Fellowship History

In 1959 when our Fellowship was founded,  Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was still controversial in American churches and traditional ideas about race and gender were defended by many of the priests and preachers. Young adults in the Woods Hole area wanted to affirm a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

  • That spring of 1959, sixteen people joined together to create a Unitarian organization in Falmouth. Most of these founders were parents of young children. Records say, ”The major but not the exclusive interest was the establishment of a Sunday school.”

The American Unitarian Association formally recognized the Unitarian Fellowship of Falmouth on May 27, 1959.

  • For two years, lay-led adult religious services were held on Friday evenings in Falmouth’s Community Center and Sunday school classes were held in members’ homes. In 1961, when the national organizations of Unitarians and Universalists joined together, the congregation adopted its present name, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Falmouth.

In 1962, the Fellowship began to meet at the Quaker Meetinghouse in West Falmouth.

  • Many members and leaders during the early years were scientists, teachers and others involved with the marine sciences. Rev. Kenneth Warren, the pastor for the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, and Reverend William E. Gardner, and others, served as consulting ministers.

During the 1980s, as the demographics of Cape Cod changed, the fellowship entered a new chapter in its history, with the coming of many retirees.

  • Increasingly, services were led by visiting ministers and seminarians. With active support from the UUA, the congregation grew.

In 1988, members voted to seek a full-time minister and establish a meetinghouse of their own.

  • In 1989 the Fellowship welcomed Rev. David Nash Williams as its first full-time spiritual leader.
  • In 1992 the Falmouth Jewish Congregation sold the Fellowship 3.2 acres of land. Three years later, in December 1995, the first service was held in the Fellowship’s new meetinghouse.

When in 1999 Rev. Williams was called to a new pulpit, the Fellowship conducted a year-long search that culminated in calling Rev. Robert Murphy.

  • Rev. Murphy is a Harvard Divinity School graduate who had served Unitarian Universalist congregations in the American South. Bob and his wife Lyn Dalzell arrived on Cape Cod in 2000.

The years since 2000 have seen strong growth in the congregation’s music and religious education programs for children, youths and adults.

  • In 2015, Rev. Murphy announced his resignation. Rev. Paul Langston Daly and Reverend Dr. Laurel Hallman became our interim ministers.

In Spring 2017 Rev. David Kohlmeier became our seated minister after a thorough member-led  search.

  • Now in its second half century, the congregation has over 250 members and friends and is a respected voice in the community. The fellowship works for people with different abilities in different age groups. Debi Keller-Wood, the congregation’s first certified Director of Religious Education, joined the staff in 2013.

For over five decades, the Fellowship has welcomed people of diverse beliefs who agree with Unitarian Universalist Principles and who wish to be together in a multigenerational fellowship. Together, we try to help each other and we try to change ourselves and this world for the better.