WUUC History

The Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church (WUUC) was founded in 1991 to provide a liberal religious community and voice in Woodinville and the surrounding areas. Following is a brief history of our church.

Church in a Box 1991- 1992
The Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church opened its doors for the first service in February of 1991. Barbara Wells, the founding minister, came to us through the UUA Extension Program. She had been with the East Shore UU Church for several years and welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the creation of the Woodinville Church. Over one hundred adults and almost as many children were present for that first service.

We met in the Hollywood Schoolhouse, a historical Woodinville building. The facility was charming, with brick walls and old wood floors. Every Sunday morning everything had to be carried down two flights of stairs to set up for the worship service. We referred to ourselves as a ‘church in a box.’

Our Charter Sunday was in October of 1991. It was a festive Sunday evening service. Visiting ministers from all around the area joined us for the ceremony. The charter was signed by 108 members. Some of us had come from neighboring UU churches, but many had never been part of a UU Church before. We were learning how to be a community; we were learning how to be Unitarian Universalists. It was apparent we were outgrowing the Hollywood Schoolhouse.

Church in a Mall 1992-1997
Our next church home, beginning in the fall of 1992, was in a strip mall. We went from a ‘church in a box’ to a ‘church in a mall!’ Soon we were outgrowing this space as well. We tried several options over the next few years to accommodate our growing numbers with limited space.

We had a vision of having our own church home one day but knew it was a very big dream and would take a lot of time, planning and funding. We weren’t deterred, however, and began looking for a place to build our church in 1997.

Church in a Church 1997-2003
Early in 1998, Barbara Wells announced her resignation as our minister. She and her husband Jaco, a minister at Edmonds UU Church, were finally going to pursue their dream of a joint ministry. Sue Turner stepped in as our interim minister for the 1998-99 church year.

In the fall of 1998, we began meeting at Northshore United Church of Christ (NUCC) on Sunday evenings at 5pm. All parties were aware that this would be a temporary situation until we could purchase land and build a church of our own. In the spring we called Alan Taylor to be our new minister starting in September 1999.

During the four years Reverend Taylor spent as our minister we continued to meet at NUCC on Sunday evenings and continued to pursue our dream of building our own church home. We found some land and held capital campaigns to raise the money for the land and then for the building.

On May 5, 2002 we broke ground on our new building. From building a 150-foot retaining wall and installing plumbing to hanging drywall and running electrical cables, WUUC volunteers put in thousands of hours of volunteer labor. Our fearless, yet patient, construction chief (member and general contractor) Bob Ditzler devoted more than a year and a half of his life to this project. His leadership has challenged and inspired many of us to try things we never thought we could do and feel incredible accomplishment.

A Home of Our Own 2003-2012
On Sundays in the summer of 2003, we gathered for informal services before beginning work on the church. We also spent the summer searching for a new part-time consulting minister and a Director of Religious Education (DRE). Rev. Alex Holt became our consulting minister and Cathy Tauscher became our DRE. On the morning of September 7, 2003, we held our first official service in our new building! In the spring of 2005, Rev. Alex Holt was called to be our settled minister. WUUC became a lay-led congregation in the summer of 2008, taking the opportunity to design a worship program that used the services of a rotating group of professional ministers as well as guest speakers and lay speakers. Rev. Lois Van Leer became our consulting minister in the summer of 2010. In 2011 we expanded our religious education focus to a lifelong learning program. Carrie Krause joined us as Director of Lifelong Learning (DLL) in the summer of 2011.

Installation of Our Settled Minister 2013-present
On October 27, 2013, we celebrated a milestone in our history with the installation of Rev. Lois Van Leer as our called minister. The service of installation, held at Bear Creek United Methodist Church in Woodinville, incorporated music, readings, rituals and a congregational covenant with Rev. Van Leer.