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The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg grew out of the denomination’s fellowship movement, which encouraged the development of small, lay-led congregations. In December 1955, just ten people gathered for the first meeting of what was to become the UUFF. That early group, meeting in private homes and rented spaces, received its charter from the American Unitarian Association on May 2, 1956.
The Fellowship struggled to survive in the early days, but with the persistence and guidance of vibrant lay leaders, the congregation began to thrive, initiating a Sunday School program and purchasing its first home, a small pre-fab bungalow on Rowe Street, built in 1961 with the financial assistance of generous members. The small building and lot cost $8,750, housing a congregation of 21 members.
Within a few years, the religious education classes outgrew the small space, and the congregation began its search for a larger facility. In 1984, the 40-member congregation relocated to a historic church on Caroline Street, which they would spruce up and call home for 25 years.
Once settled in downtown Fredericksburg, the congregation turned its attention toward professional ministry. First guest ministers, and then part-time ministers augmented the lay-led services. In 1995, the UUFF welcomed its first full-time minister, and continued to broaden religious education offerings, develop an expanded music program, and engage in community service.
With full-time ministry in place and an expanding slate of programs and activities, the congregation continued to refine its mission and grow in numbers. In 2004, the UUFF was recognized as a Welcoming Congregation, which affirms and welcomes those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered. Plans for a new location and expanded facility started to take shape, and the congregation began to explore sites for a new building, ultimately purchasing a 5-acre property across the river from downtown Fredericksburg, in nearby south Stafford.
Despite a downturn in the economy that stretched our budget and compelled us to temporarily downsize to half-time ministry, we were able to continue our building program to fruition. Today, we are thrilled to focus on the future at our beautiful home at 25 Chalice Circle.
For a detailed history of the Fellowship’s origins, visit: There Grew a Little Flower.
For more information about the history of Unitarian Universalism, visit: http://uua.org/