11 Feb 2013

Ash Wednesday – February 13

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40-day period before Easter that the Christian community has traditionally observed as a time of introspection. At Universalist National Memorial Church, there is no prescribed way for everyone to observe Lent. It is up to each of us to decide how best to turn our hearts toward God.

401076_342824385740160_1911719190_nBut we can begin together with Ash Wednesday, February 13, when we will hold two services of reflection and commitment at noon and 6:30 p.m. Then, on the first Sunday of Lent, February 17, during our regular worship service, we will celebrate communion, in which all are always invited to partake.

For further reflection on why Lent can make a difference to the broader Unitarian Universalist community, you might enjoy this article: Unitarian Universalism and Lent

Posted by Sue Mosher at 11 Feb 2013

31 Oct 2012

Communion for All Souls

CommunionWe will mark All Souls this Sunday, Nov. 4, with a communion service, as is our long-held custom. Everyone present is always invited to participate fully. Deacon Jennifer Sandberg will be presiding.

Posted by Sue Mosher at 31 Oct 2012

24 Dec 2011

A Christmas Welcome

If you are looking for a warm, welcoming place to celebrate Christmas in the heart of Washington, DC, seek no further! We invite you to join us on Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. for a traditional service of lessons and carols by candlelight. Then, on Christmas Day at 11 a.m., we gather around the table to sing a couple of carols, share communion, and reflect on the Child who is God's gift to the world. All are welcome to participate fully in both services. And wherever you are, we wish you all the blessings of Christmas.

Posted by Sue Mosher at 24 Dec 2011

21 Jan 2008

Congregational Meeting Results

At a congregational meeting January 20, 2008, UNMC members took the following actions:

  • Elected Lisa Harris and Marti Martinson as deacons
  • Gave final approval to the revised Declaration of Faith that has been in use since September 2006
  • Voted to become a “teaching congregation” that mentors seminarians and, accordingly, to charter an internship committee
  • Removed 12 inactive members from the roll
Posted by Sue Mosher at 21 Jan 2008

27 Nov 2006

Update on Revised Declaration of Faith

A consensus of the congregation agreed on November 12, at a meeting which lacked a quorum, to continue using this revised Declaration of Faith until a final vote can be taken at the annual meeting in May:

   In faith and freedom, we are called
   to bring hope and healing to the world,
   so that all may rejoice in God’s grace.

   I believe in
      the universal love of God,
      the spiritual authority and
         leadership of Jesus Christ,
      the trustworthiness of the Bible
         as a source of divine revelation,
      the need for repentance
         and forgiveness of sin,
      and the final harmony
         of all souls with God.

Posted by Sue Mosher at 27 Nov 2006

2 Aug 2006

Hymnal Committee Meeting

The first meeting of the task force on hymnals took place on July 16. The purpose of this group is to agree on a proposal for hymnals for our congregation for the long term. Our current practice is to use the red "Hymns of the Spirit" supplemented by the grey "Singing The Living Tradition."

We discussed some general guidelines for hymnals followed by a brainstorming session on some possible options. There was a general consensus on the following suggested guidelines:


Posted by at 2 Aug 2006

5 Mar 2006

Declaration of Faith study sessions

The lunchtime discussion of the Declaration of Faith on Feb. 26 highlighted two key aspects of our spiritual community:

  • That each of the five principles in the Declaration of Faith is deeply cherished.
  • That we find great joy in the freedom we have at UNMC to interpret these principles and find our own meaning in them

Accordingly, to continue the discussion, the Worship Committee is organizing meditation and study sessions around each of the principles of the Declaration of Faith for five consecutive Sundays, March 12 - April 9.


Posted by Sue Mosher at 5 Mar 2006

21 Feb 2006

What We Say Here

Each Sunday morning, the worship liturgy that gathers us together includes the voluntary recitation of what we've come to know as the Declaration of Faith, an affirmation adopted by Universalists in 1899 and so sometimes known also as the “Five Principles of 1899.”

Last fall, the Worship Committee took on the task of shepherding a process to involve the entire congregation in an examination of the Declaration of Faith. The Third Wednesday theology group already has had some good discussions, which have revealed a wide range of opinions and attitudes.

The next step in the process is to meet as a congregation, over lunch, on February 26, and explore two key questions together:

. What meaning does the Declaration of Faith that we recite in worship have for you personally?

. What role does an affirmation such as the Declaration of Faith play in our worship today, and what role should it play?


Posted by at 21 Feb 2006

11 Mar 2005

UNMC’s New Worship Committee

The Board of Trustees has constituted a Worship Committee to assist the Minister in making our worship experience more meaningful, and to reflect the needs and hopes of our congregation on matters pertaining to worship. Our responsibilities include: evaluation of elements of worship; liturgical structure of the worship services; planning for special services; and, working with the minister to fill the pulpit when the minister is away. Several of the liturgists serve on the Committee.

In undertaking these tasks, the Committee is keeping in view the many aspects of our worship that truly do make it “the best hour of the week.” Part of our role is to help provide the opportunity for people to share their thoughts about our worship experience, an important service in a diverse and liberal religious community such as ours. Rev. Morn has already begun to hold open monthly discussions about worship matters after our social hour, where we can exchange ideas, pose questions and make suggestions. One or more members of the Worship Committee usually participate.

We began our work in November, using outcomes from the “Quick Start” process and other suggestions in getting underway. An important focus for us will be how and where to integrate more inclusive language in ways that resonate with the tradition and solemnity characteristic of our worship service.


