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www.uujax.org
7405 Arlington Expressway
Jacksonville, FL 32211
904-725-8133

 

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OUR HISTORY

There have always been people who believed that one Creation embraced all people, that life should be a unity, not warring factions of sacred and profane, and people who believed that life was good, death was peaceful, and hell and devil were mistaken superstitions. The early Christian Church contained both Unitarians, arguing for the unity of God and the humanity of Jesus, and Universalists, arguing that a good God and a loving Jesus would save all people, but these beliefs became heresies. At the beginning of the Reformation, in the 1500s, individuals and small movements throughout Europe began again to proclaim Unitarian and Universalist beliefs. The first edict of religious toleration in the Western world was made in 1568 by a Unitarian King: each community should elect their own religious leaders and agree upon their shared doctrines in love. Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen and hydrogen, was an 18th Century Unitarian minister in England. Unitarian and Universalist ideas came early to the American colonies, and many prominent Americans were members of our faiths: 5 Presidents, a multitude of famous authors and musicians, philosophers and inventors, and, particularly, women and men social reformers. In 1961, the two denominations joined together. Our Association of independent congregations, the UUA, is headquartered in Boston, and is governed by an elected President and Moderator, and by our annual General Assemblies. There are presently more than 1000 Unitarian Universalist congregations, and more than 200,000 Unitarian Universalists in North America.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville [UUCJ] was founded significantly by Duncan Fletcher, who served as Mayor of Jacksonville, Governor of Florida, and who became one of Florida’s US Senators. After hard times during the depression and war years, the congregation was renewed in the 1950s by strong lay-leadership, led by Dorcas and Francis Alberti. The congregation built, by 1958, a church on St. John’s Avenue in Riverside. In 1960, a new minister, the Rev. McGehee was hired. He became active, with many from the congregation, in the civil rights movement. In 1966, this building was dedicated. The architect was Robert C. Broward, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and still himself a leader in the congregation and community. We share a boundary with the Nature Center, and our buildings have received significant architectural awards. We are, at present, a congregation of more than 200 adults and more than 50 children and youth.

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