Order of Service
Our Fellowship does not have elaborate rituals, but instead follows a simple order of service, usually along the following lines:
Lighting of the Chalice and Opening Words
Song of Praise
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Offertory and Announcements
Closing Circle and Song
We often have a message or presentations recognizing common U.S. or international holidays. For example, we typically recognize Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, the International Day of Peace, and others. We often celebrate multi-cultural days of significance as well, including Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights; Chinese New Year; and Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead,.
Here are some of the other special occasions observed in our Fellowship, which are frequently celebrated by other Unitarian Universalist congregations as well.
WATER COMMUNION – sometimes the first Sunday after Labor Day. The kick-off of the church year for many congregations. The Water Communion involves congregants who have brought small amounts of water to the service, taken from special places they have been over the summer. Each person pours the water into a large bowl and tells the congregation where it is from and the meaning it has for them.
UNITED NATIONS DAY – On or about October 24. Unitarian Universalism’s sixth principle: “The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all” makes this a special day to observe religiously. Themes include: war and peace, international cooperation, fighting global hunger and poverty, sustainability, and global community.
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS – Since 2008, our Fellowship has celebrated this special day in celebration of our kinship with domestic, agricultural, and wild creatures. We have explored each year teachings of notable people connected with appreciation of our “fellow mortals” – Francis of Assisi, Joseph Wood Krutch, Albert Schweitzer, and others. Well-behaved, leashed or kenneled animals of all sorts and their human escorts, are invited to our special Blessing of the Animals worship service. For shy or nervous animals, people may bring a photograph, a collar, a stuffed animal, or other symbol to represent their animal friend. For more, see: Celebrating a Blessing of the Animals.
WINTER SOLSTICE – usually December 21. This day has become important to both humanists and pagans, who can find common ground in celebrating this occasion, as well as Christians who recognize this is the true source of the Christmas tradition. The Winter Solstice is the turning of the year, when the days of the northern hemisphere become longer once again.
EVOLUTION SUNDAY – usually around February 12, the birthday of Charles Darwin, to celebrate the positive relationship that can exist between religion and science. Darwin himself was influenced by Unitarian thinking and his basic teachings are well-known and often celebrated by today’s Unitarian Universalists. The science of evolution, as the central organizing principle of biology and genetics shows that all humans are essentially identical and that we are genetically related to all other living things on this planet. Thus an enlightened view of evolution fosters unity and equality among all humans and and a deeper sense of respect and appreciation for all life.
EARTH DAY—April 22. Unitarian Universalism’s seventh principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part” makes this a day to celebrate religiously. Themes include: earth-centered spirituality; connecting to the divine through nature; caretaking of the environment; the interdependent web.
FLOWER COMMUNION – Variable spring date, often sometime in June. In this service, people are asked to bring a flower and place them in a common vase. The flowers are consecrated, and after the service, as people leave the service, they each take a flower other than the one that they had brought. Just as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Together the different flowers form a beautiful bouquet. By exchanging flowers, we show our willingness to walk together in our search for truth, disregarding all that might divide us. Each person takes home a flower brought by someone else – thus symbolizing our shared celebration in community.
We have a number of simple ceremonies to celebrate various life transitions:
Child Naming and Dedication
New Member Welcoming Ceremony
See the UUA Worship Web website or more about the Unitarian Universalist Liturgical Calendar