I’m making a historical review of worship at Universalist National Memorial Church, by request, to help worship leaders understand how worship has developed. I’m curious to see what will turn up.
So, what can we tell from the order of service? Some initial thoughts.
- It’s pretty easy to see the morning prayer format. The Venite, the typical morning psalm, is a pretty big tell, too. The current UNMC service has all of the elements of morning prayer, with some parts more emphasized than others, and new elements (joys and concerns, center aisle greeting) added.
- The call to worship, invocation and Lord’s prayer are grouped, with the organ prelude and hymn (music) and procession (action), as a unit: the opening sequence.
- In Hymns of the Church services, the opening sequence may begin with opening words, but the hymn fills that role, presumably. The call to worship is the statement of the purpose of worship. The second service has a prayer for purity, which almost presumes a private and unspoken confession. Or if not confession, then at least a good intent. You see this construction in other published services.
- With sentences, we hear echoes of this sequence at UNMC today, though the Lord’s Prayer is in another place.
- The responsive readings are really long. About twice as long as found in the 1964 Hymns for the Celebration of Life and absolutely endless by 1993 Singing the Living Tradition standards. About two psalms worth, but perhaps used in halves, as suggested by the order of service, and the penciled notes in the Archives.org version of the Hymns of the Church.
- The prayer after the scripture reading may be a general thanksgiving, a part of a larger sequence from Anglican morning prayer. The “pastoral prayer” or “long prayer” may be implied here.
- In morning prayer, two major elements can appropriately be put in different places: announcements and the sermon. The announcement placement problem is perennial. In one version of “morning prayer and sermon” the sermon comes close to the end, before an optional prayer, final hymn and benediction. This is what UNMC has now. The printed order of service has the sermon after the reading, which might be a more modern ordering. But that’s not necessarily an endorsement.
- This service includes communion, a service its own right of course, after the usual morning service. Several years ago, a member of UNMC told me that Seth Brooks, who began his long pastorate the following week, presided over communion from the pulpit. Make of that what you will: better amplification perhaps, and that the thin space behind the altar was never meant for a versus populum service. (I recall getting a shoe wedged in.) And there’s no way that stone will move.
I was Googling for a set of 1939 orders of service from the Universalist National Memorial Church — where I was once minister and now, after a long break, am now a member — and found Sixteenth Street Architecture, a fine architectural survey of Washington, D.C. “avenue of churches” from just north of the White House to just south of Columbia Road, thus missing All Souls Unitarian, but capturing the recently-demolished brutalist Third Church of Christ, Scientist. (I blogged about it a few years ago.)
The section on UNMC is detailed and valuable, and includes photos of the construction.
Daisy the Dog took me out on my evening walk, and we happened upon the aftermath of the dedication, at the Indonesian embassy, of the statue of Saraswati, the Hindu deity of learning.
I was glad to see the dedication plaque: the right-hand plinth had a rough top for ages, and I thought it might have been vandalized!
If you are devoted to Saraswati, you can find her statue on Massachusetts Avenue, between 20th and 21st Streets, near the north exit of the Dupont Circle subway station.
So, my husband and I rode to the eastern terminus of the Washington Metro Silver Line on opening day yesterday. This is the first new subway — really, an elevated line — since 1991, and it goes through and past Tysons Corner, a local byword for big shopping malls, wide highways and mammoth office blocks. And until now, access by car or difficult bus connections. The plans for the future include more residents, and replacing an old-style suburban built environment with one more urban. But that’ll take many years.
As, indeed the rest of the planned, but not yet built, Phase 2 of the Silver Line. At least that’s scheduled for 2018, and not decades away. But the reason I suspect most in-town Washingtonians want to ride the Silver Line is to reach Dulles Airport, but that station is in Phase 2.
But the options to Dulles have improved.
The old “medium cheap” brown Washington Flyer bus — that only came in as far as East Falls Church Metro station — has been replaced by a blue Silver Line Express, to the Wiehle-Reston East station, the current terminus. It’s a shorter run, and also cheaper at $5.
Here are some notes:
When you arrive at Wiehle-Rest East, well, you’re really in a parking and bus transfer center. The station is in the median of the major arterial Dulles Toll Road, and so there’s no direct access. Go up the adjacent escalator, turn right out the enclosed vestibule. You’re now in an open-air plaza; turn right again. About thirty feet or so ahead is a path; look left. You will see a covered foot bridge over the Dulles Toll Road to the station ticketing area. There you can buy your fare; I’d recommend getting a SmarTrip card from one of the sales machine. You’ll save the cost of the card almost immediately, and spare yourself the trouble of fiddling with a paper fare card (for which there’s a $1 surcharge) and money. And there are discounts for using one.
Proceed though the gates, and down to the platform. and take any train.
