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The Unitarian Universalist congregation of Transylvania County (UUTC) had its beginning at home meetings in Brevard in 1998. The group, mostly UUs from prior locations, met to discuss the viability of establishing a UU congregation in Brevard. The charter was signed on June 6, 1999. Later in 1999 the congregation applied to the UUA for membership, and the new congregation’s banner was carried across the stage at General Assembly in 2000 in Nashville.
Shortly after UUTC’s founding, the group moved its meeting place to a classroom at Brevard College and engaged Rev. Gary Hyndman to speak once a month. A second monthly meeting was called adult religious education. As numbers grew, the congregation added a second Sunday service with guest speakers. Gary Hyndman resigned on June 9, 2002 to pursue a career in journalism. In July the congregation selected Rev. Ernest Mills, a former guest speaker, as their 3/8 time minister. Ernie was a Methodist minister and Chaplain and Professor of Religion at Brevard College. He was on a spiritual journey that led him to find a home in Unitarian Universalism. Services were then held weekly and were moved to the college’s Dunham Auditorium. Rev. Mills was rapidly moved to half time ministry.
In 2003 the search for a home became a priority, and in time a vacant utility company building four blocks from the courthouse on the main street through Brevard was selected. With significant funds already accumulated for the purpose and a successful capital fund drive, the building was purchased in 2004.
On June 6, 2004, exactly 5 years after the Congregation formally organized, Members and Friends gathered at Dunham Auditorium and marched with Rev. Mills through Brevard with our banner and chalice to our first service in our new home. On August 15, 2004 Reverend William Sinkford, UUA President, was present for the dedication of the building.
New programs and activities were added in the new building and membership and visitor attendance grew steadily. Ernie Mills was raised to 3/4 time in 2005 and full time in 2006. We have been a Welcoming Congregation since 2008. The weekly Men’s Group and Wonderful Wednesdays, with dinner and a program following, attract participants from the outside community. A part-time office administrator was hired in 2009, and more paid staff has been added through the years. The programs and activities offered have increased each year.
Rev. Mills retired in 2015, and UUTC has been served by the interim ministries of Rev. Dr. Paula Gable in 2015-2016, and Rev. Ian White Maher. This was followed by un unfortunately brief settled term of Rev. Ilene Kaur Tompkins-Gillispie, due to health issues. We are now being served by Rev. Sally Beth Stone Shore.