The Brisbane Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BUUF) first formed on Easter Sunday 1995, which also happened to be April Fools Day or April 1st.
This was a fitting day for forming a group focused on exploring the vital life force, the pursuit of justice, and the power of hope combined with a sufficient measure of good humour, inventiveness and joie de vivre.
Unitarian Universalists, or UU's, have a common concern with Social Justice and the Welfare of our Planet.
In the beginning we met in members homes. Within a few months, this became impractical at which time we secured the use of the Annerley Community Centre just on the outskirts of inner city Brisbane. As we now had a number of meeting rooms we were able to introduce a Childrens program that flourished and grew.
Within 18 months, we outgrew the premises and in April 1997 we moved into the University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Chaplaincy Centre in Building 38 where we met for the next seven and a half years. In February 2005, with the Chaplaincy Centre no longer available, we took up a temporary meeting space in the Annerley Community Bookshop and Neighbourhood Centre. From 2007 to late 2008 we were meeting at Ahimsa House in West End and since then we have been meeting at our present location.
Over the years approximately 20 people have been active members in our church at any one time with an overall membership of approximately 35 people. In the early days, we had several American families as BUUF members, each of whom was instrumental in helping build our foundation, develop our childrens program and create our services. These families have now returned to live in America. Other members have also relocated either to other states in Australia or in other countries such as China and America. Through all the comings and goings, births and deaths, our congregation size remains consistently around 15-20 adult members and 5-10 children.
During 1999, we had the privilege of knowing Rev. Richard Hasty, a retired American minister, who served as our interim minister for four pivotal months. One of the lasting legacies of Rev. Hasty was assisting us in creating a standard Order of Service which we use to this day. From 1997-2003 we received regular encouragement and support from Rev. Mark Allstrom, coincidentally another American minister, who was then serving as the minister of the Unitarians of South Australian congregation in Adelaide and who also served for two years as the president of the Australia New Zealand Unitarian Association (ANZUA). Rev Allstrom continually challenged us to consider our involvement in social justice action, believing that a faith community who does not engage with the wider community in an effort to serve others is missing a vital part of its reason for existing.
While the Sunday service continues to be the focal point of our gathering, the social element of our meetings is an integral part of how we get to know one another, form relationships, support one another, engage in stimulating philosophical or theological discussions and attend to congregational business.
Our most cherished and notable quality is our capacity to embody our Unitarian Universalist values especially respecting and upholding the inherent dignity and worth of every person and respecting the differences among people. We believe in these principles strongly; our regular congregation includes people from many spiritual backgrounds including Buddhists, different Christian faiths, life-long Unitarians, agnostics and atheists. Unsurprisingly, we do not always agree with one another on matters of religion or philosophy, nor in matters of politics, psychology, or social justice.
Nevertheless, we hold in common every persons right and responsibility to pursue their own spiritual path; we acknowledge that none of us has the corner on Truth, and we enjoy learning what others believe and why they think as they do.
We invite you to join us and we will be pleased to meet you.