Tips and Warnings about UU Culture
From WikiHow: How to Convert to UUism
- If you have "baggage" from bad experiences in other religions, such as your childhood religion, you may need to work to resolve those old feelings so that you can move forward in a positive way with your new religious community.
- Get involved right away! Your own initiative makes the difference in feeling connected to the congregation. Join an interest group, volunteer to help serve coffee during social hour, or find a committee on which you would like to serve. Financial support is also expected but the amount is left to the individual to decide. As you become more involved, you will usually want to pledge more towards the congregation's mission, activities, and operating expenses. After all, you'll want the doors to be open for the next seeker such as yourself!
- This is not an "anything goes" religion. You will not feel comfortable if, for instance, you denigrate other people or just want an audience for your favorite cause.
- If you are homophobic, racist, sexist, ageist, or intolerant of any other broad classes of people, expect your views to be challenged. Unitarian Universalism was one of the first denominations to ordain gays and lesbians and to sanctify the relationships of same-sex couples in religious ceremonies. The denomination was also early to ordain women, and women ministerial school graduates currently outnumber men.
- If you are uncomfortable with hearing views that are different from your own, and/or cannot discuss views without blatantly attacking anyone who disagrees, you probably won't be comfortable in a UU congregation.
- You may have to drive a distance to attend a physical congregation. UU congregations are often easily up to 100 miles (160 km) apart (even more in some states) If distance is an issue, see if you can carpool with someone from the congregation who lives near you. Another option is the Church Of The Larger Fellowship (clf.uua.org), an online congregation.
- In your enthusiasm for your new religion, be tactful with others. Some people may be interested, but others who already have a religious affiliation may not be interested in yours. Go ahead and share if someone appears interested, but don't try to convert others in a heavy-handed or insensitive way.
- Some Unitarian Universalists are hesitant to refer to their group as a "church." Many grew up unchurched, or in synagogues or other houses of worship, and bristle at the idea of going to "church." This will vary from place to place, so be sensitive to the conventions of your particular group.
- Deliberately disruptive or disrespectful behavior will not be condoned. You'll find a lot of acceptance and interest if you're sincere. But if you're just here to cause trouble, this will not be a good religious home for you.