The Winchester Unitarian Society is a strong and vital Unitarian Universalist congregation with a long history of fellowship and active community involvement. We welcome people from Winchester and all its surrounding communities – our membership draws from throughout the Mystic Valley.
Sundays are the heart of a vibrant congregational life for people of all ages. At 10:00, Family Worship begins in the Chapel: a special 20-minute service for families with young children. At 10:30, we enjoy all ages worship in the Sanctuary with story, sermon, and song. At 10:45 adults continue in worship while children and their teachers explore and learn together in our vibrant and growing Religious Education program. After the service and classes, all generations gather for conversation and community in our social hour, and at 4:30 our high school youth convene activities and service.
We have a strong commitment to the development of children and youth. Our children’s program, led by our dynamic lifespan religious educator Rebecca Kelley-Morgan, engages children from preschool and up in active learning, community building, and spiritual development. We also offer a Coming-of-Age program called F8th in Action to our 8th graders, and a comprehensive sexuality education program, Our Whole Lives, for our 7th graders. Our Whole Lives is also available to 7th graders whose parents do not attend Winchester Unitarian Society. Our youth ministry, led by our inspiring youth ministries staff Jessica Rubenstein and Sean O’Brien, includes a high school youth group (WUSYG) which has over 50 members. This ministry is a source of congregational pride, and welcomes the participation of all youth who identify with WUSYG’s values and its dedication to service.
And yet, our organization is about so much more than what we do on Sundays. It is a spiritual home to more than 400 adults, youth, and children, who engage in learning, service, and spirituality throughout the week. Covenant Groups, Adult Programs, Support Groups, and Committees convene each week, offering opportunities for spiritual deepening, leadership, and social change. Our music program, led by music director John Kramer, not only provides inspiring and beautiful music for our worships – but also actively engages children and adults in the joy of singing. Our Pastoral Care ministries comfort those who are going through tough times in life, and our Grief Ministries reach out to the bereaved. We are a community that companions its members though life’s joys and celebrations as well as its sorrows – we help one another live lives of integrity, service, and joy, from birth to death.
We are a justice-seeking, community-serving congregation. The Winchester Unitarian Society received the Bennett Award for Congregation Action on Human Justice and Social Action for our hands-on response to Hurricane Katrina. We are actively engaged with the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry in Roxbury, offering tutoring, reliable presence, and a school vacation activities camp for neighborhood children. We’re in active relationship with a partner church, a Unitarian church in Marosvasarhely, in the Transylvanian region of Romania. We enjoyed a visit from Marosvasarhely youth and adults in 2008, and a group from our congregation visited them in July of 2010.
By unanimous vote, we became a Welcoming Congregation in 1998, which means we intentionally affirm the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We enjoyed a vibrant, youth-led presence with a float in the 2009 Boston Pride parade – it had a construction theme and read “We Are Building a Church Without Walls.”
We are building our church, together. We are fortunate to have dynamic ministers and an excellent staff to coordinate our wide variety of programs. The core strength of the congregation is its membership – a group with a diversity of beliefs and a unity of purpose, a group committed to a transformative religious community based in freedom, justice, and love. As we work to become an even more welcoming, more socially engaged, more spiritually-alive, and greener congregation, we are planning for who we will be by our 150th anniversary in 2015. Come, bring your yearnings, bring your hope, bring your best self, and join us in writing the story of Winchester Unitarian Society.