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Service of the Living Tradition

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General Assembly 2010 Event 2112

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Led by the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group, this service honors fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders, remembering those who have died, recognizing those who have completed active service, and welcoming those who have received fellowship or credentialed status in the past year. Rev. Paige Getty, minister at the UU Congregation of Columbia, MD, delivers the sermon, "More Than Meets the Eye." A graduate of Wesleyan College and Harvard Divinity School, the Rev. Paige Getty received preliminary fellowship and was ordained in 2000. She did student ministry in San Diego, CA; was interim minister in Overland Park, KS, in 2002-03; and has served the UU Congregation of Columbia, MD, since 2003. She and her spouse, Graham, have two young children, one of whom was born after this program was compiled.

Donate to the Living Tradition Fund

Order of Service (PDF)

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary.

Pre-Service Ingathering

[Beth Syverson speaking]

Welcome to the 2010 Service of the Living Tradition. I'm Beth Syverson, your music leader for this service. We're going to begin with a few songs to get everyone in the mood for worship with their fellow Unitarian Universalists who are celebrating the lives of those who have built and continue to build our denomination. All the music in tonight's service is composed or arranged by Unitarian Universalists.

Our first song is "We Give Thanks" by Wendy Luella Perkins, a Unitarian Universalist Minister from Kingston, Ontario.

"We Give Thanks" by Wendy Luella Perkins

Oh, we give thanks for this precious day,
For all gathered here, and those far away;
For this time we share with love and care,
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.

Oh, we give thanks for this precious day,
For all gathered here, and those far away;
For this time we share with love and care,
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.

[Beth Syverson speaking]

Our next song is by another Canadian UU—Joyce Poley, who is a singer-songwriter and song leader who lives in Surrey, B.C. Let's sing "When Our Heart Is In a Holy Place" together.

"When Our Heart Is In a Holy Place" by Joyce Poley

When our heart is in a holy place, 
When our heart is in a holy place
We are blessed with love and amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.

When we trust the wisdom in each of us,
Every color every creed and kind,
And we see our faces in each other's eyes,
Then our heart is in a holy place.

When our heart is in a holy place, 
When our heart is in a holy place
We are blessed with love and amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.

When we tell our story from deep inside,
And we listen with a loving mind,
And we hear our voices in each other's words,
Then our heart is in a holy place.

When our heart is in a holy place, 
When our heart is in a holy place
We are blessed with love and amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.

When we share the silence of sacred space,
And the God of our Heart stirs within,
And we hear our voices in each other's words,
Then our heart is in a holy place.

When our heart is in a holy place, 
When our heart is in a holy place
We are blessed with love and amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.
When our heart is in a holy place.

[Beth Syverson speaking]

Next we'll sing "Let This Be a House of Peace," a beautiful litany of intention with text inspired by Unitarian Universalist poet and prophet Kenneth Patton and music by our own troubadour Jim Scott. Jim has led services or performed concerts in over 300 Unitarian Universalist churches through North America. He'll be leading this song for us tonight. At the end of this song, after the 4th verse, enjoy a chance to freely harmonize and improvise on the words "Let this be a house of peace."

"Let This Be a House of Peace" by Jim Scott

[Jim Scott leading]

Let this be a house of peace
Of nature and humanity, of sorrow and elation
Let this be our house
A haven for the healing
An open room for question,
And our inspiration

Let this be a house of peace,
Let this be a house of peace.

Let this be a house of freedom;
Guardian of dignity and worth held deep inside us
Let this be our house
A platform for the free voice,
Where all our sacred differences
here shall not divide us.

Let this be a house of peace,
Let this be a house of peace.

Let all in this house seek truth
Where scientists and mystics abide in reverence here
Let this be our house
A house of our creation
Where works of art and melodies consecrate the atmosphere

Let this be a house of peace,
Let this be a house of peace.

Let this be a house of prophesy
May vision for our children be our common theme
Let this be their house
Of myth and lore and legend
Their trove of ancient story
and cradle of their tender dreams.

Let this be a house of peace,
Let this be a house of peace.
(repeat several times)

[Beth Syverson speaking]

The final song in our Ingathering Music set is by Unitarian Universalist singer-songwriter Amy Carol Webb. She's here to lead her song "Stand!" which was sung by the GA choir during the Sunday service at the 2009 Salt Lake City General Assembly.

