The First Unitarian Society in Newton was founded in 1848 by a small group of Unitarians who had begun meeting in 1844.
In 1860, the first church building, a simple gray clapboard structure, was erected on the site of what is now the West Newton Cinema. Additions to the building were made in 1868 and again in 1879.
In the early 1900’s, the old church was removed and two adjacent lots, one the site of Horace Mann’s Normal School, were acquired. In 1905, during the ministry of the Reverend Mr. Julian Clifford Jaynes, the cornerstone for the present building was laid. The architects of the new church were Messrs. Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson. The architectural style is English Perpendicular Gothic and the church and parish house were once grouped about an open court.
In 1954, the society dedicated a new building addition occupying the space that had one been the center courtyard. The addition incorporated the Cora E. Richards chapel, church school classrooms, and a new parish kitchen.
FUSN is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (the UUA), established in 1961 by the uniting of two similar North American faith traditions: The American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America.
From the beginning, members of this society have worked in and beyond the Newton community and have made contributions far greater than might have been expected from their numbers. Five of the schools in Newton were named after members of this Society. The Davis, the Horace Mann, the Pierce, the Warren, and the Weeks schools were memorials not only to those individuals, but also to the socially conscious, vigorously progressive religion that they espoused.
Each year, new members are added to the church family, and the religious education of our children continue – all dedicated to the principles of a free and liberal religion.
The Historic Preservation Committee at FUSN collects, preserves, and shares information and materials related to the individual and institutional history of the FUSN. Please contact Gayle Smalley for further information.
Newton Universalist History
A presentation by Jacki Rohan in February 2017 reviews the history of Universalism in the Newton area.