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.
Unitarian Universalist worship styles vary by congregation, and even within congregations. Some congregations’ worship is contemporary and high tech. Some congregations’ worship is traditional and formal. Some features exuberant music, some includes long periods of silent reflection. Our congregation’s worship is open, welcoming and casual – embracing conversation and discussion.
Elements of a typical Unitarian Universalist Sunday morning worship service include:
- Words of welcome & annoucements
- Lighting a flaming chalice, the symbol of our faith
- A multigenerational segment, such as a “story for all ages”
- Music, both instrumental and vocal and in a variety of styles
- A time for sharing the joys and sorrows of the congregation
- A meditation or prayer
- Readings—ancient or contemporary
- A message given by a professional minister, a guest speaker, or a member of the congregation, often followed by discussion.
- An offering, collecting financial donations for the congregation or for justice work in the community.
From time to time, worships incorporate holiday celebrations, discussions, dedications, ceremony and rituals from various perspectives and traditions.
We offer childcare and learning programs for children and youth during the Sunday service following the Story for All Ages, with the exception of our July & August services. Children are always welcome to stay for the message.
UU Principles and Sources
Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides.
As Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove explains, “The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.”
Our Principles are:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
We live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
These seven Principles and six Sources of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) grew out of the grassroots of our tradition, were affirmed democratically, and are part of who we are.