Unitarian Universalists

Welcome to Unitarian Universalists at Riderwood.

Who are the Unitarian Universalists at Riderwood?

We are a “Covenanting Community” of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Covenanting Communities claim a UU identity and advance UU values, but they look and feel different from a traditional congregation. Covenanting communities include small meeting groups, missional communities, intentional living cooperatives, national networks, and more.

Some of us are current or former members of Unitarian Universalist congregations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Others were members of UU churches in other parts of the nation and world before coming to Riderwood. Others are new to Unitarian Universalism. We welcome all who find something here that sustains them.

Our chaplain,  Rev. Ashley Burczak, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, holds a B.A. in Comparative Religion from Barnard College, Columbia University and a Master of Divinity in Ecumenical Studies from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

What we stand for

Unitarian Universalists believe that the development of spirituality is a journey that draws upon experience and reflection. We affirm an approach to life that encourages openness and questioning, rather than calling upon certain beliefs. We encourage each person to engage in life to the fullest of our capabilities.

What We Offer

We hold a chapel service the third Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m.In the Riderwood Chapel. This gathering may be led by a local minister or an active lay leader. In other weeks, we offer a variety of engaging events.

Thursday, September 21
Worship, 1 PM, Riderwood Chapel and RWTV 977
Kirsten Lodal, Growing in Spirit, Together

Smiling white woman with long auburn hair.

Kirsten Lodal

September is an important transitional month, marked by the return to school, the Jewish New Year, and the autumn equinox. At this natural moment of reflection, renewal, and intention setting, how might we center our continued spiritual growth even as the swirl of post-summer activity intensifies? How can we find ever greater spiritual meaning in worship through deeper engagement with shared symbols and rituals, such as the lighting of the chalice and the singing of “Spirit of Life”? How can our spiritual growth enhance and inform the justice-seeking that is so central to our shared UU faith?

Kirsten is a candidate for Unitarian Universalist ordination, sponsored by her home congregation, All Souls (DC). She graduated in May with her MDiv from Union Theological Seminary in NYC. She previously served as the Intern Minister at River Road UUC and is currently serving as a Chaplain Intern at the NIH Clinical Center. Prior to pursuing ministry, Kirsten’s life was dedicated to domestic anti-poverty organizing and advocacy. She is an alumna of the Children’s Defense Fund and Head Start, as well as the founder of LIFT, a national anti-poverty organization that she led for more than 20 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters (12, 9, and 7) in Washington, DC.  

Upcoming Events


Sep 7 10:30 AM   Discussion: Rapid Fire Icebreakers, Town Center Classroom
Sep 14 2 PM         Joy of Living Meditation Class, Village Square Music Room

Sep 21 1 PM          Worship, Riderwood Chapel
Sep 28 11 AM       Unconventional Bible Study: The Gospel of Thomas, Town Center                                          Classroom

Oct 5 10:00  AM Discussion: Very Silly Debates, Town Center Classroom
Oct 12 PM        Joy of Living Meditation Class, Village Square Music Room

Oct 19 1 PM        Worship, Riderwood Chapel
Oct 26 11 AM      Book Discussion: all We Can Save, Town Center Classroom

Pledge Drive Update

We have made it through the heat of August and into the heat of September. Many of you have sent in your pledges with payments made now or promised for the future. I am very pleased that we are at 78% of our $22,000 goal for the 2023-24 year. We are so grateful to all of you who have pledged! The plans for our UU community here at Riderwood, some of which you voted for in June, will move forward with your pledges.

While we know that some folks are still away on summer vacations, and we expect to see more pledges when they return, there are still many people who have not responded to our call. If we can hear from at least 25 more people, I know that we can fulfill our plans for the next year. If for any reason you don’t have a pledge form and would like to pledge, please contact me and I will be glad to get the pledge packet to your cubby right away. Although our pledge drive is open-ended, we need to move forward soon with planning activities and speakers into the future, so your quick response would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,
Jim Paoletti


  • If you are fully vaccinated and boosted, you are not required to wear a mask in small gatherings. 
  • Masks are required for everyone at in-person gatherings of 30 or more.
  • Masks are required for unvaccinated persons in all locations and situations.

Liberal Lines

Liberal Lines is the monthly newsletter of the UU’s at Riderwood. It offers information about activities of interest to our community. Want to be on our mailing list? Please contact UUs@riderwoodlife.com

Steering Committee

Activities of the Unitarian Universalists at Riderwood are coordinated by a Steering Committee composed of nine members. The Steering Committee meets the first Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m. in the Village Square Classroom. Andrea Nicolls serves as Chair of the Steering Committee.