First Unitarian Society of Ithaca

Sunday Services 10:30 am

Corner of Buffalo & Aurora St.

Ithaca, NY

A welcoming spiritual home for religious free thinkers

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Vote to Amend the current Bylaws of the First Unitarian Society

Event Date: 
Sunday, 12 April 2015 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Congregation Meeting of the Membership to discuss proposed changes to the Bylaws.

On Sunday, April 12, at noon, there will be a meeting of the congregation’s membership (those who signed the Membership Book by March 12) to vote on a number of changes to the Society’s Bylaws.  The meeting will occur in the Annex.  The changes will be grouped so that there will be several individual votes but they may encompass a number of changes in more than one section of the document.


To see the current version of the Bylaws you can visit:

and the marked up version with proposed changes may be viewed CLICK HERE:

and the resolutions as they will be presented at the special meeting CLICK HERE:

Creating a new SMSC (Settled Minister Search Committee)

Creating a new SMSC (Settled Minister Search Committee):  
What kind of church to we want to be five years from now, and who will help lead us there?  The first step in the process of calling our next settled minister is the creation of a Settled Minister Search Committee, and the Board of Trustees will be contacting each registered member of our congregation next week for recommendations of people to serve on that committee.  Beginning Monday, March 16, Trustees will be emailing and calling members, asking for the names of three people whose wisdom, leadership, and practical expertise you would entrust with this vital task.  These recommendations will be tallied, and from them the Board will assemble a SMSC whose diversity reflects the congregation and its interests.  Members may nominate themselves.  A full slate of seven candidates for the SMSC will be presented several weeks in advance for ratification at the Annual Meeting on May 27th.  Please start thinking now of potential candidates. 

Also, if you are a friend of FUSIT but not yet a full member and would like to have input in this process, please consider officially joining our congregation.  In order to vote at the Annual Meeting, you have been must be a member for at least 30 days.

From Where I Sit

During his March 8th sermon the Rev. Douglas Taylor mentioned something that got my attention. He was talking about how people may hold tight to their beliefs and have confidence in the sources of their viewpoint; knowing them to be infallible and wholly trustworthy while the more skeptical of our lot may not give these sources any credence. The story he told during the Time for All Ages related how two groups of people observed the same event but came away with differing viewpoints and “facts”. As simple as his story was, it held such truths that we can’t deny them.

By our very humanity we are limited in our ability to perceive “the truth” and yet we tend to base a great deal of our opinions on what we have heard, seen happen or read about in a respected source of information. How can we be sure that we have all the facts? If our source is the New York Times, Fox News, the King James version of the Bible or Wikipedia do we trust it implicitly? Why do we place our faith in one source and not another and can we be certain that we have all the facts?

I like that as a Unitarian Universalist I am encouraged to draw upon numerous faith traditions as my sources for my spiritual growth and exploration as well as my “direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder.” We don’t have to limit ourselves to one way of thinking, yet I still find myself doing just that. It is one thing to acknowledge that a certain ideology or philosophy resonates with me but I do myself a great disservice if I actively choose not to experience or try to learn from as many differing beliefs, even if I “have heard it all before.” The thing about being human is that I am not the same person I was a year ago or even a second ago. What I heard before may be because I was, to refer back to Rev. Taylor’s story, standing on a different side of the street than I am right now. That green hat that God was wearing in Douglas’ story may now appear to be blue, so do I want to miss the opportunity to learn from what is being offered?

I am not suggesting that I should spend my time revisiting every belief system repeatedly but more that I need to be open to learn and not automatically reject occasions where I can learn more about the world and its workings. There are a great many issues that I have opinions on that need to be challenged every so often. I must look for ways to question my thinking and not build walls between myself and others so that I can hear what they have to say and yes, perhaps shift my thinking a bit. It doesn’t mean I have to abandon my truest beliefs but I need to be willing to grow and change. As spring is making its way to Ithaca I look forward to some changes.

Mark Pedersen
Congregational Administrator

Best of Ithaca 2014: Ithaca Times Readers Vote For Their Favorite Places

Best-Looking House of Worship: First Unitarian Church

Designed by architect William Henry Miller, who also designed over 70 other buildings in Ithaca, the home of the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca dates back to 1893. Originally, the church was supposed to have a pyramidal roof, but a tall steeple was erected instead, ostensibly so that students could not miss seeing it. Over the years, the Unitarian empire has spread to adjoining buildings on North Aurora and East Buffalo streets, but the main church building, renovated in the 1990s is an imposing architectural gem and a downtown landmark.

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