About Pocatello UU Fellowship
PUUF is affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and is a liberal religious community dedicated to promoting the ongoing search for truth and to affirming the inherent worth of every person.
We understand reality through human experience, enlightened reason, scientific method, and the democratic process. We find the central source of power and goodness within the human heart, mind, and spirit. Individually and collectively, we assume responsibility for our future, our community, our children, and our interdependent world.
Our growth and actions as thoughtful, compassionate, and ethical human beings advance our vision of:
- A world of peace and love,
- All lives in dignity and equality,
- Society alive with freedom and justice.
The flaming chalice is the official symbol of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Officially or unofficially, it functions as a logo for hundreds of congregations. Perhaps most importantly, it has become a focal point for worship. No one meaning or interpretation is official. The flaming chalice, like our faith, stands open to receive new truths that pass the tests of reason, justice, and compassion.
The stylized symbol created for the Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship depicts the chalice as a 7, representing the seven principles of the Unitarian Universalism faith. The flame and the heart within it represent putting our faith into action with courage, compassion, and love.
Find out more about the UUA Chalice.
Keep up with us on our Facebook Page at Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship PUUF. It's updated almost daily and has lots of information and fun things. If you are a Member or Friend and would like to contribute something to our Facebook page, please contact the Facebook Editor.
View a PDF of our By-Laws.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Pocatello is a caring community of individuals and families which provides a religious environment dedicated to freedom of thought and welcoming of diverse expression.
OUR MISSION IS TO:
- Affirm and promote the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association within the Pocatello community.
- Nurture our own and others' spiritual growth, giving each other comfort, and sharing laughter along the way.
- Celebrate life through creative expression.
- Honor life experience as a source of our religious values.
- Learn about the roots and meanings of our liberal religious values.
- Transform our values into the will to act for peace, the environment and social justice, both individually and together.
- Foster our involvement in the larger Unitarian Universalist community.
We strive to be Southeast Idaho's welcoming, open minded religious voice for all who value spiritual inquiry and work for social justice.
Started by a group of dedicated couples and individuals, our small lay-led fellowship was incorporated as the Unitarian Fellowship of Pocatello (UFP) in about 1960. Boasting up to 40 members and an extremely active children's religious education program, the Fellowship met in a number of Pocatello locations throughout the '60s and into the '70s. After disbanding temporarily in the mid 1970's due to declining membership, the Fellowship was reorganized in 1987. Members and friends met in each other's homes during the rebuilding process. We moved to our current location, renting from First Congregational UCC at 309 N. Garfield in 1989, where we started afternoon services followed by our popular potluck dinners.
The 1990s brought a number of significant changes, including a name change in 1999 to "Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship" (PUUF). Our membership count has hovered around 60 members since the mid-1990s.
PUUF entertained the idea of having a minister in the 1990s and was led by Rev. Kitsy Winthrop for a short while. Then we called the Rev. Louise Robeck from Delaware, as an Extension Minister in 1996. After the departure of Rev. Robeck in 1997, PUUF was again a lay-led fellowship for many years. In 2010 we collaborated with South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Utah, and hired Consulting Minister Rev. Lora Brandis to help us improve our ministry and to prepare for eventually calling a minister. In 2011 we Mhired another Consulting Minister, Rev. Susanne Marsh, in collaboration with the Magic Valley UU Fellowship. In 2012 we were once again lay led, and in 2013-2015 Rev. Duffy Peet was our Developmental Minister. Currently we are in a search for a new minister.
PUUF is a Welcoming Congregation
The Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was officially recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) as a Welcoming Congregation in August 2011. Evidence points to churches as the most anti-homosexual institutions in America, and much of the justification used to promote anti-homosexual feelings, legislation, and violence is couched in “religious” language. It is difficult for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) people to feel safe bringing their whole selves into churches. Because the first principle of Unitarian Universalism recognizes “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” the Pocatello UU Fellowship welcomes all, and in fact, we state this at the beginning of each service. However, official recognition as a Welcoming Congregation allows us to open our fellowship as a safe space for LGBTQ persons, compels us to take positions on oppression in our larger communities, and to engage in community outreach.
In order to receive the Welcoming Congregation designation, we utilized the educational material provided by the UUA. The educational process gave us the opportunity to examine our own biases and move toward more inclusive attitudes and behavior. In addition, we completed specific steps in the areas of congregational life and community outreach. Some of these activities included:
We held a retreat facilitated by Rev. Michael Corrigan of the UU Church of Greely, CO. Rev. Corrigan provided members of the PUUF congregation a wealth of information about becoming an official Welcoming Congregation and thoughtfully addressed a number of questions and concerns raised by the retreat participants. A task force of three volunteered to explore the process further and to acquire a congregation-wide agreement to proceed. To that end, an educational pamphlet was developed and sent to all PUUF members and friends. During the 2009 Annual Meeting of PUUF, the congregation voted to initiate efforts to be recognized by the UUA as an official Welcoming Congregation and a committee of five was formed to plan and organize the process. A WC “kick-off” workshop, facilitated by Rev. Lyn Cameron of Idaho Falls, focused on our attitudes toward LGBT people. A worship service with visiting Minister Rev. Cameron celebrated the National Day of Coming Out. A questionnaire was sent to all PUUF members of the congregation. The questionnaire, acquired from the Welcoming Congregation Handbook, gauged the way we feel about LGBT people. Completed questionnaires were received from 31 PUUF members and the results suggested we are generally comfortable around and accepting of LGBT people.
We incorporated inclusive language and content as a regular part of our worship services and adjusted our bylaws to recognize our affirmation of LBGTQ persons and nondiscrimination in all aspects of congregational life. A panel-lead discussion was held that included H. Wayne Schow who lost a son to AIDS, Emilie Jackson-Edney, who is trangendered, and Derrick Capson who coordinated the local Genesis Project. From diverse perspectives, they shared their personal experiences and hopes for the future. Approximately 25 members and friends attended the discussion. During the first worship service in April, the Old Town Actors Studio presented a selection of the play, The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. A workshop with visiting minister Todd Strickland addressed how individuals and congregations can be allies to the LGBT community. PUUF members participated in a gay rights march in Ogden, UT to support passage of the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
PUUF Consulting Minister, Rev. Lora Brandis, delivered a “Welcome Service” to assist the fellowship in welcoming people of different stripes and to end hate, prejudice and discrimination in our community. Rev. Brandis facilitated a workshop on racism, religion and homosexuality. PUUF’s Adult Religious Exploration (ARE) program presented the documentary, 8: The Mormon Proposition. A sizable contingent of PUUF members attended the full production of The Laramie Project at Old Town Actor’s Studio. Several PUUF members helped to organize 2Great4Hate, a new organization with a mission to promote love and acceptance throughout our community. PUUF presented Muriel Roberts with the “Love Award” for standing on the side of love and justice. PUUF members and friends participated in a 2Great4Hate rally in Pocatello to demonstrate our support of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho’s anti-discrimination statute. John Schroeder, PA-C, Assistant Professor from ISU facilitated a workshop on sexual orientation and differentiation. We purchased a space at Pocatello Pride and distributed information about our Fellowship. A vote was put before the PUUF membership in affirmation of our commitment to becoming a Welcoming Congregation. The steps taken and our vote were communicated to the UUA for official recognition.
Click here for more information about UUA Welcoming Congregations.