II. Sample Order of Service

Part of UN Sunday

We recognize that each congregation has its own routine for Sunday morning gatherings - and that worship services tend to be shorter in a virtual setting. We encourage you to draw from these resources to fit your own congregation’s needs. Note: It is important, especially in worship services, to hear the words of people who are most impacted by the topics at hand. Most of the readings in this sample order of service were written by those who are youth, Indigenous, Black, or people of color.

(The materials shared may be used in live-streamed worship but not necessarily recorded for later use. This page will be updated shortly with further details for each.)

Sorted by Type

Short Readings and Chalice Lighting Words

Poems, Stories, and Longer Readings

Each has a time estimate so you can plan how to fit it into your service.

Meditation and Prayer

Closing and Chalice Extinguishing Words

Hymns, Congregational Songs, and Music

  • “Our World is One World” by Cecily Taylor (Singing the Living Tradition #134)
  • “We Are Not Our Own” words by Brian Wren, Music by David Hurd (Singing the Living Tradition #317)
  • “Gathered Here” by Philip A. Porter (Singing the Living Tradition #389)
  • “Return Again” by Shlomo Carlebach (Singing the Journey #1011)
  • “Somebody’s Hurting My Brother" (YouTube) from Poor People’s Campaign
  • “The Tide is Rising" (YouTube) by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman & Yotam Schachter (share lyrics to sing along – found in YouTube video description)
    May be used in live-streamed worship and recorded for later viewing with recognition given:
    Written by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman. (Also: this version (YouTube) gives which gives a sense of the power of singing it live.)
    Performed by Annie Patterson of Rise Up and Sing. (Annie Patterson is available to perform for UU congregations!)
  • “More Waters Rising” (YouTube) by Saro Lynch-Thomason (share lyrics to sing along – found in YouTube video description)
    Please contact Saro Lynch-Thomason directly at blairpathways@gmail.com for permission to use this recording or to perform the song in your congregation. Ms. Lynch-Thomason requests a small donation in exchange for use of the song.
  • “Wala is Life” (YouTube) or “Murnong Farm” (YouTube) by Allara

Sample Order of Service

  • Prelude: “Murnong Farm” (YouTube) by Allara
  • Welcome, Introductions, Announcements: Use this time to introduce UN Sunday and the UU@UN. Possibly have an Envoy introduce the service.
  • Opening Words/Call to Worship: “When we pause to remember…” by Alicia R. Forde
    Source: To Wake, To Rise
  • Chalice Lighting: Monthly Global Chalice Lighting from ICUU.
  • Opening Hymn: “Our World is One World” by Cecily Taylor (Singing the Living Tradition #134) May be used with license purchased from One License or Galaxy Music Corp.
  • Time for All Ages: “Super Tiny” by Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe
  • Joys and Concerns: (if your congregation normally has them)
  • Meditation/Prayer: “Ultimate Grace” by Tet Gallardo
  • Meditative Hymn: “Return Again” by Shlomo Carlebach (Singing the Journey #1011)
  • Reading/Poem: “These Gardens Are Blueprints” (YouTube) by Naima Penniman, filmed by Youth FX
  • Sermon/Homily: This is where to go into further detail about climate justice. Some congregations choose to invite a guest speaker from a local organization related to the theme or local United Nations Association (UNA) Chapter, invite UU@UN staff to speak or have an Envoy or the Minister deliver a sermon about the UN Sunday theme.
  • Offering: The UU@UN is supported financially by individual, family, and congregational contributions. We suggest holding the offering after the sermon so people will be excited about supporting the UU@UN. (see below for sample language or just use this Offering Invitation Video (YouTube) created by the UU@UN)
  • Closing Hymn: “The Tide is Rising" (YouTube) by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman & Yotam Schachter (share lyrics in the chat – found in YouTube video description)
    May be used in live-streamed worship and recorded for later viewing with recognition given:
    Written by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman. (Also: this version (YouTube) gives which gives a sense of the power of singing it live.)
    Performed by Annie Patterson of Rise Up and Sing. (Annie Patterson is available to perform for UU congregations!)
  • Chalice Extinguishing: “A Blessing of Darkness and Light” by Amy Zucker Morgenstern
  • Closing Words: “Look to this day!” (Singing the Living Tradition #419)

Collection to Support the UU@UN

The UU@UN is supported financially by individual, family, and congregational contributions. Some congregations choose to dedicate their offering on UN Sunday to support our vital mission, while others choose to contribute in their annual budget. We invite you to decide the best way for you congregation to support the UU@UN. See below for sample language to introduce a collection during virtual worship, or you're welcome to use the Offering Invitation video we created and have shared below. There is also an option for people to text “UNSunday” to 51555 to donate via mobile phone or give directly online at giving.uua.org/UUatUN.

