Key Dates in the history of Borderlands Uniterian Universalist:

  • 1970’s – A small group began meeting in homes at La Posada, and a GVR Center.
  • 1993 – We officially affiliated with UUA
  • 1997 – Our first minister Scotty Weeks
  • 2000 – Linda Bunyard became our minister and she was with us for 7 years
  • 2000 – Nancy Turner became our first pianist
  • 2007 – Mary Lou Prince became Choir Director
  • 2010 – Moved to Amado
  • 2012 – Leslie Carter became Choir Director
  • 2013 – Matthew Funke Crary became minister and he was with us for 9 years
  • 2013 – Meditation Garden was started
  • 2015 – Name changed to Borderlands Unitarian Universalist
  • 2023 – 30th year anniversary

In celebration of our 30th Congregatin Anniversary we presented a second enactment of “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail.”  Our UU principals;

1. Freedom of religious expression,

2. Toleration of religious ideas,

3. Authority of reason and conscience,

4. Never-ending search for Truth,

5. Unity of Experience,

6. Worth and dignity of each human being,

7. We believe in the ethical application of religion,

are echoed in this play written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee, in 1969, making it a good choice. Waldo Emerson was pastor of the Second Unitarian Church in Boston, Mass and his speeches and conversations depicted in this play reflect his belief and use of those principals.

History of the play

This play deals with the confrontation between Henry David Thoreau and his world. Thoreau was a poet, author, naturalist and social critic. Many of his contemporaries judged him to be a rebel and a menace to society, but his philosophy and actions have served as a model for civil rights and conversations movement since Thoreau’s lifetime.

Thoreau campaigned against materialism, imperialism, racism, and social conformity. He pioneered the technique of civil disobedience and wrote an essay, so titled, which inspired this play. The dialogue is principally between Thoreau and his family, townspeople and his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Minister of the Second Unitarian Church of Boston.

The play takes place in the mid-19century and is set on Concord Massachusetts, its town square, a schoolhouse, a church, the countryside and a Concord prison where Thoreau was incarcerated for refusing to pay the pool tax that was supporting the Mexican War. He maintained that the purpose of the war was to extend slavery, a human injustice he refused to support.


The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail

by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

Revised and Edited for Readers Theater

by Shelia Stewart Glover and Michael Karl


Henry David Thoreau: (Michael Karl) Henry is the main person of the play. The play is based on his early life. He is a somewhat Transcendentalist and refused to pay a tax, due to his opposition to the Mexican-American War. His unorthodox beliefs are not very well accepted by the cit of Concord.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (David Doyle) Rev. Dr. Ralph Waldo Emerson, referred to in the script as Waldo, appears, for most of the play middle-aged. At this time, Emerson has already become famous and is a very recognizable feature. He and Henry become good friends, despite a few differences of opinion.

Lydian: (Lorelei Schober) Lydian is the wife of Waldo. There is some attraction between her and Henry, but nothing results of it due to their mutual respect for her husband.

Deacon Ball: (Ken Lopez) Deacon Ball is a respected and stern teacher, who believes strongly in corporal punishment and believes Thoreau should do so, which Thoreau refuses.

John Thoreau: (George Smith) John is Henry’s older brother, who shares many of Henry’s beliefs.

Mother Thoreauy: (Carol Hoy) Thoreau’s mother, who has to deal with Thoreau and his backward-thinking mind. Throughout the play she is displease with Thoreau’s insistence of nonconformity.

Sam Staples (Donald Berk) A man who works for the government in Concord, and is the man who takes Thoreau to prison, but offers to pay his taxes for him.

Bailey: (Jaime Brusstar) Thoreau’s cellmate when he is locked up in the Concord jail. Thoreau teaches Bailey how to write his name and inspires Bailey to live a full life after he is released from prison.

Narrator: (Sheila Steward Glover)

Sound: Larry Parker

Video: Jan Lathrop

Photos from the play “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail” at the BUU 30th Anniversary Celebration 2023

See the video below to view of the presentation of the play The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by the BUU Players! Note this video is 50+ minutes long.

Anniversary Party

After the play everyone gathered in the gallery for a lovely lunch and lively conversation. Lorelei Schober gave a wonderful toast “Borderlands UU is not just a place of worship, but a hub of warmth, compassionate and positive change. Our achievements are a testament to the collective spirit of our congregation. The impact of living our lives in accordance with the Seven Principles and the Six Sources has become an integral part of our daily lives. It influences the way we interact with one another and our broader community.”

The success of the our 30th Anniversary Celebrations was due to the hard work of our committee of Deanna Brooks, Lori Clemens, Shelia Steward Glover, Ann Golec, Tanya Leighton, Marilyn Taylor and Diane Tepe.

Please enjoy these photos from the BUU 30th Anniversary Party!