Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: The New UU: A Program for Welcoming Newcomers to Unitarian Universalist Congregations

Introduction to Workshop 1: Theology and Worship

Part of The New UU

It behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

This workshop introduces the entire program and introduces participants to one another. It is an opportunity to deepen relationships while learning more about Unitarian Universalism. Activities explain the process-oriented nature of the Unitarian Universalist approach to religion while presenting some of the basic theological understandings shared by most Unitarian Universalists.

The workshop includes introductions to your congregation's worship traditions. If a minister is not one of the facilitators, the minister(s) should be invited to lead Activity 4, Worship in Our Congregation. If using Alternate Activity 3, you may want to invite a music director or choir member to assist.

Before leading this workshop, review Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters found in the program Introduction and make any preparations needed to accommodate your group.

If you have only an hour, shorten Activity 3 by five minutes and Activity 4 by 20 minutes, omitting the discussion in dyads and lifting up only some of the elements of worship.


This workshop will:

  • Establish an open and welcoming learning environment
  • Introduce the process and content of The New UU
  • Provide opportunities for interaction, questioning, and sharing
  • Present Rev. Dr. Forrest Church's cathedral metaphor for Unitarian Universalist theology
  • Explore how the liturgy and worship of a Unitarian Universalist congregation express Unitarian Universalist theology and values
  • Introduce some Unitarian Universalist approaches to traditional theological constructs.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Become acquainted with one another
  • Share questions about the congregation and Unitarian Universalism
  • Consider Unitarian Universalist approaches to theological constructs using the cathedral metaphor
  • Reflect on the diversity of theology within Unitarian Universalism
  • Identify the parts of worship that are most personally meaningful
  • Deepen their experience of congregational worship through increased knowledge about its elements.