Our Mission and History
UUCLC is an inclusive non-creedal fellowship that works for a just community and fosters a lifelong search for personal spiritual fulfillment.
UUCLC, with the guidance of dedicated, compassionate leadership, will be known as a thriving, dynamic, liberal and welcoming congregation that offers sanctuary to our members and the community at large. We will serve as a beacon to open-minded individuals by fostering justice, peace, and equality in all that we do.
Beginnings in the United States
1630’s. We trace our historical roots in the United States back to those groups of religious rebels who arrived here in the 1630’s and put together a document that helps define us to this very day — “The Cambridge Platform.” The document began as a series of meetings in settler’s cottages to discuss how to establish a church that they all, with a diversity of religious views, might support. The result was a radical departure from the ecclesiastical model that was the norm of those days — most notably in the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church.
1648. The Cambridge Platform of 1648 established, in the words of the UUA, something far different: “a radically lay-led church gathered by mutual consent rather than by mutual belief, founded in covenant rather than creed, and governed by the congregation itself.”
1989. Several families living in Lake County met to discuss the possibility of forming a fellowship. They had been meeting on Sundays at Capt. Appleby’s restaurant. They called themselves “The Far Outers” because some of them were making the trip to Orlando’s First Unitarian Church for Sunday service. But they were also “Far Outers” because they shared a Unitarian Universalist mindset that was far outside the norm of the evangelical and fundamentalist churches that surrounded them.
1992. Some of the original Far Outers, and a few others who were their theological allies, began meeting at the Woman’s Club of Eustis. They were joined by Madeline and Charles Barber, retired UU ministers who began to give them an identity as Unitarian Universalists. Along with the Barbers, the congregation found other ministers, some UU, some not, to help guide services as they transformed from “The Far Outers” to the Woman’s Club Congregation. The minister of longest duration and, arguably, greatest influence was the Rev Roger Seidner, a retired United Church of Christ Minister who delivered thoughtful and sometimes provocative sermons once a month and provided pastoral services for free. Roger often spoke of the importance of this liberal congregation to the community around it.
1994. On April 3, 1994, sixty-one UU members and eleven friends signed a charter establishing the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lake County Florida (UUCLC).
2012. Ruth Gray was a vocal proponent of the Unitarian Universalist joie de vivre. Although she wanted to live forever and did her best to do just that, when it became clear that this was not to be, she determined that she would do what she could to assure Unitarian Universalism had a home in Lake County. She made a death bed decision to add a codicil to her will which in effect gave the bulk of her estate to the UUA in trust for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lake County. The money was to be released by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), as UUCLC built its permanent home in Lake County.
2017-2018. The congregation completed the construction of a church building in the spring of 2017. UUCLC’s new home was formally dedicated in January of 2018 by its first contracted Unitarian Universalist minister, Rev Tracie Barrett; by noted UU musician and theologian, Peter Mayer; and by the congregation of UUCLC.
2020-2023. UUCLC closed its doors in May 2020 to protect members from the deadly COVID 19 virus. Thankfully, no members passed away due to the virus. Rev. Tracie left the congregation, but not before she graciously taught members how to use the online communications app, Zoom. Members created Zoom Sunday Services and conducted many Zoom meetings during the pandemic. A monthly Social Justice Lecture program continued undeterred on Zoom and drew more than 50 online participants. In October 2021 the building reopened. Hybrid gatherings were initiated to serve members in church and at home on Zoom. In 2022 the congregation demonstrated its commitment to the environment by installing a solar array to power the building. UUA interim minister, Rev. Cynthia Snavely, joined the congregation in February 2023 in a novel shared-minister arrangement with the TriUU congregation in Summerfield, FL, and is helping to prepare the congregation for its future ministry.