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.

October 2017 Worship Schedule – Services at 9 and 11 a.m.

Sunday, Oct. 1 – “Holy Difference” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

When I am describing Unitarian Universalism to folks for the first time, one of the characteristics I name is: “We believe difference is holy, rather than threatening.” And yet, this belief can be hard to live out in these times and in this world. Join us to consider how we live a life where difference is holy.

Sunday, Oct. 8 – “Reflections from Honduras” – UUCC Honduras Team

A group of 16 went on the fourth UUCC service trip to build latrines, offer Pap smears in a clinic and paint the clinic and the elementary school in a Honduran village. Several people from the group will share their reflections on this very special trip. A Faith-to-Action collection will be taken to support the Honduras Ministry’s ongoing work.

Sunday, Oct. 15 – “Listening So Others May Speak, Speaking So Others May Listen” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

How do we have useful conversations across difference in a polarized and polarizing time? Join us to consider how we might listen in a way that others will speak, and how we might speak so that we might truly be heard.

Sunday, Oct. 22 – “I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Difference enriches our communities, but could it also enrich the identity of our very own souls? Join us to consider the complexities of the self, how we contain contradiction, and how we grow over time, awaking a different self each day.

Sunday, Oct. 29 – “This is Halloween” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

Join us for a lively and poignant intergenerational service as we explore the home-grown American tradition of Halloween and find its wisdom about transformation. We will also share our yearly ritual creating an altar of remembrance for those loved ones we have lost. Participants of all ages are invited to bring a photo or memento of a loved one now gone for our altar.

Minister’s October Worship Message

Resilient Community Weaves In . . . Difference

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability
to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

– Audre Lorde

Monoculture is a common practice in agriculture in which only one crop is planted, grown and harvested every year. On the one hand, a monoculture is easy to maintain – you do the same thing for all your fields, quickly, and efficiently – which is why it is so common in industrialized agriculture. But a monoculture is not resilient. A single bug infestation, or weather pattern, or other misfortune can wipe out an entire year’s crop in a blink. It also depletes resources at a faster rate. Polyculture, on the other hand, takes more work. You must care for each crop differently and with attention. And yet, a polyculture is more likely to nurture complementary resources rather than depleting without replenishment. And when disaster strikes, you are more likely to be left with something to eat.

I believe the same is true for human cultures. Monocultures without much human difference are much easier, but they are insular, fragile, and threatened by the evolving nature of our world and human lives. Multi-cultural community, on the other hand, takes work, attention, and our willingness to be made uncomfortable. Humans, though we are all human, are profoundly different from one another in ways that challenge us. And yet, celebrating and building upon our differences helps us have resources and social sustenance when hard things hit. Difference makes us resilient.

A community made resilient by difference does the spiritual work of leaning into discomfort to truly find acceptance and celebration of the many ways we live and move and have our being in this world. The work is harder, but the reward is great. Come join us this month for this hard good work!

See you in church!

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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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