New to UUCF
Helpful information if you’re planning a visit. We look forward to meeting you.
Meet our ministers, find out about upcoming services or listen to sermons.
Learn & grow
Our home page for children, teen and adult religious education.
Groups, classes and volunteer opportunities to help you make lasting connections at UUCF.
Act for justice
Helping to transform the world through hands-on service, advocacy, education and funding.
Please show your commitment to UUCF with your financial support.
Upcoming worship services
This weekend: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. & Sunday, 9:15 & 11:15 a.m.
Winter solstice service
Date: Sat., Dec. 20, 4:30 p.m. Service led by: UUCF Women's Ritual Council. Description: In the darkening days of December, the ancient people of the Northern Hemisphere watched and waited for the exact moment that marked the turning of the year. They celebrated the shortest day - and longest night - because it signaled the return of the sun and the hope for spring. For some, this is a religious moment linked to those ancient celebrations. For others, the return of light is simply cause for celebration. This service welcomes all people who are glad that our patch of the Earth begins again to turn its face to the sun. Worship theme: Expectations. Religious Exploration: RE classes for children and youth on Sunday's only.
Date: Sun., Dec. 21, 9:15 & 11:15 a.m. Service led by: Pawel Jura, Director of Music & Arts. Description: In this service for all ages, the Chorale (UUCF's adult choir), led by Pawel Jura, share the "Solstice Cantata," by UU composer David Glasgow. This cantata tells the story of Amelia Mason. She's a good mom - though she doesn’t always believe that. She’s a hard worker - though her employer doesn’t always appreciate that. And she cares for her neighbors and others she meets - though in her mind, that’s no big deal. She’s just living her life, day to day to day. But when the washer breaks down, a co-worker drops the ball and her daughter “suddenly remembers” a report that’s due tomorrow, the routine of “just another day” falls out from under her and Amelia is forced to choose between her plans and her well-being. Worship theme: Expectations. Religious Exploration: No RE classes. Children and youth are encouraged to attend the Sanctuary service for all ages. Child care available for infant to age 5.
"Faith Matters" blog
How shall we sing?
by Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig. How shall we sing our love’s song now In this strange land where all are born to die? These lines by Madeleine L’Engle have been echoing in my heart this week. The holiday season is here – “The most wonderful time of the year,” as the popular song has it. And yet the news has been so heavy. In just the last few days we have been challenged to absorb a great deal: The Senate report on CIA torture practices, confirming what many of us had long suspected and calling us to somber reflection on who we are as a nation. The struggle to respond to global violence including that perpetrated by ISIS and other extremist groups. Controversies over sexual assault on college campuses and in Hollywood, leaving victims both wary and hopeful of change. Continuing vigils and protests against police brutality toward people of color, in which several UUCF members participated this weekend. Yesterday, the second anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, marked here by a moving vigil organized by our gun violence prevention group. And beyond all this, the intimate sorrows of many in the community facing illness, loss and grief. All this is a heavy burden. Almost too much for us, perhaps, to keep believing in the possibility of peace on earth. Yet we would not need the Christmas story, that blessed, ancient promise of peace on earth, if we lived in a world without this pain. And, after all, our world is not so very different from the world of 2,000 years ago that gave us the Christmas story. The little baby Jesus and his parents were no strangers to violence. Matthew’s Gospel tells us they were political refugees, fleeing across national borders to escape the wrath of King Herod. And that is a piece of their story. But it is not the heart of it. Their story invites us to wonder at a bright star, at wise people crossing the desert, shepherds visited by angels – promises of joy and transformation and hope in the very midst of the hard facts of the world. Whether you believe in the literal truth of the story hardly matters. Still and always, the Christmas story invites us to believe in a much greater truth: That violence and grief will not have the last word; that love and hope and peace will always be stronger. How shall we sing our love’s song now? Dear ones, let us sing, this season, for all the goodness in human hearts that calls us to rise up and do our best, again and again. To stand vigil on the sidewalks, witnessing for a dreamed-of world without needless violence. To comfort a friend in need. To reach out where estrangement has ruled and offer a heart open to healing. To love one another, to love our neighbor and those we have never met. To practice peace on earth, goodwill to all. Thus we create the very blessings we crave.
