Church Timeline

1953: The Fellowship was incorporated and a house was rented at 509 E. Fourth Street for church activities.

1954: A college group (called the Channing Club, for William Ellery Channing) and a high school group were organized.

1957: The Fellowship moved to 419 N. Indiana Avenue to occupy a house it had recently purchased. A church school was held there on Sunday mornings, a youth group in the afternoons, and adult meetings in the evenings. The same year, the Fellowship received the services of the American Unitarian Association's minister-at-large program. Grant Butler and his wife Calla were in residence for three months, at which time services were changed to a morning hour and met in the Von Lee Theater. During the Butlers' stay, membership increased from 73 to 129.

1958: The congregation voted to become a church. It invited Paul E. Killinger, a recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School, to become its first minister.

1961: The Unitarian and Universalist denominations united nationally to form the Unitarian-Universalist Association. Our church became the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington.

1963: Rev. Killinger left to serve a church in Orange County, California.

1964: The church welcomed its second minister, David A. Johnson, a graduate of Meadville Theological Seminary. The church bought its present property at Fee Lane and the Bypass. At first, a farmhouse on the property was the only building. Services were held there while the church school continued at the Indiana Avenue house.

1965: The present Education Building was completed and the Indiana Avenue house was sold. Services were held in the new building and the church school used both the farmhouse and the lower floor of the new building.

1970: Rev. Johnson left to become minister of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh. He was succeeded by John Young, also of Meadville Theological Seminary.

1974: With the completion of a newer and larger building, the church school was able to leave the farmhouse.

1977: Rev. Young moved to Central Unitarian Church in Paramus, New Jersey. Later the same year, our church elected William R. Murry as its fourth minister. Rev. Dr. Murry had an impressive background as an academician and minister with other denominations. However, our church gave him his first permanent post as a Unitarian minister.

1980: Rev. Dr. Murry left when he was called by the River Road Church in Bethesda, Maryland.

1981: Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman arrived from Meadville Theological Seminary. She initiated the first Family Sunday, which brought children to the worship service, and brought a fresh and eclectic approach to hymns, prayers, and concepts of God. Membership expanded rapidly.

1986: The new and old buildings were united. Construction was made possible by congregation pledges and a matching grant by the late Bill Ruddick.

1987: Dr Hallman left Bloomington in response to a call from First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Texas.

1987-88: The Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells served the congregation as interim minister.

1988: The Rev. Bruce Johnson was called in the spring of 1988 from his church in Rutland, Vermont. Bruce was a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School and a native of Minnesota.

1992: Rev. Johnson resigned and later took a position with a Detroit church.

1993: The Reverend Barbara Carlson, a graduate of Starr King Seminary, came from Cleveland to become this church's seventh full-time minister. She became active in the larger community both as a spiritual leader and social activist.

1999: The congregation celebrated its 50th anniversary and completed a major building expansion that nearly doubled existing space and provided a new Meeting Room that could seat 300. The Rev. John Buehrens, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, presided at the building dedication. Rev. Hallman was the featured speaker at the anniversary celebration, for which Cary Boyce was commissioned to create a special musical composition, Holy Breath.

2002: The congregation called Rev. Mary Ann Macklin and Rev. Bill Breeden to join Rev. Carlson in a unique co-ministry team with no hierarchy. All served somewhat less than full time so that they could devote time and energy to other pursuits.

2005: Rev. Carlson retired and was named minister emerita. Rev. Macklin and Rev. Breeden continue the co-ministry.

2009: Our congregation was recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Breakthrough Congregation. View a video about our congregation.

2011: Major renovation of the building and grounds was completed.

2012: Received two large grants, one to install solar photovoltaic panels on the roof, and the other to provide updated technology to enhance worship and religious education.

2013: Reverend Breeden on sabbatical April-July. Reverend Macklin on sabbatical August-December.

2014: Reverend Breeden to retire in August 2014. The congregation will be in search for a new minister to fill his position by 2016, and plans to hire an Interim Minister for 2014-2016 to join our team ministry with Reverend Macklin.

Unitarian Universalist Association - challis image courtesy of Steve Bridenbaugh