An advertisement placed in the Greensboro Daily News on October 6, 1951 asked, “Are you a Unitarian without knowing it?” The ad suggested that you might be a Unitarian if you believe that:
- The Bible is an inspiring human document but not the literal word of God.
- People are not condemned by “original sin” but are inherently capable of improvement.
- Development of character is more important than accepting religious creeds.
- The purpose of religion is to help us live this life well, rather than prepare for an afterlife.
A group of about 25 people who responded to the ad began meeting regularly at the public library for informal, lay-led discussions exploring religion, the arts, philosophy and social issues. Most Sunday morning services were led by faculty members of local colleges and universities and visiting clergy, in addition to well-informed members of the congregation. After outgrowing the library space, meetings were held in a number of buildings downtown before purchasing a dwelling at 2604 West Market Street in 1960.
A Time of Growth
By 1969, the church had outgrown the Market Street dwelling and soon acquired a seven-acre tract of land on Monterey Street in southeastern Greensboro. A prize-winning building with spectacular 15-foot high windows was erected in thick woods along Interstate 40. It was dedicated on December 1, 1970. The new building brought a larger congregation as well as a solid budget. The impact of the church on the Greensboro community increased as members joined other denominations in opposition to the Vietnam War and in civil rights protests, along with direct philanthropy from the church. The church remained a congregation-led “fellowship” until 1976.
A Full-Time Minister and a New Building
In 1976 the church hired its first full-time minister. Continuing through the 1980s, the church matured from being a “fellowship” into a recognized “church” of the Unitarian Universalist Association. In the late 1990s the congregation began to search for a larger space that would be more accessible to individuals and families throughout the Triad area. Our current building was dedicated in a joyous celebration on September 19, 1999.
UUCG is served by the Rev. Diane Dowgiert, our Interim Minister. We as a church welcome religious liberals and “like minds” who join together with similar beliefs and concerns. Through the years, we find new opportunities for service to Greensboro (and the larger community), and continue to ask penetrating and vital questions about how to best support and strengthen our community.
Alex Stoesen, History Professor Emeritus, Guilford College, UUCG Member since 1971