We begin a series on the Unitarian Universalist congregation's history in Fort Wayne, which is celebrating 75 years in 2014. The posts are written by Sandra Maze, church historian. If your church would like to have its history recorded on our blog, please contact Nancy McCammon-Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-426-2882 ext. 306.
First post from September 2013
In 1876, the first organized Unitarian services were held at the Indiana Conservatory Hall of Music in the same room formerly used by the Universalist. No formal congregation was formed at that time.
In 1939, twenty-seven charter members gathered for the first time. They sought to bring the principles of a liberal religion to Fort Wayne and the surrounding communities. They held their first meeting in the lounges of the Fairfield Manor. The Unitarian Society of Fort Wayne was incorporated on April 16, 1939. The first called minister was Rev. Robert Hoagland. He served the congregation form 1939 to 1945. During his tenure as minister, a residence was purchased at 2929 Fairfield Ave.
The congregation moved to its present location in 1960, when Rev. Hugo Leming was our minister.
Between 1939 and 2012, our congregation has called eight ministers. These include Rev. Richard Langhinrichs from 1965 to 1989; The Rev. Dr. Laurie Proctor, our minister emerita from 1991 to 2003; Rev. Dr. Jay E. Abernathy, Jr., 2004-2010; and Rev. Misty-Dawn Shelly, called in 2012. Two interim ministers and one congregational counselor have also served our congregation.