In November, 1988, an ad appeared in a local paper announcing the first Sunday Service of Unitarian Universalists in our area. Thirteen people responded to the ad, meeting at the 4H Center in Abingdon, Virginia. From the very first service, an area was arranged for children’s religious education.
The group continued to hold services once a month for six years, with two years at the 4H Center, two years at The Oaks (an Abingdon professional office building) and two years at Emory and Henry College. All the while, literally being a “Church In A Box”. Each Sunday, all church materials, equipment and supplies (including a playpen for the nursery as well as pillows and blankets for the toddlers) had to be loaded and unloaded from the trunks of various members’ cars. Thanks goodness for boxes and flexibility! During this time, the UU group became recognized by UUA as an official UU Congregation and was granted an official charter in 1990.
We share respect for the
of all existence of which we are a part.
In 1994, the UU group was privileged to share space with an AME congregation in Abingdon. For the first time, the UU boxes could be unloaded and church materials and supplies finally stored in a building rather than in the trunk of someone’s car.
Weekly services began to be held, with the UU’s meeting on Sunday mornings and the AME congregation meeting on Sunday afternoons. The quaint white building provided a good church home. However, with fifteen children, the space was not large enough for our R.E program. We solved this space issue by renting a trailer, in which the town and neighborhood allowed us to temporarily keep on the property. For this we are most thankful.
In 1995, the UU group of 21 adult members voted to build a church building. The UU group saved money and purchased two acres of land. A building layout was posted on the back wall of the AME church. Adults and children listed their ideas and suggestions on the drawing on the wall and from this, a final plan for the building was made.
In September, 1996, the first service was held in the new building. Today, we have 48 adult members and we continue to grow and to have a great time!
Written by (President 2019-2020) Wava Osborne
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