The Bismarck-Mandan UUs 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 or event! You will find:

  • A vibrant, caring, and accepting community
  • Deep commitment to social justice
  • Services that are spiritually, artistically, and intellectually grounded
  • A vital religious education program which helps our children and youth 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
  • Office Administrator: 4:00 PM - 6:00 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



  • Interim Minister Search: A Success!

    We are excited to announce that Rev. Elizabeth Sollie will serve as our Interim Minister beginning September 1. Elizabeth grew up as a UU and has served as a congregational minister as well as hospital chaplain. She brings experience and passion for social justice, pastoral counseling, children's Religious Education, and establishing covenant within congregations. Stay tuned for updates on the ways we will cover crucial ministerial roles during July and August. The Interim Minister Search Committee thanks you for all your support of this process!

  • Celebration & Reflection
    Sunday, June 30, 2019
    Please join us for these special events on Sunday, June 30, as we celebrate four years of shared ministry with Rev. Karen Van Fossan. She is heading to Fargo to begin a PhD program, where she plans to study pastoral counseling in the context of decolonization. We will miss her very much -- and will send her on her journey with our blessings and our love!   
    Called by Justice, Transformed by Love
    with Rev. Karen Van Fossan
    @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM
    In Karen's last service as our minister, she will reflect on the transformations she has witnessed -- and experienced -- in our shared community, as we have served together in ways we never imagined when we began. 

    Sending Off Party & Open House

    11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
    Join us between the services for a sending off and open house! You can leave a note in the guestbook, offer a blessing, share a memory. Or just enjoy good food -- and even better company. All ages are welcome!
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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 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! Teens (8-12th grades) are invited to participate in teen-centered RE with wonderful mentors each Sunday during the 10:30 AM service. Teens and mentors will attend the first portion of each Sunday service — and then gather in the library.


  • Trans Lives II

    Sunday, May 26 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM
    Speakers: LT Loar, Angel Powell, Dee Hendriks, & Friends

    How is biological sex different from gender? What's the spectrum of gender expressions? By popular demand, this service follows the Trans Lives service in March! Trans Lives II is open to all, regardless whether you were able to attend Trans Lives. Dee, Angel, and LT live this work in diverse ways, as do their families. They bring extensive experience as educators, thinkers, and community builders - within and beyond our UU.

  • Blessing of the Animals

    Sunday, June 2 @ 10:30 AM & 12:30 PM

    with Rev. Karen Van Fossan, Angela Harmon, Jim Kambeitz, Lilia Kambeitz, Naya Kambeitz, Thiyata Mentz, Alma Reinoso, Mary Wilson, & Friends



    All ages -- and many species! -- are invited to join us for our annual Blessing of the Animals services. We will gather outside at the UU if weather permits. (We'll figure out how to gather inside if weather does not!) We will sing, share stories about our favorite animals, and offer a special blessing for our companion animals, wild animals, and animals of any kind.




    Q: May I bring my animals?

    A: Yes! Please make sure they are on leashes or in carriers -- at least in the beginning. Please also use your discretion and consider just bringing a picture if your animal doesn't enjoy the company of other creatures.


    Q: Can I bring a picture?

    A: Yes! You are more than welcome to bring a picture of an animal who doesn’t like to travel, is of a species that would make travel difficult, or has passed away.


    Q: Should I be prepared to clean up after my companion animal, with bags and any other needed supplies?

    A: Yes! (Need we say more?) :-)


    Q: Can my family wear animal costumes?

    A: Yes! You are welcome to wear animal costumes or animal ears. But no pressure, either.


    Q: What if I don’t have a companion animal?

    A: Come and share companionship with us!


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    Local UU Related Events

  • Music Leadership Update -- The Team of Three

    Please join us in celebrating Elicia Faul, Andrew Larrivee, and Owen Piehl -- three talented and much-loved, local singer-songwriters who will share Music Leadership at the UU. Elicia will be serve as the Team Lead, with Andrew and Owen providing leadership on periodic Sundays. Mark Kuntz, who served as our Music Director for about a month, needed to step down because of competing responsibilities. We're now using a Team approach, in order to share the love, as the saying goes! You are welcome to join us any Friday at 4:30 PM for rehearsal. Thank you for all your support of the arts in our UU congregation.



  • We Love the Second Service!

    Thank you to the vibrant, faithful, and good-humored group of "Second Service People" who make the 12:30 PM service come to life! We've added rocking chairs, cushioned benches, and a more homey seating arrangement. What other ideas do you have for building and supporting the Second Service? More regular childcare? More music? More art? Please share in the suggestion box or speak with Rev. Karen Van Fossan after the Second Service.


  • Scammers Posing as Congregation Leaders

    Several congregation have reported that their members are receiving scam emails that are requesting gift card donations for a charitable cause.

    A good rule of thumb with emails you're not expecting is to reach out to the sender through another channel and not click on a link (or send money, gift cards, etc.) without clarifying from the trusted source.


  • Teen Space on Sunday Mornings

    We have been having conversations Sunday mornings...about things that matter. The invitation is extended to all teens (ages 13-high school) to join in. We gather on Sunday mornings when the congregation "sings the children and youth out."

    Teen Space will continue to meet throughout the summer.

    Monte Faul and Don Morrison are the adult mentors. We'll be talking with some more adults to do that as well. If you have questions or would like more information or to offer suggestions, please see any teen, Monte, or Don.


