Visiting Skylands

We have designed these pages to answer some of the questions you may have about what to expect if you visit our fellowship on a Sunday morning.

 

If you don't find the answers you are looking for, or if you would just like to be in touch with a human being before you venture forth, feel free to leave a message on our answering machine at (908) 684-4040 or send your question by email to info@skylandsuu.org or by using the "contact us" tab above.

Accessibility

Although our home is over 100 years old, renovations have been made to increase its wheelchair accessibility.

 

To enter the sanctuary, use the ramp by the entrance driveway.

 

To access the restrooms, enter through the side door by the parking lot, where there is a small bump at the doorway, then continue straight ahead.

 

Unfortunately, the sanctuary and the restrooms are on different levels, separated by a short set of stairs. Movement between the two areas requires either assistance with the stairs or a trip outside and around the back of the building. We hope to remedy this situation in the future, but for now this is our accessibility reality.

Children visiting

Children are always welcome to visit Skylands!

 

We begin our services at 10:15 with everyone together in the sanctuary. Children remain with us through the children's story--less than a half hour altogether--after which they go downstairs with their teachers for religious education classes. Visiting children may go downstairs with the others or remain upstairs with their parent(s). If a child is interested in checking out the class but feels a bit shy or reluctant, a parent may accompany them downstairs to help them settle in.

 

Some of our services are intergenerational and designed to be of interest to all ages, and in this case children remain with their parents in the sanctuary for the entire morning.

 

More often, we will have a guest speaker or a guest minister or an adult-oriented discussion during the service. Although rarely inappropriate for children in their subject matter, they would generally not be of interest to children of middle school age and younger.

 

Crying babies? Don't worry. We're used to that. A little noise won't bother us. If you feel uncomfortable with the volume of your infant or toddler's musings, you may certainly walk out of the service and remain in the vestibule until relative quiet resumes.  Also, we usually have a nursery caregiver in place by 10:15, so very young children can be dropped off with her if that seems a better option for your family. Let the greeters know that you are interested in the nursery when you arrive, and they will connect you with someone who can lend a hand.

 

We encourage children to begin their moining in the sanctuary if at all possible. This portion of the service is the most kid-friendly, with music and candle-lighting and story-telling. Children are welcome to share a "Joy or Concern" if they wish to do so, along with the adults. Gathering together in community is one of the gifts a congregation offers, and most children find they can manage it with just a few weeks of practice.

 

We know that each child is unique, so if you have special concerns, please take a few minutes to speak with your child's teacher or our Religious Education Chair.

 

If you think that you and your family might return for a second visit to Skylands, we ask that you fill out a registration form which gives us important information about allergies, special needs, contact info and more. In some cases teachers may send a note to children during the week, and we wouldn't want to leave your child out. Filling out this form does not in any way commit you to anything! It just helps us to keep your child safe and included in class activities.

The Sunday morning experience

We are always happy to welcome visitors to our Sunday services!

 

The services begin at 10:15 and usually run until about 11:30. The building should be open by 10:00, and you may want to arrive at about that time in order to get your bearings before the service starts.

 

When you enter the building, please come up the short flight of stairs to your left. A greeter should be present to welcome you and answer any questions. You will have an opportunity to sign our guest book. You may also want to browse through the written materials in the vestibule. Feel free to pick up any brochures which you would like to take home.

 

If you have brought children with you, you may want to show them the religious education classrooms downstairs. Then bring them back up with you, as our children participate fully in the first portion of the service.

 

When you are ready, please find a seat in the sanctuary. This will give you a chance to look through the "order of service" which will outline the morning's program. A typical Sunday service might include readings, hymns or songs, a children's story, an offering and a message delivered by a visiting minister or lay speaker, with a discussion period following that message. Sometimes one of our own members leads a discussion on a particular topic. Each Sunday is different, so visiting several times will help you to determine whether we offer what you are seeking.

 

We often welcome visitors during the service. You may choose to introduce yourself or not, depending on your level of comfort with that idea!

 

Early in the service we will light the chalice candle, a symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Our own candle is made up of bits of wax collected from all our members throughout the four decades of our history. For us it symbolizes our Fellowship community, from the past into the future, as well as the search for truth and understanding which brings us together on Sunday mornings.

 

During the period called "Joys and Concerns" anyone--member or visitor, child or adult--may come up to light a smaller candle and briefly share the news of something which is weighing on their heart or bringing them joy.

