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WHAT WE DO
We take our work in the community very seriously. One of our guiding principles is: "What we do matters more than what we say." Here just a few examples of the things we are doing:
Our Choir: they perform at fundraisers, competitions, and even at ballgames! When we won a gospel choir competition, judge Marvin Sapp observed: "This is what heaven is supposed to look like! ...A multiplicity of cultures, colors, creeds, all coming together to magnify God...!
Clay Elementary School: We have "adopted" Clay Elementary in North St. Louis to build meaningful relationships and strengthen our communitys schools.
The first Unitarian minister in St. Louis was William Greenleaf Eliot. Having just graduated from Harvard Divinity School at the age of 23, Eliot was persuaded to come to the frontier town of St. Louis to organize a Unitarian Church.
William Greenleaf EliotWilliam Greenleaf EliotEliots sense of duty and commitment was strong. He said ". . . if I come, I come to remain, and to lay my ashes in the Valley of the Mississippi." By unflagging religious leadership and community service, he helped shape the history of St. Louis in ways that endure to this day. He died here in 1887.
Eliot founded the Church of the Messiah, the first Unitarian church west of the Mississippi (and the predecessor of our church) in 1835. In 1868, a second Unitarian congregation, the Church of the Unity, was founded with the assistance of Eliot and the Church of the Messiah. These two churches merged in 1938 to form the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis.
With members of his congregation, Eliot founded Washington University in 1853; he was its first President and third Chancellor. In its early years, the University was maintained almost entirely through the beneficence of Unitarians.
Elliot plaqueBesides the University, ministers and members of this church have been instrumental in the founding of many other institutions, including the St. Louis Public Schools, the Art Museum, Mission Free School, South Side Day Nursery, Social Health Association, Mary Institute, and the St. Louis Urban League.
As one of the first and most important churches in the Western Unitarian Conference, this church was instrumental in the expansion of liberal religion in the Midwest and in the creation of new churches in the St. Louis area.
Today, by expressing our beliefs in action we aspire to continue the faith of Eliot, who said to his congregation more than a century ago, "The past has much for which we may be reasonably grateful, but the future must and will have better things in store."
First Unitarian Church maintains an Archive, available by appointment only. We collect all materials related to Unitarianism in the St. Louis area and specifically to the Church of the Messiah, the Church of the Unity, and First Unitarian Church of St Louis. Some of the more important record groups include American Unitarian Directors and Associate Directors, (1917-1961); Unitarian Universalist Directors and Associate Directors, (1961- ): Weekly Bulletins, (1904- ); minutes of the Board of Trustees, membership books, and records of births, deaths, and marriages, (1835- ); ministerial correspondence and sermons; architectural plans and photos: records of organizations within the churches; and Mission Free School records and history. Contact the church archivist through the church office (314-361-0595) to make arrangements.
Our environment is casual and we want you to come as you are. You dont need to be put together. If youre on the fence at all, we want you to hear us say... just come! We remind ourselves a lot around here that we are real people, with real problems and, thankfully, a real hope in Jesus!
What should I know about services?
Services are casual and contemporary. Sunday mornings service at the Ballwin Campus begins at 11am and typically ends between 12:15 and 12:30pm.
What should I wear?
We want you to be at ease and encourage you to wear whatever is most comfortable for you. Our congregation wears a wide variety of types of clothing, from dresses and blazers to jeans and t-shirts. Youll fit in great no matter what.
What is the worship like?
In all things we do we seek to honor God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) This is particularly something we earnestly attempt to accomplish through our worship. We have a band-led worship and we enjoy a blending of contemporary Christian and classic hymns.
St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church has the second oldest black congregation in St. Louis and is "the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church west of the Mississippi River." The date on the cornerstone from the Lawton-Leffingwell building places the formal organization of St. Paul A.M.E. Church at 1841.
Older documents and records of the church indicate, there were several earlier beginnings. Bishop Charles Spencer Smith, in his book "The History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church" has tied the beginnings of the local congregation to the work of Rev. Jordan Winston Early, a member of the Methodist Church South, who left that group in 1832 to associate himself with the A.M.E. Church movement in St. Louis. Prayer meetings or societies had been organized much earlier and met in private homes, due to the growing power of slavery, and the Nat Turner Insurrection of 1831; they also were obligated to proceed with caution. One of the several meeting homes was that of Priscilla Baltimore, a slave and nurse who purchased her own freedom and that of her husband. The society came to be known as "Little Bethel Chapel." Mrs. Baltimore was a moving force during these early years, until her death in 1882.
Reaching out to all people with the message of Christ to enable them to have a life with a purpose here on earth and show them the love of God and guide them into the unimaginable plans that God has for each one.
Accept people as they are;
Strengthen them in Jesus through God’s Word;
Help them to know and live their God-given purpose;
Allow them to serve God by serving the Community.
We believe in what Rev. Rick Warren says, "Gods greatest creation is human beings." It is our goal to reach them and change their lives.