Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 7 October 2013.Phone: 208-658-1710
The first Unitarian Universalist presence emerged in Boise in 1904. However the presence quickly disappeared until 1941 when another group formed. Over the years, meetings were held in several different places including the YMCA and the basement of a Congregational church downtown. The Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship officially formed in 1971 when the group bought a building in Pierce Park. In 1998 the group moved to their current four-acre location, where they constructed a main sanctuary and later added two wings. As of 2013, the congregation was welcoming a new minister, the Reverend Dana Worsnop to replace the Reverend Elizabeth Greene who served as minister from 1998 to 2013. The Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is an “open congregation,” which means anyone is welcome to join, including individuals of any ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious background. The congregation is also an option for people who do not identify with a particular religion or want to explore new faiths.
Challenges and Discrimination
The Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is actively involved in the community and provides a variety of services to the public. The group has received only support and warm attention from the Boise community. The congregation is eager for additional growth and diversity, and hopes to increase the population of younger members in coming years.
The congregation is made up of about 400 members, with an official 250 people in the membership book. The group ranges in age from infants to over 90 years old, but the average age is around 40. The vast majority of the congregation is Caucasian, however members come from a large variety of religious backgrounds, as anyone is welcome to join.
Activities and Schedule
The congregation holds two services every Sunday, one at 9:30am and one at 11:15am. Occasionally, guest speakers will come to the services to teach about their own faith. The BUUF grounds are used for a variety of different services, committees and meetings throughout the week. This includes providing space for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, various religious group services, as well as many other meetings. For more formal events like weddings, conferences, business retreats, concerts, shows, etc., the facilities are available to hire through the Bridge Event Center. The church also provides a range of programs for its members. For youth (Kindergarten through High School), they offer the Religious Exploration program, which follows a curriculum to teach them about the religions of the world. These classes meet during the regular Sunday services. The church also participates in many programs, including the interfaith sanctuary, both Farmer’s markets, Habitat for Humanity, Electronic Benefits Transfer and the Idaho Food Bank. Additionally, the church works with Whittier School to provide warm clothes as well as musical instruments to students who can’t afford their own. Whittier School students can also come to the BUUF grounds for a free lunch through the Summer Meal Program.
The Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is also developing a program of “spiritual exploration,” called the Quest Program. The Quest Program lasts 19 months and includes six weekend retreats, monthly meetings, and a daily spiritual practice. As individuals explore different faiths, they are encouraged to participate in some of the diverse religious meetings that occur on the congregation’s grounds throughout the week, but are also referred to many of the different religious groups throughout Boise. The program is meant to provide a guided exploration for individuals who are unsure of their spirituality or are interested in discovering new faiths.
Additionally, the BUUF is a member of the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho as well as a participating member of an interfaith organization called Healing Our Future, which is a group located in Boise that unites people of different faiths to learn about their various religions. The fellowship has an active role in the interfaith community and has provided unwavering support for other faith communities in Boise.
The church sits on roughly four and half acres of land and is about fifteen minutes from downtown Boise. The property consists of a large building with two wings that open to a big backyard courtyard with a labyrinth made of small stones. The rest of the backyard includes green grass, a beautiful creek and a small bridge, which is inspired by their sister church in Transylvania. The church grounds are scenic, well groomed and expansive, and are put to use for many events such as weddings, group meetings, shows, etc.