Visitors' Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions that visitors have about the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice (UUCOV). If you have a question that is not addressed in this list, please feel free to email us or call the church office: 941-485-2105.
1. When and where your your services?
2. Who is welcome to your worship services?
3. What should I expect when I get there?
4. What happens during the worship services?
5. What programming is available for my children on Sunday morning?
6. If my child isn't ready to leave me, can my child stay with me in the service?
7. What will my child be learning in Religious Education classes?
8. Where can I learn more about Unitarian Universalism?
Our Sunday services are held at different times during the year depending on the season. Times are listed on our home page. Please use the map and directions provided on our site to get to our church. We also hold forums and adult RE classes on Sundays. These can be workshops, special guest speakers, or other types of open discussions for both members and visitors alike. You can refer to the schedule of upcoming sermons and forums for more detail.
At our Sunday services and other congregational activities, we welcome and honor you, whoever you are. As a family that respects and promotes diversity, we believe that expression of individual thought and lifestyle are foundational to our core values. In effect, we go “beyond categorical thinking.” For us it is not about how you look, what you wear, how educated you are, what you do for a living, who you love, or what your resume might say about you – it is about you as the distinct individual you are. We only ask that you honor our principles that speak of love, freedom, equality and justice for all who share life with you on this planet.
UUCOV has a fully accessible sanctuary and plenty of parking. There are special parking spaces right across from the sanctuary clearly labeled for visitors. There is also overflow parking that is well marked should you arrive a little late. At the front porch, you will be greeted and if you so choose, be directed to the Welcome Table. There you will be given a name tag and can get information about our congregation and its activities, as well as sign up for regular emails that will keep you informed of all that is happening at UUCOV.
As you walk into the sanctuary, you will find a bustling, friendly, conversational crowd. An usher will provide you a program and will help you get seated if needed. Feel free to introduce yourself to others and don't be surprised if several people approach you to introduce themselves and say hello.
Although each Sunday experience is different, we have some standard aspects: lighting of the flaming chalice (symbol of our Unitarian Universalist principles), special music, hymns and/or songs, readings, “Words for All Ages” with our children present, meditation, silence, sermons or other presentation. We might have a dramatic presentation or dance. We have announcements of significance. And we share our joys and sorrows by writing them in our “Book of Life” or out loud during the service. Services attempt to be thematic, according to the chosen topic of the sermon or main presentation. And if the topic is a particularly provocative one, we will have time for congregational discussion during the service or after it.
Our children and youth, including the youngest of them, join all of us at the worship service in the Sanctuary, where children and youth stay with their parents and guardians for the first 15 or 20 minutes and then go to their Religious Education classes for the duration of the service. Our children and youth join us during the first part of the service to remind us that we are a totally intergenerational religious community.
Religious Education classes are available for Preschool (beginning at age 4) through High School. Child care is available for all children younger from the time the children leave the sanctuary until the end of the service.
Of course. We only ask that you be mindful of your child's attention span and ability to respect this time and space as set aside for worship. An alternative is to participate in the Religious Education classes with your child until your child feels comfortable staying by his/herself. Our Religious Education teachers are willing to work with you on helping your child integrate into Religious Education activities, always taking your child's cues and moving at your child's pace.
Children and youth in our Religious Education classes learn about the UU principles through reading stories from many different traditions, discussions, songs, and art. We look for ways to apply the principles together in service projects and daily life.
There are many places to learn more about Unitarian Universalism just by searching those terms online. Below are links to sites that can get you started.