In 1889 the women of Eldorado Universalist church attempted to organize as a women’s group known as The Women’s Universalist Missionary Alliance (WUMA). Unfortunately for this start up undertaking, differences of opinion put the kibosh on the venture and the group ceased to function. At the beginning of 1890, the church treasury showed a balance of $2.72 and by March of 1890, red ink was flowing and there was a deficit of $11.36. Determined that the church would not close its doors, WUMA reorganized with 23 charter members and a resolve to keep the church going.
And keep going strong they did. Through countless and varied money-making projects and with tireless ingenuity and gumption, the WUMA women managed to support the infrastructure needs of the church building and to undertake a great many missionary activities over the next seventy years.
With thinning ranks in 1960, the group joined the state and national women’s group and changed the name from WUMA to AUW – Association of Universalist Women. Subsequently with the consolidation of the Unitarian and Universalist churches in1961, the name of the group was changed once again to AUUW – Association of Unitarian Universalist Women.
A fascinating and expanded account of the formation, history and ongoing work of the AUUW has been researched and compiled by Jill Vaniman, current President of the AUUW, in her booklet AUUW History. (2014) The mission statement of the group reads:
“We, the women of Eldorado Universalist Church, are dedicated to working together to raise money for our church and for community projects.”
Inarguably, the longevity and financial health of the church in years past and still today is attributed to this outstanding organization which maintains a strong presence within the church and is open to all women of the church. Friends are welcomed also.
In recent years, the AUUW’s many projects have included the annual Easter Fair in March, the Basement Garage Sale and Lunch Stand in October, and the two big events of the Christmas season – the sale of candles and cheeseballs and the Christmas dinner and program. The AUUW has helped underwrite the acquisition of new furniture for the Social Room, electrical repairs, the remodeling of the two downstairs bathrooms, and cleaning services for the church.
A Program Book distributed to members of the AUUW and the church provides a roster of AUUW members and a calendar of its church-based events, activities and meetings at members’ homes.
The AUUW derives its sense of purpose from the words of an early member, Clara Disher Kimmel, who in 1925 stated:
“We must work together in harmony and peace; we must be united. Let us work with that aim and by so doing, the Eldorado Universalist Church will live on.”
The AUUW has a storied history. With vision and fine leadership, this group is still going strong helping Eldorado Universalist Church look to the future.
Printed copies of the AUUW History booklet can be obtained from Jill Vaniman, President. Free will contributions for the booklet would be appreciated. See also this website (Menu Bar: Milestones) for a clickable on-line version of the same booklet. For more information, please contact:
Jill Vaniman, President