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Author Topic: Universal Unitarian Churches  (Read 5618 times)
Gypsywitch15
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« Topic Start: June 26, 2009, 01:51:13 pm »

Has anyone been to one, or is a member of one? I am enrolling in college to pursue a degree in Religious Studies. I am also undergoing training to become an inititated Wiccan High Priestess. I have 2 options on what I can do with this degree: I can minister, OR pursue my PhD and be a college professor. I like BOTH options equally.  I very much would like to minister, but aside from starting my own coven ( which I may do further down the road), ministering at a UU church seems to be the next best thing. I have NEVER been to a service, so obviously before I make this decision I plan on attending some and getting a feel to see if I would in fact like to do something like that. I went to their website, and between that and hearing from other people, they accept all faiths. But how do they incorporate this into their services? Could an initiated Wiccan High Priestess become an ordained minister through the UUC? I haven't seen anything that says otherwise, but if their ministers are of varying faith from the congregation, how do they serve everyone? I do believe everyone is entitled to their faith and spiritual path, and that it eventually all leads to the same place, we just get there by different expierences. I suppose I am looking for 1st hand knowledge and expierence about the UUC, before I go myself and see what it is all about. Thanks!
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« Reply #1: June 26, 2009, 02:13:34 pm »

Has anyone been to one, or is a member of one? I am enrolling in college to pursue a degree in Religious Studies. I am also undergoing training to become an inititated Wiccan High Priestess. I have 2 options on what I can do with this degree: I can minister, OR pursue my PhD and be a college professor. I like BOTH options equally.  I very much would like to minister, but aside from starting my own coven ( which I may do further down the road), ministering at a UU church seems to be the next best thing. I have NEVER been to a service, so obviously before I make this decision I plan on attending some and getting a feel to see if I would in fact like to do something like that. I went to their website, and between that and hearing from other people, they accept all faiths. But how do they incorporate this into their services? Could an initiated Wiccan High Priestess become an ordained minister through the UUC? I haven't seen anything that says otherwise, but if their ministers are of varying faith from the congregation, how do they serve everyone? I do believe everyone is entitled to their faith and spiritual path, and that it eventually all leads to the same place, we just get there by different expierences. I suppose I am looking for 1st hand knowledge and expierence about the UUC, before I go myself and see what it is all about. Thanks!

I used to belong to a UU church.  With the minister who was there when I first started attending, there was a good balance kept between the varying needs of the congregation.  When he left (we couldn't afford a full time minister and he couldn't afford to continue working part time), things sort of fell apart and became polarized.  For some of that time (both with that minister and after him), I was the chair of the worship committee, and I tried to bring in a variety of guest ministers and speakers.  Sometimes that worked well, others it didn't.  Having a minister who kept that balance well made a huge difference in the tone of discussions around what we did.

So what I guess I'm saying is that it can work really well or it can not work at all.  It really depends on the makeup of the group, how the balancing of differing beliefs and spiritual needs is handled, and who sets the tone for it all, not to mention what tone they set.
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« Reply #2: June 26, 2009, 03:20:38 pm »

I went to their website, and between that and hearing from other people, they accept all faiths. But how do they incorporate this into their services? Could an initiated Wiccan High Priestess become an ordained minister through the UUC? I haven't seen anything that says otherwise, but if their ministers are of varying faith from the congregation, how do they serve everyone? I do believe everyone is entitled to their faith and spiritual path, and that it eventually all leads to the same place, we just get there by different expierences. I suppose I am looking for 1st hand knowledge and expierence about the UUC, before I go myself and see what it is all about. Thanks!

I had attended a few UU churchs, each a number of times.

Ordination is done by the individual congregation, NOT the UUA.  Ministers who have been ordained by a member congregation might then be accepted into the UUA.

You would have to find a congregation that would ordain you. 

Each congregation decides upon how things will be done.  All the congregations I've attended have had their Sunday services be very Christian light.  I've actually seen more gender inclusive language at my Jewish synagogue than at the UU Sunday services.

