First Time Visitors

Welcome! We look forward to meeting you when you visit Live Oak. Whether you are brand new to Unitarian Universalism or moving here from a UU community in another city, or even if you are returning after years away from Live Oak, you are always welcome! Our worship services take place each Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

What might I expect when I arrive?

Find your way to the Visitor Table and you will be greeted and given a bag with information about Unitarian Universalism and about Live Oak UU Congregation’s programs. You will also be invited to fill out a visitor information card with your contact information and your choices for future communication (weekly newsletter of activities, etc.) Finally, you will be encouraged to make yourself a name tag so others can easily greet you and get acquainted. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, especially of the people who are wearing a “Greeter” ribbon; that’s why they are wearing that tag!

What is our worship service like?

Ours is a shared ministry so each service includes components that are led by our minister or guest sermon-giver, by our Worship Associates, and by individuals who serve in leadership roles at Live Oak. Like many other congregations, our services include music, a story for all ages, a sermon, meditation, and the sharing of joys and sorrows. What makes our congregation unique, however, is the content. The Unitarian Universalist approach to spirituality is not based on a creed or received revelation, but rather through the search for the gathered wisdom of humankind; from other religions, from the arts and sciences, and from reason and intuition. Each spiritual journey is unique and there is space for differences.

Are there any expectations relative to dress?

No. Dress up if you like, come in jeans with holes in the knees, wear your biking outfit. It really doesn’t matter. On balance, most of us just wear typical southern California casual.

Are there any special Live Oak customs that I should be aware of?

There are. Toward the beginning of the service we invite our guests to introduce themselves if they so choose.

Sometimes during the service something special happens that we want to recognize with applause. Usually we show acknowledgement by raising and rotating our hands without interrupting the quiet space of the service but sometimes clapping wins out (especially if the youth of our congregation have contributed in a special way).

Also, because there are several members of the congregation who are highly allergic to fragrances, we try not to wear strong perfumes or colognes.

At the end of the service we stand and hold hands while singing a closing hymn. In most congregations that’s where things would end, but we usually sit back down to enjoy a last gift of music.

After the service, we gather on the patio for coffee and conversation and on some Sundays there are special events following the service.

Is there a Religious Education Program for children?

We call it Religious Exploration and we have a fun and engaging program for Pre Kindergarten-Grade 12, as well as childcare for the youngest children. The children almost always join us in the sanctuary for the first part of the service, generally leaving after we collect food items to share with the Goleta Headstart Program. We sing them out of the sanctuary as they leave for their classes and you are, of course, welcome to join your child’s class as he or she acclimates to the new people and surroundings.

We also have a “Gurgling Gallery” for families with babies & toddlers who might want to stay with their parents during the service. It is a small room with rocking chairs that is attached to the sanctuary; it has a large window to see the service and speakers to hear the service, but is a place where the noise of little ones doesn’t matter. You are always welcome to use it.