Founders: Abby Struck, Lynne Biddle-Walker, Martha Anderson
Groveland Fellowship was founded in May, 1992, by three women who had been members of a large congregation in the Twin Cities. They wanted to create a small fellowship where there would be more personal interaction during services and where the services would be more eclectic. Outside speakers as well as members of the congregation would be invited to lead the services. Another priority was to include a general question/answer/discussion time following the morning’s presentation. At the time most other small Unitarian Universalist groups were located in the suburbs. This fellowship would be in the city.
Our first service was held on August 1st, 1992, in the then named St. Paul Area Council of Churches building in St. Paul. At one point while the building was being renovated (1994- 1997) we met at different locations in St. Paul, including the Church of the Good Shepherd on Marshall Ave., the Quaker Meeting House on Grand Ave. and the Hillcrest Library.
Our fellowship has had several part-time ministers including Rev. Charles Buckmann-Ellis and Rev. Deana McPhetres. Carole Martignacco served as children’s religious education director before she was ordained as a UU minister. Leslie Mills was a student ministerial intern before her ordination. Currently the fellowship is lay-led. Membership has varied over the years from 20 to 30 members.
Some of Groveland UU Fellowship’s activities include a book group which meets once per month, a film series based on multi-cultural and social justice issues which meets several times a year, themed potlucks, game and puzzle nights. Once per year there is a Sources Supper, which includes a potluck and a historical overview of UU-ism. The book group reads many types of interesting books, sometimes having a service based a book, such as Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. A Day of the Dead service is held in early November; Solstice services each December and a Poetry Café takes place in May each year. Plays based on biblical stories written by a former member have also been part of the group’s Sunday services.
Volunteering has included working with Habitat for Humanity, one-on-one tutoring with Hmong and other ESL students. We support The Fistula Foundation, MORE Food Aid, relief to hurricane victims, and other causes.
Groveland Fellowship is just the right size for a visitor who prefers a smaller group where one can get to know many of the congregation by attending the services and by coming to one of the evening programs or potlucks.