Who Are Unitarian Universalists?
History: UUs today come from all walks of life and religious or non-religious backgrounds. Unitarian and Universalism are old religious stances that have a history of heresy from ancient times, and were part of the formation of the United States (at least four of our early presidents were Unitarian, and Universalists were forefront in abolition!). A short history of modern UU is here. North American Unitarians and Universalists joined together as UUs and formed the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1964.
Religion: We believe that each one of us is responsible for our religious journey, but also believe that community is important for the best development of that journey. We do not, however, believe anything... as a community we developed our Principles that guide us in our pursuit of truth (small t). These Principles are by what we measure our various theologies and philosophies we follow or study, our Sources. If your beliefs are contradictory to our Principles, then you may have difficulty with Unitarian Universalism. Not that we don't struggle with them! The Principles (and Sources) are evolved works, voted on by us as a denomination to be our ideals that we strive towards. And we fail... but struggle on!
However, the Principles are not a Creed, nor are they a Dogma since they are mutable. You do not have to subscribe to them to be a UU. However, we'd hope you would understand their importance, and even help make them better for the future. We want them to evolve to meet the challenges of our times, and times to come!
Our Sources: You are likely to meet UUs who are from many faiths, or non-faith, since we are open to the variety of religious journey. Religion being defined broadly as "how you live your life" and your root source of that living coming from your theologies and/or philosophies that have meaning for you. UU Sources come from Jewish, Christian, Humanist, Buddhist, Naturalist, atheist or agnostic and many other backgrounds. We come together to be in a dialogue between these religious stances so we may understand how to create peace and justice in this complex world.
When you come on Sunday, what to expect (10:30AM Service):
Sunday Worship Program: We come from a Protestant background... actually the liberal branch of the Pilgrims and Puritans, so our worship tends to look like a Protestant service in style. However we are open to the variety of worship, and try to leave the service open in nature so no Source becomes dominant, but adds to the tapestry.
We will celebrate with music, silence, candles, readings, poetry, laughter and a sermon or message. Sometimes we open the topic up for dialogue during the service when it seems the wisdom of the many is appropriate. UU Ministers and the worship committee understand that theirs is a diverse congregation, and strive to build services that promotes community, understanding of one another, opens space for healing, energizes for good works, uplifts the spirit and provides intellectual stimulation.
We are not very formal and have no dress code, so people come in comfortable clothes. You will see people dressed in jackets and ties, and you will see jeans and T-shirts. Children are typically let out to their classes after the "Story for All Ages" and there is child care for infants/toddlers. We have a blanket for babies if you wish to stay close, and the service is piped into the Emerson library where there are rocking chairs and toys if the child gets fussy.
- Childrens Religious Exploration: Religious Exploration for our children is one of the reasons we formed our Fellowship back in 1964. We want to provide an open, honest education in religion, ethics and morality that is accessable and age appropriate. We typically use our associations
- Adult Religious Exploration: More information coming soon!
- Activities: More information coming soon!
What is required to become a member UUFT?
Membership is open to all persons regardless of race, color, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. Membership is granted to anyone who:
- has signed the Fellowship’s membership book indicating agreement with our Principles, the Fellowship’s Vision and Mission,
- who contributes financial support yearly to the Fellowship's operating budget (the requirement for support may be waived in cases of financial hardship),
- and gives time and talent to support its programs and outreach efforts.
What are the benefits of becoming a member?
As a member of UUFT you may vote at congregational meetings and on significant church matters. You may serve as trustees or committee chairs. You will receive the UU World Magazine published by the UUA.
Do you have an orientation session for people who want to become members?
Yes, at least twice a year we hold a multi-session class for prospective members. During these sessions the history of UUFT is shared, along with the history of the denomination, opportunities for connection and contribution at the fellowship, and the religious/spiritual histories of the participants. While attendance at the class is not mandatory, we strongly encourage newcomers to attend.
What about pledging?
A pledge, or an annual statement of your intended financial commitment, allows the congregation to plan its budget and programs for the fiscal year. While the volunteer work of our members is essential, their financial support is also necessary. If life circumstances change, the pledged amount can be adjusted.
To be a voting member, there is no requirement to pledge, but it is necessary to make a contribution of record. Making and fulfilling a pledge is a helpful way to do that, and it also is a way to practice generosity.
Where are you located?
We’re on the south side of 21st Street, between Gage and Fairlawn – 4775 SW 21st Street. Parking is located on either the east (Edgewater) or west (Morningside) side of the building. Visitor and handicapped parking is on the west side.
What do people wear to this church?
You may dress up or dress casually. People wear whatever makes them feel comfortable for the occasion. For Sunday services, adults wear everything from suits and ties to tee-shirts and jeans. Children are encouraged to wear clothes appropriate to the activities in which they will be engaged.
What do children do during the services?
Children begin the service in the sanctuary with their parents at 10:30. After a children’s story, students preschool through middle go to their Religious Education classes until 11:45. High students meet at 10:30 in the Youth House on Morningside. For more information see – (refer to link)
May my child stay with me during the service?
Certainly. There is nursery care is available during all services for infants through _____ yr olds. If your children don’t wish to separate yet, they may sit with you in the worship service. And if your child becomes restless, there is a nearby area in the Nursery with an audio feed so that you’ll be able to hear the service.
Will I be welcomed in this congregation?
Yes, everyone is welcome, whatever your age, ethnicity, race, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity, physical challenge, religion, national origin or political affiliation
Is the Fellowhip accessible to the disabled?
Yes. We are handicapped compliant with the exception of automatic doors. Parking spaces are available for those with disabilities on the west side of the building. We are accessible to those with limited mobility and we have special headphones for those who need hearing assistance.
How will I be greeted?
Fellowship members tend to be gregarious. We have greeters in the foyer on Sunday mornings to direct you where to go and answer any questions you have about the Fellowship. Please stop by the Welcome Table and receive a visitor’s name tag. If you complete a yellow Visitor Card. we can send you more information and keep in touch with emails and our monthly newsletter.
In the hallway leading to the sanctuary you will find written materials about Unitarian Universalism in the literature rack. And plan to stay for a few minutes after the service for a cup of tea or coffee and to meet some of our members.
What elements are included in the Sunday Service?
We usually start with a song, welcome and announcements. A chalice is lit,(add a link to chalice history, etc.) and music is spread throughout the service. Generally the heart of the service is the readings and sermon by the minister, guest speakers or congregational members. Sometimes the congregation is given the opportunity to ask questions or comment on the sermon. An offering to support the work of the church is part of each service; visitors are not expected to make a donation, as their presence is their gift to us. We acknowledge of joys and concerns among the congregation, and end with a song. The service lasts approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.
How do I meet other people at the Fellowship?
Come! Stop by the Welcome Table to learn about any special events, religious education opportunities or ongoing groups. One of the best ways to meet others is through our Dinners for Eight program – monthly meals usually held in members’ homes on the third Saturday of each month, October to May. Getting involved in a committee is another way to meet other people, as is coming to one of our social events or taking part in one of our social justice outreach activities. Discover more about how to connect.
We look forward to your visit!