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Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County

General Questions About Unitarian Universalism


Unitarian Universalists - The UnCommon Denomination. UUA

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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 our beliefs.

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 pressure.

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 Beliefs page.
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 potlucks.

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. Read more.

Where can I learn more?
Start with our our Beliefs page. It has four sections and seven links, for much further reading.


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County

2172 Kiernan Avenue
Modesto, California     See a map
(209) 545-1837

We have no mail service on Kiernan; please use:
PO Box 1000
Salida, CA 95368

Questions about our fellowship? Go to our Staff Page for all the e-mail addresses you'll need.
Broken links, typos, navigation problems? Write to Ted Pack, our web master.

We are a liberal church and the only UU congregation in Stanislaus county. We serve Ceres, Denair, Escalon, Hickman, Hughson, Keyes, Manteca, Modesto, Oakdale, Patterson, Ripon, Riverbank, Salida, Turlock and Waterford. We welcome Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Deists, Free-thinkers, Humanists, Jews, Pagans, Theists, Wiccans, and those who seek their own spiritual path. We welcome people without regard to race, physical ability, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Visits since April 17, 1999
Page updated: June 17, 2014