Worship in UU Churches
Worship comes from the Old English word ‘weorthscipe’ which mean ‘worth’ + ‘shape.’ Worship helps people – individuals and community – to shape worth – take what is worthy and give it shape.
Ideally worship seeks to help clarify two things: an individual’s great ‘calling’ (understanding what unique difference they can make in the world) and the world’s great need. We want to help people grow in awareness, clarity, compassion and leadership. We want people to be the best human beings they can be – which means the best individual, the best parent or family member, the best spouse or partner, the best community member, the best carrier of goodwill into the world.
Theory of Worship
Worship is a process which intentionally tries to help stimulate people’s self awareness and self actualization. We want it to inspire and call forth connections to our deepest values. Since the hope is to help people ‘transform’ into their best selves – and – since we know this kind of transformation happens at very deep levels of character, it is important that worship be crafted to reach people beyond incidental, surface-level ideas.
There is a rhythm that is created in worship by weaving together music, words, silence, ritual, etc. It is intentional that we try to use rhythm and ritual to create a sense of familiarity. This helps to access some of our unconscious thought processes which are important when trying to have a deeper impact.
Different Kinds of Worship
There are also different kinds of worship. 5-6 times a year on Sundays there are intergenerational worship services where the children and youth stay for the whole service and we explore themes and stories that span the generational spectrum. 2-3 times a year we have music services where the choir and a variety of ensembles and soloists are highlighted to convey a worshipful theme.
Themes in Worship
Sunday worship services follow broadly around monthly themes. The reason for this is so that a variety of programs throughout the church can plan, prepare and present different ideas on a common theme and encourage broader conversations. For instance, a theme that is covered in Sunday morning worship with adults and in Religious Education with children and youth as well as in adult education classes and in Vespers will help stimulate a broader exploration that takes on a life of its own. UUCB does not expect that all the spiritual learning comes from only one part of the church.