(New Orleans, August 28, 2006) There was a full house yesterday
morning for the joint worship service of Community Church
UU and First UU Church of New
Orleans. Extra chairs were
being added even after the start of the 10:30 service as members and visitors
streamed into the church. The officiant for the service was the Reverend Marta
I. Valentin, minister of First UU Church.
The service was both a celebration and a remembrance—remembrance of what was
lost, and remembrance of those who had died in the past year. During the
meditation, congregants called out the names of the deceased. Towards the end,
the strong voice of a woman near the front acknowledged, "those people whose
names we do not know."
Marta's homily, entitled "Bearers
of Light," was a call to celebration. "We are here to celebrate, celebrate
that these two communities, worshipping as one, have had the great good fortune
to survive...we are still here to tell the stories and create the stories of the
Marta urged congregants to help realize the role of Unitarian Universalism in
the community: "If New Orleans is to emerge as a city bigger and better, then we
must commit to being bearers of the light, to bring the others out of the
darkness of no return." She called upon congregants to use intention, openness
and love as they reached out to the community. Through the continuing
uncertainty and challenges she urged the congregation to nurture of
relationships, to honor diversity and to focus on possibility. "There will be
other challenges for New Orleans," she said, "but we have been left to survive
for reasons we have yet to discover. We have been blessed with much. Now it is
time to give back."
UUA Moderator Gini Courter, the Reverend Wendy von Zirpolo of the UU
Church of Marblehead, and Thomas Jefferson District Executive Annette Marquis
are in Southern Louisiana this week to be present with the New Orleans area
congregations on the first Anniversary of Katrina.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
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