Rev. Aaron Payson

graphic of loudspeakers announcements

“This paper will be published weekly, reaching its readers every Saturday. It has been started because it is believed the needs of the First Universalist Church of Worcester demand it.

These are some of the ends which it is hoped it will serve:

To keep all the friends of the church informed of its work; and in close relations with it.

To be a weekly reminder that this church stands for vital interests in the community, and needs the sympathy and help of all who in any way regard it as their religious home. In this busy age when so many things are competing for people’s attention and time, the church must keep in close and vital touch with its constituents if it is to have its share of their consideration, and it is believed that a weekly visitor like this will greatly aid to that end.

It will save also the giving of notices from the pulpit, which is rightly regarded by many as a great disfigurement to the service and an ineffectual way of informing the people of the news of the church.

The fact that the weekly parish paper is being almost universally adopted would indicate that it commends itself to those who have the interests of the church most deeply at heart.”

Rev. Dr. Vincent Thomlinson, announcing the first edition of The Message to the congregation of the First Universalist Church of Worcester, September 28, 1901

So, there we have it in black and white. As far back as the beginning of the 20th century, our congregational forebears grappled with Sunday morning ANNOUNCEMENTS! And, while so much has changed since our days on Pleasant & Chestnut Streets, this issue continues to fester like a genetic predisposition. And, to be honest, the genesis of this disposition is something to celebrate. We are an active, engaged community with many interests and passions. This has not changed, nor should it. Our vibrancy as a community of faith is found in this. Let us continue to manifest this heritage with all the might we can muster.

HOWEVER! Let us consider it the supreme challenge of this generation of the congregation to begin to shift the culture of how we announce and proclaim such passions. We have, since my arrival here 20 years ago, attempted to include announcements before the service, during the service and now after the service. We publish 3 regular communications a week, one of which, The Message, is particularly oriented toward announcements and reminders.

Our challenge, like so many other vital communities (remember Tomlinson’s words “In this busy age when so many things are competing for people’s attention and time, the church must keep in close and vital touch with its constituents if it is to have its share of their consideration. . .”) is to shape THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS in which we engage each other and invite others to participate in the many worthy activities and to confront the many important issues we face; programs and events which, for the most part, highlight our own programming.

And, to be blunt, to begin to honor our covenant with those who teach and mentor our children in the Religious Education Program so that we do not take constant advantage of them by being consistently late with our services. As well, there are many who have other Sunday commitments that they’d like to keep without short-changing their opportunity to socialize following the service.

So, what to do? What. . . to. . . do? How about this!

  1. Send your written announcement and any picture media to our Office Administrator, Jennifer Landry () by 9 am Monday morning to be included in the weekly Message which is published every Tuesday. These announcements are also posted to the church website ( If you would like a short mention on the sign in front of the church contact the Office Administrator () by Monday at 9 am.
  2. If you have last-minute announcements that miss the message, send them to the Office Administrator () by Tuesday, 9am to be added to the weekly Nugget which is published every Wednesday. (This is not the preferred method and should be used only for last minute messages occasionally)
  3. If you have an announcement that did not make it into the weekly Message or Nugget and you wish to have it included in the Weekend Reminder, which is published every Friday, please send it to () by 9 am Thursday.
  4. If you would like your announcement to be included in the announcement slides at the beginning of service send them to our Minister () by 9 am Thursday morning. The slides are published on Fridays each week. We now have the technology to view this weekly set of slides on the television sets in the Lounge (prior to services) and the Fellowship Hall (during Fellowship Hour).
  5. Sign up as a Worship Associate on Sunday(s) and include a short pitch about your event or program as a part of the service. We invite people to sign up each Sunday to: 1) Light the Chalice; 2) Read the welcome; 3) Read the opening words; and 4) introduce the weekly offering. Contact the office to sign up to participate in an upcoming service.
  6. Sign up with those planning your program or event to host Fellowship Hour following service and include information about your event with the goodies and coffee! Sign up to host Fellowship Hour at ().
  7. Set up a table during Fellowship Hour to meet and greet UUCW members and friends.
  8. If your event is a UUCW sponsored event and you would like to have it published through other online means (, twitter, facebook, nextdoor, meetup, UUCW press release, poster, etc.) please email ()
  9. If your event is particularly relevant to Unitarian Universalist communities, and you want to share the event with other UU Churches in the area, contact the Minister () who can send information through UU ministerial networks. If your event/program is relevant to other area non-UU faith communities the Minister can also send info through other local clergy networks.

P.S. Related to all of this is also the important task of spreading the word about what we are doing here on the corner of Shore Drive and Holden Street. To further this end, consider the 5 MOST IMPORTANT WAYS YOU CAN SPREAD THE WORD!

  1. Invite your family and friends to attend church on Sunday morning. Remember, sharing something that has been important to you with those you love and like (inviting) is not the same as telling them you have all the truth (proselytizing).
  2. Join us on Facebook ( – don’t forget to like the page or give it a review – and Twitter ( and repost/retweet the programs and events.
  3. Purchase a UUCW T-shirt (speak to our RE Director Robin Mitzcavitch – to purchase yours), and wear it proudly to community events and UUCW activities!
  4. If you have your own blog or website, write about your involvement in this congregation and invite people to visit
  5. Put a UUCW bumper-sticker on your car (speak to Denise Darrigrand – ) or visit the inSpirit Bookstore sponsored by the UUA to find other ways to promote this faith!