A Typical Service

"To worship is to stand in awe under a heaven of stars, before a flower, a leaf in sunlight or a grain of sand. To worship is to work with dedication and with skill; it is to pause from work and listen to a strain of music. Worship is loneliness seeking communion; it is a thirsty land crying out for rain. Worship is the mystery within us reaching out to the mystery beyond. It is an inarticulate silence yearning to speak; it is the window of the moment open to the sky of the eternal."Jacob Trapp, UU minister, 1899–1992

Visitors and guests are welcome to visit our congregation at every worship service. Our service often follows a fairly typical Protestant form, with hymns, spoken prayers and silence, readings, and a sermon. One thing that makes us different is the breadth of our sources—you’ll hear contemporary poetry read as well as texts from the Bible and other sacred scriptures.

Most Sundays the children and youth begin in the sanctuary and leave after about fifteen minutes for their religious education programming.

The Sunday service lasts about an hour and is followed by fellowship time (aka coffee hour) in the Fellowship Hall.

The roots of the word “worship” mean “to value” and “worth.” In our services, we seek to value what is worthy in life, to reflect on the deep questions of human existence, to express gratitude and joy, and, when necessary, to mourn and gather our courage.

Elements of a typical Sunday morning worship service at UUCA include:

  • Words of welcome
  • Lighting a flaming chalice, the symbol of our faith
  • A multigenerational segment, such as a “time 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 our 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.
  • Closing words or a benediction.

From time to time, worship services 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 Sunday service.