Spiritual Community


At Unitarian Universalist Church West we invite you to come as you are and leave inspired.

This community of diverse, compassionate, and inquisitive souls is a supportive spiritual community in which:

  • Individual beliefs are respected and celebrated
  • Spiritual and intellectual growth are encouraged
  • The interdependent web of life is respected
  • Children and adults explore all the world’s religions
  • People from many different life paths worship, work, play, share and learn together.

Whether you’re looking for a community to raise your children with open minds, or seeking fun with a spiritual community, or hoping for a group of committed social justice advocates, or simply in need of a place to go for soul-stirring worship, we are excited to meet you where you are, and see how we can all learn and grow together.

Join us in exploring life’s deepest questions in a spiritually diverse, supportive, and challenging community. Get in touch by Contacting Us!

What We Do

We put our Unitarian Universalist faith into action through projects that serve human needs and by addressing important issues like racism, homophobia, and the environment. Adults, teens and children work together to help make the world a more just, peaceful, and sustainable place.

img_0426-copyCongregation members get to know each other and build community through fellowship groups, learning groups, and spiritual practice groups. Adult classes and events also allow people to share their unique gifts and interests, while build lasting connections.

73363b0f-8348-4b20-a28d-5267897d5708Our Religious Education program guides children and youth as they explore many kinds of truth and meaning. At the core of the program is a deep respect for each child’s curiosity and understanding, and opportunities to learn to care for one another, for others, and for the earth.
In worship, we sing and reflect, and hear music, stories, and wise words from diverse sources both sacred and secular. We learn and laugh together as we address life’s puzzles, unpack the issues of the day and share inspiration to help move the world towards justice.

Church Members Say…

My church friends were a tremendous emotional support for me during a hard time and it was so great to know I would always have a place to go where I would be accepted no matter what.

Betsy Gomoll

I firmly believe that you cannot develop your faith in isolation. We need community. We need to be able to discuss and challenge our beliefs. We need to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience that is out there. UUCW offers all of this in a safe and caring environment.

Eric Hoaglund

This congregation makes me a better person. It keeps me from being lazy about my values and about working toward making changes in things that I think need changing. I come as I am, and I really do leave inspired by all the efforts of so many different people here.

Kathy Schwei

Minister and Staff

Rev. Jullan Stoneberg
Rev. Jullan StonebergMinister
Rev. Jullan* Stoneberg (she/her) joined UUCW in August 2022 as our Interim Minister. She crossed an international border to be with us, having ministered over 17 years with two UU congregations in Ontario, Canada.
Journey and process are key to Rev. Jullan’s theology. Her faith is grounded in a commitment to the process…even when it seems there are no answers. Anti-racism work is her passion. Transparency, self-reflection, and honest communication feed her introvert soul. She believes that our belonging, our inherent worth, and our purpose are found within the ever-changing journeys of our lives…and that our individual journeys are deeply enriched by sharing the path with others.
Working with UUCW’s Transition Team, Rev. Jullan will be guiding us as we move toward and into the next iteration of UUCW’s congregational life, purpose and identity. Each and every voice is needed in this process. To contact Rev. Julie via email, click on her photo above.
* Rev. Jullan’s given name is Julie; she’ll answer to either Julie or Jullan (YEW-lan).
Dave Cicero
Dave CiceroDirector of Lifespan Religious Education
Dave Cicero (he/him) joined the staff of UU Church West in August 2019, after a career teaching Art in Waukesha, WI and CA public schools. He’s also a potter/sculptor and a musician (guitarist, and bassist in a band that sometimes appears in public but under different names). Dave is a native of Chicago (who roots for both the Bears AND the Packers), a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, and lived for a time in California, where he began his teaching career and started a family. He earned an MA in Visual Studies from Cardinal Stritch University and realized he was UU just prior to joining Lake Country UU Church in 2006.
Ruben Piirainen
Ruben PiirainenLead Music Director
Ruben Piirainen (he/him) has served at UUCW since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from Bowling Green State University. In 2009 Ruben was one of the first graduates of the UUA’s Music Leadership Certification Program. Ruben is also a piano teacher with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and has appeared with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Florentine Opera, Present Music, Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Brew City Opera, Opera for the Young, Festival City Symphony, and Kenosha Symphony Orchestra. He manages UUCW’s music programs and enjoys the enthusiasm of our fine group of musicians and the congregation’s love of diverse music.
Vicki Banville
Vicki BanvilleChurch Administrator
Vicki Banville (she/her) joined the staff at UUCW in 2012. She holds a Master’s degree in Training and Development from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Prior to serving UUCW, Vicki worked in management for Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin and Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin. Vicki was born in Waukesha, and after spending 10 years in northern Wisconsin was glad to move closer to her family. She is grateful for the caring people of UUCW and loves working for an amazing religion that shares her values.
Kelly Bognar
Kelly BognarPublications Coordinator
Kelly Bognar (she/her) has been with UUCW since 2005. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Communication. As Publications Coordinator, Kelly is responsible for the UUCW newsletter, E-news, social media posts, printed church publications, and website updates. She also provides video and tech support for Sunday services and assists in the Religious Education Program. Prior to UUCW, Kelly worked in Milwaukee and Chicago creating computer graphics for audio/visual service companies.
Miles Bognar
Miles BognarSound Technician
Miles Bognar (he/him) has been on the UUCW staff since 2014 as a Sound Technician and Campus Specialist. He recently completed the Tool and Die Program at Waukesha County Technical College and is employed at IDC Precision in Mukwonago.
Evan McDoniels
Evan McDonielsSound Technician
Evan McDoniels (he/him) joined the church staff as Sexton in June 2022. Evan holds a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences and he worked as a Bilingual Special Education Teacher in MPS for over 5 years. In January 2022, Evan began the Sound Engineering program with MATC. Evan lives with his wife and dogs Olive and Kanga in Milwaukee. When not making music, Evan enjoys writing poetry, gardening, running ultramarathons, biking and creating visual art.

