History of our Church

Planting the Seeds

March 18, 1949

Planting the Seeds

1949 – Louise Pembroke and Felix Arnold established a Unitarian Fellowship and affiliate it with the American Unitarian Association.

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Calling a Minister

March 18, 1952

1952 – Rev. Franklin Smith is called as the first minister and name is changed to First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque.

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First Sanctuary

March 18, 1955

First Sanctuary

1955 – Carlisle Blvd. property is purchased and first sanctuary is built – the  congregation grows, especially with the addition of many children.

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500 Members

March 18, 1962

500 Members

1962 – Rev. Jim Wilkes is called and growth of the congregation continues (500 members) – there is a focus on social activism – a new sanctuary is built.

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Families & Ninos

March 18, 1966

1966 – Rev. Leon Fay is called and stays for a decade – extended families are started as well as La Puerta de los Ninos daycare.

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Interim Leadership

March 18, 1977

Interim Leadership

1977 – Rev. Daniel Panger serves as interim minister for 3 years.

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Friday Nights

March 18, 1982

1982 – Rev. Todd Taylor called as the fourth minister of the church – the emphasis during the next several years is on the formation of a singles group “Friday Night Singles.”

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Welcome, Christine

March 18, 1988

Welcome, Christine

1988 – Rev. Christine Robinson is recruited to revive a somewhat demoralized church. Growth begins again, but there is dissension in the congregation and a small group splits off to form the Albuquerque Fellowship….

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A new church in Rio Rancho

March 18, 1990

1990’s – First Unitarian helps form a new church on the west side in Rio Rancho with its doors opening in 1997.

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Associate Ministers

March 18, 2000

2000 – First Unitarian has grown to 600 members and the first Associate Minister, Jim Zacharias is hired, followed by a second Rev. David Grimm.

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A Teaching Congregation

January 1, 2002

2002: Meredith Garmon (now serving in White Plains, NY) becomes the church’s first intern minister. His popularity led to a grant from a family to fund 5 more interns. Ron Hersom (2006-7), who is…

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iMinistry

March 18, 2005

2005 – iMinistry program is started which adds audio and video recording of services.

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New Branches

March 18, 2006

2006 – The Branch Ministry program is organized and leads to the Socorro Branch in 2007 and East Mountain in 2009.

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Breakthrough

March 18, 2009

2009 – First Unitarian is named a “Breakthrough Congregation” by the UUA because of its successful growth to almost 800 members.

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Welcome, Angela

March 18, 2010

2010 – Rev. Angela Herrera joins First Unitarian as Assistant Minister and is promoted to Associate Minister the next year.

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Immigrant Justice

March 18, 2011

2011 – First Unitarian receives a grant from the UUA to study Immigration issues, which culminates in the largest contingent from the congregation, 30 members, attending GA in Phoenix in 2013 presenting a workshop…

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A New Sanctuary

March 18, 2013

A New Sanctuary

2013 – A new sanctuary is dedicated and receives LEED Platinum certification. The congregation celebrates 25 years of Rev. Christine Robinson’s ministry.  

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Shared Leadership

October 1, 2015

The Rev. Angela Herrera promoted to “Minister,” joining Christine in a more equal  partnership as spiritual leaders of First Unitarian.

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A Joyful Noise

January 15, 2016

A Joyful Noise

Susan Peck becomes our Director of Music. Within a year the choir has grown, monthly Meditative Singing services are established, and Sol Singers is formed to “learn music by heart, and take love to…

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Transitions

May 7, 2017

Transitions

In anticipation of Christine’s retirement, the Rev. Angela Herrera is called to  be First Unitarian’s next Senior Minister by a vote of 99.7%. In August, Christine Robinson retires after more than 25 years serving…

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