Though it's centered in what looks like an unassuming house on busy Paddock Avenue, stepping into Meriden's Unitarian Universalist meetinghouse is a bit like entering a monastery. It is quiet and contemplative on the inside, with a large picture window in the main meeting room that looks out onto a calm grassy knoll and trees. The congregation was established in 1857, but moved here from its former digs in downtown Meriden in 2005. Half of the congregants are from Meriden, with others from surrounding towns. A quarter of the Church's collection-plate proceeds go to local charities, like the Meriden Humane Society and the Women and Families Center. According to church moderator Steve Volpini, "It's a very supportive community for people who are searching for whatever people search for – meaning, purpose, faith. People clarifying their values."