History of First UU
Our roots were planted in the 1500s in Poland when Michael Servetus was burned at the stake for denying the trinity. In the 1700s Universalists and Unitarians (then separate denominations) established churches in Colonial America. In 1887 the [Ralph Waldo] Emerson Society and the Sunday Circle held an organizing meeting of Unitarians in Wichita.
Since then this religious community has served our members and contributed to the wider community in many ways: social justice, the arts, intellectual inquiry and spiritual and religious endeavors. Our ties to our beginnings are honored today by our relationship to our Partner Church in Homoródszentpál, Romania.
Here are a few highlights of our past and present. The future is one of continuing and evolving possibilities.
- We marched for fair housing and were groundbreakers in recognizing the equality of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
- Our church was the site of our “foremothers” theater group which evolved into Wichita Community Theater.
- We have a continuing tradition of Sunday afternoon concerts and monthly art exhibits.
- We are a “green” community, beginning with design and choice of construction materials in our new building.
- We were instrumental in establishing Planned Parenthood in Wichita.
- Supporting InterFaith Ministry has been important to us since its beginning more than a century ago.
The best time to experience our vibrant present is on Sunday morning. Adult Religious Exploration meets at 9:45. At 11:00 our youth participate in creative and intellectually honest Religious Exploration classes. Toddlers and wee ones are cared for in our nursery. The rest of us gather in the sanctuary for worship service led by lay leaders or outside speakers in the pulpit. Our church family includes parents (some with nursing babies), seniors using walkers, plus every age in between. Some will be dressed as for the office or afternoon tea; some will be in blue jeans. During coffee hour we chat with people who have a variety of interests, theological and political persuasions. We have a special lunch for extended fellowship the first Sunday of every month.
We can choose to join with others during the month in smaller interest groups. Groups include, but are not limited to, meditation, book discussion groups, pagan events, vegan potluck, crafts, and social justice work. We offer a used bookstore and a specialized lending library.
Who are we? A caring and welcoming community which tries to live up to our principles, sometimes imperfectly, but with sincere effort. There is no creed or dogma to which to pledge to be a Unitarian Universalist. We do affirm and covenant to these principles:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part