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First Unitarian Church of Baltimore

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Our Community (18)

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Wednesday, 02 November 2011 07:08

The Beacon - Our Monthly Newsletter

Written by Administrator

Our monthly newsletter includes a calendar of events, articles by our ministers and members, and events occurring within our faith community.

Recent Issues

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 07:48

Adult Religious Education

Written by Laura Laing

Adult_RE

First Unitarian offers many opportunities for adults to pick up new skills or expand their understanding of spiritual and theological meaning.  Presented as one-time workshops, regular group meetings or multi-week classes, there's something for everyone.  

For more information about upcoming offerings, download our Adult RE Guide (available online for September, January and May terms). Register online or stop by the RE table to reserve your place for any of our programs. Some of our ongoing groups include:

In the Company of Women — The first Saturday of each month, the women of First Unitarian Church of Baltimore have the opportunity to spend the morning "In the Company of Women" sharing and celebrating our spiritual journey through song, meditation, ritual,discussion, dance, service projects, artistic expression, special activities and, of course, eating and laughing. Participants are encouraged to bring a "brunchish" dish (and ideas) to share.

First at First meets the first Sunday of each month (Beginning Oct. 6, 2013) and features a selection of classes or groups after worship. All are welcome to join any group, whether an ongoing or one-time class. 

The Book Group reads current and classic works to foster spiritual growth and understanding. Meetings are at members' homes. Register online here.

Second Thoughts is an open discussion about themes raised in our services.  Led by Rev Olson in the minster's study after worship on the second Sunday of each month, you are invited to share your thoughts on our community. No registration is needed, just drop in!

Dream Group — Come to Dream Group and find your own individually tailored guide to growth, development, and perhaps change. The Dream Group follows the precepts of Dr. Jeremy Taylor, the UU minister who has made dream work his life ministry. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information

Do you have ideas for adult RE classes?  Would you like to lead a workshop?  Contact Becky Brooks to share your inspiration.

Thursday, 20 October 2011 20:04

Our Committees

Written by Laura Laing

committee

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Not a traditional committee, the church's elected Board of Trustees manages the affairs of the congregation, including overseeing the budgeting process, committee responsibilities and some staffing matters. The proposed budget for the 2012-2013 church year will be voted on on Sunday, April 22 at the Annual Meeting. Read the proposed budget here.

200th Anniversary Steering Committee 
In anticipation of our 200th Anniversary, the Board will charge a new committee with planning and overseeing the celebration of these important Bicentennial dates:
    2017 Founding of the Church
    2018 Completion of the Sanctuary
    2019 Baltimore Sermon delivered by William Ellery Channing

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Plans and undertakes repairs and improvements in an 
architecturally sensitive manner that respects the historic and aesthetic values of the church and assures that church programs continue to thrive and grow. 

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Plans and executes three seasonal worship services (Spring Fest, First Fruits, and Winter Fest) each year. There is overlap between this Committee and the Worship Committee. Fest planning includes open calls for participants to bring in all those who are interested in participating. 

Finance Committee
Brings together representatives of the various committees that have to do with church finances (Fundraising, Investment & Endowment, Stewardship) for purposes of oversight and planning.

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Plans and prepares refreshments in support of church events, especially after worship services or in connection with special events such as Union Sunday, the Cultural Series, or the Auction. Additional volunteers are sought for specific events.

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Manages the financial assets of the church to preserve the value of the principle, obtain capital appreciation, and secure the growth of future income as is consistent with safety. Strictly observes donor instructions regarding preservation of principle or application of principle or income. Employs professional advice or funds management from outside sources as needed. 

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Composed of committee chairs, ministers, and board representatives, the leadership council serves as a conduit for information, planning, coordination and support among the board, committee leadership, and members. 

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Helps engender a healthy, thriving congregation for the church and a sense of belonging and stewardship for each individual member. We are especially looking for people to work at the Welcome Table, a great way for new members to meet people. 

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The Committee on Ministry is a standing committee with oversight responsibility for the ministry of the congregation. The committee promotes and facilitates the relationship between the ministers and the congregation, receiving, investigating, and responding to matters affecting the relationship between the ministers and the congregation. It provides support to the ministers consistent with its duties. 

