Your First Visit
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
Visitors and newcomers are always welcome at The Unitarian Society, a Unitarian Universalist congregation in East Brunswick NJ.
Most of us were newcomers and visitors ourselves at one time, and we want to offer to you the friendship as well as the “space” to explore our religious community. Whether you come to visit once or stay for a lifetime of religious growth and fellowship, we are glad you are here.
Our congregation is a community of people with diverse spiritual orientations and religious traditions, from many different backgrounds. Sharing this journey of spiritual growth, we are working together to find ways to live our faith in the world, all the while respecting the right to freedom of individual beliefs.
Please take time to explore this website to find out more about who we are and what we do. We welcome any and all questions you may have.
We hope that we will meet you in person soon and that you will come to feel part of this congregation as we create and grow a diverse, questioning, justice-seeking, spirit-growing community.
Information about TUS
When does the service start?
Our Services at 10:30 am. It’s always good to arrive a bit before this to find your way around.
Where do I park?
We have a large parking lot, accessible off Tices Lane. The Unitarian Society Meetinghouse is located at the top of the hill. Pull your car into the lower lot and park in the “visitor” spots, near the stairways.
If you need an accessible parking spot, please use the upper area, near the front entrance, where you can also drop off passengers before parking.
When you arrive…
You will be greeted at the door by our Welcoming Team, who can answer any questions you might have. We’ll ask you to please sign our visitor register and let us know if you’d like to receive our newsletter. We encourage you to fill out a name-tag so that we may learn your name.
Our Meetinghouse was built in 1964 and has a character all its own. The Sanctuary is a simple space, and seating is in comfortable chairs instead of rigid pews. More information on the service itself can be found on the Sunday Services page.
What happens during the worship service? What are the sermons like?
Our sermons may be unlike what you grew up with, since we don’t try to tell anyone exactly what to think or do. They strive to offer personal and thought-provoking ideas on a topic so that you can determine your own beliefs about it. Sermons are offered by our minister, church members, or expert guests.
Can I bring my children?
Of course – you and your children are very welcome. Our Religious Education program is often why people first come to TUS. Its goal is to nurture the spirit of each child, fostering ethical and faith development in our children so that they will be empowered to become free-thinking individuals who know and respect themselves and others, contribute to their human and natural communities, and make informed decisions regarding their spiritual paths.
We provide a Sunday School with age-appropriate programs for young children up through high school youth, and child care for the very young. You are welcome to have your children take part in our Program when you visit. See the Religious Education page for more details.
Most Sundays, families begin together in the Sanctuary. Some Sundays, there is a Story for All Ages related to the sermon topic, other weeks there is special music, a conversation with our minister, or a collection for a charitable organization in our community. Then the children are dismissed to their religious education programming.
On a few special Sundays, we have Intergenerational Worship during which children and their families attend for the entire service.
Will I be welcome?
Yes, absolutely. We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person and in acceptance of one another and encouragement to the spiritual growth of all. We have members who are rich and poor, black and white, young and old, heterosexual, gay and transgender. Our members come from many different occupations, cultural heritages, and religious backgrounds.
What if I’m part of an interfaith family?
Many TUS families have roots in more than one religion, and specifically choose our congregation because we honor and celebrate many religious traditions.
Will I be welcome if I’m agnostic or atheist?
When we say our spiritual traditions are diverse, we really mean it! Within our membership are agnostics, atheists, humanists, theists, Buddhists, people who follow the earth-based religions, and others rooted in traditional Jewish or Christian beliefs.
Our aim is to give people a safe place to explore and grow spiritually, wherever they start from and wherever they journey. We provide religious education for their children, teaching them how to make informed and ethical choices. We provide a larger forum for making a difference in the world through social action. And we provide a vibrant social community.
What should I wear?
Men and women generally wear attire best characterized as “business casual”, with a greater emphasis on the “casual” in many cases. Please wear whatever makes you comfortable. Children should also wear comfortable clothes, such as jeans and sneakers. After their religious education class, which sometimes involves “messy” craft projects, children may want to enjoy our playground.
What happens after the service?
Immediately after every Sunday Service, we host what is traditionally called “Coffee Hour” – a time for refreshment, conversation and fellowship. Beverages (coffee and tea) are offered, along with snacks such as bagels, muffins or sometimes other fare. And the first Sunday of the month (October through April) is “Souper Sunday” when some of our cooks bring in delicious home-made soups to enjoy at Coffee Hour.
On occasion there are other activities or meetings happening at this time. Information about these are found in our Newsletter or the weekly Announcements.
Will I be pressured to join or convert?
We do try to be friendly, but we do not ask visitors to join our congregation right away. We believe that you should take the time to see whether we are a good fit and to consider our covenant. Membership conveys certain privileges, such as voting rights, and responsibilities, such as involvement and financial support, but there are a number of congregants who are very active in the life of our community but who have never signed the membership book.
What holidays are celebrated?
We celebrate many of the great religious holidays in some way that speaks to our Unitarian Universalist faith. These include Christmas, and Easter, the Jewish High Holy Days, Day of the Dead, Passover and Hanukkah. Other religious traditions’ holidays and holy times are marked or honored each year as well.
How do I get there?
The Unitarian Society, a UU congregation is located at 176 Tices Lane, East Brunswick NJ 08816