Even when newcomers feel welcome, many may have questions during a first visit. Here are a few that we frequently hear:
Why is there a Star of David on the front of your church?
Prior to UUCGB purchasing this building in 2012, it was a Jewish Temple for many years. We are carefully contemplating any major changes we may make to the building while we determine exactly how we will accomplish them. Meanwhile, we are comfortable with the iconography of Judaism as it is one of the many religions from which we draw inspiration.
Wasn’t Your Church At Another Location?
This building is the third building UUCGB has owned in its 177 year history. We occupied a traditional, historic church on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport for many years, hence our name, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Bridgeport. After relocating to Stratford in 1961, our church was on Chapel Street.
What can I expect when I attend my first Sunday service at UUCGB?
Greeters will welcome you and give you a printed guide for your participation in the service. Components of our Order of Service usually include opening words, the lighting of our Chalice which is the symbol of our faith, a hand-to-hand exchange of welcome, the voluntary sharing of joys and concerns (candle lighting), several hymns and/or responsive readings from our UU hymnal, a sermon or homily, an offertory collection, and the extinguishing of our Chalice.
This is the typical structure of our services at UUCGB, but themes and content can differ widely to represent the diverse religious beliefs and traditions of members. Because we do not currently have a professional minister on staff, our worship leaders are members, guest speakers from the community, and guest professional ministers. The content of their services will naturally represent many perspectives of spirituality and religious reason. This diversity suits our belief system well.
Dress is casual at UUCGB services. Newcomers will not be singled out during a service. You will be invited to sign our visitors’ book if you wish and invited to join members downstairs following the service for coffee and fellowship. There you are welcome to ask questions of any member you meet.
Which religious holidays do you celebrate?
All of them! At UUCGB we have a Christmas Eve Service and Easter service complete with an egg hunt for the children. We come together to share a Seder during Passover. We also have observations of full moons and season changes as celebrated in many pagan faiths, and recognize important days in other world religions. Everyone is welcome to participate in any observation they may choose.
What do you have for my children at UUCGB?
UUCGB is very child-friendly! We have a nursery for young children, and a religious education program
called Faith Formation for children 4 years and older. Faith Formation teaches the UU Principles in age-appropriate curriculum and introduces students to the diversity of major world religions so that they are better prepared to formulate their own spiritual beliefs and discuss them with their peers as they mature.
If you want to keep your children with you in the sanctuary, they are welcome there too! Please speak to the person at the Welcoming table before the service who can direct you to one of our Faith Formation leaders.
How important is music in your church life?
Very important! UUCGB has a rich and varied music program with an adult choir performing regularly in services with accompaniment on a baby grand piano or multi-voice keyboard. Our congregation also boasts a number of talented soloists and instrumentalists who regularly perform special music as part of Sunday services. Our sanctuary has excellent acoustics that provide an inviting venue for our choir and musicians to offer two concerts to the community annually, at Christmas and in the spring.
What Role Does UUCGB Play in the Community?
UUCGB’s outreach in support of equality, social justice, and compassion is provided through our affiliation and cooperation with such organizations as Connecticut’s Covenant to Care, the Bridgeport School Volunteers, Spooner House for the Homeless in Shelton, the Crop Walk, and the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport’s Tent of Abraham interfaith initiative. During recent disasters and tragedies affecting our communities, we have opened our doors to offer shelter and spiritual comfort to those in need or grieving. We look for new opportunities to bear witness to and give voice to our principles and values within our capabilities.
UUCGB welcomes organizations and groups sharing our values to use space in our building for their activities. Those wishing to learn more about our user agreements may contact our Administrator in the Church Office, 203-386-1020.
If I decide to join UUCGB, will I need to convert to UUism?
We have no formal conversion process, so becoming a Unitarian Universalist is simply a matter of self-identi¬fication. Membership in UUCGB is church is voluntary and does not require renouncing other religious affiliations or practices. You also do not need to become a member to attend services or any events at UUCGB.