Who is welcome at the Unitarian Univeralist Fellowship of Centre County?
We welcome people of all ages, races, political beliefs, national origins, religious beliefs, differing abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identity, as well as those with differing abilities or disabilities.
What do Unitarian Universalists believe?
We believe in:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregation
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
What if I don’t believe in God? What if I do believe in God?
Our congregation is made up of many different spiritual beliefs. Some folks believe in a God or Higher Power, and some do not. Some individuals identify themselves as Christian, while most do not. Some are agnostic or Humanist. Others find inspiration in such traditions as Pagan/Earth-Centered, Buddhism or Judaism. Some of us are still trying to work out what exactly we believe. Our Fellowship is a great place to do just that! What we all share in common is our Unitarian Universalist morals and values, and our shared journey to nurture our spirit and help heal our world.
How should I dress for Sunday services?
Wear whatever you like. Some people dress up while others prefer casual clothing. Children also wear whatever they are comfortable in. Jeans are just fine, if that is what you are most comfortable in. We’re just glad you are coming to visit.
Where do I park?
There are two parking lots next to the building, including a few marked “Handicapped Only.” There is also parking at the South Hills Business School on Waupelani Drive, just a short walk to the UUFCC.
Yes. There are no steps in the building.
We have a T-coil system and are also happy to supply assistive listening devices. Please ask an usher upon arriving.
When do people arrive and what should I expect?
People start arriving for early coffee about 9:30am. Most people arrive about ten minutes before the service, often gathering in the social room to exchange greetings. We have a welcome table in our lobby. As a first time guest, you will be welcomed and asked to fill out a visitor card (if you wish) and make a nametag (if you wish). You can then get a cup of coffee or tea, browse in our library, talk with members or take a seat in the sanctuary. After the service there is a social hour where coffee, tea, juice and snacks are served and folks can engage in conversation. If you feel comfortable, we’d love for you to join us for social hour, but please do not feel pressured.
What does a typical worship service look like?
We hope that the service will be meaningful and deepen your spiritual life. Most Sunday services focus on a specific theme or topic, which will be explored more fully in the minister’s sermon. The musical selections sung by the choir or special musicians, the hymns we all sing together, readings, prayers, and opening and closing words are all chosen for their thematic relevance to the sermon.
A typical service might look like this:
- Welcome by a member of the congregation
- Music to help us center and calm ourselves for the service
- Lighting the chalice (the symbol of Unitarian Universalism)
- Congregational hymn singing
- A special message or activity for children
- Meditative reading(s)
- Sharing of joys and sorrows
- A time for prayer and silent reflection
- Musical Interlude
- Congregational hymn singing
- Closing words
Any given service may include music and readings from a variety of faith traditions. You also might hear from humanist teachings that remind us to heed the guidance of reason and science. Contemporary poetry or other readings from many sources will touch your heart and real life stories will inspire you. We also offer a chance during the service to share important moments in your life or specific cares or concerns you are holding in your heart.
Who will help me feel welcome?
Hopefully, everyone at church will share a smile with you and let you know we are so glad you came to the service. Mark Hayes (Minister) and Jean Wiant (Director of Lifespan Religious Education) will be very happy to meet you and talk with you. Volunteers at our Welcome Table are also here to help.
What is Soulful Sundown?
Soulful Sundown is an evening service that provides a quiet reflective experience with a focus on music, poetry, meditation and individual sharing. When: 1st and 3rd Sundays, 7:30 - 8:30pm, Oct-June
What kind of music do you have at the service?
We have many different kinds of music at our services, from traditional “church music” to jazz, gospel, music of other countries, blues, country, contemporary, and even a Broadway show tune from time to time. We really try to offer a wide range of music in our services. The hymns we sing as a congregation also vary in style. Some are traditional, like “Amazing Grace.” Many are more contemporary in feel.
What do you offer my children?
We love our kids—they are central to the life and programs of our congregation.
Our childcare staff cares for toddlers. Childcare is provided from 10 - 11am and from 11:30 -12:30.
Children from Kindergarten age through high school participate in classes taught by trained volunteers. The children are grouped by age.
Classes are full of activities, stories, and experiences that explore spirituality, religion, and Unitarian Universalist values. Teens participate in the Young Religious UUs Program (YRUU) which meets from 11:30 to 12:30 for sharing, planning, worship, and social justice initiatives.
If your children prefer to stay with you throughout the service, they certainly may. There are crayons and activity packets available for these youngsters. Just ask one of the greeters.
Additionally, we have a nursery where restless children may play while you listen to the service without feeling you are disturbing others. We are just happy to have you with us.
We have many family focused events and programs, from nature hikes to pot lucks to game nights. You and your children will have a blast here at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County. For more information about our children’s programming, please contact our Director of Lifespan Religious Education at (814) 237-7605 or by email.
How do I explain Unitarian Universalism to my child?
The seven Unitarian Universalist beliefs have been adapted for children:
- Each and every person is important.
- All people should be treated fairly and kindly.
- We should encourage one another and learn together.
- Everyone must be free to search for what is true and right about life.
- All persons should have a say about things that concern them.
- We work for a peaceful, fair and free world.
- We care for our planet, the home we share with all living things.
I’m an adult and I’d like to develop my spirituality and faith. What kind of programs do you offer for adults?
