Worship Services

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Description of Worship Services

Our minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, in the pulpit

From mid-September to mid-May, we offer two worship services on Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m. The rest of the year, we offer one worship service at 10 a.m. Services last about one hour.

The 9 a.m. service is interactive, intimate and family-friendly. Joys and sorrows are shared in a spoken-aloud format, there are often other interactive elements of the service. Music varies in style, with special performances from musical church volunteers and regular offerings from small vocal ensembles. Nursery care is provided.

The 11 a.m. service is inspirational, reverent and familiar. The chairs face forward, and there is less expectation of interaction. The children are present for about the first 15 minutes, which includes a story for all ages and a clergy-led ritual of joys and sorrows, and the children then exit to their regular religious education classes. Music varies in style with special performances from musical church volunteers and regular offerings from our choir. Nursery care and our full religious education program for preschool through high school are offered at this time.

Although each of our services is unique, services usually begin with a welcome and announcements, after which newcomers and visitors are given an opportunity to introduce themselves (but are not obligated to do so).

Interspersed with a variety of music and hymn singing, the typical service also includes the lighting of the chalice, one or more inspirational readings, a “story of faith” from a member of the congregation, a sermon or homily, an offertory, an opportunity to express joys and sorrows, and a closing benediction.

After the service we gather back in the Greeting Area for fellowship, conversation, and coffee.

Members of a group called the Worship Associates assist in planning worship services and also participate in conducting services.

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Lay-Led Worship Services

Our lay-led services honor our commitment to lay involvement in church leadership and our church’s history. We began in 1951 as a lay-led fellowship, and thus all services were lay led until we called our first minister in 1980.

From September through May, the minister steps down from the pulpit one Sunday each month, and the service is entirely lay led, usually by one of the groups in the church, such as the Writer’s Group, Social Action, or the high school youth group.

During the summer, the minister is in the pulpit half the time, and the Worship Associates organize lay-led services the rest of the time. These services are often non-traditional and unique, and allow individuals to speak to a topic of interest or lead the congregation in exploring a variety of activities related to the many facets of worship and spirituality. Summer service topics have included an Animal (Pet) Blessing, Silence, What It Means to be an American, and the Honduras service trips.

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Schedule of Future Services

From mid-September through mid-May, we offer two worship services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays, unless otherwise noted. From mid-May through mid-September, we have one worship service only at 10 a.m. on Sundays. On our Home Page you will find details about the worship service for the coming Sunday. Plans for worship services also are included in the Church Calendar.

August 2017 Worship Schedule – All Services at 10 a.m. Only

Sunday, Aug. 6 – “Tropical Storms and Plenary Sessions” – Our UUA General Assembly Delegates

We had a record number of attendees at our denomination’s annual General Assembly this year in New Orleans. We weathered a tropical storm, enjoyed lots of good food, and worshipped, engaged democratic governance, and learned from and with some 4,000 Unitarian Universalists. Come find out what we experienced and what we learned!

Sunday, Aug. 13 – “Meditation for UUs” – Peter Holmes

Join Peter Holmes, the leader of our UUCC Mindfulness Meditation group, and Suzanne Griffin for both reflections and practice of meditation.

Sunday, Aug. 20 – “Total Eclipse of the SUUn” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

As Columbia prepares to experience a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, join us to explore the science of the eclipse, the myths that ancient peoples have used to interpret the disappearance of the sun, and the awe and wonder of myth and science both!

Sunday, Aug. 27 – “The Tide Is Rising, and So Are We” – Ingathering Water Ceremony – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

Where have you found resilience and power this summer? Bring water with you from those places, for this annual ingathering tradition as we remember the ways water teaches us about resilience and strength in happy and hard times alike. Also, help us out by sharing online ahead of the service with a few words of description and map pin for your water source!

Minister’s August Worship Message

Spiritual Growth is cultivated by practicing . . .
Serene surrender to reality

“If you surrender completely to the moments as
they pass, you live more richly those moments.”

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

There is nothing like going on a walk with a toddler to teach you about surrendering your own will to something more powerful.

Here are some of the things I have learned: You will not get to where you are going in a timely manner. You may not even get there at all. And if you try to force your own pace or destination, you will engage a battle of wills to make your head spin and your blood rise.

But every now and then (not always), there is another option. Let go of the destination. Surrender your own will to openness and curiosity. Adopt the pace of another, and you may witness new beauty, and encounter the world with a new wonder that would otherwise have been lost.

So often I seek to change my circumstances with a fierce grasp for control, but sometimes, the only change that shifts things at all is the opening of my fist, and the transformation of my own perspective. Sometimes, surrendering to the moment at hand is the only thing that will make us free.

See you in church!

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2016-17 Worship Theme

Cultivating Spiritual Growth

“You will be like a well-watered garden” – Isaiah 58:11

The word cultivate, used so often in agriculture to refer to preparing the ground and carefully growing plants, comes from the latin root cultus, which means “care, labor, worship, or reverence.” It is a rich metaphor for our spiritual lives, which require us regularly to till the soil, turning up new insights. Our spirits grow best with tender care, intention and attention, the nourishment of water, air, and earth, and even regular weeding!

This year, our overarching worship theme will be “Cultivating Spiritual Growth.” Each month we will be exploring different “qualities of spiritual maturity” as conceptualized by UU minister the Rev. Kendyl Gibbons. The qualities we will explore are:

  1. Self-awareness in the service of intention
  2. Willingness to offer Leadership and Service
  3. Fluency in the use of Metaphor
  4. A perspective of Gratitude, Wonder, Blessing and Generosity
  5. Tolerance for Intensity and Ambiguity
  6. The perception of universal connectedness
  7. The serene surrender to reality
  8. The capacity to acknowledge error and change
  9. The ability to be in the presence of pain without panic
  10. The consistent acceptance of mortality
  11. Fidelity to Covenant
  12. Attraction to Beauty, Mercy, and Justice

I hope each of us will find rich inspiration in our reflections together, and that together we may grow in spirit, like a well-watered garden.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

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