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About First UU: Our Mission
The First Unitarian Universalist Church is affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association of North America and is an ethical and liberal religious community dedicated to promoting the ongoing search for truth and to affirming the inherent worth of the individual.
We understand reality through human experience, enlightened reason, scientific method, and the democratic process, and we find the central source of power and goodness within the human heart, mind, and spirit. Individually and collectively, we assume responsibility for our future, our community, our children, and our interdependent world.
Our growth and actions as thoughful, compassionate, and ethical human beings advance our humanist vision of a world of peace and love, dignity and equality, freedom and justice.
The First Unitarian Universalist Church was founded in 1931. Among its first articles of incorporation was this statement: "Where people without regard to theological differences may unite for mutual helpfulness in the intellectual, moral and religious culture and humane work. And that all persons whatsoever who sympathize with these aims shall be welcome to the Church." The first minister was Hank M. Smith, who served for 24 years. During his tenure the Church very quickly outgrew the old Adventist Hall and in late 1946 began to hold services in the Jewish Synagogue at Eight Street and Marionette Avenue. The construction of a new church building was finally begun in 1951. Located at St. Mary's Place, now Eighth Street and Lacy Avenue, this handsome building was designed by a prominent architect of the time, L.S. Huffington. The new church was dedicated in June 1952. Mr. Smith, known to be a powerful and provocative minister, established a standard of excellence that has been the hallmark of the Church's ministers ever since.
In 1998, The Church called the Reverend Dr. Karen Martins to be its minister. Rev. Martins is a life-long Unitarian Universalist, and a recognized leader in our continental Association. Martins is a 1976 graduate of University College, with B.A. in Religion. She holds a Master degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and a Doctorate of Ministry from our UU seminary, Meadville/Lombard Theological School.
Through its membership, the Church has been intermittently a strong force in the Your Town community. A number of civic and social organizations - such as the Humanist Credit Union, Person to Person, and Health Partners - largely had their beginnings and leadership direction from members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church.
See the Contact Us page for a list of staff and lay leaders.