Frequently Asked Questions
Here we will do our best to answer your questions, about Unitarian Universalism, theology, how things happen around here at the Fellowship, or anything else you want to know. If you have a question, email FAQ@fvuuf.org.
There’s always a lot going on here at the Fellowship, and it’s hard to keep it all straight. One of the benefits of a large, vibrant and diverse congregation is that there will be lots of options for you to choose from. The downside is that you won’t be able to do them all and you might not even be aware of every single thing going on! That’s ok. The #1 way to find out what’s going on is to read the Weekly Scroll email newsletter that comes out on Thursdays of each week. If you’re not on that list, reach out to our secretary at email@example.com. Regular attendance at services, reading the Congregational Life Guide (which can be picked up at the table in the Fellowship’s lobby), following our Facebook page or Connections at a Distance Facebook group are also good ways to keep in touch.
One of the best ways to get connected at the Fellowship is to join a small group, participate in a journey group, or to serve on a committee or team. Talk to our Engagement Team about joining a small group or journey group!
Do you like to cook? Want to help out at a service? We have many committees and teams that can use your skills and time! Some of our committees and teams have a skill requirement, or we might be in need of a balance of demographics, or length of participation at the Fellowship, so talk to a staff person to learn where your interests might serve the needs of the Fellowship.
Are you interested in learning more about leadership at the Fellowship? Staff or leaders will often invite people to join in leadership. The best way to express your interest is to talk to a member of our staff or our Leadership Development Committee (LDC) or to take one of the LDC classes to help you learn more about what leadership looks like at the Fellowship and what opportunities exist.
One of the most important things we do as a Fellowship is support people in times of crisis, struggle or need. Our ministers and care team are here for you and we want to help, but we can’t help if we don’t know. Please reach out to our ministers by calling the Fellowship office at 920-731-0849 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Our ministers also have access to a special fund to help with moderate one-time or short-term financial needs for people in our circle of care.
For ongoing support or just to check-in, we might have one of our wonderful, trained lay members of the Care Team reach out to you.
To share your joys, concerns or transitions, contact anyone on our staff or fill out the Joys and Concerns form on our website. If you indicate your permission, those will be shared out loud in our Sunday service and in our weekly Joys and Concerns email. If you want to be added to that email distribution list, contact email@example.com.
One of the most important things we can do for each other, and our Principles for a Healthy Congregation reiterate this, is to offer constructive feedback in an open and honest way, and to be open to dialogue. The ministers and staff are always available if you want to call, email, or make an appointment to discuss something that you love, or something you want to see changed at the Fellowship. Additionally, the Healthy Congregation Team (HCT) has had the Feedback Form process in effect for a few years– any feedback submitted on paper forms (found in the hallway with the bulletin boards near the kitchen in the Fellowship) or online, will be reviewed by the members HCT and shared as appropriate with staff. The Fellowship is unable to respond to anonymous feedback.
A commitment to creating justice in our wider community has been a part of Unitarianism and Universalism since the 1800s, and Unitarian Universalism from our beginning in the 1960s. UU’s were active in the civil rights movement and have been on the forefront of gender and sexual equality, abortion rights, marriage equality, and voting rights.
We have Justice Action Ministry teams (JAMs) that focus on different issues of social justice– Find out what’s going on with our JAMs and in our wider community and how to get involved by viewing the Justice Hub in our Weekly Scroll email or on our website.
Essentials – food and shelter for all.
ESTHER – connecting us to our local interfaith community organizing group.
Green Sanctuary – environmental and climate justice.
Immigration Justice – supporting local immigrants and asylum-seekers in the spirit of our commitment to being a Sanctuary Congregation.
Partner Church – connecting us to our international UU partner congregations in the Philippines and Romania.
All of our JAMs are finding ways to partner with organizations in the community, create relationships with marginalized communities, and further our collective work to dismantle systems of racism and white supremacy culture.
If you want to start a new JAM, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Our Fellowship is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association which, through its Side With Love campaign has a stated commitment to the following justice issues: Climate Justice, Decriminalization, Electoral Justice, and LGBTQIA+ and Gender Justice.
Congregational Response has long been a practice at the Fellowship, in which people in attendance at a Sunday service were invited near the end of the service to share their own thoughts. For many, it was a beloved tradition. For some, it was neutral or uncomfortable. For others, especially people with marginalized identities, it was an ongoing risk or source of harm, embedded in the otherwise comforting space of worship.
From Christina’s first weeks here at the Fellowship, we have been informed by People of Color that of all the things that were difficult for them to manage in this predominantly white congregation, Congregational Response was the hardest. For our well-intended white (cisgender, straight, or otherwise majority-culture) members, it might be hard to understand that experience, but please know that we heard it a lot and trusted their feedback. To listen to a Sunday service from 2020 in which this was named by a BIPOC (former) Fellowship member, click here.
In the past, when Congregational Response was good– it was really good! However, when it was awkward or harmful, it was really awkward or harmful. If you’ve been around a long time, you could look past that awkwardness. If you were new, or tired of microaggressions, it was not so easy to do that. When the pandemic began and we shifted to Zoom, Congregational Response would have been very unwieldy. We experimented with different breakout room conversations and found that the majority of people appreciated either a moderated discussion or they opted out altogether.
We would like to think more about how to offer a similar experience that provides the parts we love in ways that reduce the potential for harm. One important aspect is to allow people the opportunity to opt-in, or out, of the experience. We are open to your suggestions!
If you are new, or simply want to learn more about our faith tradition, our ministers would love to talk to you and answer any questions you have. Services often address topics of UU history, theology and practice. This service from summer 2021 includes a lot of basic information about UU identity! We also offer small groups, classes and other programs that help you learn more about Unitarian Universalism. Click the “Connect With Us” tab on our website to find current offerings. Additionally, check out the Unitarian Universalism page of our website, or the resources linked at the bottom of our Welcome to the Fellowship page on our website for more information!