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A liberal religious voice in the Central Valley since 1953.
Carson Kressley said: "I was ordained by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Modesto, California!" on the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" TV show that aired Tuesday, June 13, 2006. He mentioned us in the promotional blurbs leading up to the show, too.
Wrong church, Carson! You'd think anyone with the sense to avoid black socks with short pants would check his churches. We are the Unitarian Universalists (he got that right the second time he said it) and we don't ordain people by mail.
He meant the Universal Life Church. The Universal Life Church ordains anyone who asks, instantly, for free. Most ULC Ministers get ordained so they can perform a wedding for friends. Most of them go back to their regular jobs after the wedding, be they TV stars or the guy in the second bay from the left at the muffler shop.
Almost all UU ministers start with a bachelor's degree. They spend three to four years in a graduate theological school doing course work and an internship. They graduate with a Master of Divinity, then go on to become ordained. Our Ministers get ordained because they hear a call. Most of them work full-time as ministers.
The national headquarters of the Universal Life Church are in Modesto. We're in Modesto too, but our national headquarters are in Boston. People often confuse us, because we are both in Modesto and both have "Universal" in our name. This was the first time it happened on national TV.
Our denomination is "gay-friendly" - we ordain gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans gendered people, something the Baptists have a problem with. We welcome GLBT people as members, especially if they volunteer for the Buildings and Grounds Committee or bring chocolate tortes with raspberry sauce to the potlucks. [See the Editorial note on stereotypes, below.] While we welcome them, we are not a predominately GLBT church. About a dozen of our 135 members are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
We didn't mind the mistake. On the day the show aired, our visit count tripled, from an average of 27 a day to 92. Our webmaster considered buying a pair of sunglasses.
If you'd like to visit some Sunday, we'd love to have you. Our Map page will give you directions and our Services page will tell you when we meet. If you are curious about Unitarian Universalists in general or our church in Modesto:
Our Beliefs page will tell you what we believe. While just under half of us believe in a supreme being [read more about that], we all believe people searching for spiritual truth have an easier time of it when they have company.
We have sermon collections, if you'd like to see what we talk about. Look for "Sermons" in the navigation bar to your left.
You'll notice the navigation bar repeats some of the links above. We have the bar as a standard on every page. Our webmaster considers consistency to be more important than changing his socks.
Two people have written, telling me the line "especially if they volunteer for the Buildings and Grounds Committee or bring chocolate tortes with raspberry sauce to the potlucks" perpetuates the stereotypes that all lesbians wear combat boots and use a 28-ounce framing hammer hammer, while all gay men are gourmet cooks who wear mauve ascots. I wasn't stereotyping. I was hoping. I like chocolate torte with raspberry sauce. I suggest it every time someone asks what they should bring to a potluck, at church, work or the hiking club. No one ever brings it, but I can hope. Our Buildings and Grounds committee needs more people, too.
Harold Ross and I both use specific examples instead of general terms and hope the gentle reader will expand the class. When the late Mr. Ross founded the New Yorker magazine, he told people it wasn't going to be for "the little old lady in Dubuque". He didn't mean just short Midwestern grandmothers. No one accused him of heightism, ageism, sexism or regionalism. If you look back you'll see other places I used the specific for the general.
We'll welcome people who show up once a year just to pass out business cards. We'll welcome people who attend religiously, volunteer for committees and attend the potlucks. We're going to be happier to see those in the second category, and they are going to get more out of our church. That's true no matter who they love, or how. Their respective size, shape, color, age, income or physical ability isn't going to matter either.
Ted Pack, Editor
We are a liberal church and the only UU congregation in Stanislaus county. We serve Ceres, Denair, Escalon, Hickman, Hughson, Keyes, Manteca, Modesto, Oakdale, Patterson, Ripon, Riverbank, Salida, Turlock and Waterford. We welcome Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Deists, Free-thinkers, Humanists, Jews, Pagans, Theists, Wiccans, and those who seek their own spiritual path. We welcome people without regard to race, physical ability, ethnicity or sexual orientation.