Visitor’s Guide

Welcome, and thank you for visiting the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa (UUCSR) website.  Please come by and let us welcome you personally!  Here are the directions to our church, including where to park.

With this overview, we hope to give you a good idea of what to expect on your first visit, and extend this warm invitation to participate in congregation life.

First Steps

Membership

A Different Kind of Faith

Our congregation exists to help people live lives of meaning and purpose. Our mission is to celebrate life, empower people, care for one another and help build a better world. We believe that engagement with a religious community can transform lives, and we invite you to join in that effort.

This is not a place that will tell you what to believe, but we will help you uncover your own deepest intentions and understandings and to put them into action. We don’t fear doubt or questioning — instead we acknowledge it as necessary to an authentic life of faith. One of our greatest teachers once said that “we need not think alike to love alike.” Thus among our membership you will find Christians, Buddhists, deists, theists, atheists, pagans, humanists and more, all freely searching for truth and meaning while striving to build a caring community. We are more concerned with putting heaven into people now, rather than getting people into heaven later.

Our centuries-old religious tradition is liberal, dedicated to freedom of conscience and humanist ethics. Our approach to religious questions is rational, with an embrace of science accompanying a profound respect for the wisdom of all the world’s spiritual traditions. Our worship is intended to inspire personal transformation and a commitment to social justice. Our most valued principles are the affirmation of the inherent worth and dignity of all people and an awareness that all things in the Universe are bound in an intimately connected web.

You can learn more about our faith from our Our Principles and Frequently Asked Questions.

Worship & Socialize

The best way to learn about us is to worship with us. The first Sunday service begins at 9:15am and the later service starts at 11:00am (One service at 10:00am Summer). Religious education for children and youth also begins at 9:15am (10:00am Summer). There is child care during the 9:15am (10:00am Summer) service only.

Dress for worship and all other events is casual. We want you to be as comfortable here as we are!

Both services are followed by refreshments, conversation, and fellowship. On sunny days, the children love to use this time to play in the safety of our courtyard. Adults enjoy the chance to relax in the courtyard’s comfortable lounge chairs under umbrellas and trees.

Meet & Participate

There are many ways to connect with members and your fellow visitors. Be sure to pick up a copy of our monthly newsletter, UU Update, which details the many activities happening each month. The newsletter is always available to pickup from our lobby or download from our website. You can also contact our office to request an email subscription.

You’ll also find many upcoming events listed in our online calendar, in the Order of Service provided at Sunday worship, and our lobby posters. Our many events include those of our vibrant arts and culture ministry, the Glaser Center.

Explore Membership

In support of newcomers’ quest for knowledge, we offer frequent opportunities during which you can get to know us and our faith. Sign-up lists are available at the Visitors Table each Sunday.

Getting to Know UU:

Learning about our faith is an important part of determining whether UUCSR is the right place to continue your search for a spiritual community. This 3-hour group exploration event features a deeper exploration of our denomination’s history and theology, and a more comprehensive introduction to the life of this congregation. While there is no requirement that participants join the congregation, many do think of it as one of the events that inspired them to join in community life here at UUCSR.

Path To Membership

Our congregation exists to help people live lives of meaning and purpose. After getting to know us better and participating in congregational life for a significant period, we sincerely hope that you will consider becoming a member and traveling with us into the far future.

Why Become a Member of the UU Congregation Santa Rosa?

Membership enables you to put down roots in our community as well as make a more personal commitment to congregational life. Members shape UUCSR programs and activities through their votes, team leadership and financial support of our work.

Membership also enables you to…

  • Share in a long, liberal tradition of reason and tolerance, of hope and liberation.
  • Help to build a supportive community that eases our loneliness, opens our hearts and changes our lives.
  • Join your strength with others to create a more just society.

How to Determine Whether Membership is Right for You

  • Attend several services. We recommend at least six.
  • Participate in congregational life! Join a team or discussion group, attend Adult Religious Education (ARE) classes, meditate with us or simply volunteer some time and work with us. Opportunities to participate can be found in the blue “What Can You Do at UU” brochure.
  • Request a Welcome Packet (from the Welcome Table) to learn about our faith and faith practices.
  • Explore our website and that of the Unitarian Universalist Association to learn more about our roots and our current practices.

Taking the Final Step (Becoming a Member)

The Congregation promotes the full participation of all members in its activities and in the full range of human endeavor, without regard to race, color, gender, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, age, or national origin, and without requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion, or to any particular religious belief or creed.

Eligibility

Any person who meets the following qualifications, as certified by the Membership Committee or other delegate of the Board of Trustees, may become a general member of this Congregation and will be included in the annual Membership Certification:

  • Is sixteen years of age or older (unless requesting Youth membership)
  • Is in sympathy with the purposes, goals and programs of this organization
  • Has met with the Minister or, in the long-term absence of the Minister, with a delegate of the Board of Trustees
  • Has attended a Getting to Know UU orientation class (see below)
  • Participates in Congregation activities
  • Makes an annual recorded contribution of financial support

Final Steps

Attend a Getting to Know UU (Unitarian Universalism) Session

This popular and informative newcomer orientation is held on a Saturday morning several times a year.  Dates and sign up sheets are at the Welcome Table on Sundays.   The three-hour session features a deep exploration of our history and theology as well as a comprehensive introduction to the life of the congregation.

Submit a Membership Application

The Membership Application signals your intent to participate both personally and financially in our congregation. It also provides the Administrator with contact information for our private member directory and routine congregational mailings. Applications are available at the Getting to Know UU session, from the congregation office and on Sundays at the Welcome Table in the Social Hall.

Meet with the Minister

After your Membership Application has been received, we will contact you to arrange an appointment with Rev. Chris Bell.  This is an opportunity for our Minister to get to know you and for you to know him better.  It is also your opportunity to ask any outstanding questions before you take the final step to membership.

Determine Your Financial Commitment to the Congregation

A member of the Financial Stewardship team will meet with you privately to explain the ways that our members’ monetary contributions support the congregation, our building and our work. Members contribute at a variety of levels, in keeping with their families’ generosity and ability.

Attend a New Member Reception and Ceremony

New Member Ceremonies are held several times a year during the 11:00am worship service.  A welcoming reception is held before service.  You will be invited to join the ceremony after all the steps on The Path to Membership are completed.  During the ceremony you will be invited onto the chancel to be recognized by the congregation, to share your commitment to Unitarian Universalism, and to sign our membership book.  The book is a treasured document that records all our members’ names from the date our congregation was founded in 1953.  As you add your name to it, you are joined to our history and become part of our bridge to the future.  Your membership formally begins on the date you sign the membership book. 

Still Have a Question?

We invite you to stop by the Welcome Table before or after any Sunday worship, or contact our office.