Helen of Marlowe's Blog

Do UUs Worship?

Posted in NC, Religion, Unitarian, UU by helenofmarlowe on February 4, 2011

Some of us at our UU Fellowship are beginning to feel unhappy with changes that have been made.

For many years, we had a Sunday Services committee.  And a podium.

Now, it seems, we have a Worship Committee.  And a pulpit.

A group of us wrote a letter to the “Worship Committee” asking them to change the name back to the name we’ve had for years.

Dear Members of the Worship Committee
We who are signatories of this letter wish to express our concern regarding relatively recent changes in the language used by the committee that, until recently, has been known as the Sunday Service Committee.

For many years, our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has had a Sunday Service Committee, and we attended Sunday Services. But significant changes in language have been recently introduced regarding each of these designations. In our Fellowship Matters , we are given to understand that we now have a Worship Committee and that on Sundays we are attending Worship Services. We believe this shows a disregard for the diversity of beliefs in our membership.

Since our Fellowship has been growing, this change will not have been noticed by newer members. But it certainly has been noted by a number of long-time members, including the signatories to this letter.

We are concerned about this change because, from the beginning of our Fellowship, there have always been members who do not believe in any deity. And we believe that one important function of the UU Fellowship is to encourage other non-believers to join us in our celebration of life and the seven UU principles.

We are aware that the term “worship” might be and probably is construed by some members of your committee to mean something less than the adoration of a deity. But such a construal is not in accord with the common usage of the term, and is therefore misleading.

For communication to work, we have to use words in the way they are commonly understood. We are, accordingly, requesting that the Worship Committee change its name back to Sunday Service Committee, and that the monthly calendar be changed to read Sunday Service instead of Worship Service.

In response to our letter requesting that the “Worship Committee”  reclaim its historical name “Sunday Services Committee”  the chair of the committee responded:

We strongly support use of the word “worship” as finding worth and not as directed toward any deity. We agree there is value in taking regular opportunities to educate members of the congregation to the broader meaning of “worship”…

This seems Orwellian to me.

Our Sunday religious services within the UU tradition of this Fellowship are not and (so far as I know) never have been worship services.

Instead of re-defining words, why don’t we use words as they are commonly understood.
And the common understanding of the word “worship” is not what we do.

We will re-visit the matter at an upcoming meeting.

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