Worship Services

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Description of Worship Services

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.

October 2018 Worship Schedule

9 and 11 a.m.

Oct. 7 – “Everyday Evil” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust in the years after the Second World War, German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt once said that: “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” Join us to grapple with the small ways people of good will can participate in evil in their everyday life, and how we can work to align ourselves with good.

Oct. 14 – “Damaged by Privilege” – Jeff Ordway, Lay Leader

Systems of privilege and oppression are the most damaging to those they oppress, but they also damage the humanity of those who benefit from them. Join Jeff Ordway as he reflects on toxic masculinity and his journey of working to detoxify.

Oct. 21 – Multi-generational Worship – “Do the Monster Mash” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

As we approach Halloween, join us for an interactive service considering the idea of monsters in mythologies and in the minds of the young and old alike. How do monsters help us grapple with the evils in our world?

Oct. 28 – “Embracing the Trickster” – Alexis Engelbrecht, Intern Minister

Tricksters weave in and out of reality. They expose rules by defying them and turn what seems to be inevitable and necessary into the ridiculous. You’re invited to join in an exploration of both the challenges and opportunities these not always delightful but important figures provide.

Minister’s October Worship Message

Our 2018-2019 Theme is Loaded Words – October’s Loaded Word is . . . EVIL

“Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, George W. Bush immediately began using intense theological language about Good and Evil. He used these categories often and with what many saw as great hubris. He called other nations evil, he spoke of Evil as a force, somehow beyond human control. He communicated an entire theology of evil that was antithetical to much of our Unitarian Universalist worldview including a human capacity for transformation, and he followed that theology straight into an unjust war.

Since those days, Evil has been a loaded word for me. And yet, grappling with good and evil feels imperative, if we are to wrestle our way toward any kind of moral clarity in a time that requires our clear actions on behalf of love. We can think about evil with humility, we can think about it with hope, but we cannot ignore it.

Join us this month to wrestle with evil, together!

See you in church!
– Rev. Molly

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2018-19 Worship Theme

Loaded Words

Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.”

– Abraham Joshua Herschel

I believe that one of the central tasks of Unitarian Universalism is to wrestle with big ideas. We are not a people to let a thought lie, but rather we turn them upside down and around and examine every inch. We know that words and ideas have formative power in our world and that we must contest in the public sphere for language that is precise and powerful and true. To do this, we must first do our own grappling.

This year, we will be going deep each month with a “loaded word,” exploring what we think we know about language we may use every day or reject out of hand. Some of these words are already complicated for us, as people with many experiences and beliefs seeking meaning together. Some of them might feel easy to us… too easy, and might be calling us to challenge our assumptions. All of them, I hope, are ripe for deeper examination.

Our loaded words this year are:

  • Sanctuary
  • Evil
  • Sacrifice
  • Faith
  • Solidarity
  • Power
  • Salvation
  • Surrender
  • Obligation

Join us to wrestle with them all together.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

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