The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bay County (UUFBC) began in 1955; meeting in homes, restaurants, and the Garden Club. It included some large families, so they had a strong RE program and a children’s choir. Finally, leadership waned, and the group dwindled away in the 1970’s.
In 1980, a couple of UU’s moved to town and decided to start a group here, not knowing that the former group existed. The programming consisted mostly of discussion on humanist themes, though a minister from Tallahassee did come regularly. By 1998, they were meeting in the Oakland Terrace recreation building, which meant setting up and taking down all chairs, tables, banners, hymnals, etc. every time. Music came from a tape recorder. Services were held every other Sunday, and summer programming consisted of once-a-month discussions.
In 2001, they started meeting every Sunday, fearing that they would have a small attendance. Instead, attendance increased with the additional programming. After lots of planning, fundraising, and the sale of a previously purchased lot, the current property was purchased and renovated in 2002. Membership has grown slowly but consistently and attendance in mid-winter sometimes approaches capacity. Though attendance does slack off a bit in warm weather, during the current year our average weekly attendance at Sunday services is about 45.
We continue to be a lay-led congregation although we have a “Vision and Growth” strategy to hire a minister in the near future. Presently the congregation has placed their emphasis on Religious Exploration and we have a part-time Religious Explorations Coordinator that has seen growth in our children’s program. We continue to explore how the UUFCB can increase its contribution to and better serve the community.