University Unitarian Universalist Society (UUUS) was formed in 1993 by more than 30 Founding Members, led by Karl E. Peters, a professor of religion at Rollins College. Many of them had been members of First Unitarian Church of Orlando. Some had intended to form the UUUS as an outreach church. Some wanted to start a completely separate church. But all believed that forming a new UU church in the Orlando area was an important step in strengthening the presence of liberal religion in the area.
On January 24, 1993, the members of the group met, signed the Charter, voted themselves into existence, and passed the bylaws—and UUUS came to be. Some of those members are still a part of our church today.
The group first met in the Trinity Prep School library, later moving to the Harbor School cafeteria. In 1996, the church was presented with a challenge from a member to build a church for the congregation. So, with a $100,000 donation, they began the process of searching for available properties.
At the time, this section of McCulloch Road was a very remote dirt road, and many in the congregation thought the 4.34 acre property was in the middle of nowhere. In addition, it was covered in trash. But they agreed as a congregation to purchase the property and began design of the church site in earnest. They were fortunate to have Steve Helle serving as President and design Civil Engineer and Herb Hawthorne serving as architect, both investing countless hours in making the building a reality.
In January 1999, the 4,060 square foot building was opened and UUUS finally had a permanent church home. It was and is a terrific space that has served us well! However, by 2002, it became clear that more space was needed. After much planning, final plans were set for an additional building. On December 13, 2009, Founding Member Clark Slayman broke ground, surrounded by the children of our RE.
The 2,000 square foot building provides two additional RE classrooms, a room for our BEACON youth group, an additional large meeting room with kitchenette, and a unisex bathroom with a shower. A new playground was built, easily accessible from the youth RE classrooms.
We look forward to many more years of worship, learning, and community!