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Spring Unitarian Universalist Thread - All Welcome

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Welcome to the Spring support, community, information, conversation, and fun thread for UUs and UU curious.

Here is the link to the previous Winter thread.

Come on in and say "Hi", ask a question, tell a story, or feel free to just lurk for awhile.

Yesterday, the first day of Spring, I woke up to see . . . SNOW! At least two inches of snow was covering the ground. Nevertheless, with Robert Browning:

Quote:
I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time.
Wishing you all a season of growth, beauty, peace, joy, and love.



Adele
post #2 of 89
Yay spring!!!

I'm in Spain so our spring weather said hello to us by being an average of 70+ degrees! Haha. It was a nice change to two months of straight rain in January and February! :P

I've been deprived of the UU church I usually go to. It's about Catholicism over here in Granada! Two more months and I'll be home though. Can't wait to go to church then!
post #3 of 89
thank you for starting the thread Adele! I'm in southern California so we have beautiful spring weather, upper 70's and a nice cool breeze. But I guess crap weather is the price you have to pay for living in a great progressive state like Iowa.

I'm loving that it is spring, a time for renewal and rebirth. I feel great things on the horizon for my church, and for my faith.
post #4 of 89
I'm having such an AMAZING time. Seriously. Around 40 UU, UCC, RJ and other youth and adults discussion comprehensive sex ed? AMAZING. Tomorrow we lobby. Tonight we're alternating between all watching Health Care stuff and discussing OWL/Sacred Choices.

AHHHHHH. I don't wanna LEAVE! Tonight we broke into groups and my group spent the whole time talking about the principles and stuff. It was awesome.
post #5 of 89
Subbin'... Hooray, spring! DD and I celebrated the equinox by dyeing some eggs with beets, greens, turmeric, and blueberries. We went for a meadow walk to spot all the little flowers blooming, sauteed some wild creasy greens with wild garlic, and had a picnic of the dyed eggs and the dye foods next to our daffodil patch. A fantastic day.

Sooo... Easter is coming up and it is my least favorite of the holidays. Not sure of a PC way to say this: the gory death on the cross stuff creeps me out, especially when I see it used as leverage to promote guilt and shame, like in the passion movie. I try to focus on the good things about spring and to be tolerant, but it's hard when I'm surrounded by fundamentals. I'm newly UU so I'm still learning, and any suggestions for opening my perspective of easter or being more tolerant this time of year are appreciated. (And if this is not an appropriate topic, feel free to say so!)
post #6 of 89
Thread Starter 
Welcome all the subbies to the new thread. I'm glad it sounds like your Springs are starting out much more springy than mine!

Treehugz: Totally appropriate topic, IMO. I have had Christians tell me about how Easter is their favorite holiday and I have never been able to understand it really. I have also tried to focus on the Spring/new life/rebirth parts of Easter. I love Christmas for many non-Christian reasons, but I have always been able to get behind the joy of the season for Christians as well - the birth of Jesus - understanding how that is joyous is pretty easy. Jesus' death - not so much. At least not for me.

It has been a few years now, but I still go back and reread an Easter sermon my minister gave that I thought, and still think, was amazing. It is one possible UU perspective on Easter that is much more than just bunnies and flowers. It is "dark" in some ways, intentionally so, but I find it very inspiring. I hope you like it: Choosing to Live
post #7 of 89
Thread Starter 

Carry -over from Winter Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by frontierpsych View Post
I went to a UU Church for the first time the Sunday before last, and am thinking about going back this weekend (I was busy last Sunday with some Real Estate stuff.) I had to cut out early because of a personal emergency, but I really enjoyed meeting everyone and listening to the messages that were preached, they really seemed to resonate with me and reflect human values rather than specific, doctrinal values. The people were very nice and interesting. This group was mostly very elderly folks, and I was wondering if this was normal, as there didn't seem to be anybody my age (23) there at all.
While I would love to say that your experience is not "normal" at all, you are not the only person to have noticed being the youngest adult at a UU Church. ziggy mentioned the same concern in the Winter Thread as well

I believe keeping our youth is an acknowledged problem in Unitarian Universalism and people are working at both the association and congregation levels to do better by our young people. UU gets a large number of its members from people who did NOT grow up UU, and there is a stereotype that I'm sure has more than a grain of truth that people come to or return to a UU church when they have children because they are looking for a spiritual community for their kids.

