Worship and GA

I am more than willing to cut the GA planning committee some slack around how they schedule worship on Sunday at GA. I think that going away from the Sunday morning worship is a mistake because I grew to like the Sunday morning seeker oriented service. But figuring this stuff out is not my job. And perhaps closing with a worship service will seem right when we do it.

Since I suspect that many people will be heading home before 4 PM on Sunday, the time of the closing worship service. There is a plenary at worship time on Sunday, so quite a few people will seek other worship options Sunday morning. Worship at First Unitarian in downtown Portland should be full.

I think that it is important that we have significant worship at GA, and by significant, I mean worship in which the elected leaders of the association play substantive liturgical roles. I appreciate the fact that the preaching duties are spread around and that we get to hear from a variety of ministers from the GA pulpits. But I also want to hear sermons from the President of the UUMA, and sermons from the President of the Association. I think that that religious leadership often comes down to the ability to inspire or to cast a vision. The corporate worship service and the sermon are forms of speech designed to call forth expressions of visionary leadership.

Part of the community forming power of worship is that it forms and designates community leaders who gain authority by their sustained and repeated inspiration of others. The GA practice of rotating the most important preaching duties around to different ministers is like the lay-led fellowship which rotates the worship leadership around a group of competent speakers, none of which have the role of vision-caster for the group.


  1. While I agree with the concept that our highest and most visible leaders should be the ones preaching at our most public services, I also find myself in sympathy with their humanness. Probably by Sunday afternoon of GA, they are barely capable of stringing together a complete sentence. And surely there are plenty of us who can cast a vision. Frankly, I really like hearing some of our best preachers do their thing. Gail and Rob Hardies stand out in my memory as exceptional.

    Nevertheless, I'm for Sunday morning worship. We need all the reminders we can get that we gather as a community of faith, not a bunch of peaceniks in flip-flops. And the PC may be thinking about getting people home so that they can work on Monday, but ending GA at 4 p.m. on Sunday on the west coast ain't gonna accomplish that.

    Oh well, let's wait a year and see what happens.


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