The people of Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation are a diverse group, dedicated to community, love, and purpose, committed to transforming ourselves and changing the world.

Please join us at an upcoming service! You will find:

  • A vibrant and caring community
  • Connection to our accepting congregants
  • Services that are intellectually and spiritually grounded
  • A vital religious education program which helps our children develop their spiritual curiosity, love, and purpose in the wider world.

We look forward to your visit!

Contact Us

Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation
818 E. Divide Avenue
Mail: P.O. Box 297
Bismarck, North Dakota 58502
Map  •   Directions
Phone 701-223-6788

Regular Schedule

Office Hours
  • Receptionist Hours: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM,  Monday - Friday

    Minister hours: Karen Van Fossan is in everyday except Mondays. Stop in or call first, just in case she's in a meeting.

  • 1st Service
    – 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Treats, Coffee and Conversation
    – 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
  • 2nd Service
    – 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Join Our Mailing List



  • Memorial Services

    Dear Ones,

    In recent weeks, we have lost two of our dearest friends and longtime members. Tom Disselhorst brought music to our lives and was committed to social justice. Janis Cheney helped to lead this congregation with courage and kindness, across many decades.

    We hope you can join us for the Celebration of Life for Tom on Sunday, January 20 at 2 PM; Tom's service will be held in the James Henry Gym at United Tribes Technical College. Early on, the family intended to hold a springtime service but have decided to celebrate Tom's life this month.

    Please also join us for the Celebration of Life for Janis on Wednesday, January 23 at 1 PM; Janis's service will be held at Parkway Funeral Home (2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck). A reception in honor of Janis's life will follow, here at the UU (818 E. Divide). If you would like to assist with the reception, please contact Carol Jean Larsen at 701.516.7848. 

    If you need some pastoral care during this grieving time, you are always welcome to call me at 701.223.6788 or email minister@bismanuu.org.  


    Rev. Karen Van Fossan

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    Sunday Services

    We offer two Sunday Services: 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM with time to visit and have snacks in between. See below for details on upcoming service. 

    During our 10:30 AM service, children ages 0-9 to participate in quality Religious Education activities that teach UU values. Youth ages 10+ participate in the entire Sunday service and attend our Heartbeats intercultural youth group on Wednesday nights. All are welcome!


  • Healing Centered Engagement

    Sunday, Jan. 20 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Cheryl Kary  

    We are more than the worst things that ever happened to us, more than the struggles we face, more, even, than the ways we overcome these struggles. We are whole beings, deeply connected to other whole beings. As Shawn Ginwright has said, “The healing centered approach comes from the idea that people are not harmed in a vacuum, and well-being comes from participating in transforming the root causes of the harm within institutions.” Cheryl Kary, PhD, is executive director of Sacred Pipe Resource Center and frequent collaborator with the congregation. Join us in this reflection on engagement as a pathway to healing, collectively and personally.

  • On Being Human, on Being Primate

    Sunday, Jan. 27 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM 
    Speaker: Rev. Karen Van Fossan

    In the Mindfulness Series
    Seeing ourselves as the most recently evolved creatures on the planet, human beings often promote the old adage, "last but not least" or even "saving the best for last." But what if there's more – or less – to our species than meets the (human) eye? Who have we been? Who might we yet be? 

    **All are invited to join Pat Conrad and the UU Caring Team at 9 AM this morning (January 27) for the first of four monthly sessions in the Aging Comfortably series. This morning’s topic: Remaining in One’s Home. Please contact Pat Conrad at 701.425.6281 for details. People of all ages are welcome.

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    Local UU Events

  • Heartbeats (Teen/Tween Program) Resumes January 23

    Huge thanks to ALL the mentors, teens, and tweens who helped make the 2018 Heartbeats season so wonderful!

    Heartbeats will resume again starting Wednesday, January 23 2019 at 6:30-8 PM.

    For info, contact our minister, Karen Van Fossan, at minister@bismanuu.org or 701.223.6788.


  • Board of Trustees Meeting

    There is a Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 5 PM. Thank you!

  • Save the Date! Bridging Cultures & Cultivating Healing: 525 Years after the Doctrine of Discovery

    The Faith Alliance for Racial Justice, an interfaith and intercultural collective in Bismarck-Mandan, invites you to join us on the weekend of Friday-Saturday, February 22-23, 2019. We will gather for music, community, learning about the Doctrine of Discovery (look it up!), and what we can do about the Doctrine today. Details coming soon!


  • UU Parents/Mentors/Teachers Meeting

    Wednesday, Feb. 27 2019 at 5:15 PM
    BMUU Church
    818 E. Divide Ave.

    Join us at the UU where we'll discuss childcare, upcoming teaching opportunities, as well as anything else the group would like to discuss.

    All parents, guardians, teachers, and mentors are welcome!


  • Little Free Pantry

    Donations of non-perishable items are needed and greatly appreciated! Please drop off food supplies at Sunday services, by the front door of the UU during the week, or directly in the Pantry anytime. Thank you!

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    Special Announcements

  • 2018 Reflection from Our Minister

    Loving and Beloved: Minister’s Reflection 2018

    by Rev. Karen Van Fossan

    Where to begin? 

    Each year, this reflection is my opportunity to express my gratitude to you – for everything, all in one place.

    No small undertaking.

