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Closing Celebration

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General Assembly 2010 Event 5008

Unedited Live Captioning (TXT)

Presenters: Rev. Peter Morales, Gini Courter, Ruth Palmer, Janeal Krehbiel

As General Assembly (GA) draws to a close and we prepare to return to our home communities, we close with a celebration of our coming together. We remember the highlights of the past week and share our voices in common singing and the music of the GA Adult Choir directed by Ruth Palmer and the Unitarian Universalist Children’s Choir under the direction of Janeal Krehbiel. Enjoy the images of the past week as we look to our 50th Anniversary GA next year in Charlotte.

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. See the UU World General Assembly Blog for up-to-date reporting.

Gathering Music

Opening Words

[Rev. Dr. Walter F. Wieder, General Assembly (GA) Planning Committee speaking]

As General Assembly draws to a close and we prepare to return to our home communities, we close with a celebration of our coming together as we remember the highlights of the past week and share our voices in common singing and the music of the GA Adult Choir and the UU [Unitarian Universalist] Children’s Choir.

“This Little Light of Mine”

Introduction

[Kellie Walker speaking]

Good evening. Composer Ken Berg's musical arrangement of this beautiful text is both tender and thoughtful. The original children's gospel hymn was written in 1920 by African-American composer Harry Dixon Loes. In the Civil Rights era it reminded people that each individual light could be the one that begins to break the darkness of injustice.

Traditional Spiritual text, arranged by Ken Berg

This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine!

Ev’rywhere I go,
I’m going to let it shine.
Ev’rywhere I go,
I’m going to let it shine.
Ev’rywhere I go,
I’m going to let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

All through the night,
I’m going to let it shine.
All through the night,
I’m going to let it shine,
All through the night,
I’m going to let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

This little light of mine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Chalice Lighting

[The Rev. Lyn Burton, Consulting Minister to the Bismarck-Mandan UU Fellowship, speaking]

Just as spring is a treasured time on the Great Plains, so has this been a treasured time of meeting, sharing, learning, celebrating and growing in understanding and appreciation of all that Unitarian Universalism has to offer. We are blessed by the challenge of living our principles; blessed by the chance to gather in this extended community of faith; blessed by the wisdom and beauty of our common purpose.

While our time together is ending, tomorrow—and each day we awaken with the breath of life—offers us a chance to influence the future, to grow in knowledge and compassion, to find whatever large or small thing that we can do to bring greater kindness, clarity and humanity within our circle of influence.

May the light of this chalice illuminate the paths of justice, inspire us to seek an ever expanding truth, give us courage to confront intolerance, the strength and generosity of spirit to reach out again and again to bring light and hope where there is darkness and despair.

With each chalice flame we light in the months ahead, may we be reminded of this flame, of the creative capacity we have experienced here, of the immense power of possibility we each hold in our hands and hearts. Whenever and wherever those hands and hearts are joined in common cause, there will always be hope.

We light this chalice with gratitude for the glory of the spring, the glory of each day, the glory of those assembled here, and with abiding reverence for the world in which we live.

“Flaming Chalice”

Response Introduction

[John Hubert speaking]

In response to the Chalice Lighting, the Unitarian Universalist Children's Choir, conducted by Janeal Krehbiel, will sing “Flaming Chalice.” These words were written by the Rev. Eva Ceskava, Interim Religious Educator UU Church of Indianapolis; music was composed by Dr. Tom Benjamin, Director of Music Ministry, UU Congregation of Columbia, MD and it is found in the UU Children's Songbook May This Light Shine courtesy of the UU Musician's Network.

Flaming chalice, burning bright, now you share with us your light.
May we always learn to share with all people ev'rywhere.

Flaming chalice, burning bright, now you share with us your light.
May we always learn to share with all people ev'rywhere.

Flaming chalice, burning bright, now you share with us your light.
May we always learn to share with all people ev'rywhere.

“Love Will Guide Us”

[John Hubert speaking]

Our first congregational song this service will be Sally Rogers' “Love will Guide Us” from Singing the Living Tradition. I invite you to rise in body or spirit and embrace the empowering message of this song.

