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Unitarians


smellincoffee
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I've never been to a Unitarian church, although the impression I have about them is that they are very progressive and very liberal. I read on Wikipedia that humanists constitute a large portion of their ranks, and so once I leave my parents' house, I've considered going to one of their services, out of curiosity. Of course, even if I feel comfortable there, I doubt I'll make it a habit -- I'd much rather spend MY Sunday listening to NPR.

 

Has anyone here been to a Unitarian service? What's it like?

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Every church is different. I go to a local Unitarian church, once or twice a month. I haven't gotten terribly involved. This church still basically follows a protestant church service, without all the references to Jesus. At the beginning there is an open inspirational statement, then they light the chalice, which is the symbol of Unitarian-Universalism. We have announcements, there are songs ( the Unitarian "hymnal" contains tunes and readings from different traditions, and some focusing on humanity and nature, not God). We have what is called "the sharing of joys and concerns", which is a replacement for prayer requests, where people come forward and light a candle if they wish. The minister then gives a sermon, which I guarentee is much more thoughtful and interesting than one spouting Christian propaganda. It can be on almost any topic, any religion, any concern. After this, there is of course, the passing of the plate, but there's no pressure to put money in. I was told that at one time, they would actually have a Q&A time regarding the sermon topic afterwards, but this was before I attended. I'm not sure why it was changed; I would think that hearing many different veiwpoints from the listeners would be more enlightening. My congregation is a mixture of secular humanists, atheists, agnostics, pagans, some with interest in oriental religions, and a few who might still call themselves Christians, though they would be extremely liberal and universalist ones. Other UU churchs may have different formats depending on the interests of the congregation. You would just have to try one near you to see if it's a "fit" for you.

 

I enjoy NPR too...and this reminds me that it's time to send in a donations!

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I don't actually own a membership, but I buy things from the shop. CDs from "This American Life" are my favorite thing to buy. There is a Unitarian church in my town, which I've ridden by countless times. It's called "The Fathers of St. Edmund", although my casual Google searches haven't quite figured out what that mean yet.

 

What are some recent sermon topics at your church?

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What are some recent sermon topics at your church?

Over the summer, services are lay-led because the minister takes a sabbatical. We've had several people talk on trips they've taken to other countries, their own personal beliefs or non-beliefs, justice issues, etc. Now that it's September the church is back into a normal routine, but I haven't attended yet this month! I plan to go this Sunday. The minister's sermons can be on anything from different religions, to peace and justice in the world, to Unitarian history, to holiday themes...if you want to read a sample of sermons, here's a page of them: http://users.michiana.org/unita/sermons/index.html

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Thanks! I'm reading through them. Question, though:

 

Are these sentiments tolerable to us? If Mr. Twain were to sign a pledge card and join us on Sunday mornings...

 

What's a pledge card?

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What's a pledge card?

That's only if you wish to contribute financially on a regular basis. Members make a pledge of a certain dollar amount for the year; this aids the church in planning the budget. I'm not a member, but since I've been going there for 4 years, I made a pledge. This was totally of my own free will, I might add. The Unitarians are not like the Christians in putting heavy pressure on anyone to give money.

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I used to attend a Unitarian fellowship, probably still would if I hadn't moved and if the time worked better for me.

 

The fellowship I attached myself to invited a speaker every week, some professors, a lot of activists, and the occasional religious leader. There was a little of the service structure left, with a song or two (unitarians are notoriously bad singers) and a bit of a message about UU principles in the introduction, but for the most part it was a discussion of an issue, political or social, and often these would lead to some sort of volunteer commitment, letter writing, someone doing further research for another week, or something like that.

 

Not everyone agreed with each other politically, but it was a big deal with this fellowship for people to be informed, to discuss, and to be active.

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