How does a Unitarian Universalist Worship?

 

Some say very, very thoughtfully!

You see, we don't create worship from a Book of Discipline or a Book of Common Worship. Instead, our worship style has been adapted from what you might see in a Protestant church - with some significant differences. Each congregation and their minister and/or lay leadership will change the order of service to complement the style, history, tradition, architecture of the space and musical traditions of that particular congregation. At West Shore, we typically have an order of service that looks like this; but on any given Sunday, we might also have the Free Spirit Band playing, or full-on organ piece; we might have a prayer or meditation other meditative practice or we may choose to do something else.
Members will often say you should come to at least a month's worth of services because no service is exactly like the other. What holds us together, then, you might ask? We are a non-creedal faith, which means you don't have to agree on a doctrine "of the church". Instead, as we say on Sunday mornings "Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law (or creed.) Paraphrasing one of our spiritual ancestors, Francis David (Transylvania 16c) "We don't have to think alike to love alike."
This means when Unitarian Universalists get together for worship, we acknowledge that there will be a diversity of opinions, beliefs and spiritual practices among us. Some may consider themselves Jewish or Christian or Buddhist or Pagan/Earth-based Unitarian Universalists. Others claim to be atheists or agnostics or free-thinkers; humanists or life-long Unitarian Universalists. Some among you will love liturgy and ritual found in the Sunday morning service; others would prefer a more Quaker style meeting of silence. Some members love the sound of the church organ; others are more drawn to rock, jazz, blues, gospel, rap or show tunes! All of these different styles of belief and worship point to something beyond our individual preferences - that at the core of our existence as human beings is a sense of "transcending mystery and wonder." Our worship service seeks to illuminate that transcending mystery and wonder each week, through scripture or poetry; music, the spoken word; by lighting candles and acknowledging milestones; by ancient texts and modern readings.

So - welcome to this journey of discovery! We hope that if you are used to a more "traditional" worship service, that you'll find this Unitarian Universalist worship experience a refreshing surprise. We'll see you in church!