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.

  • 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
Join Our Mailing List



  • Bismarck-Mandan UU Seeks Office Administrator

    As our UU community grows in commitment and numbers, the administrative work grows with us, requiring steadily more hours per week. We are grateful for the loving service provided by our part-time office manager, Karen Larrivee, and our part-time communications coordinator, Bobbie Crane, over the past year and a half. Unfortunately, neither is able to take on an expanded office administrator role – Karen because of the additional hours and Bobbie because of the distance from her home in Oregon.  

    For these reasons, we are combining the office manager and communications coordinator positions, expanding the responsibilities, and creating a half-time office administrator position.  "Both Karen and Bobbie will continue to participate in our UU community (Bobbie at a distance), and opportunities to thank them publicly will be forthcoming on Sunday, April 28. (See below!)"

    Please share this opportunity among your networks and consider applying if your skills and interests are a match with our congregation’s emerging needs. 

    POSITION TITLE: Office Administrator 

    POSITION SUMMARY: To provide administrative and communications support to the Minister, Board of Trustees, staffed/volunteer-led work areas, and other church groups and activities. This position is 20 hours per week, with flexible hours and a supportive work environment. Some work can be done remotely, but scheduled regular office hours are required. Compensation is $15-17/hour, with more possible for exceptional experience. Opportunities for advancement may be possible as the congregation grows. 

    RESPONSIBILITIES: Church operations and management, overall communications, aid in Sunday service preparation, membership support, building/grounds-related communications, fiscal support in cooperation with part-time Bookkeeper, and collaboration with the Minister.

    REPORTING: The position reports to and is supervised by the Minister.


    • Computer skills in Word, Excel, Publisher (or equivalent), social media (particularly Facebook), graphic design a plus (but not required), and willingness and ability to learn new programs.
    • Efficient, proactive, and solution-based thinker
    • Detail-oriented team player
    • Ability to work independently and proactively support organization
    • Creative and positive 
    • Ability to maintain confidentiality and positive work culture 

    TO APPLY: By April 2, 2019, please send a cover letter, resume (or other list of relevant experience and training), and contact information for two references to Rev. Karen Van Fossan at minister@bismanuu.org. For more information, call 701.223.6788. We look forward to hearing from you.

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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.


  • Refugee Life with Gervais Botyani

    Sunday, March 24 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Gervais Botyani

    “Coming here is like being born again,” says Gervais Botyani, reflecting on the first months of his family’s life in North Dakota. Gervais grew up in Congo, spent many years in a refugee camp in Uganda, and immigrated to the US with his family this winter. Gervais is an active participant in our UU community and will share insights on what it means to be a refugee – and a human being – today. Please also join us for a potluck between the services, to honor Gervais’ family. Contact Angela Pittman, 701.516.4708, for details.

    ** Join us for a potluck celebration between the services. ** 

    March 24 @ 11:35 AM
    Food ties us to our culture, and to our past place memories. Please join us for a special potluck today between the services. The UU will provide lemonade, water, plates, & utensils. If you can, please bring a dish to share. If you are so inclined, you can bring something from your homeland or culture, or a special family recipe. Please label your dish with a brief note about its origins (i.e.,  "Grandmother's potato salad - German Russian"). For info, contact Angela Pittman @ 701. 516. 4708. Thank you! All ages are welcome.

    If your last name begins with:
    A-J:  please bring a main dish.
    K-R:  please bring a side dish or salad.
    S-Z:  please bring a dessert.

  • Trans Lives

    Sunday, March 31 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM
    Speakers: Dee Hendriks, Lisa “LT” Loar, & Friends

    ** Join us for the quarterly congregational meeting at 11:45 AM. ** 

    Bathrooms. Pronouns. Skirts. IDs. In this service, we will consider the T in LGBTQ – and focus on gender itself. What do we need to understand, in order to be better allies of our transgender friends and loved ones? What is the “Genderbread Person”? What is the nature of gender expression in our time? Join us for discussion of these questions – and maybe a few of your own. People of all gender expressions are, as always, welcome. 

    All are invited to join Pat Conrad and the UU Caring Team at 9 AM this morning (March 31) for the third of four monthly sessions in the Aging Comfortably series. This morning’s topic: Assisted living and nursing home care. Contact Pat Conrad, 701.425.6281, for details. People of all ages are welcome.

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    Local UU Related Events

  • Name Change Discussion – Vote Postponed

    Dear Congregants:

    As you know, we have been contemplating a name change for our beloved congregation. We have received a great deal of input in congregational meetings and in the suggestion box. Your response has been tremendous, and it is clear to the Board that this issue is near and dear to the hearts of most of you, as well it should be.

    In the past, when the name of this congregation was changed it was often done by simply adding another word to the original name. There probably wasn’t much of a process but there wasn’t much of a change either. THIS time, there might be a different kind of name change and the Board wants to make sure that we are doing this right.

    We had originally wanted to present a name to the congregation to consider at the quarterly meeting in March. It has become clear to us that we are not ready for that at this point. We will NOT vote on a name change at the end of March (March 31 is the meeting date). We will, however, continue to work on the issue of a name change in other ways until we are confident that we have a process that will move us forward. That process will likely be considered during the strategic planning process.

    To all of you who have given your input to this process, we thank you! Your efforts have not been for naught – we will use your input to move forward. To those who may not have given their input on this process, you will have chances to do so again in the future.

    Again, thank you all for your participation, concern and consideration of this important topic.

    Blessed be,
    Your Board of Directors

  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the UU... But Were Afraid to Ask!

    Saturday, March 23 @ 10 AM OR 1 PM

    Are you curious to learn more about the only UU congregation in central North Dakota? Do you have questions about UU values & our visions for the future? Do you think the UU might be a home for you?
    Please join with other seekers for warm conversation and tasty refreshments with Ronya Galligo-Hoblit, Carol Jean Larsen, and Rev. Karen VanFossan.
    This event is FREE. Childcare is available. Kindly RSVP at 701.223.6788 or minister@bismanuu.org. Join us at the UU, 818 E Divide in Bismarck!


  • Solidarity Saturdays

    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.  

    Unitarian Universalist Church
    818 E Divide Ave 

    Red Raven E.P.
    916 Main Ave 

    Grand Forks:
    Archives Coffee House
    3012 University Ave 

    Upcoming Solidarity Saturdays will be March 2, April 6, and May 4.


  • UU Men's Meet-Up

    Thursday, Mar. 21, at 5:30 PM
    Lucky's 13 Pub,
    915 South 3rd St. in Bismarck.

    All men are welcome for interesting conversation and good times! Contact Don Morrison if you have questions or ideas 701-527-0060.

  • Congregational Meeting

    Sunday, March 31 @ 11:35 AM 

    All are welcome to join us for our quarterly meeting. We'll consider the new naming process, share updates on the strategic planning process, and more. For info, please contact Liz Loos, board president, at elizloos@gmail.com.

  • Aging Comfortably Workshops: Next Workshop, Mar. 31

    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.

    March 31: Assisted living and nursing home care, how they are paid for, and who pays the bill.

    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!


  • Lenten Taize' Service

    Wednesday, April 3
    Service at 6 PM. Free-will soup supper at 5 PM.
    UCC, 1200 E Highland Acres Rd, Bismarck 

    In honor of the Lenten season, we will gather together in song, silence, and inter-faith prayer. Our prayer intention will be those affected by labor trafficking, and our guest speakers will share their experiences as survivors of labor trafficking in North Dakota. The free-will offering will benefit refugees in our community. This inter-faith event is co-sponsored by Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck UCC, and our Bismarck-Mandan UU. For info: Sr. Hannah Vanorny, 701.425.9734.

  • Open Mic Night for All Ages

    Wednesday, April 17
    6:30 - 8 PM 

    By popular demand! Got a song? A poem? A dance? A drawing? A willingness to support others who do? Join us for an ALL AGES Open Mic Night, cosponsored by Heartbeats, Matt Lone Bear of Project Noise, and the UU. Info: Rev. Karen Van Fossan @ 701.202.2421.

  • UU Earth Day All-Ages Dance Party

    Saturday, April 27 
    6-9 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


  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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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    Name Change Conversation

  • Name Change, Your Input Needed

    Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Church. Our current name reflects a long history, but it’s quite a mouthful!  Over the past few years, the Board and Minister have been talking about whether it is time to consider a name change to something that better reflects who we are and who we strive to be, and perhaps rolls off the tongue a bit better!  

    To get input from the congregation, four meetings were held in between services starting in September 2018. Those attending brainstormed new names for our beloved community and discussions were lively. However, not everyone was able to attend, and we promised at the annual meeting that the congregation would be able to have input on this issue. The Board will take that input and determine what name to put forth to the congregation at the quarterly meeting in March, and we will vote on the change then. If we vote to change the name, the Board has budgeted the funds necessary to make the change and rebrand our congregation in the community.  

    So here it is – your opportunity to put in your two cents worth!  

    Please review the names and ideas that have already been put forth. Think about our congregation and what it represents to you. Are there any additional names or ideas you think should be added to this list? Email your ideas to cjreinke@gmail.com OR fill out the form on the entry counter and place the form in the suggestion box.   

    General Discussion to Date:

    • Unitarian Universalist must either be in the name or the tag line
      • Ex: Prairie Sky Unitarian Universalists OR
      • Prairie Sky
        A Unitarian Universalist Congregation
    • An option is to NOT refer to us as a congregation, church, fellowship or the like
                Ex: Blue Sky Unitarian Universalists
    • Fellowship was a specific reference to the program that helped establish our church – the program no longer exists in the Unitarian Universalist Association 

    Colleen Reinke,
    Board Vice President

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    Special Announcements

  • Interfaith Letter on Family Immigration

    Voicing our congregation's solidarity with immigrants in our community and beyond, our minister, Rev. Karen Van Fossan, has signed on to an important letter urging Congress to preserve and strengthen family immigration and diversity visas: 

    Dear Members of Congress,  

    As faith-based organizations, denominations, congregations, and religious leaders across the United States, we stand united to preserve and strengthen the family-based immigration system and call on Congress to pass the Reuniting Families Act (RFA) - without undermining immigrant or border communities. We also urge you to oppose any attempts to curtail family-based immigration, the diversity visa program, or otherwise prolong family separation. Such efforts deny millions the opportunity to reunite with family members and contribute to our shared communities. [Read more here]

    To get more involved in these issues and more, you are invited to participate in the Social Action Working Group (SAWG), which meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 5:15 PM. For info: Mary Wilson, SAWG chair, wilsonmentz@gmail.com or 701.425.5352.


   March 2019   

Upcoming Events





UU Folk Choir Practice
4:30 PM to 5:30 PM


Trans Lives
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Trans Lives
12:30 PM to 1:30 PM


Taizé Lent Service
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM


UU Folk Choir Practice
4:30 PM to 5:30 PM


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