When you first walk through the doors at Albany UU, you can expect a warm welcome and lots of smiling faces. We even have a portion of our Sunday morning service specifically focused on greeting newcomers and guests.
What To Expect
As soon as you arrive, you’ll see volunteers at the Welcome Table and at the Religious Education window in the lobby. You will be greeted warmly, and offered a yellow name-tag. (All Albany UU congregants and guests are offered name-tags, to better facilitate an open and welcoming environment.) They can direct you to the cloak room and rest rooms, and then to either Emerson Hall or the Sanctuary, depending on where the day’s service is taking place. Our friendly volunteers will be handing out programs, as well one of the two books of songs we use.
Once seated, you can expect to be welcomed both by members sitting nearby, as well as during the section of our service dedicated to greeting newcomers and guests. Feel free to stand up and introduce yourself to the community!
Our Sunday services run roughly an hour long, and begin with the ringing of a chime, announcements and a call to celebration by the service leader. We then light the chalice, an important symbol in the Unitarian Universalist tradition (the flaming chalice is a symbol of light we seek to bring to the world), and listen to a spoken meditation.
The remainder of the service includes a story for children, songs by our choir or other musical offerings, singing of hymns by the congregation, voluntary sharing of personal joys or sorrows, an offering of donations for the work of Albany UU, or, occasionally, for other causes. Finally, we have a sermon by our minister or a guest speaker. After our service is over, we gather for coffee and discussion in Channing Hall. From mid-June to the beginning of September we have modified summer Sunday services, with the nursery open for infants and toddlers and one multi-age class for children.
Visiting with Kids? We’re Delighted!
On your first visit, you may choose to worship together as a family or your children may prefer to attend our religious education classes. We start each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Programming ends at 11:20 a.m. Our Toddler and Nursery Rooms are open from 9:45 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Children in Pre-K through 6th grade start in either the regular service or in the monthly Family Chapel Children, and youth in grades 7 and up start their programming in their rooms at 10:00 a.m. If your child is on the younger side, you may want to plan on staying in the classroom with your child for the first couple of Sundays. Often 4th graders and older prefer their parents to stay out of the classroom, though you are of course welcome to attend class if you want.
You may bring your little ones to the Nursery or Toddler Room, or keep them with you in the service. If your child needs to squirm or make lots of loud noise, we understand. You can move about at any time in the service; sometimes going to the back of the hall is enough to calm fussy ones. Or you can go to Channing Hall, where there is room to move about and be noisy. You can watch the service on a TV monitor, and return when you’re ready. Sometimes grown-ups like to talk and move around, so they go to Channing Hall as well.
Please know that we have a Safe Congregations policy in place, which means that you are responsible for your children/youth before and after their class sessions.
If, after your visit, you feel that Albany UU may be your family’s religious home, please join us for a Getting to Know UU session. Talk to anyone at the Welcome Table or the Religious Education window or Leah Purcell about joining in!
After your third visit, if you decide that Albany UU is your family’s religious home, please take a moment to register your child/ren. This will help us ensure that you are kept up to date about important events happening in the program.