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Closing Ceremony, General Assembly 2013

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General Assembly (GA) 2013 Event 5008

Program Description

Speakers: Dallas Bergen, Elizabeth Hitchcock, Janice Marie Johnson, Tom Loughrey

We will install the newly-elected Moderator; welcome and charge all the other (re-)elected leaders; and express our gratitude to those leaving service (including Gini Courter). All that, plus the magnificent GA Choir and a few words on taking home our work on “covenant.”

Report from UU World

Order of Service

  • Prelude: David M. Glasgow
    • “Joy, Thou Goddess,” Singing the Living Tradition (SLT) #327
    • “Life Is the Greatest Gift of All,” SLT #331
    • “Just As Long As I Have Breath,” SLT #6
    • “We Laugh, We Cry,” SLT #354
  • Welcome: Elizabeth
  • Chalice Lighting: Elizabeth
  • Hymn #1003: David
  • Covenant Recap: Janice
  • Invitation to Providence: Beth
  • Anthem: Dallas
  • Thank You to Moderator Runner-Up: Gini Courter
  • Thank You to Gini: Tom, Jackie Shanti, Joan Lund
  • Hymn #1064: David
  • Thank You to Outgoing Board: Tom, Gini, Peter
  • Thank You to Outgoing Leaders: Tom
  • Hymn #1034 or #1018: David
  • Peter Re-Installed: Tom
  • Incoming Leaders Honored: Suzanne
  • Incoming Board Named: Suzanne
  • Charge to Leaders: Tom
  • Anthem: Dallas
  • Moderator Installed: Susan
  • Charge to Congregations: New Moderator
  • Hymn #1036: David
  • Extinguish the Chalice: Chip
  • Postlude

Transcript

Prelude

REV. DAVID M. GLASGOW: I suspect that many of us are reflecting back on all that has brought us to this place, and all that we feel called to carry with us as we go forth. My hope and the hope of all of us involved in preparing this week, all of those people that you saw stretched across the stage earlier this evening, is that your time here at General Assembly has challenged you and empowered you. That it has given you reason to hope and motivation to act. That your week has been full of excitement, and love, and maybe even just the tiniest healthy sprinkling of conviction. But that through it all, under-girding every moment, you have been filled with the joy of belonging to a beloved community that extends far beyond all mortal sight.

We have time for one more song before we light the chalice for our closing celebration. But before we do, I need to recognize one more time the phenomenal team of musicians who have helped to make our time together this week so wonderfully rich.

Many of them are here participating this evening, obviously. But if you have helped to lead the music at any point during the week and you're sitting out in the house, would you please rise, or wave, or send up a flare, so that the community around you can see who you are? Folks, will you help me thank all of these dear friends?

[CHEERING]

Shelley Jackson Denham, another Unitarian Universalist musician, wrote the piece that, for me, is perhaps the best expression of beloved community around. Of course, don't worry. You are allowed to disagree with me on that point. But please do join me in singing "We Laugh, We Cry." Would you rise in body and spirit?

[CHORAL MUSIC - SHELLEY JACKSON DENHAM, "WE LAUGH, WE CRY"]

REV. DAVID M. GLASGOW: Please be seated.

Welcome: Elizabeth

SPEAKER 1: Welcome to our final celebration here at General Assembly 2013. Thank you to our local congregation and the people of Louisville, Kentucky for your generous hospitality.

[APPLAUSE]

ELIZABETH ?: It has been a privilege to have this time in this gathered community with all of you. Together, we have shared an inspiring, exhausting, exhilarating, renewing, transformative experience. We have gone to workshops, worships, and plenaries. We have seen old friends and made new ones.

We have had meaningful discussions about our faith and the covenant we share together. We have sung and laughed and cried and known ourselves as we truly are. Welcome to this space made sacred by our beloved community and our covenant with one another.

Chalice Lighting

ELIZABETH ?: Spirit of life, we now gather with gratitude for this time we've had together. Time in which to recommit ourselves to this faith we love so dearly. We give thanks for the moments of grace and inspiration that have been ours and will be ours in days to come. We are grateful for all that has transformed us and will sustain us in future. We now kindle the flame of our chalice, symbol of our faith, our commitment, and our dedication to Unitarian Universalism.

[SINGING]

Covenant Recap

JANICE MARIE JOHNSON: We came with intention to this assembly. The intention of a covenant. The audacity of a covenant. The promise of a covenant. One that would change our lives together in this faith.

And so now, here we are. Much has transpired in so few days. We started off on our collective journey, celebrating the sacred circle of life, knowing that together, we would be stronger, together, we would be wiser, together, we would be gentler than alone.

We embarked on our collective journey, promising that we would recognize our uniqueness. We would treasure our faith. We would honor our neighbors with holiness. And we joyfully and solemnly entered into covenant with one another.

We covenanted to be committed to each other. To consider each other to be as [? significant ?] as each of us is, as worthy as each of us is, as valued as each of us is. We covenanted to invite to each other in, to accept each other, to speak grace-filled truth to each other, to forgive each other over and over again. And yes, to love each other.

