Tapestry of Faith: From the High Hill: An Elder Adult Program on Mining the Stories of Your Lifetime

Chapter 5: Congregational Service of Recognition

A congregational ceremony is a wonderful thing! When a congregation honors its elders by public and celebratory recognition of the years of life and service that have been given they give to themselves as well. Begin by consulting with your minister or worship committee about this. You may choose to form a planning group for the worship service—not the participants!—even before the High Hill workshops begin, and get this special service on the calendar for the congregational year.

Announce from the pulpit and in the congregational newsletter the date the service will take place. Be sure to say that this is a time of honoring the lives and accomplishments of the honorees. List who they are! Encourage participants to invite families and close friends, whether or not they are congregational members. Here is sample text for an invitation:

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of East Cupcake invites you to attend a special Sunday morning service on [date, time, place] as we honor


We will celebrate the lives and accomplishments of congregational members who have participated in the From the High Hill experience.

Join us on this joyful day!

Appoint a sub-group to plan a coffee-hour reception with candles, tablecloths, silver services, and delicious refreshments. Pay special attention to the flowers that morning. You may wish to present each honoree with a corsage or a boutonniere. Be sure the Order of Service lists the names of the honorees. Add a quotation to the Order of Service cover which is appropriate to the morning and fits your group. You may wish to ask ushers to escort the honorees to reserved front row seats.

Resource 4 provides a sample Order of Service for such a celebration.