About six times a year, all ages remain in the commons to worship together during the Sunday service. There is still nursery care for infants and toddlers during these services.
The first Sunday after Labor Day is always our first Sunday back together to kick off the new church year. We celebrate this time with a Water Ceremony where we each bring a bit of water from some place special to us and pour it into a common bowl. Our minister mixes the waters together in a symbolic rejoining of the waters ceremony, where we gather back in community for another year of religious growth and learning.
One Sunday before Christmas , all ages gather to celebrate the winter holidays in story and song. These multi-generational services are designed to engage people of all ages in a common worship experience.
The Sunday after Christmas , we observe an old English (and newer Canadian) tradition called Boxing Day. Traditionally, extra food from the Christmas dinner was “boxed up” and shared with those less fortunate. On Boxing Day at People’s Church we usually begin with a very short service, followed by an activity designed to help others. In past years, we have made fleece blankets for homeless children, bottled up soap and shampoo for the local homeless shelter, and made meals to deliver to church members unable to leave their homes for the holidays. Projects and activities vary each year.
Each spring around Earth Day , we gather together to celebrate the turning of the wheel of the year and celebrate the earth. The children and youth enthusiastically participate in this service, often sharing their ideas of how to live more in harmony with nature.
The second Sunday in June is traditionally our final service of the regular church year. We often celebrate with a traditional Czech Unitarian Flower Ceremony, in which everyone brings a few flowers to the service and places them in vases in the front. Before the service ends the children distribute the flowers so that everyone leaves with a different flower.
While it is sometimes a challenge for children and youth to sit quietly and appropriately through an hour-long church service, we feel it is important for them to have the opportunity to spend a few Sundays a year engaged with the larger church community. Traditionally, the root of the word “worship” meant ‘to honor that which has worth.’ Our worship service can provide people of all ages the chance to learn and grow at their own level and to take some time in quiet and stillness to honor that which has worth in each of our lives.
We also want our young people to experience Unitarian Universalist worship services so that they will be familiar with some of the songs and traditions of this religious movement. Finally, shared worship provides families with a chance to spend time together, which is one of the ways family values are shared.