"Stand!" by Amy Carol Webb

[Amy Carol Webb leading]

I will stand with you—Will you stand with me
And we will be the change—That we hope to see
In the name of love—In the name of peace
Will you stand, will you stand with me

When injustice raises up its fist
And fights to stop us in our tracks
We will rise and as one resist
No fear nor sorrow can turn us back

I will stand with you—Will you stand with me
And we will be the change—That we hope to see
In the name of love—In the name of peace
Will you stand, will you stand with me

When pain and hatred churn up angry noise
And try to shout down our freedom song
We will rise in one joyful voice
Loud and clear and ever strong
I will stand with you—Will you stand with me
And we will be the change—That we hope to see
In the name of love—In the name of peace
Will you stand, will you stand with me

When broken hearts come knocking on our door
Lost and hungry and so alone
We will reach as we have reached before
For there is no stranger in this our home
I will stand with you—Will you stand with me
And we will be the change—That we hope to see
In the name of love—In the name of peace
Will you stand, will you stand with me

In the name of love—In the name of peace—
Will you stand, will you stand with me

 

Welcome

[The Reverend Beth Miller speaking]

Good evening. I’m Beth Miller, Director of Ministry and Professional Leadership at the Unitarian Universalist Association. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this year’s Service of the Living Tradition. This evening, we will remember those who have died in the past year. We will thank those who are retiring from active service and congratulate those receiving ministerial fellowship and credentials as religious educators and congregational music leaders. We will hear fine preaching and excellent music. We will sing and speak and offer our gifts.

Those coming before us tonight have accepted a powerful call to the work of religious leadership. The newly credentialed bring the gifts of their minds and hearts and souls, and place them on the altar of our collective faith in our presence this evening. These individuals embody a significant portion of our high hopes for the future of Unitarian Universalism. As we remember the deceased and thank the retiring, we are mindful of the many ways in which their lives have shaped both the past and the present of our movement. Together, these people represent the Living Tradition that this service honors.

Once again, welcome. May this be a rousing time, a hallowed time, a time for each of us to be touched by the mystery and wonder we recognize as the sacred.

So, let us now rise in body or in spirit and join in the processional Hymn, Rank by Rank to welcome them and begin this evening’s service. We will begin with an instrumental verse which will be repeated between sung verses.

Processional

[Congregation singing; lyrics on screen]

[Instruments-only verse]

Rank by rank again we stand,
from the four winds gathered hither.
Loud the hallowed walls demand
whence we come and how, and whither.
From their stillness breaking clear,
echoes wake to warn or cheer;
higher truth from saint and seer
call to us assembled here.

[Instruments-only verse]

Ours the years' memorial store,
honored days and names we reckon,
days of comrades gone before,
lives that speak and deeds that beckon.
From the dreaming of the night
to the labors of the day,
shines their everlasting light,
guiding us upon our way.

[Instruments-only verse]

Though the path be hard and long,
still we strive in expectation;
join we now their ageless song
one with them in aspiration.
One in name, in honor one,
guard we well the crown they won;
what they dreamed be ours to do,
hope their hopes, and seal them true.

[Instruments-only verse]

Chalice Lighting

The Reverend Diana Heath

[The Reverend Beth Miller speaking]

We light the chalice this evening to honor both the fullness of the past which grounds us and the vibrancy of the future which beckons us onward. Kindling the flame of our faith is the Reverend Diana Heath, wife of the Reverend Dr. William J. Metzger, one of twenty-two of our beloved minister who passed away since last we gathered to celebrate the Service of the Living Tradition.

May the flame kindled in this chalice tonight glow for lives transformed by faith and given freely in the service of love and justice. Amen.

Invocation

[The Reverend Beth Miller speaking]

And now these words of invocation written as a covenant by another of our ministers who died this year, the Reverend Walter Royal Jones:

Mindful of truth ever exceeding our knowledge
And community ever exceeding our practice,
Reverently we covenant together,
Beginning with ourselves as we are,
To share the strength of integrity
And the heritage of the spirit
In the unending quest for wisdom and love.

May our time of worship inspire us to make it so.

Introit

[Choir singing]

"Lift Your Voice and Sing"

Lift your voice! Lift your voice! Lift your voice! Lift your voice!
Lift your voice! Lift your voice! Lift your voice! Lift your voice!
And sing! And sing! And sing! And sing!

Lift your voice and sing in celebration!
Spirit calls and moves our hearts to praise.
Come and see the world alive with wonder.
Dare to dream the earth a place of peace.

Lift your voice and sing in celebration!
Spirit calls and moves our hearts to praise.
Come and see the world alive with wonder.
Dare to dream the earth a place of peace.

Lift your voice! Lift your voice! Lift your voice! Lift your voice!
Lift your voice! Lift your voice! Lift your voice!
Sing sing! Sing! Sing! Sing!

Remembering Those Who Have Died

The Reverend Peter Morales

[Rev. Morales speaking]

In this annual Service, we honor those who have dedicated their life’s work to the ministry we as Unitarian Universalists share. We begin, as we have for generations, with the roll call of those who have died in the past year.

