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HANDOUT 1: Litany — Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Stories in this litany are used by permission.

"A Child Discovers She's Not Alone" by Rev. Pat Guthmann Haresch

I remember in my UU childhood, I went to a grade school where there weren't any other UU kids, and sometimes that felt isolating. My grade school was Horace Mann Elementary and there was a big portrait of him in the hallway by the administrative offices. One day my mom said, "Well, there is another UU at your school," and she told me about Horace Mann being Unitarian and his historical importance. Every time I went to the gym, I saw his portrait, and was filled with pride, and didn't feel alone."

SING Hymn 1003 or SAY the lyrics in unison.

"A Congregation Finds Strength and Inspiration" by Rev. Jackie Clement

Plenty of churches struggle with tight budgets and pledge shortfalls, and one of the churches I served as interim minister was no exception. When the congregation learned the amount they would have to raise in order to settle a new minister spirits were pretty low. It didn't seem possible. But then we found a story in the church archives. In 1893 the church needed 4,000 dollars worth of repairs. Can you imagine how much money 4,000 dollars was at the end of the nineteenth century? To raise the money the church decided to hold bean suppers. One problem was that the church had no water, so water had to be carried in buckets from a nearby home and heated on a stovetop boiler. Another problem was that a bean supper went for 10 cents! But they did it; they raised 4,000 dollars, one dime at a time. If they could do that, the current congregation could raise what was necessary to call a minister. And they did!

SING Hymn 1003 or SAY the lyrics in unison.

(Facilitator: Invite a participant to share a story.)

SING Hymn 1003 or SAY the lyrics in unison.

"A Call to Work for Women's Rights" by Sara Eskrich

I tell people that I've always been a feminist. However, it was in my young adolescence, when a member of my congregation performed a monologue of the life of Olympia Brown that I really heard my call to feminism. I realized that my budding feminism was firmly rooted in my faith tradition. The fight of the Rev. Olympia Brown to become the first ordained minister, as well as her integral role in the women's suffrage movement, gave me a religious and moral framework within which to discuss and act on the importance of women's rights in my heart and soul.

SING Hymn 1003 or SAY the lyrics in unison.

"The Flaming Chalice" by Alison Cornish

Growing up as a Unitarian Universalist, I remember our worship services being without rituals, save for the singing of hymns. In college, I attended a fairly conservative UU congregation, where the liturgy was largely unchanged from the nineteenth century. So it was a surprise to see, in my first "adult" congregation, a chalice being lit at the beginning of every service. I thought it must be something this church, in its independence and creativity, chose to do.

It was many years before I learned the true story of the flaming chalice symbol, designed by Hans Deutsch to be used by the Unitarian Service Committee (USC) on their documents as they worked to secure safe passage for World War II refugees. That historical story I knew much about—from the records, it seems very likely that safe passage from Austria for my great-aunt, and possibly my grandparents as well, was the work of the Unitarian Service Committee.

I cannot light a chalice or see a chalice lit without thinking about the work of the USC, the saving work it represents, and my connection to this faith.

SING Hymn 1003 or SAY the lyrics in unison.

(Facilitator: Invite a participant to share a story.)

SING Hymn 1003 or SAY the lyrics in unison.

(Facilitator: Invite a participant to share a story.)

SING Hymn 1003 or SAY the lyrics in unison.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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

Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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