Dear WUUC Community,
Last month, our Worship Team collaborated with the folks at Evergreen UU Fellowship in Marysville to do a collaborative service honoring Easter and Passover. It went well, and I think everyone involved learned a lot by shaking things up and doing things a little differently than we normally would. The EUUF folks taught us some things about how they do worship, and we showed them some of what we’ve learned from transitioning to hybrid (in-person and virtual) worship services.
The lesson that sticks with me most from that experience, however, wasn’t about how to use our technology better, or how to construct the Order of Service differently; the lesson that sticks with me most is about the mindset we approach our worship planning with. The Evergreen folks live by the mantra: It’s about connection, not perfection.
I’ve noticed that since going to hybrid services, there have been a lot more roles and volunteer positions added to the Sunday morning worship team. We’ve got people who operate the cameras, people who run the sound board, a Zoomkeeper managing the online experience with the help of a Zoommate ready to jump in if needed. And then there’s the Worship Leader, who works with me to plan the content of the worship service. There are a lot of details to manage, and if I’m being honest, sometimes we get bogged down in the details. Sometimes we get so focused on making sure that all of the details are perfect, that we forget that our goal with the Sunday worship service is not about creating a slick, highly-produced piece of entertainment; it is an opportunity (an invitation, really) to come together, have a communal experience, and renew our spirits. It’s about connection, not perfection.
Now, of course I want our worship services to be interesting and engaging. I want them to be warm and welcoming, whether you attend virtually or in person. But I do find that when I plan and lead worship, I show up more authentically (and the services generally are better quality) when I remember the mantra that Evergreen uses: It’s about connection, not perfection. When this is my orientation, the end result is often better.
I think that this applies to other areas of church life too, not just worship. Have you ever been to a committee meeting that had way too much of the agenda left at the end of the meeting because everyone discussed the details of one item for way too long, trying to get it just perfect? Or have you ever missed the point of what someone tried to share with you because you were focused on the way they worded their statement, rather than what they were trying to express?
I’m guilty of all of these, by the way. And that’s why, when the folks at Evergreen shared their mantra, it really resonated deeply with me. It spoke to a truth that I hold close: we are in community to connect with each other. To support and love one another. We are not in community to perfect (or fix) each other. This is why those “religious” words like Grace and Forgiveness are important: they help a bunch of imperfect people (and we are all imperfect people) get along together. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.
For now, just remember: It’s about connection, not perfection. Repeat as necessary.
Peace and Blessings,