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Connecting with Unitarian, Universalist and UU Groups Around the World
Unitarian Universalists (UUs) who are planning permanent or temporary stays in countries outside the United States, or those who are planning short-term trips, can often find community with Unitarian, Universalist or Unitarian Universalist (U/U) congregations or groups in the places where they plan to be. There are UU congregations and groups in nearly 30 countries around the world—some are very small, and some are quite large. And, most of these congregations deeply enjoy having visitors and new members.
Note: UU clergy who would like to offer professional services to a U/U congregation outside the USA, please contact the UUA's Transitions Office or visit this list of ongoing short-term opportunities. Also, please see 'Guidelines for Leading Worship in International Contexts' for helpful suggestions.
But, keep in mind that UUism varies dramatically from country to country, even more so than it varies from congregation to congregation in the United States. While all global UU groups share a great deal in common, we also each have unique qualities. These qualities make our global faith diverse and beautiful, though they can also be surprising to a visitor. A visitor from the United States might be surprised, for example, that a Unitarian church in Transylvania doesn't include a "chalice lighting" during their service, or that a Unitarian church in the UK uses a hymnbook during worship that is unfamiliar. Other examples are abundant.
Please also remember that UU groups and churches around the world are likely to conduct their worship services in languages other than English. But, there are English-language UU worship services outside the USA in the following places:
- Most Canadian Unitarian churches
- Most Unitarian churches in the UK
- Two UU congregations in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende and Lake Chapala
- Unitarian and UU congregations in Australia and New Zealand
European UU (EUU) congregations in:
- Brussels, Belgium (3rd Sunday of the month: contact Vicki Roberts-Gassler, vickijane999 [at] yahoo [dot] com)
- Paris, France (one Sunday per month)
- Frankfurt, Germany (2nd Sunday of the month)
- Kaiserslautern, Germany (2nd and 4th Sundays of the month)
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1st and 3rd Sundays of the month)
- Geneva, Switzerland (3rd Sunday of the month)
- Basel, Switzerland (group forming—contact international [at] uua [dot] org for more information)
- The Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo, Japan
- South Africa National Assembly of Unitarians
Also remember the following suggestions for "Being a Good UU Guest" when visiting a UU congregation outside the United States:
- Contact the congregation you'd like to visit before you arrive.
- Don't expect to be "hosted" by the congregation unless they have proposed to be your host, or by other prior agreement.
- Consider bringing a small gift from your congregation to the one you are visiting.
- Listen and learn, do not judge or try to change the congregation you are visiting.
- Find a convenient time outside of the worship service to learn more about each other.
- Offer to "stay in touch" after you've returned home.
Finally, consider other tips for "Journeying with Faith" and have a wonderful visit!