What Unitarian Universalists Believe

Our faith tradition is diverse and inclusive.  Historically, we grew from the union of two radical Christian groups: the Universalists, who organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825. Those two joined together in 1961 to become the Unitarian Universalist Association.

What Unitarian Universalists believe today, however, is not limited to the Christianity of our ancestors.  We hold our beliefs as individuals, and have no shared creed.  Our congregations include people of many beliefs.  We do have a shared covenant — the Unitarian Universalist Principles, listed below – which guide our way of being religious together.

We Unitarian Universalists think for ourselves and reflect together on important questions:

Unitarian Universalists have many ways of naming what is sacred. Some believe in a God; some don’t believe in a God. Some believe in a sacred force at work in the world, and call it “love,” “mystery,” “source of all” or “spirit of life.” We are thousands of individuals of all ages, each influenced by our cultures and life experiences to understand “the ground of our being” in our own way. Unitarian Universalists are agnostic, theist, atheist, and everything in between.

We join together not because we have a shared concept of the divine. Rather we gather knowing that life is richer in community than when we go it alone. We gather to know and be known, to comfort and be comforted, to celebrate the mystery that binds us, each to all. Learn more.

We are inspired by beauty, truth, love, and compassion that knows no bounds. We are inspired by elders, by children, by courageous people, by community. By nature, science, the universe, and the creativity at work in the world. By the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, by ancient wisdom. We are inspired by literature and poetry, artists and authors. As Unitarian Universalists, life is a constant source of inspiration, calling us to live with greater depth, connection, and compassion. Learn more.
Two of the big questions religions have sought to answer over the years are: “Why does life exist as we know it?” and “What happens after we die?” Unitarian Universalism won’t promise you ironclad answers to these questions. But we will promise you a community of learning and support to explore what matters most.

Unitarian Universalist views about life after death are informed by both science and spiritual traditions. Many of us live with the assumption that life does not continue after death, and many of us hold it as an open question, wondering if our minds will have any awareness when we are no longer living. Few of us believe in divine judgment after death. It’s in our religious DNA: the Universalist side of our tradition broke with mainstream Christianity by rejecting the idea of eternal damnation.

We companion dying people and their loved ones through the sad journey of saying goodbye, and the long journey of grief, and our ministers create personalized services that mourn and celebrate the unique individual who has died. Learn more.

Because we hold our beliefs as individuals, we have within our congregation a rich diversity of opinion and belief about prayer and many other religious matters. Some of us pray and some of us don’t. Many who do pray do so because prayer helps them reach out and know they are not alone in sorrow or confusion or gratitude. Few believe that God waits to hear and fulfill personal prayers. As one of our ministers said, “I pray not necessarily because prayer changes things. But praying changes me, and helps me find the courage and strength to work for the changes I think need to happen in the world. Learn more.
Unitarianism and Universalism both have roots in the Protestant Christian tradition, where the Bible is the sacred text, but today we look to additional sources for religious and moral inspiration. We celebrate the spiritual insights of the world’s religions, recognizing wisdom in many scriptures.

When we read scripture in worship, whether it is the Bible, the Dhammapada, or the Tao Te-Ching, we interpret it as a product of its time and its place. There is wisdom there, and there are inspiring stories, but scripture cannot be interpreted narrowly or oppressively. But in our tradition, scripture is never the only word, or the final word, because we trust in the human capacity to use reason and draw conclusions about religion. Influenced by experience, culture, and community, each of us ultimately chooses what is sacred to us. Learn more.

The Unitarian Universalist Principles

Unitarian Universalist congregations covenant to affirm and promote these seven principles:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part
  • Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions

We live out these Principles within a living tradition of wisdom and spirituality that draws from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience:

  • Direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love
  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to focus on this life and how to ethically treat others, to heed the guidance of reason and science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit
  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature

These principles and sources of faith are foundational to our religious community.