The Timberland Unitarian Universalist Fellowship started out its life in Nacogdoches, Texas. The earliest discussions concerning the possibility of beginning this Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in East Texas were begun in late l968. Dr. Ralph Bailey, a Nacogdoches physician, started the appeal in the local paper and in radio announcements. The first organizational meeting was held on February 17, 1969 at Christ Episcopal Church of Nacogdoches with 11 people present. An official charter for “The UU Fellowship of Nacogdoches, Texas” was received on May 16, 1969.
For over seven years meetings were held in members’ Reese and Lucille Kennedy’s Art Gallery 107. Then Dr. Bailey purchased a small church building at 1502 Douglass Road in February of 1977 which he leased to the Fellowship. Services were held there for the next twelve years. At that time the Fellowship declined an offer to buy the building.
With advisement from Southwest UU Conference, and since the majority of members lived in Lufkin, the membership voted to move the church to Lufkin on May 38,1989. Meetings were held in various motels and churches until purchase of the current building at 1510 Timberland Drive occurred on May 17, 1995. The name was officially changed to “Timberland Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.” A bequest from the estate of Eunice Fenley, one of the original members, plus a Chalice Lighter Grant helped in financing the purchase. The mortgage was paid off on May 1, 2005.
First in 1981 and then in more recent years, the Fellowship briefly sponsored a student UU group at Stephen F. Austin State University. All through the life of the Fellowship an attempt has been made to have a visiting UU minister once a month. The membership has stayed between eight and twenty-five. To quote Dr. Bailey, the original founder, “Two previous efforts (to have a UU Fellowship) had failed, but we survived!”
History Compiled by Angelyn Bassinger, member for 44 years.