Hope was founded in 1968 by 53 Charter Members from All Souls Unitarian Church. It was an act of creation that had been planned since All Souls moved to its present location in the 1950s with an eye towards future growth. With a commitment to spreading the good news of liberal religion to South Tulsa, the new church held its first worship service at Key Elementary and shortly thereafter moved to Thornton YMCA where it remained until construction was completed on its present building in 1977.
Located on the highest point in Tulsa County, Hope’s building is the creation of nationally recognized architect, Ron Dirsmith. Its unique design appears to grow organically out of the top of the hill. The natural stone walls of Oologah limestone, the domed ceiling of its Sanctuary (The Great Hall) and its natural setting create a space that invokes the sacred. In addition to the original structure, the Log Cabin, to the northwest of the church, was nestled into the surrounding woods. Both buildings were designed with accessibility in mind.
Hope has been served by seven called ministers: The Rev. Fred Lipp, The Rev. Bill Gold, The Rev. Jim Eller, The Rev. Gary Blaine, The Rev. Jack Bryant, The Rev. Cathey Edwards, and The Rev. Justin M. McCreary.
Hope has served the Tulsa community in a variety of ways, including a jail ministry organized in the 1970s and an outstanding preschool that operated from 1980 to the mid-1990s. In 2000 and 2001, Hope was recognized for community service when the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry awarded it the Community Outreach Award for Outstanding Community Services and the Annual Interfaith Service Recognition. In 2006, the congregation voted to “give away the plate” by identifying a community charity each month to whom the offering is donated; this practice continues today. Environmental concerns are important to the congregation, which committed to UUA Green Sanctuary certification in 2011. Hope is a certified Monarch Waystation, which brings an abundance of butterflies to the hill in spring and summer.
Today our community outreach supports Tulsa’s Day Center for the Homeless by providing a monthly meal for approximately 120 people who seek services every day, participating in Guest at your Table through the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Tulsa Public Schools Partner in Education and Christmas Outreach.