Posted by Sue Mosher at 11 Mar 2005

8 Oct 2004

Worship Committee Charter Approved

At its Oct. 4, 2004 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a charter for the new Worship Committee. Rev. Morn and Rob Bertram will take the next steps in organizing the committee.


Posted by Sue Mosher at 8 Oct 2004

4 Oct 2004

Worship Committee Organized

About a dozen people met Sunday, September 26, with Rev. Morn as the first step toward organizing a worship committee. In her opening remarks, Rev. Morn said that UNMC is uniquely positioned to do wonderful things that make a difference and reaffirmed the top priority set by the quick start workshop earlier in the month achieving a regular attendance of 100 people at worship. She noted that she has experienced many challenges in planning our worship for which she'd like the assistance of a worship committee and that the congregation needs to work on issues of structure and process related to how our worship evolves. Part of her job as an interim minister, she said, is to help our community figure out what it really wants in worship and how it wants to interact with the minister with regard to worship issues.


Posted by Kimberly Durham Bates at 4 Oct 2004

3 Jun 2004

"Theology is a Vision of God"

by Mr. Richard E. Hurst

Christians in the Eastern Church tell us that "theology is a vision of God."  In our free Christianity, each of us might have a somewhat different vision of the Divine from our neighbors.  What is your vision of God?  What spiritual practices hold you close, center you, are meaningful to you?  In corporate worship, we might be see our each other, in the words of St. Paul "through a glass, darkly."  But each of us hungers to disclose who we are, through words that are meaningful to us, through painting and pictures, music and dance, reflections and poetry, through every means of human expression, to each other, and to God.  Some of our expressions might fill up an entire service, or be the framework for an entire service.  Some might be parts for a larger service.  Some might be elements displayed in our worship space.


Posted by Kimberly Durham Bates at 3 Jun 2004

31 Mar 2004

Apologies of an Appropriationist (by Richard E. Hurst)

The son of Mary, Jesus, hurries up a slope
as though a wild animal were chasing him ...

"I say the Great Name over the deaf and the blind,
they are healed. Over a stony mountainside,
and it tears its mantle down to the navel.
Over non-existence, it comes into existence.
But when I speak lovingly for hours, for days
with those who take human warmth
and mock it, when I say the Name to them, nothing
happens. They remain rock, or turn to sand,
where no plants can grow. Other diseases are ways
for mercy to enter, but this non-responding
breeds violence and coldness toward God.
I am fleeing from that. As little by little air
steals water, so praise dries up and
evaporates with foolish people who refuse
to change. Like cold stone you sit on
a cynic who steals body heat. He doesn't feel
the sun."

Jesus wasn't running from actual people.
He was teaching in a new way.

Jalal al-Din Rumi, 13th century Muslim Mystic from
his poem "What Jesus Runs Away From."

I do not pretend to know much about Islam, or the Koran, but I do know when I like a piece of poetry or other writing.  I do not suppose that I would need to know that in the Koran, Jesus is called a Prophet, Messiah, the son of Mary, Spirit of Truth, and unique among Koranic prophets, he is regarded as still being alive (although I cannot tell you precisely what that means, except to say that I presume it bestows some amount of prestige upon him) to make use of such writings.  It strikes me as no small irony that there are likely Unitarian and Universalist Christians whose Christology does not rise to the Koranic view of Jesus.  I have this dim idea about Islam that Muslims believe, at a minimum, that their God is the God of Abraham, and that monotheism is what Jews, Muslims and Christians share, amongst an assortment of overlapping prophets.


Posted by Kimberly Durham Bates at 31 Mar 2004

Let Everyone Who Is Thirsty Come (by Sue Mosher)

Tucked among the processions of Palm Sunday, the solemnity of Good Friday, and the joy of Easter morning, Maundy Thursday may be the least widely observed of the days of Holy Week. Yet, it may be the one day of the Christian cycle when we can come closest to understanding the kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed and experiencing that message as the disciples themselves might have heard it.

That message, I believe, was one of inclusion, something that resonates with all of us who have been exposed to the Universalist hope for the “final harmony of all souls with God.” Sharing a meal, often with outcasts, was one of the great distinguishing activities of Jesus’ ministry. As Marcus Borg explains in Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, “the meals of Jesus embodied his alternative vision of an inclusive community.” Sitting down with “tax collectors and sinners” -- not to mention women -- was a radical act, challenging the Jewish purity system and proclaiming a higher “ethos of compassion,” as Borg puts it. These meals might have invoked the great messianic banquet of Isaiah 25:6, when, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wine strained clear.”


Posted by Kimberly Durham Bates at 31 Mar 2004

16 Mar 2004

An Invitation to Lenten Discipline

For years, Christians have pondered the coming of Jesus' life and death. The forty days of Lent have served as reminders of Noah's forty days on the water, of the Israelites' forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and of Jesus' forty days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness. Lent has been a time to consider the ways in which we separate ourselves from God and from each other.


Posted by Sue Mosher at 16 Mar 2004

1 Jan 2002

Our Worship

Sunday worship is a comprised of a time-tested series of prayers, Bible and other readings, musical selections, hymns, and other elements selected for their harmony, instructional qualities, inspirational value, beauty, and dignity. The worship service begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts about an hour. (read more)

Posted by Sue Mosher at 1 Jan 2002