We worship together to engage the heart, mind, body, and spirit, to touch all the senses, to appeal to diverse generations and cultures. The dimensions of our worship aim to touch the sacred and holy which exist within each and every one of us.
We hold worship services every Sunday in our Old Ship Meeting House, starting on the first Sunday after Labor Day and ending on the third Sunday in June. These services begin at 10:25 and last approximately an hour. They are begun with a chime which signals quiet.
Although services vary a bit, they follow a general structure. Here's a brief introduction to some of the things you might expect.
Instrumental Musical Prelude and Choral Introit
Our service begins with music performed bythe Music Director and invited instrumentalists, often joined by the Professional Quartet and Choir.
Our minister speaks a few thoughtful words celebrating our coming together for the service.
Welcome and Announcements
Words of welcome from our minister and few announcements. (Most announcements are printed in the Program for the service.) This is also a time when visitors and newcomers are, if they wish, recognized by standing to tell us who they are and from where they have come.
A member of our congregation lights the chalice adding a personal message. The Chalice is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. We light the flame each week as a reminder of our unity - not only within Old Ship - but also world wide. When we light the chalice it is a time for all to join the service by listening and participation.
Hymns - sung by the congregation
Words and music comprise our service. Singing together invites us to celebrate the moment by, if we wish, blending our voice with others. Generally there are three hymns that reflect the day's worship theme. They are sung by the congregation, accompanied by the Choir director.
Anthem - sung by the Choir
The anthem is a time for musical deepening. Often it is sung by the Choir and Professional Quartet, accompanied by the Music Director on piano or organ. At times. other instruments and voices are added. Generally the Anthem complements the sermon of the day.
Services at Old Ship are comprised of many voices. This reading is short written piece read in unison by the congregation, usually alternating lines with our Minister or another leader.
The weekly offering helps continue the good works of Old Ship Church. One or two offerings a month go to support charities. Special services, like Christmas also support charitable causes. The music celebrates the offering and, again, relates to the sermon of the day.
Sharing of Joys & Concerns
This is a time when those who wish, speak from their hearts and share their joy, sorrow, or concern about personal or family issues. The minister lights a candle for each joy or concern as it is spoken. If one has a joy or concern, he/she raises a hand and someone comes by with a microphone so that all can hear - especially hearing-impared.
A time for the us to reach into ourselves. The prayer is a trans-formative time of deepening. It is a time for reflection. Following the minister's words, there is a 3 minute meditation period.
Our minister chooses readings from a wide variety of sources. They provide context for the sermon and are read by our regular church readers.
Our minister chooses provocative and informative topics. His sermons are crossroads where the holy and daily life meet. The premise of the sermons is that our lives can be transformed by contemplating and understanding our own lives, the messages of great teachers, and opening ourselves to the beauty, awe, and oneness of ourselves, others, and our world.
The length of the sermons is generally about 20 minutes.
At the completion of the service, our minister speaks words of completion and blessing from the rear of the church.
Our Choir and Quartet, accompanied by the Music Director, play a short musical ending to the service.
End of the formal service
A final musical offering, usually instrumental, is played by the organist or guest musicians. The congregation is invited to remain seated during the postlude.
Our minister always greets worshippers as they exit the church. Most parishioners walk across the street to the Parish House where there is a little repast called, "Coffee Hour". It is a time for chatting. All visitors are welcome at the Visitors' Welcome Table in the Parish Hall.
NOTE: In July and August, less structured, lay-led services are held at 10 am in the Parish House.