What to Expect in Worship
We gather in worship to find meaning and live more deeply. Worship creates connections within, among, and beyond us, calling us to our better selves, calling us to live with wisdom and compassion.
Most services begin with the lighting of a chalice. The flame within a cup or bowl symbolizes our quest for illumination and transformation. Frequently the service includes a time for meditation, offering participants the chance to sit quietly and reflect. Most services also have a time where those present can share candles of caring. This is one way we build a supportive community.
Because each congregation is self-funded and self-governing, offerings are taken in the service. The collected funds, unless announced otherwise, support the local congregation in its work.
Ours are rarely “Sunday best” communities; people dress in clothes that make them comfortable. You’ll probably find that jackets and jeans, sandals and sundresses, ties and t-shirts are all evident. In keeping with the seasons, we dress to be comfortable depending (mostly) on the weather. During winter (and other wet/muddy times of year) we ask that wet boots be removed and left with the coats in the foyer; you may wish to bring a pair of (dry, indoor) shoes to wear. We ask that children and youth wear shoes at all times while in church to adhere to fire code. Some “special” services, such as Christmas Eve, the congregation tends to dress up a little more, but jeans are seen at nearly every service. (We don’t recommend shorts in the winter months.)
We affirm the individual’s path to meaning, but we come together to celebrate life and our common humanity. The root of the word “worship” means “humor” or “worth”; Unitarian Universalist worship services give participants an opportunity to reflect on what is worthy, and to do so in a supportive community.
Elements of a typical Unitarian Universalist Sunday morning worship service include:
- Words of welcome
- Lighting a flaming chalice, the symbol of our faith
- Music, both instrumental and vocal and in a variety of styles
- A time for sharing candles of caring in the congregation
- A meditation or prayer
- Readings—ancient or contemporary
- A sermon given by a professional minister, a guest speaker, or a member of the congregation
- An offering, collecting financial donations for the congregation and for justice work in the community
- After the service, coffee, tea and snacks are served in the Sanctuary – a time for community and conversation.