Mar. 4, 2019.

By Lay Minister for Worship & Arts Susan Bennett.

In these increasingly anxious and troubling times, I find myself returning regularly to the need for grounding and self-nurturance. It’s important not just for me but also as a path to being of service to others. I first learned this lesson long ago when I was a mother of young children. As the spiral of life unfolds, I return again and again to this lesson. I simply am no good for others unless I take care of my own spiritual needs. And even though I know that to be true, it’s so easy to be overtaken by the great need that exists everywhere around me and suddenly find myself careening toward burnout. Perhaps it is the same for you.

The recognition of this need for grounding and spiritual sustenance is always on the minds of the Worship Team as it aims to create meaningful and uplifting worship at UUCF. Team members consider the splendid diversity of our world and our UUCF community and it makes us acutely aware of the need for all of us to move beyond our comfort zones and seek ever-expanding ways of welcoming all into the circle of our community. What helps me stay spiritually grounded may not work for you and what feeds your spirit may not resonate with the person sitting next to you at a worship service. Our racial and ethnic identities are not the same, our cultural heritages differ and our gender identities no longer fit into an either/or box (if they ever did!).

In response to this diverse landscape, members of the Worship Team (the ministers, the director of Religious Exploration, the director of Music & Arts and the lay worship associates) perpetually ask ourselves: How can we serve the community in a more expansive way?

Our latest answer to this question is to experiment with a once-a-month Friday night worship experience. Our vision for this new offering is to provide an additional opportunity for worship where we can explore new ways of being together. We began in January with Bedtime Star-ies, where folks were invited to come in their jammies and enjoy an exploration of the stars through words, music and videos, preceded by a potluck dinner. In February, we collaborated with the Pastoral Care Team to offer the Healing Service. Our next Friday night service will be Mar. 15. More information on this service will be announced in the Thursday email.

We will continue these services through the spring, take a break over the summer and restart in October. For now, you can expect each one to be different from the others. Some will have potlucks, some won’t. This will give us an opportunity to explore together what is possible when we expand our vision of worship as we seek to build community and offer welcome to all. I hope you will try out this new offering and find it helps you stay spiritually centered in these challenging times. As always, the Worship Team welcomes your thoughts, so feel free to contact me at any time!