Some whose names we call tonight had long careers and long retirements and died peacefully at advanced ages. Others died too soon, still engaged in active and vital ministries. All will be remembered with appreciation and affection by those they loved and those they served.

As I call the roll of those Unitarian Universalist ministers who have died in the past year and we view their images on the screens, hold the memory of their ministries in your hearts.

[A presentation of their photographs will be shown as the names are read.]  

  • The Reverend James Marshall Bank
  • The Reverend James Madison Barr III
  • The Reverend Carl Bierman
  • The Reverend Dr. John Nichols Booth
  • The Reverend Dr. Harry Kern Brobst
  • The Reverend Robert William Brownlie
  • The Reverend Dr. Forrest Church
  • The Reverend Joseph Ira Craig
  • The Reverend Jean Lois Witman Gilpatrick
  • The Reverend Polly Laughland Guild
  • The Reverend Grant F. Haskell
  • The Reverend Kenneth C. Hawkes
  • The Reverend Stephen Davies Howard
  • The Reverend Dr. Timothy Ward Jensen
  • The Reverend Dr. Walter Royal "Roy" Jones, Jr.
  • The Reverend Marjorie Newlin Leaming
  • The Reverend Dr. William J. Metzger
  • The Reverend Suzanne Pike Meyer
  • The Reverend H. Kyle Nagel
  • The Reverend Judith Brown Osgood
  • The Reverend Arnold Farrow Westwood
  • The Reverend Robert Sumner Wolley

Prayer

[Rev. Morales still speaking]

Please join me in a time of reflection and prayer.

Come, spirit of compassion, of humility, of gratitude, that lives within each of us and among us all.

May our hearts be filled with profound gratitude for the service of these ministers who have died. In their lives they heard the call of love and answered that call with lives of commitment and service. They kept the faith. They shaped our faith. They passed on a living, vital tradition. They spread the message of the power of love. They taught the principles of our faith. And they taught most powerfully by the lives they led.

Their work is our work. Their ministry is our ministry. It is the ministry of each and every one of us. May the lives of these faithful ministers inspire us.
We pray also for comfort and consolation for those closest to these ministers. May those who knew and loved them feel our compassion and our thanks. We grieve with them. We also celebrate with them these extraordinary lives.

Now, in silence, let each of us honor those who have passed and reflect on our on our place in this living faith.

Silence  

[Peter sits down; 30 seconds of silence with chalice on the screen]

Music

[Choir singing; Paige Getty narrating]

"boundless joy"

this darkness
surrounds
and swallows me whole
free of mind,
free of body,
free even of breath
all is joy,
all is boundless
joy
is all
boundless joy
free of mind,
free of body,
free even of breath

Honoring Those Completing Service

The Reverend Erik Wikstrom
Ms. Anne Bancroft
The Reverend Makanah Morris

[Introduction: Erik Wikstrom speaking]

The twenty eight ministers whom we are recognizing next answered the call to ordained ministry and have served our movement with courage, compassion, conscience, and creativity. Together, they have given nearly six hundred and twenty years of service—and that’s just the time they’ve served as ordained persons. Before their ordinations, and I’m sure following their retirements, their service will continue, because that’s just who these people are.

Whether they discovered their calling young and followed it lifelong, or whether they discovered it in their middle years, we are grateful that they discovered ministry, and ministry discovered them. They passed life through the fire of thought and thought through the fire of life, and our congregations, and our movement, are the better for it. After all names are read, our retiring ministers will stand and receive the congregation’s recognition for their dedicated service, and its best wishes for a long and hale retirement.

[Anne Bancroft speaking]

  • Nancy J. Anderson
  • Walter R. Braman
  • Jeremy John Brigham
  • Carolyn R. Brown
  • Frank Watson Carpenter
  • Barbara Child
  • Mary Louise DeWolf
  • Jim Eller
  • Robert H. Flanders

[Makanah Morris speaking]

  • Ruth Jacquot Gnagey
  • Margaret Andrews Hart
  • Roberta M. Haskin
  • Doris Leenhouts Hunter
  • Alice Buchanan Lane
  • Marguerite D. Lovett
  • James H. Macomber
  • Anne Marsh
  • Johanna L. Nichols

[Erik Wikstrom speaking]

  • Lucy Hitchcock Seck
  • Henry Richards Ticknor
  • Michelle Therese Tonozzi
  • Sue M. Turner
  • Ralph A. Tyksinski
  • Enid A. Virago
  • William Morley Weir
  • Allen Wells
  • John H. Weston
  • Wade Wheelock
  • John Lester Young

Litany of Appreciation

[Erik Wikstrom still speaking]

Will the retiring ministers please rise in body or in spirit as the congregation reads the Litany of Appreciation for your faithful service.

