FAQ

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FAQ (19)

What are the worship services like?

The services generally follow a consistent format — including hymns, readings and a sermon — although some are very different and creative in form. We also have a fabulous program of music, drawing on our organ, harpsichord, baroque violins, guest musicians and a choir.
To read more about our worship services:  here

What happens after services?

Adults and children gather for beverages, snacks and conversation in Fellowship Hall, on the church’s lower level.  Most weeks, you can also peruse the adult and childrens books offered for sale in our church book store in Fellowship Hall.

Is the church handicap accessible?

The church is fully handicap-accessible. We have a ramp into the church building and an elevator that can take a wheelchair to any of our three floors. There is handicapped parking directly in front of the church doors on Waldron Avenue. You can also ask one of our ushers for large-print hymnals and orders of service and hearing-amplification devices.

What does it cost to attend?

Nothing. You are our guest. During the worship service there is an offertory during which members place cash gifts or checks toward their annual pledges in a collection plate. You are welcome to let the plate pass, or, if you feel more comfortable, to put in a token monetary gift.

Are there activities for teenagers?

High-school students are invited to join a youth group that  meets on Sunday evenings. They can also participate in the full range of congregational activities. Some teens serve as teachers or teaching assistants in religious education classes for younger children; some sing in the choir or engage in social-action projects. Please see our section on Youth for more information.

How can I learn more about the congregation and Unitarian Universalism?

A few times a year we offer a class on the history of Unitarian Universalism for people who want to learn more about our congregation and Unitarian Universalism. You are also invited to schedule an appointment with our Assistant Minister, to learn more about our congregation. For more information on Unitarian Universalism, visit the Unitarian Universalist Associations web site here. Also, check out the Unitarian Universalist Association’s online bookstore.

To learn more about our congregation, please read out History page.

How do I know if this congregation is right for me?

Come check us out! We are confident that you will find yourselves in the midst of a vibrant community, committed to social justice as well as the deepening of spiritual lives. Whenever you are looking for a congregational home, try to visit at least three to five times. That will give you a good feel for congregational life, the variety of worship services, and the different opportunities. Then trust your feelings. Congregations of different denominations and even within a single denomination all have different personalities. We hope we are a good fit for you.

What is involved in becoming a member?

People wishing to join The Unitarian Church in Summit are asked to sign the Membership Book in front of a minister or a member of the congregation’s Board of Trustees. We highly recommend that those contemplating membership attend an introductory class on the history of  Unitarian Universalism and to learn more about our congregation. These sessions are offered a few times a year and attendees are not obligated to become members. Lastly, new members are invited to participate in New Member Sunday, a service in which new members are recognized and welcomed by the congregation. These documents have more information on membership:

Expectations of Members

Path to Membership at UCS

How can I learn about congregational news and events?

Our website has updated and current information about news and events. We also have a monthly newsletter, called News and Views. Please take a copy of the current issue from the Welcome Table in the lobby. A variety of announcements are included in the insert, found in the Order of Service each Sunday. We also use email lists to spread news and information to all interested members and to certain groups of members, such as families involved in the Religious Education program.

How is the congregation governed?

Unitarian Universalism comes out of the Congregationalist movement and so our congregations are governed democratically. That doesn’t mean that all members make all the decisions. We elect a Board of Trustees to make many of our decisions, and they delegate to committees various important work. However, certain questions, including approval of the annual budget and the calling of a minister, are decided by a meeting and vote open to the entire congregation.

Where do I park?

There is on-street parking on multiple streets around the church. You can park on both sides of Waldron Avenue, for instance; please respect the fire hydrants and our neighbor’s driveways. There is handicapped parking directly in front of the church doors on Waldron Avenue. The closest public parking lot is two blocks away, at the corner of Summit and De Forest Avenues. All street parking is free on Sundays.

What should I wear?

Dress is varied, but most people choose to dress in ways that could be described as casual but neat or dressy casual.  You may find yourself seated between a person in jeans and another in more formal business garb.

Do you welcome people of different faiths?

Absolutely. Many of our members were raised in other faith traditions, including couples in which the two individuals have different religious backgrounds. Unitarian Universalists believe that revelation is ongoing and that truths can be found in many sources. Our services include elements and wisdom drawn from many religions.

Can my child visit a religious education class?

We’d be delighted to have your child as our guest. Our programming begins at age two and a half.  Age-appropriate curricula are chosen with great care to nurture and further your child’s spiritual and moral development. Religious education supervisors or other staff in the lobby can direct you to the appropriate class. If you do choose to drop your child off, please take a moment to visit with his/her teacher. It is especially important that you notify us of any known allergies that your child has.

Can my child stay with me during the service?

Children are welcome to stay with their parents during the service. Once a month, all the children are in worship service for the first 15 to 20 minutes, before going to their classes. Also, about 6 times a year, we have intergenerational worship services for the whole congregation. There is also a sun room off our lobby that has couches and chairs and a live TV feed from the sanctuary for parents who want to be with their children but whose children have a hard time being quiet for a full hour of worship. In addition, there is a nursery on the main floor, with diapering facilities and age appropriate toys for our infants and toddlers and their parents; the nursery is also equipped with a live  TV feed from the sanctuary.

Can I visit a religious education class with my child?

Certainly. That can be a way to make a first visit comfortable for a young child. As a parent, you have a right to know what your child is learning. At The Unitarian Church in Summit, we believe religious education begins first at home and our goal is to partner with parents in the further spiritual development of children. All rooms have glass windows in them so that  you make peek in, if you wish to leave your child. You are always welcome to stay with your child. Please visit the Children’s Religious Education page for more information about our programs.

Can I meet with or phone the minister? The director of religious education?

Definitely. Phone and email information for our senior minister, Vanessa Rush Southern, and our director of religious education, Tuli Patel, are listed in the Quick Guide. Please introduce yourself to Vanessa and Tuli when you see them in the lobby before or after service. There are also other staff members and ministers ready to welcome you and answer any of your questions. Click here to contact our staff members.

Are same-sex couples welcome?

Absolutely. Since June 2001, we have been recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Welcoming Congregation. That designation signifies that our congregation took several steps, including holding educational programs and a congregational vote of commitment, to affirm that we extend a warm welcome to bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people.