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Closing Worship

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General Assembly 2009 Event 5027

Service Text (PDF, 13 pages)

The closing worship opened with a hymn from the new Spanish hymnal, taught in three parts; the congregation rose in body or spirit and struggled a bit with the Spanish. Last year’s Music Coordinator then took the stage and led the congregation in a rousing rendition of “A Blue Boat Home.” This was followed by “When the Spirit Says Sing,” a hymn which had people clapping and swaying to the music.

Volunteers who organized the 2009 General Assembly (GA) were thanked. A few words of thanks for our leadership as we prepare to head home were read as the chalice was lit for the last time at this year’s GA.

A slide show followed honoring Rev. Bill Sinkford’s eight years of service as the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). It included photos of his trips both around the country and around the world. There were pictures of him with political leaders and youth, advocating for justice and marching for peace. Photos showed Rev. Sinkford with staff at the UUA office in Boston, marching in a Pride parade, with Bishop Desmond Tutu and as the “newest member” of The Persuasions. There was a portrait of Rev. Sinkford and the slideshow ended with a standing ovation.

The congregation was then treated to a slideshow of this year’s GA. The photos showed the business of the association being done in plenary sessions, voting in this year’s election, volunteers, people in the hall, as well as candid shots of both adults and youth. Images of both candidates for President when shown on the jumbo screens got cheers.

Kay Montgomery honored the years of service that Rev. Sinkford gave to the association saying he had brought, “faith, hope and love” to his position. She spoke about him moving right into the fire with challenges such as September 11th, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the tragedy in Knoxville, Tennessee. Montgomery called him an “elegant and wise leader.”

Recently elected leaders took the stage next with their installation. A covenant was read by both the congregation and the newly elected leaders which was followed by robust applause.

The GA choir performed the anthem, “One Voice,” with lyrics about joining one voice to another.

Paul Rickter, the Secretary of the UUA Board of Trustees, led the installation of Rev. Peter Morales. He was asked if he accepted the position of the President of the UUA he had been elected to at this General Assembly and Morales said, “I will.” This was followed by yet another standing ovation.

Bill Sinkford, dressed in a blue stole, offered a charge to the new President. Sinkford looked to former UUA Presidents for their words of wisdom. Advice offered to the incoming President included to “keep your sense of humor” and to take care of himself. Sinkford suggested the new President keep himself “grounded and focused” and went on to tell him, “I charge you to love our people... warts and all.” He encouraged the incoming President to point us to a “hopeful and vibrant future.” Sinkford removed his stole and gave it to Morales after which the two men hugged one another.

President Morales was invited to the center of the stage. He was joined there by his wife and daughter along with Gini Courter and members of the UUA Board who placed their hands on Morales. When the group got too large for the ministers and leaders on stage to place their hands directly upon Morales, they laid their hands upon others who were already involved in the laying on of the hands. Ministers in the hall were invited to rise and all those left seated were invited to stand in body or spirit and join hands. The choir and congregation sang the refrain, “We Pray.”

A short benediction was offered by the new President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, Rev. Peter Morales after asking the congregation to join hands. “Let us feel the connections that bind this faith across this land, all over the earth and across the centuries. We are one people. We are one people united by what we love. We love compassion, we love life, we love freedom, we love justice and we love one another. That love endures. Candidates, resolutions and General Assemblies come and go. Love endures and love will guide us. Together we can grow our faith and help heal the world.” He instructed the congregation to go with hope and love.

Reported by Krissa Palmer; edited by Jone Johnson Lewis.

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Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.

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