Our Denomination History
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the consolidation of two religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. Both began in Europe hundreds of years ago. In America, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. After consolidating in 1961, these faiths became Unitarian Universalism.
Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who could find no scriptural basis for the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but believed instead in the unity, or single aspect of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation; that is, that all people will eventually be reconciled with God.
Since the merger of the two denominations in 1961, the Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.
Our Fellowship History
In 1891 the First Unitarian Society was was founded in Helena. Soon there were 150 people showing up for services, and by 1901 there was enough money to build the First Unitarian Church on the corner of Park and Lawrence Streets. Hard times came, and in 1933 the Unitarians deeded their church to the city of Helena for a library. In 1976 it was remodeled into a community facility, now known as Grandstreet Theatre. Today when Helena citizens attend plays and gatherings, we can all enjoy this magnificent and historic Romanesque church.
Prior to the founding of our present Fellowship, there was an attempt in the 1960s to form a lay led fellowship in Helena; however, interest and attendance dwindled and that fellowship soon closed.
In 1983 a small group of Helena citizens, some with a Unitarian Universalist background and others who were seeking a more liberal faith, formed our present Big Sky Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. We met in homes and as we grew members and friends in various meeting rooms and churches in Helena. We have met at the Plymouth Congregational Church since the fall of 2009. We enjoy the large sanctuary, space for meetings and classes, and the camaraderie of sharing meals together in their kitchen and dining room. The Plymouth congregation has warmly welcomed us to share their church building.