Programs and Groups
Our programs and activities are open to all who wish to share in this church and its vital commitment to liberal religion. Specific contact names and numbers are provided for each group. Also, a telephone call to the church office (607-273-7521) during business hours will quickly put you in touch with a person responsible for our various projects. If it is not convenient to call during business hours, our telephone answering machine operates at all other times and will record your questions.
ADULT FORUM. Programs explore a broad range of topics on spiritual and social concerns on Sunday mornings at 9 am. Contact moderators Fred Balfour (617) 852-6645 or Robert Parks 592-7686.
ART IN THE PARLOR features a rotation of art exhibits (including photography and original crafts) by members and friends. The committee arranges for exhibits, makes the necessary preparations and seeks new exhibitors. Contact Diane Newton at 273-4960 or Margy Nelson at 257-7144.
BABIES FIRST. Imagine a child with no crib, no diapers, no warm clothing, no safe car seat, no toys, or no formula. These are a few of the situations addressed by Babies First, a church-based program in Ithaca. Our congregation annually provides over 150 items of baby equipment to families referred by local health and social service agencies. We welcome bakers, deliverers, washers, sorters, and a car seat technician. Contact Lois Ecklund 273-2940.
BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP meets on the first Friday of each month at 12:30 pm in the “high school room” of the annex. Participants bring their own lunches and spend about an hour and a half discussing the current book (chosen earlier). The discussion is led by one of the group members, who brings to the group book reviews and in-depth information about the author. After that there is open discussion about the book and author.
The Book Discussion Group chooses what it reads from a wide variety of writings. Each year we read the same book that Cornell chooses for its freshmen to read before they start their first year. The upcoming selections for 2016 are: January 8 In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson; February 8 The Tortilla Curtain, by T. C. Boyle; March 4 The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter; April 1 When the River Runs Dry, by Fred Pierce; May 6 Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson; and June 6 Witches, by Tracey Schiff.
To find out more, call Flo Smith at 273-6147 or Francoise Gebhart at 607-257-0514.
BUILDERS AND GROUNDS HELPERS. Have an urge to plant a perennial, spring clean, fix a loose hinge, or wield a paint brush in good company? Ideas and initiative are welcome! Contact coordinator Sara Catterall at 273-0191.
CARE TEAM provides support and care for members and friends going through challenging times. Contact Beth Bell 280-5721 or Rick Hendrick 207-7879.
CHOIR. Beginners to experienced singers welcome! The choir performs in the service once a month and rehearses Thursdays at 7:15 in the Annex. Contact director Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum at .
CIVIL LIBERTIES ACTION TEAM presents programs and lobbies on issues of separation of church and state, gender equality, women's reproductive rights, comprehensive sexuality education, and racial, LGBT, and social justice. For more information, you may contact Niels and Mary Schulz, 607-753-0325, .
DINER'S CLUB meets approximately once a month from November through April on a rotating basis for dish-to-pass dinners and conversation in members' homes. The groups range in size from six to ten people and are always open to receive new participants. Contact Jim Holman and Dorothy Buerk 607-844-4945.
HOSPITALITY TEAMS. Four Hospitality Teams rotate responsibility for all aspects of greeting, ushering, and coffee hour each Sunday. For more information or to join a team, contact John Gaines at 898-3943 or .
INTERACTIVE LISTSERV. Members and friends can join an open online forum to discuss ideas and opinions and/or post requests for information or alert others to matters of common concern. To join, contact the church office at 273-7521, ext. 21.
LABOR DAY UNIRONDACK WEEKEND. Enjoy this member-organized, fun-filled weekend in the Adirondacks. Share your talents, passions, and expertise! Contact Wendy Salomon at 272-1914.
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND QUEER (LGBTQ) ACTION TEAM. The Action Team's mission is to advocate and educate on behalf of LGBTQ communities. Contact Mark Pedersen at 273-7521, ext. 21.
THE LIBRARY is located on the second floor of the Parish House next to the RE office and is available to everyone. This library is primarily a source of books on the liberal religious quest in general and Unitarian Universalism in particular. There is no fee and information describing the informal checkout procedures is available at the library.
LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS. We offer peer-to-peer spiritual and emotional support in a small group setting to persons who suffer from chronic illness or pain. We meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 3:00 to 4:30pm, usually at the home of a member living in the Ithaca downtown area.
For further information call Dianne Ferriss at 272-6896.
MAHJONGG CLUB. Challenge yourself Thursday afternoons and learn about laughter in the world of chance. American Mah Jongg is played with score-cards that change yearly. Please contact Margaret Moschak at 607-277-6448 if interested.
NATURE HIKING GROUP. This group draws inspiration from the natural world. Group hikes provide a way for members to share favorite and often, little known, treasured places in our region. To be included in announcements of hikes – which sometimes happen spontaneously just because it’s a beautiful day – you will want to subscribe to the group’s listserv.
SMALL GROUP MINISTRY is an important part of the life of our religious community. Small groups meet twice a month, in homes or at the church. Participants establish new and deeper connections with one another and find a place for religious exploration and spiritual growth.
SOCIAL JUSTICE COUNCIL meets monthly to discuss actions to address local and global concerns, i.e., support for food pantry, civil liberties, women's reproductive rights, refugee assistance, and peace initiatives. Contact Martha Ferger at 884-8184.
THE UU YOUNG ADULT GROUP is a social group for community members aged 18-30-something. This is a relatively new group to the Ithaca UU church, and we’d be delighted to have new members join us!
The UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST UKELELE UNION (UUUU). This group, with the twin missions of having fun and building community both within the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca and beyond, will be returning in the new year with some new goals, so keep practicing!
YOUNG RELIGIOUS UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS (YRUU) is a youth group for 14-18 year olds. It offers youth the opportunity to socialize in a safe environment.