What to Expect in Worship
We gather in worship to find meaning and live more deeply. Worship creates connections within, among, and beyond us, calling us to our better selves, calling us to live with wisdom and compassion.
Unitarian Universalist worship styles vary by congregation, and even within congregations. Some congregations’ worship is contemporary and high tech. Some congregations’ worship is traditional and formal. Some features exuberant music, some includes long periods of silent reflection. Our congregation’s worship generally fits inside one hour and looks a lot like the list below.
Elements of a typical Unitarian Universalist Sunday morning worship service include:
- Words of welcome
- Lighting a flaming chalice, the symbol of our faith
- A multigenerational segment, such as a “story for all ages”
- Music, both instrumental and vocal and in a variety of styles
- A time for lifting up the joys and concerns of the congregation
- A meditation or prayer
- Readings—ancient or contemporary
- A sermon given by a professional minister, a guest speaker, or a member of the congregation
- An offering, collecting financial donations for the congregation or for justice work in the community.
From time to time, worships incorporate holiday celebrations, multigenerational plays and pageants, longer musical performances, child dedications, and coming-of-age ceremonies. We offer children’s religious education during the Sunday service on the second and fourth Sundays of every month.
Is everyone welcome?
Absolutely. We believe in respect for everyone. Whether white or black, gay or straight, Christian, agnostic, humanist … it doesn’t matter. Only those who demand that everyone should think as they do would find it difficult to fit in.
When and where are services?
Services are at 10 am every Sunday year-round at 1950 East Brundage Lane, Sheridan, Wyoming. See Our Location for a map and directions.
What goes on during services?
Our services last about one hour. They begin with the lighting of the chalice, the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Next, we light candles of “Joy and Concern.” Members light a candle to honor an event in their lives, to share an idea, or to ask for the thoughts and prayers of the community. We sing from our hymnals Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey, which contain a wide range of traditional and contemporary songs, using gender-inclusive language. The centerpiece of our service–a presentation on a topic of interest followed by discussion is next. We complete the service with a hymn and closing words by one of our members. After service, we have a “coffee-hour” in which we discuss the day’s presentation or socialize informally.
Does the UU Fellowship of Sheridan have a minister?
Not currently. Our lay leaders also do an excellent job presenting topics of interest, and we also invite guest speakers who are experts on issues of interest.
What is the dress code?
Casual. Most of us wear jeans or slacks and casual shirts. Some choose to dress more formally.
Can I bring my children?
Yes. On Sundays when Religious Education is offered, our children attend the first part of service, then they go off to class or to supervised play, depending on age. If your child does not separate well, she or he can stay with you during the service.
What do you teach the children?
Our children are taught to respect each other, to be tolerant of differences, to care for the environment, and to think for themselves. We present them with thought-provoking topics and allow them to develop their own points of view and convictions. We provide guidance on moral and ethical issues.
What is different about Unitarian Universalists?
Our openness. We believe in freedom of religious expression and we are tolerant of religious ideas from all of the world’s great religions. We believe in freedom of conscience–that individuals should be encouraged to develop their own spirituality. We provide an open, loving, and supportive environment for the individual to develop his or her own path. We do not ask anyone to subscribe to a prescribed belief system … We are “non-creedal.”
Does your congregation have diverse beliefs?
Yes. We have members from the Jewish, Christian, and Mormon traditions as well as humanists and agnostics. We are a liberal religion that believes that spiritual life is a personal journey. We provide a safe place for you to discover and pursue your own path. But none of us is alone in this task. We help each other in many ways, including sharing our discoveries and asking questions.
How big is the UU Fellowship of Sheridan?
We currently have between 50-60 members.
If I visit, will there be a hard sell?
No. We are all about free choice. The right of personal conscience is one of our basic principles.
Is the UU Fellowship of Sheridan part of a larger organization?
Yes. We are associated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Mountain-Desert District of Unitarian Universalist Congregations. However, like all UU congregations, we are a self-governing democracy. Authority and responsibility are vested in the membership of the congregation.