Every worship service at Heritage is unique, but our services do generally follow a regular format. Most of our services are led by our senior minister, and others are led by a member of the congregation or a guest minister. Services are conducted in our sanctuary, and can also be attended through Zoom.
Services begin each week, year-round, at 10:30 a.m. We start with a musical prelude and the ringing of our church bell – seven times, once for each of the seven Unitarian Universalist principles. We welcome visitors and offer a “call to worship” and chalice lighting.
Members, friends and visitors are invited to share milestones during our “Candles of Community.” We also recite together our congregational covenant each week.
By this covenant we affirm that:
Love is the spirit of this church,
The quest for truth is its sacrament,
And service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve humankind in fellowship,
To the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the Divine —
Thus do we covenant with each other, and with God.
On most Sundays, children join us in worship for the first few minutes of the service. Children and adults alike enjoy the “Time for All Ages” that engages the children in the theme of that day’s service. We then center ourselves with a prayer or silent reflection, followed by readings and music (often including either congregational hymn-singing, or an anthem by our wonderful choir). Then our minister or a guest speaker shares a reflection on the day’s topic.
Each service concludes with the congregation joining hands and repeating our benediction:
May the Spirit of Life,
That each of us possesses,
Flow from one to the other,
May it stay with us,
And bring us peace and harmony,
Until we meet again.
After the service, we have an opportunity to have an informal social time with other congregants. Those present physically can gather in the Great Hall for refreshments, fair-trade coffee and conversation. Those attending via Zoom can join a break-out room for informal conversation.
In addition to the usual flow of worship on a Sunday morning, there are some Sundays when the season or an event adds a special worship element to what we experience.
In late summer, an Ingathering Sunday is held. Congregants bring small amounts of water from someplace special to them, whether from travels or home. During the water ceremony, each person has the opportunity to pour their water into a common chalice.
On All Souls Sunday (the Sunday closest to November 2nd, All Souls Day), special ceremonies recall those who have passed from this life in the past year.
A water blessing occurs as part of a Sunday service February. Water collected from the water ceremony a half year earlier, after having been sterilized, is used to symbolically wash away pain and sorrow, cleansing our spirits.
The flower ceremony was created by a Unitarian minister in Prague prior to World War II, and today is celebrated in UU churches everywhere. Congregants bring a flower to add to a congregational arrangement, and leave with a flower brought by someone else.
When new members join Heritage Church, they are welcomed into the congregation with a new member ceremony.
Transitions in children’s lives are celebrated, including child dedications, coming of age recognitions, and various bridging ceremonies.
If you have questions about Sunday morning worship, please contact our Senior Minister.