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Unitarian Universalists of Mozambique

General Guide Information and Recommendations

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There is a lot of information on this web site about CUUM (Congregation Unitarian Universalist of Mozambique)and it's activities. You will find that your best source of information and the best way to get the most benefit from CUUM is to get involved with us and help in preparing services.
This does not mean / imply a commitment to a lot of work. You can join or even just attend some of the services to see what they are about and if it may interest you. Participation, no matter how casual or how deep, will always provide greater insight and increase the satisfaction and growth you are seeking at CUUM.

What can I (and my children) wear to church?
    Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing. None of us wear pearls and heels or dockers and a white shirt (no tie), most of us wear jeans -- or even shorts. Children may have art projects or outdoor activities. They should dress so they can actively engage in the program.
Is there childcare/Sunday school during the church service?
    Children often remain in the service for the first 10-15 minutes for a gathering song and joys and concerns. Then they go to another area for the remainder of the hour. Children's activities address matters such as ethical decision-making, world religious traditions, and developing a reverence for the mystery of life. Childcare for infants and toddlers is available with several days' advance notice.

If my child doesn't separate well or is shy, can she or he stay with me in the service?
    YES! Or, you may choose to go to the other area with your child if that works best at first.
Are you genuinely welcoming to all people?
    We are a home of free religious diversity. We gather to worship, honoring our differences in age, race, gender, ability, class, sexual orientation, and national origin. We trust that the unique and beautiful qualities that you bring will be celebrated and appreciated. While saying so doesn't make it so, an important reason we come together is to remind ourselves of what we value. And because we value human diversity, we include the voices and dreams of all people in our readings and music, our Religious Education (R.E.) classes, and our leadership.

Will I be pressured to join or be saved or donate?
    No. In fact, people sometimes think we are being aloof because we don't approach our visitors as if we were selling used cars. We'll welcome you at the door. We'll send you our announcement for a while, if you ask for it and give us your email address. We'd be happy to have you join us, but we won't try to push ourselves onto you. We will never ask you to join on a first visit; we recommend you visit for a couple of months before you consider joining. We do accept donations to help support and continue our work.

    Unitarian Universalists believe that religious faith is uniquely personal and evolves as we each engage our inner search in our life journey. We find our quest is enriched and empowered in community, a community that embraces and welcomes all persons. We affirm, promote, and celebrate the full participation of everyone in all of our activities without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, physical or mental challenge, Sexual/affectational orientation, marital status, age, or national origin. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact a lay leader to learn more about the path to membership. Our members also welcome your questions.

    Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that emerged from the Jewish and Christian traditions. Unitarianism has its roots in the early Christian era. We trace our history to the Socinians, to Michael Servetus, whom John Calvin had burned at the state for heresy in the 13th century, and even back to the 4th century controversies about the natures of Jesus and God and the rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity ("Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"). It developed along especially tolerant and humanist lines after being brought to America by noted minister and chemist Joseph Priestley, among others, late in the 18th century. Influential people in our more recent history include Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Ellery Channing, and Theodore Parker. Universalism, the doctrine of universal salvation, developed in Germany and England in the 17th and 18th centuries; the first Universalist church in America was founded in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1796.

    The name Unitarian originally came from the belief in the "unity" of God rather than a Trinity. The name Universalism originated with the belief in "universal" salvation, the idea that everyone will be saved and no one is eternally damned. Unitarians and Universalists merged in 1961. Contemporary Unitarian Universalism has no creed and is an alternative to creed-based religions. The most fundamental of its principles is individual freedom of religious belief.

    We'll never pressure you to be saved, either. We don't believe in salvation by grace. That is where the "Universalist" part of "Unitarian-Universalists" comes in.

How can an agnostic or atheist go to church?

    The agnostics and atheists at our church arrive by foot, bicycle, car and bus.
    Seriously, this is one of the things about us that puzzles people. Why would an agnostic (atheist, humanist...) go to church? People come to church seeking spiritual growth, seeking to know themselves better, to mature in their understanding of the world and to ponder the age-old questions - how to live, what to believe, how to act, what meanings we can decipher from the mystery of life. We offer people a place to explore and grow spiritually, even if they grow in different directions. We talk about "things-that-matter" on a regular basis. We encourage deeper thinking and exploring of religious and spiritual values, including better ways to live our lives consciously. We provide religious education for our children, so that they can make an informed choice when it comes time for them to choose a religion. Finally, there is the social aspect of church. Even agnostics like potlucks.

Is your building accessible to all people?
    We believe it is. We make every effort to hold our services in locations that are wheelchair accessible and friendly to families with small children and strollers.

What goes on during the worship service?
    Our format may feel familiar; but you may be surprised with the message. We address a wide range of social, ethical, and inter-personal issues from different points of view. And in the end, you are left to make up your own mind. You are not just free to do so; you are responsible for doing so. It may seem unsettling to go to a congregation which provides more questions than answers, but if if you invest yourself in our community, you will find a strong network of support from fellow seekers.
    Our Saturday Services involve singing, music, meditations, readings (from just about any source imaginable) and reflections by members of the congregation. The Services last about an hour. After Service we sometimes go for coffee to a nearby coffee shop.
    This description is typical, but in no way definitive. We may have an "alternative" service, maybe the sharing of music and poetry, or a service led by members of the congregation, by visiting ministers, or by other local speakers. Altogether our Saturday Services are a mix of tradition and openness to change. They reflect our acceptance of the joyous and painful mysteries of life, and our unflagging efforts to make life meaningful.

Who Are the UUs?
    You can learn more about Unitarian Universalism and ask questions to help you explore this faith on the  Unitarian Universalist Association's website at http://www.uua.org/visitors/. You will find a list of questions from other newcomers on topics such as creeds, sacraments, sin, atheism and agnosticism, and Unitarian Universalist views on Jesus. A Frequently Asked Questions list addresses many of the most popular questions. Answers are provided by the UUA Office of Information & Public Witness staff and "seasoned" UUs. Finally we have listed 100 of the most frequently asked questions .