A video to introduce the offering collection for the UU@UN.

Watch on YouTube

There are two versions of this video: The version above gives instructions to donate directly to the UU@UN. See the other version (YouTube) that does NOT include UU@UN donation instructions, so that congregations using it can give their own donation instructions.

Sample Language for a Collection to Support the UU@UN

“Today’s collection is for the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations. The UU@UN has held a prominent place at the UN since 1962, advocating for UU values on the global stage. Within our lifelong quest for a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all, the UU Office at the United Nations is one way that we are getting closer to that goal. By engaging every day with Member States and agencies and speaking out in defense of human rights and to protect our planet, right now the UU Office at the United Nations’s advocacy is focused on bringing the global community together to share solutions for demilitarizing local police forces and to amplify just and inclusive ways to keep communities safe. The UU@UN uses its affiliation with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to bring representatives of Unitarian Universalism to speak for our values at UN climate conferences. As nationalism, climate injustice, and racism continue to threaten our world community, having our UU voice represented at the UN is critical, and the UU@UN relies on congregational and individual donations to continue its work.

We are hoping to become [or “to retain our status as”] one of a few Sixth Principle Congregations that help to sustain this crucial work into the future. There is information in the chat box [or “displayed on screen”] with details on Supporter levels. To qualify as a Sixth Principle Congregation, we need at least 15 individuals to become Supporters through a gift of $60 or more. Please consider a Supporter-level gift so that we can qualify ["again"] this year. You can also text UNSunday to 51555 to donate via mobile phone. I ask that you please be generous and consider the global impact your support of the UU@UN can have. Thank you so much.”

While reading the above aloud, paste the following in the chat or have it displayed on a screenshare:

Text UNSunday to 51555 to donate via mobile phone or give directly online at giving.uua.org/UUatUN.

Become a UU@UN Supporter at the following annual levels:

  • $250.00 - Global Equality Supporter
  • $150.00 - Family/Household Supporter
  • $60.00 - Individual Supporter
  • $30.00 - Retired/Student Supporter

To qualify for the Sixth Principle Award's supporter category, a congregation must have at least 5% of their members become Supporters (or 15 members for large congregations). Global Equality and Family/Household Supporters can qualify as two (2) people for award purposes.

Videos to Learn More About the Theme

  • Radical Realism for Climate Justice: From Industrial Agriculture to Peasant Agroecology (YouTube) (1:47 minutes)
    In this part of the "Radical Realism for Climate Justice" video series (YouTube), La Via Campesina and Heinrich Boell Foundation explore the need for reclaiming a food system based on food sovereignty, small-scale farming and peasant agroecology.
    • Key points: Shifting away from industrial agriculture to peasant agroecology and food sovereignty helps to address issues like inequality, hunger, and conflict over land and resources. 5 Steps toward climate justice in agriculture: (1) restore soil fertility, (2) switch to peasant agroecological farming, (3) consume locally produced food, (4) redistribute land to small farmers, (5) reject false solutions like climate-smart agriculture, GMOs, and geoengineering.
  • How Regenerative Farming Can Help Combat the Climate Crisis (YouTube) (4:07 minutes)
    A NowThis Earth video in which Leah Penniman describes how Soul Fire Farm uses regenerative farming and the benefits this offers to the land and to reverse the effects of climate change.

    • Key points: Tilling, monocropping, and pesticides used in industrial agriculture cause enormous amounts of carbon to be released into the atmosphere. Regenerative farming techniques imitate how the forest works, using livestock, no-till and no-pesticide practices, and cover crops to build up soil health and keep carbon in the soil.

  • “Trying to Eat Healthy in a Food Desert” video (YouTube) (9:00 minutes)
    From Vice News, a spotlight on a neighborhood in Brooklyn that's experiencing food apartheid and what some residents are doing about it