BBQ at Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica (UUCCSM)

The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica (UUCCSM) has invited Generation Atheist to join them for a service and BBQ.

Why would Generation Atheist, a group of confirmed non-believers, want to visit a church?
UUCCSM is different than the typical church group. They're a community of people with a broad range of backgrounds, beliefs and non-belief (about half of all UUCCSM members are religious skeptics) who are united through shared values rather than dogmatic creed.

How does a community with such a mix of people work?
Join me to find out!


BBQ
After the 11am service, we'll join them for a BBQ lunch onsite from 12:30 to 2 pm. There'll be burgers, hotdogs, veggie burgers and more on the grill. We'll have a chance to meet and talk with members of both AAHS (Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists & Secularists), the UUCCSM freethought group, and fUUsion, UUCCSM’s group for 20s and 30s young adults.

You can learn more about the UUCCSM here http://uusm.org/

Parking
Free garage parking is available at the UCLA parking garage ([masked]th Street, Santa Monica, 90404) when you display a printout on your car’s dash of the parking pass.

The pass can be downloaded from http://www.uusm.org/contact/parkingpass0810.pdf and directions on how to get to the church from the garage are included on the pass

Location
UUCCSM is located at the corner of 18th and Arizona in Santa Monica.

 

Other similar events to follow
This event is part of a series of events that I'd like to create so we can explore different religions and philosophies first hand. We can read about a community but there's nothing like actually visiting and meeting the people who make up the group.

To address some concerns (5/18/2012)
This event isn't to promote UU, it's to learn first hand about a group of people. We've had events like this before for similar reasons.

This event has caused some controversy because there's concern they are going to convert us and get us to follow their belief system. To be clear, most UU are believers. Some are skeptics, some completely disbelieve but most are spiritual and believe in a higher power. Atheists/agnostics do not believe in a god or higher power.

I'm an atheist but I'm still interested in meeting church goers and getting to know other religious communities. I like knowing how they function and what makes them tick. I can understand if some atheists have no interest in that.

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  • Phong N

    They are the nicest of people.

    June 17, 2012

  • Michael K.

    Great event and conversation. Ian, thanks again for hosting us.

    Keep the conversation going on our Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/180365888724513/

    June 6, 2012

  • Russell

    It was stellar. Lots of people to talk to with lots of ideas and no push.

    June 5, 2012

  • James W

    I had a great time and really enjoyed all the conversations, some of which stretched into early evening. Great bunch of people from both groups.

    June 4, 2012

  • Josh

    I felt very welcome, and many of the UU members went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

    June 4, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The BBQ was great... lots of friendly & interesting people.

    June 4, 2012

  • Ian D.

    We had about 50+ people, representing Generation Atheist, AAHS (Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists & Secularists), and fUUsion, the young adult group of UUCCSM. It was a great opportunity for these disparate groups to share our common worldviews and network in a casual setting over burgers and beer. I'd love to entertain the idea of getting our groups together again in the future.

    June 4, 2012

  • Addi

    I did not receive any orchestrated love bombing by overly friendly religious extremists at this place. UUCCSM feels like a wonderful little community. I hope I can visit again.

    June 3, 2012

  • Ian D.

    @Amanda--I respectfully take exception to your comment. I go to the UU church because I can ACTIVELY share values, teach kids about critical thinking, and found a freethought group. I also belong and participate in several atheist groups. These things are not mutually exclusive, in fact they are mutually supportive. I look forward to meeting you all this afternoon. I'll be manning the grill for your dining pleasure.

    June 3, 2012

  • James W

    My bad: neglected to cite the 31% "earth-centered." Sorry for the additional email, but I think the statistics are relevant to the comments on this page. Tinfoil hat-wearers are OK, too - UUs are an accepting bunch. :p Try to show up early. For an inherently disorganized religion, services usually fill up quickly and start right on time. :)

    June 3, 2012

  • Michael K.

