Welcome from Michael Whaley, President of the Free Congregation
Board of Directors
Thank you for visiting our website. I hope that, having made it beyond our
home page, you are considering a visit to Park Hall, home of the Free
Congregation since 1884. There you will find friendly, interesting people who
will extend a very warm welcome; and you may be surprised by the beauty, grace,
and charm of our meeting house and the two-acre oak opening in which it
resides. I look forward to
meeting you there.
I hope the following information is helpful to you. If you have
any questions, please feel free to phone me at 608-588-2048 or send an email to: email@example.com.
Come As You Are
Please feel free to come as you are most comfortable. Most of us dress very casually. This “come as you are” invitation extends beyond dress, as we welcome everyone who is intellectually curious and spiritually adventurous, and who enjoys the company and camaraderie of both like-minded and, occasionally, un-like-minded people.
Park Hall occupies its own block, so feel free to park in front of the building, on Polk Street, or along either of the side streets, John Adams and Jefferson. There are no insidious tow zones or permit parking areas, but the neighbors do appreciate your leaving room on either side of a driveway or alley. There is a drop-off area right in front of the building for anyone who prefers the short and direct walk into the Hall, or wishes to use our elevator.
We have an enclosed elevator attached to the west side of the building, just 10 yards along a paved walk from the front steps. Please feel free to ask for assistance in operating it; every now and then it can be a little mischievous. Elevator access occurs on three levels: street level, the main meeting hall (above) and the community hall (below), which is where the kitchen, restrooms, and the nursery areas are located. We have a few large-print hymnals available. Although we do “mike” our meetings, at present we do not have assistive listening devices.
Prior to the Sunday Program
If you are visiting for the first time - and especially if you are bringing children - we suggest that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled 10:00 a.m. start. This way we can greet you, let you know where things are, introduce you and your children to the child care provider, and answer any questions you might have. (Child care is available only on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of the month.)
You may fill out a name badge (we use plastic holders with pin backs) and sign the guest book if you wish. We will invite you to take our Welcome Packet home with you. It provides basic information about the congregation, its history, governance, finances, membership, and opportunities to become more involved.
We have no separate lobby or socializing area; this takes place at the back of the meeting hall, where complimentary beverages and refreshments are available. No later than 10:10 everyone will be gently “called” - usually by means of piano music, sometimes by chimes; if necessary, by cowbell and cattle prod! - to take their seats. You are welcome to bring your beverage into the Main Hall for the service.
The Sunday Program - Several Styles, One Aim
The most important thing to know about our Sunday programs is that, regardless of which format we employ, each and every program has the potential to inspire and expand us as human beings, and to provide nourishment and light for each individual’s spiritual, humanist, or enlightenment path. We meet together because we believe the individual journey, wherever it leads, is greatly enriched by sharing ideas, conversations, feelings, music, and song with others.
Exactly what happens after everyone sits down depends on which Sunday it is. For more about how each Sunday works, see Sunday Programs on the navigation menu bar.
After the Program
We encourage visitors to meet and mingle with congregation members and friends immediately following the program. Board members, who are identified during the pre-program announcements, are available to talk to you. Rest assured, no one will prod you toward membership, unless you drop lots of big hints… or decide to visit us frequently!