Our covenant stands firm. It is our embodiment of faith in each other. It is our blessing of each other. It is our commitment to each other. And as we take leave of each other in this place, may we ever hold this community as a precious gift. May we ever hold our home communities as precious gifts. May we ever hold our new relationships as gifts that transcend borders. And may we ever carry forth the intention of our covenant, the audacity of our covenant, the promise of our covenant. May it be so.

Invitation to Providence

BETH MCGREGOR: Good evening. I'm Beth McGregor, the district coordinator for GA 2014.

[APPLAUSE]

It goes on. And along with the many Unitarian Universalists in the Ballou Channing District and the wider New England region, I can't wait to welcome you to Providence, Rhode Island. There, we'll learn, worship, deliberate, celebrate, work, and witness together around the theme, around the truth, that love reaches out. And we'll do all this in a scenic and historic setting.

You know, we fit right in there in Rhode Island. Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams in 1636 as a haven for heretics.

[LAUGHING]

A radical experiment in full democracy and full freedom of conscience. And we're keeping up that tradition. Our Rhode Island congregations have worked very long and very hard to get equal marriage through the state legislature. And just last month, they succeeded. Thank you, Rhode Island.

[APPLAUSE]

There are enough of us that we'll pretty well take over that compact downtown, where you'll find both history and a vibrant cultural scene wherever you turn. Providence is also a gateway to New England. It's quick and easy to head to historic Newport, on a pilgrimage to our UUA hometown of Boston, to Plymouth, to the ocean shores of Rhode Island, or Cape Cod. So plan to come and stay.

Local UUs will be waiting to welcome you to offer hospitality, to share our favorite places, and just plain be with y'all. So let us together at the river in Providence a year from now.

[APPLAUSE]

See you there!

Anthem

DALLAS BERGEN: The following anthem is a fitting piece to prepare the next element of the service, where we honor the 10 years of service of UUA moderator, Gini Courter, and acknowledge the many individuals who serve the UUA in leadership roles.

But this is a reflection on the journey through one's life, noting that the impression left with those whom find deep connection lives on. The Latin text is from the poetry of Carmina Burana and is translated, "The sun warms everything. And when I am far away, love me faithfully, and know that I am faithful." It is with deep gratitude to all those who serve our faith that we offer "Omnia Sol" by Z. Randall Stroope, with movement by Dale and Alexandra Brannon.

[CHORAL MUSIC - Z. RANDALL STROOPE, "OMNIA SOL"]

Thank You to Moderator Runner-Up

GINI COURTER: Challenge. Companionship. Integrity. These words are for Tamara Payne Alex, but for any of us who have been the person who helped affirm our call to leadership of another. Challenge because the conversation about our future was richer with Tamara and Jim then if Jim had only spoken alone.

[APPLAUSE]

GINI COURTER: Challenge because the closeness of the results mean that Jim will be challenged to stretch beyond his own vision and encompass a vision that includes parts of what Tamara's vision was, because that is also fitting.

[APPLAUSE]

GINI COURTER: Companionship because they met so often, with us and among us, that two people who barely knew each other ended up as companions and somewhat as friends. And I am pleased, for they are both my friends.

Integrity because Tamara ran the campaign she chose to run. And she ends it having said that she did what she wished to do, what felt was necessary to do, so that she could end the campaign and say, this was my best. 

[APPLAUSE]

GINI COURTER: In the crucible of our democratic process, there will always be some who emerge forged and some who emerge a bit more singed. But that does not mean there is not another day, for there will always be those who prevail, and there will always be those who challenge and companion, so that we can best determine what will serve our congregations.

I am grateful. I am grateful that Tamara Payne Alex and those who supported her chose this time to raise the important questions of this campaign, so that Jim need not run alone or be uncompanioned in this time. I am grateful.

[APPLAUSE]

Thank You to Gini Courter

JOAN LUND: A short, guided meditation. Close your eyes. I see some eyes still open.

[LAUGHING]

JOAN LUND: Close your eyes. Picture yourself at the circus, where you are watching the most skilled juggler you have ever witnessed. Note how the objects are kept in the air, caught, and then relaunched to be airborne again.

Now take away the circus. Bring in our UUA. Dare I say, there may be some similarities. And focus on the juggler. Now as you watch the juggler notice how she becomes Gini Courter.

[LAUGHING]

JOAN LUND: Our beloved departing moderator. With your eyes still closed, you see her. What is she juggling? Actually, the question might be, what is she not juggling, as she keeps our UUA entities always moving and in focus? I see masterful leadership of the board. Congregational interest. National committees, her involvement with them. Leading GA General Assembly Plenary. Youth and young adult focus. Need I name more? And all of this done with total business acumen and professionalism, mixed with love, grace, caring, and of course, humor beyond belief.

Now open your eyes. There she is. Our juggler. Our superb leader, Gini, is leaving. Let us send her off with bountiful love and warm wishes for the best of life in the years to come. Thank you, Gini, on behalf of our UUA congregations, the board of trustees, the many, many individual UUs who you have touched in some way, and me, your colleague, board Second Vice Moderator, and friend of over 10 years. May great blessings be bestowed upon you, our friend Gini.

