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, Rev. Bill Gupton, and others are led by a member of the congregation or a guest minister.
During the pandemic, worship services are held in accordance with the church’s COVID-19 policy, which is reviewed monthly by the Board of Trustees. Services might be online via Zoom, in person at an outdoor venue, or in the sanctuary. Although the locations may differ, worship services still incorporate many or the elements described below.
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.
When the church building is physically open, there are explicit ways that children are part of the service. Most Sundays, children join us in worship for the first few minutes of the service. Once a month, there is a special “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. (You can also read some of our minister’s past sermons.)
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. If our service was online, then we meet in smaller “breakout rooms” through Zoom. If we have gathered physically, we gather in the Great Room for refreshments, fair-trade coffee and conversation.