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First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany

Sunday Morning Services

Almost every Sunday, we offer a religious service and a religious education program for children. A forum that addresses issues of public concern is usually offered once a month from September to June. Our volunteer choir, service leaders and all who participate fill our service space with an energizing experience. Feel free to drop in. As a noncreedal society of people devoted to the twin concerns of human dignity and community needs, our pulpit is often open to others, in addition to our minister, the Rev. Samuel Trumbore.

We explore many topics concerning our total world, while seeking to be welcoming and open-minded to all without concern for race, philosophy, political affiliation, physical abilities or sexual preferences. We continually look for opportunities to increase our collective role as part of the larger community. Both before and after the service, at committee tables in Channing Hall, you will find information about many engaging opportunities as we seek to help others in this world that we all share. Come, be energized and allow us to welcome you, personally, to FUUSA.

What to Expect

When: 10:00 a.m. Sundays (lasting approx. one hour)

Typical Schedule:

  •  9:00   Mindfulness Meditation – Sanctuary
  •  9:30   “Early Bird” Coffee – Channing Hall
  •  9:45   Two-year-old room and nursery open
  • 10:00   Service – Emerson Community Hall
  • 10:00   Religious Education (RE) starts. Children in pre-school through 5th grade attend first part of service with family. Sixth through 12th graders go directly to their classrooms.
  • 11:00   Coffee Hour – Emerson Community Hall and Channing Hall
  • 11:20   Religious Education ends. Children and youth in grades 3-12 are dismissed from their classes. Children in 2nd grade and younger are to be picked up at their classrooms.
  • 11:30   Forum – Emerson Community Hall

Please check the current calendar or Windows newsletter to verify times of services in case of changes for special events.

Where: in Emerson Community Hall or the sanctuary, 405 Washington Avenue, Albany

Upon arrival, you may enter one of several ways. The main entrance is at the 405 Washington Avenue door, which opens into the lobby. Nearby, you will find a coat room, as well as the Religious Education and Administrative offices. Another entrance is the West Street door, which also connects with the lobby. The doors at the Robin Street portico open directly into the rear of the sanctuary, and will be unlocked on days when the sanctuary is used for the service. There are handicapped ramps located at both the Washington Avenue and West Street entrances.

Most services will be held in Emerson Community Hall. You can enter through the Washington Avenue doors and follow the signs left to the Hall entrance. Latecomers will be directed to the back of the space by the ushers and seated during the designated intervals.

In the photo at the top left corner of this page, the Robin Street portico is in the middle, Washington Avenue is on the left side of the building, and West Street is on the right.

Parking: Parking is permitted on Sundays in the University at Albany’s Hawley Lot (on the corner of Robin Street and Washington Avenue) and the Thurlow Terrace Lot (on Western Ave.) Street parking is always available.

If you enter through the lobby you will be greeted and guided to our information table, or to the Religious Education office if you have children with you. You will be encouraged to hang up your coat in the coat room nearby, and have a cup of coffee or tea in Channing Hall. Coffee hour between the service and the Forum is a good time to meet friends and members of the congregation, so, if you are planning to attend the 10:00 service, come earlier so you can explore. Beverages are also available shortly before the service.

The ringing of a chime signals the time to move from the social hall to the sanctuary for the service. As you enter, an usher will give you an order of service, which describes the details of service, such as hymn numbers.

Religious Service: Most services will be held in our newly completed Emerson Community Hall. It allows for less formal, more flexible seating of up to 300 people. Conversely, our sanctuary is laid out in a way that reflects our Christian heritage, with a stage, or pulpit, at the front and pews where the congregation sits, facing forward. This part of our building was built in 1925 and is in a traditional New England church style.

Typically, the service begins 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, and listen to a spoken meditation. This is followed by a hymn from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, accompanied by piano, organ, guest instrumentalists, or our church choir. The minister then shares a story with the children of the congregation, who subsequently leave the sanctuary, along with the religious education teachers for their classes.

The service continues with “Personal Joys and Sorrows”, a time for the congregation to share life’s milestones. Next, there may be a period of spoken or silent meditation, another hymn, and then the offertory. The sermon follows, and then a hymn, a benediction, and music to complete the service.

Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Membership/Information table in the lobby or Channing Hall to fill out a “blue card” requesting that the newsletter be mailed to you.