Our Story: A Short History of MVUUF
Miami Valley Unitarian Fellowship held its first meeting on September 14, 1958, in Orchard Park School on Dorothy Lane with about eighteen adults and seventeen children attending.
The idea for founding the Fellowship came about when several members of First Unitarian Church on Salem Avenue became dissatisfied with the ministry of Wendell Hughes.
They also had a desire to build a Unitarian congregation south of town.
In 1959, when a former Lutheran church at 2001 Far Hills Avenue was purchased, Fellowship board members pledged to be financially responsible for any shortfall. At that time it was an active lay-led congregation with around forty members.
On October 12, 1997, the membership of the First Unitarian Church voted to merge with MVUF. At the annual Congregational meeting on January 25, 1998, MVUF members voted to accept the merger.
After merging with First Unitarian Church of Dayton, the Fellowship took a momentous step and voted to move to a new location. At the time, nobody knew exactly what that would look like or where it would take us.
Committees formed to begin looking at potential sites, to start preparing our own building for sale, to initiate fund-raising, to communicate with the congregation, and many other related tasks.
After looking for a year at existing churches for sale and buildings that could be adapted, it became clear that we needed to construct our own building. Property was identified in Washington Township and the process was started for selecting an architect and designing our building.
Our architect conducted numerous focus groups with members of the congregation, including the children, to identify our needs and priorities. The design was completed in the Spring of 2002, construction began in November of that year, and the building was completed in August 2003.
That month, the congregation moved into the building – traveling symbolically and en masse from our former home in Oakwood to our new building. Formal dedication of the building took place later that fall after we had completed the move and settled in somewhat.
Timeline of significant events
1958 – Miami Valley Unitarian Fellowship meets for the first time
1959 – Purchased building at 2001 Far Hills Avenue
1964 – Added new sanctuary and religious education wing to Far Hills Avenue building
1986 – Called Ken Reeves, Extension Minister
1990 – Ken Reeves departs
1991 – Called Richard Venus as first Settled Minister
1992 – MVUF becomes a Welcoming Congregation
1998 – Merged with First Unitarian Church
1999 – Chuck Thomas, former minister of First Unitarian Church, becomes Affiliate Minister
2003 – Name changed to Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
2003 – New church built on Yankee Street
2005 – Richard Venus resigns
2005 – Martha Hodges hired as Interim Minister
2006 – “People of Faith for Marriage Equality” banner proudly displayed on the front of our building for the first time
2007 – Martha Hodges departs
2007 – Amy Russell called as Settled Minister
2007 – Installation of Peace Labyrinth including 3700 hand-painted prayer flags
2013 – Amy Russell resigns
2013 – Mary Moore hired as Interim Minister
2015 – Welcome Greg Martin, Settled Minister
2017 – Upon unexpected death of Greg Martin, Bill Breeden serves as Transitional Minister until Dr. Holly Horn is hired as Interim Minister