We offer many different programs, workshops and classes to develop your spiritual and intellectual life. Our minister and other skilled teachers facilitate a number of programs for adults. /span>
Our bi-weekly Meditation group offers you an opportunity to practice gentle meditation and there are many other opportunities to explore and deepen your spiritual life.
Check the newsletter for a full list of upcoming opportunities for you to explore your spiritual life. You may also contact our administrator in the office for more information (814) 237-7605 or by email.
How Can I Learn More About Unitarian Universalism?
- Attend a Getting to Know UU Coffee. After the Sunday service, bring your coffee & snacks to this monthly gathering to learn about the Fellowship and Unitarian Universalism in general. When: First Sundays, 11:30am – 12:15pm Location: Library.
- Attend UU101. An introduction to Unitarian Universalism and the UUFCC for people who are considering membership in the Fellowship. It is an opportunity to explore what it means to be a UU, to share beliefs, and meet other people. This program is held twice-yearly on a Saturday morning.
What is Small Group Ministry?
Small Group Ministry is a program of connection and community, fostering the deepening of spirituality and self-discovery. Small Group Ministry groups meet once a month in member's homes and each group has 8-10 members facilitated by a trained leader. The groups are a great way to make new friends and strengthen connections. A Small Group Ministry is a safe place to explore spiritual questions through everyday life experiences. You can join a Small Group Ministry anytime. Just contact our Minister at (814) 237-7605 or by email
I care about social justice and want to help make the world a better place—will you help me do this?
Unitarian Universalists have a long history of involvement in social justice causes. Abolition of slavery, women’s rights, health care, marriage equality, immigration reform, environmental justice, ethical eating, and education for the poor have been some of the movements on which Unitarians and Universalists have actively and courageously campaigned. Although you may find the members of our church walking many spiritual paths, we all believe that “deeds are more important than creeds.” Through our social justice initiatives we involve ourselves in the local community and beyond, finding many ways to create a better and more just world.
Here are a few examples:
- Meals for Centre House
- Freedom Seder, annually
- Annual Justice Project (for example, New Orleans, West Virginia, Puerto Rico)
- Crop Walk, annually
- Watershed Cleanup Day, annually
These are just a few of the social action endeavors that we have supported with our hearts, our time, our hands, and our spirits.
How do I find out how to get involved in some of the Social Action or Social Justice activities you offer?
Look at our web site, or read our newsletter, or come to a Social Action Committee meeting on the second Sunday of the month at 11:30am. her. We are all ready and eager to have you join with us to help make the world a more just and gentle place.
Does your congregation have fun?
There are so many ways to get to know others and to make friends at the Fellowship. There are so many ways to get to know others and to make friends at the Fellowship. There is the coffee hour before and after the Sunday service. Most Wednesdays we have a pot-luck dinner, sometimes followed by board games or other activities. Dinner Club meets monthly hosted by individual families. There is a twice-monthly conversation time on Fridays (TGIF) from 5:30-7pm hosted by individuals. There’s a women's book club, Diving Deep and a book group for all, Shallow End of the Pond. You can join us for a coffee house or talent show, a folk concert or a swing dance or an auction. Opportunities abound to meet and mingle with members and friends of the community.
I’d like to learn a bit more about the UUFCC. Is there a simple way to do that?
Yes! Our minister would be delighted to meet with you (just email). You are also invited to join our minister and volunteers from the Membership Committee for a 30-minute introduction to Unitarian Universalism and the fellowship at a Getting to Know UU Coffee. We offer these short introductions on the first Sunday of the month at 11:30am (after the service).
Who is your minister and what does he do?
Reverend Gabi Parks is the spiritual leader of the UUFCC. She is present most Sundays to lead the Sunday service and greet you. She also has office hours during the week (Sept to June).
Gabi is a engaging teacher who may lead an adult enrichment class that interests you or work along side you at a social action outing. When you have a chance to visit us again, make sure you pick up a past sermon or two in the library during coffee hour. If you have questions about your spiritual life, the Fellowship, or are experiencing a time of challenge or transition, Gabi will always make the time for a conversation or pastoral counseling. Just email her to make an appointment, or call the office at 814-237-7605.
Will I be pressured to join the UUFCC?
While visitors are always welcomed, no one is ever pressured to join the congregation. Many people enjoy attending the church as “friends” before making the commitment to membership.
What if I like what I find here and want to become a member?
Becoming a member of the Fellowship is a meaningful decision. It carries certain responsibilities including the expectation that you will participate in activities and programs, that you will share your talents with us by volunteering to be part of a Hospitality Team, and offer your financial support through a yearly financial commitment.
Several times a year, our minister and the Membership Committee offers the class “UU 101” This is a chance to learn about our Unitarian Universalist history and beliefs, as well as what it means to be a member of the congregation. We encourage everyone who is exploring our fellowship to attend one of these sessions. You will have fun and get to meet other people who are new.
What if I have more questions?
We are always here to answer or return your call, email, or smile at you should you walk in. You can email the office or call at (814) 237-7605.
With so much going on, how do I make sure I don’t miss something?
The best way to know what is going on is through our newsletter and enews. These will provide you with a full description of upcoming services, classes, and events. To subscribe, contact the Fellowship Office. (814) 237-7605 or email.
What are your office hours?
The Fellowship Office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Summer hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day) are 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.