Closing Celebration, General Assembly 1999
General Assembly 1999 Event 546
Over 2,000 people gathered in elegant Abravanel Hall, next to the Salt Palace, for the General Assembly (GA) Closing Ceremony, and the hall rang with song. The GA Choir, conducted by Scott Ward, worked over the course of GA to learn a series of lovely compositions all by Unitarian Universalist (UU) musicians, including "Immortal Love," the winner of the 1999 UU Musicians Network GA Hymn Contest.
Moderator Denny Davidoff led the congregation in recognizing and thanking the outgoing denominational leaders and welcoming and charging the newly elected UU leaders to "speak the truth, trust us, inform us...Do not lose your soul in this work, but rather, bring your soul to it...Revere caring intelligence before mere charm, and always shun panic."
Chris Trace, business manager of the Youth Caucus, asked the the Youth Caucus to mount the stage to the enthusiastic cheers of the celebration participants. Kay Aler-Maida, chair of the Fulfilling the Promise Task Force, asked the thousands of attendees whether they affirmed our covenant with our youth and agreed to respect the young adult generation's culture, and the response was a "Yes!" that shook the walls. When she asked the huge Youth Caucus contingent whether they would respect the culture of the generations that proceed them, they too shouted "Yes!"
Nick Page led the choir and attendees in several wonderful, all-inclusive songs, including his unique "Laughing Buddha Ritual," which ended with all 2,000 attendees repeating "Aum" in unison. When we sang "We Are Free," from the Dundee Voices of Joy, in 2,000-part harmony, the joy and love in the huge hall was palpable. Rev. John Buehrens ended the ceremony with closing words, to shouts of "Preach it, John!" from the crowd.
Reported by Margy Levine Young.
Maurice Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City, UT, June 28, 1999
The General Assembly (GA) Choir, conducted by Scott Ward
Music: Ann MacDonald Diers
Lyrics: Vitezslav Halek
Marc Loustau, Barry Pyle
We Are Free
Music and Lyrics: The Dundee Voices of Joy
The Laughing Buddha Ritual
Music and Lyrics: Nick Page
Recognition of Retiring Denominational Leaders
Based on writings by Daniel G. Higgins, Jr. and John Buehrens
Moderator Denny Davidoff:
Will all retiring leaders please rise as willing and able and will the assembly face them where possible.
Having served the member societies of the Unitarian Universalist Association as trustees, commission members and committee members, hear and receive our thanks.
We thank you for taking seriously the responsibilities of leadership.
For supporting our faith.
For regularly and generously giving of your talents.
For accepting the challenge of difficult decisions and long hours of unrecognized effort.
For serving willingly.
For speaking your minds.
For taking and giving criticism.
For keeping a sense of humor.
For struggling through the imperfect work of committees and sticking with it.
We appreciate this acknowledgement. And we thank you, the people of our faith, for your support.
For encouraging us in our endeavors
For supporting us in our struggles
For sharing with us a vision of what is possible
For your trust and support.
Blessed are you for your work, your vision and your willingness not to shrink from controversy, sacrifice, or change. Blessed are you indeed.
Installation of Newly Elected Denominational Leaders
Based on writings by Mark Belletini
Moderator Denny Davidoff:
Will all recently elected leaders please rise as willing and able and will the assembly face them where possible.
Having been elected by the people to serve as trustees, commission members and committee members, hear now our charge to you.
Speak the truth. Trust us. Inform us.
Work diligently, but do not imagine that you can or should do all that must be done.
Do not lose your soul in this work, but rather, bring your soul to it.
Take an occasional break.
Embrace your families and friends, who, after all, were not elected by us.
Revere caring intelligence before mere charm, and always shun panic.
Learn from critics who proceed not from resentment but from an enduring love of healing and gracious form.
Admit mistakes, for in this way you accept your place among us all. Thank you for the work you will do on our behalf.
Newly Elected Leaders:
Mindful of your charge, we take up our work with thanks for your encouragement and support and with a sense of all that has been entrusted us.
We join you in a deep and abiding sense of devotion to our denomination and its promises for us all.
And we return thanks to you for all the work you do.
Moderator Denny Davidoff:
The work begins anew. Praise for the work, the vision, the heritage and the devotion that binds us all into a community of purpose and practice.
Blessed are we indeed.
General Assembly Choir
Scott Ward, Conductor
Marcelle Nagoski. Accompanist
Winner of the 1999 Unitarian Universalist
Musicians Network GA Hymn Contest
Music and Lyrics: Kenneth Steitz
Please join on verses 3 and 4
3. Blow winds of love, awake and blow
the mists of hate away.
Sing out, O truth divine, and tell how wide and far we stray.
4. The letter fails, the system fall and every symbol wanes.
The spirit overseeing all eternal love remains.
Music: Bart Bradfield
Lyrics: Traditional Native American
excerpt from Ancient Sun
Music: Jim Scott
Lyrics: adapted from the
congregation of Abraxis
Luna De Xelaju
Music: Paco Perez
Edited By William Belan
Lyrics: Traditional Guatemalan
Music: & Lyrics: Julie Shannon
Soloist: Rev. Lilli Nye
Fulfilling The Promise Charge
Kay Aler-Maida, Dorothy Smith Patterson, Chris Trace
And members of the 1999 Youth Caucus
Music: Nick Page
Lyrics: from "Balm In Gilead"; additional lyrics by Rev. Lilli Nye
There's Honey In The Rock
Nick Page and the GA Choir
We Are Free (reprise)
John Buehrens is President of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Kay Aler-Maida, Dorothy Smith Patterson, and Chris Trace are members of the Fulfilling The Promise Committee from New York, California, and Alabama.
Marc Loustau is a member of the General Assembly Planning Committee and a student at Reed College in Portland, OR.
Nick Page is a Boston-based song leader, composer, author, and educator. He led songs at the opening of the Calgary General Assembly and has since visited hundreds of Unitarian Universalist (UU) churches.
Barry Pyle is the President of the Mountain Desert District and lives in Bozeman, MT.
Scott Ward is the Minister of Music of First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, DE; Director of Religious Education, and conductor of the 1999 GA Choir.
Marcelle Nagoski is the Accompanist/Coach for the music program of First Unitarian Church, Wilmington, DE.
Rev. Lilli Nye will be the Interim Assistant Minister for the Mainline UU Church of Devon, PA this coming year.
Featured Unitarian Universalist Composers
Kenneth Seitz (Immortal Love) is the Music Director for the First Parish UU of Arlington, MA. He is the 1999 winner of the UU Musician's Network's General Assembly Hymn competition.
Ann Diers (This Day) is the organist and music director for the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Chatham, MA.
Bart Bradfield (Ancient Mother) is Director of Music at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL.
Jim Scott (Ancient Sun) is well known in UU music circles as a composer, performer, and clinician.
Dr. William Belan (editor, Luna de Xelaju) is the immediate past president of the UU Musician's Network, director of the Choral Conducting program at the California State University at Los Angeles, and is Director of Music at First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles.
Julie Shannon (One Breath) is a member of the Evanston, IL UU church.
Thanks to Rev. Susan Suchocki for her advice on this program. Special thanks to Diana Pavao and the Unitarian Universalist Musician's Network for their work in support of the General Assembly Choir.
—The Planning Committee
1999 General Assembly Choir
Kok Heong McNaughton
Janet R. Nortrom
Betty Bobo Seiden
Margaret C. Warner
Leona E. Balek
Clitheroe H. Engel
Catherine Ann Taylor