What to Expect in Worship
We gather in worship to find and share 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.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waynesboro holds services in its Fellowship Hall on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
A typical service will include ritual lighting of the chalice with reading, singing of hymns, prayer and spoken or silent meditation, a musical performance by the choir or pianist, the sermon and benediction or closing blessing. The congregation participates in the service by singing hymns, choruses, chants or rounds, sharing of joys and sorrows and through the congregational response, a time following the sermon when individuals may share what the sermon has raised within them.
Joys and Sorrows allows people to briefly name major positive and negative situations and events in their lives to receive the support of the congregation. The aim of the congregational reflection is neither discussion nor question-and-answer nor exhibiting what one knows. Rather it is a time of sharing brief spiritual insight or challenge. These practices are common in Unitarian Universalism but not universal.
On most Sundays, the sermon is delivered by our minister, the Reverend Paul Oakley. From time to time a visiting Unitarian Universalist minister, clergy from another religious tradition, a guest speaker, or lay leader will lead the service.
Children are present in the service with their family for the first half of the service. Usually just prior to the sermon, children go with their teachers to attend religious education classes in the Chalice House next door. Families are always free to choose to stay together if they prefer. Multiple times a year there are multigenerational services. On these Sundays, the nursery is available for babies and toddlers, but no separate children’s classes are held.
UUFW has no dress code. You are as likely to see people in jeans and tee shirts as in suits or dresses. We want everyone to come in clothes that make them feel most comfortable.
Visitors and guests are always welcome! Our greeter will ensure you have a name-tag, and during the service, you will have the opportunity to introduce yourself and be welcomed by the congregation if you wish. Children of visitors are also welcome. Parents may contact the Director of Religious Education in advance to let her know they will be joining religious education classes. After the service, visitors are invited to stay for coffee and conversation. It is an opportunity to get to know members of our Fellowship and ask questions you may have about Unitarian Universalism and this liberal religious tradition.
Elements of our Sunday morning worship service typically include:
- Words of welcome
- Lighting a flaming chalice, the symbol of our faith
- Hymns and other music, both instrumental and vocal and in a variety of styles
- Prayer and meditation
- A multigenerational segment, such as a “story for all ages”
- A time for lifting up the joys and sorrows of the congregation
- Readings—ancient or contemporary
- A sermon
- Response to the sermon
- An offering, collecting financial donations for the congregation or for justice work in the community.
- Announcements for the coming week
- Closing blessing or benediction
From time to time, services incorporate holiday celebrations, multigenerational activities, longer musical performances, new member events, and coming-of-age ceremonies.