695 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222
(716) 885-2136

Visitor Info/Frequently Asked Questions

When are your Worship Services?

 

We meet for worship each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. On June 17, 2012 we will be starting our summer hours: Worship will begin at 10:00 AM. Enter the church either through the Sanctuary doors facing West Ferry Street, or use the accessible Garden Entrance, the glass doors just west of the Sanctuary towards Elmwood Avenue. Greeters are stationed at both entrances, to offer assistance with your questions, and a name tag if you wish.

 

Where is your church?  How do I get there?

 

We are located at 695 Elmwood Avenue, at the corner of West Ferry Street in Buffalo, New York (map).  We do not have a parking lot, but parking is readily available on Elmwood, West Ferry, and nearby side streets on Sunday mornings.  You will want to allow a bit of extra time for parking, especially in snowy weather.  

Is your church special needs accessible?

Yes.  We have limited reserved handicapped parking on West Ferry Street in front of the church.  Follow the walkway west through the garden to the glass doors set back from West Ferry.  Greeters at the door can direct you to the elevator that opens on every floor of the building.

Accessible restrooms are located on the main level.  For those with hearing impairment, headsets with FM receivers broadcasting the sanctuary service are available from the ushers.  Large-print Orders of Service are also available from the ushers.

 

What should I wear?

 

Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable – dress up or casual.  On Sundays, adults wear everything from suits or dresses to jeans.  We encourage children to wear clothes suitable for play.

What goes on during the Sunday worship services?

We have a long church tradition of thought-provoking, integrated programs that typically last about one hour.  The heart of each service is usually the readings and the sermon by the minister or guest speaker. 

Music is integral to the service.  In addition to hymns sung by the congregation, special music by our choir and/or guest artists reflects the theme for the service, and adds depth and beauty to our contemplations.

A “Time for All Ages” invites our children to consider the day’s topic and to question and discuss it with their teachers in their Religious Education classes.

 

The totality of the morning’s service is intended to be an experience that inspires and encourages us to think and respond throughout the day and the week ahead.

 

After the service, everyone is invited to coffee hour in the Parish Hall for refreshments and conversation.  The second Sunday of the month (Oct – May) is Souper Sunday :  join us for conversation over a lunch of delicious home made soups that meet all dietary needs and preferences. A small fee ($3) covers the cost; this is an activity of the Religious Education children that helps fund church programs.

What do the children do on Sunday?

We provide a comprehensive Religious Education program for children and teens.

On most Sundays, younger children join their families for the first part of the worship service, before going to their classrooms for classes.  Teenagers often go directly to their own meeting space rather than the Sanctuary.  Occasionally, a special Children’s Worship Service or other activity is scheduled separately from the main worship service, in which case, all parents of registered children are notified in advance of the event.

How do I register my child for Religious Education?

 

At the Religious Education Table in the Parish Hall there is a display with registration forms and a prospectus of our program. You can fill one out and either leave it at the table or mail it back to the church. Forms are also available in each classroom.  There is no fee for religious education, but it is expected that you will consider the worth of the program when determining your pledge of financial support to the congregation.

What do you teach in Religious Education?

Religious education at a UU church draws from our six sources.  We have lessons on spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation, history lessons on figures from UU history and from other world religions and moral stories from around the world.  We engage in worship and social justice activities, and challenge children to examine the diversity of religious thought and eventually create a personal credo of their own beliefs. For more information, please see the Religious Education Section of this web site.

May my child stay with me during the service?

Children are always welcome in the Sanctuary with their families.  If your child needs more freedom of movement or voice, we also provide areas where you may stay with her, but still hear the service. The Parish Hall, and the Women's Society Lounge located behind the kitchen, are spaces where your child can move and you can still hear the service. Just ask one of our helpful ushers for directions.

Is nursery care available?

 

Our nursery is open from 9:30-12:30 on Sunday mornings, and is staffed with highly qualified childcare providers, as well as parent volunteers.  It accommodates children of various ages prior to the worship service, and is restricted to babies and toddlers beginning at 11:00.  The nursery is located upstairs; ushers and greeters are happy to show you where to find it.  There is no charge for using the nursery, but donations are accepted for our childcare fund to support the availability of childcare for other events.

What is the music like at the worship service?

