We gather for worship on Sundays at 10:00 am year-round in the Meeting House, looking out over the woods as they change with the seasons and the weather. Join us for a thoughtful, joyful, musical exploration of the meaning of life, during which you may laugh until your smile hurts or pass the tissue box. We are enthused to be together and we hope you will feel enthused too.
What to expect? The service, sixty or somewhat more minutes, is a mix of spoken word, music, and meditation. As you enter the Meeting House, an usher will give you an order of service, which will be your guide, but we try to also clue you in verbally as the hour progresses.
In order of usual appearance on most Sundays, the Call to Worship gathers us in, the Prelude gives us a musical pause, the Welcome helps everyone feel at home, and the Opening Words introduce the theme for the service, which varies from week to week and may draw on various scriptures not just Biblical as well as poetry, the news, novels, science, philosophy, and more. After the Opening Words, we sing a song together, and then light the chalice, which is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Then there is the Together Time, a short sermon or story directed to the children and youth, but with meaning for all ages, after which the young people leave during the Singaway Song with their teachers and advisors to go to their programs in the RE Building.
After the children have left, the Worship Associate offers the Chalice Reflection, a personal exploration of the theme of the service, often followed by music (by our choir, instrumentalists, soloists or pianist) and then the sermon, which is usually about twenty minutes long, given by our minister. On her monthly Sunday off, lay leaders or a guest preacher will speak. After the sermon, we usually sing again. Then the Meditation on Joys and Sorrows provides a time to experience community support as we name those with good news or burdens to share. During the music that follows, people may light a silent candle of joy or sorrow, while the financial offering is collected. After the Closing Words bringing closure to the theme of the service, we always sing a response, Spirit of Life that is #123 in the hymnal, which you may soon know by heart. We end with music and the snuffing of the chalice.
Periodically, the service is an All Ages Service, which means that the children and youth are in the Meeting House for the entire service, which is planned with them in mind. This means no sermon! These services feature multi-generational participation in speaking and musical roles, more drama or story-telling than usual, and shorter segments. Adults enjoy these services as much as do children.
Usually, the minister, Worship Associate, and other service participants move down the central aisle at the end of the service to greet the congregation as they enter the foyer.
The Worship Associates are six or seven members who assist the minister in planning and presenting Sunday services, although the minister is ultimately responsible for the worship life of the congregation. On a rotating basis, they provide certain elements of the service such as the Welcome, Chalice Reflection (short personal statement related to the theme of the service or sermon), Introduction to the Offering, and Announcements. They also lead and coordinate worship services in the minister's absence, including most Summer Services. They meet as a group with the minister every six or so weeks and serve for three-year staggered terms, two starting each September for a total of six, except in years when there is a Youth Worship Associate who makes seven. If you are interested in serving as a Worship Associate, please speak with the minister or one of them to learn more; they are listed in the monthly newsletter, Branches.