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The Music Committee assists the ministers, the Music Director, and the Worship Committee in the ongoing development of a comprehensive music program. 

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A standing committee, the Nominating Committee is composed of five members, serving two-year staggered terms. Prior to each Annual Meeting, the committee submits a list of nominees and other candidates for each open seat on the Board of Trustees (including officers) and for each open seat on the Nominating Committee.

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Provides the Board and staff with information regarding policies and procedures for employees through a Personnel Manual; Interviews prospective employees; and makes salary recommendations during the budget process.

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Plans an array of classes, discussion groups, and forums for adults. 

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Plans and implements classes and activities based on the values we honor - religious pluralism, social justice, reason and compassion. There are many opportunities for involvement either on-going or for a single event. 

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First Unitarian's Social Action Clearinghouse (SAC) initiates programs and supports congregation members and community organizations working for social justice and peace. SAC programs include Change for Change, which contributes half the undesignated Sunday collections to nonprofit organizations enhancing the quality of life in Baltimore, and the annual Baltimore Social Action Awards: Celebrating Beacons of Hope in Baltimore and the World.  The SAC encourages advocacy for national, state and local policies that align with UU principles.

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The Stewardship Committee educates the congregation about the need for financial support of the Church by its members and the opportunity that this gives to bring our lives in harmony with our values. In collaboration with the Board, it develops and directs the annual canvass program, which secures pledges from the members of the congregation at levels adequate to support the mission of the church. It also develops materials to support the stewardship, canvass and fundraising activities.

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Ushers greet everyone who comes to services and try to make visitors feel welcome. We hand out programs, distribute hearing devices and Braille hymnals to those who request them, take up the offering, and provide assistance as needed during the service. We are a diverse group of men, women, and youngsters dedicated to facilitating the worship service experience. This is one of the easiest ways to volunteer at our Church. Paul O'Brien is head usher.

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The Worship Committee fosters the spiritual growth of the congregation by providing opportunities for participation in the planning and leadership of worship. In collaboration with the ministers, the group fosters year-around worship experiences that touch the mind, heart, and soul. Responsibilities include planning intergenerational worship services, coordinating of the music program, summer services, Union Sunday, holiday decorating and ushering. The committee welcomes feedback from the congregation.

Thursday, 20 October 2011 19:53

Our Ministers

Written by Laura Laing

Rev_Olson

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Minister

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it is an engaging speaker, a winner of sermon prizes in history and social justice, a theme speaker at conferences and frequent keynote speaker for groups engaged in the struggle for social change. Olson founded, with others, two congregation-based community organizations in Boston, Massachusetts and Flint, Michigan, and has served on the national steering committees of the UU Latino/a Networking Association and the US-Cuba Sisters Cities Association.

Olson's first career was in theater where he was an actor, singer, vocal coach, and producing director of Little Flags Theater in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and where he made frequent guest appearances on other stages throughout New England. He has appeared in talking books published by Houghton Mifflin Company, and in an American Public Radio special.

Olson sees that the world is a place of great possibility, but the public square can be a place for conflict and pain. Communities of faith can creatively mediate that pain and celebrate those possibilities. Together, we can move from "the world as it is" to "the world our faith calls us to create." Reverend

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Community Minister This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Methodist Theological School in Ohio and received final fellowship from the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the UUA in 2002. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from Delaware State in 1992. He recently retired after working for 11 1/2 years as a hospice chaplain. He is currently the Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Society for Community Ministers.”

