Here are answers to a few questions we're guessing you might be asking about First Unitarian Society, and Unitarian Universalism in general.
• Guided tours of our National Historic Landmark building are available
Please check the current tour schedule for up to date information at FUS Tours.
• How should I dress if I visit your church?
Dress as you feel comfortable. In comparison with many churches, we are pretty casual dressers. We do ask you not to wear scents (perfume, aftershave, hairspray, other scented personal care products) to our services, however. We have several chemically sensitive members.
• Can I bring my children?
Both you and your children are very welcome to attend our services, our child care room for infants and toddlers, and to our children's religious education program. Kids usually enjoy our classes and enjoy visiting. You are welcome to have your child visit a class up to three times. After that, we ask that you commit to registering if you decide to continue attending. If you would like your child(ren) to visit a class, it is helpful to come 15 minutes before the service begins. Come to the Religious Education Information table in the Commons area. We'll get you signed in and will show you where the class you'll be visiting is located. If you do bring a young child or baby to the service and he or she becomes uncomfortable, we have areas you can move to where you can hear the service while allowing your child to move about.
• I have special needs. Am I welcome?
Yes, yes, yes! First Unitarian Society is a welcoming congregation for everyone, including for people with special needs. Please visit our Special Needs page for more information.
• How do I find you?
We are located at 900 University Bay Drive in Madison. We are very near the West edge of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, and just across the street from University Hospital Emergency entrance.
Click here for a map to our location.
• Can I get married at First Unitarian? Even if I'm not a member?• Tell me about your Religious Education Programs for children.
Yes. Many many folks, members or not, are married at our church. Here is more information on weddings at FUS Weddings.
Our religious education program is very special and is often why people first come to our Society. Our curricular program starts at age 3 and goes through 9th grade. The program's goal is to "facilitate ethical and spiritual development in our children so that they will be empowered to become free-thinking individuals who know and respect themselves and others, contribute to their human and natural communities, and make informed decisions regarding their spiritual paths." To see our current list of classes, click here.
• I'm interested, but need more. How can I find out more about the Society? Glad you asked! Our Society has a special introductory course we call "New UU" just for such a question. The class is held quarterly and usually meets four weeks in a row. The cost is $7 per person. Contact Jeanne Sears for more information (click here to email Jeanne).
• Do you provide child care?
Yes, we have an excellent child care facility for both infants and toddlers so parents can attend services. For many of our young 'uns, this is the first place where they are left with someone other than a parent. That transition can be challenging. We help alleviate the difficulty by giving parents a silent pager when they drop off their child. Parents will be paged if their child is having difficulty adapting to the child care room.
• How large is your congregation?
Ours is the largest UU church in the United States, with 1,500- plus members, many "friends," and 500-plus children and youth in our Religious Education Programs. In order to make sure everyone is welcomed and included, we have several opportunities available for people to connect with smaller groups.
• Are GLBTQ people welcome?
Our church is very supportive of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered communities and the struggle against homophobia and heterosexism. In addition, our Society is a Welcoming Congregation indicating that we have made special efforts to welcome the GLBTQ community among us.
• What do Unitarian Universalists believe?
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion born of the Jewish and Christian traditions. We keep our minds open to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places. We believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason should be the final authorities in religion. In the end religious authority lies not in a book, person, or institution, but in ourselves. We put religious insights to the test of our hearts and minds. Read more!
• Is your church Christian?
Although the roots of both Unitarianism and Universalism are Christian, we are not now considered Christian. Our members are Christians, as well as Jews, Buddhists, humanists, Pagan, Hindu, agnostic, and many whose beliefs are informed by more than one faith tradition. In this church our common bond is not a set of beliefs all must hold, but a community of respect and support for personal religious and spiritual searching. Contrary to the many Unitarian jokes, we do have a set of Principles and Purposes that guide and inform all our activities.They are:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Thanks for visiting our web site. Do you have a specific question that we have not answered? Please feel free to call us! Our telephone number is (608)233-9774 or you can e-mail our Coordinator of Member Programs, Jeanne Sears. If you have a specific program or area of interest, please visit our directories page for the e-mail address and telephone number of the lay or staff person who can help you.
Links to more resources about FUS
Other UUs in Southeast Wisconsin
• James Reeb UU Congregation
• The Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society
• The Free Congregation of Sauk County
• The Unitarian Universalist Association