The No Rehearsal Pageant

Sample Orders of SErvice

Several years ago after the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, the minister serving that congregation sought to re-build community by adding a new practice—having the congregation greet one another at the end of the Service. This practice of ending the Service with members and visitors talking to one another leads to everyone connecting and learning about each another, and no-one feeling alone as they go out to coffee hour. Since learning about this practice, I have embraced including this ritual at the end of every Service.

I have been utilizing theme-based preaching for about ten years. In 2018 my staff and I began using the Soul Matters curricula for Whole Church Ministry, bringing theme-based ministry to all aspects of church life. The Orders of Service below reflect our Whole Church Ministry.

At DuPage UU Church we have Services with children attending during the beginning of the Service (after which we sing them out to their classes) as well as multi-generational Services with the children in attendance during the entire Service. Here are two sample Orders of Service:

The Sanctuary Within


Welcome Board Member

Chalice Lighting Youth

Prelude The Storm is Passing Over by Charles Albert Tindley sung by DUUC Choir

Call to Worship Reverend Tom Capo

Time for Gathering Reverend Tom Capo

Sing Children Out with hymn #16 “Tis a Gift to be Simple” words by Joseph Bracket, American Shaker Hymn

Joys and Concerns

Hymn #352 “Find a Stillness” words by UU Carl Sandburg, Transylvanian hymn

Meditation Reverend Tom Capo

Special Music State of Emptiness by Catherine Dalton, sung by DUUC Choir

The Sanctuary Within Reverend Tom Capo

Offertory Words

Offertory Music

*Hymn #90 “From all the fret and fever of the day” words by Monroe Beardsley, music by Cyril Taylor

*Benediction Reverend Tom Capo

*Greet One Another

Let the Mystery Be



Welcome                                             Board Member

Chalice Lighter installation                   Youth                       

Prelude   Arctic Moon by Wynn-Anne Rossi            

Call to Worship Reverend Tom Capo

*Hymn #123 “Spirit of Life” words and music by Carolyn McDade

I Wonder by Ananka Harris                      Reverend Tom Capo

*Hymn #343 “A Firemist and A Planet” verses 1 & 2, words by William Herbert Carruth, music New England Folk Melody

The Mystic and the Scientist   Director of Religious Education

*Hymn #343 “A Firemist and A Planet” verses 3 & 4

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Ross Sisson read by Director of Religious Education

(Young and young at heart create night sky by cutting out stars and putting them on black background on one wall of the sanctuary)

Offertory Words                                    Reverend Tom Capo

Offertory Music “Let the Mystery Be” by Iris DeMent

Reflections                              Reverend Tom Capo

*Hymn #1064 “Blue Boat Home” words by Peter Mayer, music by Roland Hughes Prichard

*Benediction                                           Reverend Tom Capo

*Greet One Another

Life Transition Rituals and other Services

I have officiated well over 50 weddings, 20 memorial/celebration of life services, numerous child dedications, and an eldering ritual. As well, I’ve created other services and rituals for the congregations I have served (Blue Christmas Service, Communion Service, Vespers Service).

In preparation for a wedding I spend time with the couple and help them create the wedding of their dreams. I offer the couple multiple resources including a how-to guide for crafting a wedding ceremony. I also offer premarital counseling, utilizing the Prepare-Enrich materials.

In preparation for memorial services I have several conversations with the family as we work together to write a celebration of life service that will honor their loved one. From the beginning of the process, I clearly communicate to the family that I am available as a resource; the scope of my role in the service is determined by their vision.

I have created a Child Dedication Ceremony that includes a short paragraph written by the parents describing their child’s traits, favorite things, etc., as well as their hopes for their child. As the child is dedicated into the care of the congregation, these details help the congregation to feel a stronger connection with our newest (and most adorable) little members.

I am happy to provide samples any of these rituals and ceremonies.

Buddhist Adult Education Class

Buddhist Adult Education Class

Supporting Adult Enrichment

Adult Enrichment is a component of church life that excites and inspires me to bring a variety of learning opportunities to the congregations I serve. I particularly enjoy inviting my interfaith colleagues as guest presenters, allowing congregants to learn more about various religious traditions from the leaders of those traditions. I thoroughly enjoy participating in book study groups. In my past two congregations I started a Christian Theology and History book study, exploring non-canonical scriptures from the Nag Hammadi Library. These book studies have continued in both congregations. I also research new curricula published by the UUA and the Fahs Collaborative and offer these to the congregations that I serve. I have facilitated the Beloved Congregations and Creating Theology Together (Fahs Collaborative) curricula.

Spiritual Direction

During my last settled ministry, I undertook a year-long training program on Spiritual Direction Groups in Congregational Settings, sponsored by the UUA. Upon earning my certification I trained members of the congregation as facilitators and started several Spiritual Direction groups at DuPage UU Church. Both facilitators and participants experience these groups as enriching and supportive of their personal spiritual journey. These groups continue to thrive.