Rev. Wikstrom: For the life passages you sanctified; care you offered; silent witness you bore; and for all the tears of joy and sorrow you shed with your people:

All: We rejoice and give thanks for the gifts of your heart.

[Anne Bancroft speaking]

Ms. Bancroft: For the words you offered in truth and love; words of prophecy, instruction, comfort, and invitation; poems, prayers, laments and celebrations:

All: We rejoice and give thanks for the gifts of your mind.

[Makanah Morris speaking]

Rev. Morris: For your vision of a world more peaceful and just; for study and action, rallies and marches, letters and petitions, phone calls and meetings:

All: We rejoice and give thanks for the gifts of your passion.

[Erik Wikstrom speaking]

Rev. Wikstrom: For preaching, teaching, witnessing, organizing, facilitating, supporting, and being there; for your leadership in congregation and community; for souls touched, hearts inspired, and lives transformed:

All: We rejoice and give thanks for the gifts of your dedicated service. May your days be long and joyful, and when your end-time is near, may the serenity of a life well lived be your joy. Amen.

You may be seated.

Anthem

“Now Is the Time”

[Choir singing]

Now is the time for hearts to be open; 
no better time, this moment of grace.
This is the day, we can't wait for tomorrow, or someday:
now is the time.

Now is the time for planting and tending
seeds borne of hope, commitment and faith.
Cherish this day, and the power in knowing why we say:
now is the time.

Love is the lesson, and the legacy we know.
Now is the season for the seeds of love to grow, and so...

Now is the time for vision and courage,
witness to love, to spirit and truth.
No better day than the promise of this one,
so we say: now is the time.

Now is the time for hearts to be open;
no better time, this moment of grace.
This is the day, we can't wait for tomorrow, or someday:
now is the time.
Now is the time.

Sermon

Beautiful Faces and Complex Natures

[The Reverend Paige Getty speaking]

I have been on sabbatical and maternity leave for the past four months, which means I’ve had the opportunity to read more than I usually do in the busy months of spring… although I’m probably not reading a lot of the same things my colleagues are reading, since being home from church in the evenings during the week means I’m on bedtime duty and reading a lot of Todd Parr and Fancy Nancy and Dr. Seuss books to our four-year-old—and, of course, It’s Not the Stork, since there’s a new baby in the house. Recently, that four-year-old pulled The Velveteen Rabbit off the shelf. She doesn’t yet quite grasp the subtlety in the message about toys becoming real, but she listens intently, anyway, as I read…

“Real isn’t how you are made,” says the Skin Horse to the Velveteen Rabbit. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long, time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real. … It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” (Williams 12-13)

As I read, I am tearful, thinking, This is what I want for you, my child—for you to be loved, really loved. To have people in your life who love you because they choose to know you for who you are, not merely for what they see on the surface, not for who they want or need you to be. But who love you for you.

Real isn’t how you are made. You become. It takes a long time.

Love, in this sense—for us who are not storybook toys— is not necessarily about affection or adoration, not about romance or parenthood. This love is about making a choice—a choice to turn toward one another, to say, I will look at you. I want to know you. I will try to see you for you. I will not turn away from you, ignore you, pretend you don’t exist or don’t have needs or aren’t legitimately my human sibling. I will look and see you. As Annie Dillard said, “We are here to abet creation and to witness to it, to notice each other’s beautiful faces and complex natures so that creation need not play to an empty house.”

How often, really, do we genuinely see one another with the desire to know one another? Do we stop at the surface, noticing only the shabbiness, the quirkiness, the polished veneer? Or do we take the time to see through that to the beautiful faces and complex natures of our companions?

I, for one, am very much in touch with my own needs and desires, and much of my energy is focused on protecting and defending those needs and desires. Mine. But I have pledged myself to a religious tradition that demands more of me than simply getting my own needs met.

Our religion demands that we reach beyond our most basic human impulses and strive for wholeness, for beauty, for transformation. It demands that we accept and encourage one another in spiritual growth; that we respect our interdependence with one another and with all Life; that we actively promote peace, justice, equity, liberty, compassion in our human relationships. If being a Unitarian Universalist means anything at all to me, then I must accept those demands as more than just words. They are my religious calling—a calling that would have us be in real relationship with one another… a calling that would have us recognize that we are more than individuals sharing the same space—we are beings who depend on one another if we are to be whole. We must be seen and heard and known by other loving beings if we are to fulfill our religious calling. If I am to participate in that endeavor, I must see, really see others’ beautiful faces and complex natures—not just as a projection of, or response to, my own needs and desires, but for who they are. That is love. That is abetting creation. That is making life real.

