In an unprecedented move, First Unitarian Church of Cleveland and Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland have reunified to form a new congregation. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland (UUCC) begins operating as a new Unitarian Universalist congregation on Sunday, February 3rd. The new congregation is the result of more than 21 months of hard work and planning by the leadership and members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland and First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, which previously operated as one congregation until 1951.
Both the Unitarian Universalist Society and First Unitarian held their final reunification vote on Sunday, January 27th. Throughout the merger and negotiation process, both churches have shown dedication to the fifth principle of Unitarian Universalism: “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in our congregations and in society at large.”
Post World War II, First Unitarian Church of Cleveland was a prominent, growing church community in what is now the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland. In 1951, a portion of the membership, led by then minister Rev. Robert Killam, voted to move the church to the thriving Eastern suburb of Shaker Heights. Other members felt that remaining within the City of Cleveland was vital to the church’s mission. Their steadfast dedication to their neighbors and community lead them to form the congregation now known as the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland. The two churches operated separately for decades, with the celebration of 150 years since the founding of Cleveland’s first Unitarian church in 2017 acting as a catalyst for a closer relationship between First Unitarian and the Unitarian Universalist Society.
The new congregation, UUCC, is located at 21600 Shaker Blvd in Shaker Heights, Ohio. With approximately 350 adult members and a vibrant youth religious education program, the UUCC community is looking forward to defining how they do the work of the church within and outside their building’s walls. The congregation is lead by Rev. Joe Cherry, who has served as the minister at the UU Society of Cleveland for the past 5 years, and a new board of trustees made up members from both former congregations.
UUCC’s first worship service is at 21600 Shaker Boulevard on Sunday, February 3rd at 11:00 am. We warmly invite all to celebrate the birth of our new community.
For further questions, please contact Rev. Joe Cherry, Minister (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Erin Justice, Community Relations Director (email@example.com)