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General Assembly 2001 Event 3002
Worship Leader: Rev. Dr. Sarah Oelberg, minister, the Nora Church, Unitarian Universalist, Hanska, MN
(Cleveland, OH—June 23, 2001) Morning worship began in the Cleveland Convention Center's Public Auditorium with a prelude by Gladys Rudolph, choir director/organist of the First Unitarian Church in Toledo, OH. The chalice was lit by service participant Daniel Schatz in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) formation. The congregants were invited to sing the opening hymn, "We Build on Life's Wonders" (to the tune of "We Gather Together").
The service celebrant, Rev. Dr. Sarah Oelberg, and Schatz led a responsive reading, which was followed by a stirring interlude, "This House," written and performed by David Schafer, a member of the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT.
Oelberg's homily, "Joining Together," reflected on the events which led up to the formation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, a consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Unitarian Church of America. Read the complete text (PDF, 7 pages) Oelberg said, "Since then, I think we have seen many changes and benefits from these two denominations—which may have been more different than we realized—casting their lots together.
"Universalism was based on hope and the love of God...they have taught the Unitarians to loosen up and be more accepting of diversity. Unitarians had stood on the foundation of freedom, reason and tolerance...which did not always extend to people who didn't agree with them...Unitarians were more organized top down, but Universalists had more congregational liberty...the mix has been good.
Oelberg continued, "I think it is because of the different attitudes the Universalists brought to the table that we have a more nuanced theology and are as accepting as we are. Most Unitarian churches were and still are in cities and suburbs...the one I serve in a small town, is a notable exception. Some of the Universalist churches were in small towns and rural areas, and because some of its members were farmers, fisherman, and so on, we have received a deeper understanding of the love of the environment and ecology than we might have otherwise.
"In this fortieth year since merger, the strength of the two parts has allowed us to meld in many ways...it is indeed a time to celebrate our joining together."
The closing hymn, "We Sing the Joy of Living" (words by Deane Starr), was sung in celebration of the tradition that is today's UUA.
Reported by Deborah Weiner.
Rev. Marta Flanagan; June 25, 2001; Cleveland, OH
Please observe a respectful silence as you enter the worship space for the Prelude. Thank you.
"We Build On Life's Wonders"
F .A. Webster
From Rev. Dana McLean Greeley, first President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
"This House "
"We Sing The Joy Of Living"
Rev. Dr. Sarah Oelberg is the minister of the Nora Church, Unitarian Universalist in Hanska, MN.
Daniel S. Schatz is a ministerial intern with Dr. Oelberg. He is currently serving as half-time minister of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes in Chocorua, NH, and will receive preliminary fellowship tomorrow.
Gladys Rudolph has been choir director and organist for the First Unitarian Church of Toledo, Ohio for over twenty years. Our thanks to Gladys for sharing her gift of music with us
Our thanks to the Rev. Doug Strong for his assistance in designing the cover graphic.
David Schafer wrote the words and music to "This House." He is a member of the Unitarian Society of New Haven in Hamden, CT, a composer and musician by avocation, and a molecular scientist by profession.
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:
Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.
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Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.
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