Frequently Asked Questions
A: Yes. We mean that welcoming statement on the Home page. Over the years we have had members who were rich and poor, black and white, young and old, walking and wheeling, straight, lesbian and gay. We have had people of different heritages; Down-east Yankee, Old Virginia, Hispanic, Native American, Huguenot, Iranian, Italian, Thai and English, to name a few. We’ve had doctors, lawyers, farmers, carpenters, teachers, newspaper editors, computer programmers, unemployed people, house wives, house husbands, students and retired people. We welcomed them all. We will welcome you.
A: Yes. A few of our members are one or the other. We didn’t do an exact count for the FAQ page.
A: No. In fact, people sometimes think we are being aloof because we don’t approach our visitors as if we were selling used cars. We’ll welcome you at the door. We’ll send you our newsletter for a while, if you ask for it. We’d be happy to have you join us, but we won’t try to push ourselves onto you. We will never ask you to join on a first visit; we recommend you visit for a couple of months before you consider joining. We’ll never pressure you to be saved, either. We don’t believe in salvation by grace. That is where the “Universalist” part of “Unitarian-Universalists” comes in. A Universalist refers to universal salvation, always already.
A: We have some mild differences of opinion. Most of us started out as Jewish, Catholic or Protestant. Some of us are still Christian or Jewish. Some of us are agnostics or atheists. Some of us believe in an earth-based spirituality. Some of us are Buddhists. We all believe in the search for truth and a deeper meaning in life.
A: By private automobile, bicycle or on foot.
Seriously, this is one of the things about us that puzzles people. Why would an agnostic (atheist, humanist…) go to church? We give people a place to explore and grow spiritually, even if they grow in different directions. We provide religious education for their children, so that they can make an informed choice when it comes time for them to choose a religion. Finally, there is the social aspect of church. Even agnostics like potlucks.
Q: What do adults wear?
A: You are welcome to come in whatever makes you comfortable. If you are a gentleman who feels most comfortable when he looks like the rest of the guys, then navy blue Dockers and a dress shirt (no tie) will put you right in the middle of the crowd. Most, not all, of our ladies wear a dress or dressy pants and a nice blouse. You shouldn’t be surprised, however, to find several of our members in a T-Shirt with an environmental message. On any given Sunday at least six men and women will be in jeans and two men will be in a coat and tie.
Q: What do children wear?
A: Children will be fine in sneakers and jeans. They will probably spend part of the Religious Education class sitting in a circle on a carpet, and another working with paste, glue, paint or crayons. They play in our back yard, or go wading in the creek from time-to-time, too..
Q: What goes on during the worship services?
A: We usually have:
- The Prelude music
- Call to Worship, which is usually a short reading
- Chalice Lighting
- An Opening Hymn
- Joys and Concerns are shared
- Pastoral Prayer
- Children’s Moment (youngest children may go to nursery)
- A Responsive Reading and Affirmation
- The Offertory
- A few moments for silent meditation/prayer/reflection
- A Sermon or Message
- Another Hymn
- Closing Words
- Closing Hymn (most often one verse of “Spirit of Life”)
- Postlude Music
- Coffee and Conversation (in the Fellowship Hall, located downstairs).
The services are designed around the ‘theme’ of the speaker’s topic for the week.
Q: Is Unitarian Universalism a cult?
A: No. Cults have three hallmarks. They are relatively new, they have a single, charismatic leader, and they share a single mindset. We have been around for 200 years. President John Adams and his son, President John Quincy Adams, were Unitarians. Our leader, the president of the UUA, changes every ten years. Sometimes we elect a person with charisma, sometimes we don’t. As to our mindset, some of us believe in God, some don’t. We have other differences. We are not a mainline protestant denomination, but we are far from being a cult.
Q: Where can I find more information about Unitarian Universalists?
A: The Unitarian Universalist Association has a website with extensive resources. You can find it at www.UUA.org.