Each Sunday morning our BuxMont community comes together for our weekly service. Many of us call it a worship service, others ask, “Worship what?” and prefer to simply call it a service. Whatever we call it, our service is a time of community in a place set aside for our hearts and minds to open to ourselves, to each other, to the larger community, and to the universe.
Me? I’m in the camp that calls it worship, because for me touching each other and the universe engages us with the sacred whether we call it love, God, Goddess, spirit, ground of being, the infinite, or our special community of BuxMont. But I understand that others think of worship as praising a being, and are thus uncomfortable with the word. Whatever we call it, our service is a very special, I would say sacred, time to be together.
BuxMont’s history as a Fellowship has given us a strong tradition of lay leadership and engagement in our Sunday service. Our services are crafted by many hands, and each of us has an opportunity to be a part of that creation. Shared ministry encompasses many other facets of our congregational life, but it is modeled each week as we come together on Sunday morning. Many of our services are led by our minister, Rev. Dan Schatz. But even on these Sundays other voices give the announcements, act as Worship Associate, tell their own stories, share their joys and sorrows, sing our hymns and make our music.
Many hands tend the worship space, decorate our meeting places, run the sound and lights, greet, usher, straighten the chairs, produce the Order of Service. And many of our services are led by our members, or have an outside presenter who is invited and coordinated by members of the Sunday Service Committee. Each week our service is the result of months, weeks, days and hours of planning, collaborating, and hard work. By bringing our hearts and spirits, by opening our voices, and by greeting and caring for each other, even those of us who simply come in the door to participate in the service become a part of the tapestry I call worship.
The form of our service typically follows a familiar pattern, though it can vary widely. Even the required portions (Welcome, Announcements, Chalice Lighting, Joys and Sorrows and Offertory) often occur at differ- ent places depending on the design of the service. The structure of our service reflects liturgical traditions that go back centuries.
Usually our service is called together by our bell; the first one asking people to take their seats and become quiet. The Prelude allows us to further settle into the familiar rhythm, the Welcome intentionally reaches out to greet people new to our community. Our announcements connect us to the dynamic life of our fellowship. The Chalice Lighting starts our focus on the theme of the day and marks an entry into more sacred space. Hymns, readings and other congregational elements bring our voices together as participants. Shar- ing our Joys and Sorrows connects us intimately to key moments in each other’s lives. The offering represents our commitment to our BuxMont community and, with the split plate, to the wider community. Readings, hymns, meditations, stories and sermons are woven into the unique theme of each service. Finally a hymn, closing words and the postlude bring the service to a close.
Each of us comes to the service with different needs, expectations, emotions, and perspectives. Together we join in community to open ourselves to each other and to the sacred. For an hour we journey together in celebration, sorrow, reflection, learning, and spiritual transformation. Whether we call it worship or something else, it is a sacred moment of deep connection.