts of all the cooks who enter.  Each and every one of these improvements will allow the Buildings to play their part in anchoring the assets of Orange so that they can flourish. Every day we thank the wise Reverend John Gilmore who taught us, “A church is supposed to be the center of community. Your buildings are your greatest asset.”

Thanks for all your support for this work.  Your belief in us means the world to us. Your attendance at events, attention to our social media and generous contributions all make this work possible.  Our work is supported by rentals, grants, contracts and individual donations. Our supporters help us offer programs, repair the campus, and reach out to our neighbors in Orange and the surrounding area.  Donations to the HUUB are tax-deductible. You can send a check to us P.O. Box 998, Orange, NJ 07050, or donate through PayPal.  

Thanks for being a part of our work in 2018.

Peace and all good things for you and your loved ones in this holiday season and throughout the year.


Frank Barszcz, President, HUUB Board

Mindy Fullilove, President, First UU Board, HUUB Board