FAQ’s

QUESTIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED BY NEWCOMERS

AT SUMMIT UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST (UU) FELLOWSHIP 

1.  How do I join a committee or activity group at Summit?

Talk to the chair of the committee or leader of the Summit-endorsed group in which you are interested.  Their names can be found on our website at SUUF.org.

2.  Do you provide childcare during worship?

Yes, up until the child is old enough to enter the Religious Exploration Program, at 4 years old. We also provide childcare at other events, as requested or needed.

3.  Is there a youth program?

Yes, at this time there is a very active youth program that is in a strong building phase. The youth program is mentored by a team of volunteer adults and several of our youth are involved in attending our UU district’s Camp de Benneville Pines and some are even getting involved in camp counseling and leadership at the District level.

4.  Do you have a music program?

We have a choir with a paid director (to which newcomers are always welcome to join), a professional pianist, the Close Enough Band, the Summit Recorder Consort, and many lay performers who occasionally participate in services.

5.  How do members, friends and would-be leaders get involved?

Summit has over 50 different committees and groups in which members and friends of the fellowship can be involved. Opportunities for service include things like: teaching or assisting in our children’s religious exploration program, setting up for Sunday morning salon, greeting and welcoming those who come to Sunday morning services, hosting our booth at the Santee Street Fair, and working on the Walden project (waldenproject.org), and participating in Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians.  Members serve on committees which include: the Board of Directors, Committee on Ministry, Social Action Committee, Finance Committee, and Caring Committee.  They also lead covenant groups, engage in a variety of social action initiatives, meet with the Loving Hands Ministry to knit and sew caps and blankets for premature babies and persons going through hard times, lead and co-lead Sunday Services, participate in a writing group, learn bridge together, and facilitate adult RE classes.

6.  What does Summit’s minister do?

The minister is called by the congregation to be its spiritual and moral leader in its quest to realize and sustain beloved community. The minister:

  • speaks and acts freely and responsibly in her or his efforts to help the congregation fulfill its mission, 
  • as head administrator, supervises and evaluates the Fellowship’s staff,
  • plans and organizes services of worship, 
  • provides pastoral care and counsel to members and friends of the congregation, 
  • offers guidance to and consults with the congregation’s Board, Committees, Groups, and initiatives, and 
  • interprets the mission, values and aspirations of our congregation to the wider world.

The minister’s effectiveness depends entirely upon the quality of pastoral relationship he or she maintains with the congregation and its members, and her or his ability to persuade others to grow, change and act in accordance with the Fellowship’s mission.  As a member ex-officio, the minister has no vote in meetings of the congregation or on the Board of Directors.

7.  How is Summit Fellowship involved in social action?

Our Social Action Committee coordinates and supports a variety of social action initiatives that have arisen within the congregation. Some examples: we support Crisis House, a local shelter for women and children, with special offerings for babies, and Christmas gifts and food collections.  We support the local Food Bank with volunteers and an annual collection. We participate in the Gay Pride Parade. We provide financial assistance for children in Tijuana’s Esperanza School. We participate in trying to influence legislation around moral issues—like the right to clean water and affordable health care—through our UU Legislative Ministry Team. We also have members and committees active in supporting and connecting our congregation to agencies like the work of Amnesty International, Wounded Warriors and Veterans Village, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and Aid to African Villages. 

8.  What opportunities exist for getting to know other Summit folk?

Some of the best ways? Participate in Sunday Café and Circle Discussions that happen most Sundays after service. Join a covenant group. Attend classes and Free Thinkers discussions.  Serve on a committee. Participate in a Summit activity group. Actively participate in congregational meetings.

9.  Is Summit Fellowship part of a larger UU community?

We are part of the San Diego UU Network, a “cluster” of five UU congregations in San Diego County.  We are active participants in the UU Pacific Southwest District (Arizona, Southern California and Southern Nevada) and the national Unitarian Universalist Association.

10.  How can I join a covenant group?

Contact the Covenant Group Coordinator, Pat Bryning. She will attempt to find an available space. Over 100 members and friends are currently registered Covenant Group participants and open enrollment in Covenant Groups happens every year in February/March.

11.  How do I become a member, and why might I want to become a member?

With your public declaration of membership, you will become a committed member of a loving and caring community.  You will have voice and vote on all important issues brought to the congregation.  You will be eligible to serve on the Board (after two years), the Committee on Ministry, the Nominating Committee, and be a Covenant Group Facilitator.  You will receive the UU World Magazine. You will be eligible to attend and serve as a congregational delegate at our district and national assemblies. If you are interested in finding out more about membership, please talk with our minister, The Rev. Frank Placone-Willey, and attend our orientation classes, which are offered by the Minister and Membership Committee on Saturday mornings every three or four months.

12.  Summit advertises itself as a “Welcoming Congregation.” What does this mean?

A UU “Welcoming Congregation” is one in which the members have covenanted to be welcoming and inclusive of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religious background or beliefs, sexual orientation and gender identity. Anyone committed to the practices of our UU Principles and Purposes (found at UUA.org), our Covenant of Right Relations, and the requirements of membership is welcome to join our community.

13.  What programming is available for adults in the areas of spiritual growth, education and recreational activity?

In addition to service on a standing committee, there are many groups, classes and activities for adults to join and participate in.  They include: Freethinkers, I’m Not Done Yet, Bridge, Covenant groups, Writers groups, Book Club, Bible study, Earth Centered Spirituality, Men’s Group, Hiking group, Women’s retreat, Spiritual Praxis Group, Loving Hands Ministry (Knitting and Handwork), Meditation groups and  Tai Chi.

14.  How does one initiate a new program in or for the Summit community?

Any program, community activity or fundraising initiative done at or in the name of Summit Fellowship can be proposed by an individual or party of Summit members. However, before it can be implemented it must have the endorsement or sponsorship of an established Summit committee or group whose mission relates to the proposed program or initiative.  All programs, activities and initiatives are subject to review by the Board of Directors who may elect to modify, postpone, reassign or cancel them at any time. If no Committee or Group exists whose mission is relatable to a newly proposed program or initiative, the Board of Directors or Congregation as a whole may be asked to review and approve its establishment.  For more information about initiating something new at Summit, one can speak with the Minister or President of the Board and Congregation. One may also ask the Fellowship’s Office Administrator for an on-sight review of the policies and procedures relevant to initiating and funding new programs that are published in the Summit Handbook. 

15. Parking is sometimes difficult to find on Sunday morning. Where can I park?

On Sunday mornings, if no parking is available in the Summit lot when you arrive, you may use the parking lot in the business complex directly across Cottonwood Avenue from the Salon. Otherwise, you may park anywhere along Cottonwood or Buena Vista as long as you are not parking in front of a driveway or restricted zone. People sometimes also park in the business/industrial park lot one block west of the Fellowship. On days other than Sunday only the Summit lot and street parking are available. 

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