YOUR FIRST VISIT
FAQs for Newcomers
3 Where do I park?
Our front parking lot is to the right at the end of Henry
Place. There are special parking places for first-time visitors as well as handicapped parking spaces. There is also ample parking along Henry Place and in the neighboring business lots. And there is a parking lot behind the church. If you wish to park in the rear lot, go one block past Henry Place and turn left on Wheeler Court. The lot is just before the last house on the left on Wheeler.
If you've never been to our church, here are answers to some questions you may be asking. Contact us if you need further information.
1 How do I find the church?
Our church property, with its Unitarian Universalist sign
and “wayside pulpit,” borders on East Henry Street
about two blocks east of the main Spartanburg post
office. However, there is no entrance from East Henry
Street. The Church can be reached by turning from
Henry onto Barksdale Blvd. (Turn right if you are coming from the direction of the post office, left if from Pine or Union Street.) From Barksdale, take the first left onto South Converse Street. Henry Place is a short cul de sac and the second street to the left off South Converse Street. There is a sign at the corner of Henry Place with an arrow pointing to the church.
2 What should I wear?
There is no dress code at our church. Depending on the season you will find sweaters and blue jeans, shorts and T-shirts, shirts and ties, pants and blazers, skirts and blouses, or “Sunday Best” attire with even a hat or two. Whatever you wear, you will find enough people dressed as you are to feel comfortable. Ladies might want to bring a light sweater to wear if needed. Children particularly should wear comfortable clothes. They may play on the floor, work with art supplies, or go outside. Our congregation, both in dress and worship style, is more casual than many UU churches and very much more so than traditional Christian churches.
4 Should I bring anything with me?
Everything you will need for most services will be provided by the church. We do have some special services when we ask people to bring such things as flowers, Easter Eggs, or covered dishes. You are welcome to attend these services without bringing anything, and we always have enough extra at pot lucks!
5 When should I arrive?
To make sure you get a good parking space, and have time to settle in, we suggest you plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the service. If you are late, however, do not be embrassed about coming into the sanctuary. Our sanctuary doors are at the back of the room and it is easy to slip in without being noticed. There are always empty seats in the back.
6 Is the church building accessible to people in wheelchairs?
Yes, it is. Most of our church is on one floor with no steps or curbs. There is a large restroom which is reached from the left rear corner of the sanctuary. Although there is no elevator to the basement-level room, it can be reached by car from the circle at the end of Wheeler Court.
7 What will I find inside the building?
From the front parking lot you may enter either the doors in the middle of the building or the door to the sanctuary foyer (on your left as you face the church). From the back parking lot
there is only the door to the sanctuary foyer. If you enter
the middle doors, the class-
rooms and restrooms will
be on your right, the
kitchen in front of you,
and the fellowship hall to
your left. From here you
reach the sanctuary through
the fellowship hall. There
is also a ground-level room
beneath the sanctuary.
8 What will I experience as I
If you arrive between 10:00 and 10:45, you will have time for coffee and conversation in the Fellowship Hall and you will be most welcome to have coffee and whatever snacks may be available.
If it is close to the time for the worship service, the greeters will be at the door to the sanctuary. They can direct you to the Visitors Table in the foyer next to the rear door. There you can get a name tag and gather printed materials about our church and our faith. There are also printed copies of the Unison (our newsletter) on the Visitors Table. There are copies of the Weekly UUpdate on the table near the greeters and on the Membership Table in the Fellowship Hall (near the door to the sanctuary foyer).
9 Do you have aids for the hearing or visually impaired?
Hearing devices are available on the table near where the greeters stand. There are also large-print hymnals, large-print service bulletins (order of worship), and large-print editions of the Weekly UUpdate.
10 May our child stay with us during the service?
If your child is uneasy without you, he or she may stay in the service with you, but children are invited to attend our RE classes which are held during the worship hour. Childcare is available for younger children. Our childcare workers have had complete background checks before being employed.
11 Will I have to stand up and introduce myself?
No. Although we begin our services with a welcome to our visitors, any response is purely voluntary. We ask if visitors would be willing to stand and introduce themselves, but you are free to ignore the request.
12 Will I meet the minister?
Three Sundays of the month, our minister will be in the pulpit. The other Sunday (or other two Sundays if there are five in the month) will feature a guest speaker or a lay-led program. Our summer services, from the middle of June to the middle of August, are also led by guest speakers or members of our congregation, as the minister is away from the pulpit during that time. If you particularly want to meet our minister on your first visit, check the Sunday schedule on our homepage.
13 What will the service be like?
Because of the great diversity of our Sunday services, you will need to attend more than once to get a feel for who we are and what we do. A typical service will present readings from Judaism, Buddhism, or Christianity, humanism, wisdom literature, historical Unitarians, contemporary poets, feminist theologians, New Age writers, and many others. There will be hymns representing these same traditions, and choir selections ranging from classical to folk and popular. There will be a prelude and postlude by our very talented director of music. Special musicians, both instrumental and vocal, have greatly enriched our services in recent months. If our minister is not there, the service may be a guest speaker, an all-musical program, possibly a dramatic presentation, a meditation experience, or a panel discussion. Sermons and messages are also quite varied and range from the theological to the personal to folk narrative to topics specific to our church and denomination. Our minister is a gifted singer as well as an excellent speaker. An important part of our service is our Children’s Time. In all our services there is much good will and good humor as well as serious reflection.
14 What else happens on Sundays?
There are adult religious education classes at 10:00 on Sunday mornings (except in the summer), at the same time as Coffee and Conversation in the Fellowship Hall. The classes are held in the classrooms in the education wing and downstairs in the ground-level space. The children's RE classes take place at approximately 11:15. (In our church we refer to Religious Education as Lifespan Faith Development.)
After the service the social time continues in the Fellowship Hall. There also may be committee meetings after church, a once-a-month exploratory class for newcomers, and other special events. Some groups meet at 1:00 on Sundays.
A long-standing tradition in the church is the Sunday Lunch Bunch. The size of the group may vary from three or four people to fifteen or twenty or even more. The name of the restaurant is published in the Weekly UUpdate and in the monthlty on-ine newsletter (the Unison) so everyone will know where to go. Newcomers are especially welcome and there have been those who joined our church because of the friendliness they experienced at lunch.
15 Do I have to join right away to participate in church events?
No. We have a special category called "friends," who are treated as members in every way but these: You must be a member to vote at our congregational meetings, and you must be a member to serve on our Board of Trustees. As a friend, you may participate in every other way. But we hope you will want to join.
We hope that you will be stimulated and inspired by the diversity of our services and educational offerings, that you will experience the kind of welcome that has led many people to join our church, that you will come back, not once but many times, and that you will eventually be an important part of our church community.
YOUR FIRST VISIT
FAQS FOR NEWCOMERS
The Unitarian Universalist
CHURCH OF SPARTANBURG
Sunday Service at 11:00
Vespers Wednesday at 6:35
210 Henry Place, 29306
P.O. Box 1942
Spartanburg, SC 29304
Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg
210 Henry Place, Spartanburg, SC 29306