Many of us—and I assure you I include myself—are in the habit of turning away… away from those with whom we disagree, or who make us uncomfortable, or who offend us, or who baffle us. We don’t notice beautiful faces and complex natures, not if our first impression is of someone who is too different, or too poor, or too wealthy, or too religious, or too conservative, or too liberal, or just too much… It’s easy to turn away. It’s comfortable to turn away. And sometimes it may even be right to turn away. But not always, not generally, not habitually—and not in a covenantal religious community.

I dare say that none of us is here because we truly believe that ease and comfort are the only purposes of a religious life. Maybe all this talk of real connection, of loving one another, of striving for spiritual growth, is just talk. But I refuse believe it. We are here—not just here at General Assembly, but also in our home congregations—because we are compelled by a sense that a meaningful life requires us to connect with something beyond ourselves. We are Unitarian Universalists because we long to matter, to make a difference in our world—in our own lives and in the live of others. And so when we turn away—or, at least, don’t turn toward—one another, we do so at the expense of our own longings, at the expense of our religious commitment.

Barriers exist between us. Sometimes we explicitly shut one another out because we refuse to allow that there might be a justifiable perspective that’s different from our own. More pervasively—though understandably in our busy lives—we simply do not engage with one another. We don’t really see the depth and breadth of one another’s lives. We don’t notice one another’s beautiful faces and complex natures.

As we imagine who we are and who we are meant to be—not only those here on stage at the beginning of their professional ministries, but all of us as a people longing to be real—let us imagine what real relationships, real love might look like. Imagine what it might be like to devote time in the business and busy-ness of our lives to talk with one another about what really matters to us. Imagine what might happen if we paused long enough to ask questions like, “Who are you? What do you love? What makes your heart sing?” Imagine what it might be like for someone to ask you, and for you to answer. It feels a little risky to me. It feels a little vulnerable. And it feels hopeful.

So I think we need to take a risk and dare ourselves to get a little uncomfortable in service of Good, of Love, of God. As a member of my congregation suggested earlier this year, if we really want to grow spiritually, then we ought to dare our formally educated selves to do something that doesn’t rely on being formally educated, but that relies on us being human.

Look around you right now, and imagine what you might learn if you spoke openly and honestly about yourself with someone you see. Imagine all the things she doesn’t yet know about you—about what really makes you tick, what you love, who you are. Imagine what kinds of things you might learn about him. Imagine what might happen at an annual meeting in your home congregation if you really did come to see one another’s beautiful faces and complex natures. Imagine seeing one another for the first time in a new way. Imagine loving one another into becoming real.

Think of someone in your life whom you’ve dismissed, written off, convinced yourself you cannot relate to, or put in a box—she is “the hard-headed one”; he is “the self-involved one”; there’s “the atheist”; “the difficult one”; “the weird one”; “the one who can’t keep his kid under control”. And now imagine sitting down with that person for thirty minutes and asking, What do you love? What makes your heart sing? When are you the happiest? What difference do you want to help bring about in the world?

Imagine that someone asked you those questions and that that person cared, really cared, to hear your answers.

There is more to each of us—more beauty, more complexity, more depth, than we often see in one another or allow to be exposed in ourselves. There is more to Unitarian Universalism, too. And more to the world in which we exist. We do much good and sacred work together—justice-making, religious education, music, theology. Even our business is sacred business, and the impassioned debate is important. But often we undertake the sacred work without adequate acknowledgement that at the heart of it all is a person… and another person… and another person… Each with a divine spark, each with a powerful spirit, each longing to be noticed, to be real. And so, just as each of us individually might heed the call to notice one another, to really love one another, we might also consider that we are called collectively to abet creation and to witness to it.

I think it may have happened spontaneously during plenary on the last day of General Assembly three years ago in Portland. Delegates were debating the proposed Action of Immediate Witness about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation. The debate was heated—to my surprise—as advocates for queer rights were at both the “pro” and the “con” microphones with equally compelling and justified perspectives. When it seemed that the entire assembly hall just might erupt, UUA [Unitarian Universalist Association] board member Tamara Payne-Alex stepped to the procedural microphone. Acknowledging the passion and importance of the debate, she said, “I would like to recognize that what is probably more important [than] whether this [Action of Immediate Witness] is passed is the conversation and its complex issues.” Then she asked the Moderator whether there might be time for prayer. Gini Courter responded, “There should always be time for prayer,” and all of us—hundreds, thousands of us—entered into silence. Overwhelming silence in an ordinary, cavernous, convention center hall. And we prayed. At least, I did. And something changed. It wasn’t dramatic, and it probably didn’t impact every individual the way it impacted me, but something definitely changed in that gathering of impassioned Unitarian Universalists. We silenced our debate just briefly. And in that silence was a moment to see and to hear one another without the clamor of words… to see, to understand more than mere sides in a debate. In that moment we saw glimpses of one another’s beautiful faces. We were reminded of our own complex Unitarian Universalist nature. With my then-one-year-old child in my arms, I was reminded that these are the people that I want to be her religious people. These people will love her. These people will help her to be real.

