A Rolling, 3-Hour Worship Service

On April 5, the UU Congregation of Duluth MN hosted a rolling, 3-hour worship service for the participants at this year’s Prairie Star District Annual Conference and their own members. Some might question the wisdom of inviting anyone to a 3-hour service, but this service was spectacular! This service provided the answer to this question: how do we serve our own congregation members on Sunday as well as host 200 – 300 additional people who’ve been attending the Annual Conference at the hotel all weekend?

The invitation said, “Welcome to our three hour rolling earth revival, a celebration of the cosmic creation story and our place in it. Please make yourself comfortable and stay for as much of the celebration as your schedule allows. Please time your traveling in and out of the sanctuary to coincide with the end of any of the worship elements. The places in the order of servcie marked with an arrow are perhaps the least disruptive times to move about.”
Each hour provided a variety of elements that kept people of all ages engaged and energized. There were a couple of slide shows to accompany stories; music by a massed choir and others; a Council of All Beings in which the animals “talked” and discussed the challenges they currently face; giant masks of the sun and moon; short sermons by three ministers; and a stardust ritual [with glitter] to celebrate that we each are part of the unfolding universe.

Gail Marriner, the interim minister of UUCD, was involved in every aspect of planning and helped make the service enjoyable for children. The children gathered up front for a craft activity while they listened.
Here are some of the animals at the Council of All Beings:
Bear and Frog
Giraffe and Eagle
Members of the choir were from Duluth and from the conference goers:
The masks, created by Mary Plaster, added drama to the setting.
And the themes for the three hours were: We are Made From Stardust; Evolution – We are All Connected; and Into a Green Future. The service seemed especially appropriate because we were in the “green” church dedicated by the congregation just a year ago.

Much preparation, many elements to the service, the involvement of many people, and to this worshipper, it all worked splendidly!


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