Our History

In 1950, the Breggers and the Rutledges joined with ten Unitarians in Greenville to form the Unitarian Fellowship of Greenville.

 

By 1954, there were enough Unitarians in Clemson to organize a local congregation. In March of 1954, the twelve charter members brought together the Unitarian Fellowship of Clemson. Members met in the homes of various members.

In 1958, the Fellowship began meeting in the Clemson YMCA. By 1974 the membership had increased to fifty, and had outgrown the facilities at the Y. About that time, Merrill and Charlotte Palmer left the Methodist Church because of conflict over race relations and found a new home in the Fellowship, bringing with them their gift of music. 

 

Starting in the 1970s, the congregation began offering the UUA sexuality education programs to adolescents from the larger community,  to grateful response.


In 1978, the congregation took a leap of faith and purchased two lots on Pendleton Road in Clemson. Construction began in 1979 on the 25th anniversary of the founding of the fellowship.

 

On April 20, 1980, the Clemson Unitarian Fellowship building was dedicated. Rapid growth of membership resulted in adding a Religious Education wing in 1984 and an enlarged parking lot in in 1986-88. 

 

In 1988, the congregation changed its name to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clemson. In 2014 Eve Stevens, who was raised in the congregation, was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry and is currently serving a congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The present sanctuary was added in 1994, along with substantial renovations to the existing building in order to accommodate a growing congregation of about 90. The architectural shift reflected a change in the relationship of the congregation to the larger community as more open to the outside world and less barricaded from perceived hostility.


The congregation had several short-lived experiments with professional ministry in the 1980s, but by 1990s it was almost evenly divided between those who wanted to call a full-time minister and those who liked things just as they were. The question was tabled for a while. The Program Committee arranged for a monthly pulpit supply with ministers from other congregations.

In 1996, spurred on by the arrival the retired Rev. Ralph Stutzman, the congregation voted to initiate the process of seeking a full-time minister. The congregation voted in December 1997 to approve the appointment of Rev. Cynthia Prescott as an Extension Minister, ending 44 years as a lay-led fellowship.

In 1999, the congregation had the opportunity to buy two adjacent lots, one fronting on Pendleton Road and one fronting on Gregory Street. In 2001 UUFC purchased the building on Pendleton Road now known as Founders' House. The congregation raised the needed funds to not only purchase the building but also to build an environmentally responsible parking lot with grassed parking spaces supported by plastic grids, and to renovate the newly purchased building for office and meeting space.

With much joy, the financial council was able to announce the payment of the building mortgage in 2021, followed by a mortgage burning and celebratory barbeque.

Section Title

Our Congregation

Founded 1954

For over half a century, our congregation has served those in pursuit of a community of love, strength and support that is larger than ourselves. 

We seek to be an inclusive space, where the diverse perspectives, cultures, backgrounds and needs of our members are respected and valued.

We are a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA),
in the Southern Region, South Eastern District, Western Carolina Cluster.

Our Covenant

Our congregation is home to many different belief systems. Our covenants are the agreements that bind us in mutual respect to each other, our commuity and the world we live in.

We gather together in a spirit of love,

With justice as our guide.

This is our chosen covenant:

To dwell together in peace,

To seek the truth with freedom,

And to care for one another. 

Our Minister

Our current minister is
Rev. Christina Branum-Martin. Christina joined us as interim minister fresh from the Candler School of Divinity at Emory University in 2020.

Christina formerly served as a Religious Educator at Northwest UU in Sandy Springs, GA, and as Chaplain at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

UUFC Photos - 8.jpeg

Our Principles

Our seven principles are the most basic, common guiding beliefs of all Unitarian Universalists.

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
     

  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
     

  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
     

  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
     

  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
     

  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
     

  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

You can find more information on the seven principles on UUA.org.

You can read about the Proposed 8th Principle on racial justice at 8thprincipleuu.org.

Our Past Ministers

Rev. Dillman Baker-Sorrells Ordained at UUFC;
Longtime member

Berniece Holt (-1998) Designated Lay-Minister 

Rev. Cynthia Prescott (1998-2010)  First settled minister

Rev. Alex Holt (2010-2012) Interim Minister

Rev. Terre Balof (2012-2020) Settled Minister

Rev. Christina Branum-Martin (2020-2023) Interim Minister

Our Role in Social & Climate Justice

1969 Founding of the Clemson Child Development Center, in cooperation with the Clemson Council on Race Relations

2000's UUFC forms Unlearning Racism group, in cooperation with the African-American and Ba'hai communities

2004 Formation of the Green Sanctuary committee in response to the UUA Seventh Principle Project and received the Green Sanctuary designation in 2006

2004 Initiation of the Welcoming Congregation program by the Board; accepted designation by unanimous vote on Sept. 25, 2006

2010 UUFC joins the Standing on The Side of Love (now Side With Love) campaign, designating Valentines Day as a social justice holiday

2012 UUFC begins the Side With Love tradition of celebrating the month of February as a month-long rededication to sustained action and service

2017 UUFC recommits to the Seventh Principle by relaunching the Green Sanctuary program

2019 Conlficts over the raising of a Black Lives Manner flag, lead Rev. Terre Balof to challenge the congregation to action. This challenge led to the founding of the Clemson Pledge to End Racism, soon joined by many members of the local faith community

 

Read more about our ongoing commitment to Social Action>

Charter Members

John & Myra Bregger


Ray & Muriel Rutledge

Tate & Julia Lindsey

 

Albert & Margery Reed

Mrs. Ralph Kelly

Norma Pearson

Malcolm Steuer

 

Hazel Murray

IMG_2644.jpeg