Frequently Asked Questions

What happens at a Unitarian Universalist Service?

While there is no set order, you’ll typically experience some combination of the following on Sunday:

Welcome: Opening words
Chalice Lighting: Lighting a Flaming Chalice with a brief reading
Land Acknowledgement: A call to truth, reconciliation, and healing in community
Music: Participatory singing, hymns, contemporary songs, and/or music for reflection
Readings: Wisdom from various sources
Joys, Sorrow, & Complex Truths: Invitation to briefly share important news in community
Meditation: Moment of prayer and/or silent contemplation
A reflection or sermon by a lay leader, ordained minister, or an outside speaker
Brief spoken community announcements
An offering to support the work of the congregation and non-profit community partners
Coffee Hour: Invitation to socialize and connect after the service

What texts or teachings do you use? Do you read from the Bible?

We might sometimes reference the bible in our services, but we are just as likely to reflect on many other texts and teachings, from the Dharma of the Buddha; the poetry of Rumi and Mary Oliver; the latest revelations of science; social media posts and viral videos from social justice activists; or the lyrics of the latest pop song. We also draw inspiration from our own individual and collective life experience.

What’s the deal with the chalice?

Most UU services and meetings begin with the lighting of a chalice as a grounding ritual. The flame within a cup or bowl is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism, and it’s reminiscent of both ancient temple lamps as well as ritual blessing cups, and was first used by Unitarians working to help refugees during WWII. Today we have many different interpretations of the flaming chalice, such as the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope.

Do UU’s believe anything they want?

We honour and affirm the unique wisdom, life experience, and truths that each of us brings to community. We affirm that we all learn, grow, and make meaning of life by sharing our journeys in community.

We also affirm the importance of the responsible search for truth and meaning. This means that our diverse beliefs are most powerful when they move us towards empathy, compassion, and ultimately must move us to build a more just and loving world for everyone.

What do UU’s mean when they talk about covenant?

Covenant is a term with biblical roots that originally described the process of people making, breaking, and renewing their promises to each other and to the divine. When UUs use it today, it is our reminder that we need each other; that we’re imperfect; that the world is always asking us to grow and change; and that the process of practicing right relationship is more important than the pursuit of perfection, purity, or proper beliefs.

Is there music?

Music is a very important part of our UUCH community life. Not only do we offer a variety of different styles and opportunities for music in our Sunday services, but there are several other ways we share our enjoyment of music throughout the year.

What should I wear when I attend?

Clothes please.

We want you to be yourself! Clad in pleated kilt, pressed trousers, patched denim, comfy sweats, or cargo shorts just wear something. Unless of course you’re on Zoom, where pants are still somewhat optional (just watch where your camera is pointed).