Elements of Worship at FUS

You can participate in services as much or as little as you like. We do not serve communion (except at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve) and if you don’t feel comfortable singing or repeating an affirmation, that’s OK. Many long-time Unitarian Universalists don’t do these things either! You can sit quietly in the balcony and just observe if you wish. Introverts and extroverts are equally welcome.

Visitor cards are available for those who would like more information, a contact from one of our staff, or to be placed on our newsletter mailing list. Newcomer orientation sessions are held several times each year for those considering membership, but whether or not you’re interested in making that leap, you’ll always be welcome at First Unitarian Society. For information on joining, contact Janet Swanson, or speak to one of our staff members before or after services.

Lighting of the Chalice

The flaming bowl or chalice is a symbol of American Unitarian Universalism. First introduced during the Second World War as an emblem of the Unitarian Service Committee, it was adopted by Unitarian Universalists in the early 1960s. The Chalice has no prescribed meaning. For some, it represents the bright light of reason, for others, hope in dark times. We start our worship services with the lighting of the Chalice.


We love to sing!  Our hymnals, Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey feature traditional and contemporary songs that help bring harmony to our community. If you grew up in another faith tradition, you may find many melodies familiar … but the words will generally reflect our own commitment to progressive and inclusive spirituality.

Cares of the Congregation

We routinely invite members and friends to share with the gathered community a concern, joy or sorrow that has affected their life or the life of someone close to them. Usually these are communicated to the presiding minister who reads them from the pulpit, but once a month individuals are invited to come forward, light a candle, and speak directly to the congregation.


In keeping with accepted church practice, we collect an offering each week, half of which supports First Unitarian Society and its programs. The other half is dedicated to outreach programs within our community. Members of FUS nominate worthy non-profit organizations in Dane County as recipients of these gifts. Past recipients include Planned Parenthood, Urban League, and Young Gifted and Black. Our outreach contributions total over $25,000 each year. Contributions are appreciated, but there is no obligation to give.

Orchid Sponorship

There’s just something Wright about orchids on the Atrium pulpit stage. (He did appreciate Japanese art.) Enhance the worship ambiance by sponsoring a family of four orchids for two months. With a $75 check, we’ll buy your orchids and water them weekly. When they lose their bloom, you may take them home or donate them. Contact Ann Smiley for details. (608) 745-2217 or salutsmiley@gmail.com.

  • If anonymous, please write "anonymous"
    If this month is unavailable, the Orchid Coordinator will contact you.
  • This is the Red Floors description.