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Affiliate Minister

Affiliate Minister This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it has been involved with our church since 1984 after serving as Leader (minister) of the Baltimore Ethical Society for nine years. At First Unitarian, Mike performs weddings, unions and memorial services and is available for other pastoral needs. He coordinates our Book Discussion Group, helps plan the Winter and Spring Celebration services and is active in the Religious Education program. In 2007 he retired from his day job as health policy analyst in the Medicaid Program of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Mike earned his Ph.D. in history at the University of Maryland. His articles on Baltimore history have appeared in the Maryland Historical MagazineThe Sun Magazine, and in the book, Maryland: Unity in Diversity. He also speaks on historical and cultural issues for the Maryland Humanities Council and is active in the Baltimore Folk Music Society.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Affiliate Minister

The congregation of The First Unitarian Church of Baltimore commissioned Harry Woosley as Affiliate Minister for the Deaf on May 2, 2004. We believe that our church made history as the first UU church to commission a minister for the deaf. Originally ordained in a Christian denomination, Rev. Woosley recently retired from a career working with the deaf/AIDS population, most recently with the Family Service Foundation. His UU commissioning is formal recognition of his already active deaf ministry. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of our church.

Thursday, 20 October 2011 19:30

Our Leadership

Written by Laura Laing

UU_meeting

We are a welcoming, diverse, self-governing congregation of approximately 250 members. An elected Board of Trustees manages the affairs of our congregation, and committees implement programs and projects.  Paid staff handle the day-to-day work required to maintain our buildings, prepare for Sunday activities, coordinate events and interact with the public.

First Unitarian Church of Baltimore has one full-time minister, one community minister and two affiliate ministers.  With their leadership, the congregation enjoys fulfilling services and compassionate pastoral care, while providing outreach to vulnerable populations of our community.

Along with our minister, the staff includes a lifespan religious education director, music director, church administrator and part-time sexton.

Elected by the congregation, the Board of Trustees sets policy, conducts long-range planning, and oversees the finances and general well-being of the church.  Meetings are open to membership and held on the third Tuesday of each month in the Volunteer Office.

Committees are at the center of church life, providing on-the-ground work in a variety of areas, including buildings and grounds, membership, stewardship and religious education. As the need arises, committees may be formed to address new issues.

Thursday, 20 October 2011 19:01

Facilities Rentals

Written by Laura Laing

sanctuary

Designed by the noted French architect, Maximilian Godefroy and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, our building is a landmark of historic significance in Baltimore.  Built in 1818, the sanctuary offers seating for 350 and is flanked by sparkling Tiffany windows on each side.  Above the alter is a Tiffany mosaic—a nod to the church’s Christian roots, it is a replication of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.  At the rear, in the balcony, sits our melodic Henry Niemann organ.

A large center aisle and two side aisles line four groups of pews.  Steps lead up to the altar, podium and pulpit. Along with the organ, the sanctuary features a grand piano, harpsichord and smaller organ.

Pratt_Hall

The Enoch Pratt Parish Hall was named for prominent church member and Baltimore philanthropist, Enoch Pratt. Pratt Hall and the adjoining religious education building house church offices, rooms for religious education classes and meetings and a hall for lectures, dinners and other events.  During summer months, Sunday services are held in this building, rather than the sanctuary.

The Enoch Pratt Parish Hall is a lovely location for receptions and parties.  A full kitchen—including stove, oven, heating drawers and dishwasher—is available for catering.  Secluded at the end of a hall—and with easy access to the sanctuary—is a bride’s dressing room.

Centrally located in luxurious and historic Mt. Vernon, First Unitarian Church of Baltimore is convenient to some of the city’s most sought-after reception venues, including Chase Court, Clarion Hotel Peabody Court, The Engineer’s Club, The Peabody Library and The Walters Art Museum.

Street parking is often available on Charles, Franklin and St. Paul’s Streets, and a public parking garage directly across the street from the sanctuary offers additional spaces for larger parties.

Unitarian Universalists welcome people of all religious backgrounds, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.  We share common values, including the inherent worth and diginity of all people, and encourage one another to find our own spiritual paths.  To that end, we have no creed and no single form of worship.  We are happy to help you plan a ceremony or memorial service that reflects your personal beliefs, drawing on many different spiritual and inspirational sources.

Because we are first a church, no rental space is available on Sundays before 2:00 pm

Our building is historic, which means it was not built with accessibility in mind.  However, we have made a special effort to renovate our facilities so that they are accessible by as many people as possible.  Both the sanctuary and Pratt Hall are accessible to persons with impaired mobility, exceptfor the stage and balcony.  An elevator is available from street level to the sanctuary floor. An accessible bathroom is available, and the sanctuary is equipped with a sound system for the hard of hearing.  We can also help you find an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for your special event. If your guests do require special accommodations to attend, please provide information to the sexton about your requirements to us at least five business days in advance.

