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4. Worship

4. Worship
4. Worship


  • Chalice or LED/battery-operated candle
  • Optional: Computer with Internet access


  • Choose and plan a way for participants to experience worship.



Use your established opening ritual. Or, light the chalice and share this quote:

An authentic life is the most personal form of worship. Everyday life has become my prayer. — Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance



For this session's focus, experience one or more worship services. There are several options for doing this:

  • Watch worship online. There are many sites available. The General Assembly pages on the UUA website have Unitarian Universalist worship services from past GAs. Consider watching selections from GA 2004, 2007, and 2008. If you do not have Internet access in your meeting space, you can download these and save them to your hard drive or a DVD. Your congregation might have DVDs of past GAs or your own worship services.
  • You might want to view worship services from different religions. Saddleback Church, a conservative Christian congregation with Rick Warren as the pastor, has an online media center you can use to view archived services.
  • Individually or as a group, attend a service in your own or another Unitarian Universalist congregation, or a worship service of another faith community.


  • What are the various parts of the service you attended or viewed? What was the meaning or purpose of each part?
  • Who participated in the worship service and how? For example, how was the service led? How did people participate?
  • How did you feel after attending or viewing the service? What key elements made an impression on you, and what was the impression?

Deeper Questions

  • In the Unitarian Universalist worship service, can you identify elements that make it "feel" Unitarian Universalist? Are these elements exclusive to our worship services?
  • What would you add to these worship services and why?
  • Do particular parts of the service speak to you? Can you explain why? Are the parts you responded to routinely included in Unitarian Universalist worship service? In the services of other religions?
  • What are people seeking from worship? What do you seek?
  • Discuss the Opening quote. Does any part of the quote resonate with you and your Unitarian Universalist faith?

Optional Activity

  • Plan a youth worship service for your congregation. If your congregation does not traditionally hold a youth service, maybe it is time to start one. This is a big project and you will need help. Talk to your religious educator, minister, worship committee, and families of youth involved. The Coming of Age Handbook, by Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, has useful resources for planning worship.
  • Invite someone who is currently planning a worship service to meet with the group. It might be the minister or a lay leader. Ask them to describe to the group the process from start to finish, keeping their presentation to ten minutes or less. Leave time for questions. If possible, before the visit, invite participants to list questions they would like to ask.



Use your established closing ritual, or one created by participant teams in an earlier small group ministry session.

Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations

Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
Comprehensive guidebook for religious educators of adolescents

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