The Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church is a strong tree with deep roots.
December 2022 – Live Oak Adopts Eighth Principle
In December 2022, Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, along with hundreds of UU congregations around the country, voted to add an 8th principle to our existing principles:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
May 17, 2015 – Mission Statement Approved at the Congregational Meeting
Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church
April 26, 2015 – A Installation of a New Minister
Live Oak UU Church celebrated the Installation of Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford as the settled minister.
August 10, 2014 – A New Minister
Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford delivers her first sermon as Live Oak’s settled minister. “Not that Kind of Church”: Growing up a Unitarian Universalist in Texas, questions about your status of being “saved” are not uncommon. Rev. Joanna explores salvation, faith, and shares some of her own spiritual journey.
Rev. Linda Bunyard completes her tenure as Live Oak’s Interim Minister
May 4, 2014
The Live Oak Vice-President announced, “of the membership of 154, 81% or 124 people voted in person, by proxy or by absentee ballot. When those ballots were counted, 123 people or 99.2% voted to call Reverend Joanna Fontaine Crawford to the pulpit.”
May 19, 2013 – Ministerial Search Committee selected
At a Special Congregational Meeting, the Ministerial Search Committee members were selected:
- Mark Anderson
- Barbara Coldiron
- Donna Durbin
- Katherine Enyart
- Mary Hengstebeck
- Mike Schultz
- Niranjan Sharma
August 1, 2012 – Interim Minister
Rev. Linda Bunyard joins Live Oak as our Interim minister.
Celebrations held for our departing ministers Rev. Kathleen Ellis and Rev. Chuck Freeman.
Dedication of Chalice Pathway.
May 2010 – Congregation approves the Vision – Mission Statement
Vision – Developed as our goals for 2010-2015, this vision statement is what the members and friends of Live Oak UU Church see as the kind of religious community we want to become.
- becoming an ever more vibrant, welcoming religious community,
- nurturing spiritual and personal growth, and
- leading relevant actions of compassion, connection and justice within and beyond our community.
Mission – These Mission statements are the mechanisms by which we at Live Oak UU Church will achieve our vision.
Our mission is to:
- build community connections within and beyond our congregation,
- enrich worship services and lifespan education to nurture the spiritual and personal growth of our UU community,
- strengthen programs that develop and support ministerial and lay leadership, and
- foster local signature outreach projects.
Sasha, our new grand piano, is welcomed to Live Oak.
On Sunday, May 23, 2004 at a Special Congregational meeting, the members of Live Oak voted to call the Rev. Kathleen Ellis as a minister to our congregation.
Live Oak labyrinth is dedicated.
June 1, 2003
We move into our NEW church building, transferring the flame and all of our stuff in one festive afternoon. Let the renovations begin!
September 21, 2003
First service in our renovated facility.
January 16, 2002
Contracts are signed and Live Oak becomes the proud owners of a former Baptist church on El Salido Parkway. The Hatch Road property was sold to another church and swapped for the new property. Stewardship is contracted to renovate the new, much larger facility.
We added a second, earlier, worship service to our offerings.
Rev. Chuck Freeman’s final approval is granted and he is an officially fellowshipped UU minister!
Contract is signed with architectural firm Stewardship for design of new sanctuary.
September 22, 1999
Church members met at sunrise on the autumnal equinox to dedicate land for new church buildings on Hatch Road in Cedar Park, just a mile from our current location.
May 1, 1999
Rev. Chuck Freeman was conditionally approved as a UU minister.
March 30, 1997
The church moved to our new property at Lakeline Office Park, 12310 RM 620 North, Suite 104.
July 31, 1996
The church purchased our Lakeline office building.
October 6, 1996
The church began meeting temporarily in Lake Creek Village, just across and down the street from our new property in Lakeline Office Park.
July 23, 1996
An electrical fire in an upstairs neighbor’s office in the Cortez Plaza building caused the church to have to look for new meeting space. The church began meeting at Jollyville Elementary School on an emergency basis.
Chuck Freeman became our part-time minister.
January 1995 to January 1996
Services were led by guest speakers, guest ministers, or members of the church.
