chalice

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands

Worship

Rev. Jennifer KelleherOur Sunday services are led by our minister, Rev. Jennifer Kelleher, with one service monthly led by guest ministers or lay speakers.  Please scroll down to see our upcoming services.

Ours is a free pulpit, which means that speakers are welcome to share their perspectives without worrying about being censored. Every Sunday theme is different, so keep coming back to learn more! You can also listen to podcasts of our sermons.

We begin each service by lighting our chalice, which unites us in worship and represents the spirit and values of Unitarian Universalism. (Members and Friends of the congregation are invited to sign up to light our chalice each week.)  Services typically include several pieces of music, a reading, a Story for All Ages, a moment of meditation and prayer, Sharing of Gifts (collection), three hymns, the recitation of our congregational affirmation, and a 15-20 minute sermon. Music is an integral part of our services with the regular participation of our choirs, music director, and guest artists. Learn more about our Music Program.

On the side walls of our sanctuary hang two matching trees of life, each holding about a dozen battery-powered candles. Before the service begins, you may light one of the candles to represent a joy or concern. The candle will remain lit for the duration of the service. If you have a joy or concern that you would like read aloud during the meditation portion of a Sunday service, please write a short note in the small book on the Membership desk by the front door of our lobby. This enables others to keep your shared message in their thoughts and prayers.

Once a year, we hold a Blessing of the Animals service, to honor the non-human beings large and small who are part of our families.

If you’re thinking about visiting us for the first time, welcome! You may find it helpful to read the Visitor Pages.

Our weekly worship services are held Sunday mornings at 10:00am.

FEBRUARY 2017 WORSHIP

The theme UUCSH will be exploring this month is:  “What does it mean to be a Community of Identity?”

February 5, 2017 -Religioin, Family, & Culture
Rev. Rosemarie Newberry

There are many influences that form our sense of self and moral foundation. Today we look at 3 of these from a Unitarian Universalist perspective.

February 12, 2017 – 4 C’s of Unitarian Universalism
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher and Chris Buja,  Director of Lifespan Faith Development
Music:  UUCSH Adult Choir, Susan Schneider, Will Magalio

This morning we will continue to explore “What it means to be a community of identity?” We will build on our lesson from last week about what our families pass down to us; and how those items and characteristics might influence how we understand ourselves. Rev. Jennifer will lead a reflection on 4Cs of Unitarian Universalism–characteristics of precious jewels handed down to us in the lineage of this chosen faith we share.

February 19, 2017 – A Million Reasons
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music:  UUCSH Adult Choir, Susan Schneider, Will Magalio

Ever feel like giving up on something or someone? On other people, this country, our faith? This Sunday Rev. Jennifer will lead us in exploring what we’ve learned throughout our UU history about holding on.

February 26, 2017 -The Other Side of the Counter
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music:  Will Magalio

What do people see when they encounter us? How do we see others? This Sunday will be the culmination of our month-long reflection on what it is to be a community of identity.

JANUARY 2017 WORSHIP

The theme UUCSH will be exploring is this month is:  “What does it mean to be a Community of Prophecy?

January 1, 2017: In A Flash – It’s A New Year!
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: Will Magalio & Melanie Davis

Recognize the turn of the year in spiritual community. Rev. Jennifer will lead us as we reflect on what we wish to say goodbye to from 2016 and what we hope to welcome in 2017.

January 8, 2017: Radical Theologian
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Today’s theme is informed by the theological revolutionary, Unitarian Minister, and activist — Theodore Parker. In the 19th century Parker preached that there is but “one kind of religion, as there but is one kind of love”. His doing so was so radical at the time it made him an outcast within the fledgling Unitarian denomination. What might Parker’s life teach us about faith and community today?

January 15, 2017: Courageous Disruption: Reflections on MLK, Jr. and #BlackLivesMatter
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: UUCSH Adult Choir, Susan Schneider, Will Magalio

This weekend, across the country, people will join together for community service and worship in the memory of civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King’s prophetic voice has touched countless; in his lifetime and after his death. How might his actions, which disrupted the old Jim Crow laws, inform the present movement for black lives and the end of anti-black prejudices?

January 22, 2017
Rev. Rob Gregson, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministries of New Jersey
Music: UUCSH Adult Choir, Susan Schneider, Will Magalio

January 29, 2017
Terry Cummings
Music: Will Magalio

DECEMBER 2016 WORSHIP

The theme UUCSH will be exploring is this month is:  “What does it mean to be a Community of Presence?

December 4, 2016: Winter is Coming
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: Will Magalio

Sometimes winter can feel like a season we are bracing ourselves against.  We might fear the icy days to come; possible storms ahead that could cause damage – to our homes or to our bodies. In the popular book and television series, Game of Thrones, the phrase “Winter is Coming” is a call to prepare for the onset of disaster, the end of life as it is known. What does it mean to be a community of presence as we approach what some dread may be a bleak midwinter? What might we learn from this advent season about faith, trust, warmth and unity?

