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 early September to late May, we offer two worship services on Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m. From late May to early September, 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 (10:30 a.m. during summer months) 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 early September through late May, we offer two worship services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays, unless otherwise noted. From late May through early September, we have one worship service 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.

August 2018 Worship Schedule – 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 5 – “All Are Called” – UUCC General Assembly Delegates

This year’s annual Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly was held in Kansas City, Mo., where about 20 members from our church gathered with thousands of other UUs from all over the country for five days of learning, inspiration, and the business of the association. Join us to hear reflections from our delegates!

Sunday, Aug. 12 – “All the Way Down” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

A fractal is “an infinitely complex pattern that is self-similar across different scales, the same small as it is large.” Join Rev. Molly to find out what fractals have to do with daily life, our community, and the work of justice and love.

Sunday, Aug. 19 – “Being UU in an Era of Blood-Sport Politics” – Steve Scott

The current era of blood-sport, winner-take-all politics marked by xenophobia and hyper-nationalism may feel new and different, but it’s actually a recurring pattern in American history. How can we as UUs resist these ugly phenomena while remaining true to our principles?

Sunday, Aug. 26 – “Thousands of Pails” – Annual Ingathering and Water Ceremony – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

Join us for our beloved ingathering ceremony as we mingle waters of refreshment and renewal and reflect upon how we are sustained in our community. If you are able, bring water either from or symbolic of a place that has renewed your spirit over the summer months.

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Minister’s August Worship Message – Resilient Community Weaves In . . . Release

We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Last month’s theme explored the strength of resistance. This month’s paired theme examines the equal strength – and the necessity – of release. Resistance feels pro-active and productive… release less so. And yet, knowing when to let go – of what we thought we knew, of how things have always been, of our need to be in charge – is an essential skill to our resilience as individuals and as a community.

At the end of this month, we will be sharing our annual water ceremony, and I have always thought water has much to teach us about release – the way it moves and flows without attachment to course, the way it slips and slides away from every attempt to contain it, the way we float when we release our striving into its buoyancy.

This month, I invite you to consider the power and the strength of letting go.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly


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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