Glossary of Unitarian Terms

UU Speak Dictionary

Every group of people has acronyms and jargon as shortcuts for communications. Here is a list of some of the terms heard in the UU community.

AIW – Action of immediate Witness, events of immediate political concern are addressed at the Association’s annual General Assembly (GA)

APF – Annual Program Fund, source of funds to support the Unitarian Universalist Association, our national organization

Building and Grounds – Building and Grounds, the committee responsible for the UUCT’s facility maintenance and upkeep

Board –  The Board of Trustees is the elected governing board of UUCT. Learn about them on the Board page.

BOT – the acronym for Board of Trustees.

Chalice:  The flaming chalice has become a  symbol of the Unitarian Universalists. Learn about it here.

Chalice Circle: What others call small group ministries or covenant groups we call Chalice circles. Groups of 8 to 10 gather in conversation to build relationships and discuss what matters.

Chalice Lighters:  Many individuals in UU congregations join the Chalice Lighters to support the creation of new UU congregations or growth within existing congregations. Two to three times per year,  the opportunity to make small gifts. These donations combine to make for several grants to new and growing congregations. Congregations seeking this funding must submit competitive grant applications.  

CLF – Church of the Larger Fellowship

Cluster – Any of several geographic subdivisions of a UUA District – the UUCT is a member of the Florida District, Southern Region, and the West Central Cluster

Child Dedication:  Unitarian Universalists celebrates their commitment to raising their children to have meaningful, love-filled lives by “dedicating” them.  This may happen when the children are infants or when they are older.  It is up to the parents. 

Child Dedication
                      Child Dedication

Committee on Ministries: Team appointed by Board of Trustees to evaluate and support the various ministries of the congregation. 

CUUPS – Convent of Unitarian Universalist Pagan Society is the local Pagan Group (also known as Circle In The Woods) which meets for a monthly Moon Circle as well as other pagan activities within the church

Domelight : This is Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa’s newsletter.  It comes out monthly and is sent to all who become official members and friends of the congregation as well as to visitors who request it.

DRE: Director of Religious Education. Learn more on the Children’s Education page.

Endowment Fund: The church’s endowment is an important part of our life together. Our endowment funds programs and activities that would otherwise be beyond our ability to undertake. 

Friend: A friend is any person who is in general sympathy with the purposes, goals, and programs of the congregation, financially support the congregation, but who chooses not to sign the membership book to officially become a member of UUCT

General Assembly (GA):  The annual meeting of the congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association. This meeting, usually held in June in a major US city, includes business meetings, worship services, musical experiences, and the opportunity to visit with UUs beyond our local area. See the UUA website for information on upcoming GAs.

General Assembly - Banner Parade
             General Assembly – Banner Parade

Green Sanctuary: Our congregation participates in the UUA’s green sanctuary accreditation program. By working on many specific projects to raise our environmental consciousness and practices, we hope to achieve UUA Green Sanctuary accreditation. 

Labyrinth  Unicursal patterns have been used historically both in group ritual and for private meditation, and are increasingly found for therapeutic use in hospitals and hospices. UUCT has built such a Labyrinth on our grounds. 

LGBTQIA:  This is an acronym for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender, Queer, Intersexual or Asexual. To learn more, please take a look at the Our Welcome to LGBTQ People.

Member:  A member is any individual, 16 years of age or older, who concurs with the principles and purposes of the UUA and this Congregation, who signs a membership card, and makes an identifiable annual contribution to the operating budget of the Congregation in accordance with the Bylaws.

Membership Book
          Membership Book

Memorial Fund: When an unspecified bequest is made to the church upon a person’s death the bequest is incorporated into the Memorial Fund. This fund is controlled by the board and is designed to fund things of a permanent nature (like a playground or a new sidewalk or new office equipment). 

Memorial Garden – place of peace and tranquility with Memorial Stones to commemorate members who have passed on to some other place in the great beyond.

Moon Circle – see CUUPS above.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is an innovative and important  curriculum for children and youth, developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ to address holistic issues around sexual education, gender issues, and spirituality.

Religious Services Team:  Lay members who support the ministry of the congregation, creating and offering services during the minister’s absence. 

Southern Region – The Southern Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations(UUA). The Florida, Mid-South, Southeast, and Southwest districts of the UUA have united as the UUA’s Southern Region.

YRE: Youth Religious Education. Our church school provides a safe place for children from nursery (six months to 3) to high schoolers. We also have an Social Action (ARE) classes which provide many provocative learning opportunities

Reverend: Unitarian Universalist ministers are addressed as “Reverend.” Learn about Rev. Patricia on the Minister page.

Share the Plate:  Every month one of our social justice teams chooses a charity related to its mission to receive the congregations offering for that Sunday.



Standing on the Side of Love in Phoenix

Photo thanks to UUA

Standing on the Side of Love:  This campaign was inspired by the 2008 shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, which was targeted because they are welcoming to LGBTQ people and have a liberal stance on many issues. The Knoxville community responded with an outpouring of love thainspired the leadership at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to launch our campaign in 2009, with the goal of harnessing love’s power to challenging exclusion, oppression, and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, race, religion, or any other identity.

UU: Unitarian Universalist – that’s us – our denomination!   For a description of what we believe…

UUSC: The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. The UUSC, for which we hold an annual fundraiser from Thanksgiving to Martin Luther King Day, is our denomination’s international justice seeking arm.

Welcoming Congregation: The UUA  offers a formal process for designating congregations which meet criteria for welcoming gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered folks into their midst as “welcoming congregations”. Our church gained this designation in the early 1990s.



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