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Pre-Planning Begins for 150th Anniversary Celebration

The 150th Anniversary Steering Committee has begun  gathering input for the best ways to celebrate our congregation’s 150th anniversary in 2016.

(This illustration is of Portland's very first Unitarian chapel, built by the growing congregation in 1866 at the corner of SW Broadway and Yamhill, on the outskirts of town.)

Original_Unitarian_ChapelAt this point we're envisioning several activities throughout the 2015–16 church year, involving many volunteers and congregational groups. In the summer of 2015, the UUA General Assembly will be held in Portland, providing an exciting beginning for our year of celebration.

Do you have ideas? Are you willing to volunteer to organize or assist with an event or activity? If so, we’d like to hear from you. You can share your suggestions with any of the committee members listed below, or send comments to our email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Starting this fall, in addition to the email link, we will communicate developments through a dedicated 150th anniversary section on our church website.

Our goal is to make this anniversary a congregation-wide series of events that recognize our long and distinguished history in Portland and celebrate the current life of the church community.

Co-Chairs: Marilyn Scott and Randy Russell
Committee members: Pierre Provost, Martha Richards, Julia Spence, Vic Vore, Jessie Eller-Isaacs and Andy Furgeson.


Sewell Lecture: Thom Hartmann

The Sewell Lecture: Speaking of Justice presents

New_HartmannThom Hartmann

speaking on

Passing the 28th Amendment:
Creating a People’s Democracy,
Ending Corporate Dominance

Friday, April 26, 2013, 7 p.m.

First Unitarian Church Sanctuary

Cost:  $5-$20, no one turned away for lack of funds.

Tickets available at the door or at First Unitarian Church on Sundays.

“Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions.” Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth


Thom Hartmann, progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host and New York Times bestselling author of 24 books, will speak on the movement to amend the constitution for the 28th time to remake American democracy to reflect the desires of We, the People instead of We, the Corporations.  Hartmann returns to Portland for the Sewell Lecture: Speaking of Justice at the First Unitarian Church on Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m.  His talk will be followed by a gathering of Community-based organizations working for economic and social justice in Portland. Books will be available as well as refreshments at the community gathering following the Lecture.

In his book Unequal Protection, author Thom Hartmann tells a compelling story that tracks the history of the loss of democracy in America. About Unequal Protection, Paul Hawken writes, “Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the need to reform our country, laws, and companies.”

The book begins with the birth of the modern corporation with the founding of the East India Company in 1600, through the Boston Tea Party revolt against transnational corporate domination of the early American economy, the rise of corporations during the Civil War, the ultimate theft of human rights before the Supreme Court in 1886, and into the modern-day theft of human rights in the US and worldwide by corporate interests and the politicians they own.

Because of a misleading account in a Supreme Court reporter's notes in an 1886 railroad tax case, corporations are now legally considered "persons," equal to humans and entitled to many of the same protections guaranteed only to humans by the Bill of Rights - a clear contradiction of the intent of the Founders of the United States. The results of this "corporate personhood" have been Unequal taxes, Unequal wealth, Unequal regulation, Unequal media and a democracy dominated by corporate interests and power.

To remedy the legal blunder of corporate personhood and the court created doctrine that Money Equals Speech, Hartmann will speak on specific action steps that can be taken by citizens, courts, legislatures, and local communities.

Thom Hartmann has spent much of his life working with and for the international Salem relief organization (www.saleminternational.org) and he and his wife Louise founded a community for abused children in New Hampshire (www.salemchildrensvillage.org)  and a school for learning disabled and ADHD kids (www.hunterschool.org).  He has lived in several states including Oregon.

The Sewell Lecture is named for Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, Minister Emerita, who retired as Senior Minister in 2009, and honors her commitment to social justice during her long tenure at the First Unitarian Church of Portland. There she served with distinction for 17 years, during which time the church grew to be one of the largest UU churches in the nation. Also during those years, she received numerous awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate for her justice work from Meadville Lombard Seminary in Chicago. Marilyn retired in 2009, was named Minister Emerita, and a social justice lecture was established in her honor. She serves on the Board and the Executive Committee of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and is on the Workers’ Rights Board of Jobs with Justice.



The First Unitarian Church of Portland Oregon is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.  Unitarian Universalists adhere to 7 basic principles one of which is the goal of a World Community with Peace, Liberty, and Justice For All.  As an expression of our faith and values, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) takes positions on relevant issues of social justice.


Thomas Lamb Eliot Presentation

Tom_Eliot_PosterThomas Lamb Eliot, the first minister of First Unitarian Church, arrived in Portland on Christmas Eve, 1867, having traveled from St. Louis via New York and the isthmus of Panama.

He is considered by many to be Portland's most influential citizen. 

Learn more about this man; presentation by Chet Orloff, at McMenamins Mission Theatre, Monday, April 1 at 7 p.m.


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