History of UUFR
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UUFR
Before 1997 there was no Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in the Northern Neck. A recent arrival, David Daugherty, began to wonder if there were Unitarian Universalists in the area who might be interested in meeting together. He obtained a list of those who belonged to the Church of the Larger Fellowship, and contacted people in the area. As a result, he met with Susan Fallin, Ina Fuller, and Janet Sutton. Beginning in October 1997, home-based meetings were held every other Sunday.
In the spring of 1998, the group began meeting at the Lancaster Community Library. Linda Lane-Hamilton and David Hamilton, from the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Church, met with the group in several development sessions, after which they decided to meet every Sunday to become a Fellowship, and to adopt a name that would indicate a wide territory. Thus, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Rappahannock (UUFR) came into being.
The first Sunday of August 1998 was the first meeting of the Fellowship at a new home, the White Stone Woman`s Club. Charter Sunday was May 2, 1999, with Roger Comstock, President of the Thomas Jefferson UU District, as guest speaker. Our first president, Andrew Kelsey, presided. Andy identified “A Home of Our Own” as a future priority. The UUFR was accepted into the Unitarian Universalist Association, and continued as a lay-led congregation with guest speakers twice a month and members speaking the other Sundays.
President Bob Weekley initiated a search for a long-term rental or purchase of property for a permanent home for our Fellowship in June 2000. There was much planning and activity leading to the ground-breaking ceremony which took place on June 3, 2007. The first Sunday service in the not-yet-finished building was on August 17, 2008, and on November 16, 2008, the building was officially dedicated.
Now, in a home of our own, the mission to inspire intellectual and spiritual growth is reinforced by the informal and provocative sermons and programs led by the congregation and visitors. The Fellowship continues to be involved in several community programs, and in the on-going work at our home as a labor of love. Our Kid’s First program to support high-quality 3preK programs in four of our county schools has been implemented in Lancaster and Middlesex, with talks underway in Matthews and Northumberland. We have a butterfly garden, a labyrinth, and a memorial grove, and all are taking shape with pride. In June of 2018 we hired our first part-time minister, and the expansion of the building has begun.
On the cover of every Sunday program is a sketch of the Chesapeake Bay screwpile lighthouse-inspired building. Beneath the sketch are the words “Our home provides a beacon of reason guiding us in a responsible search for the truth, where together each of us is free to explore our spirituality and our place in the interdependent web of existence that is our universe.” We are a welcoming congregation, committed to the inclusion of every person. All are welcome without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status.