What to Expect in Worship
Between June and October we have one service at 10 a.m.
October 1 – May there are two services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Our worship services reflect the diversity of our religious paths. Most often the services are led by our minister, Rev. Mara Dowdall, but we also have our ministerial intern, Andre Mol, guest speakers and trained Worship Associates leading services.
Once a month the services are multi-generational. People of all ages worship together in a high-energy service filled with music, participatory moments, and accessible messages. On other Sundays our children worship with us for the first few minutes of the service. A Reflection For All Ages is offered and then they go off to their Religious Education classes.
Most of our services are sermon centered. Sermon topics include personal spiritual growth, Unitarian Universalist history and identity, social justice issues, and life in community. The sermons may be enhanced by readings from philosophers, poets, op-ed columns, or scriptures from various faith traditions.
Most often we have piano music at 9:00 a.m. and organ music at 11:00. But, we may have a folk or jazz ensemble as well. The adult choir sings several times a month, the children’s choir monthly. Soloists and smaller vocal ensembles also add to the worship experience.
You are welcome here; come as you are.
We are family friendly….have rocking chairs for nursing and speakers in the parlors to sit with little ones….We have fidget fixers to keep hands busy in the sanctuary.
Gender diversity is welcomed here. All are welcome to use the restroom that best fits their identity. All-Gender restrooms are located on the lower level of the Meeting House.
We have a casual dress code and encourage people to keep our Meeting House “Fragrance Free.” We post ingredients on goodies for those with allergies.
There is a ramp to the East Entrance where you will find an elevator to the Sanctuary. The pews have spaces to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters. Please do not hesitate to ask a staff member or usher should you need assistance. We have assisted-listening devices and the speakers use microphones.
We gather in worship to find meaning and live more deeply. Worship creates connections within, among, and beyond us, calling us to our better selves, calling us to live with wisdom and compassion.
Unitarian Universalist worship styles vary by congregation, and even within congregations. Some congregations’ worship is contemporary and high tech. Some congregations’ worship is traditional and formal. Some feature exuberant music, some include long periods of silent reflection. Our congregation’s worship is contemplative, smart, modern and includes lots of singing both by the attendees and the not-so-occasional solo by Rev. Mara.
Elements of a typical Sunday morning worship service here at the First UU Society include:
- Words of welcome
- Lighting a flaming chalice, the symbol of our faith
- A multigenerational segment, such as a “story for all ages”
- Music, both instrumental and vocal and in a variety of styles
- A time for lifting up the joys and concerns of the congregation
- A meditation or prayer
- Readings—ancient or contemporary
- A sermon given by a our senior minister, ministerial intern, a guest speaker, or worship associates
- An offering collecting financial contributions of which we share 50% with a local non-profit agency
From time to time, worship services incorporate holiday celebrations, multi-generational plays and pageants, longer musical performances, child dedications, and coming-of-age ceremonies. We offer childcare and learning programs for children and youth during the Sunday service.