Sanctuary:

  • holds 350 people
  • 8 pews, center aisle, 2 side aisles
  • 2 organs and a grand piano
  • suitable for weddings, lectures, recitals, and concerts 
  • not air-conditioned

The Enoch Pratt Parish Hall

  • holds 95 seated and 120 for a stand-up reception
  • is suitable for receptions, dinners, parties, recitals, and meetings
  • has several smaller rooms for suitable for meetings of 10 – 15 people 
Contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information or to inquire about a date.
Thursday, 20 October 2011 15:53

Weddings and Unions

Written by Laura Laing

bride

Unitarian Universalists welcome people of all religious backgrounds and sexual orientations. We share common values, such as the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and encourage each other to find our own spiritual paths. We have no creed, no single form of worship, and no single form for weddings. Instead, we provide you with assistance to plan a ceremony that reflects your personal beliefs, drawing on many different spiritual and inspirational sources. 

Whether you're looking for the traditional or something unique, our minister will help you to plan a service suited to your hopes and dreams.brides

Special features:

Please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with questions or to inquire about a date. 

Thursday, 20 October 2011 15:21

Stewardship

Written by Laura Laing
chalkboard

For almost 200 years, the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore has provided ethical, moral, and spiritual sustenance to religious liberals, offering a home to those who believe there is more than one source of truth. As stewards of this living tradition, we are responsible for sustaining it and helping it flourish. We make a commitment to pledge time, talent and treasure to sustain our church and to pass our tradition on to future generations.

Our stewardship of the Church is each individual’s recognition of her/his responsibility for the Church’s management and well-being. More than 70% of the revenue of our church comes from congregational contributions.

Making a financial commitment is a way of expressing your overall commitment to the church, its mission and its activities. Through your pledge, you help ensure that the aspects of the church you value most will continue to be there now and for future generations. 

To this end, each spring members and friends make a monetary pledge for the following fiscal year. In turn, the board of trustees presents a budget based on anticipated income. Overwhelmingly, the revenue that funds the Church’s operations comes from members' contributions.  If you have made a pledge already, click here to make your payment online.

Although pledges provide the primary revenue for the church, there are other opportunities to support church functions. These include: 

  • A Thanksgiving Offering for special projects
  • Occasional offerings for projects outside our church
  • Fundraising events and activities
  • The Organ Restoration Fund
  • Wills and bequests
  • Capital campaign
Thursday, 20 October 2011 14:47

Music

Written by Laura Laing
choir

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."

Aldous Huxley had it right, and that's why music of all kinds plays such a big role in church life.  Whether it's a youth-produced rock concert to benefit local non-profit organizations, a Peabody concert or a simple musical meditation sung at the beginning of worship, church events often have musical components.  And even if you can't carry a tune in a bucket, you are welcome to sing out.

The music program at First Unitarian is led by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . During services, congregants enter to the soft heartbeat of drums and are then invited to join in a musical meditation.  An all-volunteer choir performs anthems and offertories and rehearses on Sunday mornings from 9:00 until 10:30 a.m. Guest choirs and soloists are welcome guests, and hymns are sung from two hymnals, Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey.  

The sanctuary organ, installed when the interior of the church was altered in 1893, was the gift of Enoch Pratt, Treasurer of the church and a well known philanthropist. We have begun a much-needed restoration of our Neimann organ, with the help of generous donations from members and friends. If you'd like to contribute, please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The organ in the Enoch Pratt Parish Hall is from the Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in Annapolis, Maryland. It may have been built for St. Mary's Industrial School in Baltimore and was installed in its present location in 1895. 

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On the Map: 12 W. Franklin St:
Corner of Charles and Franklin Streets in Downtown Baltimore

Mailing address: 
1 W Hamilton St,
Baltimore, Maryland 21201 

Hours: Tues-Fri,  10 - 3:30
Phone: 410-685-2330 
Fax: 410-685-4133 
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