Love will guide us, peace has tried us
Hope inside us will lead the way.
On the road from greed to giving
Love will guide us through the long night

If you cannot sing like angels
If you cannot sing before thousands
You can give from deep within you
You can change the world with your love

Love will Guide us, peace has tried us
Hope inside us will lead the way.
On the road from greed to giving
Love will guide us through the long night

Reflections in Words and Images

[Images; Gini Courter and Peter Morales speaking]

UU Children’s Choir: “Birdsong”

Introduction

76 of our young UUs from 25 different states have mustered the courage to follow their dreams. They have left their homes and traveled here, many by themselves, to be in the Unitarian Universalist Children's Choir. They worked hard to earn this privilege. They have spent the past five days across the river in St. Paul at Macalester College, with their 20 volunteer chaperones, learning how to be better musicians, scientists, artists, friends and human beings. Our hope for them is that they take home a better idea of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist of the future. Their message to us this evening, is a song of hope, Birdsong, which may inspire all of us to live our dreams and our lives, more fully.

Text by an unknown child in the Terezin Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia; music by Paul Read of Toronto, Canada; conductor, Janeal Krehbiel, of Lawrence, KS; accompanist, Carol Caouette, Assistant Music Director, White Bear UU, Mahtomedi, MN; used with permission, Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.

He doesn't know the world at all.
Who stays in his nest and doesn't go out.
He doesn't know what birds know best
Nor what I sing about,
Nor what I sing about,
Nor what I sing about:
That the world is full of loveliness.

When dewdrops sparkle in the grass
And earth is aflood with morning light.
A blackbird sings upon a bush
To greet the dawning after night,
the dawning after night,
the dawning after night.

Then I know how fine it is to live.
Hey, try to open your heart to beauty;
try to open your heart to beauty;
Go to the woods someday
And weave a wreath of memory there.

Then if tears obscure your way
tears obscure your way
You'll know how wonderful it is
how wonderful wonderful
You'll know how wonderful it is
Oh how wonderful to be alive.

He doesn't know the world at all
Who stays in his nest and doesn't go out.
He doesn't know what birds know best
Nor what I sing about,
Nor what I sing about,
Nor what I sing about,
Nor what I sing about:

That the world is full of love,
and how fine it is to live.
Oh how wonderful to be alive.

Next Year—50 Years

[Leslie speaking]

Now we approach the end of this 49th General Assembly of the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, we invite you into the spirit of reflection. Take this time to note which of its moments will stay with you, which will uplift you in moments when you need the largest sense of our faith, which will serve as beacons indicating work we have yet to do to realize our faith’s ideals? Which voices will continue to ring in your ears?

[Leon speaking]

Perhaps they are actual voices and perhaps they are remembered voices. For each time we gather, we have an unseen cloud of witnesses, those spiritual ancestors who sacrificed for us so that we might enjoy the free religion we exercise, with all its strengths and all its imperfections. These are the great figures from both the Universalist and Unitarian branches of our family tree. The ones we proclaim from t-shirts, pulpits and in our children’s religious education lessons—and also the unsung ones who sacrificed, unnoticed and sometimes abandoned, so we could move towards the great goals we profess.

[Beth speaking]

In Sunday services, we are often invited into this spirit of reflection and meditation for a few moments, a practice time of stretching the mind, heart and soul. Today we invite you to hold that spirit of thoughtful assessment for the next year. For when we gather in Charlotte, we will be marking the 50th General Assembly of Congregations.

[Leslie speaking]

We are people who find our own ways, wary of being bound by tradition’s limitation. So as we mark this anniversary, we invite you to do so not only in a triumphant sense, marking our moments of greatest achievements, let us also look into the shadows and crevices.

[Leon speaking]

Let us not only hold up its heroic moments—let us also willing to look into its unlit corners and on its agendas of unfinished business.

[Beth speaking]

Let us be willing to look at our history with the ethic of truth and discovery that are among the great tools of our faith.

[Leon speaking]

Let us approach it with the spirit of unifying love that is our theological inheritance.

[Leslie speaking]

Let us bring questions—about whose voices ring in our ears and whose we still strain to hear. About the goals we have reached and those we have yet to realize.

[Beth speaking]

Let us bring dreams. Those of our founders: “What they dreamed be ours to do”—

[Leon speaking]

And the dreams of those we have come after—and most importantly, let us also be accountable to leave space for the dreamers and questers who have yet to enter our doors.

[Leslie speaking]

In this spirit of inquiry and introspection, we on the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee invite you into a year of celebration, commemoration and contemplation about what we have achieved since the consolidation of the Unitarians and the Universalists in 1961. We will continue this meditation together when we are together again.

“For All that is Our Life”

[John Hubert speaking]

Our next song is “For all that is our Life” #128 from Singing the Living Tradition. The next 50 years will be filled with opportunities to work for the common good, now. Please rise in body or spirit and sing this song of justiceand service.

Verse 1

 For all that is our life we sing out thanks and praise
For all life is a gift which we are called to use
To build the common good
And make our own days glad

Verse 2

For needs which others serve, for services we give,
For work and its rewards, for hours of rest and love;
We come with praise and thanks
For all that is our life.

