WHO WE ARE
We are Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, a welcoming community supporting religious freedom and spiritual growth while working for social justice with compassion and love.
We include people of all ages, physical abilities, financial circumstances, sexual orientations, gender identities, national origins, races, religious and educational backgrounds, and spiritual understandings.
We seek to harness the power of logic and love to end oppression. We have been on the forefront of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer inclusion for more than 40 years. We affirm, every day, with our words and actions, that Black Lives Matter. And we work to assist those in need in our local community with volunteering and fundraising efforts throughout the year.
We have deep roots and a history as self-motivated spiritual people. We think for ourselves and recognize that life experience influences our beliefs more than anything. We are brave, curious, and compassionate thinkers aligned in our desire to make a difference for the good.
We seek to welcome you: your whole self, with all your truths and your doubts, your worries and your hopes. Join us on this extraordinary adventure of faith as we come together for Sunday services as one congregation.
Come join us!
For more about Unitarian Universalism, its Principles and its history, please go to uua.org.
Welcome! We are so glad you have found us here in these times, when it’s hard to form connections and fulfill spiritual needs — needs that are now greater than ever. Our active, inclusive fellowship just may have what you are looking for.
Please continue to browse our website to learn more about Unitarian Universalism and our local congregation, and what we have to offer to you, your partners and your families. And if something here piques your interest, consider joining us for an upcoming Sunday service.
Just fill out the form on this page and we’d be delighted to send you information on our next service, including a link to join us on Zoom if you prefer. We look forward to seeing you soon!
And please also let us know if you have any questions, would like to speak with our minister, the Rev. Fred L Hammond, or would like to explore one or more of our other activities.
Review our Covenant and Principles
Sign up for information on our next Sunday service, in person and live on Zoom.
“We are a welcoming community supporting religious freedom and spiritual growth while working for social justice with compassion and love.”
— adopted by the congregation on Nov. 6, 2022
HISTORY of MANATEE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP
by Carol Bartz
Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was founded in 1959 by a group of 12 independent-thinking adults seeking a place to examine, expound and learn to live the UU principles along with four teenagers. They rented space in the Riverpark Hotel which is now the remodeled Hampton Inn on 10th St., downtown Bradenton. Sermons, procured from the Church of the Larger Fellowship, were read by a member and then discussed afterwards. In 1961 a new location was found on 67th St. W., where they continued to listen to readings of sermons from Boston, listened to recorded music, and drank coffee over conversation following the Sunday program.
As membership grew to 38 adults and 32 children and youth, an older home on 15th St. was available for $13,500. (This house had once been owned by the Green family, a prominent family in Bradenton history.) Members generously contributed towards the purchase, financing was arranged, and the first service was held in December 1963 using borrowed chairs. In 1970, due the generosity of a member the mortgage was paid off and the adjacent lot was purchased for parking.
The Women’s Alliance, organized in 1972, assumed responsibility for all the housekeeping and fundraising activities until committees were formed to carry on the work the Women’s Alliance had been doing. By 1980 adult membership reached 60 and more space was needed, resulting in the addition of what is now our sanctuary. A rotation of the same three speakers spoke on Sundays, with the fourth Sunday varying. Eventually live musicians replaced recorded music, Peg Henderson donated the baby grand piano, our choir was formed, our church year extended to include the summer months, and the Religious Education program grew in size and curricula. More recently the Social Justice Committee was formed, becoming a prominent part of the Fellowship’s activities and identity, our use of technology advanced in meeting sound and recording needs, and we have a web page that is our primary contact for guests in finding us.
Over the years improvements were made to the building by relocating the kitchen and setting up the office in what was the kitchen, improving the upstairs rooms for Sunday school, adding a deck (2002 designed by member, Ruth Warmington), expansion of the Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship library, purchase of the two lots west of us for additional parking, new AC units, interior painting, new carpeting, establishment of our Memorial Garden, and more recently the updating of the exterior of the building.
After being lay-led for almost 50 years, a Ministerial Search Committee was formed and our first part time minister, Bonnie Devlin, was hired in 2006 to help meet the pastoral needs of our membership and then the Rev. Dee Graham served as our second part time consulting minister. We are excited to now have the Rev. Fred L Hammond as our full time Developmental Minister as he works together with us to meet the five goals we have set for our fellowship based on a congregational survey in Fall 2017.
Discussions about moving to a new location, adding to or remodeling our existing building, etc., seem to have settled on remaining where we are and improving our facilities to meet our needs.
Herb and Fleta Boyd, charter members from the original 12 adults who started our Fellowship, remained active members throughout their years and saw many changes.
Today, our shared vision will shape the future.
DID YOU KNOW?
From 1921 – 1923 a Bradenton resident by the name of E.P. Green was elected mayor of Bradenton. After his mayoral term, he was a Manatee County Representative to the State Road Department and a Bradenton merchant.
In 1926 – 1927 the bridge was built over the Manatee River, connecting Bradenton to Palmetto. This bridge was named after the Bradenton mayor, E.P. Green. Still today we know this bridge as “The Green Bridge”. The fun part of this story is that E.P. Green and his family, once upon a time, owned and lived in the building that we call home, Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 322 15th Street West!
When you desire a quiet place for contemplation, consider sitting on the bench in our Memorial Garden, where many members and friends have their ashes interred. To plan for an interment for yourself or a family member, please contact the Office for arrangements and fees.
COVENANT OF OUR CONGREGATION
In the spirit of our Unitarian Universalist Principles, we covenant with one another to develop a caring, respectful, safe, and just congregation. To this aim we pledge:
- To practice care-filled speaking.
- To listen carefully.
- To appreciate diversity of opinion.
- To be accepting and nonjudgmental of each other.
- To be welcoming and engaging to members and visitors.
- To directly engage one another when there are misunderstandings.
- To express gratitude for the efforts of others.
- To support the professional role of the Minister.
- To support decisions made by lay leaders.
- To treat others who come into the Fellowship to hold meetings or to do work with respect.
- To support Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship with our time, talents, and funds.
PRINCIPLES & SOURCES
Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides, and six sources:
The Seven Principles:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The Six Sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
|Board of Directors: