Our congregation began in 1877 in the village of Mukwonago. Founded by New England settlers, we trace our roots back to 1848 when the first Universalist preachers arrived in the Wisconsin wilderness. As the desire to form a religious society grew, the town's Universalists joined with the town's Unitarians to form United, the first congregation founded by members of both traditions. It would be another 84 years until the two denominations would formally merge.
From it's beginning, United was a voice of liberal religion in southeastern Wisconsin. This was especially true in regards to issues of women's rights, freedom of conscience, and the equality of all people. Many of our earliest ministers were women, including the Rev. Olympia Brown, the first women ever to be ordained by a denomination.
Our original building was built in the heart of Mukwonago to resemble the New England "church on the green" that was familiar to many of our founders. It was there that our congregation lived most of its history, served by many dedicated ministers and lay leaders. Two of our longest serving pastors were Rev. Merton Aldridge (1925-1938) and Rev. Frederick Ridge (1956-1983). When in 1984, Rev. Ridge passed away, the congregation went through a period of crisis and almost closed. The congregation rallied and was reborn through the efforts of several committed members and the service of Rev. J. Max Patrick. It was a turning point for United, a transformation began from a small town church to one connected with the wider world and our the larger Unitarian Universalist movement.
This new spirit led United to begin looking for a new home. After much searching, we moved in 2012 to Waukesha, where we purchased our current building and are now settled. Our hope is to remain always a voice and an instrument of our free faith, united in the spirit of love, courage and service.
Want to learn more? Check out the following documents and histories!