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Underwood church celebrates­­ 125 years

The Unitarian Church of Underwood is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

The church has a unique history. It was founded January 13, 1889 by a small group of Norwegian immigrants determined to establish a liberal forum to explore new religious philosophies in a new land. 

The group met in Johan Kolstad’s Underwood home to organize a new church called Den Fri Kristse Menighid (The Free Christian Congregation).  Their vision, now expressed as “a celebration of the life and common search for meaning,” has inspired generations of free-thinking Minnesotans for 125 years.

In 1894, the congregation purchased the Union Hall located at 206 North Main Street in Underwood, and with some remodeling it continues to be the church home.

Today, church membership is at an all-time high.  Sunday services featuring interesting and diverse speakers and talented musicians are conducted year-round.  Additional opportunities for spiritual awareness and growth abound, with adult and youth religious education, covenant groups and book discussion groups. 

Member Celebrants conduct ceremonies.

The church building, a symbol of the church’s heritage, is well-kept and features visual art throughout. An outreach committee oversees assistance for Shan refugees, senior dining, and many other programs. Annual empowerment grants address issues such as poverty, social injustice, environmental challenges and abuse.

At least two descendants of the founders are still members of the fellowship, and many others have attended for many years, with new members coming in regularly.

Join the church in its celebrations with a kick-off on Sunday, Jan. 19, with a service at 10:30 a.m. featuring special guest, Stefan Jonasson.  Music will be provided by members of the congregation. A potluck dinner will follow the service.

More information is available at