Still, while my medium-to-large congregation (around 400 members) probably does not have a proportional number of young members, there are still a significant number. I think it helps to live in a community with Universities and colleges. If your church offers more than one service you could try a different time. At my church you see a mix at all three services, but the proportion of families with young or school-age children is higher at the second Sunday service and the proportion of young adults is higher at the Saturday evening service.

I am glad you enjoyed yourself anyway and found you could relate to the messages. I hope you continue to attend. Maybe in the future other young people will be discovering UU and your presence will make their first visit more comfortable.
post #8 of 89
Would this be a good thread to ask general questions about UU for a complete newbie?
post #9 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinleinesque View Post
Would this be a good thread to ask general questions about UU for a complete newbie?
It's the perfect thread for that.
post #10 of 89
Thank you! I am an atheist (most devout!) and my partner is christian, converted methodist but not practicing in over a decade.
Is the UU someplace that might welcome a strange little family like ours?
post #11 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinleinesque View Post
Thank you! I am an atheist (most devout!) and my partner is christian, converted methodist but not practicing in over a decade.
Is the UU someplace that might welcome a strange little family like ours?
Yep, in fact, you may find other partners with similar spiritual make-up, making you and yours unstrange. unstrange? it's a word today!
post #12 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vojerleda View Post
Yep, in fact, you may find other partners with similar spiritual make-up, making you and yours unstrange. unstrange? it's a word today!
It's a good word

I have never attended church. I'd be afraid of doing the wrong thing from the outset - from the time I arrive to the clothes I wear to knowing when to stand up or sit down or ... whatever other mysterious stuff goes on behind closed church doors! What is a typical service like? What do I need to know before I go?
post #13 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adele_Mommy View Post
I believe keeping our youth is an acknowledged problem in Unitarian Universalism and people are working at both the association and congregation levels to do better by our young people. UU gets a large number of its members from people who did NOT grow up UU, and there is a stereotype that I'm sure has more than a grain of truth that people come to or return to a UU church when they have children because they are looking for a spiritual community for their kids.
This is always a timely topic. I was recently asked by our worship committee to help them with ideas on how to attract younger people. I think it's a struggle in ANY faith, honestly- but we've got some colleges and universities down here; we should be doing better with yout's. I'm prepared to handle young adults/teens when they come- but getting them here...

At any rate, at my fellowship we are entering a new season in LOTS of ways- we just had our annual meeting, so we have new officers; and the ministerial couple (team if you will) that has helped us for the past few years are retiring, so now we are beginning the hunt. We are also planning on adding to the church, so we're in the grant research /architectural planning phase.
post #14 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinleinesque View Post
It's a good word

I have never attended church. I'd be afraid of doing the wrong thing from the outset - from the time I arrive to the clothes I wear to knowing when to stand up or sit down or ... whatever other mysterious stuff goes on behind closed church doors! What is a typical service like? What do I need to know before I go?
UU services vary greatly from place to place. I can tell you how ours goes, here in deep South TX (UUFHC) our service opens w/ a chime or bell, or singing bowl. A prelude is played, the welcome is given, we have just incorporated a physical greeting which involves standing up and saying hi to people around you (passing the peace, anyone ? ). Then the order goes like this:

lighting chalice (read in unison while our chalice is lit by a member)
hymn (these are great.a few sound like Christian hymns, but the words are way more inclusive)
Time for All Ages- a story is read for the children, but the adults usually love it more; directly after this, our children go to the RE building.
Joys and Concerns- walk up, share joy/concern, and light a candle. completely voluntary, and you don't have to be a member to do it.
readings- inspirational passages chosen from a variety of religious texts, philosophical works, and other sources.
meditation- like it sounds
offering- members gotta pay the light bill- visitors aren't expected to give
message- the 'sermon,' but the topics are CRAZY-varied. If you don't like one week's message, come back the next week because it'll be completely different.
closing hymn
announcements
coffee time!
Frequently, snacks are included. People like to cook. Occasionally a potluck ensues but I know at our church you can stay and eat even if you don't bring anything- there's always plenty.


