Worship Services

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Description of Worship Services

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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 10:30 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, and there are often other interactive elements of the service. Nursery care is provided.

The 11 a.m. service is inspirational, reverent and familiar, and there is less expectation of interaction. The children are present for about the first 15 minutes, which includes a ritual of joys and sorrows, and the children then leave for their regular religious education classes. 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 10:30 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.

April 2018 Worship Schedule – Services at 9 and 11 a.m.

Sunday, April 1 – “Finding Jesus” – Guest Preacher – Rev. Julie Taylor

Easter Sunday! What a glorious day to be in fellowship. Easter is a sacred day for Christians celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. What does Jesus mean for modern-day Unitarian Universalists? Rev. Julie Taylor is a UU Community Minister specializing in critical incident response, trauma, and disaster spiritual care. Julie serves as a chaplain with the New York Air National Guard (Captain) and as an adjunct professor at the Starr King School of Ministry, Meadville Lombard Theological School and Eden Theological Seminary.

Sunday, April 8 – Guest Preacher – Rev. Tamara Lebak

Rev. Tamara Lebak is a consultant, diversity and inclusion trainer, executive coach and singer/songwriter. She is the former associate minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Okla., where she lives with her 7-year-old daughter and her wife Bonnie. Tamara’s current project is writing a contemporary universalist worship song a week based on the psalms.

Sunday, April 15 – “Why Birds Matter” – Green Sanctuary Team

In 2018, we mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and commit to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.  Join the Green Sanctuary team as we approach Earth Day to reflect together on “why birds matter.”

Sunday, April 22 – “Pilgrimage & the Earth” – DRE Jamila Batchelder and Melissa McConnell

Join us for an interactive Earth Day service for all ages, exploring the multi-religious tradition of pilgrimage and how it connects us to the earth. Weather allowing, we will venture outside; dress accordingly.

Sunday, April 29 – “The Limits of Freedom” – Rev. Roger Bertschausen, Guest Preacher

This year our global Unitarian Universalist faith celebrates the 450th anniversary of the Edict of Torda, a royal proclamation in Transylvania that was a landmark in the struggle for religious freedom. Our celebration of this cherished moment in the history of our faith provides an opportunity for a meditation on freedom. Rev. Bertschausen is the Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council, an affiliated organization of the UUA headquartered in St. Louis that supports international partnerships between North American and overseas UU congregations. He previously served as the Senior Minister of the Fox Valley UU Fellowship in Appleton, Wis. He had the privilege of working with Rev. Dottie Mathews for five of his 25 years in Appleton.

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2017-18 Worship Theme

Weaving Resilient Community

It’s a new program year at the UU Church of Columbia – another year of exploration and growth and another year of courageous love. We know there are many challenges to our values in this time, as in every age. We wonder what it takes to live with love into a climate-changed world and a national narrative of division and fear.

So this year’s big, overarching question is this: What does it take to weave together a church and Columbia community that is resilient in the face of those challenges?

A strong weaving cannot be singular and homogenous – it must have threads stretching up and across and full of difference if it is to be resilient. Our monthly themes this year will be paired as complementary strands of warp and weft. We will be exploring:

  • Kinship & Difference
  • Struggle & Faithfulness
  • Clarity & Flexibility
  • Memory & Imagination
  • Celebration & Solitude
  • Resistance & Release

We are looking forward to a deep and rich year together.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

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