News February 2, 2024

Dear Members and Friends,

This month we’ll be celebrating the 110th/125th anniversary of our congregation! You might wonder why there are two dates. The simple answer is that back in 1899 a group of people came together to form a Universalist congregation. It failed after about a decade. Then, in 1914, some people from that group gathered some new friends and started the First Unitarian Church of Houston, the congregation we now know and love as the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston. Our double anniversary celebrates both foundings: the one that didn’t lead to a congregation and the one that did. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to fail before you succeed. I will be sharing some reflections on that truism and other insights that can be gleaned from our rich history on February 11th. The 11:30 a.m. service will be followed by a special anniversary brunch. It is not to be missed!

As some of you know, the lot across the street from us on Fannin is up for sale. The Board believes that the congregation might be interested in purchasing the property. It will help with the parking situation--we presently own zero parking spots--and Ron Cookston, or another Board member, will be updating you each week over the next several weeks about developments. The Board is also hosting a number of informal forums, including a conversation each Sunday between services in the newly remodeled library. If you are interested in learning more I encourage you to read this week’s update.

February is Black history month and we are observing it in a variety of ways. Two that I want to draw your attention to are the subject of Lives of the Spirit this month, Fannie Lou Hamer, and our online celebration of the program Religion in Houston’s Pan-African Community .

For those that don’t know, Hamer was a civil rights leader from Mississippi who was greatly inspired by her experiences as a congregational leader. One of the great orators of the twentieth century, she gave the famous speech “Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”. It is considered by many as one of the definitive statements of the movement.

In our study of Hamer there will be a sermon (February 25th), covenant groups, the senior minister’s book group, and a workshop led by Glynda Carr of Higher Heights for America (February 7th). In the book group we will be reading The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is. If you’ve not yet participated in one of the Lives of the Spirits programs, I encourage you to do so. Those who have been participating report getting a lot out of the program.

Last month we completed our series of twelve oral histories of leaders of Houston’s Third, Fourth, and Fifth Wards, Religion in Houston’s Pan-African Community. Funded by the Crossroads Project housed at Princeton University, one of the objectives of the project was to create an online archive. And this month, every day or two, we will be highlighting content from the archive on social media. Listening to some of the interviews is a wonderful way to learn about Black history in Houston. Preserving these stories is something our congregation can be proud of!
It is going to be an exciting and spirit filled month. I hope you can join us for it! I look forward to seeing you around.



Where are the Ministers?

Rev. Dr. Bossen
will on study leave through Monday, February 5th. He’ll return to the pulpit for our 110th/125th anniversary service on the 11th. And he’ll be preaching again on the 25th to give a sermon that is part of our Lives of the Spirit program, “Crying for America: Fannie Lou Hamer.” He will be off the weekend of February 18th.

This upcoming Sunday, Rev. Scott will be joining Rev. Erin Walter, our guest preacher, on the chancel. On February 11th, he will help Rev. Colin celebrate the anniversary of our church. On February 17th, he and Conrad travel to Austin for the Installation of the Rev. Chris Jimmerson at the First UU Church of Austin. The next day, he returns to our pulpit to preach. On February 25th, he will join Rev. Colin for our service highlighting our February Lives of the Spirit personage, Fannie Lou Hamer. The next day, he will leave to attend the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Retreat.