The pagan events were all special events, such as a Solstice or Samhain event at night. Pagans, or other non-Christian stuff was an add on, not something that was done on either a regular basis nor done at regular services.
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« Reply #3: June 26, 2009, 10:00:45 pm »

Has anyone been to one, or is a member of one?
I am a Unitarian Universalist (UU).

Quote
I am enrolling in college to pursue a degree in Religious Studies.
Most UU Ministers have a Masters, or Phd.

Quote
I am also undergoing training to become an inititated Wiccan High Priestess. I have 2 options on what I can do with this degree: I can minister, OR pursue my PhD and be a college professor. I like BOTH options equally. 
The Chaplin of my Congregation (she is an ordained Minister, also teachers at a local college).

Quote
I very much would like to minister, but aside from starting my own coven ( which I may do further down the road), ministering at a UU church seems to be the next best thing. I have NEVER been to a service, so obviously before I make this decision I plan on attending some and getting a feel to see if I would in fact like to do something like that. I went to their website, and between that and hearing from other people, they accept all faiths. But how do they incorporate this into their services?
While each Fellowship, Society, Church, Congregation is different, in Beliefs, Practices, Forms, Languages, we are one Faith. 
At my Congregation sometimes it's a judging act, while walking a tightrope. (I am on the Worship Committee).

Quote
Could an initiated Wiccan High Priestess become an ordained minister through the UUC?
For information on becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, please see the Ordination page. Link below:
http://www.uua.org/visitors/worship/ministers/6961.shtml

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I haven't seen anything that says otherwise, but if their ministers are of varying faith from the congregation, how do they serve everyone?
Try this link: http://www.uua.org/visitors/worship/ministers/index.shtml

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I do believe everyone is entitled to their faith and spiritual path, and that it eventually all leads to the same place, we just get there by different expierences. I suppose I am looking for 1st hand knowledge and expierence about the UUC, before I go myself and see what it is all about.
Thanks!
IMO, You would need to find one that fits you. Do not try to fit in, be yourself.
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« Reply #4: June 27, 2009, 09:24:28 am »

I am also undergoing training to become an inititated Wiccan High Priestess.

This site may help you get in touch with others.
 Covenant of Unitarian Universalist PaganS  http://www.cuups.org/content2/
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Jenett
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« Reply #5: June 27, 2009, 09:34:51 am »

Has anyone been to one, or is a member of one? I am enrolling in college to pursue a degree in Religious Studies. I am also undergoing training to become an inititated Wiccan High Priestess. I have 2 options on what I can do with this degree: I can minister, OR pursue my PhD and be a college professor. I like BOTH options equally. 

Been thinking about what I wanted to say to this.

One thing to keep in mind is that the focus of a traditional, coven-based Wiccan priestess and the focus of a congregational minister are *very* different in a number of ways. In one, the high priestess is a priestess among peers: she has some specific responsibilities and roles in the circle, but everyone else is expected to be actively contributing to the work of the coven, and the group over time will build up a small and specific trust in each other and in their shared methods.  This trust enables people to both work more closely together (the idea of a tightly focused group mind) and also allows the use of a number of techniques that require trusting that the other people there won't break you in the process.

In the congregational model, it's very different: the minister is doing much more of the work, and attendees may or may not be there at any given time. There (hopefully!) will be a sense of trust in the minister, and general agreement with what the congregation is focused on - but the services and ritual techniques do not require the deep emotional trust that a small intimate group can eventually grow. On the other hand, a larger congregation allows for ritual techniques that make no sense or are flatly impossible in a small group.

There's also an argument here that they're fundamentally different personality types: the person who wants to dive deeply into challenging, mystery-focused work is often not the person who's at home working with a large congregation. Different skills, different needs for introversion vs. extroversion, different personal preferences in ritual style, etc. all play a significant role here. I'm not saying they can't be combined, but there are significant challenges in doing so. (Above and beyond some things like schedule complications.)

