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UU Fellowship of Jefferson City, MO The Unitarian Universalist congregation in Jefferson City, MO is undergoing a revitalization after acquiring a new building and a new focus upon serving an important need in the local community. Despite being formed only as recently as 1991 and suffering from what some members characterized as an "early plateau," a new effort has been underway to establish better lines of communication, learning to appreciate diversity, and a focus upon social justice. These efforts have resulted in a new building which has created yet more opportunities for growth.

When a proposed state constitutional amendment threatened to restrict the right of couples in Missouri to marry two years ago, members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Jefferson City surprised themselves by finding substantial agreement for actively working against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. With the help of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, they became a Welcoming Congregation and organized a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) group -- the first organization formed to publicly support the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender (BGLT) community in Jefferson City.

The fellowship's lease on their meeting location ended soon after, and they found themselves searching for a new meeting place. Members surprised themselves again by scraping together enough cash and pledges to buy a building. The new facility has provided a sense of identity, visibility in the community, and having the building has inspired them to offer even more new services to the community.

After the state of Missouri passed a law requiring abstinence-only sex education in the public schools and prohibiting any organization that provides abortion services to teach any part of the curriculum, the Fellowship partnered with Planned Parenthood to provide this valuable community service. "While other local groups steered clear of the controversey, our members were eager to offer parents and students access to comprehensive sexuality education. We will continue offering the classes as long as they are needed," said Fellowship president, Katherine Connor.

And according to the fellowship treasurer, Don Love, pledge drives and overall stewardship have been more successful since the members and friends have a sense of mission. This renewed vigor has also resulted in the creation of a religious education program for children as well as adults, a movie series focusing on social and environmental themes, numerous new service-oriented groups, and a substantial increase in membership.

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