Hi! … and thanks for visiting!
I’m glad you’re taking this opportunity to explore our congregation. We are a welcoming, dynamic and diverse community. We are a spiritual home for single people and families of many backgrounds and identities. Together, we believe that life is a journey, one best lived with good company. We come together regularly to explore and celebrate the ideas and values that give our lives meaning, to support one another through life’s ups and downs, to grow in accordance with our values, and to seek creative and collaborative ways to put those values into action.
We understand religion in simple and inclusive terms. According to Joseph Campbell, the word “religion” comes to us from the Latin word re-ligare, meaning “to bind”… or, more accurately, “to re-bind.” Religion is how we re-bind our life’s energies with our values. Religion is a matter of practice. Think: physical exercise for your soul. Religion isn’t about rules and doctrine, or even believing the same thing. Religion is about finding and keeping your balance, seeking right relationship, and living with intention. Truly, we need not think alike to love alike.
The best way to get to know us is to join us for a Sunday service. Our worship services are full of music and cheer, while also offering time for silence and reflection. We also have a wide variety of programs and activities for children and youth, and for adults of all ages. Please check out our congregational calendar on this site – there is sure to be something happening here that interests you!
While you are here, you will also find opportunities to express your evolving spirituality in important ways. For example, you can become involved in social justice work through our Open Pantry program, or by cooking for people who are homeless, or by joining our Green Team in protecting our environment. If you like music, you can enjoy hearing our choirs for adults and children… or even better, consider joining the choir under the joyful leadership of Director of Music Elisabeth Weber. UUSGS is a committed supporter of local arts. We host Unity House Concerts on Saturday evenings throughout the year… and we host award-winning community theater every Spring. We also have active small group ministry programs for those seeking deeper connections, and we offer a Worship Associates program for lay leaders who are interested in helping to lead our weekly worship services. Ours is truly a community of many voices!
If you are a parent or a caregiver, you may be interested in our programming for children and teens. Our religious education program – which usually occurs alongside our 11AM Sunday services – is designed to provide young people with the space they need for their spiritual identity to develop organically, while also providing a strong moral foundation and a sense of community. We always try to connect our youth programming with our adult programming in order to better serve the spiritual needs of families as a whole. (I always love to hear of great conversations that occur on the ride or walk home!) Our annual Coming of Age program is a real highlight, where teens are paired with mentors and eventually share with the congregation a statement of what they believe, signifying the beginning of a lifelong religious journey of reflection and discovery. Darcie Farber, our Director of Religious Education, would be more than happy to speak with you about our programs for children and teens.
Here at UUSGS, you will have an opportunity to grow spiritually by exploring your own religious questions through dialog and reflection… because our faith’s primary commitment has always been to freedom of religious belief. People ask me all the time: “You mean not everyone at your congregation believes the same thing?! Is that really a religion?” The simple answer is “Yes!” Our religious roots run as deep as any other tradition’s… but we’ve never been terribly interested in building our religious identity around what divides us.
Each Sunday, we begin our worship service with these words:
“Love is the Spirit of this Congregation and Service is its Law.
This is our Covenant:
To Dwell Together in Peace,
To Seek Truth in Love,
And to Help One Another.”
This covenant represents who we strive to be and what we strive to do. So come, join us. We are truly a Welcoming Congregation, a beacon of love in the Pioneer Valley, and we would love to welcome you!
For more information about me personally, click here. Otherwise, I look forward to greeting you soon myself. Until then, may your days be full of beauty and joy.