The other thing is the UU church itself: as people have already mentioned, other than a few shared agreements, each UU church is independent. They do, however, have some common tendencies, due to historical development and the current modern reasons people seek out the UU church as opposed to some other denomination.

And, regrettably, some UU communities have had bad experiences in the past with Pagan-identified folks: in some places, Pagans tried to shift the entire congregation to their preferences (which tended to be resisted). in other cases, the Pagan in question was very flaky, and there was no follow through. Both can leave lingering bad tastes in a congregation's mouth for a *long* time, and will make congregations wary in future, unless it's handled thoughtfully. (That said, there are also UU churches with active Pagan *subgroups* who meet there, like the one Firefly described.)

I've seen many UU folks of my acquaintance give the advice to visit *every* UU church within a reasonable commute before someone settles on one (since they're often quite different in feel, focus, etc. from one another.) The same goes triple, I think, for people considering ministry. I'd also highly recommend checking out something like SUUSI (the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute - a friend of mine has gone for several years and deeply enjoys it) where you could talk to people from a wide range of congregations and perspectives.
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« Reply #6: June 27, 2009, 09:35:29 pm »

Each congregation decides upon how things will be done.  All the congregations I've attended have had their Sunday services be very Christian light.  I've actually seen more gender inclusive language at my Jewish synagogue than at the UU Sunday services.

The pagan events were all special events, such as a Solstice or Samhain event at night. Pagans, or other non-Christian stuff was an add on, not something that was done on either a regular basis nor done at regular services.

This is really surprising to me!  I have been debating (and attempting to get ready early enough!) going to my local UU church; but I thought it was more of a gathering/mixing place for people who identify with a minority religion, rather than just a Christian-lite thing.  I'm sure it's different everywhere, but could you elaborate on your experiences?  I'm very interested.
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« Reply #7: June 27, 2009, 10:43:27 pm »

This is really surprising to me!  I have been debating (and attempting to get ready early enough!) going to my local UU church; but I thought it was more of a gathering/mixing place for people who identify with a minority religion, rather than just a Christian-lite thing.  I'm sure it's different everywhere, but could you elaborate on your experiences?  I'm very interested.

The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist PaganS  website may help you: http://www.cuups.org/content2/

You may also want to take a look at the UUA website http://www.uua.org

Both the Unitarianism and Universalism originated as Christian Religions.   Beliefs and practices have changed over the years, each group (be it a Fellowship, Society or Congregation)  has its own makeup.

What language you hear and events are celebrated depends on who is in the group, the leaders (Ministers or Lay persons) perspective, also if the group is a "Welcoming Congregation" (they have gone though a program to be inclusive of LBGT persons), are they (or working to be) Multi-Cultural, Anti-Racist.

Most importantly who is speaking up when the Church calender is being put together.  How active in the church are the Non-Christians in the Group.

I am a UU. in my Congregation in some things we are very progressive, some very conservative.  Our Sunday services are under the Senior Minister's control.  Next year is already planned.  The Senior Minister and Worship Committee are concerned with Our Image and Quality of Service.

Right now we have to few in our GAIA Spirit Circle Group (GSA), to request a Sunday 11:00 AM Service. 

Although there is interest in the GSA, the congregation needs to be educated before we can move up from a very junior group (GSA is less than 5 years old, the Congregation has Committees that are 175 years old).

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« Reply #8: June 28, 2009, 07:49:07 am »

This is really surprising to me!  I have been debating (and attempting to get ready early enough!) going to my local UU church; but I thought it was more of a gathering/mixing place for people who identify with a minority religion, rather than just a Christian-lite thing.  I'm sure it's different everywhere, but could you elaborate on your experiences?  I'm very interested.

It's been about 8 years, and this is about the Sunday worship services but ...

All the Sunday worship material was drawn from broader Christian imagery sources. There was Old Testement, but interpretation was Christian, not Jewish. Definately not a pagan interpretation.

Only a couple of the congregations did Euchrist, but that could have been a timing thing at a couple of them.  Many Protestant congregations apparently don't do Euchrist every week, unlike Catholics.

