We Covenant to Affirm and Promote...
- We stand up for the worth and dignity of ALL people
- We celebrate life and care for one another
- We honor many spiritual paths and learn from one another
- Our children, youth and adults grow in Spirit together
- We support local, national and international non-profits
- We reach out to neighbors around the world
- We care for the Earth and live sustainably
To change lives and heal our world
Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church actively seeks to improve our congregational, local, and global community.
We encourage spiritual growth in a diverse congregation which respects the free and responsible expression of ideas. We covenant compassionate fellowship, provide a joyful environment that nurtures creativity, and collaborates with others to promote our values. We provide a vibrant life span program while promoting environmentally sustainable practices.
To be the most vibrant center of liberal religion at work in the world
Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church is a vibrant liberal religious home welcoming all people while advocating our Seven Principles in the Houston community and the world. Dedicated to religion, not to creed, Unitarian Universalists do not impose a list of doctrinal formulas upon our congregation.
Our Church regards love of all creation and the perfecting of our spiritual nature as the unchanging substance of our religion. We consecrate to these Principles with a reverence for truth, moral character and insight, helpfulness to humanity, and the spirit of communion with the Infinite.
All who are in sympathy with the simplicity and freedom of our religion are welcome to worship in fellowship at Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church.
Integrity to keep our promises to each other, our communities, and the wider world. Consistency of action, worthy of trust, honesty, truthfulness, authenticity, responsibility, accountability, and discernment requires courage to live in accordance with our Unitarian Universalist convictions to not be silent or fail to act when our Values and Principles are threatened.
Stewardship through our words and deeds to manage all that has been entrusted to our care for future generations. This extends beyond our financial and physical assets, to include our care for all of creation and the lives that we touch.
Respect & Compassion in the inherent worth of all people, to honor diversity, and to nourish our sustainable environment. Our success is measured by how we include and treat each other and all living things, by the contributions that flow from our diversity, by the achievements of our community, and by the lives we change. We are saddened by the suffering of others and endeavor to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of the universe.
Rev. Bruce Beisner is a recent graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago and was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in June of 2012. Born in West Virginia, Bruce lived in southwest Ohio prior to coming to Houston. Ministry runs in his blood as his grandfather and great grandfather were Southern Baptist preachers. During his seminary years, Bruce served as intern minister of Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church in Cincinnati and consulting minister of Hopedale Unitarian Universalist Community in Oxford, Ohio. In addition to his Master of Divinity degree, Bruce has a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design.
Bruce often says his calling is to preach and teach a “gospel of interdependence,” seeking to hold up the sacredness of our connections to others and to all of existence. At the core of his personal theology is a reverence for relationships and a passion for social justice.
Before entering the ministry, Bruce managed a small bakery for two decades. He was an active leader in the Cincinnati area LGBT community including serving as the president of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Cincinnati and editor of an Ohio gay newspaper.
Bruce and his husband, Jim Beisner, were married in 2000 and are the proud “parents” of a basset hound named Daisy.
Sunday worship is the center of congregational life and spirituality at Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church. Services are held at 9:30 am and 11:00 am.
Children begin in worship and later recess to Children's Chapel (during the 9:30am service) or curriculum-based Religious Education classes (during the 11:00am service). Our offerings for children promote spiritual curiosity with age-appropriate conversations and activities.
Between the Sunday morning services, everyone gathers for fellowship and snacks in Cockrell Hall in our religious education wing from 10:30 am to 11:00am.
Several adult discussion groups meet each Sunday during both our worship services. Many people come for adult religious education activities then stay for worship, or come for worship and then stay for adult religious education. These groups focus on a variety of topics from current events to world religions to UU identity.
Childcare is provided for infants and toddlers from 9:15am to noon every Sunday in our nursery.
1965-1972: The Universalist Church of America (1785) merged with The American Unitarian Association (1785), resulting in formation of the Unitarian Universalist Association(UUA) in 1961. After the merger, a staff minister of the UUA, Monroe Husbands, led an effort to organize lay-led societies called Fellowships. Bay Area Unitarian Fellowship formed in 1965. It had ten members who met in homes, at a local church and later at San Jacinto College. Our space at the college was eventually taken over by the local Catholic church in Deer Park. We started investigating how we could build our own building. With the help of our District Executive, Rev. Russ Lockwood, we borrowed from the UUA and local foundations to build our first building in Pasadena. We had 25 members. Rev. Lockwood gave the Dedication sermon in October of 1972.
1973-1982: In the new building we began having our first weddings, baby dedications and memorial services. We developed our organizational skills and began regular board meetings. Our volunteers created a well-organized RE program, and we began having regular high district and association involvement. In 1979 we began participation in our first shared minister program. We shared Rev. Van Vanstrom 1/4-time with Corpus Christi, the Woodlands Society and the Houston Fellowship. We had 50 members. Rev. Vanstrom was our minister from 1979 to 1982.Rev. Vanstrom encouraged us to begin a long-range planning effort. We formed a long-range planning committee in 1982.
