Being a Good UU Guest

Important Notes

First, please note that the UUA does not arrange international visits. While we try to gather publicly available information about U/U congregations and groups outside the United States, we do not directly facilitate contact.

Second, if you live outside the U.S. and are interested in starting your own U/U group, please contact the Leadership & Design Team for International U/U Collaboration.

Visiting U/U Groups Outside the U.S

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 U/U 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.

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 global U/U 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.

U/U groups and churches around the world are also likely to conduct their worship services in languages other than English. But there are some English-language UU worship services outside the U.S.; you can find them by visiting our U/Us Abroad page, which we do our best to keep updated.

Remember the following suggestions when visiting a U/U 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.

Information for Clergy

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.