Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society is a freethinking religious community in Madison Wisconsin. We aspire to be both open-hearted and open-minded. We welcome those who enter our doors with any combination of strengths and weaknesses, beliefs and doubts. Our children receive liberal religious education as we model values in our search for truth and meaning.
Prairie is a small, lay-lead liberal congregation. The congregation is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We members hold differing religious beliefs, but our shared principles affirm the worth and dignity of all persons, the need for justice and compassion, a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and a respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. We choose to be in a community for the development and values education of our children. As UU's, we believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion.
We are a "Welcoming Congregation" that opens each Sunday morning service with words similar to the following:
"Prairie is a liberal lay-led congregation. You are welcome, whatever your ethnic background or color; whatever your religious background, age, or sexual orientation; whatever your abilities or inabilities."
We, the members of Prairie, wish to associate ourselves together in a
religious community which affirms that we share a common humanity,
that we need one another, and that our futures are inescapably bound
together. Together we would expand our intellectual horizons, enrich
our sensory experiences, and deepen our emotional sensitivities. We
would sharpen our ethical awareness and broaden our sense of social
responsibility. We would stand tall in our quest for integrity of
life, yet not at others' expense. As the prairie stretches out until
it becomes one with the sky, let us reach out to touch and be one
with the natural world, and with one another.
Prairie Smoke by Lois Hagstrom
Prairie UU Society Mission Statement
Adopted November 21, 1999
Prairie is a diverse, lay-led congregation.
We aspire to be both open-hearted and open-minded. We welcome all who
enter our doors with any combination of strengths and weaknesses,
beliefs and doubts.
Our small size allows us to be like an
extended family: we aspire to support one another and nurture the
growth of each of our members. By sharing joys and sorrows, we keep
each other company on the journey through life.
We seek to learn with and from each other in
an atmosphere that respects diverse ideas, lifestyles, cultures, and
wisdom traditions. Our shared values include respect for all forms of
life and stewardship of the environment. Helping our youth to
understand and appreciate these values is part of our mission.
We seek to promote dignity, worth, and
justice for people worldwide by supporting individual and collective
Our Vision of the Prairie Community
Adopted November 9, 2008
We support each other's personal development and spiritual growth,
Our caring for each other is evident to all who enter our doors,
We act in the world to further social and environmental justice, and
Our society is recognized and respected in the wider community.
Contact information for all Prairie officers, committee chairs and staff can be found on the first page of the current Prairie Directory
Board and Committees
The paid positions at Prairie, consulting minister,
religious education director and office administrator, are all part time. Prairie is a truly voluntary organization—it
functions because volunteers plan and present programs and
services, help with child care, teach children, wash dishes, shovel
sidewalks, and more! There's no better way to get to know us than to
work with us. It's easy to get involved in any of these activities.
The members of Prairie conduct the business of the Society at fall and spring business meetings of the congregation as a whole, at special meetings of the congregation that may be called from time to time, and through regular meetings of the Executive Board. As specified in the Society's bylaws, the Board is composed of the officers and committee chairs shown below. Business meeting minutes are filed in the Administrator's office in the Annex.
2017-2018 Board of Directors:
At-large (youth member)—Katherine Liu
2017-2018 Committees and Their Responsibilities:
Committee(Chair, Penny Eiler)
Plans Sunday morning adult
services with lay ministers and other presenters
Plans various evening meetings
and special events
Education Committee(Chair, Karen Deaton)
Recruits teachers and volunteers to help with the program
Works with RE Coordinator to plan special RE projects and events
Members and friends always welcome as volunteers to teach a class or assist with special arts and crafts projects or field trips
Membership Committee(Co-chairs Erin Bosch and Heidi Hughes)
Welcomes visitors and writes notes to them later
Organizes orientation programs for newcomers to learn more about us
Designs and makes permanent nametags for new members
Organizes Circle Dinners and other social events
Oversees maintenance of Society membership list
Oversees preparation of parish directory
Hospitality Committee(Chair Barbara Chatterton)
Provides coffee at services and arrange for cleanup
Organizes Prairie potlucks, Soup Sundays and other social events
Action Committee(Co-chairs, Molly Plunket and Pam Gates)
Takes public stands on issues
without having to get consent of the Society and maintains an
independent Social Action presence on the Internet
Informs Prairie members about key
social action issues and events
Provides opportunities for
Prairie members to contribute services, money, and goods to worthy
Fills an Allied Partners Board
position on behalf of Prairie
Participates in local projects,
including providing breakfast at a local drop-in shelter one
morning per month, collecting food for a neighborhood food pantry,
and facilitating Prairie's part in Madison's Interfaith Hospitality
Conducts annual parish poll to determine Society positions on UU General Assembly resolutions
Committee(Chair, Patty Stockdale)
Prepares annual budget proposal
Canvasses members and friends for pledges to meet the adopted budget
Conducts other fund raising activities such as service auctions
& Property Committee(Co-chairs, Jim Lyne and Randy Converse)
Responsible for building and
Does most minor repairs and
improvements to meeting house using volunteer labor. Workers of all skill levels are
Contracts for major repairs and
improvements when necessary.
Committee on Ministry
(Heidi Hughes, Dawn Hayslett and Cheryl Robinson)
The committee consults with the professional minister and is accountable for evaluating her performance.
Maintains and defines policy for web site, email lists, and similiar online communication services
Produces publicity, ads, and outside signs to promote awareness of Prairie and it's activities
A Brief History of Our Congregation
The Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society was established in 1967
as an offshoot of the First
Unitarian Society of Madison, WI, in an effort to relieve
overcrowding in First Unitarian's religious education program. In
1966 First Society had purchased a portion of a "prairie"
area on Madison's far west side as a potential location for a second
Unitarian Universalist congregation, and it is from that piece of
land that Prairie Society takes its name. That building site,
however, was never used, and it is now split between the Madison park
system and the University of Wisconsin Arboretum.
In September 1967, 30 adults and 78 children began meeting for
religious education classes and adult services at a Catholic seminary
on Madison's far west side--the first of a series of rented
locations. By-laws were drawn up in the spring of 1968 and Prairie
was organized with 38 charter members -- some of whom remain with the
congregation even today. By September 1969 membership had grown and
the meeting site was moved to the YWCA building across from the
Wisconsin State Capitol. By spring of 1972 Prairie had moved again to
a former church building about 1/2 mile west of Camp Randall, the
UW-Madison football stadium. For two years during this period the
Society had the half-time services of a ministerial student from the
Meadville-Lombard Seminary in Chicago. In 1978 Prairie began renting
space at the Woodland Montessori School (another former church
building) on Colby Street on Madison's near south side.
Finally, in 1980, Prairie Society purchased its current quarters
at 2010 Whenona Drive, Madison. In July 1988 the parish voted to
remodel the meeting house. The remodeling took place in the fall of
1988 and a re-dedication ceremony was held in February 1989.