Celebration Worship Service

[ Background Music ]>>One of the joys and challenges in a
growing congregation is figuring out how to fit everyone in for Sunday worship. And sometimes that fit isn’t just about
space it’s about different worship styles. The UU Church in Oak Ridge,
Tennessee took a deep breath a couple of years ago and changed its second service.>>We wanted to have something really
different from our traditional service.>>People were interested in
more engagement, participation, and more interactivity, different
kinds of music.>>So a determined group in this congregation of
about 240 members began the Celebration Service. It’s planned every week by the Celebration
Team and the minister with the same theme as the traditional service but the sermon
shorten to a homily and there’s lots and lots of music with the Celebration Band.>>That’s why I come to church. I come to church so I could
have a place where I can sing.>>We select songs from more
of a pop and folk genre and we take some traditional hymns
and I call it contemporize them. But we just try to have high energy and really
focus on getting the congregation moving, and involved, and clapping, and
just really singing from the heart.>>Along with more music there’s more
participation like building the alter together.>>It has sand in the little containers and
a platter with a towel, a white towel on it. And in that space we [indiscernible] each week. It has candles to light, stones to pick up, and
it’s a suite in special times in the service. I think it says that service
is about the group of people who are simple together; it’s what they make it.>>The hugs and the smiles and the generosity that people offer during the
passing of the [indiscernible]. It just feels stronger. I think again with the connection
of music and the connection of the core direction brings that together.>>Please prepare to face the door. Breathe in. Breathe out. Precious God [indiscernible].>>To everyone in the sanctuary’s
involved in the service. We are asking them to get into the singing. We have a closing circle. [ Music ]>>When I’m holding hands with people in
the circle, or when I am singing a song that I’m familiar with, or is new that has an
energy, I feel a closeness to a spiritual self that I am just am not able to feel
in a more traditional service.>>There’s so many churches, mega churches,
fundamentalist churches with this great music that draws people in and if their message is not
a positive message that Unitarian Universal has to offer, this service gives
us a chance to have music that people can relate to,
and the positive message. And I think it gives our denomination hope to spread our positive message
to people who want to find it. [ Music ]>>Now while this story is partly about
the more contemporary service itself, it’s also about the process and
the willingness of both ministers and members to try something new.>>Talk to Jay and he was very willing to
give this a try so we started a small group that has changed and built and become
what it is now, which is ever changing.>>We are a [indiscernible]. We’re trying it out. We’re trying to figure out what works and
sometimes that just means experimenting with something and I think that feeling
of experiment pervades the whole endeavor.>>Its okay to try things and
to be open-minded to changes.>>We are trying to invite people who may
not have known that they could clap and move at a UU Church to try just that and do
it together; and so there’s that feeling of we’re all trying this together
and who knows what will happen.>>And who knows what might happen if
you tried something new in worship at your congregation stretching this way
to embrace creativity and flexibility in the feeding of the spirit is certainly part
of being the religion for our [indiscernible]. [ Music ]

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