  • Summer Congregational Meeting
    Sunday, June 9 @ 11:45 AM
    Each season, we hold a brief congregational meeting to share ideas relating to our beloved UU community. Please join us for updates on the interim minister search, strategic planning, and more. For info, contact Liz Loos, board president, at 701.426.2256 or elizloos@gmail.com
  • Child Dedication

    Children of all ages are at the heart of our UU community. Child Dedicaiton Ceremonies are a special element of the Sunday services and can be co-crafted by the minister and parents (and family if the parents wish). 

    Ceremonies usually include:

    •  A recognition of the blessing of the child in our community
    •  An expression of the parent or parents' hopes for the child
    •  A promise by the congregation to support and nurture the child and family


    If you are interested in having a Child Dedication Ceremony for your child, or if you have questions, please reach out to Rev. Karen Van Fossan at 701.223.6788 or minister@bismanuu.org.


  • Grandmother Earth Traditional Knowledge Camp

    This one-day camp will feature a full day agenda of traditional knowledge of Tribal ecosystems and current efforts to reclaim our Native cultural stewardship of the land.

    Hear from Native elders, knowledgeable community members, and Native science professionals in discussing Tribal traditions in protective water and land, utilizing Native plants for health and wellness, using green energy to protect earth's resources, and the stories that support our beliefs and traditions.

    Saturday, May 25 - Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

    Cannonball, ND 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


  • Social Action Working Group
    Wednesday, June 12th at 5:15 PM

    Our Social Action Working Group provides leadership for the congregation and larger community on social justice initiatives. For many of us, social justice engagement is crucial to our spiritual lives.
    Contact Mary Wilson, Social Action Working Group chair, at 701.425.5352 if you'd like more info. All are welcome.
  • Board of Trustees Meeting

    Thursday, June 27th

    3:00 PM

  • Parents/Teachers/Mentors Meeting

    The next meeting is Wednesday, June 26th at 5:15PM

    For info, contact Rev. Karen Van Fossan at 701.223.6788 or minister@bismanuu.org -- or Megan Carranza, chair of the Parents/Teachers/Mentors group, at megan.carranza@yahoo.com

  • Strategic Planning & Visioning

    With many thanks to Dr. Ellen Chaffee, your board and minister have had two productive and meaningful sessions since beginning this strategic planning process in March. In order to hear the insights of the larger congregation, we will plan to hold a series of focus groups in May and June, followed by a congregational meeting. Please stay tuned for info on how to get involved!

  • 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. If you are hungry and in need of food, we hope you will take what you need. Thank you!

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    Special Announcements

  • Minister's transition

    Dear Ones, 

    With a mixture of sadness and joy, I am writing to share my decision to transition out of my role as minister of our beloved Bismarck UU community. In order to facilitate the transition to interim ministry, I need to make this announcement now, as the window to engage an interim is narrow and happens only during April of each year.

    As you can imagine, this decision hasn’t been easy or quick. I love this congregation; it has been my home, you have been my home, for nearly twenty years. I have been a congregant, teacher, musician, board member, speaker, active volunteer, and finally, over the last four years, minister. Even more, I have been a human being, living and growing and struggling and learning, with and among some of my favorite human beings anywhere – ever.

    So how can I possibly consider that the time has come to leave? First, I believe the congregation is ready. We are thriving, blossoming, growing – not just in numbers but in spirit. When I accepted the incredible invitation to serve as your part-time minister four years ago, I saw my role as helping the congregation to prepare for full-time ministry. Little could I have foreseen that I would have the honor of serving you full-time for three years – and that we would do and become all we have done and become.

    Second, I feel another call to ministry in our UU tradition. Those of you who’ve experienced pastoral counseling with me have a sense just how much I love it. I hope to open a private counseling practice, while maintaining my commitment to social justice for us all. UU people around the world are doing the deep, social justice work of decolonizing, dismantling white supremacy, and re-humanizing ourselves and one another – all in a context of healing and authentic relationship. I have the opportunity to study just such topics through a PhD program at NDSU, to bring my learning into private practice, and to share my studies within and beyond our UU tradition.

    Not only couldn’t I have done this without you, I likely wouldn’t have done this without you. You have supported and nurtured and clarified my call to ministry in too many ways to share in this letter – though I did share more details on Sunday, April 14, and the recording should be on our website soon!

    Finally, I miss you. That may seem strange, considering that I see many of you on Sundays, Wednesdays, and at numerous events in between. I’ll do my best to explain. When I was a congregant here, this UU community was at the heart of my social life. This is where all my friends were. As a minister, it has been crucial, in order to serve you well, that I don’t treat you like friends anymore. Sometimes, you speak of me as your friend; I hope that has been true. If you reflect on the past four years, though, you might notice that I haven’t given you opportunities to be my friend; I tell you the truth of my life, but I don’t share it when it’s unfolding, the way a friend would do. I hope, after a needed period of distance to support the transition to an interim minister, that these life-giving friendships can be renewed.

    I’ll be with you as minister through June 30. I hope we can form an energetic, multi-generational group to make the trip to General Assembly in Spokane over the weekend of June 22. We have time to make those plans. Meanwhile, I’m still honored to be your minister and am available for further conversation.

    With love and gratitude,


    Rev. Karen Van Fossan, your minister

   May 2019   

Upcoming Events





UU Folk Choir Practice
4:30 PM to 5:30 PM




UU Folk Choir Practice
4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
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