Whoever you are, wherever you are from, whomever you love, wherever you are on life’s journey, and whatever your gender identity, beliefs, or immigration status, you are welcome at Cedar Lane. We are people of many ages, backgrounds, and beliefs. Together, we create a community where love works.
What to wear
As you prepare for the visit, wear what you please. At most of our congregations, you'll see people in skirts and neckties but also in shorts and jeans, and even biking gear.
When you arrive
Visitor parking is on your left as you enter the drive. The covered walkway takes you to the main entrance. Just inside is the Welcome Center and the Sanctuary. When you enter, most likely you'll be greeted by a volunteer offering you a program -- we call it the order of celebration. If possible, we recommend that you arrive 10-15 minutes early in order to have time to chat with one of our greeters, but if you're running late, it’s okay to slip by and find a seat -- any place that feels comfortable. Your kids are welcome to stay in service or, if they prefer to sample an age-appropriate group, a greeter at the Welcome Center can help you get connected to a classroom that will meet your child’s needs. Families often choose Cedar Lane because we offer a supportive environment for parents, children, and youth. Mixed faith couples are particularly drawn to us because we provide children an orientation to all faith traditions. During the church year (similar to the school year) we offer age-specific Religious Education in our downstairs classes. In the summer months of June, July, and August we provide care for children age 5 and under during the Sunday service. Find out more.
What you can expect from service
Universalism's roots are in the radical branches of the Protestant Reformation. Reflecting this heritage, our services are similar in form to Protestant worship and are about an hour in length. They include lively music, hymns, readings, silence for meditation and a reflection. Our ministers’ thought-provoking sermons are about 15 minutes long. You can listen to a couple of them here and here.
We UUs love singing! The order of celebration -- and the speaker -- will tell you when we sing. Standing is optional. Sometimes we do a short reading together; it’s printed out or the words are on the screen. You can learn more about our music program here.
Following the service, there is a casual gathering where members and visitors can get to know one another in our Lounge. This is an excellent time for newcomers to make connections and find out more about Cedar Lane and Unitarian Universalism in an informal atmosphere.
We welcome people of all abilities and needs. If you’re arriving by automobile to drop someone off, pull up to the curb and the sidewalk ramp just before the covered walkway. On Sundays there’ll be someone there to greet you. Parking for those with handicapped plates is on the right as you come down the drive, and on the left across from the drop off area. Cedar Lane has an acoustical system for those with hearing loss; headphones are available as you enter the Sanctuary.
How is this church different from others?
We UUs are about deeds, not creeds. When we say that we are a community where “love works” we mean that our actions are our prayer. We are also a group of theologically diverse people. Some of us do not believe in a higher power, others do. Some of us connect to the eternal through nature or personal relationships, others through scripture. We come together to explore questions about the eternal together, in a supportive covenantal space and then we take our work out beyond our doors to build a just world.
Why are you called a church?
Our first name was Montgomery County Unitarian Center given to us, in 1951, by our parent congregation, All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC. In 1953, the name was changed to Unitarian Church of Montgomery County. We became Cedar Lane Unitarian Church in 1961. In 1996, the name was changed to Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church. The word 'church' in our name reflects our Christian heritage. Beyond that name is our pluralistic theology and ministry of lives changed, faith inspired, community created, and justice advanced.
Will someone try to “sell me” on your church?
While we are passionate about our faith and hope you’ll want to learn more about it, don’t worry. Most of our members have found Unitarian Universalism after having turned away from religion for years. We’ll happily answer your questions, but you set the pace of it, how much and when you want to know more.
If my child doesn’t separate well, can my child stay with me during the service?
Sure. Kids are welcome. Since some little ones aren’t happy being still for long, we also stream the service to the adjacent Library, where you’ll find comfortable seating and toys.
How do I meet other people?
You can start by picking up a nametag, available at the Welcome Table in the Lounge and joining us for coffee after the service. Conversation is a good place to start. Talk to one of the greeters or someone you’ve just met about your interests. It’s likely others here share them. If you’re passionate about social justice, so are most of us. We also encourage newcomers to attend our Faith Forward: Seekers and/or Faith Forward: Roots drop-in classes for newcomers and returning guests.
How do I get involved?
Cedar Lane has an abundance of small groups that will welcome you. They range from spiritual small group, to study groups, to activists that show up in support of a host of social justice issues. Or, you can volunteer -- for a one-time event or for something with a longer time commitment. Everyone has talent, whether it’s singing or playing or organizing or cooking or whatever. Please connect with Director of Communications & Membership Engagement Sara Davidson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-493-8300 x202, to find ways to get connected in community!
EXPLORE OUR Newcomers MINISTRIES
Want to chat with a minister about Cedar Lane? About the Unitarian Universalist faith? Join us for an informal, drop-in style chat with one of our ministers on the first Sunday of each month, October 2019 through June 2020.
Visitors, newcomers, and new members are invited to participate in the Seekers Series – the first step on our Faith Forward Path. The Seekers Series meets at 9:30 am on Sunday mornings in the Beacon Room. It is a series of 6 conversations that offer a general introduction to our congregation and Unitarian Universalism. The series is ongoing, so you are welcome to participate in the sessions in any order, as you’re able.
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that grew from Christian roots. Our churches do not have specific beliefs you must profess before joining and yet we do share commitment to encouraging spiritual growth, moral development, and ethical living. We affirm the worth and dignity of all people; advocate justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and encourage free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We’ll talk about all this in …ROOTS!
Cedar Lane centers our worship life on a timeless spiritual theme each month (e.g. Intention or Wholeness.) Part of our thematic ministry includes our Soul Circles. Participants gather monthly for opening/closing words, personal check-in, and engagement with the monthly spiritual theme. These groups are a great way to connect with other members of Cedar Lane, whether you're a newcomer or a long-time member.
This short celebration invites those of you who have recently signed the membership book or are ready to sign the book, to come before the congregation during worship and share a responsive reading with the congregation as we officially invite you into the community. If you are interested, please email Sara Davidson (contact info below).
At the end of each church year, we gather to celebrate those that have joined us over the course of the church year. We'll meet after the 12 pm worship service for brunch at Cedar Lane member and Membership Engagement Ministry Team member Maryann Dillon's house, close to the church. Date to come for 2020!