    I’m deeply grateful for your blessings not only on my ministry, embodied in the ordination celebration this past January – but on our ministry, the power and authenticity of our shared witness. This has been a year of intense growth, and you have consistently brought your hearts, your minds, your spirits, and your whole selves to this ministry of ours. In 2018, for the first time in our 66-year history, our congregational membership climbed solidly over 100 – and pledges soared over $100,000. Numbers can’t tell the whole story, but I share them to make the good news tangible and clear: Our willingness to show up for justice, for compassion, for a way of life that matters, has been life-giving, energizing to our community, and has inspired great generosity. We can do a lot with a little – and it’s stunning to be able to do even more with a lot.

    This year, art has overflowed at the UU, in multi-generational storytelling, in community participation in the art wall, in dance parties, in services and gatherings vibrant with music, performance art, and delicious food. We have been enlivened by the opportunity to share community with the Ramadhani family who arrived here from a refugee camp in Uganda late in 2018. We have been inspired and duly challenged by collaborations with Sacred Pipe Resource Center, Water Protector Legal Collective, the Inter-Nātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration, Bismarck Interfaith, and the newly formed Faith Alliance for Racial Justice – an interfaith, intercultural, Bismarck-based collective of faith keepers who have come together to name and address rampant racism against Indigenous people in particular. We’ve shared community and hope at our regular Solidarity Suppers with Water Protectors facing federal sentencing. We’ve also tended to our own healing work through participation in the offerings of the UU Trauma Response Ministry, which visited for the second time last May.

    Our children and youth continue to be at the center of our community, with a skillful teaching and mentoring team for Heartbeats, Chalice Children, and Spirit Play. Unitarian Universalists from far beyond Bismarck-Mandan have generously supported our intercultural youth programming by making contributions to a Chalice Lighter Grant – because they believe in us and our collective ministry.

    Which brings me to the next thing.

    Time and time again, when I travel to represent us nationally and regionally, I am told that our active, local engagement in Indigenous sovereignty is helping to guide our larger UU tradition toward greater wholeness, truer accountability, and deeper humanity. In fact, our UUA president, Susan Frederick-Gray has said no less.

    This summer, our congregation collaborated with UU Ministry for Earth, the Indigenous Caucus of DRUUMM, the Youth of Color Caucus, and other supporters to pass a significant Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) at our UU General Assembly. This AIW, passed nearly unanimously, affirms ongoing solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors, particularly those who are political prisoners – and pledges that we will continue to show up.

    Here’s a portion of an email I recently received from a lay leader in a UU congregation over a thousand miles from here. The writer is part of an emerging network of UUs who live in proximity to Indigenous political prisoners. She refers here to a loved one of a political prisoner.

    He asked if I was with the same kind of place as the church in Bismarck, and I told him about our connection, and how UU churches all over the nation have pledged to support the Indigenous Water Protectors arrested at Standing Rock. We are so grateful to be here and to serve.


    “He asked if I was with the same kind of place as the church in Bismarck.”

    I can scarcely express my gratitude to you that answering “yes” to that question means being a place of genuine caring and deep commitment.

    Each day I serve this congregation, I am reminded that social justice ministry is caring ministry – and that we who engage in it are its first beneficiaries.

    You bring hope and honor to my life.

    Thank you, thank you – for all you do, all you are, and all we yet may be.

  • MMIW Solidarity

    Many thanks to Sheridan McNeil and Ruth Buffalo for organizing events in Bismarck and Fargo to support Savanna's Act!

    We gathered on Wednesday, December 20 at Rep. Cramer's offices to urge him to advocate to get it passed in the US House.









  • Crisis at the Border

    See our Calls to Action - Crisis at the Border page for a letter containing more information and resources regarding Solidarity with All Those Migrating.

    Please continue your steady prayers – and also visit UUSC and Side with Love for more ways we can put our prayers into action. Thank you for your conscience and your heart! Conscience and heart are what it takes to bring needed transformation to this nation.

  • What is Your Prayer for Sacred Waters?

    Take a moment to reflect on how the upwelling of Indigenous-led and community-led movements to protect sacred waters has made an impact on your own perspective and relationship to water. 

    Please write a prayer or meditation, light a candle, and/or perform a ritual prayer for water protectors and the ongoing struggle to protect and restore sacred waters. 

    As you are willing and able given the context and nature of your prayer, please share words, photos, or stories with UU Ministry for Earth.

    Share Your Prayer

  • Our UU Congregation Receives Pickett Award!

    Congratulations, Bismarck-Mandan UU Congregation!

    Our congregation has received a great honor, having been chosen as the 2018 recipient of the O. Eugene Pickett Award from the Unitarian Universalist Association. This award, given annually to a small congregation, recognizes our ongoing solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors, during the height of the local movement and after the cameras have left. This award came with a gift of $600, which will help cover expenses of the ongoing Water Protector Solidarity Suppers. We do what we do because of our convictions and faith, not with the hope of public recognition. Still, it’s encouraging to know our larger tradition is with us in such a tangibly supportive way.

    If you'd like more information about the Water Protector movement or the Award, please contact our minister, Karen Van Fossan, at 701.223.6788 or minister@bismanuu.org.

  • UU General Assembly Affirms Solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors

    We are honored to announce that UUs from many nations have affirmed solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors, through passage of an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) at this year's General Assembly.

    This AIW honors the Indigenous-led Water Protector movement at Standing Rock & Oceti Sakowin Camp as a prayerful example of resistance to the general crisis of the earth, as well as of the rights of Indigenous peoples to control their own destiny. It calls on UUs to engage in continued education, reflection, and solidarity, especially considering the human rights violations of Indigenous Water Protectors who now face federal imprisonment.

   January 2019   

Upcoming Events



UU Folk Choir Practice
5:00 PM to 6:00 PM


On Being Human, on Being Primate
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM


UU Folk Choir Practice
5:00 PM to 6:00 PM


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