Frequently Asked Questions

What do Unitarian Universalists believe?

Unitarian Universalists believe a wide variety of things. You will find UU Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists, as well as people who have trouble classifying their beliefs. What we have in common are our Principles and Sources which guide us, and the desire for a liberal religious community where we can be accepted regardless of what we believe.

Are the Seven Principles a creed or a set of required beliefs?

No. The Principles and Sources are a democratically developed document voted on by all Unitarian congregations in Canada. Mostly they are thoughtful guidelines that help us build our own answers for life’s questions.

Will I fit in?

The worth and dignity of every person is one of the Principles and Sources. We welcome people of all races, ages, gender, sexual orientation, and abilities.

What kind of people come to FUFON?

You’ll find a wide variety of people at FUFON. We talk about diversity a lot, and strive to welcome it. Some of our members are people who have attended another church and found the community valuable but weren’t able to accept the beliefs. There are older people, middle aged people and young children, young adults and youth. While most of our members fit under the umbrella ‘middle class’, we have members from all walks of life and economic backgrounds.There is a stronger LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenderl) presence here than you will find in most congregations–same sex couples generally feel very comfortable in our Welcoming Congregation.

Acceptance is very important to our membership. People who feel that their way of life is right and are determined to save or convince others would probably feel uncomfortable here.

What provisions do you have for people with disabilities?

Our building is wheelchair accessible as are two of our gender neutral washrooms. We have a T Loop system for people whose hearing aid has a T Loop switch.

What should I wear? What should my children wear?

You should wear whatever you are most comfortable in. Most people dress casually (jeans are fine), but some people dress up. Your children should wear something they can play in.

Is there childcare and/or Sunday School? What is taught?

We provide childcare for children under four years of age and a class for children ages 4 and above that runs concurrently with our Sunday services. Our teacher qualified Children’s Religious Educator oversees our children’s program. See our Children and Families page for more details.

My child doesn’t separate well. Can he/she stay with me during the service?

Absolutely. Many parents, particularly of smaller children, keep their children with them in the service and we also have a nursery area set up in the Board room during services. It has toys and a speaker to bring in the service audio. You are also welcome to breast feed anywhere in our building or at our events. You are encouraged to do whatever works for your family.

How do you worship together if you don’t all believe the same thing?

There are two strategies we use–flexibility and “taking turns”. Flexibility for us means choosing things that can mean different things to different people. A minute of silence can mean prayer, meditation, or reflection. Lighting a candle can be spiritual or social. Our minister tries to welcome many points of view and works with the Sunday Services Committee to provide a balance of services during the year. Some are more tailored to people with a stronger spiritual side, and some are more academic. This is worth remembering the first few times you come – what is said from the pulpit on any given Sunday may be quite different the following week.

What goes on during a worship service?

There are always exceptions, but the general format of a service involves beginning with announcements, music played by our music director, our choir and then opening words. We light the chalice and at some point in the service will often also have a chance for people who would like to put pebbles in a glass bowl for the joys and concerns of their lives (and say a couple of words if they’d like).

There is almost always some kind of address–either a sermon from the minister or a talk by a member of the congregation or the wider community. We take an offering (to which you can choose to donate or not). One half of the weekly offering is donated to the selected charity of the month. We tend to close with a few more words and more music (which we also use liberally throughout the service).

Children begin with us in the sanctuary, where they are invited to come up to the front to enjoy the children’s story before being sung out to the RE classroom which is located behind the kitchen.

How about the offering? Is this church all about money?

No! How much or how little you have or choose to give has nothing to do with how you will be treated at FUFON. Yes, we do take an offering each week and once a year we have a Canvass or Pledge, asking people to pledge their gifts for the next year. That helps us plan our budget. Each Unitarian congregation is a free-standing society responsible for its own facilities, operations and fundraising. Only a small portion of our budget goes to supporting the denomination. The congregation responsibly pays its employees, bills, maintenance costs and program related expenses. We have commercial renters to help pay the costs of our operations, but in the end, we have to raise money to keep the doors open. Our budget and financial reports are open and available to any member who wishes to see them.

Will I be pressured to join or be saved?

No. The right to a free and independent search for truth and meaning is one of our seven Principles. Expect people to be friendly – you will likely be greeted, offered a program and a name tag, and given an opportunity to sign our guest book. We are not oriented towards spreading our religion as much as we are towards making it available for people who are looking for it. Once or twice a year we offer a New U orientation course. It’s a small group session hosted by the Membership Committee and led by the minister. It’s a chance to get to know a few other people and learn about the history and operations of the church. At a time and choosing of their own, some people choose to become full voting members of the church and are welcomed with a membership ceremony, but at no time will anyone be pressured to join.

How do I get there?

The address is 595 Townsite Road in Nanaimo. Here’s a map. Click on the map to zoom in and out. Once you arrive, there is adequate free parking on the east side of the building.