Argentine Unitarian Christians to hold first worship

If I’m reading the notice correctly, the Unitarian Christian Church of Argentina, in Buenos Aires, will hold its first worship service, for Christmas, at 7:30p.m. on December 29.

From their site, in its entirety:

Culto Navideño – Oración Vespertina
Los invitamos muy cordialmente a participar de nuestro primer culto como congregación cristiana unitaria a llevarse a cabo el próximo martes 29 de Diciembre a las 19:30 hrs en Carlos Calvo 257 (entre Paseo Colón y Balcarce), Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires.

A quick Google check shows the address is the Danish Church.

Three random thoughts:

  • While I know nothing about the minister — nor does he disclose anything, though customarily we recognize indigenous religious leadership — I have a hard time faulting anyone in Geneva bands.
  • Vespers is exactly the kind of worship I’d recommend for a new or small church having a Christmas service. It’s not too long but can scale with the judicious use of music, doesn’t need a sermon, and is less (over)wrought than Lessons and Carols.
  • My great-great grandfather was a Calvo, and perhaps a Carlos Calvo, but he was a Spaniard, not an Argentine publisher.

Blessings for them in this work.

A simplified Christmas service

A colleague — no names — asked around for ideas for a very simple Christmas service. Can’t help but oblige seeing as I’ve been there myself and — who are we kidding? — I love this stuff.

I’d have a reduced liturgy, described later, but having all the expected bits and concluded with a benediction. Twenty minutes, a half hours tops.

It should be solemnly joyous yet liturgically “vulgar”. That it, it should have little homespun, local touches and an ample amount of congregational participation, but with enough custom and direction to keep it from being a mess. The Thanksgiving harvest service in the form of a canned food offering is an example of this kind of action. If the congregation is small, shared “My Christmas prayer is . . . . ” might work, or setting up a creche at the beginning of the service, or a special exception to food in the meetinghouse (cookies!) passed out as people come in.

Ditch the usual sermon, too. Who has time to write something proper for the Christmas morning service anyway? Granted, I doubt the value of an original weekly sermon; rather I’d hear a really good one a third as often. There are a number of good, short Christmas meditations to fill that need. Does anyone have the citation for the Howard Thurman work from which the Singing the Living Tradition element was extracted? Do comment. If I find it first, I’ll append the citation to the bottom of this posting.

Then, take the “extra time” and sing, sing, sing. Either belly the congregation near a piano in the meetinghouse or adjourn to the parlor, but let people move or excuse themselves when the “proper service” is over.

Now that service. There’s a pretty good one in the old red Hymns of the Spirit, number twelve, but I’d strip out all the service music, the formal liturgical greetings (“The Lord be with you. . . .” etc.) and choose one, perhaps two of the collects (page 48) and never all of them.

It isn’t online but the related “red hymnal” service two is.

Morning prayer (lightened) from any number of sources would be a good alternative for non-Unitarian Universalists or those who can’t get the hymnal. The old 1960s Church of South India service number one is a robust place to start; I just discovered there was a 2004 revision which I shall investigate later.

If you have resources that would help, or directions that work, add them in the comments.