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Wayne Arnason and Kathleen Rolenz
Worship That Works
is a practical guide for the renewal of Unitarian Universalist engagement with
Wayne Arnason and Kathleen Rolenz, co-ministers at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church near Cleveland, OH, embarked on an
eighteen-month sabbatical road trip in search of the cutting edge of innovation
in worship practices. They attended services and interviewed worship leaders at
thirty congregations of diverse sizes and traditions. This book—the result of
their research—is a challenge to all Unitarian Universalists who care about the
services in which they participate. Full of insight and vision, Worship That Works provides practical,
specific advice to improve the key elements of the service and increase the
spiritual resonance of worship through symbols, music, cultural sensitivity,
inclusion, and more.
Arnason and Rolenz show how trends and innovations in other
religious traditions can translate to a Unitarian Universalist context. Included
are detailed descriptions of four transformative worship services with
commentary—at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Cleveland, OH; Saint Gregory
of Nyssa, San Francisco, CA (Episcopal); First United Methodist, Fort
Worth, TX, and All Souls Church, Washington D.C. (Unitarian).
Wayne Arnason is a former president of the Unitarian
Universalist Ministers Association and served on the boards of the Unitarian
Universalist Association, Starr King School for the Ministry and the Unitarian
Universalist Buddhist Fellowship. He is the co-author of We Would Be One, a history of Unitarian
Universalist youth movements.
Kathleen Rolenz is the vice president of the Unitarian
Universalist Christian Fellowship and is the editor of their publication Good News as well as the Skinner House
book Christian Voices in Unitarian
"On these pages liberal worship is revealed as central,
formative, exemplary, beautiful and expressive of our every desire for justice
and right relation. The authors root their observations in a high vision, but
for the benefit of all, move from vision to practice. This book might prove to
be a turning point in how Unitarian Universalists understand and practice
worship."—Mark Belletini, senior minister, First Unitarian
Universalist Church of Columbus, OH
"Worship That Works:
Theory and Practice for Unitarian Universalists is a creative resource for
worship committees, lay leaders and professional religious leaders from Skinner
House Books. Authors Wayne Arnason and Kathleen Rolenz, co-ministers of the West Shore UU (Unitarian Universalist) Church near Cleveland, OH, challenge and invite UU worship leaders
to deepen the experience and intentionality of worship by delving into our own
faith tradition and exploring those of others. They encourage worship leaders to
engage all of our senses—affirming the importance of carefully integrating music
into the service as well as the power of silence in creating a space for grace.
They also offer useful guidelines for designing intergenerational worship and
clearly distill the current wisdom on incorporating word, music, and ritual from
diverse cultures in a respectful and non-oppressive manner. This book clearly articulates the do's and don'ts for designing transformative worship
experiences."—Elizabeth Norton, Music Director, First Parish in Concord, MA
Works is truly a treasure! Regardless of a worship service's
perspective—Humanist, Christian, Buddhist or Pagan—the authors skillfully and
sensitively offer pointers to guide worship leaders through the minefield of the
diverse spiritual and intellectual needs of the congregation. Their reverence
for worship, in its many manifestations, is certain to evoke the reader's
enthusiasm and inspire meaningful worship.
The book's user-friendly format makes it a convenient reference source that is certain to be used over and over.”—Christie Anderson, worship associate, Unitarian Universalist
Church of Kent, OH
For more information contact skinnerhouse @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.
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Publication Date: October 2007
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