Welcome

The Bismarck-Mandan UUs are a diverse group, dedicated to community, love, and purpose, committed to transforming ourselves and changing the world.

Please join us at an upcoming service or event! You will find:

  • A vibrant, caring, and accepting community
  • Deep commitment to social justice
  • Services that are spiritually, artistically, and intellectually grounded
  • A vital religious education program which helps our children and youth develop their spiritual curiosity, love, and purpose in the wider world.

We look forward to your visit!

Contact Us

Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation
818 E. Divide Avenue
Mail: P.O. Box 297
Bismarck, North Dakota 58502
Map  •   Directions
Phone 701-223-6788

Regular Schedule

Office Hours
  • Receptionist Hours: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM,  Monday - Friday

    Minister hours: Karen Van Fossan is in everyday except Mondays. Stop in or call first, just in case she's in a meeting.

Sunday
  • 1st Service
    – 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Treats, Coffee and Conversation
    – 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
  • 2nd Service
    – 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Donate
Join Our Mailing List

Announcements

Announcements

  • Minister’s Transition

    Dear Ones,

    With a mixture of sadness and joy, I have decided, as many of you know, to transition out of my role as minister of our beloved UU community. I am both sad and joyful about this transition, and the decision hasn’t been easy or quick. Since making this announcement, I have been reminded, again and again, how truly blessed I am to have served you – and to serve you, still, until June 30.

    If you haven’t had a chance, I invite you to read my letter to the congregation, which you can find at the bottom of this homepage.

    I look forward to making this transition in a good and loving way – and celebrating A LOT before June 30!

    With much gratitude,

    Rev. Karen Van Fossan,

    your minister

  • Interim Minister Search

    The search for an Interim Minister has begun! Following the UUA guidelines, this process is shorter than and different from the search for a called minister, which will involve the whole congregation. Part of the job of the interim minister will be to help the congregation in the search for a called minster - which is a process that takes 18-24 months. Meanwhile, the Interim Minister search process is very short. On April 27 of this year, we will receive names of the Interim Ministers that are interested in serving with us and we will have about 2 weeks for interviews. The Interim Minister will begin August 1 under a one year contract, with the option of renewal for a second year. The search task force is comprised of members of the Board of Trustees (Liz Loos, Colleen Reinke, Monte Faul) and the Committee on Ministry (Carol Jean Larsen and Marnie Piehl). If you have questions, please contact Liz Loos, board president, at elizloos@gmail.com or 701-426-2256. Thank you for your support as we face the mystery and possibility of this process!

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    Sunday Services

    We offer two Sunday Services: 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM with time to visit and have snacks in between. See below for details on upcoming service. 

    During our 10:30 AM service, children ages 0-9 participate in quality Religious Education activities that teach UU values. Youth ages 10+ participate in the entire Sunday service and attend our Heartbeats intercultural youth group on Wednesday nights. All are welcome! Teens (8-12th grades) are invited to participate in teen-centered RE with wonderful mentors each Sunday during the 10:30 AM service. Teens and mentors will attend the first portion of each Sunday service — and then gather in the library.

     

  • Easter Service, Brunch, and More

    Sunday, April 21 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM
    Speakers: Rev. Karen Van Fossan & Friends 

    Help us celebrate the season at our annual Easter brunch and brief service! The tasty menu includes homemade muffins, egg bakes, and fresh fruit. On behalf of the family of Eddie Goebel, you are also warmly invited to attend his Baptism during the 10:30 AM service. To RSVP or volunteer for the brunch, please call/text Carol Jean Larsen at 701.516.7848. Sign up HERE for the brunch. Because of space limitations, we respectfully request that you let us know in advance which service you hope to attend. Thank you for understanding!

     

  • Easter Egg Hunt!

    Our Heartbeats youth, families, & supporters have prepared a special Easter Egg Hunt for children on Easter Sunday, April 21, between the services. Some of the Easter eggs will have candy inside, others will have toys, many will have hand-written notes. Please bring a basket or bag if your children would like to participate in the Easter Egg Hunt. We look forward to celebrating the season with you! Questions: Rev. Karen VanFossan, 701.202.2421.

  • Protest Songs and Social Change with the DeMasi Brothers

    Sunday, April 28 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM

    **Join us for an open house for Karen Larrivee & Bobbie Crane, recognizing their loving service.** 

    Joe & John DeMasi are award-winning UU singer-songwriters – and twin brothers – who have just released a new album about many of the pressing issues of our day, from gun violence to bullying to immigration. In addition to previewing their new, original music, they will share protest songs that have played a key role in movements of social change. Come to listen, learn, be filled with hope, and even sing along. 

