- Live Oak UU Congregation began as a “spinoff” congregation with the help of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, the Pacific Southwest District, and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
- In September 1985, our new community began as a full service congregation at the Human Relations Institute with regular services and a religious education (RE) program of three children. Pat Johnson and Martha Golus, two of the founding members, served as our first
co-directors of RE.
- In June 1986, the 22 members chose the name Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation and became affiliated with the UUA.
Rev. Bets Wienecke was invited to serve as the new congregation organizer.
- In January 1987 the congregation moved to the University Religious Center in Isla Vista. The congregation steadily grew and in 1990
Rev. Bets Wienecke was called as its first settled minister. The RE program and services then moved across the street to St Michael’s Episcopal Church where space was rented.
- As the congregation continued to grow the need for more space became apparent and in 1992 Live Oak purchased land at 820 N. Fairview Ave in Goleta. Construction of the new Fellowship Hall and remodeling of the existing farmhouse and garage began in April 1994 and services in the Fellowship Hall began in November 1994.
- The congregation grew to a membership over 120 members and more space was very much needed. The members agreed to undertake a capital campaign and building program for a new sanctuary in 2000.
- Live Oak became an official Welcoming Congregation (having completed the requisite program) in 2000. Being welcoming means the welcome and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.
- Live Oak became a teaching congregation when Rev. Carolyn Price served as a ministerial student intern in 2002-2004.
- Our RE program was enriched through the years by RE directors Rev. Teena Grant, Susan Belanger, Debra Rodgers, and Rev. Kristen Rohm. Jan Ross began serving as Live Oak’s Director of Religious Exploration (DRE) in 2003 and retired in June 2011.
- Bets Wienecke, after 18 years of service, retired and was granted Minister Emerita status. In September of 2004, Rev. Paul Beedle arrived as our interim minister for one year.
- Erika Hewitt was called as our new settled minister in June 2005 and served until January 2012. In the meantime, construction of the new Sanctuary progressed steadily and we began services in the new facilities in December 2008.
- In 2010-11, the Fellowship Hall was renovated and the we began renting this space to the Friendship Center, an Alzheimer adult day-care center, during week days.
- James Forrest served as a one year interim DRE, followed by Gloria Liggett, while from February -July 2012, Rev. David Owen-O’Quill served as transition minister.
- Thomas Anastasi served as the interim minister from August 2012-July 2014 and Tracey Goforth directed the RE program from September 2013 to October 2015.
- Live Oak called the Rev. Tamara Casanova Suzuki to serve as our settled minister and she began serving in August 2014.
- John Douglas began as Music Director in December 2014, while Clacey Kahn started as Live Oak’s Administrator in March 2015.
- Lora Barnett was our ministerial student intern from September 2016-June 2016, including serving as acting DRE for four months.
- Our current DRE, Steven Lovelace, began in March 2017.
Live Oak is a vibrant community that grew from an acorn into a strong oak and continues growing and thriving.