1983-1990: Our second shared minister was Rev. Stan Aronson. We shared Rev. Aronson from 1982 to 1985 with The Woodlands Society, the Houston Fellowship and the Galveston Fellowship. In 1985, the Rev. Byron Miller became our half-time minister. We shared Byron with the UU Church in the Woodlands from 1985 to 1988.
1990-2003: Our 85 members selected Rev. Leonora Montgomery as our first full time minister in 1990 and Cheryl Walter as a part-time RE Director. Members and local bank loans helped us financed our dream, so we began construction of our building that was finished in 1992. Brenda Cockrell became RE Director in 1993. Rev. Montgomery retired in May 1996. A search committee was formed to represent our 180 members while Rev. Scotty Meek helped as Interim Minister during this search from September 1996 to June 1997. Rev. Meek legacy was convincing us to change our name to Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church (BAUUC) in May 1997. In June 1997, we selected our second full-time minister, Rev. Don Bissett. We expanded our religious education space using temporary trailers in December 1997. Rev. Bissett resigned in February, 1998. Rev. Bill Murchison and Rev. Diana Heath served as interims while another search committee represented our 220 members. On April 25, 1999, our 240-member congregation voted in Rev. Tom Burdett as our full-time minister. In November 2001, we dedicated the Zimmerman Sports Facility while Rev. Burdett resigned December, 2001, and Rev. Scotty Meek returned to serve as interim from December 2001 until June 2002. Rev. Jeanne Mills became our Iinterim Minister serving from August 2002 to August 2003 while a search committee went into its second year of searching when Rev. Shirley Ranck became our interim who from September 2003 until June of 2004.
2004-2008: At the annual pledge dinner in 2004, the Search Committee presented Rev. Dr. Matthew Tittle as a candidate for our next full-time minister. On March 28th, the 228-member congregation voted: Rev. Tittle formally became our fourth full-time minister on Dec 5th. In January of 2005, the congregation adopted a new mission statement and a new vision statement, voted to go to two Sunday services to alleviate the crowded conditions in the RE and adult worship facilities. In May we contracted Tom Stovall and Turner Partners as our architects and began the process to establish our design to assessment a series of expansion concepts. The Congregation approved a larger and renovated religious education wing, dedicated library space, additional restrooms,a new multipurpose Fellowship Hall, expanded meeting facilities, new administrative space, and additional parking at an estimated cost of $1M. In the spring of 2006, with the help of a UUA financial consultant Carol Czujko, we conducted a feasibility study to assess our ability to raise the money. That activity led the congregation to establish a goal of $800,000, and a total of $845,000 was pledged over the three-year period of 2006-08. Our membership was 254 in the spring of 2006. In October of 2006 we selected Mike Bricker and Mike Bricker Associates as our general contractor. During the remainder of 2006 we completed the final design and began construction. The building was completed and dedicated in October of 2008 for our 290 members.
2008-2011: In July 2007, Brenda Cockrell retired as the DRE, although she remains DRE Emerita and is a member of the congregation. Mary K. Issacs served as interim DRE until Rev. Mary Rogers was hired as a full-time DLRE in July 2008. BAUUC hired its first staff Youth Director, Megan Riordan in 2008. More building space allowed us to offer more activities and programs at BAUUC. We increased participation at fellowship dinners, put on the largest and most successful church garage sale to date, hosted UU renaissance training modules, began sponsoring a PFLAG satellite chapter, and doubled the Fall Festival & UNICEF Benefit all at once. Mary Rogers resigned in August 2009 and the vacancy lead to volunteer efforts to form an RE Council and a search committee. Julie Lambert became our Director of Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE). Kristin Leigh Grassel was the congregation's first ministerial intern, serving us in 2009-2010. In November 2009, Rev. Tittle announced his resignation. Rev. Sam Schaal helped us transition during the 2010-2012 church years. In March of 2012, Julie Lambert announced her plans to leave BAUUC to pursue a new ministry in Dallas.
2012-present: In June of 2012, BAUUC called Rev. Bruce Beisner to be our new settled Minister. Patti Withers joined our Ministry Team as our new Director of Lifespan Religious Education in March of 2013. On November 24, 2013, the BAUUC fellowship hall was officially re-named Cockrell Hall in honor of longtime members Butch and Brenda Cockrell.
Our Bay Area Church community continues to grow in both size and spirit. Current church membership is about 260 (with over 100 children registered for our Religious Education program). We continue to expand our outreach and service programs in the local community and learn and explore new ideas together.
During every Sunday worship service, we affirm our Covenant. We are united not by a common belief, but by the concept of covenant where we agree to walk together as a congregation with common values, but not necessarily common belief. Covenant is a way of being in right relationship with each other and the world.
Love is the doctrine of this church
The quest of truth is its sacrament,
And service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve humanity in fellowship,
Thus do we covenant with one another.
© 2012-2013 Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church