Regular weekly worship services begin at 10:00 a.m. Nursery care and Sunday school are provided during worship. Coffee is available upon arrival and a social time with refreshments follows worship. We hope you will join us.
The first Sunday of each month we have a communion service in which all are welcome to participate.
For some time the worship committee discussed ways to add beauty to our worship space. Serendipitously, a young woman, who grew up at Sojourners, approached a committee member, saying that she would be a summer art intern and wondered if we would be open to an art installation. We joyfully accepted her gracious offer. The purpose of art in worship is to help us find new ways to imagine God, our relationship to God and to each other. Through art we experience our roles as co-creators with God.
The artist noted, “The artwork was based upon our conversation about who we are as Sojourners and how our space can reflect our ministry. Words and phrases that we identified as important were as follows: love; a sense of being held; beauty; and extravagant welcome. The circular and spherical elements were created to represent a sense of love and being held, the size of the installation and the swaths of fabric were incorporated to create the feeling of extravagant, beautiful welcome. Another concept that was important in our discussion was continuity. The colors of the installation as well as the circular elements and fabric banners joined together to create a feeling of visual continuity in space.”
In 2016 messages from a Lenten sermon were posted around the sanctuary on giant sheets of paper. Then on Easter, Sojourners were invited to use colorful post-it notes to write down their hopes and place them on the posters of their choice.
For Lent in 2015 we gathered Wednesday evenings to rethink the cross as a representation of the suffering of the world. Through a social justice reorientation of the Stations of the Cross we bore witness to injustice, considered how and where domination systems exist, and how we would respond to the suffering of the world. Soup suppers were followed by time to bear witness, reflect and have conversations. In 2014 our Lenten programs were organized around the theme of “Creativity: Giving Up Your Fear of Being Creative.”
In 2014 one of the Wednesday evening Advent activities planned by the Worship committee centered on turning “Ads into Advent.” This amazing star was added to other Advent art installations in the sanctuary.
For Advent in 2013, Sojourner Brian McCrory, who is an artist & photographer, created a couple of works for us to display in the sanctuary. One of his pieces, entitled “star child,” is shown here. The Advent celebrations centered on the theme of “Birthing God.”
The tree banner was made by Mo Nichols, during our time of worshiping at the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging. It represents our being rooted in the soil of faith, the unity of the trunk, the diversity of the branches, and growth in the spirit. If you look closely, you will see that an image of Sojourner Truth has been sewn into the trunk.
It has been part of the membership ritual since the very early days of the church. When new members join the church they tie a ribbon into the circle. Together the ribbons signify the weaving together of our lives and the values of diversity and inclusiveness that are so important to us.
The Table in the center of the worship space is egg shaped, representing again the theme of nurturance and new life. It is connected to this new phase in the life of Sojourners in that it was made especially for use in the new space. It also represents our prayers for new life for God’s people and God’s world. In presenting the table, the maker noted that one of the boards has a blemish, that the boards are not quite parallel with the axis of the table, that there is in fact very little that is straight or square, all of which makes the table a bit eccentric — appropriate for Sojourners.
The Lectern, like the table, was crafted by Sojourner, David Marshall. When he presented it to the church he had this to say
Before I even finished the table I knew that I would have to do a lectern too. The new table and the old lectern just didn’t fit with each other. I knew I somehow wanted to repeat the shape of the legs but how to do that wasn’t immediately obvious. But over many months of toying with it on the back burner of my mind this is what has evolved. You may think I have made it out of a different wood. All that has happened is that the cherry table has darkened over the months and this cherry is fresh but it will darken too as it gets older. I can tell you that I’m sure this lectern is unique…. it’s… as far as I know, original, like Sojourners. I looked at lecterns on several web sites and I didn’t see anything like this. “Some of you have seen things in the design that I didn’t consciously intend, like the shape of the foot resembling the Sojourners symbol. If you’re interested here are some other things: obviously it has three legs – a trinity – less obviously, both the base and the middle ring are made up of seven pieces of wood. Also, perhaps appropriately, there is very little straight about it.
In 2008 David submitted the design for the lectern in a contest run by Wood Digest: The Key Resource for the Woodworking Professional and won first place for commercial design.
We have been fortunate to benefit from the talents of many in the role of guest preacher. During the interim period — between called pastors — we were especially grateful for the many individuals who shared their talent, their hearts and minds with us. Sojourners has several active and retired clergy and chaplains as well as Members in Discernment, Brittany Caine-Conley and Seth Wispelwey, and seminarian, Molly Lasagna, who have delivered messages here. Tracy Howe Wispelwey, until recently a Member in Discernment, now an ordained pastor, preached for us from time to time too.
There are also a lot of musicians at Sojourners. Tom Hansen has sung some of his original works including “Birthing God” for which he used the Gospel of Luke, Meister Eckhart and reflections from our Worship committee to create the lyrics, and “New Age” with lyrics based on words from one of his books.
A couple of times a year, members of the Charlottesville Women’s Choir, an a cappella group which rehearses here, supplies the music for worship. It’s always a blessing to have them with us.
Over the years our Worship committee arranged a traditional Tenebrae Service for Good Friday and a joyous Easter service. It also often organizes a Gathering of the Waters service for the church in September. It’s a time when Sojourners come back together after summer vacations and everyone is encouraged to collect a small sample of water marking a place on their “journeys” to be pooled together during worship. Brief reflections on the source of the water and the blessing the person hopes it will bring to Sojourners are shared. Afterwards, the water is boiled and saved for baptisms.