Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City

First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City was the location of the first Summer Church Visit for SHIFT - Secular Humanism, Inquiry and Freethought. Led by our Interfaith Liaison, SHIFT members have expressed interest in visiting various local churches and religious organizations around Salt Lake City, Utah this summer.

Our group regularly meets between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. at the University of Utah's A. Ray Olpin University Union building. And this Summer of 2010, SHIFT members are congregating upon local churches with a fervor for learning! What do religious people actually believe? Why do people go to churches? What human needs or wants are filled by being a part of a congregation? If you are curious about these or any other questions regarding local religious sects, we invite you to learn with us!

First Unitarian is a bastion of liberal religion in Salt Lake City ~ over half of the congregation identify as Atheist or Agnostic. Many come from LDS backgrounds, and weren't finding the openness and acceptance in their congregations that they were seeking. Many come from Unitarian Universalist backgrounds and, whatever brought them to Salt Lake City, they have been grateful to find here an affirming congregation of like-minded citizens, concerned with social justice and free inquiry. So what makes them a "church," if many of them don't believe in a God? Their "faith" is predominantly in humanity, and in the power of humans to come together in congregations to make a positive difference in the world.

Our visit fell on the day of the last sermon given by Reverend Tom Goldsmith before First Unitarians would take a Summer Vacation ~ that's right, this church takes a Summer Vacation! During the Summer, they bring in speakers on various informational topics, every Sunday at 10:00 a.m., and their regular 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services recommence in the fall. Reverend Goldsmith spoke with us two weeks ago about the BP oil spill and it's ramifications on our lives and our upcoming Summer. Following the hour service, comprised of quite a few musical interludes and thought-provoking readings, we enjoyed some coffee (or tea or hot chocolate) and took a look at their book table where they sold many educational titles, including "The Secular Conscience" by Austin Dacey, a speaker SHIFT welcomed to Salt Lake City this past year!

This congregation is the home of SHIFT's Interfaith Liaison ~ Elaine recently "signed the book" and officially joined this church, and looks forward to teaching in the Religious Education program offered there to children and teens, beginning this fall!