Worship is important. If you can imagine all of the programs and activities we offer at UUSGS forming a wheel, then worship is the wheel’s hub. It is the center from which, and to which, everything else connects.
The Worship Associates program at UUSGS began in 2012 and quickly became a valued fixture in our weekly worship life. Worship Associates are members of the congregation who help Rev. Jason to lead our worship services. Though Rev. Jason oversees the process, the selection of topics and the preparation for each Sunday service is collaborative and relational.
“My colleagues in other traditions have said to me more than once something like, ‘Since you don’t follow just one book (the Bible, for example), how do you decide what to focus on and preach about each week?’ My answer is simple: theme-based worship and the Worship Associates program ensures that, although we may draw from a variety of sources, our services are always connected deeply to the life of the congregation, to actual people and the stories of their lives. We aim to be relevant to everyday people… and to a conversation we’re fostering by staying focussed on important topics for a month at a time.”
Worship Associates meet with our worship staff twice yearly to plan services for the coming half-year. The Associates then volunteer for specific dates, usually one for each Sunday. A few weeks before their date, a Worship Associate will sit down with Rev. Jason to brainstorm and share inspiration and ideas. (Jason really enjoys this part!) When Sunday arrives, the Worship Associate joins Rev. Jason up front, offers a Call to Worship, lights candles for people named in prayer, and generally helps to officiate the service.
The weekly Call to Worship is really where Worship Associates shine. Though the Call is only a few minutes long at the beginning of each service, this is an opportunity to model theological reflection and to invite the congregation into a sense of wonder and openness. The best ‘source’ for a Worship Associate is often not a sacred text but rather their own life story. Often, the Call to Worship is deeply personal, offering us all a chance to learn about one another and also to see how rich and varied life can be.
Ask any of our Worship Associates and they will tell you that although it is work, it is also meaningful and quite fun. If you are interested in serving as a Worship Associate, please speak with Rev. Jason. An application form with more information may also be downloaded here.
Current Worship Associates include:
- Pat Banusewicz
- Carolyn Bradley
- Les Couture
- Joshua Farber
- Lee Hamberg
- Jack Kennedy
- John Kielb
- Sue Mazrolle
- Verne McArthur
- Mary Ann O’Shea
- Jackie Shanti
- Mark Weber
- Ted Welsh