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.
DURING COVID, we meet weekly at 10 AM on Sunday on Zoom. Information is on the calendar page.
When there is no COVID, 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:
OPENING WORDS & LIGHTING OF CHALICE
SHARING OF JOYS & CONCERNS
LISTEN TO A SONG TOGETHER
CLOSING WORDS & EXTINGUISH THE CHALICE
CASUAL CHAT TIME
Opening Words & Chalice Lighting
Joys & Concerns
Children’s Time/ Sing the Children Off/Here
Closing Circle: Closing Words, Announcements, & Extinguish Chalice
Covenant - As members of the UU community we promise to:
Here is a list of the current songs in our binders:
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 am Light
I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing
If I Had a Hammer
If You're Happy and You Know It
Lean on Me
Morning has Broken
On Top of Spaghetti
Seasons of Love from the musical RENT
Seven Days of Chalica
Seven Principles for Children (do re me)
Somos El Barco
Spirit of Life
Spring has now Unwrapped the Flowers
Sunshine on My Shoulders
Take Me Home, Country Roads
Take to the Wolrd
Teach Your Children
The Times They are a Changin'
This Land is Your Land
This Little Light of Mine
Turn! Turn! Turn!
UU Lights up my Life
Watching the River Run
We are a Gentle, Angry People
We are The World
We Shall Overcome
When the Red Red Robin
Where Do the Children Play?
Where Have all the Flowers Gone?
You've Got a Friend
Olean UU Community Historical Documents
Acceptance as Covenanting Community by the UUA:
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
OLEAN UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST COMMUNITY
Adopted September 19, 2018
ARTICLE I. NAME
This organization shall be known as the “Olean Unitarian Universalist Community”.
ARTICLE II. MISSION STATEMENT
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.
ARTICLE III. NON-DISCRIMINATION CLAUSE
This community affirms and promotes the full participation of persons in all of its activities and endeavors including membership, programming, hiring practices, and the calling of religious professionals without regard to actual or perceived race, class, color, culture or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or physical or mental challenge. We do not require adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any religious belief or creed.
ARTICLE IV. GOVERNMENT AND AFFILIATION
Section 1. Government
The government of this Community is vested in its members who exercise the right of control in all its affairs. The members elect a Board of Trustees that has the responsibility of conducting the business of the Community according to these By-Laws.
Section 2. Affiliation
This Community is affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and its designated state and/or regional associations. It is pledged to cooperate with these bodies in all reasonable programs adopted by them for the purpose of extending the interests and influence of the Unitarian Universalist faith, as described in Article II of these By-Laws.
ARTICLE V. MEMBERSHIP AND ITS RESPONSIBILITY
Section 1. Membership
Membership is open to any person aged 18 or older in accordance with Article III. Non-Discrimination Clause, who is in sympathy with the principles and purposes of the UUA and the mission of our congregation. Membership will be granted immediately upon request and the member's name will be entered into an electronic roster.
Section 2. Meaning of Membership
We gather in a supportive and nurturing community to create opportunities to grow and to serve. As members, we are encouraged to contribute financially, and to make contributions of our time and talent, to the end that we may each experience those opportunities to grow and to serve as proclaimed in our mission, but financial support or other contributions are not a requirement of membership. New members are encouraged to research our organization through print and online sources to enhance their understanding of this Community and Unitarian Universalism.
Section 3. Eligibility for Elective Office
Elective office may be held only by members. No one may hold more than one (1) elective office concurrently, with the exception of committee chairs.
Section 4. Termination of Membership
a) Any member may terminate membership by submitting a written resignation with the Board President.
b) The Board of Trustees may terminate any member who has not fulfilled the requirements of membership as defined in Article IV, Section 1 within the first three months. The Secretary shall notify such persons that their membership will be terminated unless they indicate that they do wish to continue membership by fulfilling the requirements.
ARTICLE VI. CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS
Section 1. Regular Meetings
The Annual Meeting shall be held each Fall, prior to the final Board meeting of the current year, on a date fixed by the Board of Trustees.
a) Officers and Trustees shall be elected at the Annual Meeting. Terms of office will take effect on January 1st.
b) Annual reports of committees shall be distributed and opportunity provided for discussion.
c) The Board of Trustees develop a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year (January 1-December 31) for presentation and approval at the Annual Meeting.
Notice of the Board meetings held prior to and in anticipation of the Annual Meeting shall be distributed electronically.
d) Notice of the above Annual meeting shall be given to each member at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the meeting.
Section 2. Special Meetings
Other meetings for business may be called by the Board of Trustees or shall be called upon the written application of five (5) members of the Community addressed to the Secretary.
Notices of such meetings shall be distributed to each member at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the meeting.
Section 3. Quorum
a) Three (3) members qualified to vote shall constitute a quorum at any business meeting of the Community. No fewer than a quorum shall conduct business.
b) An electronic record shall be maintained of voting members attending all meetings where business is conducted.
Section 4. Majority Vote
Majority vote shall decide any question, except where otherwise provided in these By-Laws.