December 13, 2015: Praying to God?
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: Will Magalio

As we continue our theme of what it means to be a community of presence we will focus this morning on the spiritual practice of prayer. Do Unitarian Universalists pray? If so, to whom or what? What does a UU prayer sound like? Do you need to pray in a certain way? Join us this Sunday as we question prayer and explore how we might find answers in a practice that holds deep meaning across many religious traditions; including Unitarian Universalism.

Members, family and friends are invited to  celebrate with UUCSH this winter holiday season!

December 18, 2016: Candles of Faith – Annual Winter Holiday Pageant
UUCSH’s children and youth directed by Kelly Dziak, with Director of Lifespan Faith Development Chris Buja
Music: UUCSH’s Young Musicians, directed by Will Magalio

Come on out for UUCSH’s winter holiday pageant as it explores the connections of Hanukkah and Christmas through the stories of Herschel and the Hannukah Goblins and the Christmas Candle! The pageant is a multi-generational event that celebrates the shared values of winter holidays. Children, youth, and adults don their costumes and bring these stories to life! UUCSH’s Young Musicians will bring their musical talents to the performance.

Christmas Eve/Chanukah Services

Saturday, December 24
4:30 p.m. Service: Sacred & Sparkling, Holy & Held

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher and Director of Lifespan Faith Development Chris Buja
Music: UUCSH Adult Choir, Susan Schneider, Will Magalio & Guests

Join us for this special Christmas Eve and first night of Chanukah joint-celebration. This service is designed for all ages and will include stories, songs and caroling by candlelight. Together we will light the menorah and act out the story of Jesus’ birth. You are invited to bring warm winter hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and socks to place under our tree. They will be donated to those in need in Somerset County through Project Homeless Connect.

5:30-6:15 p.m. Fellowship: Cookies & Cider 

Come and enjoy this beloved UUCSH Christmas Eve tradition with us: hot cider, cookies, and fellowship during the hour between services.  All are invited to bring cookies to share; all are welcome, with or without cookies. J

6:30 p.m. Service: The Light We Kindle
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: UUCSH Adult Choir, Susan Schneider, Will Magalio & Guests

This meditative service reflects on the spiritual meaning of Christmas and Chanukah. Both are recognized, by their respective traditions, as celebrations of hope and joy. This night, as we sing and light candles, we seek to remind one another of the hope and joy present in the world. You are invited to bring warm winter hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and socks to place under our tree. They will be donated to those in need in Somerset County through Project Homeless Connect.

December 25, 2015: Presents/Presence – A Christmas Morning Service
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: Melanie Davis

What was the best present you ever received? Who was it from? How did it make you feel? What was the most meaningful gift you ever gave? Our Christmas Morning service invites us to reflect on the emotional and spiritual presence of giving and receiving. You are invited to bring warm winter hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and socks to place under our tree. They will be donated to those in need in Somerset County through Project Homeless Connect.

NOVEMBER 2016 WORSHIP

The theme UUCSH will be exploring is this month is:  “What does it mean to be a Community of Story?

November 6, 2016: How We Write the Next Chapter
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: Will Magalio

This year’s election cycle has brought forth an unprecedented amount of fear, anxiety and angst, regardless of political affiliation.  We find ourselves on edge.  Hearts are tender.  Let us take time this Sunday to breathe together, reflect together, and remember that our congregation’s story is one of community, belonging, and hope.

November 13, 2016: The Arc of the Universe is Long
Service Auction Winners’ Sermon Topic
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher
Music: UUCSH Adult Choir, Susan Schneider, Will Magalio

This sermon will share and explore the life of 19th Century Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker, his influence on our faith and lessons we might learn from his life.  The winner of last year’s UUCSH Annual Service Auction chose our sermon topic, the life of Theodore Parker, for Rev. Jennifer.

This year’s service auction is Saturday, November 19th and Rev. Jennifer is again offering the opportunity to determine one of next year’s sermon topics – bidding begins at $1.00.

November 20, 2016: Beyond Gratitude
Rev. Jennifer Kelleher & Director of Lifespan Faith Development Chris Buja
Music: Will Magalio

The Thanksgiving holiday is strongly associated with gratitude and a remembering of the things of which we are thankful.  However, the remembrances and rituals we often share come from a particular perspective: the way the Pilgrims told the story.  Join us this Sunday for interactive imaginings of how “the first Thanksgiving” may have looked like and felt from multiple perspectives as we go “beyond gratitude”.

November 27, 2016: TBD
Rev. Tony Johnson
Music: Will Magalio

st High St. in Somerville, NJ. Let us strive to work toward the beloved community through active community involvement and engagement to bring about social change in our communities. This year’s theme is “A Cry for Justice”. Our guest preacher will be Pastor Maurice Daniels of St. Thomas A. M. E. Zion Church and a major highlight of the celebration will be presentations by our youth representing area churches. All ages are welcome!