First Unitarian Church of Chicago

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The First Unitarian Church of Chicago
Hull Chapel in 1901 prior to the construction of the 1931 sanctuary
Location 5650 South Woodlawn Avenue
Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois
Country United States
Denomination Unitarian Universalism
Membership 175 adults, 50 children
Website First Unitarian Church of Chicago
Founded 1836 (1836)
Status Church
Functional status Active
Architect(s) Dennison Hull
Architectural type Perpendicular Gothic
Groundbreaking 1929
Completed 1931
Minister(s) David Schwartz and Teresa Schwartz, Senior Co-Ministers

The First Unitarian Church of Chicago is a Unitarian Universalist ("UU") church in Chicago, Illinois. Unitarians do not have a common creed and include people with a wide variety of personal beliefs, and include atheists, agnostics, deists, monotheists, pantheists, polytheists, pagans, as well as other belief systems.[1]

One of the oldest churches in Chicago, First Unitarian Chicago was founded in 1836 and located at 5650 S. Woodlawn Avenue. Its founding was in part the result of a small group of Chicago Unitarians with the minister Charles Follen. Its first building was constructed in 1841 on what is now the site of the Picasso statue in Daley Plaza.

In 1873 a new church building was constructed at the corner of 23rd and Michigan. And in 1897 a mission chapel to the University of Chicago was built at 57th and Woodlawn in Hyde Park, Chicago. In 1909, the 23rd ave building was sold and the congregation moved to the University chapel.

A new edifice was built in 1925 in an English perpendicular Gothic style, a gift of church member and Illinois US Representative Morton D. Hull whose ashes now rest in the crypt below the building. A crypt for cinerary urns (a Columbarium) below the nave was the first crypt for ashes in the city. It was designed intentionally to serve the neighborhood and city, not just members of the church.

In 1956 the Chicago Children's Choir was founded in the church by assistant minister Christopher Moore.

Notable members[edit]

Settled ministers[edit]

  • 1839-1844. Joseph Harrington, Jr.
  • 1846-1849. William Adam (minister)
  • 1849-1857. Rush Rhees Shippen
  • 1857-1859. George F. Noyes
  • 1861-1864 Charles B. Thomas
  • 1866-1874. Robert Laird Collier
  • 1876-1881. Brooke Herford
  • 1883-1891. David Utter
  • 1891-1901. William Wallace Fenn
  • 1901-1923. William Hansen Pulsford
  • 1925-1944. Von Ogden Vogt
  • 1944-1962. Leslie T. Pennington
  • 1963-1968. Jack Kent
  • 1969-1978. Jack Mendelsohn
  • 1980-1986. Duke Gray
  • 1988-1991. Tom Chulak
  • 1993-1998. Terasa Cooley
  • 1999-2011. Nina Grey
  • 2013–present. Teresa and David Schwartz



  1. ^ Ford, James Ishmael (2006). Zen Master Who?. Wisdom Publications. p. 187. ISBN 0-86171-509-8. 

External links[edit]