We have big plans, you and I—plans to transform the world. If we are to succeed, we must transform the world one life at a time. As our relationships grow in strength and in depth, so does our commitment to one another—a commitment that multiplies with each real connection we make. Real transformation takes patience, and dedication, and courage—courage for each of us to break out of our comfortable spiritual zone, whatever that is for us. And so tonight I dare you to figure out what is truly meaningful to you and where are the barriers that separate you from others… and to take the risk of really getting to know one another. I dare you to try speaking to someone outside your congregation not about a cause, but about the faith of your heart. I dare you to turn toward someonewhose faith, or life, or culture is significantly different from your own. Listen to what makes their heart sing. Notice their beautiful faces and complex natures. Love one another into being real.

May it be so for each of us. Amen.

And now, let us rise in body or in spirit and sing together: “We Are Building A New Way”

Hymn—“Building A New Way”

[Beth Syverson leading; congregation singing]

We are building a new way.
We are building a new way.
We are building a new way,
feeling stronger every day,
We are building a new way.

We are working to be free.
We are working to be free.
We are working to be free
hate and greed and jealousy.
We are working to be free.

We can feed our every need.
We can feed our every need.
We can feed our every need.
Start with love, that is the seed.
We can feed our every need.

Peace and freedom is our cry.
Peace and freedom is our cry.
Peace and freedom is our cry,
Without these this world will die.
Peace and freedom is our cry.

Offering for the Living Tradition Fund

[The Reverend Richard Nugent speaking]

Love. Day-in and day-out the ministers, religious educators, musicians, and administrative staff of our congregations, districts, and community organizations demonstrate their love of you, your families, and our faith through crafting meaningful worship, meeting the pastoral needs of individuals and families, coordinating programming for all ages, bring our Unitarian Universalist [UU] values to the broader community, attending to the endless administrative details of congregational life, and ensuring that our faith is sustained well into the future. The staff of UU congregations, districts, and related organizations are there for you—week after week.

At times, our religious professionals and their families need our help to cope with the unforeseen events of life. When facing a financial emergency, ministers and other religious professionals turn to the Living Tradition Fund for help. During this past year, the UUA was able to distribute $150,000 to religious professionals in need. Some used the funds to pay for medical care. Some retirees and survivors used the funds to help pay their utility bills. Newly minted ministers receive help with their student loan debt. And some use what we send to buy groceries.

The money in this fund is replenished each year at the Service of the Living Tradition. Without you, there wouldn’t be a Living Tradition Fund. As the collection basket passes down your row, consider how you have personally benefited from the hard work, creativity, and love of our religious professionals—some of whom are being recognized tonight. Be generous with your financial gift. If you prefer, you can make a pledge which can be paid when you’re back home. If you wish to write a check, make it payable to the “UUA Living Tradition Fund.” As you put the cash, check, or pledge in the basket, it will be received as an expression of your love and your faith. Thank you.  

Offertory

Suite for Piano in Neo-Baroque Style by Clif Hardin: Beth Syverson, pianist
Affirming Ministers Attaining Final Fellowship: The Reverend Jory Agate
Credentialed Religious Educators, Master & Credentialed Levels: The Reverend Beth Williams
Credentialed Music Leaders: Ms. Jan Devor, Dr. Keith Arnold, Ms. Elizabeth Norton

[Introduction; Jory Agate & Beth Williams]

[Jory Agate speaking]

It is a privilege and a pleasure to affirm and recognize ministers who have received Final Fellowship, religious educators who have received Master and Credentialed Level Credentialing, and music leaders who have received Music Leadership Credentialing.

Ministers who have attained Final Fellowship, in addition to completing all of the requirements of Preliminary Fellowship, have spent at least 3 years in active ministry being evaluated and developing their skills in parish, community and religious education settings.

[Beth Williams speaking]

Credentialed Religious Educators Master and Credentialed Levels have spent at least 2-5 years serving our congregations and communities, have undertaken extensive education and training and have been evaluated in numerous competency areas essential to religious education leadership.

Credentialed Music Leaders have spent at least 4 years serving our congregations, have completed a rigorous three year academic and skill-based curriculum, and have been evaluated by their congregations, their peers, and the Association.

