What to expect at a Sunday Service

Unitarians are free from dogma and as such there is no service book or standard liturgy used. Each congregation is independent and free to design a form of service to suit its own community.

At the Octagon, a member of the congregation greets everyone at the door. Those attending a service for the first time, as well as returning visitors, are always offered a very warm welcome.

The Octagon has no resident minister. Services are led by visiting speakers and ministers ordained in the Unitarian and Free Church tradition, lay leaders and members of the congregation. This contributes greatly to variety in our worship. A visitor may find the format of our services at the Octagon quite familiar – hymns, music, periods of silence for prayer/meditation/reflection, an address and readings, however, the content is anything but traditional.

In common with Unitarians worldwide, we begin by lighting our Chalice, which symbolises the spirit of love, truth and liberty in which we join together for worship. At the Octagon we often ask the children to participate in this ceremony.

Every service focuses on a theme chosen by the service leader. Readings are taken from a wide variety of sources, both sacred and secular. The words of many Unitarian hymns are quite different from those used in other Christian traditions, although some may be sung to familiar tunes. In recent years some of our service leaders have successfully introduced new and more creative elements into their services. Music plays an important part in our worship and every service includes a musical prelude, interlude and postlude often played by excellent visiting organists.

The whole service lasts about an hour, after which everyone is invited to join together for tea, coffee and fellowship. Unitarians enjoy listening to the opinions of others and our community particularly values the views of visitors.

We have wheelchair access, an accessible toilet and a ring and loop system in the Octagon, and there is wheelchair access and an accessible toilet in the adjacent Martineau Hall.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Octagon.

One of our services has been recorded by UKunitarianTV. Have a look and see what you think: https://youtu.be/ZsLKf7qb34U