Frequently Asked Questions



What can I expect from a visit to Westside?

We would like to welcome you and get to know you. We will probably ask you to fill out as Visitor Card.                                                               


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 small number (about 10%) call themselves atheists.  Others are agnostics, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, 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 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.  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!

Westside Unitarian Universalist Church

616 Fretz Road

Knoxville, TN 37934

(865) 777-9882

Minister's Office Hours

Programs & Membership Coordinator's Office Hours

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