Frequently Asked Questions about Quincy’s Unitarian Church
What do Unitarian-Universalists believe?
That’s hard to generalize about. Unitarian-Universalism is a “non-creedal” denomination; it doesn’t insist on a profession of faith or a standard set of beliefs from its members.
Then what do you believe?
UUs believe in a free and responsible search for meaning. We believe that the search for spiritual truth can take many paths, and we honor all those paths.
So you’re not Christians?
Some UUs identify themselves as Christians. Others would describe themselves as followers of other religious traditions, such as Buddhist, Taoist, or earth-centered. Still others would prefer to describe themselves as agnostic or atheist. It’s a point of pride for UUs to respect and honor each other’s religious values.
What kinds of things do you have in common?
UUs affirm seven principles as the core of their religious organization. These are:
- 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.
I guess this means you don’t believe in the Bible?
Quite the contrary! The Bible is a sacred scripture. But there are lots of sacred scriptures in the world, and we draw from them as well. In fact, UUs have identified a number of different sources from which we draw our beliefs:
- 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.
Where can I learn more about this Uncommon Denomination‘s history and principles?
- The Unitarian Universalist Association has an excellent website at www.uua.org. For information about the UUA’s history, principles, services, and activities, try their “Welcome to Unitarian Universalism” page
About This Church:
Where are you located?
We’re at 1479 Hampshire Street. It’s a gray stone building at the corner of Hampshire and 16th Street in Quincy.
When I call the church at (217) 919-6116, I get an answering machine. What’s that all about?
E-mail messages to the church are preferred over messages left on the answering machine. Our Church office is staffed irregularly. We appreciate your patience when you send us e-mail and especially when you leave us telephone messages.
What kinds of services do you have?
Our Sunday services begin at 10:45 a.m. during summer, our air-conditioned Garden Room offers a more comfortable space for our (generally) smaller attendance. We also have a Christmas Eve service. Due to COVID-19, our services are currently online and begin at 10:30 am.
What can I expect at one of your services?
Our services usually begin with a lovely organ prelude, followed by a welcome and a time for announcements. (If you would like to introduce yourself, this is the time to do so.) Then we recite our affirmation and have some opening words, a hymn, an offering, and a time for meditation. Many Sundays, we will present “a story for all ages” before our children leave us for more appropriate activities. A sermon follows. Talks are given by lay speakers from the congregation and community as well as by our minister. After the sermon, there is a closing hymn, some closing words, an organ postlude, and then a talkback time. Summer services are less formal.
What’s a talkback time?
Our congregation doesn’t like to just listen and file away the ideas that are given in the sermon. During talkback, members of the congregation give their own views, discuss the ideas, and offer additional perspectives.
After the formal services are over, there’s a coffee time. People stay around for casual conversation and further discussion of the sermon topic, while enjoying coffee, juice, and a snack. The formal services are generally over by 11:30, and the coffee time lasts as long as there are people still talking – typically till noon or so.
Are children welcome?
Children are very welcome. There is a supervised nursery for the youngest kids, and children up through the high school years have organized classes.
Could my child stay with me?
We encourage children to stay with us during our Sunday Services.
Should I dress up?
With a congregation as diverse as ours, you can bet that you’ll see all levels of dress, from suits to blue jeans. Dress in whatever makes you comfortable and puts you in the right mood.
What about your summer services?
Our summer Sunday services are less formal. We meet around in the Garden Room at 10:45 a.m. A discussion leader or two who lead our Summer Sunday Services. There’s a different topic for study during every mont. All you need to do is just walk in and join the conversation. It usually ends by 12:noon.
Is your building wheelchair accessible?
Yes, we are. On September 22, 2007, we dedicated a new addition to our historic building. Our primary objective with our construction project was to add handicap accessibility and handicap accessible restrooms. We take the position that it is our moral responsibility.
How about air conditioning?
Our new addition has air conditioning, but the original building doesn’t. That’s why our summer discussion is held in the Garden Room!
How accepting are you of different races and sexual orientations?Just as we respect and honor different religious beliefs and backgrounds, we also affirm and accept differences of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation as part of the rich fabric of human life. Our congregation includes Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians and Greens, gay and straight, lifelong Unitarians and those who have joined us more recently. Everyone is welcome here.
Do you have a Disruptive Behavior Policy?
Yes we do! The Board of Trustees adopted our disruptive behavior policy in April 2019. You may download the policy, a 6 page .pdf file, Disruptive Behavior Policy – April 2019.