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
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. & Sundays at 9:15 & 11:15 a.m.
Vigil and Circle of Compassion
Date: Tue., Nov. 25, 6:30-8 p.m. Location: UUCF Sanctuary Description: UUCF members and friends will have a chance to pray, reflect and be with others as we absorb the news from the Ferguson, MO, grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who shot black teenager Michael Brown. Let us make our response one of compassion and love. This moment is an opportunity for each of us to be a peaceful presence as we begin to work for new relationships and lasting improvement in the criminal justice system. Let us honor the spirit of life within each of us and the web of existence that connects us all.
"Polishing the Mirror"
Minister: Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig. Date: Sat., Nov. 29, 4:30 p.m., & Sun., Nov. 30, 10 a.m. Description: As the events unfolding in Ferguson, MO, hold up a mirror to our society, how can we respond creatively, lovingly and responsibly? It will take both inner work and outer activism to build the world we still dream of. Worship theme: Mirrors. Religious Exploration: Sunday, both services - No RE; all-congregation service. Live streaming to the Chapel for families with young children.
"Faith Matters" blog
Welcoming in all ways
by Carol Jensen. Nov. 27, 2014. Do you remember your first visit to our congregation? Were you warmly welcomed or barely noticed? How did that make you feel? Recently, I had feedback from a visiting couple who felt they were overlooked despite using green visitors’ mugs. I notice many Saturdays and Sundays we’re tending our visitors and it makes me proud to be part of this congregation. But it is important to be vigilant and not get so caught up with business or greeting friends that we ignore our guests. If you see someone standing alone, with or without a green mug, why not go and introduce yourself? If someone with a guest nametag sits next to you in the service, take a minute to start a conversation when the service ends. At our November Newcomers Orientation class one of the 18 participants said she was not looking for a “like-minded” community, but a “like-hearted” one. Please remember that many people are looking for what we have to offer here, and with just a little extra effort on everyone’s part we can be a Welcoming Congregation in all ways.
What does our gratitude compel us to do?
by Rev. Julie Price. With Thanksgiving just a few days away it seems appropriate that I find my thoughts turning toward gratitude. This Sunday we were called into an experience of community through our worship services featuring the children’s and youth choirs, the youth houseband, the retelling of “Stone Soup” and tales of how our youth grew this summer through FUUSE (Fairfax Unitarian Universalist Summer Experience). Those engaging worship services were followed by the intellectually stimulating Science, Reason & Religion forum where Professor Richard America from Georgetown University spoke about racism and economic inequality. As if that wasn’t enough, this past weekend followed a week that for me included an energizing UU ministers’ study retreat and a moving Transgender Day of Remembrance service. How grateful I am to have had all of these opportunities for spiritual and intellectual growth. But I’m not content to just leave it there. I have been inspired, moved and challenged this past week and for that I am deeply grateful. But the question that is left nagging at me is, “What am I going to do in response?” In his 2007 “UU World” article, “The heart of our faith,” UU minister Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich writes, “In the same way that Judaism is defined by obedience, Christianity by love, and Islam by submission, I believe that Unitarian Universalism should be defined by gratitude. … The discipline of gratitude reminds us how utterly dependent we are on the people and world around us for everything that matters. From this flows an ethic of gratitude that … demands that we nurture the world that nurtures us in return.” Yes! From gratitude flows a challenge to “nurture the world that nurtures us in return.” Gratitude is somehow incomplete if we don’t do something with what we have been given. I hope that we all have many opportunities this week to experience moments of gratitude. I hope this week brings us experiences that remind us that our lives are dependent upon and gifted by the interconnected web of life. And then with our wells filled with gratitude, I look forward to all the ways that individually and together we will pour that gratitude back into our world. Maybe you will join with other UUCF folks this week to bake pies and cut up vegetables on Wednesday or bring prepared Thanksgiving dishes on Thursday morning to take to the Community for Creative Non-Violence shelter in DC for its annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. Or maybe you have already marked your calendars for Jan. 17-19, 2015, when UUCF will offer its second annual Weekend of Service in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. During that weekend we will offer a variety of different service projects for all ages: from making blankets for the homeless to packing food for hungry families in our area; from putting together “night night” totes for homeless children to working outside to beautify the UUCF grounds. There will be service opportunities for preschoolers through adults so watch your email for more details in the coming weeks. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. May gratitude fill our hearts and propel our feet into service of our beloved world. Very gratefully, Rev. Julie
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com