What to Expect in Worship
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 features exuberant music, some includes long periods of silent reflection. At UUCR the children are in the sanctuary for the first part of the service. On any given Sunday we might have a variety of music genres, an extended and varied meditation segment, and a sermon or extended liturgy around a theme or holiday or annual ritual. There is a sense of the familiar as well as a sense of novelty each week.
Elements of a typical Unitarian Universalist Sunday morning worship service 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 professional minister, a guest speaker, or a member of the congregation
- An offering, collecting financial donations for the congregation or for justice work in the community.
From time to time, worships incorporate holiday celebrations, multigenerational 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 9:15 AM Sunday service (or 10:00 AM service if a one-service Sunday).
Details about Our Services
Worship services are held Sunday mornings at 9:15 AM and 11:00 AM from September through April, except on the FIRST SUNDAY of every month when we have ONE SERVICE ONLY at 10:00 AM, so the entire congregation can worship together and share a pot luck brunch or other special social event after the service. During the spring and summer, we have one service each Sunday at 10:00 AM, from May through August.
Children’s Religious Education (RE) classes for our young people (K-7) are offered during the early service on Sunday mornings. The early service offers professional nursery care for babies and toddlers. Our ‘Coming of Age Program’ for our 9th and 10th graders meets at either the early or late service, depending on their individual schedules. Our High School Youth Group (SHYP) meets many Sunday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm.
Our Sunday worship services are diverse in theme and style. There is congregational and choral singing and instrumental music as well. There are inspiring, thought-provoking sermons and readings, prayer and meditation. We often share meaningful rituals. You can light a candle to mark important milestones or moments in your life.
Both services supply meaningful and enriching worship, but there are differences between the two services. Since our children’s classes for grades K-7 are offered only at the early service, families with kids tend to come to the earlier service All children and youth from preschool through 6th grade are present in the sanctuary with their families for the first part of worship service. Before the sermon begins, the young people leave to attend their religious education classes. Both services usually have similar themes and sermons but with different musical offerings. The earlier service tends to be infused with more energy, and the later service is often more meditative.
Social Hour is held in Fellowship Hall following all services. Come join us for coffee, tea and conversation. Also visit our Welcome Table where volunteers from the Membership Team will answer your questions about our church. A copy of the current church newsletter will be available, along with instructions on how to subscribe electronically. You can also speak with our Member Services Coordinator.
Our minister conducts the majority of the Sunday services. Occasionally guest ministers, from both within and outside our denomination, will bring their own special perspectives to a service. In addition, our Worship Arts Committee conducts several lay-led services during the year, often departing from the usual format, adding some variety to the Sunday experience.
Also we have some special services that have become beloved traditions: our Ingathering Water Communion Service (the first service of the church year), Intergenerational Thanksgiving Service, a December Music Service featuring the choir, our Christmas Eve Candlelight Services, First Sunday of the New Year, New Member Sundays, Youth Sunday, and Flower Communion Sunday (the last service of the church year).