Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

Welcome, Visitors!

We hope these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will answer your questions, but if they don’t, please contact us – see details at the Contact Us tab above. If you email us, please put FAQs in the subject line, so we’ll know what’s missing from these pages. Thank you for helping us to welcome visitors like you!

UUCNC is a Welcoming Congregation; select Activities (link at left), then the Social Action page (link will appear at left) for more information about how the designation underscores our commitment as a congregation to increasing our welcome of people with marginalized sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

How can I find out more about Unitarian Universalism before I visit to see if it’s right for me?

Want to “try us on” before your first visit? Try this fun self-assessment tool, view some videos, or read about Unitarian Universalism at the Our Faith tab above.

Each UU congregation has a different personality, and worship services differ from week to week within a single congregation. Give us a try, and see if it’s a good fit. Pick up our newsletter at a Sunday service, and read about what our congregation has to offer. If you visit a few times, and you’re still not sure, arrange to speak with any board member. We’re eager to help you in your journey of discovery!

What can I expect at a Sunday service?

Our services celebrate life, as well as acknowledging the struggles we encounter personally and in our larger world. They honor and use as a guide a variety of spiritual understandings and traditions, including earth-based, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, humanist, and other world religions. Worship services tend to follow a traditional Protestant format with readings from a variety of spiritual sources, singing, and a sermon based on a variety of topics and drawing from a range of spiritual traditions — although we do have services that are an exception to this, such as our annual music service.

Children come with their parents, grandparents and guardians for the first part of the service, and there is a story for them during this time. Loving care is provided for children under age 5 at any time during the service; parents are welcome in the nursery. If the nursery does not fit your needs, there are borrow bags available to help quietly entertain young ones. In them, you will find soft toys and books for during the service.

Religious Exploration (R.E.) classes are offered for school-aged children during the majority of the service. Occasional intergenerational services invite children of all ages to participate in the entire worship service; on these mornings there are no R.E. classes, but child care is always offered for younger children.

Registration forms for R.E. classes are available each Sunday on the back table or by contacting Cynthia Littleton, RE Committee Chair.

I would like to visit a Sunday service. What should I wear?

As one of our sister congregations advises, wear what makes you happy, comfortable and would not get you arrested if you were on the street. This applies to all our events and services. Dress up, if you like, or not. It’s up to you. On a given Sunday morning, you might find some men in sport coats and slacks, others in shirt sleeves or sweaters and blue jeans. Many women wear slacks, but some are more comfortable in skirts or casual dresses. Children, please “dress for mess.” We want our youngsters to explore without concern for dirtying or damaging something special.

Where do I park?

See the Contact Us tab above for complete driving and parking information, as well as maps.

After I visit, how can I become more connected and involved?

Small Affinity Groups are one way to strengthen our community as the congregation grows in size. These are usually centered around a specific interest, such as women’s spirituality, men’s spirituality, creative writing, even motorcycle riding! In warm weather, the EarthWorks action group cleans the Lake Erie beach at Pt. Gratiot in Dunkirk. Affinity Groups sometimes meet in the homes of our congregants. They’re a good place to better get to know others. Visitors and new attenders are welcome, as are suggestions for new Affinity Groups.

Spiritual Exploration classes for adults are another opportunity to get to know others in the congregation. Our consulting minister or a member of the congregation may lead a single-session workshop or a course that meets for several weeks. Sometimes there is homework: a chapter to read or a writing assignment. Usually participants are asked to pre-register for Spiritual Exploration classes, so that enough books can be ordered or sufficient printed materials prepared. Participants may be asked to purchase a book; some copies may be available for loan.

Orientation classes, such as An Introduction To Our Faith and Our Congregation, are offered several times each year. Newcomers and longtime attenders alike enjoy learning more about Unitarian Universalism as a faith tradition, and also about this congregation. We get to know each other better by briefly sharing a bit about our personal religious paths as part of these orientation classes.

Much of the work of our congregation is accomplished through committees, which meet to discuss, plan, and reflect. All who are interested are welcome to become part of committees. Consider participating on a committee as a way of sharing your unique experiences, needs and gifts, as together we build, among and beyond ourselves, a caring and compassionate community. Please indicate your interest to the committee chair or a member of the Executive Board, or use the Contact Us tab above to express your interest and request that your inquiry be forwarded to the appropriate committee chair or representative.

The monthly newsletter, weekly printed and oral announcements, and the News & Events tab above will give you more information about each opportunity. Sign up and pitch in: On Sunday mornings, see sign-up sheets on the “back table” for many ways to get involved. Still not sure? Ask someone standing near the “back table,” or use the Contact Us tab above to ask for details.