    All are invited to join Pat Conrad and the UU Caring Team at 9 AM this morning (April 28) for the last of four monthly sessions in the Aging Comfortably series. This morning’s topic: Burial and cremation options and deeding our bodies to UND. Contact Pat Conrad, 701.425.6281, for details. People of all ages are welcome.

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    Local UU Related Events

  • UU Earth Day All-Ages Dance Party

    Saturday, April 27 
    6 PM - 9 PM 
    With Deejay Angela Harmon  

    Join us for our annual Earth Day celebration for all ages. We'll dance, eat, enjoy good community, and celebrate this beautiful planet!  

    Bring a dish to share if you can. If you can't come anyway!  

    (Actual dancing is encouraged - but never required.) :-)  

    Location: 818 E. Divide Ave, Bismarck 
    Info: Rev. Karen Van Fossan, 701.202.2421

     

  • Aging Comfortably Workshops: Next Workshop, Apr. 28

    Though there are still aches and pains associated with growing old, this series can help us think through issues we will face, so we can deal with them more successfully and with less stress. People of all ages -- senior citizens, as well as those caring for aging loved ones -- are invited to join us for this important, four-part series, offered by our own Pat Conrad.

    April 28: Burial and cremation options and deeding our bodies to UND. 

    Each session will be held on Sunday morning from 9 to 10 AM in the UU library. We will bring in professionals from the legal, social services, and funeral professions to help us with the last three sessions. Questions? Contact Pat Conrad at 701.425.6281. Thank you, Pat, for bringing this popular 2015 series back again!

     

  • Recognition Open House for Office Manager & Communications Coordinator

    Sunday, April 28
    11:45 AM - 12:15 PM (between the services) 

    Help us celebrate the loving service provided by Karen Larrivee (part-time office manager) and Bobbie Crane (part-time communications coordinator) over the past year and a half! They have provided invaluable service - with grace, kindness, and genuine commitment to our UU values. Karen will be with us in person for this open house; Bobbie will be at her home in Oregon, but we'll have cards of thanks for all to sign. As we transition to a half-time office administrator, Karen will continue participating in our UU music and caring team - and Bobbie will stay connected through family and friends. Please come and express your appreciation.

  • Interfaith Playdate

    Saturday, May 4th @ 2-4 PM
    Universal Playground in Mandan
    100 14th St. NE

    All are welcome! Face painting, stilt walking, snacking, and playing! Bring the whole family!

    Sponsored by Bismarck Interfaith. Contact hvanorny@gmail.com for more information.

     

  • Children & Youth Special Service

    Sunday, May 5 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM

    Plans are underway for our special spring (Earth Day, May Day) service, starring children and youth. Stay tuned for opportunities to share, as well as rehearse together! Solo presentations are also welcome and encouraged.

     

  • Solidarity Saturdays

    The next Solidarity Saturday will be May 4.
    Solidarity Saturdays are open to the public and occur at several locations across the state. As you can see, the Bismarck event takes place at our very own UU. 

    About: Solidarity Saturdays are informal gatherings of multiple organizations and people to talk about our shared concerns and celebrations in North Dakota. 

    Event Description: It's time to start Solidarity Saturdays again! The North Dakota legislative session has begun. With the current political situation in our state, it is more important than ever that the grassroots and non-profit organizations, as well as individual people of North Dakota, meet together and understand our mutual interests.  

    Solidarity Saturdays create a space for folks to gather in support of one another. It also gives us a chance to collaborate, learn, and discuss hot issues in North Dakota. 

    Fargo:                                Grand Forks:
    Red Raven E.P.                 Archives Coffee House
    916 Main Ave                    3012 University Ave

     

  • En Masse North Dakota | Call for 50+ Participants

    Presented in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota

    June 8 and 9, 2019 | 2:00 pm
    North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum
    612 E Boulevard Ave.
    Bismarck, ND 58505 

    En masse North Dakota is a movement meditation and community art performance piece that will premiere June 8 and 9, 2019 at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck, ND. Directed by choreographer Vanessa Voskuil, born and raised in Bismarck, this piece brings together 50+ performers in a work that celebrates the sharing of our stories and the love of North Dakota community. 

    The veteran and first-time performer are welcome. Participants are age 15+ and do not need to have any formal arts background to participate. 

    For more information or to sign up, contact Vanessa at: vanessa@vanessavoskuil.com Or visit vanessavoskuil.com/upcoming

     

  • Are you interested in attending General Assembly?

    UUA General Assembly will be June 19-23 in Spokane Washington. The theme for this GA is The Power of We.  

    In a time of great challenge and heartbreak in our world, what does our faith demand from us? At this year’s General Assembly we will explore the power, possibility, purpose, struggle and joy of finding the path forward together as Unitarian Universalists. Attendees will leave inspired, with the tools needed to carry on the work into their own congregations and communities. 

    We would love to have a large and vibrant delegation attend GA this year and have a limited amount of funds for registration, lodging and travel to GA. There is a youth track (grades 9-12) and childcare is available (though child registration is free, children must be registered). If you are interested in attending GA, please send an email to elizloos@gmail.com and office@bismanuu.org or call the office at 701-223-6788 by Sunday April 28. Early registration ends April 30, when the price goes up significantly.

     

  • Strategic Planning & Visioning

    Your board of trustees and minister announced at the annual meeting that we have begun conversations with Dr. Ellen Chaffee, in order to engage a full strategic planning and visioning process. This 3-4 month process is set to begin this month—with opportunities for congregants to be involved in May or June. Please stay tuned, and we will do our best to keep you in the loop!

     

  • Little Free Pantry

    Donations of non-perishable items are needed and greatly appreciated! Please drop off food supplies at Sunday services, by the front door of the UU during the week, or directly in the Pantry anytime. Thank you!

     
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    Special Announcements

  • Minister's transition -- important letter from KVF

    Dear Ones, 

    With a mixture of sadness and joy, I am writing to share my decision to transition out of my role as minister of our beloved Bismarck UU community. In order to facilitate the transition to interim ministry, I need to make this announcement now, as the window to engage an interim is narrow and happens only during April of each year.

    As you can imagine, this decision hasn’t been easy or quick. I love this congregation; it has been my home, you have been my home, for nearly twenty years. I have been a congregant, teacher, musician, board member, speaker, active volunteer, and finally, over the last four years, minister. Even more, I have been a human being, living and growing and struggling and learning, with and among some of my favorite human beings anywhere – ever.

    So how can I possibly consider that the time has come to leave? First, I believe the congregation is ready. We are thriving, blossoming, growing – not just in numbers but in spirit. When I accepted the incredible invitation to serve as your part-time minister four years ago, I saw my role as helping the congregation to prepare for full-time ministry. Little could I have foreseen that I would have the honor of serving you full-time for three years – and that we would do and become all we have done and become.

    Second, I feel another call to ministry in our UU tradition. Those of you who’ve experienced pastoral counseling with me have a sense just how much I love it. I hope to open a private counseling practice, while maintaining my commitment to social justice for us all. UU people around the world are doing the deep, social justice work of decolonizing, dismantling white supremacy, and re-humanizing ourselves and one another – all in a context of healing and authentic relationship. I have the opportunity to study just such topics through a PhD program at NDSU, to bring my learning into private practice, and to share my studies within and beyond our UU tradition.

    Not only couldn’t I have done this without you, I likely wouldn’t have done this without you. You have supported and nurtured and clarified my call to ministry in too many ways to share in this letter – though I did share more details on Sunday, April 14, and the recording should be on our website soon!

    Finally, I miss you. That may seem strange, considering that I see many of you on Sundays, Wednesdays, and at numerous events in between. I’ll do my best to explain. When I was a congregant here, this UU community was at the heart of my social life. This is where all my friends were. As a minister, it has been crucial, in order to serve you well, that I don’t treat you like friends anymore. Sometimes, you speak of me as your friend; I hope that has been true. If you reflect on the past four years, though, you might notice that I haven’t given you opportunities to be my friend; I tell you the truth of my life, but I don’t share it when it’s unfolding, the way a friend would do. I hope, after a needed period of distance to support the transition to an interim minister, that these life-giving friendships can be renewed.

    I’ll be with you as minister through June 30. I hope we can form an energetic, multi-generational group to make the trip to General Assembly in Spokane over the weekend of June 22. We have time to make those plans. Meanwhile, I’m still honored to be your minister and am available for further conversation.

    With love and gratitude,

     

    Rev. Karen Van Fossan, your minister

   April 2019   
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