Stand behind the bumpy edge on the platform.
When using escalators, stand on the right and walk on the left, unless it’s just packed solid.
On the return trip, just get on the bus. You’ll pay at the airport.
Horrible for Daisy the Dog! Some of her favorite sniffing places at the little, angular park in our neighborhood are trapped behind chain link fencing and barbed wire. The park has no formal name, but its impossible to not call it Schevchenko, for the large monument to Taras Shevchenko, “bard of Ukraine” in the middle of it. It has also been the site of rallies and demonstrations since the Russian-prompted annexations of Ukraine. Someone tucked a Ukrainian flag under Schevchenko’s right arm.
Not that you can get to the monument now. The fence went up yesterday, and when I walked Daisy last night, the plaza had been plowed up to the concrete slab.
Putin’s doing? More likely the National Park Service. Many of the plaza’s concrete tiles had come loose or eroded to reveal sharp reinforcing wire. The fountain hasn’t worked in our time in the neighborhood. Time for restoration. If Daisy can cope.
So, I made it to church Sunday, was greeted and then asked: how you seen the new church website. I had seen a preview, but not the release.
Seeing as I was the lead on the last revision a decade ago, I knew it was overdue for a refresh. And a new breeze is blowing…
I’m glad to point to Universalist National Memorial Church’s site at universalist.org.
Heeding God’s Call is a “a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence.” It has put out 176 t-shirts as a movable memorial for those dead from gun violence in metro D.C. in 2013. In June, it is installed at Church of the Pilgrims, Presbyterian, in my neighborhood.
As I wrote yesterday, one of the UUA backends has — if you know how to look — references to churches that are “not constituent[s]” though I suppose they must have all been thus at one time.
Since the larger list includes Canadian congregations (not listed here) that departed around Canadian Unitarian Council autonomy in 2003, this list has to be at least that old.
Which is also to reinforce that not all of these are dead. I see at least one Universalist church (Rockwell, Windsor) that has come and gone over the years. So also I can image a couple of community or federated churches doing fine outside the UUA.
But the rural and small-town Universalist churches and the marginally placed Unitarian fellowships are surely gone. Two were intentionally African-American-focused starts. (T.H.E., Atlanta and Sojourner Truth, Washington, D.C., which was long gome before I moved to D.C. in 2000.) The hardest to see is Epiphany, Fenton: the hoped-for firstfruits of a new age of Christian church planting. Others surely feel the same way about Panthea Pagan, Hoffman Estates. I’ll miss Muttontown’s sheep banner at General Assembly.
But many more are simply mergers. I recall the two in Flushing, Queens continue as one. Two in Minnesota. Saugus recently merged with First Parish, Malden. Oregon City’s merger even has a note online. Perhaps, too, the references to Dayton, San Diego and San Antonio?
Comments (and clarifications) welcome.
|'Not a Constituent Congregation'||City||State|
|Guadalajara Unit. Univ. Fellowship||Guadalajara||Jalisco|
|Coronado UU Church||Coronado||California|
|UU Fellowship of the Mendocino Coast||Mendocino||California|
|U. U. Fellowship Southern Marin||Mill Valley||California|
|Aliso Creek Church||Mission Viejo||California|
|U U Fellowship of the Ojai Valley||Ojai||California|
|Channing Society of Orange County||Orange County||California|
|The Chalice Unit. Univ. Church||Poway||California|
|U. U. Inland North County Fellowship||San Diego||California|
|Unit. Univ. Fellowship of Friends||San Diego||California|
|All Souls Unitarian Church||San Juan Capo||California|
|UU Fellowship of Leisure World||Seal Beach||California|
|UU Fellowship of Aspen||Aspen||Colorado|
|Darien-New Canaan Unit. Society||New Canaan||Connecticut|
|UU Fellowship of the Farmington Valley||Simsbury||Connecticut|
|Sojourner Truth Congregation of UUs||Washington||D.C.|
|U. U. Fellowship of South Dade||Homestead||Florida|
|Eastside UU Church||Miami||Florida|
|Thurman Hamer Ellington UU Fellowship & Ministry||Atlanta||Georgia|
|Rockwell Universalist Church||Winder||Georgia|
|Glenview Unitarian Fellowship||Glenview||Illinois|
|Panthea Pagan Fellowship, UUA||Hoffman Estates||Illinois|
|Sauk Trail Unit. Univ. Fellowship||Crown Point||Indiana|
|UUs of Northern Kentucky||Lawrenceburg||Indiana|
|UU Fellowship Johnson County||Prairie Village||Kansas|
|UU Church of Hopkinsville||Hopkinsville||Kentucky|
