Sunday services at the UU Church of Nashua are like those of many other UU churches. While the services vary from week to week, there are a number of elements that are usually included in most services.
Before the service starts, there is usually a musical prelude while people find their way to a seat in the sanctuary. Latecomers who arrive after the service has started are asked to please remain in the back of the sanctuary until motioned to be seated by the minister.
Greetings and Announcements
Following the prelude, our minister or congregation president welcomes everyone to the service and makes some general announcements (announcements are also printed inside the Order of Service), such as changes to the time/date of standing committee meetings, etc. This is followed by a short piece of music to set a spiritual context.
Lighting the Chalice
Next, the chalice is lit by one or more church members. The person or persons who light the chalice may choose to say a few words, read a poem, or personalize the chalice lighting in whatever way they wish.
Church members often choose to light the chalice on a day that has special personal significance to them: a wedding anniversary, college graduation, anniversary of a loved one's passing, etc. Members may sign up to light the chalice during the coffee hour following the service; the sign-up sheet is available at either the Information Table or on the bulletin board (Worship and Services Committee) at the rear of the dining room.
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
This is a special time in the service for members and friends to share events of significance in their lives. The minister recognizes those who wish to speak, and they take turns sharing their joys and concerns with the congregation.
Words for Reflection/A Time of Silence
Following the words for reflection, which usually relate to the sermon topic, there is a time of silence (you can actually hear the ticking of the clock on the back wall of the sanctuary!) for meditation or contemplation.
UU sermons are frequently compared to college lectures, and the Nashua church is no exception.
The sermon topics cover a wide range of areas: spiritual, political, social -- even humorous! The title of the current week's sermon is listed in our display ad in the Nashua Telegraph's Religion section each week. The services for each month are also described in the church's newsletter.
Following the sermon, the church and choir together sing a hymn or other music, usually in keeping with the theme of the service. There are some brief closing remarks, then the service ends with a congregational musical response and an musical postlude.
Following the service, the leaders greet members, friends, and guests at the entrance to the Parish House.