Frequently asked questions
- Sunday Services (9:15 & 11 a.m. September-May and 10 a.m. June-August) are about an hour long. They include music, sharing of joys and concerns, readings, and a sermon. Please check our calendar for details.
- Community Forum presentations typically begin at 12:30 p.m. in the sanctuary (But do check the calendar for special presentations.)
- Before services, stop by our Welcome Center (inside the front doors of the church to the immediate left) to let us know you’re here.
- Our church is wheel chair accessible.
- We also have assisted hearing devices available in the sound room. Ask an usher to help you.
- We hold Faith Formation and Religious Education (FFRE), our Children's Ministry for children and youth from mid-September to mid-June. Your children are invited to visit class any Sunday. Childcare is available for infants through age five from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Dress is casual (jeans) to dressy (suits), though everyone dresses respectfully.
Other Helpful Facts
- Sermon topics range from current events to theological concepts like earthly justice to reflections on the seasons, and might be read by the minister or a lay leader. Services often include announcements and usually set aside a time for worshippers to share their joys and concerns. First-time visitors are asked to stand to be recognized if they are comfortable doing so. This way we can recognize and greet newcomers during coffee hour.
- In the pocket on the back of the chairs is a small brochure with a welcome message and map to the facility.
- The Welcome Desk is staffed by helpful volunteers. They will provide you with a nametag and some basic information about the church on your way into the service. Afterward, they will invite you to stop back by and ask questions or get more information about our church community. If interested, you can complete a short Invitation to Connect form to receive our bi-weekly newsletter, and be put on the church email list to receive information about upcoming events as well.
- If you begin to attend services regularly, we will be happy to print a blue visitor’s nametag for you. It will be available on a magnetic board behind the Welcome Desk for you to pick up each time you visit. Return it to the basket on the Welcome Desk after the service. After the service, come back over to the Welcome Center where you can talk with a board member or the welcome center volunteer. Wearing your temporary or blue name tag at coffee hour will help us know you’re new. If you would like a tour or conversation, please ask at the Welcome Center.
- Visit our Cole Bookstore in Friendship Hall. Among the diverse and interesting books that you can purchase are two books we suggest on Unitarian Universalism: The UU Pocket Guide and Our Chosen Faith. You can purchase printed (50¢) or CD ($3) copies of sermons from past services, and used magazines (50¢).
- Children are always welcome worship at services. If your child becomes restless, you may move to the foyer (Friendship Hall) where you can still hear the service.
- Offering plates are passed during the service to collect money (both cash and checks) in offering plates during the service for the Compassion in Action Program. We encourage everyone to participate in this program as we reach out to support our community in the work of justice.
There are many options for groups.
Our Leaderhip Directory is intended to provide you with an overview of the lay leadership of First Universalist and the committees and other groupings of volunteers that work within the church. It includes a listing of the Board of Trustees and our two congregationally elected committees. All other committees, task forces, teams, etc. are open and welcome new members. We invite you to serve on one or more of these and/or take your ideas and concerns about the church to the appropriate group so that the church can more effectively serve members, friends, and the larger community.
There are different kinds of groups: broadly Social or Common Interest Groups, Caring Circles and Small Group Ministry. Caring Circles are a network of members that could be called upon to minister to the needs of other members in the congregation and they stengthen the community and the ties that bind us. Small Group ministry is about your growth and development. Types of Small Groups include Chalice Circles (groups that meet up to twice a month with a curriculum to structure conversation) and Spirit Groups (to explore spiritual practices).
If you would like to get involved with events, or the information above is overwhelming, please contact Pam Leder, our Connections Coordinator, and she will assist you in finding the group for you.
How do I enroll my children in Faith Formation and Religious Eductaion (Sunday School)? Do I have to be a church member to use it?
Our Faith Formation and Religious Education (FFRE) program functions as a cooperative school in which parents, other adult volunteers, staff and youth serve in a variety of ways to create a learning community that is exciting and meaningful. It truly takes a village to provide our kids a great FFRE program! This village is based on our volunteers and supported by our staff members.
We can not stress enough how important our volunteers are! The program simply would not work with out them. As such, we ask that parents help support the program with their time and energy. There are lots of ways for you to volunteer! Please review the Volunteer Opportunities on page 6 of the FREE brochure and let us know what your interests are.
You do not need to be a church member to register your child/children; however, we expect that you will be concerned and involved with the FFRE of our child(ren). In the spirit of a Cooperative Religious Education Sunday School, we ask that all parents support the program as a member or a friend of the church with an annual pledge, pay a yearly materials fee, and volunteer two to five hours per month within the FFRE Program.
Making a pledge demonstrates your commitment both to Unitarian Universalist prinicples and to First Universalist Church as an organization, recognizing that FFRE is a part of the larger mission of the church.
Signing your name in our membership book and submitting the membership forms to formally become a member of First Universalist Church of Denver is a personal commitment to participate in a process of sharing your talents, your resources, and your energy with others in a quest that is spiritual as well as practical, personal as well as social, individual as well as institutional. Unitarian Universalism challenges you to consider how your beliefs affect your attitude toward yourself and others, and how those beliefs influence what you do.
The Rev. Jack Mendelsohn reminds us that, "Inscribing your name does not transform you into an instant or born-again Unitarian Universalist. Our religious way of life is not so much an arriving as a becoming -- an ongoing process of thought and life experience. Joining for you may mean fresh steps along a familiar path. It may mean venturing in uncharted territory. In either case, the initiative is yours. You do not sign on someone else's dotted line of spiritual development, and there is no fine print. Your signature is your affirming symbol of commitment to an open-minded, inclusive, reasoned, seasoned, compassionate, and contemporary approach to life."
Unitarian Universalists often have a lot to say, and can be a little terse about it. It's not intended to exclude people, so here are some common acronyms to get you started:
UU: Unitarian Universalist. As in, "I'm a UU, you're a UU."
FFRE: Faith Formation and Religious Education. Our version of Sunday School.
MDD: Mountain Desert District. Tthe regional grouping of Unitarian Universalist churches.
Our ministers are available to conduct special services, or you can contact another Unitarian Universalist minister and confirm regarding her/his availability at a time mutually convenient to you, to the minister, and to the church. For more information, please click here.
This weekly email newsletter arrives in nearly 900 member email boxes each Wednesday morning. Items are brief; one to three short paragraphs. Time-specific events such as classes, meetings, socials, and so forth, may be included two weeks out from event date.
All-church events (i.e., Fairs, Annual Auction, conventions, etc.) may be listed further than one month out of event date. If you wish for your all-church event to be listed for several weeks, please consider sending fresh copy weekly, focusing on one different aspect each time (i.e. recruiting leadership and then volunteers, soliciting donations, etc.) to keep reader’s attention.
Exceptions can be made for events with early registration deadlines. Events move up in Happenings as their date approaches and are deleted after event date. Brief “thank you” and/or event recaps may be listed as well. To be most relevant and to have the best impact, please send these shortly after the event.
Please keep in mind that events “move up” in the listing as their date draws near. Events are deleted once they are past-date, or the first session of a multi-session group/class has begun.
The Order of Service (Bulletin, OOS)
Members who attend Sunday services receive this four-page handout, and it is mailed weekly to nearly 70 members who cannot attend services or for households without internet service. While the OOS accepts submissions, please keep in mind that it has finite space, with priority given to service information and all-church events. Although we would love to provide space for each and every item in the OOS, this is simply not possible every week.
Sunday events that have been listed a week out from their date (especially those requiring RSVP/registration) may not appear in the OOS on the same day as the event.
Please remember that once your event is booked at First Universalist, members also will see it listed in the calendars (website, Order of Service.) Booked events are pulled from the database to be included in the calendars, there is no member action required.
For programs and large events, webpages can be created. Discussion of this option is outside the scope of this document. Please contact Janice@firstuniversalist.org for more information.
If your event is “all-church,” meaning it’s a one-day, stand alone event that all members are invited to (examples include All-Church Picnic, Earth Celebration, Halloween Festival, fundraisers such as the Annual Auction, etc.), an email may be sent, reaching nearly 900 people.
Please submit your copy to Rebecca@firstuniversalist.org at least two weeks prior to your preferred send-email date. And, please keep “member courtesy” in mind: Just one brief, focused email.
Targeted Constant Contact Emails
One email per event (except for all-church events) may be sent to a targeted-member group email list through Constant Contact. Please submit copy to Rebecca@Firstuniversalist.com at least two weeks prior to preferred email send date. If an email list does not already exist for your group in Constant Contact, please also include targeted event demographics so that one may be created (examples of demographics that can be used in the database as filters include: age, gender, area, etc.) For more on targeting your marketing, please see “Marketing 101” below.
The Editor’s Role
Please keep in mind that all submitted copy is edited to:
--trim to fit space as needed
--match First Universalist formatting
--correct typos and grammar errors
--meet the five C’s of Clear, Concise, Comprehensible, Correct and Consistent
Please be aware that in some cases, submitted copy may not be included if content is not a good match for the communication piece or the subject matter is inappropriate.
Finally, while every effort is made to insert copy to match submitter timeline, this is not always possible, with some events/ministries advertising held back for a week or two. This practice is done to ensure that the publicized events/ministries are the most relevant and timely ones, as well as to ensure each program has an opportunity to be advertised for free among the avenues that First Universalist provides.
Submission & Deadlines
Items for Happenings, the Slide Show and the Order of Service are all the same: Tuesday, 2 p.m. to be included in that week’s issue. To maximize the marketing of your event, early submissions are welcomed and encouraged.
Submit your items to: email@example.com. Please be aware that electronic submissions reduce errors as cutting and pasting your original copy is possible, versus re-typing copy from a piece of paper. Copy may be edited to match First Universalist formats and/or trimmed to fit available space.
Best Writing Practices from the Current First Universalist Communication Plan
- Be frugal when using Bold, italics & all capital letters. The only information in bold should be the date of the event. Using all caps takes the focus of the whole article to one word and is more likely to be distracting than having the desired impact.
- highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
- meaningful sub-headings (not "clever" ones)
- bulleted lists
- one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
- the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
- half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
- Can someone understand the basics of the article by reading only the headlines and highlighted items?
- Is every article actionable - is there a contact or way to volunteer or provide feedback?
- Does the first 140 characters have enough essential information that someone can act if they only see the tweet or Facebook comment?