When we speak of “worship” we use the term broadly and are referring to shared religious experience in our congregation. The word “worship” comes from the Old English word worthscipe, which means “worthiness.” When we worship we are reflecting on what matters most in life, what is worthy of our time, attention and efforts. Our weekly worship service weaves together our own thoughts and experiences with new ideas in the form of music, ritual, readings, and messages to provide opportunities for this reflection. We are both comforted and challenged by what we hear and experience together, including ideas from both our religious Sources and the people with whom we have chosen to journey on this spiritual path, diverse and loving Unitarian Universalists. After this shared time of worship, we are more empowered to re-enter the larger world ready to share our values and love with others.
Worship services are planned by both the Minister and a dedicated Worship Committee made up of members. The Minister provides two services each month with the Worship Committee planning the remaining services which might include a guest minister, a lay-leader or a representative of a community organization that is aligned with our Unitarian Universalist values. When a fifth Sunday occurs in a month, the children and youth are sometimes involved in helping to plan and provide an intergenerational service.
Some of our services follow the Touchstones Project themes, a joint ministry project of the Pacific Western Region of the UUA and First Universalist Church of Denver. The Touchstones Themes for 2019-2020 church year are:
|September||Covenant||Our congregations are not defined by creed. They are organized around a covenant. Ideally, this has two aspects: the internal covenant that are the promises that we make with each other within the congregation, and the external covenant the represents the promises that a congregation makes with the world. Because we are human, we break these promises, but we also recommit to them.|
|October||Democracy||Our fifth principle commits us to the use of the democratic process in our congregations and society. This is one of the ideals of America, and yet it is under attack. Democracy is messy, but essential. The last 3 years have taught us that democracy is fragile. It requires the right to vote, free speech, and assembly, a free press, and among other things, bipartisanship.|
|November||Mission & Vision||Mission asks, “Why do we exist?”, “What is our purpose?”, “Whom do we serve?” Vision asks “What is the picture of the future that we want to create?”, “What do we want to become?” Mission is a congregation’s North Star. Vision describes the distant horizon envisioned. Both are essential. Some say that the mission of our congregation is to transform people who will transform the world.|
|December||Compassion||Compassion is a significant part of our second principal. Compassion comes from two Latin roots: com meaning “together” and pati meaning “to suffer.” It is part of a continuum that begins with sympathy – feeling pity for – and moves to empathy – feeling with. We are born with a disposition toward compassion, but it is a disposition that must be cultivated and deepened.|
|We do not have a creed that serves as the authority for belief and action. Rather, in our liberal tradition, authority draws on experience and is informed by reason. Our authority is further informed by our principles and sources. Authority informs leadership – now power over, but power with. Leadership is both to act and be acted upon, to be formed and moved by, and to suffer with those led.|
|February||Generosity||The Indo-European root of the word generous, gene, means to “give birth.” Generosity creates beloved community, connecting people through a mutuality of giving and receiving. It is a foundational spiritual practice. Each week, a congregation forms the bowl of community into which members place their gifts, and from which members partake of the love, support, and encouragement of others.|
|March||Forgiveness||In our tradition, in which love is the doctrine of our church, forgiveness must be informed by this question: What does love require? To forgive is to side with love. While some things cannot be forgiven, much can. Despite the challenge and the pain, forgiveness, both self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others frees us from the prison of our past.|
|April||The Divine/ God||“God is…A three letter word / Partner in profanity / Companion of the sublime|
/The deepest down darkness in me / The rainbow / The mystery beyond all knowing / The question as inescapable as it is answerable /God is the theist’s joy / The atheist’s foil / The agnostic’s doubt / God is simple / deep dark / light bright / up-tight, three letter word.” Rev. Richard Gilbert
|May||Sabbath||Sabbath-time is more important than ever as an antidote to our busyness, fragmentation, and distraction. The Sabbath is a symbol for creation and creativity. It acknowledges “being” over “doing.” It values centering, meditation, prayer, and other spiritual practices. It may not be as long as a day, but we need Sabbath moments to refresh, restore, and renew.|
|June||Good & Evil||Good and evil are a duality of existence. It is easy to see the evil in others, while denying our own capacity for evil. Our task is to create goodness so that evil is pushed to and beyond the margins. It is to speak truth to power, to attack the sin, but not necessarily the sinner. It is to realize and respect the limits of tolerance. In the end, it is to say “Yes” to life.|
|July||Harmony||Native American author Tony Hillerman writes, “The Navajo word hozro…means a sort of blend of being in harmony with one’s environment, at peace with one’s circumstances, content with the day, devoid of anger, and free from anxieties.” Our task is to find our hozro, our way of living in harmony and in beauty. Harmony is a way of walking through life.|
|August||Creation||Creation is an ongoing process. Our world and the universe continue to unfold. We acknowledge that we are co-creators with Earth. Our seventh principle calls us to respect the interdependent web. Our sixth source invites us to see the circle of life as sacred and to value and nurture nature, given the imminent threat of climate change. Creation invokes compassion and requires our creativity.|