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UUA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project

The 50th Anniversary Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is working to collect oral histories from our leaders of the past fifty years and from those who experienced the events surrounding the 1961 consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America.

Were you involved in some way? Do you know someone who was? You can help us gather these memories!

We are collecting both audio files and written transcripts. Please use our Instructions and Suggested Questions (PDF), and when you are done, send your audio or word files with a brief introduction to 50th @ for posting on this page.

Thank you for being part of this opportunity to capture first-hand accounts of the events around our birth as a merged religious movement and tradition!


Gordon McKeeman and John Cummins Interviews (PDF)

Excerpt: "I know how fragile an institution carries our values, but I’m optimistic about it. It corroborates the fundamental laws of the earth and of creation and cannot fail. I know that it will succeed. Maybe not in my lifetime and maybe not in my generation, but I know that it will succeed." - The Rev. John Cummins

The Reverend Gordon McKeeman is minister emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, Ohio, where he served for twenty-two years, and a former president of Starr King School for the Ministry until his retirement in 1988. He served for many years on the UUA board of trustees and several committees, and has written widely on ministry, theology, spiritual discipline and education.

The Reverend John Cummins is minister emeritus of the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, MN, where he served with distinction as minister from 1963 until his retirement in 1986. The son of the late Dr. Robert Cummins, a former General Superintendent of the Universalist Church of America, John made his own mark on our movement as an outstanding leader, preacher, and pastor.

Denise Davidoff Interview(PDF)

Excerpt: "I think that for people who talk a lot about change and innovation and accept it rationally and intellectually, we are absolutely terrible about change and innovation and that is why we continue to be so small. I would say fragile. Facing extinction!"

Denny Davidoff served as Moderator of the UUA and Chair of the Trustees of the Association from 1996 until 2004. Before that she was President of the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation (1981-85), Member and Chair of the General Assembly Planning Committee (1985-89), and Trustee-at-Large (1989-93). Her service to the movement currently includes her role as member of the Board of Trustees of Meadville Lombard Theological School, and Board Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Larger Fellowship.

For more information contact web @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

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