    Please remember that these comments fire off an email to everyone on the list and can annoy many members who get email alerts on their phone. Please keep the comments here for questions about the event itself (directions, car pooling, etc.). We can discuss other things on the Facebook page or at the meeting tomorrow. See you guys in a few hours =D

    1 · June 3, 2012

  • amanda

    whaddya know? unitarianism is a religion that holds meetings in churches. whether you join the religion while there or not is up to you. if you're really that set on going to a church, that's fine. perhaps belonging to atheist groups is not for you.

    June 3, 2012

  • Ian D.

    James, I'd live to get the source for that. I can dig up the figures for UUCCSM from the congregational survey I conducted when I sat on het he ministerial search committee. Off the top of my head, around half of the respondents identified as agnostic/atheist and more when you include humanist (secular and religious). I'll have to look them up to be sure.

    June 2, 2012

  • James W

    Whaddya know, I stumbled upon some actual numbers that address the speculation/confusion about what people in UU groups "believe." Closest thing to a recent national survey (could choose more than one label): 54% humanist, 33% agnostic, 18% atheist, 17% Buddhist, 13% pagan, 13% Christian. Caveats: earth-centered usually means a naturalistic outlook that views the "holy" applying to nature, not supernatural; UU Christians usually identify with the morals (i.e.. Jefferson Bible) but not miracles.

    June 2, 2012

  • Michael K.

    Not to lump UU with other groups but I do want to setup events to visit Mormons, Amish and more. I'd like to learn first hand about what other communities are like.

    Having said that, lets keep the comments on this page just for this Sunday's event information and move the conversation about future events to the Facebook group. Feel free to start a new discussion here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/180365888724513/

    May 29, 2012

  • Kathryn B.

    I'm up for cult infultration. Especially if they have good food... Does anyone want my punch?

    1 · May 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Lets have events that infiltrate other cults too. The hari krshnas make tasty food...you might not even have to shave your head and shun your friends and family...

    1 · May 28, 2012

  • Michael K.

    I've updated the event details in an attempt to address some concerns but I don't want a ton of comments here because each comment sends an email to everyone and it can get annoying quickly.

    I created a discussion on our Facebook page. Please move the conversation there http://www.facebook.com/groups/180365888724513/permalink/292490470845387/

    2 · May 18, 2012

  • Ian D.

    While at the same time, the percentage of non-believers like you and me has doubled in recent decades. I see the growth of secularism/atheism/humanism as a serious challenge to the future of the UU church. But until its complete demise, I find the UU community one of the places I can be very "out" about my atheism (indeed I've been invited to share it from the pulpit on several occasions) and still find good friends whose values I share in the here-and-now instead of the hereafter.

    1 · May 18, 2012

  • Ian D.

    Amanda--I respectfully beg to differ. Yes, Unitarianism is a religion. No, UUs don't want to convert you. Of the 7 Principles we try to follow, #4 says we promote "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning" and #5 that we affirm "the right of conscience". That is to say, we try to respect the choice of every individual without coercion or proselytization. That would help explain why UU enrollment has actually remained flat for the past 20 years.

    1 · May 18, 2012

  • Jennifer N.

    Of course their goal is to increase enrollment. That's how they bring the money in. Every church is also a business. I'm still giving it a fair chance, especially if they are supposed to be so much more openminded than others I've been to. It'll be nice if the preaching doesn't involve politics or how horrible Hell is for those who don't really love Jesus.

    May 18, 2012

  • amanda

    don't get it twisted; they're a religion that wants to convert you, just like all the rest. schiavoni: i have serious concerns about khalili. he and i have e-mailed :no sarcastic eye-rolling here: . james: there's a reason why this site only allows 500 characters.

    May 18, 2012

  • Leonard

    lol - Careful, Michael. That's how rumors get started...

    1 · May 18, 2012

  • Mike S.