A time for intolerance
by John Monroe. Something has to give. That’s the point of the National March Against Police Violence, scheduled for Sat., Dec. 13, in Washington, DC. The recent deaths of three African-American men at the hands of police – and the subsequent lack of indictments against those responsible – have raised serious questions about the integrity of our justice system, particularly when it comes to dealing with people of color. The problems with our justice system are not new. The sad truth is: the stories of Michael Brown, Akai Gurley and Eric Garner are hardly unique. Instead, they are just the latest cases to suggest that some view the lives of African-Americans – especially African-American men – as lacking worth and dignity. Unfortunately, systemic problems are not self-correcting. As long as the public tolerates abuses and injustices, the problems will continue. And it is not enough to protest the failure in one case or another, because such instances, however outrageous, tend to fade from view over time, allowing the system to resume normal operations. Change happens when we the people no longer tolerate the systemic problems that lead to injustices. Perhaps that time is now. Perhaps this march will be just the beginning of a broad, sustained protest against structural failures of our society that allow deep-seated prejudice to undermine our nation’s most vital institutions. Yes, something has to give: Our tolerance for injustice. Saturday’s protest will be held in Freedom Plaza, near the White House. On Friday night, you can join a candlelight vigil being organized by half a dozen (and counting) faith communities, including All Souls Church Unitarian. The goal is to light up every block of 16th Street from the DC/Silver Spring line to the White House. If you want to participate, you can sign up here.
Parish Minister search updates
News from the team leading the search for our next Parish Minister.
Congregational survey completed
Nov. 11, 2014. Key milestones approaching. First and most importantly, a sincere and heartfelt thank you … To the 413 respondents who offered 20-40 minutes of their time for the online survey. To the 110 individuals who participated in small group forums or one-on-one interviews. To the 22 individuals who emailed photos, suggestions and questions to email@example.com. To the dozens of friends (both old and new) who took the time to speak with us over the past 2 months. We say bravo! We are impressed. We learned an immense amount. This is truly a thoughtful community with exceptionally strong ideas. We are analyzing and summarizing the results of the feedback you have provided and will soon begin posting most of that data on uucf.org. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy this word cloud based on your feedback. In a single word, what trait do you most want in our new minister? Second, we strongly encourage you to consider attending the “Beyond Categorical Thinking” workshop this Sun., Nov. 16, 12:30-4 p.m., in the Chapel. This workshop, facilitated by the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Beyond Categorical Thinking team, promotes inclusive thinking and helps prevent discrimination during the ministerial search process. Lunch and child care will be provided to attendees. Please sign up by noon on Thu., Nov. 13. From here on, things are going to move fast. What comes next? Before Thanksgiving we will publish our congregational record to the UUA Transitions Office, which formally puts us in search. At that point, prospective candidates can express interest in our job and we can begin engaging with them. By mid-December we will publish our UUCF information website for prospective ministers. We’ve already got a good start on this. Throughout January we will review prospective minister experience records and conduct Skype and/or telephone interviews. In February and March we will personally engage with our pre-candidates. The PMST will review all aspects of their ministerial records, do extensive background checks and observe them in the pulpit. By the end of March we will have selected our candidate. We hope to extend an invitation early in April and bring that candidate to UUCF later in the month for consideration by the congregation. Our nominated candidate will spend the extended week of Apr. 18-26 (including services both weekends) at UUCF. Our candidate will lead services at UUCF, meet with many of the groups within UUCF and explore the surrounding area to prepare for moving here. The congregational vote on whether to call this new minister will be on Sun., Apr. 26, 12:15 p.m., in the Sanctuary. Please mark your calendars. As always, please contact any of us if you have thoughts, suggestions, encouragement or constructive criticism. You haven’t been shy so far. Please continue to reach out to us. Gratefully, UUCF Parish Minister Search Team firstname.lastname@example.org From left: Meghan Crowley, Bob Hatfield (co-chair), Kathy Smerke-Hochberg, Michael Liggett, Kathy Birnbaum, David Addis and Debbie Boehm-Davis (chair)
The PMST needs your input
Sep. 22, 2014. The PMST is still hard at work and our plans are starting to come together. We continue to get positive feedback about the quality of the candidates we might attract. Our excitement has grown as we consider our potential for new levels of Growth, Connection and Service. Please share your perspectives and opinions It is now time for all of you – UUCF members and friends – to share your thoughts and preferences. We are eager to hear what you have to say. For your convenience, we have set up four ways to connect with us. This can be as formal or informal as you would like. You may participate in one or all of the following. Online survey. UUCF will conduct an online survey to solicit opinions and perspectives from each member/friend whose email address is on file with the UUCF office. On Sep. 28 we will send an email to each of you with a custom link allowing access to the survey. The survey will remain open until Oct. 19. If your email is not on file, but you would like to receive a link to the online survey, please email Mary Foster. Small group discussions. Ten open forums (small group sessions), allowing significant interaction and personal engagement, will be held Sep. 28-Nov. 1. These one-hour facilitated sessions will focus on four questions that draw from your personal experiences, highlighting the best of what has come before and your highest longings for what is to come. To see dates and times, please sign up here. Email us at