Rev. Darcy Baxter
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Why I Joined
A liberal religious voice in the Central
Valley since 1953.
This page answers general questions about Unitarian Universalism.
We have a second page that answers
specific questions about visiting our church.
There is some overlap.
Are you "the church that doesn't believe in anything"?
No. We believe in many things, among them the worth and dignity of
every person. We don't all believe the same thing about the nature
of God. This annoys, amuses and confuses Protestants, Catholics
and Jews alike. We have four pages about
Will I be welcome?
Yes. We mean that welcoming
statement on the Home page. Over the years UUF SC has had members
who were rich and poor, black and white, young and old, walking and
wheeling, straight, lesbian and gay. We have had people of different
heritages; Hispanic, Hmong and Huguenot to name a few. We've had
doctors, lawyers, carpenters, teachers, newspaper editors, computer
programmers, unemployed people, house wives, house husbands, students
and retired people. We welcomed them all. We will welcome you.
Will I be welcome even if I'm gay or lesbian?
Yes. Our denomination is famous for welcoming people of different
sexual orientation. A few of UUFSC's members are gay or lesbian.
We didn't do an exact count for the FAQ page. Two of our most
faithful members are lesbians. They help out with the Buildings
and Grounds Committee work days and make great dishes for the
potlucks. One sings like an angel and the other is smart enough
to hum along softly. We are lucky to have them.
Will I be pressured to join or to be saved?
No. In fact, people sometimes think we are being aloof because we don't
approach our visitors as if we were selling used cars. We'll welcome you
at the door. We'll send you our newsletter for a while, if you ask for it.
We'd be happy to have you join us, but we won't try to push ourselves
onto you. We won't pressure you to be saved, either. We don't believe
in salvation by grace. That is where the "Universalist" part of
"Unitarian Universalist" comes in. You can read more about
our beliefs or a personal anecdote about
What goes on during the worship services?
We usually have hymns, readings and a sermon, much like a liberal
protestant church. Here is a typical item-by-item
Order of Service, if you are still curious.
Does your denomination have diverse beliefs?
We have some mild differences of opinion. Most of us started out as
Jewish, Catholic or Protestant. Some of us are still Christian or
Jewish. 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 asked our
congregation members to answer the question "What do you believe?" in
30 words or less. You can see the responses on our
You may also enjoy
The Morality of Atheism, by one of our atheists;
Zen, UU and Me, by one of our Buddhists, or
Sacred Ground, our earth-based spirituality group.
How can an agnostic go to church?
By private automobile, bicycle or on foot.
Seriously, this is one of the things about us that puzzles people.
Why would an agnostic (atheist, humanist...) go to church? We give
people a place to explore and grow spiritually. We teach their children
to respect all religions. We give people a chance to work for social
justice in a group. An agnostic working alone would have a hard time
feeding 120 homeless people. We have a team of two dozen who do it
in 8 hours. Finally, there is the social aspect. Even agnostics like
Are you related to the Unity or Universal Life churches?
No, other than the fact our names all start with "Uni". Unity is a
liberal Christian church. We are liberal too, but few of us are
Christian. Universal Life has their International Headquarters in
Modesto, but they are 8 miles south of us. We have links to both
on our Links page as a courtesy.
Is Unitarian Universalism a cult?
No. Cults have five hallmarks, according to the dictionary; they are
small, unconventional, relatively new, they have a single, charismatic
leader, and a single mindset. We're small and unconventional, but the
similarities ends there. We have been around for 200 years. President
John Adams and his son, President John Quincy Adams, were Unitarians.
Clara Barton was a Universalist. We elect our leader every four years.
Sometimes we elect a person with charisma, sometimes we don't. Some of us
believe in God, some don't. That isn't a "single mindset". We are
not a mainline protestant denomination, but we are not a cult.
Read a related anecdote, about someone who thought
Barry Goldwater was a communist, if you like.
Did you ordain Carson Kressley, star of
"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"?
No. He meant the Universal Life Church.
Where can I learn more?
Start with our
our Beliefs page.
It has four sections and seven links, for much further reading.