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nicest unitarian universalist church/cathedral?

a second question... google images are hard to find? which U.U. congregation
has the nicest / most opulent / impressive building? i am guessing it is one of the larger ones like all souls in new york or tulsa?

Trey of Diamonds

Well-Known Member
Mine does.


That's the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge were I'm currently going. Honestly though, all Churches are the nicest, especially to their congregations.


I love beautiful old churches, and in my area we have lots of them--mostly old Lutheran churches out in the middle of nowhere. My UU fellowship isn't aesthetically appealing. It's a small, simple building purchased from another congregation. Coming out the EO tradition I'm used to smells and bells and lots of pretty pictures. Our sanctuary has some plants, banners, and a podium.

But I tend to feel that the best church isn't a building, but out in nature--the woods, on a lake, that's where I feel the closest to "God." And one might also argue that church isn't about the building but the people. Still, I love beautiful church buildings. There is definitely a connection for me between architecture/decor and a feeling of spirituality.

Trey of Diamonds

Well-Known Member
But I tend to feel that the best church isn't a building, but out in nature--the woods, on a lake, that's where I feel the closest to "God."

How very transcendental of you. :D

I love old churches too. I got to see a lot of them in Europe and it was really cool. It never made me feel any more religious though.


Active Member
a second question... google images are hard to find? which U.U. congregation
has the nicest / most opulent / impressive building? i am guessing it is one of the larger ones like all souls in new york or tulsa?

Hmm. There's virtually no UU building that's like an Episcopal or Catholic one, we have no "cathedral" to speak of. The most "opulent" in terms of traditional stained glass and ornamentation that I've seen is the Universalist chapel at Tufts, if that counts. All Souls NYC is like any of the older brick New England churches, but larger; actually very plain inside (as is All Souls in DC, now that I think of it). Most older UU buildings are from the Puritan era, where they didn't believe in stained glass or opulence, but they have a great gravitas of their own just from the woodwork. They felt that fancy trimmings were a distraction from spirituality. I haven't been to All Souls in Tulsa, but from their videos (which you should look up online, BTW, if you're looking for humanist sermons) it looks like it follows the "plain puritan" interior model.

A cool traditional one is King's Chapel in Boston, and within a reasonable walk on the Freedom Trail is the Arlington Street Church (which is kind of Victorian), and First and Second Churches a few blocks away is a contemporary building. If the UUs were going to have a cathedral, it would have been in Boston; but instead they followed their "let's split up into smaller groups!" impulse. The Boston Common and Public Garden is, to me, the Vatican City of our movement, and the Freedom Trail is our Via Dolorosa.

The modern ones are the most impressive to me. The River Road church in Maryland has a beautiful wall of clear glass looking out onto a forest, and a huge vaulted ceiling. I really liked that. The UU church in Deerfield, IL is a modern one with a sculpted interior, stained glass images of science and astronomy, and a huge boulder with a skylight over it as a pulpit. The UU church in San Diego is probably the biggest urban "campus" of the modern churches, though the sanctuary itself isn't huge. There's a huge open courtyard with several buildings around it. Hey, it's Southern California, why stay inside?

The most famous UU buildings are the ones built by or inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, who was a Unitarian of sorts. Oak Park Illinois has been struggling with maintaining their sanctuary, which is considered the best of his work. There are probably lots of pictures online of that.


Spiritual Friend
Premium Member
The best pic I could find of the UU church I went to in Harrisburg PA was this inside shot of the A-framed chapel....



Oldest Heretic
Unitarian Old Meeting House

This is 400 yards from where I lived for many years. I have attended weddings there but not services.
It is where Benjamin Franklin attended a few times when in England.
It was first built around 1700. (Older than the USA)


Lady Babbleon
The loveliest and most opulent UU church I ever attended was commonly called The Grove Chapel even though its official name (I just found out!) is The Eleanor B. Forbes Memorial Chapel at the UU Ferry Beach Conference Center on the Atlantic coast near Saco, Maine.

I don't know when I've felt more inspired or proud to be a UU (should say "to have been" since I no longer claim the label.) Anyway, for a Transcendentalist-leaner like me, The Grove Chapel was wondrous with its rough-hewn log benches (this was almost 30 years ago I was last there, so the seating may be very much less rustic today) and towering fir trees. One elderly lady said that the trees were like God's fingers supporting the vault of the sky.

Here's a link with some views of the campground and chapel which is off to the side of the campground.
The Hersey Grove | Ferry Beach UU Camp and Conference Center on Saco Bay in Southern Maine

I stayed there once and loved every minute of it...probably because it only sprinkled a wee bit once the week I was there. On previous stays, there were entire days of pouring rain...so I was very thankful that campground week had been blessed with good weather since I was a tent camper!

The rooms at Ferry Beach are somewhat more like a church or scout camp than a Holiday Inn, for sure, but a room with three meals in the dining room will cost about 3/4 of the cost of a room alone at any inexpensive motel in that area, I learned. You pay more, of course, if you're not a CLF or UU church member. Well worth considering if you'd like to vacation in New England...but you DO have to book very early. I booked in late January every time for a late July stay.
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The Devil's Advocate
No cathedrals but lots of stained glass. :)

Arlington St Church in Boston and their Tiffany windows:
Arlington St. Church-Tiffany Windows | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Rehnberg Memorial Window at the UU Church of Rockford IL:
http://images.chron.com/blogs/keepthefaith/rehnberg large.jpg

The window at the UU Church of Las Cruces honors the scientist who discovered Pluto:
Tombaugh Window « Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, NM

Bunch of stained glass windows from different churches including a Humanist one :) :

There is also the UU church in Madison, WI that was designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. :)
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