So if you wanted to fill in the largest places that don’t have a Unitarian Universalist congregation, where would you start? This is a continuation of the series I begun yesterday.
First, some caveats. Would Queens, one of the boroughs of New York City, be considered its own entity, or given its population — 2.3 million; bigger than 15 states and the District of Columbia — count each neighborhood as an entity? There’s a single Unitarian Universalist congregation in Flushing. So what about Astoria or Sunnyside or Jamaica, for example? (And there are none in the Bronx; with 1.4 million people and more populous than Hawai’i.)
And not all metropolitan areas have Unitarian Universalist congregations; I’m working up a list next. And I’ll leave aside the thorny issue found in many places and in all denominations about congregations that have essentially stopped engaging with their communities and so can hardly be thought to serve them.
That brings us back to the micropolitan list, which, to review, is a county or contiguous group of counties, with an urban core between 10,000 and 50,000 in population. Some are scarcely above 10,000, while others function as diffuse suburbs without a large core: more like a network of towns or settlements than a metropolis. Some of these are adjacent to larger metropolitan areas; some aren’t.
Strictly by the list, and noting what’s on the UUA site, the largest unserved micropolitan area is Hilo, Hawai’i, on the Big Island, with a 2009 estimated population of 177,835. (Indeed, the only member congregation in the state is on Oahu.) But I recalled that many year ago that there was a district-affiliated fellowship there. And when I searched I found the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Puna, claiming about 25 members. Bless them and their work.
The second-largest on the list has a better — or would that be worse? — claim, anyway. There are no congregations in an area of North Carolina from the northern suburbs of Charlotte to the south, and the cities of Winston-Salem and Greensboro to the north. Interstate highway 85 runs between the two points, and on this line you’ll find Lexington, home of the famous barbecue, twinned with Thomasville, famous for furniture manufacture and together anchoring Davidson County (2009 population estimate 158,582). There is no Unitarian Universalist congregation there. Neither is there one in Salisbury, in Rowan County (2009 area population estimate 140,798) bordering to the southwest. It’s number seven on the unserved micropolitan list. And forget that poor blighted (former) “city of looms” Kannapolis, though arguably its close enough to Charlotte to be within its ecclesiastical orbit.
Admittedly, I have a personal interest. My husband’s alma mater is in Salisbury, but it seems strange that such a well-connected and populated pair of areas have not churches of our fellowship.
For more marvels, see the next 20 list of ungathered micropolitan areas, with their 2009 estimated populations and how many Unitarian Universalist congregations are within 25 miles (as the crow flies), below the fold. Â Albany, Oregon may be close enough to Corvallis to allow a pass, but the rest of these are functionally unserved.
|East Liverpool-Salem, OH||107722||0|