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Spiritual Practices

CUUPS is the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. Pagans are people who practice various forms of Earth-based, often polytheistic, religion/spirituality. Some people are both Unitarian Universalist and Pagan. CUUPS is a national organization, an affiliate of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and it operates primarily through local chapters.


Dances of Univeral Peace. As an embodiment of the principles of Unitarian Universalism, the Dances of Universal Peace provide a public spiritual practice in seeing the inherent worth and dignity of every person. The very first public Dances of Universal Peace held in San José took place in the First Unitarian Church of San José in the summer of 1976. They have since spread around the world.

Using sacred phrases from the world's religions, these dances embrace themes of inner and outer peace, healing (the Earth, individuals and the global family) and remembrance of the great mystery of existence. They are part of a timeless tradition of sacred movement.

To quote from the International Network of The Dances of Universal Peace website:
"The Dances of Universal Peace are simple, meditative, multicultural circle dances that use sacred phrases, chants, music and movements from the many traditions of the earth to touch the spiritual essence in ourselves and others. Based on the work begun in the late '60s by Samuel Lewis, they promote peace and integration with individuals and groups worldwide. There are no performers nor audience. New arrivals and old hands form the circle together. And, no prior experience is necessary!"

Come, sing and dance on the labyrinth under the dome! Let your heart take wing. All are welcome. Children may come to dance or engage in quiet activities.

Dances of Universal Peace are held the first Friday of each month at 8 PM under the dome of the sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church of San José,


The pattern on the floor in the center of our round Sanctuary under the dome is a labyrinth intended for meditative walking. Found in different forms in cultures through the ages and throughout the world, the labyrinth is a mystical tradition, one that can lead to greater focus and insight. The labyrinth has only one unambiguous path so it is easy to navigate. There is only one way in and one way out on a winding course that can reflect the pattern of our lives.

Our labyrinth was created after two members of our church, Marilyn Carstens and Patrick Smiley, walked Chartres Cathedral's medieval labyrinth on a trip to France. Our sanctuary is not large enough for the full 11-circuit Chartres labyrinth, but Patrick, after five weeks of thought, came up with a way to cut down the number of circuits to fit the building. It is a happy accident that there are seven circuits (the number of our Principles) and six petals (the number of our Source Traditions, which are displayed on the chancel in the form of six gold disks).

The Labyrinth Guild opens FUCSJ's labyrinth to the public Tuesday - Friday at lunch time from 11:30am-1pm. Read the San Jose Mercury News article about our labyrinth.


We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.