About First Unitarian

Sunday worship is comprised of sharing, readings, musical selections, hymns, and other elements selected for their harmony, inspirational value, beauty, and dignity. A typical Celebration of Life service might look like this:

Chime Denotes the beginning of the Celebration of Life
Welcome Words of welcome and special announcements offered by a member of the Board of Trustees
Chimes To begin the prelude
Prelude An opening musical introduction to the service
Lighting of the Chalice The chalice is lit to reflective words, often by a child who has participated in the "Chalice Lighters" program.
Call to Worship Reflective opening words, from a variety of sources
Opening Song Congregation sings from the hymnal
Covenant Our Covenant by James Vila Blake is recited by the congregation: "Love is the spirit of this church, And service is its law. This is our great covenant: To dwell together in peace, To seek the truth in love, and to help one another."
Joys and Sorrows The joys and concerns are recorded into a book in the sanctuary. The minister or service leader shares these with the congregation
Meditation A few moments of contemplative and silent meditation
Offertory A time to contribute financially to the programming and outreach efforts of the congregation
Moment for All Ages A story or activity that conveys the topic in metaphor accessible to all ages
Reading Reflective reading from a variety of sources
Sermon Words from our minister, someone from the worship committee, or a special guest
Closing Song Congregation sings from the hymnal
Chalice Extinguishing We usually recite these words by Rev. Elizabeth Selle Jones: "We extinguish this flame but not the light of truth, The warmth of community, or the fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts until we are together again."
Closing Words Reflective words, from a variety of sources
Postlude Music to end the service
Blessing From our minister, someone from the worship committee, or a special guest


After the Celebration of Life service we invite you to join us for fellowship and refreshments.  Lunch is often offered on the first Sunday of the month after church.

For more information about the church and Unitarian Universalist beliefs take a look at the literature rack near greeter's table near the library lane door. 

We are located on the corner of Fourth and York, across from the main Library. Directions to our church can be found here. Our address is 809 South 4th Street if you care to use Google Maps, Mapquest or another web mapping site.

We enter on the Library Lane entrance, which is really in the back of the Church. Handicapped parking is available there and also a wheelchair ramp. Almost every part of First Unitarian Church is accessible to people in wheelchairs. We also have an elevator for those unable to climb stairs to access the second floor where our religious education classrooms are located.

You are welcome to wear whatever you are comfortable in. Members often describe the dress code as "business casual," but some people wear their "Sunday Best," and many wear jeans. In the summer shorts and t-shirts are a common uniform, while in the winter, sweaters and boots are likely outifts.

Children should wear comfortable clothes. They may spend time playing on the carpeted floor, or work with art supplies. Sometimes they may go outside.

Children and youth are invited and encouraged to participate fully in the Celebration of Life. Everyone age Pre-school and older will begin the service in the sanctuary at 11:00 a.m. Children Preschool thru Grade 3 will be invited during the service to attend our Children's Celebration in lieu of staying for the sermon.  Nursery care is available for infants and toddlers.

Child with parentYes. Parents and caregivers who wish to keep their children of any age in the Celebration of Life are welcome to do so.

No, we do not require a check in. You will be greeted by someone wearing a small sunflower attached to their name tag. If you would like, please help yourself to the packet of information including the current newsletter which is usually held together by a First Unitarian Church pen. This packet provides several answers to initial questions. Feel free to ask the greeters (wearing small sunflowers) any questions you have. We want you to feel welcome. We may ask you to wear a name tag, but that is your decision. A name tag often allows members to greet you during the coffee hour if you are in the social hall for coffee after the service. Also, during the Celebration of Life, a member of the Board of Trustees will invite you to the Visitor's table which is located just inside the social hall. While we would love for you to visit the table, we respect that you may prefer to attend our service in private.

We believe religion is not to be given to a person, but something to be nurtured and encouraged as a person's life unfolds. At First Unitarian Church, our religious exploration programs for all ages are based on five themes: Unitarian Universalist Identity, Jewish and Christian Heritage, Other World Religions, Social Justice and Action, and Life Issues.

Yes, almost every part of the church utilized for events or classes is accessible to people in wheelchairs. We also have an elevator for those unable to climb stairs to access the second floor where our religious education classrooms are located. Our restrooms are accessible as well.

Listening assistance devices are available and may be used anywhere in the sanctuary. Please ask a greeter to help you before the Celebration of Life service begins.

Yes. We welcome all no matter race, religion, creed, color, capability, or whom you love. We will welcome you.

No. We will welcome you at the door. We will send you our newsletter for a while, if you complete a lavender visitor's card and give it to the Board of Trustees member at the visitor's table, or one of the greeters wearing small sunflowers. We invite you to learn more about our faith at the national website, www.uua.org.

We have some mild differences of opinion. 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. We invite you to learn more about our faith at the national website, www.uua.org.

By private automobile, bicycle, public transportation or on foot. Yes, we even have a sense of humor!

We give people a place to explore and grow spiritually, even if they grow in different directions. We provide religious education for our children, so that they can make an informed choice when it comes time for them to choose a religion. We are engaged in social causes that allow us to embrace and celebrate our principles.

Picture of ChurchOur historic church, constructed in 1871, is reminiscent of English country churches built in the gothic tradition. After the 1985 fire which gutted the building, we rebuilt it to maintain as much as possible of the original church by keeping the outside stone walls, gables, and gothic arches. However, we incorporated contemporary elements of light, openness, and flexibility into the new design. We connected the main building to the Victorian Italianate house next door, purchased in the 1970s, which resulted in an interesting mix of old and new for our long-time downtown setting.

The short answer is, you become a member simply by signing the membership book, in the presence of the minister or a board member. First Unitarian is a free church; no assent to a creed or formula of faith is required.

The long answer is, we want you to join as a member only when you are ready to make a commitment to this congregation, and to Unitarian Universalism. Attend several services; learn about Unitarian Universalism by participating in the UU Roots program; make an appointment to meet with the Minister, the Shared Ministry Coordinator, and/or the Director of Religious Education. We expect that our members will be active participants in the life of the congregation, who contribute their presence, time, skills, and money.

Why on earth would you want to do all that? You do it because you know that here, you have found your religious home. You do it because you want to be a part of this covenanted community. You do it because you recognize that being a member of this congregation will enrich your life, and the lives of children and future generations.