Rev. Michael S. Mulberry, who is Senior Minister at Billings First Church (UCC) in Billings, Montana, shares a call to worship for “Rally Sunday.” Rally Sunday is a tradition of celebrating the re-gathering of young and old together after vacations in the beginning of the autumn season and the northern hemisphere school schedule. Often the focus is on faith formation or educational aspects of congregational life. Michael writes, “I am adapting from insights provided by the Westar Institute regarding religious literacy. I just thought, more than ever, we need to be stressing religious literacy in our Christian Education as a way of promoting conflict resolution, peace, and right questioning. So I am using this as a frame to start our new year.”
RALLY DAY! LITURGY (adapted from the Westar Institute)
One: We are a congregation of religious literacy and public liturgy: We believe in accurate information and informed discussion—
All: We soften edges, build relationships, and make God’s Beloved Community possible. And we develop sound logic, seek out verifiable experience, and reference reputable sources. We strengthen ties cross-culturally, ecumenically, and in interfaith settings.
One: We teach our children that new questions are welcomed. We invite our young people to challenge historic faith and popular convention.
All: While our senior members model a compassionate and complex tradition. Courageously, they have been willing to discuss controversial issues related to religion. We pray that their example and care will teach a new generation how to speak truth to power.
One: So today we celebrate the legacy and ongoing mission of our church. We establish safe spaces to express doubts and raise questions. We learn ourselves, confront fears, draw a bigger picture of our community.
All: So that other faiths and practices might thrive, learn, and teach.
And we all might grow.
One: We have volunteered or started a nonprofit, Invited religious study professors and provided a forum for specific questions or concerns, and inspired people to wonder more about deep questions.
All: Today we celebrate that as our mission: We are a people of religious literacy and public liturgy. We rally to express our joy in this identity.
May we not be conformed by the patterns of this world but transformed by the renewal of our minds! (Romans 12:2)
For more information on the Westar Institute, take a look at their website https://www.westarinstitute.org/