What to Expect When You Visit on a Sunday
Don't worry. You're welcome! Visitors and guests are welcome to visit our congregations at every worship service. Each of our 1000+ congregations is unique, and no advice is "one size fits all." However, we do have much in common across our diverse tradition.
Accessibility: Congregations often have space for wheelchairs, canes, and walkers; many have assistive listening devices as well as large print and Braille hymnals. Because not all of our congregations are fully accessible, please call ahead to make sure your they can meet your needs.
Children’s and Youth Programs: Children and youth are welcome to attend the entire Sunday service, or to participate in age-specific programming. Most congregations provide care for children age 5 and under from the start of the Sunday service. Children of school age and older often worship with the adults for about fifteen minutes before being invited to age-appropriate activities and groups for the rest of the service. Youth programs for middle school and high school sometimes meet during the service, and sometimes in the afternoon or evening. Contact the congregation to learn more about the options they offer.
What to wear: As you prepare for the visit, wear what you please. At most of our congregations, you'll see people in skirts and neckties but also in shorts and jeans.
Arriving: When you enter, most likely you'll be greeted by a volunteer usher, offering you a paper name tag and an order of service. (The order of service is like a program for a concert—it lists what’s happening in the service). It’s fine if you wish to chat with the greeters and ushers, or to slip by quietly to find a seat. Our worship spaces generally have open seating. Find a place that feels comfortable.
Introductions: Some congregations invite visitors to stand and introduce themselves so that people in the congregation will know to say hello. Participation is always optional!
Singing and Reading: You’ll often find a hymnal—a book of songs and readings for worship—in the seats. The order of service will tell you when we sing. Usually, so will the speaker ("Please rise, as you are able, for the first hymn, number 123"). If there's a reading the congregation will say together, you'll be told where it's printed out.
Social Hour: Following the service, there is often a casual gathering where members and visitors can get to know one another (often known as “social hour” or “coffee hour.”) This can be an excellent time for newcomers to make connections and learn more about the congregation and Unitarian Universalism in an informal atmosphere.