    Amanda may have stumbled upon a conspiracy here. Could it be that Michael Khalili, organizer of Generation Atheist and president of Atheists United, is secretly trying to convert us all into god-fearing mindless pawns? :rolls eyes:

    1 · May 18, 2012

  • James W

    Yes, these services contain ceremonial elements along with meditation/reflection -- but ceremony and ritual shouldn't be exclusively associated with superstition. I would never claim that a UU congregation is a good fit for all atheists, but it would definitely be a mistake to think that it's just another fundamentalist religion that wants to enslave your mind. Far from it. :) Sorry for the litany, just wanted to set the record straight! Looking forward to seeing some of you this Sunday.

    May 18, 2012

  • James W

    Ministry is understood as service to the community and wider humanity; social justice, environmental stewardship, antiracism and gay rights are major goals; and "worship" services are generally a celebration of common values and discussions of moral/ethical issues. Music is definitely important; the choir at UUCCSM is really good for a small congregation and we often host excellent local musicians.

    May 18, 2012

  • James W

    But as I pointed out in my previous comment, it's a "religion" (quotation marks because I know many people who claim it really isn't one) that's strongly shaped by Humanism -- that is, it's focused on the needs of this world while at the same time challenging people to think for themselves in matters of belief.

    May 18, 2012

  • James W

    Unitarian Universalism *is* a movement that evolved from protestant Christianity but was the most heretical, freethinking offshoot of its time (see Thomas Jefferson, John Adams etc.) and ultimately came to understand reason, science and human experience as more sacred than any dogma. What remains of the original Christian theology are values of loving your neighbor, caring for the least in society etc.

    May 18, 2012

  • James W

    And a lot of UUs get quite grumpy when it is. Even so, some do find meaning in that word and/or believe in a transcendent or higher power, but those that do usually identify the "divine" as being part of nature or a metaphorical term for the animating force behind the universe. But there's no creed or statement of belief required in UU -- you're encouraged to determine your own beliefs by acquiring as much knowledge as possible.

    May 18, 2012

  • James W

    I understand that a lot of atheists may have trouble reading past the word "church," and I realize that many of us have had negative and damaging experiences with religion (ex-Catholic right here!). BUT the irony is that conservative Christian groups often deride us as "just warm and fuzzy atheists" while some atheists often jump to the wrong assumptions, even when presented with evidence to the contrary. As Shawn says, the G-word is seldom uttered in services.

    May 18, 2012

  • Jikku

    Hey as long as there is good food and no mention of heaven or hell or 72 virgins or trusting and having faith, I am totally cool with it.

    1 · May 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Most U.U. services do not even mention a deity and have many non-theist members. I'll check it out, but it has not been my cup of tea, since I dislike anything that smacks of ceremony. Allot of nonbelievers who miss community of a religion attend. I know Goleta U.U. had some world class classical musicians who used to play there.

    May 17, 2012

  • amanda

    i'm interested in meetups that don't involve worshipping a god.

    May 17, 2012

  • Mike S.

    It shouldn't need to be said, but just in case:
    Keep in mind that you will be an invited guest in someone else's home. Be sure to be kind and respectful above all else.

    3 · May 17, 2012

  • Michael K.

    I created this event because I was curious about Unitarianism and I bet a lot of other people were too. Yes, they have a focus on community and morals but so do atheist groups. Still, with such a large congregation and an overlap in some beliefs, I thought it was important to get to know them better and see what they're all about.

    6 · May 14, 2012

  • Ian D.

    Following up on James' comment, the American Humanist Association was founded by Curtis Reese and John H. Dietrich, two Unitarian ministers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Humanist_Association#Early_history

    1 · May 14, 2012

  • James W

    Michael et al - I recommend the following introduction to Religious Humanism, a concept or philosophy that might not be what you expect based on the phrase. Some would describe it as "atheism with dedication to morality and nature." Humanism has been one of the largest shapers of Unitarian Universalism today, just as Unitarian ministers helped to draft the 1st Humanist Manifesto and co-found the American Humanist Association (AHA). http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/6558.shtml

    3 · May 14, 2012

  • amanda

    really? wow.

    May 12, 2012

  • Mike S.

    Interesting idea for a meetup! If I'm free that day then I'll be there.

    May 11, 2012

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