Frequently Asked Questions

What to Expect on Your First Visit

  • What is the dress code?

    • Dress is casual. Jeans and a casual shirt are fine. Some people dress more formally, so you can too, if you want. Summers, you quite often find shorts.
  • What should the kids wear?

    • Something they can play in.

Parking

  • There is plenty of parking and our church is handicapped accessible.

Prior to the Service

  • Although our service does not start until 10:30, people begin arriving as early as 10:00. As you enter our building, you will be met by a Greeter who hands out the Order of Service and greets new visitors. There is a table with several pamphlets and other reading materials. We encourage visitors to stop at the welcome table to get a name tag, and fill out a visitor's card and pick up a visitor's packet.

The Service

  • Our service starts promptly at 10:30 with the ringing of the bell, usually by one or more of the children. The service begins with the lighting of a chalice, the primary symbol of Unitarian Universalism and a reading. Our service is conducted by either a lay-person from the Fellowship or a guest speaker or minister.  We Sing Out the Children as they leave for Children's and Youth Religious Exploration May through September and supervised play during the summer months.
  • In order to help members and friends recognize and welcome our visitors, each week as part of our welcome, we set aside time during the service for visitors to stand and introduce themselves as they feel comfortable. However, no one should feel pressured to participate in this activity.
  • Before the sermon, we have a time for announcements and/or reminders of church and community events; sharing of Joys and Concerns by dropping pebbles into communal water bowl. Other parts of our service may include: singing hymns, special music, readings, receiving of an offering, the sermon, children's story, and meditation, or silent reflection.
  • We stand for hymns. The minister or service leader will always ask the congregation to stand and to be seated. You don't have to worry about knowing when to stand or sit. We don't genuflect. We don't kneel to pray. You can sit towards the back, watch what other people do, sand fit right in.
  • After the sermon, there is time set aside for Community Dialogue. Some of the topics raised at Sunday services raise questions, concerns, interest or ire that people feel they must express. To facilitate this, many of our services end with a "talk-back" session, in which the congregation has the chance to discuss these issues with the presenters.
  • Immediately after the service, around 11:40, the service ends and we gather for coffee. Visitors are invited to stay and get to know us and let us know you. On the first Sunday of each month, we bring a dish to share for potluck.

    Someone will probably ask you where you are from, if you've been here in  the Shenandoah Valley long, and what drew you to our congregation. We're not trying to be nosy or put you through an inqusition; it's our way of being friendly. If you stand in front of the refreshment table, someone else may ask you to move before you get trampled. That is our attempt at gentle humor. We're not pushy. No one will ask you to join the first time you visit.

Other Questions You Might Have?

  • Does HUU hold services during the Summer?
    • Services begin at 10:30 AM EVERY Sunday except when cancelled for inclement weather. A notice is posted on the front page of our site if a service is cancelled.
  • Do I have to be a member to participate in activities or join committees?
    • No. You must be a Member to serve on our Board, of course, but we have non-members involved with our  committees. It is our hope, of course, that anyone who supports us enough to work on a committee will want to join us as a member.
  • If you have other questions, please feel free to contact us and we'll try an answer them. Or stop by any Sunday morning and attend one of our services.