Bond of Union of the First Unitarian Church of Sioux City, Iowa adopted January 18, 1886: "We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, believing in Freedom, Fellowship, and Character of Religion, associate ourselves together as members of the First Unitarian Church, of Sioux City, for the maintenance of united worship and the promotion of Truth, Righteousness and Love."
The First Unitarian Church of Sioux City, Iowa was organized March 11, 1885. On September 1, 1885, Rev. Mary A. Safford became Sioux City's first Unitarian pastor with her close friend Miss Eleanor Gordon, acting as assistant and later as Associate Minister.
In May, 1887 a lot was purchased on the corner of 10th and Douglas, and a church was built there and dedicated on May 5, 1889. It was generally referred to at that time as Unity Church, although it was incorporated as the First Unitarian.
This church was destroyed by fire "of unknown origin" on July 29, 1947.
Thanks to the generosity of Jewish friends, services were held in the Jewish Community Center until the summer of 1948.
At this time the Rev. John W. Bringham was the minister, and he continued with book reviews, Bible classes, discussion groups, youth group meetings, as well as a popular 15 minute Sunday morning radio program throughout this difficult period.
There was not enough money to rebuild, so the Orcutt residence at 17th and Grandview was purchased and services were held there until the present church at 2508 Jackson Street was built and dedicated on January 26, 1955.
One stain glass window (pictured) had been salvaged from the burned church and was given a place of honor in the northeast corner and used by the architect R.D. Hecker as the dominant feature in the decor.
In 1985, the 100 year anniversary was celebrated and the minister at that time, Jay Atkinson, wrote, in part:
"Unitarian Universalism remains in 1985 still widely misunderstood in Sioux City as it is across our continent, and unknown to many who would welcome the religious freedom and intellectual integrity which our tradition has to offer.
We begin our second century with a strong base from which to proclaim the values of that religious tradition to a waiting world."
This window was removed from the Church located at
10th and Douglas
after it burned, and was installed at the
present church at
2508 Jackson Street.
Ministers of the First Unitarian Church:
Mary A. Safford: 1885--1899
Eleanor E. Gordon (Associate): 1885--1896
Marie Jenney (Associate): 1896--1899
Walter S. Vail: 1899--1901
J.D.O. Powers: 1901--1907
Manley B. Townsend: 1908--1912
R.D. Van Tassel: 1912--1917
Charles E. Snyder: 1917--1931
Gordon Kent: 1931--1933
James S. Dahir & Rev. Elizabeth Dahir: 1933--1936
Henry J. Adlard: 1936
Henry Clark: 1937--1941
Daniel Sands: 1942--1943
Francis Ruland: 1943--1946
John W. Brigham: 1946--1956
Roger Bosworth (unofficial): 1956
Carl H. Whittier, Jr.: 1956--1960
Rexford J. Styzens: 1961--1964
Phillip A. Silk: 1964--1966
John Kolbjornsen: 1968--1975
Michael A. Schuler: 1976--1979
Jay Atkinson: 1979--1986
Penelope Binger: 1986--1996
Sarah Voss (consulting minister) 1999--2004