In 1958 a small group of families who wanted a religious education alternative for their children founded our Fellowship. Ours was one of many Fellowships throughout the country that Consultant Munroe Husbands helped to get started through his work with the American Unitarian Association and later the Unitarian Universalist Association.
During the early years members met in each other’s' homes. The Fellowship grew rapidly as the only liberal religious voice in a small central Oregon town. Two factors fueled the growth: the Vietnam War and the lucky happenstance that the first community college in Oregon was founded in Bend. Some of the community college staff joined the Fellowship just as opposition to the war was mounting. The combination of the intellectual excitement of newcomers and the social activism of the 1960s made for a powerful stimulus for growth.
A small building was purchased and continued growth seemed inevitable. The Fellowship grew to a peak of about 140 members during that time.
Unfortunately a clash of cultures resulted between some of our members, who were also on the faculty of the community college, and the college administration. The straw that broke the community's back was a public reading of Allen Ginsburg's "Howl." The controversy led to the dismissal of several faculty/UU members and the eventual downfall of the college president who initiated the firings. One of the ironies of that era was that the president of the college at that time later returned to Bend to become an active member of our Fellowship.