When Iola Moore and Harriet Doar met in Raleigh in 1949, something was bound to happen. They started our fellowship! Miss Moore was a Unitarian from Plainfield, New Jersey and Mrs. Doar, a Unitarian from Charlotte, North Carolina. In the fall of that year the two called some friends and other interested people together for a meeting at the old YMCA on State College campus. Monroe Husbands from the AUA (American Unitarian Association) came down from Boston to explain accreditation procedures.
At a follow-up meeting on November 14 at the Sir Walter Hotel, fourteen people signed the by-laws and elected officers: George Penny, president; Harriet Doar, secretary; and Eula Williamson, treasurer. Counting three people who signed the by-laws after the November 14 meeting, 17 people became charter members.
December 7, 1949: the Unitarian Fellowship of Raleigh was accepted by the AUA as the 33rd fellowship in the U.S.
A L.H. Jobe anecdote tells of his response to a question regarding the use of "any" in the by-laws section on membership. "Any person may become a voting member." "What does 'any' really mean?" a man asked. "ANY means ANY!" pronounced Mr. Jobe. The man got up and left. This unequivocal statement was the first of many anti-segregation and civil rights stands taken by the fellowship in the fifties and beyond.
"The purpose of the fellowship is to bring together religious liberals into closer acquaintance and cooperation in order to foster liberal religious attitudes and living." Thus, the statement of purpose at the heart of our first by-laws was also our declaration of religious freedom.