What to expect at our Sunday Service

Sunday services are held at 11:00 am and usually last about an hour and a quarter.

As you walk into the foyer from the deck on the rear of our building, greeters are ready to assist you. The welcome table can offer you a name tag, directions to the RE (Religious Education) classroom area for children, the monthly program bulletin with announcements, and more information. You can ask for general information about our congregation and sign up for our newsletter, if you wish.

We are small but loving lay led congregation with no full time pastor. We have many insightful visiting speakers from our community and inspiring pastors from a broad range of religious faiths. They are assisted by a congregation member called the worship associate. During the summer months, most of the services are led by members of our congregation or special speakers with a focus on workshops and education.

Announcements are highlighted about five minutes before the start of service or after the service has concluded. There is an announcement board located at the entrance of the sanctuary.

In the sanctuary, there is usually a musical prelude, which gives the congregation a few minutes of quiet time before the service.

We start the service with a call to worship by chiming our Singing Bowl.

The ritual of our “Ripples of Caring and Sharing” also sometime referred to as “joys and concerns” is first. We like to say that “a joy shared is doubled and a sorrow is halved.” The worship associate will read any concerns that were written in the journal in the foyer. If time permits, they may invite persons up to share their concerns or joys. With each concern or joy, a pebble is dropped in the water bowl. We always drop one last pebble for unspoken joys and concerns at the end. This ritual may be replaced with a shorter ritual, where the worship associate invites the congregation to call out names or situations that are of joy or concern to them. There may be a moment of prayer or reflection.

After a introduction and welcome is offered by the worship associate, there is a brief time to “greet our neighbors.” This is concluded with another chime.

As a centering thought is shared for this particular day, we light two chalices. The flaming chalice is a symbol of Unitarian Universalism. The large chalice remains in the main sanctuary. The smaller lamp is for the children to take to the classroom when they exit.

We join together standing if able in our opening song from the UU hymnal “Singing the Tradition.” (See the blackboard the selected hymn number)

This is followed by a fun children’s story with a church elder. Afterwards, we sing the children and their teachers out to their classes through a “love arch” which we make by arching our arms over the exit doors. (See hymn #414)

When the children have gone, we have followed by a reading from the back of our hymnal. (See the blackboard the selected reading number)

A short reading in unison follows called the “Affirmation of Gratitude and Giving” and music is played or sung during the offertory, as ushers pass the basket. Additionally, we invite all to bring donations for the Help for Kids / Back pack buddies program here in Horry County. We place in a basket at the front of the sanctuary where items may be gifted during the offertory.

The sermon or presentation is next, usually about 20 minutes. Sometimes this is followed by a short meditation time and/or a question session. Then we sing our final Doxology hymn #381, and extinguish the chalices.

Our closing ritual is to all link hands and say the following closing words: 

“May faith in the spirit of life, hope for the community of earth, and love for the sacred in one another be ours, now and in all the days to come.”

There is a fellowship hour immediately following each service, with coffee and tea served in the foyer. Sometimes food is offered as well, and we hope you will stay and partake. The first Sunday of the month is our special Potluck service. Often congregational groups such as the Social Justice, Finance, or other committees will have information to share and information on how to sign up to help keep our beloved community thriving. “Many hands make light work.”

Please stay and let us get to know you. Newcomers may wish to visit the Welcome Table, where our members are looking forward to meeting you and sharing information about our congregation and what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.

Thank you choosing to join us at All Souls Waccamaw Unitarian Universalist Church.