Material around the church was low key Christian or politically left leaning causes. Lots of save the forests, AIDS awareness, etc.  There was concern for Lesbian / Gay issues, women's issues, anti-racist and such, but within the assumption that the people were nominially Christian or non-religious Americans. 

One congregation did have a CUUPS chapter, but it met at the same time as the regular worship service.  The CUUPS local "leadership" usually attended Sunday services rather than the CUUPS event.  They did manage to host a Winter Solstice and a Samhain event, but a) these were at night and b) didn't replace the Christmas events.   Attendance was good, but seemed to be more out of curiosity than actual interest.

 
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« Reply #9: June 28, 2009, 12:21:31 pm »

It's been about 8 years, and this is about the Sunday worship services but ... 

Thanks for the info!  I've been attending a pagan group, but hadn't actually gone to the Sunday morning services yet.  I didn't have any idea that UU started off as a Christian denomination.  This changes my expectations a little Tongue
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« Reply #10: June 28, 2009, 02:00:26 pm »

Thanks for the info!  I've been attending a pagan group, but hadn't actually gone to the Sunday morning services yet.  I didn't have any idea that UU started off as a Christian denomination.  This changes my expectations a little Tongue

somewhere they have a joke page.

What the definition of a UU?

AN atheist with children.


Apparently fully 25 percent or more of the UU population describes itself as atheist, and a fair number of the rest are agnostic. 
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« Reply #11: June 28, 2009, 04:41:34 pm »

Thanks for the info!  I've been attending a pagan group, but hadn't actually gone to the Sunday morning services yet.  I didn't have any idea that UU started off as a Christian denomination.  This changes my expectations a little Tongue

In my opinion, the places to look are the Sunday worship service and what the kids are taught.

On a technical basis, the UU are not Christian any more. There is some part of their theology that puts them outside of the Christian definition.   But, I look at what they say on Sundays and teach the kids and it's Christian based.

As for kids, I have a problem with the attitude that kids should attend Sunday school during worship services rather than attend worship services.  I think this explains why they have such a high drop out rate. Kids raised UU apparently don't stick with UU after high school. Supposedly that's one of the reasons that CUUPS was accepted, it would be a way for UU kids to do something "cool" and stay within the UU umbrella rather than joining another organization.
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« Reply #12: June 29, 2009, 08:10:41 am »

I didn't have any idea that UU started off as a Christian denomination. 

It actually started off as two Christian denominations: Universalists, whose defining belief is that everyone is saved, period, and Unitarians who rejected the belief in the Trinity and tended to see Jesus as human rather than divine.  They merged several decades ago (I want to say it was in 1961) to form Unitarian Universalism.
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« Reply #13: August 14, 2009, 02:55:50 am »

somewhere they have a joke page.

What the definition of a UU?

AN atheist with children.


Apparently fully 25 percent or more of the UU population describes itself as atheist, and a fair number of the rest are agnostic. 
I personally was raised as a UU, but my family stopped going to church when I was in High School except for going to the Christmas service each year at a different UU church.  I still think of myself as UU, but I cannot articulate what exactly UU means anymore.  I just remember it as being that there is no one right religion and all paths are equally valid.  My parents orriginally were going to raise me Jewish, but because my mother is Jewish and my father was Christan they decided to raise me UU
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« Reply #14: August 14, 2009, 08:20:51 am »

Has anyone been to one, or is a member of one? I am looking for 1st hand knowledge and expierence about the UUC, before I go myself and see what it is all about. Thanks!

The minister of the UU church to which I belong is Pagan.  Pagan holidays are celebrated, we have a drumming circle, and Pagan ideas and references are included in our services.  A group that studies feminist Pagan history (Cakes for the Queen of Heaven) meets for a series of weekly discussions  several times a year.  We also get together for full moons, etc.  It was as a result of studying with this group that I stepped from agnosticism to Paganism.  The congregation is a mixed bag of beliefs and we treat one another with respect, affection, and a light touch.

As others have said, each congregation is different. 
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