Our Congregation and History

OUR MISSION… Explore. Love. Act. We gather as an inclusive religious community to search for meaning, build deep connections, and inspire action toward a better world for all.

The UUFC Today

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis (UUFC) is a growing congregation with more than 300 members and many friends seeking to build a loving community and a better world. We offer numerous religious and outreach activities, among them inspiring worship services, social action and environmental justice, community service, small group ministries, through-the year celebrations, sterling music and choir performances, and more.

We also have a thriving Religious Exploration (RE) Programs with more than 100 children and youth attending Sunday morning RE classes. These classes use a variety of curricula and the generous talents of dozens of parent and other Fellowship volunteer guides. A variety of adult RE programs and classes are also available.

congregatoin 3

Sunday mornings often draw a crowd.

How We Are Governed

The UUFC is self-governed by the congregation. In its Bylaws, the congregation delegates certain responsibilities to an elected Board of Trustees, which is comprised of 11 members: six trustees with staggered three-year terms, and five officers with one-year terms – a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and past president. The Board meets each month to manage the affairs of the Fellowship. Its roles are to make policy; hire, evaluate, and dismiss staff; and authorize expenditures within the congregation-approved budget. When authorized by the congregation at required annual or other meetings, the Board may also purchase, sell or encumber real property; contract with a minister; make expenditures from the principal of eligible endowment funds; and borrow money or otherwise pledge the credit of the Fellowship, giving, pledging, mortgaging or encumbering any corporate assets as security for the payment or repayment of any corporate obligations.

Members of the Board of Trustees for 2017-18 include: Craig Olbrich and Marcia Shaw, Executive Team; Carl English-Young, Past President; Kathy Kopczynski, Secretary; Joan Rose, Treasurer; John Bailey, Trustee; Elona Meyer, Trustee; Virginia Shapiro, Trustee; Jen Akeroyd, Trustee; Uta Hussong-Christian, Trustee; and Kelley Kendall, Trustee.

The UUFC staff, led by the minister, implements Board policy, with assistance from many volunteer leaders who serve on UUFC councils and committees. We currently have a senior minister and six staff members.

Our History – Beginnings, Growth, and Leadership

Our Fellowship began as a small discussion group in 1948. Members of the group came from Unitarian churches across the country. When Lon Ray Call, a Unitarian outreach minister from Boston, was traveling through the West, he met with us to explain the procedure for forming a Unitarian fellowship. The idea appealed to us, and we decided to create a Unitarian congregation.

During those first years, we met in the Memorial Union at Oregon State University and then at Harding Elementary School. Soon we decided to buy property and build our own building.  We incorporated in 1954 as the Unitarian Fellowship of Corvallis.

When our members learned that surplus government buildings located at Camp Adair were for sale, we couldn’t pass up the bargain. We purchased two buildings and a 2¼ acre lot on Circle Boulevard. We cut the buildings in half, moved them by truck, prepared concrete foundations, and reassembled the pieces on our land in 1958. Neither Circle Boulevard nor Firwood Drive was paved at that time.

One building became the meeting hall. The other became the Religious Exploration building. Volunteers contributed architectural drawings, masonry, carpentry, and interior finishing. Meeting hall benches were constructed of two-by-fours and covered with heavy paper. At first, we met in the front half of the building and rented the back to a member who used it as space to build boats.

Time passed. We grew. In 1987 we expanded the kitchen, added the Fellowship Hall (sanctuary), offices, bathrooms, and the foyer. Later we expanded and renovated the Religious Exploration building.  Our member Edith Yang, an architect, drew up the plans for the renovations. Other members landscaped our beautiful grounds.

Although the Unitarians and Universalists merged in 1961, we waited until the 1970s to add Universalist to our official title. Today, we are an autonomous member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), based in Boston. The UUFC is also a member of the Pacific Northwest District (PNWD) of the UUA, based in Bellevue, Washington.

Throughout our more than 60-year history we have had four senior ministers, one associate minister, three interim ministers and, now, a fifth senior minister. We share our building with the community for meetings, concerts, and ceremonies.

We have a thriving Religious Exploration (RE) program under the guidance of our RE staff. We use UUA and other curricula and the generous talents of dozens of parent and other Fellowship volunteer teachers.

We have numerous other educational and outreach activities focused on community service and social justice, small group ministries, fundraisers, celebrations, a sterling choir, and more. And we have many wonderful members and friends.

Ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis

Jill McAllister, Senior Minister, 2013-present; Joel Miller, Interim Minister, 2011-2013; Leslie Chartier, Sponsored Student, 2011-present; Gretchen Woods, Senior Minister Emerita, 1999-2011; Student Intern Ministers with Rev. Gretchen Woods: Sarah Schurr, Barbara Stevens, and Lise Adams Sherry; Fern Stanley, Interim Minister, 1998-1999; Harry Green, Interim Minister, 1996-1998; Arthur Dean Wilmot, Senior Minister Emeritus, 1979-1996; Jill McAllister, Associate Minister, 1992-1998; Student Intern Minister with Rev. Arthur Dean Wilmot: Barbara Cheatham; Erling Duus, Minister, 1972-74; R.C.A. Moore, Minister, 1967-1970; Lay-led Fellowship 1948-1967.

Members of the UUFC who have become Unitarian Universalist Ministers: Rev. Jay Atkinson, Rev. Lucy Hitchcock, Rev. Kate Rohde, Rev. Jill McAllister, and Rev. Lynn Kelly Gardner.


In 2016 many UUFC members and staff spoke about the importance of the Fellowship in their lives and for the world, in brief and beautiful video recordings, which are still inspiring and still available for you to watch.

  • UUFC Voices: An Inclusive Religious Community – videos featuring Rev. Jill McAllister; Program Council chair Wendy Sutton; Music staff Lauren Servias; and UUFC members Julie Graves & Kim Henry.
  • UUFC Voices: Explore – videos featuring UUFC member Monica Jacobson Tennessen; Director of Adult Religious Growth and Learning Ann Mbacke; Director of Religious Exploration for Children and Youth Michael Molk; and UUFC members Scott & Svea Bruslind
  • UUFC Voices: Act – videos featuring UUFC member Monica Jacobson Tennessen; DRE Ann Mbacke & DRE Michael Molk; Building Committee chair Nick Houtman; Climate Justice Committee chair Susan Christie; and UUFC members Scott & Svea Bruslind
  • UUFC Voices: Love – videos featuring UUFC members Nancy Kyle & Roberta Smith; UUFC member Carolyn Madsen; UUFC members Bill Lear and Jen Akeroyd; and Partner Church Committee chair Patricia Parcells