|Unitarian Universalist Fellowship||Ruston||Louisiana|
|First Universalist Society||Brownfield||Maine|
|Seneca Valley U. U. Fellowship||Gaithersburg||Maryland|
|First Federated Church||Beverly||Massachusetts|
|First Parish Unitarian Church||East Bridgewater||Massachusetts|
|UUs of Lowell||Lowell||Massachusetts|
|First Parish UU Church in Saugus||Saugus||Massachusetts|
|U U Fellowship Northern Berkshire||N Adams||Massachusetts|
|Church of the United Community||Roxbury||Massachusetts|
|First Unitarian Church||Stoneham||Massachusetts|
|First Unitarian Church||Ware||Massachusetts|
|U. U. Fellowship of Saginaw||Bridgeport||Michigan|
|First Universalist Church||Concord||Michigan|
|Epiphany Community Church UU||Fenton||Michigan|
|First Unitarian Church||Virginia||Minnesota|
|Burruss Memorial Universalist Church||Ellisville||Mississippi|
|Universalist Church of Westbrook||Concord||New Hampshire|
|Community Church||Dublin||New Hampshire|
|Dorothea Dix U. U. Community||Groveville||New Jersey|
|U U Gloucester County Congregation||Turnersville||New Jersey|
|Unit. Univ. Fellowship of Burlington County||Willingboro||New Jersey|
|First Universalist Church||Dexter||New York|
|Hollis UU Congregation||Flushing||New York|
|Unitarian Universalist Church of Flushing||Flushing||New York|
|Universalist Church of the Messiah||Fort Plain||New York|
|First Universalist Church||Henderson||New York|
|Unitarian Universalist Church||Lockport||New York|
|Muttontown UU Fellowship||Muttontown||New York|
|First Univ. Church Schuyler Lake||Schuyler Lake||New York|
|U. U. Fellowship of Fayetteville||Fayetteville||North Carolina|
|First Unitarian Church||Dayton||Ohio|
|Miami Valley Unitarian Fellowship||Dayton||Ohio|
|U. U. Society Western Reserve||Kirtland||Ohio|
|Community UU Congregation||Tulsa||Oklahoma|
|Unit. Univ. Community of Cottage Grove||Cottage Grove||Oregon|
|Valley Community U. U. Fellowship||Newberg||Oregon|
|Atkinson Memorial Church (merged)||Oregon City||Oregon|
|Boones Ferry U. U. Congregation||Oregon City||Oregon|
|Unitarian Fellowship of Bucks County||Fountainville||Pennsylvania|
|Venango Unit. Univ. Fellowship||Franklin||Pennsylvania|
|First Universalist Church||Woonsocket||Rhode Island|
|Brookings Unit. Univ. Fellowship||Brookings||South Dakota|
|First U U Fellowship Hunt County||Greenville||Texas|
|Community UU Church||San Antonio||Texas|
|Unitarian Universalist Fellowship||San Antonio||Texas|
|The Old Brick Church||East Montpelier||Vermont|
|Jenkins Unit. Univ. Fellowship||Chesterfield||Virginia|
|Lewis Clark Unitarian Fellowship||Clarkston||Washington|
|UU Congregation of Grays Harbor||Hoquiam||Washington|
|Fork Ridge Universalist Church||Moundsville||West Virginia|
|UU Fellowship||Buenos Aires|
|Tokyo Unitarian Fellowship||Tokyo 106-0032|
I meant to make this post available well ahead of Memorial Day, but that obviously did not happen. There will always be another occasion for wreaths and tributes at monuments, though.
But it wasn’t a national holiday that made me think about this subject originally. I live in Washington D.C., and live near several memorials to foreign luminaries. Embassies and ex-pats will often leave flowers in tribute, so I see a lot of these. And then there are the wreaths and other flowers left at the military memorials. Florists must do well around here.
But not all choices are equally good. Here are some ideas if you intend to leave a wreath or make a floral presentation at a public monument.
If I had to pick one action, plan for someone to clean up the wreath-remains within a few days. A pile of compost isn’t a tribute.
After that, choose the backing (and if needed, easel) well. The Ukrainian embassy left a wreath for the Schevchenko bicentennial earlier this year — in the context of a national crisis no less — but the flowers were attached to a plastic (think bread wrapper) covered foam hoop. Worse, it was too heavy for the wire easel, and with a slight breeze it toppled over and broke.
I found it broken I was out walking Daisy the Dog, but it was past re-staging.
Contrast this with a wreath the Slovak embassy left on the birthday of the first Czechoslovak president (and husband of American-born Unitarian, Charlotte Garrigue) Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The papier mache is stronger, so the wind did not destroy it, and the wooden easel adds dignity.
Or do without the easel, and mount the wreath with this tribute to the Madonna of the Trail, in suburban Bethesda. The coated wire provides a backing to hang the wreath. (And now I can imagine where the typical toothmarks of decay on old sandstone monuments comes from…)