Worship & Rites of Passage
Worship, at its best, brings together all of our senses, our heart, our intellect, and our tradition to focus on that which is central in our lives.
The Methodist Church teaches that there are four sources of authority: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. Worship, when done well, combines all four into a single integrated whole. While I am Unitarian Universalist, I attended a Methodist seminary, and find this a vital frame for worship.
We use scripture in the Unitarian Universalist tradition. Our scriptures go beyond the Hebrew and Greek scriptures contained in the Bible, instead encompassing sources as varied as the wisdom of the world’s traditions to the lives and teaching of prophetic women and men through history. Worship engages with text, as part of a conversation across generations. In many ways, for me, the tradition itself is a form of scripture.
My home congregation is the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, where William Ellery Channing proclaimed, for the first time, a ‘Unitarian Christianity’ two centuries ago. Channing held up reason as central to how we interpret scripture and tradition, and it remains central in Unitarian Universalism today. Our faith and our worship do not ask us to close our eyes, but rather to question what we are told- often vigorously.
Lastly and most importantly, our worship must be grounded in lived experience. When I preach, I bring my life with me. We are not separate from our experiences: they influence who we are and how we approach all that we do. When we come together in worship, we bring reason, scripture, and our tradition together.
Examples of services I have conducted are available on this website, under the 'Sermons' tab.
Rites of passage have a distinct place in the worship life of congregations, serving to mark significant events from weddings, to memorial services, to baby dedications. Our lives are holy things, and some of the most important work of the religious community and ministry lies in recognizing and marking that holiness.