[Jory Agate speaking]

All of these individuals have worked hard, dedicated many hours, and committed their lives to becoming experienced, professional religious leaders. Their calling and ongoing commitment will continue to transform lives and profoundly impact our movement.

[Beth Williams speaking]

It is with gratitude for their service that we read the names of ministers who have attained Final Fellowship, the religious educators who have attained a Master or Credentialed Level Credential, and the musicians who have attained the Music Leadership Credential. When all the names have been read, please rise and receive the congregation’s words of affirmation.

[Beth Williams continues speaking]

  • Pam Allen-Thompson
  • Jade D'Aquilarive "JD" Benson
  • Emilie C. Boggis
  • Lyn Stangland Cameron
  • Meghan Conrad Cefalu
  • David W. Chandler
  • Brian Henry Covell
  • Bonnie McClish Dlott
  • David W. Farrington
  • Debra Joanne Faulk
  • Claire Elizabeth Feingold Thoryn

[Keith Arnold speaking]

  • Julie Forest
  • Peter A. Friedrichs
  • Mary McKinnon Ganz
  • Debra A. Garfinkel
  • Keith Wayne Goheen
  • Becky Gunn
  • Patricia Guthmann Haresch
  • Martha Hodges
  • Nancy Holden
  • Evan Keely
  • James C. (Jay) Leach

[Jory Agate speaking]

  • Tamara Lebak
  • Dorothy E. (Dottie) Mathews
  • Carol McKinley
  • Roger Mohr
  • William Joseph Neely
  • Peter Worthington Hart Newport
  • Jane Altman Page
  • Stephen E. Phinney
  • Diane Olenick Rollert
  • Bruce Robin Russell-Jayne
  • ReBecca Ames Sala

[Elizabeth Norton speaking]

  • Kent Hemmen Saleska
  • Marcia Welsh Schekel
  • Ann Marie Schranz
  • Craig D. Schwalenberg
  • Paul Sprecher
  • Heather Starr
  • Leona K. Stucky-Abbott

[Jan Devor speaking]

  • Barbara R. Threet
  • Felicia Mary Urbanski
  • Wendy von Zirpolo
  • Cheryl M. Walker
  • Pamela Telos Whitfield
  • Wendy Williams
  • Connie Yost

Credentialed Religious Educators at the Master level:

  • Bobbie J. Poole
  • Tandi K. Rogers

Credentialed Religious Educators at the Credential level:

  • Sparrow F.Alden
  • Irene Praeger
  • Jeanette Ruyle

[Elizabeth Norton speaking]

Unitarian Universalist Credentialed Music Leaders:

  • Sharon Louise Dunn Douglas
  • Mary Ann H. East

Litany of Affirmation

[Jory Agate speaking]

Please rise in body or in spirit to receive our affirmation.

Rev. Agate: You have been tried and tested. Your call has been challenged. Your contributions to congregation and community have been examined, appraised and measured. And you have succeeded.

All: We give thanks for your devotion and celebrate your success.

[Jan Devor speaking]

Ms. Devor: The UUA credentialing committees have scrutinized you and found you worthy. Your expertise and skill have been evaluated, accepted, and appreciated by those you have served. 

All: We affirm your calling and rejoice in your achievement.

[Keith Arnold speaking]

Dr. Arnold: As you appear before us tonight we name you and proclaim our confirmation of your full credentials as Unitarian Universalist ministers in Final Fellowship, Master and Credentialed Level religious educators, and Credentialed Music Leaders.

All: We give thanks for your leadership and pray these blessings will be yours: growing excellence, deepening satisfaction, and profound awareness of the Spirit of life and love surrounding and upholding you always. Amen.

You may be seated.

Welcoming Ministers Entering Preliminary Fellowship

The Reverend David Pettee
The Reverend Rob Eller-Isaacs
The Reverend Wayne Arnason

[Introduction—David Pettee speaking]

It is once again my privilege and pleasure to welcome into preliminary fellowship the 50 women and men who, during the past year, have met the requirements for service in the Unitarian Universalist ministry. Each of these ministerial colleagues has traveled a unique academic, personal and professional journey to cross this significant threshold.

The transition into professional religious leadership is not a journey for the faint of heart. My new colleagues, you bring with you the knowledge and confidence gained of having been rigorously tested and affirmed.

Whether your service to our larger association is within, or beyond the walls of our congregations, the ministry you serve is needed now more than ever.

All these ministers deserve our honor and praise for holding fast to their call to ministry and maintaining unshakable faith in the progress of the Unitarian Universalist tradition. I am humbled to consider you my colleagues.

