Submitted by Jeffrey Hinkley, Chair, Sunday Services Committee
Each Sunday at one or both services, we set aside time for the sharing of joys and sorrows. Not every UU congregation does this, and the ones that do use a variety of formats. In some, the minister or lay leader reads written notes. In others, people light candles or drop stones into water in silence.
Our spoken Joys and Sorrows provide a way to put into practice our desire to create fellowship – a caring community where we can share what is in our hearts. Visitors are impressed that we do this together, and a brief joy or sorrow expressed during the service often leads to a hug or to a longer conversation a little later.
There have been occasional problems with the ritual – the too-long speech, the political announcement masquerading as a personal concern – but our very openness to the variety of human experiences is part of what defines us. We want to know about how the events in others’ lives have changed them, so that in the hearing, we can be transformed, too. We want to hear about a new child or the new job — or a major birthday or wedding anniversary and how it’s important. And when it comes to the sorrows, we really want to hear about a family death, the loss of a job, or the illness of a friend whose name we should keep in our hearts.
As our congregation grows in size, may we use these brief times during our worship to deepen our connections and grow in community.