In this season of letting go, of turning from green to golden, of letting go of sunlight for moonlight, I am taking time to let go of expectations to make space for transformation. Specifically, I am inviting you to enter into this season of letting go, or returning to the home of your soul, and make space for an experiment of one of our elements of liturgy, candles of joys and sorrows.

In this month of October, with affirmation from the Worship Committee, we will experience five different ways to honor the personal joys and sorrows, milestones and millstones that are a part of our human experience. We will experience lighting candles in silence, lighting candles and speaking, lighting candles in silence with the option to speak, and we will also make use of stones and water. Part of the reason for the experiment is the accessibility of expressing joys and sorrows in our time together. Some of us are more introverted than others, some of us may be afraid of the flame, and others of us may be interested in new ways to experience this sacred time of sharing together. Also, as a pastoral or family-sized church, there is a tendency to use “insider” language, tell a story, or make a political statement that may make others wonder about the reverence of this hour and isolate our guests and visitors. So, as we experiment in the coming months, I also invite you to keep in mind some church etiquette or helpful hints in expressing joys and sorrows.

1) Say your name so others know who you are.

2) Put the cordless microphone close to your mouth so that it picks up your voice and allows everyone to hear you.

3) Share briefly. This is not the time to tell a story. One or two sentences should suffice in most cases.

4) Candles of joys and sorrows is about community. Even though the candle you light is for something that is personal to you, the moment in front of the congregation is transactional. “My aunt is having surgery this week and your thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated.” “I invite you to join with me in celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary which is today.” “It is a real blessing and I feel honored to have been able to travel abroad to study and serve.”

5) Leave out details that are too graphic. It is one thing to say that your aunt is having surgery. It is another thing to describe the re-sectioning of her colon.

Our worship experiments continue with extending you the opportunity to pick up a hymnal from our ushers on Sunday morning, and we ask that as you “carry the flame of peace and love until we meet again” and if you are able, please also carry your hymnal back to the bookshelf.

We will continue experimenting with our worship into November and December, please feel free to contact me or a member of the Worship Committee with any questions or concerns and especially tell us if one way or another brings your JOY!

See you in church ~Rev. Misty-Dawn

© 2015 Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne