Anecdotal History of UUCB
2011 was a Triple Anniversary year for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley: 120 years as a congregation, 50 years at the Kensington location, and 50 years since the merger of Unitarians and Universalists. The theme of our year-long celebration was “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Honoring a Proud Tradition.”
As part of our “Looking Back,” members Grace Ulp and Kay Fairwell asked present and former members for help in telling UUCB stories. We asked for memories, anecdotes, and reminiscences about events and activities over the past 120 years. Keep in mind that the history you see here is a collection of memories; the definitive history is yet to be written.
We hope that you will view this as a living collection. As you read through the many entries, may the fire of your memory be stoked and you be inspired to add to this collection. If so, please send your memories to Kay Fairwell or Grace Ulp. We will be periodically updating the anecdotal history page.
In some places you may note that dates are missing or noted with question marks. If you can fill in any such information, we’d love to have it. If there are any specific areas that you feel have been overlooked or neglected, please also let us know about those, especially if you have such information or know who might. If you are looking for mention of specific groups, programs, individuals, or events (or to find your own entries!), you can use the search button to locate this information.
The chapter on “Personal Stories and Miscellaneous Musings” holds those entries that seemed to be more reminiscences than reporting—and those entries that fit into more than one category. We have made every attempt to include all submissions; if yours was inadvertently overlooked, please let us know this also.
The history is categorized as follows:
by Maizie Newman
Berkeley was an isolated village, with the new state university not long established. It was separated from Oakland by a train ride, with several other isolated villages in the farmlands between. South Berkeley was ...
This section on the arts includes articles on art objects, poetry, choirs and musical groups, dance, drama, music in general, and musicals and concerts. (Note: See the Appendices for a list of Musical VIPs and Scott Merrick’s List of Events, which includes musical performances.)
Art and Poetry
Art Objects at the Church
by Grace Ulp
The bronze bird ...
by Grace Ulp
From time to time there were all-church retreats held at some of the pleasant retreat places around the Bay Area. Freestone retreat was used several times—a sunny day would give views over the valley and of the turkey vultures riding the updrafts, companionship, lunch on the deck, and worship and discussions.
Several times ...
Taking Care of the Church
The Office in 1973
by Grace Ulp
Most of the equipment in the office was just about what had been down at the “old church” in 1961 when we came up the hill. A spirit duplicator ...
…and Miscellaneous Musings
This section contains personal stories, anecdotes, and miscellaneous entries that don’t fit easily into one category. The entries are in alphabetical order by last name of contributors. Note that these authors may have entries in other sections of this history.
Lindsay Staubus Alger
I was a member of the church school starting when ...
Bring Your Weight in Food
by Rev. Barbara Hamilton-Holway
In 2002 UUCB held an Oxfam Hunger Banquet with Lee Lawrence as organizer. Bill and I also invited people to join us in fasting one meal a week, with the ...
Summer Workshop in International Living
by Elaine Miller
1960s at UUCB (then FUCB) During the summer the kids would have—I forget what it was called but it was something like a day camp—based on a country. I think we did Russia one year, and maybe Greece another year. Maybe they were called ...
by Jay Hanks
Early in 1990, partnerships began forming between UU churches in America and Unitarian Churches in the Transylvanian region of Romania. In August 1990 the UUCB Choir and a few others toured Eastern Europe and made the first visit to our partner church in the ...
by Grace Ulp
Along with the coming of the Hamilton-Holways to our church came the feeling that we really should reflect the name of the denomination in our church name. Previously it was the First Unitarian Church of ...
This section is a potpourri of groups that have existed at UUCB, some of which may still exist. There are individual descriptions of groups and individuals remembering one or more groups.
by Grace Ulp
Abraxas, called the “Congregation of Abraxas” by the UUA, was a group of ministers and lay people interested in the form, art, and experience ...
Ministry in General
by Rev. Jane Ramsey
To my knowledge UUCB’s first community minster was Rev. Mary Kapper, a hospice chaplain in the mid-nineties, followed by Rev. Patty Franz, who at the time was a hospice chaplain and has ...
…and Spiritual Development
Notes on Worship and Spiritual Development at UUCB
by Kay Fairwell
Addition of a Second Service
Our Governance Document features a Global End, or goal, for worship: “UUCB is a spiritual community where members and friends of all ages ...
Mileposts from the Centennial Calendar, 1991
July 19, 1891 Rev. Thomas Van Ness gives “right hand of fellowship” to the 32 members
July 26, 1891 First Board elected and met: 7 men
August 2, 1891 Music Committee appointed, $2.25 given to them for music
August 9, 1891 First 30 pledges received (called “subscriptions”)
October 18, 1891 Edward B. Payne called ...
Interns, Ministers in Training, Starr King Students Employed at UUCB, and Some Other Staff Positions
Name At UUCB Ordained Comments, Ministry Locations
Prosser, Loring 1968–69 1970 Ministerial Assistant;
Buffalo NY, Elkhart IN, Indianapolis, IN. Emeritus at Oaklandon UU Church
Schuler, Michael 1974–76 1976 MIT 1974–75, Intern ...
Directors of Music
4/1/1962 Harold Hawley
11/26/61 to8/31/82 Phyllis Wells
1970s Ron Daniel
Interim 9/82 to 1/83 David Swayne
2/83 to 9/87 Edwin Barlow
1/88 to 8/92 Simon Andrews
9/92 to 4/93 Jay Kawarsky
5/93 to ...
Edward B. Payne, 1892–1897
In 1891 the AUA—American Unitarian Association—offered to contribute $1,000 toward a minister’s salary for the first year. However, they meant it to be $500 for a minister’s salary, and $500 salary for the proposed seminary. The church had found its own minister, and insisted on the full sum. With $500 from the ...