The WUUC Worship Team is seeking to fill a limited number of positions on its team of Worship Associates. In case you have ever wondered what Worship Associates do besides what you see during Sunday Services or if you have wondered if this role might interest you, please read on.
THE ROLE of WORSHIP ASSOCIATES on THE WUUC WORSHIP TEAM
The purpose of the WUUC Worship Team is to work closely with the ordained minister to assure that worship serves the spiritual needs of the congregation and that worship services run smoothly. In keeping with Unitarian Universalist principles, members of the worship team participate in worship and worship planning as representatives of the congregation as a whole, and in a role that highlights the importance of members of the congregation ministering to each other. The Worship Team includes Worship Associates, the Choir Director and Choir members, Special Music Coordinators, Ushers, and Earth Based worship leads.
As members of the Worship Team, Worship Associates have two primary sets of responsibilities:
- Worship Associates assist with Sunday, holiday, and other services. Each service has an assigned Worship Associate. The Worship Associate is part of the professional face of the church and helps to set the tone and hold the energy for worship.
- Worship Associates collaborate with the ordained minister and others in planning, preparing, and evaluating worship services. While the minister has freedom of the pulpit and holds ultimate responsibility for worship at WUUC, Worship Associates provide input and advice on worship-related matters. Worship Associate duties may vary from week to week, but generally include:
- Collaborate with the minister or guest speakers to make sure that each portion of the service is planned well ahead of time, including Call to Worship, Chalice Lighting, Time for All Ages, readings, hymns, choir or special music, sermon, or other activities.
- Host and offer extra support to guest speakers. This may include contacting them in advance and giving them a chance to ask questions, greeting them when they arrive and orienting them to the building and sound system, and helping them feel comfortable and welcome.
- Make sure that the Order of Service is drafted, submitted to the WUUC office administrator, and revised in a timely manner.
- Coordinate with others involved in the service, including ushers, sound board managers, musicians, Time for all Ages presenters, and others depending on the service.
- Physically set up for the service. This includes testing the chalice; replenishing oil, wicks, and various candles; filling the water bowl for Joys and Sorrows; tidying and straightening the front of the sanctuary; providing a glass of water for the speaker. It may also include setting up Audio Visual equipment.
- Lead parts of the service from the pulpit. This may include the Call to Worship, Chalice Lighting, Welcome, Readings, Joys and Sorrows, Time for All Ages, and invitations to hymns and the offering. At times the Worship Associate may offer a short personal reflection or give a brief homily about the service topic.
- Clean up after the service, including rinsing and drying the water bowl and stones.
EXPECTATIONS OF WORSHIP ASSOCIATES
Sunday Services: Worship Associates are scheduled to assist with Sunday services between three and six times a year, depending on how many worship associates are on the team. Schedules are established three months ahead. Preparation for each service requires several hours of coordination, planning, and practicing. If a Worship Associate finds they can’t do the scheduled service they have agreed to, they are responsible for finding a replacement. Worship Associates are expected to be completely familiar with their spoken narratives, having practiced in advance as much as necessary to provide a smooth and welcoming presentation.
Monthly Meetings: The Worship Team meets for two hours each month. The purpose of the meetings is to advise and support the ordained minister in any aspect of worship that the minister and/or the Worship Associates wish to discuss. This includes setting directions for the experience of worship at WUUC, giving feedback on services, offering input on future services, and helping to compose liturgical texts, especially portions that are spoken by lay people.
Training and Retreats: The Worship Team has a commitment to ongoing improvement in the experience of worship at WUUC. To that end, each Worship Associate participates in training at the beginning of their service and at least once a year after that. Training may include readings and discussions about creating effective and meaningful worship experiences and opportunities to practice leading worship. During their training, Worship Associates shadow an experienced mentor; at the beginning of their active participation in services, worship associates continue to be guided by an experienced mentor.
RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION
The Worship Associates are chosen by the ordained minister and the Worship Team co-leads. The Lead Worship Associate will inform the congregation that there is a need for new Worship Associates, describe the criteria for being a Worship Associate, and invite written Expressions of Interest from potential Worship Associates. The minister may sometimes assist with recruitment. After the Expressions of Interest are completed, there will be an in-person discussion with the worship team co-leads, the minister, and the potential Worship Associate. Selection will be based on the match between the goals of the potential Worship Associate and the needs of the Worship Team, including the over-all balance of the group.
Every Worship Associate should have a deep interest in worship, organizational skills, the ability to speak clearly, candidly but kindly, and constructively, a good intuitive sense of what makes a worship service effective, and interest in ongoing skill development. Public speaking skills are highly desirable. Worship Associates are expected to be WUUC members and to have regularly attended services at WUUC for at least six months.
A downloadable form for submitting an Expression of Interest in being a Worship Associate is available here.
Please submit completed Expressions of Interest to the Lead Worship Associate, Chick Sweeney at email@example.com