Your First Visit
Welcome, welcome, welcome!!
Visitors and newcomers are always welcome at the Unitarian Society of Germantown both in person and online. We were all 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.
We are a congregation of people with diverse spiritual orientations, from many different backgrounds. We seek to share a journey of spiritual growth and work together to find ways to live our faith in the world, 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 you will join us as we create and grow a diverse, justice-seeking, spirit-growing community.
Please fill out our Visitor Form so we can help you get connected.
Your First Visit
Haven’t attended a church in years? Not sure what to expect from a UU worship service? Here are some common questions newcomers ask before attending a Sunday service at our church:
- How do I get there?
- Where do I park?
- When does the service start?
- What happens during the worship service?
- What are the sermons like?
- Can I bring my children?
- Will I be welcome?
- What if I’m part of an interfaith family?
- Will I be welcome if I’m agnostic or atheist?
- What should I wear?
- What happens after the service?
- Will I be pressured to join or convert?
- What holidays are celebrated?
Where do I park?
We have a large parking lot, accessible off Johnson Street between Greene and Wayne Avenues (view the map), or use GPS address 359 W Johnson St to find it. There is also parking along Lincoln Drive, which runs in front of the church. On Sundays, the courtyard at the Lincoln Drive entrance is reserved for accessible parking.
The main entrance to the sanctuary is through the side doors on Lincoln Drive (not the door in the very front.) If coming from the parking lot, you will see a sidewalk path that leads you along the side of the church to the main entrance on Lincoln Drive. Members and regular friends frequently enter through the doors they come to first from the parking lot.
What happens during the worship service?
If you join us on Zoom or on YouTube, you can view or download an Order of Service for that Sunday’s service from our website. We also post a link to the OOS on Chat in the Zoom. For better video and sound quality, you can use the YouTube link or search YouTube for Unitarian Society of Germantown.
If you join us in person, you will be greeted by ushers who will give you an order of service and can answer any questions you might have.
Our Sanctuary, built in 1928, reflects our Protestant heritage. The chancel (altar) is at the front, and the congregation sits in pews, facing the pulpit. More information on the service can be found on the What to Expect in Worship page.
What are the sermons like?
Our sermons 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 ministers, church members, or special guests.
Can I bring my children?
Both you and your children are very welcome. Our Child Spiritual Development program is often why people first come to USG. Its goal is to “facilitate ethical and spiritual development in our children and youth 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.”
You can find out about what is planned for children and youth on the Child Spiritual Development page.
On most Sundays, families begin together in the Sanctuary. Also on most Sundays, there is a Story for All Ages related to the sermon topic. About 15 minutes into the service, children are dismissed to their religious education programming.
You may choose to accompany your child to their classroom, so you know where they are. Or you can remain in the sanctuary and you can ask an usher where to find them.
If you have decided that your children or youth will participate in the program, please register them.
On a few special Sundays, we have Intergenerational Worship during which children and their families attend for the entire hour. Activity packets are available from the ushers on these occasions.
There is a “Wiggle Room” at the back of the sanctuary for children who are not wanting to sit in the service and we are seeking a childcare provider who will be in that room most Sundays to care for children 4 and younger.
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 are diverse in age, gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity. Our members come from many different occupations, cultural heritages, and religious backgrounds.
Will I be welcome if I’m agnostic or atheist?
You are welcome. Within our membership are agnostics, atheists, humanists, theists, Buddhists, Christians, people who follow the earth-based religions, scientists and more. We give people a safe place to explore and grow spiritually, wherever they start from and wherever they journey. We provide spiritual development for children and youth, 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?
Please wear whatever makes you comfortable. Some people dress very casually, others more formally; it’s completely up to you. Children should wear comfortable clothes. After their classes, which sometimes involve “messy” crafts projects, children may want to enjoy our playground.
What happens after the service?
After the service, there is a Fellowship Hour in the Dining Room or the Grove, weather permitting. People who access the service remotely, whether on YouTube or on Zoom, after the service can switch over to the Zoom link, where you can have conversation with a small group.
At the in-person Fellowship Hour, information tables are available to provide handout material concerning programs and activities, such as Social Justice, Ending Racism, Community Outreach and Youth Activities. In addition, information is available regarding the pathways to membership at the Unitarian Society of Germantown.
Will I be pressured to join or convert?
We do try to be friendly, but we do not ask visitors to join our church 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 leadership opportunities, 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 who have never signed the membership book.
What holidays are celebrated?
We celebrate many of the religious holidays that in some way inform the UU faith, including Easter, Passover, Summer and Winter Solstices, Day of the Dead, Diwali, Chanukah and Christmas.
How do I get there?
The Unitarian Society of Germantown is located at
6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19119
(Parking in rear of church on Johnson Street
between Wayne Avenue and Greene Street, use 359 W Johnson St)
To get to the large parking lot from Lincoln Drive, turn left on Wayne and left again on Johnson or turn right on W. Hortter, right on Greene and right on Johnson or use GPS address 359 W. Johnson St.
Public Transportation: Accessible by Regional Rail Line (R8 – Chestnut Hill West – Upsal Train Station) just two blocks North of the Church. Also, accessible by the bus Route “53” (Wayne Avenue and Lincoln Drive) and bus Route “H” (Lincoln Drive and Hortter Street) buses.