The first Unitarian churches emerged in Eastern Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. Unitarianism in the United States and Great Britain dates from the early 18th century, as does Universalism. The two denominations merged in 1961.
The First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco was organized in 1850. The present church sanctuary (the third built by the congregation) was dedicated in 1889. The center with its chapel, education wing, offices, and meeting rooms, was added in 1968.
From 1860 until his untimely death in 1864, our congregation was inspired by the ministry of Thomas Starr King. In 1861, he traveled across the state urging people to support the Union and bring an end to slavery. From 1862 to 1864, he raised huge sums of money for medical relief for the Union troops in the United States Civil War, and he is credited with "saving California for the Union." There is one mountain named after him in Yosemite National Park and another near his birthplace in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is also honored with a statue in Golden Gate Park.
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