The Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta (UUSO) is a congregation known for extending a warm welcome to all who visit. Please come and find out for yourself! Everyone is truly welcome at UUSO – everyone, regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity, class, background – however you identify and define yourself and your family, you can find a place here with us. Unitarian Universalism draws inspiration from both ancient sources and modern writings. Members and friends of the congregation identify with religious influences from Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Judaism, Humanism, Paganism, Atheism, and Agnosticism, to name a few.
Sunday services, typically about an hour, begin at 10:30 a.m., and are held in the Sanctuary of our historic Chapin Memorial Church at 12 Ford Avenue in downtown Oneonta. Free parking is available across the street in the Dietz Street Municipal parking lot as well as on the street itself. There are also a few handicap parking spaces indicated by signboards at the curb in front of the church building, which is handicap accessible by a ramp. Assistive audio is available in the Sanctuary through Hearing Loop.
When you visit, please dress as you feel comfortable. Casual dress is fine, and there are also some folks who prefer more formal attire. Vestiges of COVID-19 still linger, so masks are optional now, no longer required but welcome. If anyone feels at all uncertain about their own health or that of others who may be in the building, we currently offer Zoom streaming of the services for those able to access that on the internet from home or elsewhere. Zoom is also useful for remote “attendance” from out of town. Please find the link on this website’s homepage or on the church calendar page. For assistance in understanding Zoom access to the services, please contact the office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a phone message at (607) 432-3491.
We are beginning to return to a full schedule of events, and will also be adding a return to our Religious Education/Religious Exploration (RE) program for children and youth as 2024 progresses. When those are in place, a signboard located near the entrance will display the church calendar of events and the RE schedule for the children and youth that day. There is a coatroom to the left of the foyer, and rest rooms are there, including a wheelchair-accessible one. As you proceed from the foyer through the double doors to the Sanctuary, ushers will welcome you and give you a copy of the Order of Service. Inside the Sanctuary, please fill out a guest registration sheet at the Visitor Welcome Table and make a name tag for yourself. You are welcome to sit wherever you would like. After you are seated, take a moment to enjoy the beautiful stained-glass windows and ornate woodwork.
If you are visiting with children, we welcome your whole family! Childcare is provided for children under 5 in a bright and cheery nursery located in the basement. During the school year, Religious Exploration (RE) classes are held during the service time for children of preschool age through high school. Visitors are welcome to attend RE classes. There are no RE classes over the summer, and the nursery is available then for children under 10 years old. Your child or children may also stay with you in the Sanctuary during the service. “Chalice bags” are available at the Welcome Table with craft-play items for restless young hands and attention spans. Nursing mothers are especially welcome: You may nurse anywhere you’d like, including in the Sanctuary during the service. If you would prefer a secluded spot, please consult with our Minister or the ushers for a suitable location.
Chimes sound when the service is ready to begin, and are a signal to turn attention to the Prelude and the mood of the service, refraining from further conversation during the Prelude. A typical service includes musical pieces and hymns, welcome and announcements, lighting of the chalice, sharing of joys and sorrows, a meditation time, readings, sermon or reflection, and closing. Services will vary somewhat from week to week. We appreciate continued attention to the mood of the service and the musical Postlude, again refraining from conversation until the end.
Following the service, please join us for Coffee Hour socializing in the Sanctuary. You will have the opportunity to meet the friendly folks of UUSO and to talk with the Minister or a member of the Board of Trustees if you wish. They can help to answer any questions you may have about UUSO or about membership.
We hope you will enjoy visiting the UUSO. We are glad for your visit here. Please come back again soon!