Above: The first meeting of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership
One of the goals I held for my ministerial internship since it was only a glimmer in my eye is that we would find ways for all three of our Southern Oregon UU Partnership (SOUUP) congregations to share in worship together, worship not as in bowing down before anything, but from the Old English root weorthscipe, which means lifting up what is of worth, “worth-ship” as Franny, the board chair at UU Fellowship of Klamath County (UUFKC), referred to it in our December service together. I’ve been so grateful to the people of Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (RVUUF), who have already stepped out of their usual Sunday morning routine to join me for Zoom worship with UUFKC as well as UUGP. Today, I am excited to provide details of a plan for three weeks of shared worship between our SOUUP congregations in February 2021, focusing on the theme of beloved community.
Like UUFKC, UUGP offers a Zoom worship service at 10:30am each Sunday. On Sunday, 2/14, all three SOUUP congregations will join UUFKC’s Zoom, and RVUUF and UUGP will have the opportunity to experience Sunday morning with UUFKC. The following week, 2/21, UUGP will open their Zoom sanctuary to the people of RVUUF and UUFKC. Then, on 2/28, for something completely different, we’ll join RVUUF for their pre-recorded worship service (available to watch on YouTube at your convenience) followed by “Coffee Hour” fellowship time via Zoom at 11:30am, where we’ll be able to share together in small-group discussion and do the work of relationship building that is the foundation of beloved community.
So, for the last three weeks of February, two of your Sunday mornings will be a bit different from what you’re used to. On the 21st, you’ll still log on to Zoom at 10:30am, but the service will be managed by the folks at UUGP, using the readings and worship elements that are part of their liturgy. On the 28th, the whole flow of the morning will be different, as I’ve described above. I want to ask you to enter February with an open mind. In addition to building beloved community, my hope is that we will be able to learn from each other, to see what we appreciate most from the different worship styles our communities have, what we can bring back that will work in our individual congregations, or what we really appreciate about our own ways of doing things. I also hope that as we invest our time in small-group sharing with our SOUUP siblings across the region on the 28th, we’ll reinforce the connections that already exist between us.
One of the great joys I’ve found in my internship so far is making connections: connecting local organizers to folks doing similar work on a national scale; connecting individuals in one congregation to counterparts doing similar work in another SOUUP community; connecting Southern Oregon UUs with opportunities to learn, act or worship with our larger denomination and affiliated organizations. I see our coming together for these three Sunday mornings in February as one more piece of the work of “empowering connection,” as RVUUF says in their mission statement. I hope you will accept this invitation to experience new ways to worship and connect with our faith siblings in Southern Oregon next month.