WHAT TO EXPECT AT SERVICE


[borrowed from Boulder UU, Thank you!]

Some Answers for Newcomers


Haven't attended a church in years? Not sure what to expect from a UU worship service? Here are some common questions newcomers sometimes ask before attending a Sunday service at our church:


What should I wear? How about my children?
You are welcome to wear whatever makes you comfortable — just come as you are. Most of our members dress in casual attire, though many men wear sport jackets. Women wear either dresses/skirts or pants. Children should wear comfortable clothes, such as jeans and sneakers. After their religious education class, which sometimes involves "messy" crafts projects, children usually enjoy romping on our playground (which is fully fenced).

What happens during the worship service?
A typical Sunday worship service consists of a message or sermon (described in the next question); readings that share the theme of the message; the recitation of our congregational covenant (see sidebar); hymns and other music; and a period of meditation, both community-focused and silent.

All elements of each service are chosen to complement the theme of the sermon. (Read about our upcoming services.) After the service, people socialize our time of fellowship over coffee and other refreshments.

What are the sermons like? Our sermons may be unlike what you grew up with, since we don't try to tell anyone exactly what to think or do. Instead, they strive to offer personal and thought-provoking ideas on a topic so that you can examine that topic more deeply and determine your own beliefs about it. (Read the topics of past sermons to get a feel for the variety of our service topics.) The sermons are variously offered by our minister, ministerial intern, church members, or a knowledgeable visiting professional.

What would my children do during the service?
We have a nursery to provide child care for babies and children under the age of 3. Older children normally go to a religious education class for their age group: preschool and grade school, middle school, or high school. If you prefer, your child is welcome to stay with you during the entire service.

What holidays and ceremonies are celebrated?
Although our services vary each year, we try to celebrate many of the great religious holidays in some way that speaks to the UU faith, including Easter, Passover, Summer and Winter Solstices, Day of the Dead, Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwaanza. Religious ceremonies include marriages, memorial services, child dedication and naming ceremonies, and coming-of-age ceremonies. In addition, we have our own annual traditions, such as an intergenerational Mystery Friends event around Valentine's Day, a Flower Communion Sunday in early June, and a Homecoming/Ingathering service in early September.

Will I be welcome?
Yes, we welcome everyone. One of our core beliefs is accepting and celebrating the wide diversity of humanity. Over the years, we have had members who were rich and poor, black and white, young and old, walking and wheeling, heterosexual and homosexual. Our members come from many different occupations, cultural heritages, and religious backgrounds.

Is your church accessible to people in wheelchairs?
Yes, our building and bathrooms are handicapped accessible. All elements of the Sunday service can be enjoyed while remaining seated.
What if I'm part of an interfaith family?
Many UUCB families embrace more than one religion and specifically choose our church because we honor and celebrate many religious traditions. This means each spouse or other family member can continue to practice some elements of his/her faith, while sharing in a common faith with other family members.

Will I be welcome if I'm gay or lesbian?
Yes, some of our members are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered (GLBT). In 1999, we officially became a Welcoming Congregation to people of all sexual orientations.

How about if I'm agnostic or atheist?
Yes, some of our members are agnostics, atheists, humanists, scientists, and others who don't fully embrace the notion of "God." So why do they come to our church? We give people a safe place to explore and grow spiritually, wherever they start from and wherever they journey. We provide religious education for their children, teaching them how to make informed and ethical choices. We provide a larger forum for making a difference in the world through social action. And we provide a vibrant social community — everyone likes interesting conversations and potlucks!

Will I be pressured to join or convert?
We do try to be friendly, by greeting visitors as they enter the church and chatting with them during coffee hour. However, we would never ask you to join our church right away, since we recommend you visit for a few months to see whether we are a good fit. And we would never pressure you to convert, since we respect everyone's personal spiritual beliefs and accept all religious traditions. Eventually, we'd be happy if you decide to become a member of our church, but we won't push ourselves on you.


Are you related to the Unity or Unification churches?
No, there is no connection (other than our names start with "Uni," which sometimes causes confusion). Unity is a liberal Christian church (and there is a Unity Church in Boulder). We are liberal, too, but not all of us are Christian. The Unification Church is run by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of Korea.

For more information, read frequently asked questions about UU services by the Unitarian Universalist home office.