In many ways, it would remind your partner of other protestant Christian services he's been to, in loose structure anyway. But the content is UU.
post #15 of 89
That is really helpful, Vojerleda, thank you!
I assume I would either be directed where to sit or I could just sit anywhere?
And I can just follow the prompts of those around me as far as what I should be doing with myself (physically) at any given point in the service?

I'm in DFW so if services are highly regional, I would think my local UU's would not be too far off from yours.

When you do give an offering, what is a normal amount? I would hate to offer something that is completely inappropriate, but I literally have no idea what would be appropriate.

Is coffee time a sort of social hour? One of the reasons we're interested is (as described above) because we're really looking for a sense of community that our lives are currently lacking, especially now that we've got a child on the way.
post #16 of 89
I'd like to say something about attracting/keeping young adults. Be welcoming, treat them as intelligent equals, and don't overwhelm them with how happy you are that there are one or two people in the 15-30 crowd at your church! I am no longer interested in attending services at the congregation I joined 2 years ago, b/c at least 50% of the population is over 60, and DH and I are the only regular members in the young-adult age group.

We met at the church, and some members seem to think that gives them a right to know everything about our lives. I'm a very private person, and it really bothers me to have so many people wanting to be in my business.

Sorry for the rant. I guess I just need some support right now. We have a new minister, and I'm not liking her as much as I expected to. I'm really disappointed, actually, in the direction the church seems to be taking. I had tried to take a leadership role, & help the congregation grow and adjust to the changes that growth requires, but that doesn't seem to be happening, and I'm feeling really disillusioned and burnt out.
post #17 of 89
Thread Starter 
Heinleinesque!

I'm glad to see thread regulars are taking good care of you and answering your questions already!

As Vojerleda said, UU congregations do vary, though I bet you and your partner will feel welcome at most if not all. You can see if your local UU church(es) has/have a web page. The UUA Congregation Finder (upper right side of the page) can help with this. The congregation results from a search include links to church web pages. Most church web pages have information to help visitors feel more comfortable the first time they attend a service. Here is my church's page for new visitors. If the church you plan to visit does not have a web page you can always call first.

At my church you will be given an Order of Service - like a program - to let you know what to expect during the service. We also try to help new people out with phrases such as "Please stand as you are willing and able and join in singing Hymn #165" and "You may be seated".

I was raised without religion and had never attended church except for the occasional wedding and maybe once or twice with a grandparent when I was very small. I was pretty nervous the first time I went! But it was soooo worth it.
post #18 of 89
Thank you, Adele! I did find the website for my local UU, but it was, I think, arranged for someone with somewhat more church-experience than I have.

We're just really hoping for a community that is not just tolerant of but welcoming to those with alternative lifestyles.
post #19 of 89
Oh, wow, it's neat that you have assisted hearing devices avaialable! That's great!
post #20 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinleinesque View Post
It's a good word

I have never attended church. I'd be afraid of doing the wrong thing from the outset - from the time I arrive to the clothes I wear to knowing when to stand up or sit down or ... whatever other mysterious stuff goes on behind closed church doors! What is a typical service like? What do I need to know before I go?
Mine is similar to the PP. The songs at my church were about everyone joining together and being "one", things like that. I actually want to sing at church, whereas at my Catholic church I would never sing because I didn't believe anything I was singing about. And I think my favorite part is that there is no cross at the front of the church! It's the chalice to symbolize unity. And I just love that. But yea, the rest of the order is like the PP.
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