The Schenectady Story
The Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady is located on Wendell Avenue in the historic GE Realty Plot. A block away from Union College and centrally located between Schenectady’s downtown and Upper Union Street business districts, our church is surrounded by trees, gardens, and expansive lawns. The church was designed by Edward Durell Stone and completed in 1961. Its dominant feature is the Great Hall, an amphitheater which steps downward in circular benches as the 60-foot dome rises above it. In addition to its religious functions, the 300-seat Great Hall often serves as dramatic stage, recital hall, dance platform, art museum and lecture rostrum.
A History of Activism, Service, & Caring
The society has a history of commitment to social justice and the open exchange of ideas. Over the past century it has contained a microcosm of American liberal thought and change in a way that few other institutions in Schenectady have. The Society has hosted debates on hundreds of civic and moral issues, and has been at the forefront of social changes as wide ranging as labor reform, educational reform, civil rights, reproductive freedom, public safety, and gay rights.
Church of All Souls: Our Building
The Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady is located on Wendell Avenue in the historic GE Realty Plot. A block away from Union College and centrally located between Schenectady’s downtown and Upper Union Street business districts, our church is surrounded by trees, gardens, and expansive lawns.
We Mark 50 Years in our Unique Home
More than 150 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the building housing the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady (formerly First Unitarian Society of Schenectady) during the weekend of September 24th and 25th, 2011. The building was designed by Edward Durell Stone and built by L.A. Swyer and Sons. On Saturday evening, the festivities began with a symbolic walk from the former church building, at the corner of State Street and Wendell Avenue, to the celebration site at 1221 Wendell. While a member of the youth group played piano, slides were shown documenting the site, the construction of the building and many of the Sunday services and other events the building has hosted over the past 50 years.
The slide show that ran during the Saturday celebration events is available here.
An album of photos of the celebration events is available here.
Read more: Fiftieth Anniversary of Our Building
Symbols of the World’s Great Living Religions
The six large panels of glass which separate the foyer of our church building from the Great Hall in which we hold services each contain a symbol. Reading from left to right as you face them upon entering the foyer from the street, they represent Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
Symbols of World’s Religions
Waters House & the UUSS Gardens
The Religious Education (RE) program is centered in Water’s House, a large historic brick building across the street from the church. All three floors are used for classrooms. The first floor also houses the RE office, kitchen, library, and a living room, which is used for the children’s Sunday morning gathering services.
The Gardens at UUSS
The surroundings of our Church of All Souls and Waters House include marvelous gardens, lovingly maintained by our custodians and UUSS members and friends. “Sanctuary”, by Society member Robert Blood, enhances the gardens behind the church. The garden wraps around the northwest corner of the church, down to a wooded stream.