All are welcome to the weekly Sunday worship service at 10:30 am!
What to expect
Worship services at Silver Spring are vital, engaging, diverse, and central to our life as a community. We strive to create a positive, welcoming environment.
People arrive for worship dressed in a variety of ways. The average attendee wears “Sunday casual” attire such as slacks with collared shirts or casual dresses. You will also find jeans, suits, tie-die, church hats, and a range of styles in between. Children generally attend ready to play in comfortable clothes.
Once a month, we worship as a multigenerational community, with children, youth, and adults in the service together for the entire hour. All other Sundays, children and youth begin in the worship service for the first 15 minutes or so before processing to their classes. Nursery care for the youngest among us (zero to three years) is offered every week by professional childcare providers in the lower level of the Administration building.
Every worship service is interpreted in American Sign Language. The sanctuary, which is on the upper level, is wheelchair accessible through an elevator near the building entrance, to your left as you come up the ramp from the parking lot. Restrooms are located on the lower level of the sanctuary building. Assistive listening devices are available from the audio engineer in the sanctuary.
Worship connects us, uplifts us, challenges us and comforts us. We are a diverse congregation, with a wide range of gifts, needs and perspectives, and our worship reflects us in this. The mood of a worship service can range from personal to political, spiritual to practical, individual to global, and reflective to humorous, grounding to inspiring – sometimes all in the same service!
We draw from our own Unitarian Universalist traditions, as well as finding inspiration from neighboring faiths. We treat all these traditions with respect and care, and celebrate a number of holidays within the church year that are meaningful to our interfaith families: the Rosh Hashana, Samhain, Christmas, Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Easter, Passover, and more. There are also a few uniquely UU religious festivals, such as the Water Ceremony in September and the Flower Ceremony in the late spring.
Our Sunday experience is one of the strengths we are proud of and glad to share with visitors. Though the elements of a service may vary from week to week, they always include live music. We have a choir, house band, Celtic music ensemble, ukulele ensemble, and a number of gifted solo musicians and vocalists within our church. We also invite local and national artists to celebrate with us over the course of the year. We sing hymns from two hymnals, Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey, and sometimes incorporate popular, folk, spiritual, gospel and world music into our congregational singing.
For the spoken aspects of our service, we draw on both sacred and secular texts. We also share in reflective readings, prayer, and silence for personal meditation. Most, but not all, of our services feature a sermon. Generally, these are delivered by our minister; however, during the summer, and occasionally during the rest of the year, a church member or guest preacher speaks on a special topic.
Look below to learn about and listen to some of our past sermons. Click here to visit our Sermon Archive for older sermons.
John Barker, who helped create and lead the Legislative Committee of Unitarian Universalists of Maryland (LegiCUUM), discussed the group’s social action legacy.
Thinking about How Lives Matter
Michael S. Franch – Ethical Culture Leader / Affiliate Minister
First Unitarian Church (Universalist and Unitarian), Baltimore, Maryland
Copyright © Michael S. Franch, 2017
Shared below is one of several reflections from the service.
As people of faith, we must confront hatred, bigotry, and white nationalism as part of a long-term sustanined movement – not an every-now-and-again thing. Where can we find strength for ongoing resistance? And how can we remain resilient in the face of such renewed racism and systemic injustice?
Description: “Inspired by the ‘Church in the Mirror‘ sermon delivered by congregant Charles Alexander, I reflect upon what I’ve learned about my internalized white identity and sense of superiority. With the help of beloved fellow travelers in the ongoing struggle to understand and overcome racism and white supremacy, I’ve discovered the damage whiteness has done to my spirit and to my capacity to live within the beloved community. I offer my vision of our church in this struggle including where we have been, where we are, and the possibilities for healing and liberation that stand before us.”
Around Valentine’s Day, a time where Love is traditionally coated in sugar and hallmark cards, we take time to reflect on the depth and breadth of the diversity of the ‘Loves’ that fill our lives. Guest minister Rev. Dylan Doyle-Burke explored the transformative role that Love can play in our personal, professional, and prophetic lives and ask the question: how can a commitment to Love inform the building of our beloved community?
Reverend Doyle-Burke is a Unitarian Universalist Minister currently serving the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He is a born and raised Unitarian Universalist who is especially passionate about Lifespan Faith Development and Social Justice, especially immigrant rights. Dylan is a published poet, essayist, and author and finds incredible power for healing and transformation in stories. His ministry is grounded in asking big questions and helping others connect with the mystery and awe that surrounds them.
Preston Mears grew up in the Episcopal Church, attended a Quaker school, Haverford College and then seminary at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, MA. He and Laurie, a life long Unitarian, have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. They have been members of the UUCSS now for 4 years along with their daughter Rachel and her family. Preston was ordained in 1966 in the Episcopal Church and served in parish work for 8 years before transitioning to social welfare work. He worked on the federal Food Stamp Program (now called SNAP) from 1974 to 1984 as a welfare office supervisor with the New Hampshire Department of Welfare. He transferred to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and served as a field supervisor and then as a senior program analyst until retirement in 2010. He continues to be active in the field through his involvement in the Prince George’s Food Equity Council.
The modern field of African American Biblical Interpretation approaches Jewish and Christian scriptures through the lens of the interpreter’s experience, rather than the author’s presumed mindset. This approach avoids Eurocentric and patriarchal tendencies and liberates scripture from being anchored in time. Delilah’s story exemplifies how dominant scriptural interpreters have marginalized and degraded women and cultural “others,” and how a fresh examination can reveal their heroism and courage. The still-developing African American interpretive enterprise offers itself as a model for rehabilitating our Fourth UU Source to address injustice today.
Bob Clegg is a UU seminarian at Wesley Theological Seminary and is working on a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Studies at American University. Next year he plans to open Justice Jobs, a nonprofit jobs office in Baltimore or Frederick, serving people who are reentering the workforce from incarceration, addiction, and chronic unemployment. Bob is a member of the UU Congregation of Frederick, MD, and he lives with his wife Connie in New Market, MD, with their three cats.
- On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
- Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
- The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce
How does ritual connect us to the sacred? Our new Director of Religious Education Catherine Boyle discussed her time spent at Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan and the power and meaning of ritual within Shinto.