Church #67 First Unitarian Universalist Albany

So, my life is busy! My daughter likes a church for a while and we find ourselves unable to go anywhere else as I support her identity as a Christian. But this week she decided to miss, so acting on a tip that I might actually like them, I went to a UU church. So this time I will be doing a very short review of a church I haven’t been to before.

First Unitarian Universalist of Albany service starts at 10am. There is a handy website to give you particulars like service time, parking recommendations, and other church information. I give full marks on said website. (I have been to churches with a non-interactive, single page broken, incorrect websites- this isn’t one of those!)

The building is modern with light colored wood beams in parallel lines on the ceiling of the sanctuary. It is lit by daylight and pine cone shaped lights. The space is large but plenty warm on the winter-like March morning.

I was slightly late and missed the start of service. I was able to find a seat easily enough in the mostly filled room where a couple others also trickled in late. I managed to accidentally sit next to a woman with my name, which amused us.

The service was like a church service that was partway into turning into a friendly lecture. If that sounds weird, just know that it wasn’t. The lecture part was a talk on altruism. Here are some things I learned.

Altruism was coined as the opposite of egotism.
Altruism has historically been seen as suspicious.
One real trap for the altruist is that of an addicted or abusive partner.

The rest of the service was taken up by music and joys and concerns.  The joys and concerns were done as follows:  each person picked a rock up from the table and placed it into a bowl for their joy or concern.  Each was invited to speak if they would like.  Music was (as is standard in my experience) from a music book-  The songs were hopeful and uplifting though none specifically referenced God.  This makes sense as I believe the UU tradition allows for atheism amongst membership.

At the service we heard that First UU is looking into what it would take to become a sanctuary church. As well, they are involved in other social actions. Over many years they’ve been working on issues ranging from hunger and homelessness, to anti-fracking and prison reform.

They also have a mailing list I’m going to get on to receive info on future actions. Overall a good experience!

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