UUCB choir is renowned throughout Western New York.  Under the direction of Minister of Music, Barbara Wagner, the choir’s Sunday performances range from Bach and Handel to Jazz, African-American spirituals to Native American chants, from medieval motets to contemporary Broadway musical numbers.  The choir continually surprises and enchants us, while enhancing and inspiring the Sunday morning worship experience.  In addition to organ and piano, other instruments are frequently heard.  For two Music Sundays each year (link), the choir is joined by members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Ms. Wagner.

Do you pray in your church?

Our services include a time for prayer or meditation, and we know that the definition of prayer varies widely from person to person.

What do Unitarian Universalists believe?  Are you Christian?

Unitarian Universalists identify with a wide variety of beliefs. Although Unitarianism grew out of the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe, it began as a Christian heresy, when Unitarian thinkers began to question the authority of creeds and dogmas. The name Unitarian comes from their argument that the canonical doctrine of the trinity did not accord with human reason, nor with their interpretation of scripture. One might say that Unitarians strive to follow the example of Jesus' life rather than the various belief structures that were created by men long after his death.

Similarly, the Universalist heresy was a Christian divergence from the Calvinist doctrine of damnation, and the name refers to a belief in universal salvation – that a loving God would not send his children to eternal punishment.

Other traditions have influenced Unitarian Universalist perspectives: Transcendentalism entered Unitarian theology in the early 19th century, and Religious Humanism emerged within Unitarian theological circles in the early 20th century.  Buddhism has a strong influence in Unitarian Universalist culture, as do the earth-centered and neo-pagan traditions.

What makes your church different from other churches?

Our members identify with a wide variety of beliefs, and come from many faith traditions.  There is no test of creed to join, because we agree that ‘we need not think alike to love alike,” an idea expressed over 400 years ago by Francis David, one of the first Unitarians. Our church school and adult education programs guide, support and encourage  participants to develop personal credos grounded in the basic core value of our Seven Principles and Six Sources.  These principles challenge us to be responsible, compassionate people who put our faith into action.  Credos are individualized expressions of faith, based on our own explorations of the world of religious thought, tempered with rational consideration.

What religious holidays does the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo observe?

Each Unitarian Universalist congregation develops its own patterns in observing special dates, ranging from traditional celebrations of Jewish and Christian holidays to those of many cultures and earth-centered traditions, and a few that are all our own. In this church, celebrations vary from year to year, and explore a wide range of religious expression.

The winter holiday season here begins with Music Sunday on the first Sunday in December, and continues with a variety of services from various traditions.  A Vespers Service the Sunday before Christmas engages our children from infants through high school in recreating the nativity scene. On Christmas Eve we enjoy an 11:00 pm Candlelight Service with readings, carols and amazing music from the choir.

The spring holiday celebrations include a Music Sunday on the first Sunday in April, a Tennebrae service on Good Friday, and a festive Easter celebration with special music and activities for children.

Holidays that find their origins in modern Unitarian Universalism include Ingathering, usually celebrated the second Sunday in September, in which members of the community bring and mingle the waters of our summer spiritual blessings to celebrate coming together in community; and Flower Communion in May or June, when we share the beauty of the awakening earth.  Celebrations may vary from year to year, and there may be special events for Halloween/Samhain, and the Solstices and Equinoxes, Passover Seders and a special telling of the Jonah story for Yom Kippur.

How large is your congregation?

We have about 400 members.  Approximately 150 children and youth are enrolled in the religious education classes, which meet at the same time as the worship service.

 

Is there a place for me in your congregation?

 

Yes!  Everyone is welcome, whatever your age, ethnicity, race, sex, sexual orientation, physical-cognitive-emotional challenge, religion, or political affiliation.  Since 1995 we have been a Welcoming Congregation, for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Trans-Gender (GBLT) individuals.   http://www.uua.org/lgbt/welcoming/program/

How do I meet other people at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo?

Come to the membership table after the Service where you can meet  some of our members who can help you find ways to be involved here. If you sign a Visitor form with your e-mail address we will send you our monthly newsletter what we're about. You're bound to find some activities that you'd like to participate in -- a class, a special interest group or one of our social responsibility projects. Once you discover something that's especially interesting to you, you can contact the person who's coordinating it or you can simply show up and join in.

Have we answered your questions?

If we haven’t answered your particular question in the FAQ page, please contact the church office at 885-2136 or office@buffalouu.org for more information.