The Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation celebrated its 70th birthday in 2014. It was on April 12, 1944, as World War II began to wind down, that 40 dedicated people signed the membership book of the newly incorporated Unitarian Association of Tacoma. There had been other attempts to bring liberal religion here , the first in 1884. The last of a succession of congregations closed its books in 1936 when all assets of the First Free Church and Ethical Society were turned over to the Unitarian Association in Boston and organized activity ceased.
It was in 1943 that the UA gave us a great gift by sending the Reverend Lon Ray Call to survey the area, put an ad in the local newspaper and set up organizational meetings. He announced distinctive characteristics which would distinguish us from other churches: democracy, use of the scientific method and the insights of many religious traditions, and the idea that whatever affects the welfare of humankind is of religious concern.
The early years saw services held at the YWCA, the American Legion Hall and finally, in 1957, in a new church building on our own on property. It was located where Highway 16 now crosses over South 12th St. It cost $30,000 to build and was much loved with its wall of windows, high ceiling and beams of dark pine. In 1985 it was sold and demolished to make room for the freeway. Our present church came with an immersion baptismal pool and plastic stained glass windows. We have made it our own. but still hope for a new home in the future.
Ministers have come and gone. Our name has changed several times as well. We have come together often to ponder our mission and to find new ways to accomplish the difficult ideal of unity within diversity. We continue to grow and change and to make decisions with the full participation of the community. Our distinctive characteristics as expressed by The Rev. Call can be returned to again and again as inspiration and motivation.
Our history continues…