Olean UU Community
We are a UU Covenanting Community. Covenanting communities are a new kind of Unitarian Universalist (UU) group. They claim a UU identity and advance UU values, but they look and feel different from a traditional congregation. Covenanting communities include small meeting groups, missional communities, intentional living cooperatives, national networks, and more. Recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenanting communities are helping people imagine new ways of living out their UU faith and values while staying officially connected to the wider UU family.
OUR MISSION: The Olean UU Community provides an open, nurturing, spiritual environment made visible by the joy of our actions for peace and justice in the world.
OUR VISION: We recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every person and promote peace in our community and the world at large.
We gather on the the first and third Sunday of each month starting with the third Sunday in September though the third Sunday in June at 11:00 AM. During the summer we have picnics. See the calendar for specific dates, topics, and speakers.
What are UU gatherings like?
We are flexible, but here is our order of service:
Welcome & Announcements
Opening Words & Chalice Lighting
Joys & Concerns
Children’s Time/ Sing the Children Off/Here
Closing Circle: Closing Words & Extinguish Chalice
Covenant - As members of the UU community we promise to:
Here is a list of the current songs in our binders:
Alphabetical Listing of Songs
59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
Blowin' in the Wind
Both Sides Now
Colors of the Wind
Getting to Know You
Go Now in Peace
I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing
If I Had a Hammer
Lean on Me
Morning has Broken
On Top of Spaghetti
Seven Days of Chalica
Seven Principles for Children (do re me)
Somos El Barco
Spirit of Life
Spring has now Unwrapped the Flowers
Take Me Home, Country Roads
Take to the Wolrd
Teach Your Children
This Land is Your Land
This Little Light of Mine
Turn! Turn! Turn!
Watching the River Run
We are a Gentle, Angry People
We Shall Overcome
When the Red Red Robin
Where Do the Children Play?
Where Have all the Flowers Gone?
You've Got a Friend
Thank you Facebook! Our story begins there in 2009, if you can believe it. Anna Bush had been thinking about starting a UU in Olean when she was ready to retire, but then her friend Marcia Gallineaux-Hubert took one of those silly Facebook quizzes, "What Religion are You?" Her result: Unitarian Universalist. From there, conversations about UU kept popping up everywhere, a sure sign that now was the time to start a UU. After contacting the UU in Jamestown, and the St. Lawrence District, plans got underway to develop an Olean UU Community. After Brian Lothridge's article in the Olean Times Herald, there were many responses, including a phone call from Daryl Johnson who has just written to UUA (the national organization) to find out how to start a UU in Olean.
With guidance from Tom Chulak, District Executive, the group began to make plans for programs to acquaint the community with UU and to see how much interest there was in starting a congregation. Thus was born the Second Sunday Series, programs to acquaint the public with Unitarian Universalism, which began on October 11th. The program was “A Free-Thinking Faith: What’s in it for UU?.” A lecture by Reverend Tim Bancroft included information about the development of all religions throughout the ages. The lecture was followed by a group discussion led by Daryl Johnson. Around 25 people attended the program and participated in the discussion.
The discussion showed that several of the attendees had a background with Unitarian Universalism while others were new to the faith. Many said that even if they were familiar with UU, Rev. Bancroft gave them new information to think about. Most attending expressed relief to have found what Reverend Bancroft described as “beloved community” in UU. “We may all start out at different points and we may all have different destinations, but as our paths cross in this lifetime, we can have beloved community,” Bancroft said.
Others made comments based on the presentation. One woman, holding back tears, told us that she was so glad to finally have affirmation that she could be a moral person without being a theist.
The November program was, “Ecology, Justice & Compassion: Does the Earth Have Moral Rights? An Exploration of the Interdependent Web.” The speaker was Richard S. Gilbert. Dick Gilbert has been a Unitarian Universalist minister for 45 years, having retired from full time parish ministry in 2005. Currently he is part time Social Justice Coordinator of the St. Lawrence District. He also has taught at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Starr King School for the Ministry and Meadville Lombard Theological School. Gilbert is author of the Building Your Own Theology series, The Prophet Imperative: Social Gospel in Theory and Practice, How Much Do We Deserve? An Inquiry in Distributive Justice, and In the Holy Quiet of this Hour, a book of meditations, among other writings.
Since then we have had other speakers and also had our lay members present programs and activities. In March 2010, we helped host the First Annual Women's Tea at the Bartlett House to celebrate Women's History Month and to honor Linda Witte, Olean's first female mayor.
In June 2010, we were officially recognized as an emerging congregation by the St. Lawrence District. During the summer of 2010, the group worked on forming a vision/mission statement. In September of 2010, the group began holding services.
In January of 2014, we helped organize the first of two Community Conversations on Equity and Compassion. From this effort, a movement to create a Compassionate Community (based on a national movement) was founded.
On July 31, 2017, we became affiliated with the UUA as a Covenanting Community.
Click HERE to learn about UU History in Cattaraugus County