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.

June 2017 Worship Schedule

Sunday, June 4 – Down By The Riverside – Ellen Thomas, Peter Holmes, and Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

We’re taking church outdoors! Our main worship service this Sunday will be down by the riverside at Katfish Katy’s Campground on the Katy Trail in Huntsdale. Please bring a camp chair if you are able and dress for the sun. More details and location map.

For those who cannot or would prefer not join us at the campground, the same service content will be delivered at the church by Rev. Molly.

In case of heavy rain or storms, the main service will be moved to the church.

Sunday, June 11 – “High Fidelity (HiFi)” – Cande Iveson

Now a generic term, HiFi was originally used to market equipment and media that promised a sound more faithful to the live performance – a truer experience for the listener.

This service will explore how true we are, or how true we can be expected to be, to our own covenants.

Sunday, June 18 – “This is Water” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

How do we live out our values of mutual concern, worth and dignity, and collective liberation when the primacy of whiteness, maleness, heterosexuality, middle-class-ness, and able-bodiedness are the water in which we swim, the invisible “normal?”

Sunday, June 25 – “Speaking in Songs” – Rebecca Graves and Sam Otten

Join us for a music-filled service. Music enriches many of our experiences and can be connected to some of our most potent memories. We’ll be singing our favorite hymns and inviting congregants to share what music has meant to them on their spiritual and religious paths.

Minister’s June Worship Message

Spiritual Growth is cultivated by practicing . . .
Fidelity to covenant

Humans are “promise-making, promise-breaking, promise-renewing animals.”

– Martin Buber

In June of 2010, I entered into covenant with my spouse as we created a bond of marriage. On that day we vowed to walk together in constant and faithful partnership through all that life might bring. With this vow I bound my heart to another.

In May of 2011, I entered into covenant with the sacred and with the church universal as I was ordained to the office of ministry. On that day, I vowed to walk with our faith communities and with the Holy in the ways of love, truth, and service my whole life long. With this vow I bound my life to its own greater purpose.

In January of 2013, I entered into covenant with you, during a ceremony where your call was confirmed and I was installed as your third settled minister. On that day, we vowed, with a sense of responsibility and joy, (and I quote!) “to walk together in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in all the ways of Love.” With this vow I bound my spirit to a community.

In December of 2016, I entered into covenant with my daughter in a child dedication at our beloved church, vowing to teach her in the ways of compassion and hope and to support her in her growth, even as life sends her ever further away from me. With this vow I bound my love to another life and its flourishing.

These formal vows mark the pinnacle moments of my life so far – each commitment opening the way into a deeper engagement with life and love, each of them marking me and calling forth all I have to give – each changing me irrevocably.

If the spirit had growth rings, like a tree, these moments of covenant would be my strongest, brightest, widest rings.

Think back on some of your own growth rings and mountaintop moments… I am guessing that they, too, will represent some vow – a promise made either formally or informally. Our lives are marked by promise – by commitments to life and love across our span of days, as we walk through this world binding ourselves to those who we would have share our journey.

Join us in church to make and renew the promises that make us human!

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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