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Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo - National Fund For Sacred Places
2023 Cohort

Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo

(Unitarian Universalist)

Buffalo, New York

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo has been on the forefront of social activism in Buffalo with members playing roles in the abolition of slavery, the provision of free education, the Civil Rights Movement and more recently the Movement for Black Lives. 

Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo by Karen Streech

Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo by Karen Streech

2023 Cohort

Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo

(Unitarian Universalist)

Buffalo, New York

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo has been on the forefront of social activism in Buffalo with members playing roles in the abolition of slavery, the provision of free education, the Civil Rights Movement and more recently the Movement for Black Lives. 

Designed in 1906 by local architects Edward Austin Kent and his brother William Winthrop Kent, both members of the congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo (UUCB) features a significant Arts and Crafts interior including quartered oak hammer beams and rib vaulting, unique in Buffalo’s rich collection of religious architecture, as well as Art Nouveau stained glass windows designed by Harry Goodhue. During the Civil Rights era, Rev. Paul Carnes of UUCB marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama, and helped found the national Interracial & Interdenominational Ministers Association. UUCB was a Vietnam draft resistor sanctuary, housing the “Buffalo Nine,” a local group whose arrest at the church spurred national dialogue on Vietnam War resistance. The church also has a longstanding commitment of support for the LGBTQ+ community, conducting “services of union” since 1984.  

UUCB annually hosts 25+ community organizations, including art and music, recovery groups, and social justice organizations. The congregation partners with organizations helping to secure stable housing for families and supporting refugees, and hosts interfaith, multicultural friendship dinners. UUCB has shared its space with community partners like Family Promise of Western New York and Food Not Bombs and oversees a robust music ministry. 

A National Fund grant of $250,000 with matching funds of at least $500,000 to be raised by its congregation will be used for its exterior, interior, and life safety improvements, including masonry, windows, and systems upgrades.   

Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo by Karen Streech

Spotlighting Women’s History at Historic Houses of Worship

Religious institutions have served both as a platform for the advancement of women’s rights and opportunities, and women have played critical roles in advancing religious traditions. The leadership and community building opportunities within these sacred sites have been critical to increasing female independence outside of the home and allowing women to develop institutions that strengthen their congregations and broader communities. The four historic houses of worship highlighted embody positive examples of how the histories of women and religion are inherently linked.

First Church in Oberlin

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez