The Morristown Unitarian Fellowship (MUF) was
founded in 1955 to serve the needs of those in the Morristown, New
Jersey, area who wished to be part of a religious community that values
social equality and the freedom of individual spiritual beliefs.
We are a vibrant, caring community, with a deep sense of social
responsibility. Our over 300 members have a wide diversity of beliefs
and traditions, all of which are respected and honored.
We are lifelong learners who enjoy helping each other
deepen our spirituality. Children are an integral part of our
community. Our religious education program is a rich opportunity
for children to develop their own beliefs in a fun, supportive
atmosphere. We also have adult religious education classes to enrich the
spiritual lives of all of our members. Most importantly, our Sunday
Services are a very enjoyable time for us to come together and celebrate
the values that we hold dear.
All who share our liberal
religious values or wish to learn about them are welcome to participate
in our programs and activities. Those who wish to deepen their
commitment are warmly invited to do so by becoming members. Members
commit that they:
- Agree to uphold our principles and purposes and share in the
Sunday morning experience that is central to our spiritual life.
- Pledge their talents, energy, time, and financial support to the
overall activities of the Fellowship and the maintenance of its
buildings and grounds.
addition to the rich spiritual and personal rewards of being a member of
our Fellowship, members also:
- Have the ability to vote in Congregational Meetings and hold
- Are listed in the annual MUF Member and Friends Directory.
- Receive a subscription to the MUF monthly newsletter.
- Receive a subscription to the Unitarian Universalist Association
(UUA) Publication "UU World."
Those who not yet ready to
commit as members, but who are active and contributing financially, are
considered Friends of the Fellowship, eligible to be listed in our
directory and receive our newsletter.
Our Minister The Reverend Alison B. Miller has been serving as our Minister since the fall of 2005. She holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. She is a life-long Unitarian Universalist who was raised in an interfaith Jewish-Christian family in New York City. She is passionate in her belief that many people in Morris County and beyond are thirsting for a religion that is spiritually alive, grounded in love and justice, and open to the wisdom of the world religions, the sciences, and human experience. In these first couple of years together, her ministry and ours have created exciting possibilities for our congregation, and many new people have found their way to our liberal religious home.
Two spiritual themes that are of particular interest in her ministry are diverse forms of worship and the meaning of healing to liberal religionists, like Unitarian Universalists. She has experience leading youth worship, young adult worship, contemporary and traditional worship. Alison feels this congregation has provided a wonderful opportunity for her to combine these experiences because of our long history balancing tradition and experimentation with the arts, multi-media and the spoken word in our Sunday Services.
Our lifespan learning programs have exploded under her leadership. To name a couple of highlights, she enjoys teaching classes and has already personally taught over one hundred members while supporting the launch of our new covenant circles program in which over a third of the congregation has participated. She has also demonstrated a steadfast commitment to our children's educational and worship programs.
Involvement in the broader Morristown community has been a major focus of her ministry, including interfaith organizing and anti-racism and diversity work. One highlight of this commitment is her efforts alongside several of our lay-leaders to deal positively and collaboratively on the issues of immigration and the economic needs of our county. She is currently serving as co-chair of the Morris Area Clergy Council, as Vice-Chair of a Morristown based Worker's Center Taskforce, and as a member of the Inclusion Committee and the Youth Board of Morris County's United Way .
Alison has been very involved over the years in congregations, in our association, and in the communities in which she serves in the areas of youth ministry, young adult and campus ministry. She has served in many capacities, including as the spokesperson for a national campaign for these ministries. She has worked as a local and district wide Youth Minister and as a local, district, and continental Young Adult and Campus Minister and trainer for the UUA. She is currently serving as the Unitarian Universalist Minister's Association representative to the UUA's Youth Ministry Implementation Working Group.
Alison lives with her husband, David Snedden, who works as a middle school science teacher and is also a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.
Alison works closely with our Congregational Leaders to build our Fellowship according to our Congregational Goals and meet the needs of its members according to our Mission and Covenant Statement.
Our Religious Education (RE) Program, offers a rich opportunity
for children to explore all belief systems in order to develop their own beliefs. This happens in groups of children of the same ages, in an atmosphere that is fun, supportive, and non-judgmental. Children of newcomers are welcome to attend our classes at any time. We do require basic registration information (such as name, age, parents) for our records. There is no charge for our religious education classes.
We also have lifespan learning programs to enrich the
spiritual lives of all of our members.
Our Music Program is
headed by Dr. Jim Blanton. Jim has extensive experience as music
director of a large Catholic church in northern New Jersey where he
built an exceptional music program directing a 35-voice adult choir and
a large children’s choir and two instrumental ensembles. He is the
founder and general director of the Goliard Concerts, a professional
Queens-based chamber music ensemble now in its 23nd
Jim has been a professional singer in opera, oratorio, and
chamber music, as well as an accompanist for chamber and choral groups.
He is also the creator and producer of Kids Classics, an educationally
based series of children’s and family
has a Doctorate in Musical Arts from Florida State University, and
extensive performance experience as a pianist, organist and singer. He
is well organized and an experienced administrator.
Music is a big part of the community at
the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, thanks to several committees and
numerous talented performers, including Dr. Blanton. Naturally, our Sunday Morning Services
almost always feature music. These occasions can feature talented
musicians sharing their gift, performances by an interpretive dance
group, or the congregation singing together. We have newly organized
adult and children's choirs. However, Sunday Mornings are not the
only times that the halls at MUF ring with the sounds of music. We hold
many concerts, classes, and special events that make our home "sing."
Building is very special. "Thorne
Oaks" was built in 1912 by the architects Aldrich and Delano for a
wealthy New York City family who wished to have a country home for
weekend getaways. It was occupied by several families through the years
until eventually it was purchased in the mid 1950's by a gentleman
wishing to convert it to a home for the elderly. When
circumstances prevented his project from happening, he sold the property
to members of our Fellowship who were looking for a home for their new spiritual
community. It is listed on the National
Registry of Historic Places and is located in the Morristown
Normandy Parkway Historic District.
Our unique building has given our Fellowship not only a
place to hold services, but a true spiritual home for all those who join
our caring community. It also has meeting space available for
other groups and organizations, as well as weddings, ceremonies, and celebrations. In addition to
our elegant main building, there is a lovely garden with a brick path
leading to a brick paved center with benches. There is also a
brick labyrinth behind our building that gives peace to many members and
Our Congregational Goals
To grow in
unity and maturity as a congregation to more fully honor and affirm the
differing backgrounds, beliefs, and needs that individuals bring to our
Unitarian Universalist community.
nurture spiritual deepening and life-long learning through expanded
programming and religious education opportunities for all ages.
out beyond our walls to all who share our liberal religious values and
intentionally encourage and support a more diverse membership.
our regional and global community a more just, humane, sustainable, and
beautiful place because of our commitment and action.
in our ability to act as stewards of our growing organization through
effective financial management, leadership development, and planning
Our Mission And Covenant
We, the members of the Morristown Unitarian
Fellowship, mindful of the rich diversity and essential oneness of human
experience, covenant to weave together the fabric of community from the
strands of our separate lives. This is our pledge:
create for ourselves and our children a spiritual home which will
nurture, challenge and offer us renewal.
seek what is true even as we celebrate the mystery of existence.
reach out to all who share our liberal religious values and participate
in the broader Unitarian Universalist movement.
work for social justice and the well-being of our planet
Adopted May 23,