A BRIEF HISTORY OF UUFVB
In the sixteenth century, Christian humanists in Central Europe and Transylvania-studied the Bible closely. They could not find the orthodox dogma of the Trinity in the texts. Therefore, they affirmed-as did Jesus, per the Gospels-the unity, or oneness, of God. Hence, they acquired the name Unitarian.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, radical reformers in Europe and America also studied the Bible closely. They found, both in the Bible and in their own hearts, an unconditionally loving God and that salvation was for all. Because of this emphasis on universal salvation, they called themselves Universalists.
In 1961 the two merged into one religion called Unitarian Universalist and the UU Association of congregations was born.
In April 1981 15 people gathered in the Vero Beach home of Shirley St John and began meetings which grew into the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach that we know today.
They began meeting at the YMCA building in 1982 (known now as Leisure Square) and received the Charter from the UUA in March of that year. In February of 1983 the first part-time minister was hired, Rev Arthur Broadhurst. In late 1983 the congregation moved to the Woman’s Club near downtown Vero Beach
By 1991 membership had grown to over 100 and the congregation selected its first full time Settled Minister, Rev Dr Richard Speck and they began meeting at Thompson Elementary School. In June of 1994 the congregation moved to its new home on 43rd Avenue, next door to Temple Beth Shalom. In February 1998, a new Sanctuary was completed on the property.
In 2000 Rev Speck resigned to take on a new role at the UUA…it took until September of 2001 for Interim Minister Rev Don Vaughn-Forster to come on board, a little later Claudia Jiminez became the Director of Religious Education. In April 2002, the second Settled Minister, Rev Gail Geisenhainer was voted in by the congregation.
In March of 2004 the Westar Jesus Institute held a weekend seminar at the UU Sanctuary attended by many non UU community members. In early 2005 a World Religions seminar was held which also drew many non UU community members.
In mid-2005, with the congregation growing, a new home was sought and found with purchase of the grounds of the former First Church of Christ building at 27th Avenue and 16th street. The formation of the Celebrated Speaker Series and the Bridges Early Learning Center as sources of revenue helped pay for the annual. mortgage. Later that year Rev Geisenhainer departed for a large congregation up north and interim minister Rev Maureen Killoran came to serve.
In late 2005 the first full time Administrator was hired, Pete Kersey. In 2009 our third Settled Minister, Rev Scot Alexander, an avid cyclist, was called to serve the congregation full time. Later he would ride his bike from California to Florida, twice, raising money for charity.
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