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This blog is maintained by the History and Archives Committee of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria, Illinois. To learn more about our church, visit www.peoriauuchurch.org.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Memorable Sunday Services

I'm willing to bet that for a lot of people reading this, the very first service you attended at the UU Church of Peoria will always stand out in your mind—maybe because it touched you deeply, or maybe because you thought "These people must be crazy," or both! And if you've been coming awhile, there are probably other services that you remember because they were especially moving, creative, funny, or unusual in some other way.

I invite you to tell us about your first service or other services that were especially memorable to you, and what you thought of them. I'll start us out with the first story—just look for the comment link below and add your own.


Kathy Carter said...

The first service I attended was in September 2001. It happened to be the Sunday immediately after 9/11. (I had been thinking of trying out the church before then, but just hadn't gotten up the nerve yet.) It was a lay service, and because of all the tragic events of that week, the mood was very subdued, almost somber. What I remember most is that there were people playing guitars and singing folk songs from the 60s. (It was special music by Craig Curtis, Mat Timm, Deana Wilt, and Kathy Coats, but of course I didn't know them, so to me they were just "some people.") I thought the services must have that kind of music all the time. I guess it fit with my image of the church being "different." I also remember that although I thought the sanctuary had some beautiful features (this was the old church on Hamilton Boulevard), at the same time it seemed kind of stark to me because the wall at the back of the chancel was completely bare, except for a poster that I think the band had hung there. So you were just staring at this blank wall with cracks in the plaster, and it seemed kind of cold and forlorn. But that was also partly because of the general mood of that week, I think. Bob Fuller was the speaker and I thought his talk was interesting. I remember people asking whether Michael was safe.

Larry & Terry said...

The most beautiful moment I ever experienced when attending our church services was in the early 70s, when Jim Wilkes was our minister. The service that morning was presented by a group of protesters of the Vietnam war. While the audience was discussing among themselves the issues involved in the war, it was suggested that each person give a sign of his/her commitment to the cause of promoting unity and peace among all the peoples of the earth. At that moment Pat Harris held out her infant daughter, probably less than a month old, to the person next to her in the pew. From there the infant continued to be passed from person to person and from pew to pew, just as we pass the collection basket today. When the baby reached me I was moved both by the symbolism of this human birth as well as Pat and Warren's willingness to share her with us. I realize that some of our members thought this service was inappropriate, but I wish that all had had the opportunity to see and participate in the "Ceremony of the Harris Baby."
Larry Matthews

Anonymous said...

Our first Sunday in the UU Church of Peoria was also the first time our completed family appeared in public. By that, I mean it was three weeks after our youngest daughter, Michelle, was born in October, 1968.

We had been very active Catholics. Both of us had made a Cursillo, been on Marriage Encounters, weekend retreats, and had investigated the concept of referring to ourselves as Radical Catholics (read, Radical Left).

Larry Matthews and Jim Hafele suggested that we give the UU Church a try. We thought we'd visit just once. We walked into the 908 Hamilton church with five little girls, one was a newborn, then 1 1/2, 3, 5 and 6 years old—each wearing a white lacy little hat-scarf. Some of them attempted to genuflect like they did in the Catholic Church and one, Joanie, did it backwards. Some of the girls were making the sign of the cross and all of us were trying to locate the kneelers.

We were certainly out of our element, so imagine our surprise when, after the service, people came up to us and said, "You're from the Catholic Church, aren't you?" How did they know?

Pat (and Warren) Harris