[Wayne Arnason speaking]

  • Elaine Aron
  • Rebecca Benefiel Bijur
  • Carol Bodeau
  • Lora Brandis
  • Sarah Gettie Burks
  • Andy Burnette
  • Peggy Clarke
  • Jill Ardith Cowie
  • Terry Ann Davis
  • Eric David Dawson
  • Kathryn L. Ellis
  • Carmen M. Emerson
  • Mary Patricia Foran
  • Lynne Diane Garner
  • Erin M. Gingrich
  • Julia Hamilton
  • Leah Hart-Landsberg

[Rob Eller-Isaacs speaking]

  • Eric Hausman
  • Angela Marie Herrera
  • Lori Gorgas Hlaban
  • Seanan R. Holland
  • Jeannie F. Hufstedler
  • Carie Johnsen
  • Eric Charles Kaminetzky
  • William Kennedy
  • Michelle LaGrave
  • Michael Leuchtenberger
  • Dana Lightsey
  • Elizabeth Marsh
  • John C. McCarthy
  • Suzan Emine Alpay McCrystal
  • Julia Russell McKay
  • Kent C. McKusick
  • Brandon Scott McNeill

[David Pettee speaking]

  • Nathan Mesnikoff
  • Catherine M. Norris
  • Shelley Page
  • Steven A. Protzman
  • David Glenn Pyle
  • Renee Zimelis Ruchotzke
  • Teresa Lynn Schwartz
  • Christina Sillari
  • Tracy Springberry
  • Robin Noelle Tanner
  • Bruce Carey Taylor
  • Timothy Temerson
  • Beverly V. Waring
  • Pamela Wat
  • Kate Wilkinson
  • K. Antonia Won

Litany of Welcome

[David Pettee continues speaking] 

Will the new ministers please rise in body or in spirit to receive our heartfelt welcome?

Rev. Pettee: From that early stirring in your heart, that first faint echo of a calling to something larger than you ever imagined you could become, you now appear before this congregation representing all Unitarian Universalist congregations.

All: On behalf of the Living Tradition we share, we welcome you as religious leaders.

[Wayne Arnason speaking]

Rev. Arnason: You have journeyed far, studied hard, learned more than you could have anticipated, and had experiences that have strengthened that echo into a full commitment. From aspirant to candidate to minister, you appear before us transformed. And yet, you are only just beginning. The true test of your calling lies before you.

All: We honor your achievement and recognize your calling. As you journey on, may your sense of holy purpose grow as your ministry continues to mold and shape you.

[Rob Eller-Isaacs speaking]

Rev. Eller-Isaacs: We have recognized you and called you by name, and when you are ordained, we will rejoice as we place the title, Reverend, before your name. As is often said in Unitarian Universalist child dedications:

All: “May you wear this name in honor, in peace, and in courage such that all the days of your life, those who look upon your name will find it good.” May your ministry be blessed and a blessing to many. Amen

And now will the congregation rise in body or in spirit and join in singing our closing hymn,” Be Ours A Religion.” The words will be on the screen.

Hymn "Be Ours a Religion" 

[Beth Syverson leading; congregation singing]

Be ours a religion
which like sunshine goes everywhere,
its temple all space,
its shrine the good heart,
its creed all truth,
its ritual works of love.

Be ours a religion
which like sunshine goes everywhere,
its temple all space,
its shrine the good heart,
its creed all truth,
its ritual works of love.

Benediction

The Reverend John Weston

[Reverend Weston speaking]

Without individuals, nothing changes.
Let us therefore love one another as vessels of yet unrevealed truths.
Without institutions, nothing endures.
Let us therefore care for our association and its congregations
as vessels
of the truths, old and ever-new,
of freedom, reason, and tolerance.
Care for our churches!
Love one another!
And all will be well,
And all manner of thing shall be well.
Go in peace.

And now, let us once again rise in body or in spirit to sing our recessional hymn, For All the Saints. We’ll begin with an instrumental verse.

Recessional Hymn “For All The Saints

[Congregation singing]

[Instruments-only verse]

For all the saint who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name most holy be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

[Instruments-only verse]

Thou wast our rock, their shelter, and their might,
their strength and solace in the well fought fight;
thou, in the darkness deep their one true light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

[Instruments-only verse]

O blest communion of the saints divine!
We live in struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

[Instruments-only verse]

And when the strife is fierce, the conflict long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

[Instruments-only verse]

Postlude

[The GA Band playing selections from tonight’s service]

For more information contact generalassembly @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, January 19, 2012.

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The Rev. Diana Heath—wife of the Rev. Dr. William J. Metzger, one of 22 UU ministers who died in the past year—lit the chalice at the 2010 Service of the Living Tradition.

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