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Unitarians to dedicate new church

In front of the new Unitarian church are, from left, members Andy Kelsey, Bob Duryea, Caroline Shifflett, Don Lowrey, Tom Kinney, Pirkko Graves and Shirley Kinney.

On Sunday, November 16, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Rappahannock (UUFR) will dedicate the first Unitarian Universalist (UU) church ever constructed in the Northern Neck.

Sara Mackey, a frequent speaker at UUFR, will be the main speaker at the dedication service at 366 James Wharf Road in White Stone, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.

While a UU church may be new in the Northern Neck, the Unitarian denomination has a long and illustrious history in Virginia. Among America’s Founding Fathers, the second, third and sixth presidents were all Unitarians.

Thomas Jefferson, for whom the regional UU District is named, was long a promoter of Unitarianism. John Adams, John’s wife Abigail, and John Quincy Adams were Unitarians. Other prominent Unitarians in the early days of our country included Ethan Allen, Paul Revere, and perhaps Thomas Paine who, at least, was accused of being a Unitarian by his Royalist enemies.

Ten years ago, a small local group interested in Unitarian Universalism began meeting for discussion, sharing, and  potluck dinners. Eventually, a UU Fellowship emerged. As the group grew, they took up residence in the White Stone Woman’s Club, and chose to affiliate with the national Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. UUFR has grown into its own church, with much of the construction and labor for the new building having been provided by members of the congregation. 

The design of the building, inspired by the screwpile lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay, serves as a beacon of the Unitarian Universalist principles, lighting the way in our search for truth and meaning. The circular design of the gathering room promotes the sharing of ideas and opinions to aid us in our journey. The fellowship remains an active presence in the greater community, being a regular contributor to and supporter of local community charitable efforts, including The Haven, The Northern Neck Free Health Clinic, and The Interfaith Alliance.

UUFR, serving the Middle Peninsula and the Northern Neck, is led by its lay members.  Sunday services frequently feature visiting ministers or others prominent in their fields. UUFR meets every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

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posted 11.13.2008

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