What to Expect
We sit in a sanctuary and we sing from hymnals. Music is played quietly before the service begins to allow our members and guests the opportunity to settle into a place of spiritual rest.
Our services are generally opened with a welcome, a call to worship and a chalice lighting. The chalice lighting is an important part of our opening ritual, and most Unitarian Universalist churches around the world begin services in this way. It is one way we connect with our worldwide community.
Generally, after the chalice lighting we sing a hymn together. Like other churches, we have a book of hymns but you may find some of the theology expressed in our words to be different from the ones sung in other churches.
During most services we have a Time for All Ages which includes a story related to the service's main theme, focused on the younger minds in our congregation. Our children then process out of the Sanctuary to their classes.
One the children have departed for Religious Education, Congregants and guests are next invited into a time of reflection, prayer or meditation. This quiet period might include some guiding words, a chime will take us in and out of a time of stillness. We conclude with a musical interlude, which may be sung or instrumental.
There follows an Invitation to Generosity, in which the offering is taken up and musicians or the choir perform the Offertory.
Preceding the sermon, there may be a reading from scripture or other source of wisdom of the world. The sermon is perhaps the part of our church service which varies most widely from that of other churches. Rather than instructing you about how one holy text tells you to live, our minister or speaker offers you carefully considered thoughts about how you might think about a moral, political or spiritual issue.
The sermon is followed by closing hymn and a benediction. The Sunday service lasts about an hour. We then move to the Common Room for coffee hour where lively conversations about all manner of topics are encouraged. This can be an excellent time for newcomers to make connections and learn more about the congregation and Unitarian Universalism in an informal atmosphere.