In 1948, a group of University of Colorado students and community members was encouraged and guided by Rev. Rudy Gilbert, a Denver Unitarian minister, to affiliate with the American Unitarian Association and to become the Unitarian Church of Boulder. Some former and current Fellowship members were part of this congregation, which later became the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder and they built the church on Pennsylvania Avenue.
In 1977, some members of UUCB felt that their spiritual needs were not being met. Over several years, they decided to form a new Fellowship. On April 15 (Easter Sunday), 1979, 42 members signed the membership book to begin the Boulder Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. In 1980, Rev. Gilbert came out of retirement to lead the congregation, which he did until 1982.
1984-2007: Growth and Settling
From 1984 to 1991, Rev. Nan Hobart served as part-time minister. In September 1993, BUUF called Rev. Catharine Harris as a part-time minister, and in 1995, she became our full-time minister. During her tenure, a religious education program and an Endowment Fund were established. At that time, BUUF had 86 members and 15 children.
The Fellowship met in a series of rental spaces, eventually settling into the Masonic Hall in Boulder, and we chose our vision: “Bringing love and reason to life. Building a Just and Compassionate World.”
The Fellowship moved into its current home on Ceres Drive in Lafayette in 2004. In the spring of 2007, we took the new name of the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
After Rev. Harris retired, the Fellowship called Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry as permanent minister in August of 2007. We continued to add more programs as our congregation shaped and grew, such as the annual auction, adult religious education programs, and the Fellowship Singers.
In the following years Reverend Lydia’s dynamic leadership, as well as the strong involvement of a legion of committed members and a string of talented intern ministers, led to steady growth and a plethora of both internal activities and involvement in and service to the community.
Although we said a sad goodbye to Katie Covey, our beloved long-time Director of Religious Education when she retired in May of 2016, we were proud of how the program had changed and flourished under her guidance. During her 15 years with us, our children and youth programs grew and she spearheaded the transformation of our religious education program from an outdated model into the cutting-edge model, “School of the Spirit,” featuring holistic programming for people of all ages.
In 2016, the congregation clarified and embraced our strategic direction as one of “Inner Depth and Outer Focus,” and set a goal to create here a center for spiritual exploration and justice making.
2016: Inner Depth and Outer Focus
“Inner Depth” has been reflected in our solid attention to the spiritual needs and aspirations of all members and friends through the steady involvement of members’ collaboration with Reverend Lydia in presenting thoughtful Sunday services, along with a variety of opportunities for reflection and support of members. We are enriched by a wonderful music program featuring the Fellowship Singers, One Voice acapella ensemble, and many guests musicians. Covenant Groups commit to shared, deeply thoughtful gatherings centered around a specific theme. The multi-generational School of the Spirit introduces and supports our values throughout the lifespan.
In terms of “Outer Focus,” we have been drawn during the last decade to three specific activities areas, while also contributing funds and volunteer energy to a wide variety of causes. In collaboration with Together Colorado, Boulder Valley Community Action Network (BVCAN) helps local families and children access public health insurance and advocates for better mental health treatment and access. The Immigration Justice Taskforce educates our congregation about immigration issues and coordinates activities promoting equality and fairness for immigrants in our community. Our Racial Justice CommuniTeam hosts book discussions and film presentations, supported the White Supremacy Teach-In, and spearheaded the placement of a “Black Lives Matter” banner on the outside of our building.
In addition to these primary commitments, we promote our UU principles in other ways. We “stand on the side of love,” speaking out for the rights of LGBTQ+ people to live and love as we choose. We made a ten year commitment to support a Dreamer in the Phoenix class of the I Have a Dream program. We serve meals at the homeless shelter, walk to fight hunger, and support families in crisis through the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA). Each week, we give half of our plate away to community organizations that are in line with our values.
2017: Celebration and Expansion
2017 was a banner year for us. We celebrated 10 years with Rev. Lydia and we leaped to a new level by bringing on board Rev. Ruth Rinehart as Assistant Minister. She had previously interned with us as she completed her studies at Iliff School of Theology.
Our growth continued, and we were busting at the seams, in the School of the Spirit wing and in the sanctuary with more congregants, coinciding with the election of President Trump. A Building Committee was established to examine possibilities for accommodating the growth, and it was determined that expansion and extensive remodeling of our current building in Lafayette would be our path for the next few years.