email@example.com. We will respond within one week confirming receipt of your message and thanking you for your thoughts. Speak with us in person. Each member of the PMST now has a UUCF name tag with a dark blue border allowing you to easily identify us at UUCF activities. We welcome your thoughts and perspectives. Please share your photos and anecdotes As we prepare the website that provides a snapshot of our congregation to prospective ministers, we are looking for compelling photos, videos and quotes that concisely convey who we are – the depth and breadth of our congregation. If you have items that really speak to you, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or discuss the ideas with us in person. Ideas might include social justice events, RE activities, worship images, engagements with our community, UUCF grounds/facilities, social gatherings, etc. We will not be able to use everything, but we will archive everything we receive in the UUCF office for future use. Our ideal is that everyone associated with UUCF will provide input. The more you are involved in this process, the more likely we are to find a parish minister who fits us and our preferences. We look forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, Debbie Boehm-Davis (chair), Bob Hatfield (co-chair), David Addis, Kathy Birnbaum, Meghan Crowley, Michael Liggett and Kathy Smerke-Hochberg email@example.com
Parish Minister Search Team off to good start
Aug. 20, 2014. The Parish Minister Search Team (PMST) elected by you and appointed by the UUCF Board of Directors is already hard at work. Debbie Boehm-Davis will serve as chair with Bob Hatfield as co-chair. Other members are David Addis, Kathy Birnbaum, Meghan Crowley, Michael Liggett and Kathy Smerke-Hochberg. The team members represent a cross-section of UUCF with experience across the spectrum of congregational life. Collectively we have more than 122 years of combined UUCF experience, yet three of us might still be considered new members – the most recent joining the congregation in 2011. We’d love to meet you and hear your thoughts. We are following the proven approach, recommended by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), for how to find and settle a parish minister. We welcome your engagement and promise to keep you informed The PMST will be sharing news of progress (both successes and challenges) and will provide regular updates. To respect job seekers and congregations alike, the search process requires some degree of privacy. Within those limits, we want the entire congregation actively engaged. During this process, we want you to feel absolutely certain you have been heard. You are an important part of this process. We have planned several opportunities for direct communication, each beginning in mid-September. All congregation online survey. In-person forums (at UUCF, at the All-Congregation Retreat and at the Fall Adult Retreat). Interviews with the Board, CT, staff, lay ministers and affiliated organizations. Direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will use these opportunities to ensure we understand and can represent UUCF desires during the search. Having your involvement and support is critical. If you are unsure of something, please reach out to us. We can be reached at email@example.com. If you reach out to us, we will do everything possible to respond within a week. Expect differences, but rely on excellence Those who have only known UUCF during the last nine years with Mary Katherine Morn may feel apprehensive about losing such an impressive minister. For those who have experienced more of our 60-year history, you know that our community is more than its minister and that each new minister brings unique talents and new gifts. The character of UUCF – each of us and the intentional community we continue to build together – is much bigger than one role within our ranks. But, we understand how important it is to find the right person to lead UUCF at this new moment in our evolving history. We have a lot going for us; our reputation is strong, our programs are vibrant and our community is impressive. UUA has conveyed that ours will be one of the most sought-after ministerial placements. Process and progress Our search process involves the following steps: Allow time for the congregation to gain distance from our last ministry and perspective for the future. Clarify who we are and where we want to go. Determine characteristics we want in a minister to help us get there. Prepare a congregational record and packet of data about our congregation. Work within the UUA system to invite interested ministers to apply. We expect several dozen applicants. Identify and personally engage the most promising candidates. Conduct interviews and reference checks. For a select few, the PMST will conduct a weekend-long interview including attending worship services they conduct. When the team believes we have identified the right candidate for UUCF, we will invite that candidate to UUCF for a “Candidating Week,” where he or she will lead two weekend’s worth of worship services and spend a week engaging with our congregation. Finally, the entire congregation will be asked to democratically vote to call the candidate as our settled minister. A transition team will work with the new minister to ensure a smooth start. If you’d like to read more about the process, click here. So far, the PMST has completed the following tasks: Formed a team. Held four face-to-face meetings; established meeting cadence. Conducted an off-site planning/team-building retreat, facilitated by someone who has been involved in two ministerial search teams and has guided 12 others. Established our schedule and milestones. Collected documentation from former search teams (Mary Katherine Morn in 2005 and Laura Horton-Ludwig in 2011). Met twice with Interim Parish Minister Rev. Jennifer Brooks. Met with UUA and Joseph Priestley District personnel. Drafted plans for the online survey, discussion forums, interviews and the process we will use to select the ministerial candidates. Defined 17 team roles/responsibilities and assigned task coordinators for each (based on interest and ability). We move forward with care, respect and love. We will make every effort to share the enthusiasm and excitement we feel as we move between “trapezes.” We have faith that these next steps will build upon the great history of UUCF and cause us to grow as a congregation. Best Regards, Debbie, Bob, David, Kathy, Kathy, Meghan and Michael firstname.lastname@example.org