Our History

The Unitarian Society of Willmar had its earliest roots among immigrant families – especially Hollander, but to a limited degree also some Scandinavian – who came into this farming area. These people became quite dissatisfied with the dogmatism and inconsistencies in the religions they found established here. Learning of the Unitarian movement for Liberal Religion which was then pioneering in Minnesota, they readily turned their religious interest in that direction.

In June 1929, a meeting of those most interested in the movement for a more liberal religion as is being sponsored by Unitarian churches was held in Renville, Minnesota. After a discussion it was voted to form an organization and to elect officers responsible for planning a program of liberal religious lectures.

Rev. Dr. John Dietrich, an eminent Humanist leader of First Unitarian in Minneapolis, strongly influenced these early religious questioners. We have many of his sermons in our church office. Initially, the group met informally in various places in the area, but in 1944 purchased our present building and as an organization incorporated under the law.

Since 1944, our building has undergone major improvements and we are now known as the Unitarian Universalist Church of Willmar recognizing our affiliation with the Unitarian Universalist Association. Our membership is diverse, but we are united in our insistence on each individual’s right and responsibility to find meaning and truth in life.