Dedication of a new stained glass window, groundbreaking for a playground, a special Sunday service and plenty of music and food are some of the activities planned for a 50th anniversary celebration of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus.
The celebration is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 20 and 21 at the church, 7580 Goeller Blvd., and also is being conducted in recognition of the church’s 15th year at that location.
Efforts to establish a Unitarian Universalist church in Columbus actually began more than 50 years ago, when a handful of people began meeting in each other’s homes. Those efforts came to a halt with the untimely deaths of two key players, the late Eva and Jim Daly.
Several years later, organizers revived those efforts and the congregation began meeting at North Christian Church. The Goeller Boulevard location is actually the congregation’s fourth church home. The building was dedicated in 2002.
The church has seen steady growth over the years. After several part-time ministers, the congregation called its first full-time minister, the Rev. Dennis McCarty, in 2004. McCarty became a visible and outspoken clergyman on issues ranging from LGBTQ rights, immigration reform legislation, cultural and religious diversity, and other topics.
McCarty has since retired, and the church is in the process of selecting a new minister.
Church members have continued that visibility, helping with many community events, and serving as host for meetings of groups such as Black Lives matter of Columbus.
The church also led efforts for the Standing on the Side of Love rally that was held in downtown Columbus last November, in response to a report of bullying at a local school.
The purpose was to promote peace, love and justice for all, regardless of one’s origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender.
Unitarian Universalist volunteers help regularly with the hot meal site held Fridays at First Presbyterian Church and last year sponsored an Interfaith Festival.
Twice a month, the congregation designates part of the Sunday collection for a local non-profit organization, the Share the Plate Social Action Collection.
The church is home to the MUUMS group (Mostly Unitarian-Universalists Moms), which is for moms, dads, and caregivers. Meetings, held after the service on the third Sunday of the month, focus on issues related to parenting. The group also hosts a family festival and organizes outings.
The church also is well known for Peace Camp, one of the offerings of the church’s religious exploration program. The day camp, which is open to the entire community, is for children ages 4 to 12. As the name implies, the focus is on peace at four different levels: inner peace, peace with each other, peace toward the earth and carrying peace out into the world.
Sunday services are at 10 a.m., followed by a fellowship hour. Services are presently being led by the interim minister, the Rev. Mary Moore.