Westside Unitarian Universalist Church: A Welcoming Community
You are always welcome at Westside! We are a faith community that is vibrant and growing, embracing a search for meaning, and welcoming of all genders, races, cultures, abilities, and sexual orientations. Our facilities are accessible to people of all abilities.
Joining us this Sunday? Learn what to expect when visiting us, in our Frequently Asked Questions section. (Link will take you farther down this page.)
Unitarian Universalists live by 7 principles centered around dignity and respect for all life and our planet. Get answers about Unitarian Universalism here.
See our Month of Sundays listing to see what we will be discussing in our thought-provoking and spiritual worship services.
Interested in our religious education programs? Explore the learning opportunities that offer enrichment and connection.
Want to find community? Check out our events listing and connections pages to find ways to connect.
We seek to create meaning in our lives and to transform ourselves so that we can transform the world. Our simple church focus is to deepen faith, live well, and enact justice, and we give back to our community in gratitude.
As you explore our website, feel free to contact us with your questions. We hope you visit us in the near future, and we look forward to growing with you! If you are attending a service for the first time, please arrive a few minutes early so that we can welcome you and give you a chance to explore.
–The Minister and staff at Westside UU Church
See A Special Welcome Message From Our Minister, Rev. Carol Bodeau.
Connect With Us, Before You Visit!
If you are considering visiting us, we'd love to get to know you before your visit. Please consider taking a moment to fill out our Connection Card.
A Little Bit About Us
Sunday Services are held at 11 a.m. Services are led by our Minister, Rev. Carol Bodeau, as well as Westside UU members and guest speakers. Topics reach beyond religious texts to include a rich variety of life’s concerns, addressed with intelligence, inspiration, and wit.
Westsiders on Westside
A few testimonials from our members.
The people at Westside are welcoming, warm, and approachable.
At Westside, I have the freedom to pursue and share my interests in music, nature, religion, and science, with friends.
When You Visit
Stop by our Visitor Center, located at the back of the Sanctuary. There, you'll find
a few brochures with information about Westside and Unitarian Universalism. You might also find a friendly face or two, ready to speak with you and answer any questions you might have.
Rev. Carol Bodeau has been our settled Minister since 2015. Read her bio here.
Westside had its beginnings in a storefront in Farragut in 1987. We've been growing ever since!
Westside is governed by a Board of Trustees, chosen by our members. Meet our Board, President, and Membership Coordinator.
We are a religious community that nurtures each person’s unique path of spiritual development as we live our values through service to each other and to the larger community.
We strive to be a religious home to all people regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, opinions, beliefs, or abilities and to be good stewards of the earth. We support everyone in our congregation and extend that support to the larger community through social action activities.
What can I expect from a visit to Westside?
We would like to welcome you and get to know you. We will probably offer you a name tag. We would love for you to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter, which is the primary conduit of information for the church.
What is a typical service like?
Services are informal, though there is usually a set order of how the sermon proceeds. We try to provide you with good music, and informative and inspirational sermons. There are hymns, and sometimes readings.
Why do you light a chalice?
Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love. Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the flaming chalice, including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope.
What should I wear?
Some of our members wear informal clothing, while others choose to dress up. Wear what makes you comfortable. Perhaps avoid arriving naked.
What are "Joys and Concerns?"
Twice monthly we invite members and friends to share the significant events of their lives while lighting candles. This UU-wide tradition is a way to further connect us to one another.
Are Unitarian Universalists atheists?
Unitarian Universalists have many beliefs. A growing number are atheists. Others are agnostics, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, humanists, etc. The UU church tends to attract multi-religious families as well as those disenchanted with the religion they grew up with.
Are Unitarian Universalists "Devil Worshippers"?
Of course not! Some UUs consider themselves pagans or look to the earth for their beliefs. This is in no way devil worship. We are not aware of any devil worshippers who call themselves Unitarian Universalists. By the way, the definition of "pagan" (from Google.com) is, "a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions."
Many Unitarian Universalists draw inspiration from the cycles of seasons, the beauty and complexity of the natural world, and the intricate relationships between humans and all the other life on this planet. Some of us practice indigenous religions and Modern Paganism. All of these are part of the sixth source of our living tradition, "spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature."
Our worship services include writings, poetry, and ritual of earth-centered traditions. As allies in indigenous peoples’ struggles for cultural survival, we do not borrow indigenous practices and use them as our own. We respect indigenous religions as paths to native peoples’ spiritual and cultural renewal, and welcome those who practice them.
I am a Christian. I believe in the divinity of Jesus, but I’ve become frustrated with the church I grew up within. Would I be welcome at Westside?
Many Unitarian Universalists are Christians, and there are many Christians at Westside. The Unitarian Universalist position about Jesus is that he was a human being who was inspired by God to love others. Unitarian Universalism arose out of liberal Christian views. Everyone at Westside will welcome and respect your views.
Do you pray during the service?
Most often we refer to a portion of the service as a Meditation. Some prefer to call it prayer. The service usually ends with a benediction. Sometimes we hold hands in a circle for the benediction. It will often end with the minister saying "Go in peace."
What is the deal with all of the “coffee and fellowship” after the service?
We always have coffee and refreshments after the service. We use this time to see our friends and welcome new people. UUs really like their coffee time. Please join us--the coffee is delicious and the conversation is lively!