First Unitarian Universalist Church celebrates 150 years

Published 9:17 am Friday, May 8, 2015

ROCHESTER — For the First Unitarian Universalist Church, the 30th annual Mike Podulke maypole celebration was more than its usual herald of spring.

Named for its late creator, a beloved church member and former Olmsted County commissioner, Sunday’s event also commenced the church’s sesquicentennial anniversary festivities.

“This joyous welcome of spring has been held in nice and nasty weather. We’ve had rain and snow, but never any lightning,” said member Elizabeth Katzmann.

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Watching the maypole streamers lift against the beautiful blue sky, church President David Kallmes said, “Today we are celebrating 150 years of working to transform society as a liberal religious community. Our church is mostly focused on service rather than doctrine. We have among us faiths of all kinds with one common belief — that we’re here to serve.

“We are active in serving the under-served, those with disabilities, at the Community Food Response and with the Interfaith Hospitality Network and other nonprofits,” Kallmes said.

Melissa Eggler, a member of the 150th Planning Committee, said, “The whole idea of our day is to celebrate what we have become in our colorful congregation throughout 150 years. The maypole brings together all generations of this church.”

There were also bright banners at the entrance which had been recycled and sewn from bed sheets, a reception with maple-flavored cake, a striking chromatic display of quilts submitted by congregants and friends, and a jazz ensemble.

One quilt made the day extra special. The 1899 Signature Quilt was a fundraising project for Grace Universalist Church and is on loan from the Olmsted County History Center. The quilt display is open to the public through May. Anyone interested in seeing it can contact the church office.