Live Oak obtained a minister through the UUA’s New Congregation Extension Ministry Program. The Rev. Annie Foerster (right) remained with Live Oak until January 1995.
The church participated in a four-week “Minister on Loan” program with Rev. Charles Gaines, sponsored by the UUA.
Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church was chartered, and rented office space in the Cortez Plaza building at 13276 Highway 183.
July 29, 1992
The Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church was officially incorporated as a church in the state of Texas.
July 12, 1992
The church held its first regular service, at The Arbor Nursing Home on 5301 Duval Road. It was attended by 25 adults and 14 children.
Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church was founded by this small steering committee.
A presentation by a Unitarian Universalist Association, or UUA, official, to the members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin inspired a previously-unorganized group of Northwest Austin residents to begin meeting regularly to discuss the formation of a new church in their geographic part of Austin.
TEN YEARS AFTER
In a series of articles from our tenth anniversary year, amateur historian John Iacoletti reflects back on what was going on a decade ago during the first formative months of this congregation.
January 20th, 1992. The Internet was still primarily a playground for computer nerds and university students. Having been raised a UU, currently unchurched, and living in northwest Austin, the following announcement on the austin.general newsgroup caught my eye:
The Northwest Unitarian Universalist Committee is holding a public informational meeting for people who are interested in forming a new Unitarian Universalist Church in the northwest Austin/Round Rock area. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 1992, at 7:30 p.m. at Jewish Community Center of Austin, 11713 Jollyville Road.
Martha and I decided to go check it out, with 2½-year-old Paul and 6-month-old Stephanie in tow. The guest book tells us who was there that night … some of the names are still familiar in our community today, other names are familiar only to old-timers: Tina Cordes, Vella Fink, Annie Legrand, Grace Lawlor, Kathy Sanchez, Ralph Shepley, Dale Stahl, Barbara Denny, Dwight Brown, Fred Wooden, and 9 others (the Sessions either weren’t there or forgot to sign the book!). I was later told that this was the first public meeting to organize a new UU church in northwest Austin. Until then, it was mainly a “crazy idea” batted around by a few mavericks at First UU Church who had a dream. It was cold and damp outside that night as we walked into the Jewish Community Center. Inside I found a group of total strangers, but they were the warmest, most welcoming and enthusiastic total strangers I had ever come across. I don’t remember much about what was specifically discussed that wintry evening, but I knew that something profound was going to happen and I wanted to be a part of it.
April 1992. Welcome to the first edition of the still-to-be named Unitarian Universalist Church newsletter … an auspicious beginning to the publication you are now holding in your hands (or on your computer screen! [the one where the website articles come from!]). It was written by Roger and Alice Sessions and was all of two pages in length. Amongst the articles in Volume 1, Number 1 of News From The NorthWest:
- What would probably be the first formal church social event, the Seder Supper on April 11th
- The announcement of the upcoming “name our church barbecue” on May 17th bullet
- A report of a visit from the then district president Marty Robinson
There was also a 5 line long “calendar” of future events. At this time, there were organizational meetings held once a month. The first Sunday service would turn out to be another 3 months away. I’m guessing that this first newsletter went out to around 30 households. Still published monthly, the Live Oak newsletter now runs 8-10 two column pages, with about 200 copies going out in either print form or electronically.
May 1992: The New Church Has A Name!
A “Name-Our-Church” barbecue was held on May 17, 1992 at Ralph Shepley’s ranch on Onion Creek in Dripping Springs. Adults and children alike voted (this was pre-consensus if you can conceive of such a thing!) from a list of 25 possible church names. Some of the more notable candidates were: Harmony UU, Bluebonnet UU, Fellowship of The Covered Dish, Hill Country UU, Pathways UU, Furious Fire Ant UU, Balcones UU, and Texas Rattler UU. The clear winner was “Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church.”
As fate would have it, Jim Scott, a traveling UU folksinger, just happened to be passing by that day and treated everybody to an impromptu concert. History also records that 10-year-old Keith Lawlor won the watermelon seed spitting contest (18′ 10″), and 11-year-old Emily Sessions and Tia Lawlor swept the three-legged race.
It was also around this time that the “Coordinating Committee” became the “Steering Committee” and started meeting monthly. Then as now, the meetings were open to all.