Verse 3

For sorrow we must bear, for failures, pain, and loss, 
For each new thing we learn, for fearful hours that pass:
We come with praise and thanks
For all that is our life

Verse 4

 For all that is our life we sing out thanks and praise
For all life is a gift which we are called to use
To build the common good
And make our own days glad

“O, Colored Earth”

Introduction

[Kellie Walker speaking]

Our thanks to the UU Children's Choir and GA Choir for combining to sing this anthem by Minnesota composer, Steve Heitzeg. In his own words, he writes with the belief that "Each solitary and individualistic spirit and being is a sustaining note in this life, this music.”

Words and music by Steve Heitzeg

Black white red brown yellow birth,
Blue and green, o, colored earth.
Sister Rain, Brother Stone,
Bring us back to our true home.
What can I, a single soul,
Do for those I don’t even know?
O I shall sing(Ah….)
And I shall work(Ah…)
For peace on earth(Ah….)
Until all are free.(Ah…)

Peace and love, love and peace,
Peace and love the earth is waiting.
Love and peace, peace and love,
Love and peace help one another.
Peace and love, love and peace,
Peace and love the earth is waiting.
Peace and love.

No more war. No more fear.
May hunger soon disappear.
No more doubt. No more lies.
Only truth shall free the cries.
Only hope, only dreams
Can erase the tears and screams.
O I shall sing(Ah….)
And I shall work(Ah…)
For peace on earth(Ah….)
Until all are free.(Ah…)

Turtle and wolf, leopard and deer,
Water and land—all lives are equal.
Birds and trees, people and plants,
Dolphin and whale—all lives are equal.
Butterflies, kangaroos,
Elephants—all lives are equal.
All lives.

Black white red brown yellow birth,
Sister Rain, Brother Stone,
Blue and green, o. colored earth.
Bring us back to our true home.

Thousands of lives, thousands of lives,
Thousands of lives—each life is sacred.
Thousands of lives, thousands of lives,
Thousands of lives—each life is sacred.
Thousands of lives, thousands of lives,
Thousands of lives—each life is sacred.
Sacred lives.

We're Going to Be in Charlotte

[Meg Riley speaking]

I'm Meg Riley, and in August I will become the Senior Minister at Church of the Larger Fellowhip. It's been great having you here in my hometown this week, but I'l also be glad to see you again in Charlotte in 2011.

[Denny Davidoff speaking]

Bart Frost speaking]

[Michael Tino speaking]

My name is Michael Tino and I hope to be accepting my final ministerial fellowship next year in Charlotte

[Abhimanyu Janamanchi speaking]

I am Abhimanyu Janamanchi and I will be in Charlotte next year as the youth worship coordinator

[Kelli Walker speaking]

My name is Kellie Walker from Tempe, AZ, and I am going to Charlotte to help bring more fabulous music to GA in my new role as GA Music Coordinator.

[Jerry Gaynor speaking]

My name is Jerry Gaynor. I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, CA and I'm looking forward to attending my 27th General Assembly in Charlotte in 2011

[Noel Burke speaking]

My name is Noel Burke and I'm going to Charlotte because I will be the senior HUUPER next year. I hope to see you there, General Assembly of 2011.

[Donna Fisher speaking]

[Hope Johnson speaking]

“Come and Go with Me”

[John speaking]

We will sing “Come and Go with Me” #1017 from Singing the Journey for our Closing song this evening. This traditional African American spiritual was used as a marching song during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s calling all to lead in the cause of justice and truth! Please rise in body or spirit and answer this call!

Come and Go with me to that Land
Come and Go with me to that Land
Come and Go with me to that Land
Where I’m bound (where I’m bound)
Come and Go with me to that Land
Come and Go with me to that Land
Come and Go with me to that Land
Where I’m bound.

Verse 2

There’ll be freedom in that land…

Verse 3

There’ll be justice in that land…

Verse 4

There’ll be singin’ in that land…

Benediction

[Fritz Hudson speaking]

Days now our flame as burned within these overlapping, intermingled circles.
The heat, the light has spread from center out to rim.
We're hot. We glow, all the way out at our extremities.
Now, before we quench the spark at our center,
Let us hear its question:
Can we, each of us a piece of our outermost edge,
can we somehow hold the center spark's charge?
Can we be charged, remain charged, move charged
through all the circles into which we now return,
for a whole year, until we can be drawn again to gather,
to rub up a new spark in that land to which we're bound?
Si, se puede. Yes, we can.

Postlude

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.

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