 

After the children's story, the children and their teachers will leave the service and head to their classrooms. Visiting children are welcome to attend the religious education classes or to remain with their parents during the service.

 

During the short discussion period following the message, brief remarks and silent contemplation are equally appreciated.

 

After the service, you are most welcome to join us downstairs for our social hour, which usually lasts until about noon, although you may certainly leave at any time.

 

If you would like to receive our newsletter and/or other updates from the Fellowship, please be sure to leave your contact information when you sign the guest book.

 

Bathrooms are located on the mid-floor, just across from where you entered the building.

When to arrive

You may want to arrive shortly after 10 am to give yourself a chance to settle in before the service begins at 10:15.

 

Our greeters will welcome you and answer any questions you may have about our congregation. They will offer you a name tag and ask you to sign our guest book.

 

If you have children, these extra minutes may give your family an opportunity to peek downstairs at our religious education classrooms before coming back upstairs together.

What to wear

Dress is casual and individual. On any given Sunday you may see everything from jeans and hiking boots to a dress with a hat. Please wear whatever feels best to you.

 

We do not have air conditioning and the sanctuary can become rather warm during the summer months, so please keep that in mind. The classroom space downstairs is much cooler. Children may want to bring along a sweater or sweatshirt just in case.

Directions

We are located at
1811 New Jersey 57
Hackettstown, NJ 07840


View Larger Map

Local? We are located on Route 57, just west of Airport Road and the Kohls/Sears plaza, in the Historic Beattystown section of Mansfield.

 

From Route 80:

Take Route 80 to exit 19. Follow 517 South about 4 ½ miles to the light on Main Street in Hackettstown. Go through the light (a bit of a jog in the road) instead of following 517 to the left. You will now be on Grand Avenue/Rockport Road/629. * Continue 2.4 miles to Airport Road. (White fence on your right.) Turn left onto Airport Road and continue 1½ miles to the end. Turn right onto Route 57 West and look for the white church on your right, three buildings down. Enter the parking lot by using the “enter” driveway just beyond our building.

From Route 78:

Take Route 78 to exit 24. Follow 517 N through Oldwick and Long Valley (about 10 miles) and continue up Schooley’s Mountain. From the light at the top of the mountain, by the police station, continue down the northern side of the mountain for 2.4 miles. Turn left onto Newburgh Road and continue 1 mile to the first light. Turn left onto 57 West and travel another mile, through two lights, to the white church on your right.

From Route 46:

From the west: Follow 46 East down the hill into Hackettstown. At the second light turn right onto Grand Avenue and follow the directions from * above.

From the east: Follow 46 West toward Hackettstown. Go straight through the light at Target. At the next light turn left onto East Avenue. Drive ½ mile to the light at Mountain Avenue. Turn left and continue another ½ mile then turn right onto Route 57 West. Follow 57 for 1.8 miles, through 4 lights, to the white church on your right.

From the southwest:

Follow 57 East toward Hackettstown. After passing the Beattystown sign on your right (just before the Tri-County Firehouse) continue about another ½ mile, then enter the drive just before the white church on your left.

Wheelchair accessibility to the sanctuary is provided by a ramp alongside the entrance driveway.


Parking and entering

We have a semi-circular driveway and parking lot, with the entrance drive on the western side of the building. Please park on the pavement if spaces are available or on the grass to your left if the paved lot is full.

 

The door on the parking lot side of the building is our primary entrance. A separate door on the opposite side of the building has a ramp leading up to it for anyone coming in on wheels. In fine weather we sometimes open the double doors by the front steps, as well.

 

Please do not try to use the kitchen door (closest to the lot) except in the case of emergency, as those steps are rather steep.

Summer services

Our summer services are a bit more informal and varied than the services you will experience during the regular fellowship year, which lasts from the Sunday after Labor Day through the second Sunday in June. Religious education classes are not held during the summer, but we will offer child care during adult services held at the fellowship. We usually do not have a service over the Fourth of July weekend.

 

Please be sure to check the website or the newsletter to find out if we are meeting at a different site on a particular summer Sunday. We might be gathering at someone's home for a brunch or a picnic, or meeting at a local park for a guided hike. This summer we even had a geology-oriented service at a "scenic view" rest stop on Route 80!

 

If your first Skylands experience takes place during the summer, we urge you to visit again in the fall in order to have a more complete understanding of our Sunday services.