ARTICLE VII. BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Section 1. Composition
a) The Board of Trustees shall consist of four (4) Officers and four (4) Trustees. The officers are President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Section 2. Meetings
a) The Board of Trustees shall hold at least four (4) meetings between January 1 and December 31.
b) Special meetings may be called by the President and shall be called upon written request of two (2) members of the Board of Trustees.
c) Three (3) voting members shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Section 3. Responsibilities
The Board of Trustees shall be the sole policy-making authority of the Community.
a) It shall provide a place for the holding of regular Gatherings, and such other facilities as the Community may decide upon.
b) It shall ensure the services of a Lay Leader or Minister, subject to the action of the Community as provided in Article XII of these By-Laws.
c) It shall provide the vision for the Community’s future and its programs.
d) It shall provide for the overall administration of the institution including financial management and care of properties, rental spaces, volunteer policies, and volunteer management. It shall authorize the hiring or termination of volunteers.
e) It shall approve all contracts. All contracts shall be signed by the President and countersigned by the Secretary.
f) It shall appoint members as Collectors to receive and deposit funds.
g) It shall not authorize the conveyance or mortgaging of real estate belonging to the Community.
h) It shall not enter into a contract or any obligation involving an unbudgeted expenditure of an amount in excess of five hundred dollars ($500) without the approval of the members of the Community.
i) It shall direct an annual review of the books and records.
k) It shall direct a review of the By-Laws at least every five (5) years.
ARTICLE VIII. OFFICERS
Section 1. Method of Election and Terms of Office
The President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary shall be elected at the Annual Meeting. The terms of office for the officers shall be one (1) year: from January 1 to December 31.
a) The President and Vice President shall not succeed themselves but may succeed each other. The President and Vice President shall not serve in either office or combination of them for more than four (4) consecutive years.
b) The Secretary shall not be eligible to succeed him/herself after having served three (3) consecutive full terms.
c) The Treasurer shall not be eligible to succeed him/herself after having served three (3) consecutive full terms.
Section 2. Vacancies
a) If the President’s office becomes vacant, the Vice President shall assume the office of President and a new Vice President shall be appointed by the Board. If the Vice President position becomes vacant, the Board shall appoint a replacement.
b) If the Secretary’s office becomes vacant, the Board shall appoint a replacement.
c) If the Treasurer’s office becomes vacant, the Board shall appoint a replacement.
d) Board appointments are temporary until the end of the current fiscal year.
Section 3. Recall of Officers
Officers may be recalled for due cause by a 2/3 vote of a duly-called Community meeting.
Section 4. Duties
a) The Officers shall attend all meetings of the Board of Trustees.
b) The President serves as executive officer of the Community and Board of Trustees. The President:
(1) is a non-voting, ex-officio member of all committees.
(2) may call special meetings of the Community and the Board of Trustees.
(3) shall sign all duly authorized contracts of the Community and perform other duties as the Board of Trustees may require.
c) The Vice President shall:
(1) assist the President in the performance of the President’s duties.
(2) assume and perform all the duties of the President in the President’s absence.
d) The Secretary shall:
(1) give notice of all meetings of the Community and the Board of Trustees.
(2) keep an accurate record of the proceedings of all meetings of the Board of Trustees and all Community's Meetings.
(3) ensure that an accurate record of the names and addresses of the Community’s members is kept, and shall have custody of all books, papers, and records of the Community except those entrusted to the Treasurer.
(4) in the absence of both the President and Vice President, shall call meetings of the Community and Board of Trustees, and shall preside as President Pro Tem at those meetings.
e) The Treasurer shall:
(1) have custody of all funds of the Community except any that have been placed in the custody of special trustees by the Community.
(2) keep an accurate record of all receipts and disbursements, pay all bills duly incurred for the general expense of the Community and such other bills as may be approved by the Board of Trustees.
(3) render financial statements to the Community at the Annual Meeting, and to the Community and the Board of Trustees as may be requested.
(4) transfer money in the name of the Community and in such banks as the Board of Trustees may direct.
(5) have the books and records available for examination by Community members.
ARTICLE IX. TRUSTEES
a) Trustees are elected at the Annual Meeting to serve terms of three (3) years each. One (1) or more Trustees, as appropriate to maintain a minimum of two (2) Trustees on the Board, shall be elected annually. Trustees shall be eligible to succeed him/herself after serving one (1) full term.
b) Attendance: Trustees shall make every effort to attend all meetings of the Board of Trustees.
c) Absence: If, within a calendar year, a Trustee is absent from a total of four (4) regularly scheduled meetings, the Board will have the option to ask for the Trustee’s resignation.
d) Vacancies: In the event of a vacancy in an office of Trustee, the Board of Trustees shall appoint a new Trustee to serve the balance of the current fiscal year. A nominee for any unexpired portion of the term shall be chosen at the next Annual Meeting.
ARTICLE X. COMMITTEES
All committees, except where otherwise noted, are open to full participation by the Community's members and friends. This includes holding office and voting in meetings of those committees. Similarly, all activities planned by those committees and other ad-hoc groups are also open to full participation. Committees may be established and maintained by the Board of Trustees as it deems necessary. Members are free to form other committees and ad-hoc groups, with the permission of the Board.
Section 4. Term Limits
The term of the Chair of all standing and other committees shall not exceed three (3) years unless amended by the Board.
ARTICLE XV. DISSOLUTION
In the case of dissolution of the Community, all its property, real and personal, subject to all claims against it, shall be vested in the Unitarian Universalist Association or its successor to be held in trust for the benefit of a future Unitarian Universalist Society in the vicinity.
ARTICLE XVI. AMENDMENT OF BY-LAWS
These By-Laws may be altered or amended by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at any Regular or Special Community Meeting, provided that notice of the proposed change is included in the notice of the meeting, which must be distributed to all members at least ten (10) days prior to that meeting. By-Laws may be suggested to the Board, if accompanied by a petition of five (5) voting members.
ARTICLE XVII. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
The rules contained in the current edition of ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED shall govern this organization in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these By-Laws and any special rules of order the Community may adopt.
ARTICLE XVIII. REVOCATION
The By-Laws in force previous to the adoption of these By-Laws are hereby superseded. All changes shall be executed forthwith.