We gather in worship to find meaning and live more deeply. Worship creates connections within, among, and beyond us, calling us to our better selves, to live with wisdom and compassion.

Unitarian Universalist worship styles vary by congregation, and even within congregations. Some congregations’ worship is contemporary and high tech. Some congregations’ worship is traditional and formal. Some feature exuberant music, some include long periods of silent reflection. At UU San Mateo, our worship services are always crafted to be interesting, stimulating, thought-provoking, and inspiring.

Elements of a typical Sunday-morning worship service include:

  • Words of welcome
  • Lighting one or more flaming chalices, symbol of our religious tradition
  • A multi-generational segment, such as a story “for all ages”
  • Music, both instrumental and vocal (both solo and group performances), in a variety of styles, with lots of opportunities for congregational singing
  • A time for lifting up the joys and concerns of the members of our congregation
  • A meditation or prayer
  • Readings – ancient or contemporary
  • A sermon given by our professional minister, a guest speaker, or a member of the congregation
  • An offering, collecting financial donations to support the work of our congregation or justice work in the community.

From time to time, our worship services incorporate holiday celebrations, multi-generational plays and pageants, longer musical performances, child dedications, and coming-of-age ceremonies. Depending upon the time of year, a worship service might explore the traditions associated with a major religious holiday, be it Jewish, Christian, Pagan, or another faith tradition. Our Children’s Chapel gives young people a chance to explore religious concepts with our spiritual leaders several times each year. We offer childcare and learning programs for children and youth of all ages on Sunday mornings; the only exception is multi-generational services, when children and youth stay in the Sanctuary and only nursery care is available.