[APPLAUSE]

JACKIE SHANTI: I have had the privilege and honor of working side by side with Gini as the First Vice Moderator of your UUA board. And I agree with our youth that Gini rocks. And she has shown all of us that governance rocks. As Moderator of the UUA, Gini has served in the highest volunteer position in our association for these past nine years.

And in addition to conducting the plenary sessions at General Assembly, she has chaired the UUA board of trustees with grace, passion, and humor. If you have Gini by your side, the force is with you. She is a gifted leader who doesn't have to nag or nudge, because her enthusiasm is so infectious. She has been and will continue to be a fierce servant of our faith, a warrior who possesses an endearing sweetness.

Gini is easily moved to tears by injustice, sensing always when we have fallen short of our call, leading us forward with love and forgiveness. Gini has transformed the work of our board and has led to all of us in transforming our movement, this precious association of congregations. It has been a blessing to join her on this magical mystery tour, this journey of love and faith. Thank you, Gini.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: What Gini has wrought.

[LAUGHING]

TOM LOUGHREY: We're here in the town of the Louisville Slugger. We had nine innings. We call them plenaries, but they were innings. We so dislike goodbyes that we've taken it into extra innings. We know it's inevitable, but we like to stretch it out.

Gini, it's been a privilege of so many of us to work with you over the years. I'd like the members of the current board to please stand. And if you would, remain standing. I'd like former members of our board, if you're here tonight, wherever you happen to be, please stand. If you've served on the board with Gini, please stand.

I'd like our future board members, the ones coming on-- those are the ones we know of. Some of you out there may have some thoughts about that. I'd like to have-- will the staff who have served during Gini's term as Moderator please stand if you're in the room. Will members of committees who have served, now or in the past, during Gini's term as Moderator please stand.

Will members of congregations that Gini has visited please stand. Wow. Will attendees of previous General Assemblies that Gini has moderated please stand. Will those of you who have been here for this General Assembly please stand.

[LAUGHING]

TOM LOUGHREY: And will everyone join with me in showing our warm appreciation for Gini's long service and dedication to Unitarian Universalist.

[APPLAUSE]

GINI COURTER: The most important thing I had to say to you, I said in the final plenary today. The last thing I wish to say is it has been a lifetime honor to serve with all of you. Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

Hymn #1064: "Blue Boat Home"

REV. DAVID M. GLASGOW: One of the greatest joys associated with my position as GA music coordinator has been the chance to sit on the Moderator's counsel for cross-cultural engagement. I had the privilege of spending several days in Boston with these wise, gentle, compassionate souls, discussing the ways in which our association works to live up to its principles, and where we may have room for growth. Perhaps more room for growth than we're comfortable admitting.

I think it was during devotionals on our last morning in Boston last fall that Gini requested we sing "Blue Boat Home." As I recall, she made some comment about how hard the accompaniment is to play the piano, which, of course, fed right into my big manly ego, so--

[LAUGHING]

REV. DAVID M. GLASGOW: Why are you laughing?

[LAUGHING]

REV. DAVID M. GLASGOW: So I hopped right over to the piano, and I played it, and we all sang together. And after the last note of the piece, there was a moment of stillness. And Gini said, that happens every time we sing that song. That [BREATHES]. Gini, it has been a great privilege to sail with you. And I'd love for us to sing this song one more time in your honor, with you here. Let's stay seated. Maybe put a hand on the shoulder of the person  next to you, if you're both comfortable with that. Or just give a smile. I their kindred pilgrim soul.

[CHORAL MUSIC - "BLUE BOAT HOME."]

Thank You to Outgoing Board

TOM LOUGHREY: We are the final board elected as trustees from districts and at large. From now on, a smaller board of elected at large trustees will govern our association. Some of our retiring members have served as long as 10 years, and some of our district elected trustees and at large trustees have been appointed or elected to terms for the continuing board.

A call to service on the UUA board is not an honorific. Work in the best interest of our association of congregations has been the expected norm. And as one who has been part of that, I want to acknowledge your faithful and capable service.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: Please step forward as I call your name. Our at large trustees Katherine Allen, Caleb Raible-Clark, Reverend Jeanne Pupke.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: Our financial adviser, Dan Brody.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: District trustees, Reverend Catherine Cullen, Reverend Erik David Carlson, Jackie Shanti, Joan Lund, David Jackoway, Pat Manley. Reverend Michael Tino is not here with us. He is a brand new father and with his new one.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: Nancy Bartlett, Linda Laskowski, Reverend Elizabeth Greene, Reverend Jake Morrill.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: Trustee David Friedman had to leave earlier today.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: Graham Kriker.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: Our youth observer, Katie Rigdon. I think Katie had to leave earlier. And departing Moderator, Gini Courter. And as a departing trustee myself, Tom Loughery.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: I would like you to see how many people are going off the board. Why don't you exit.

[APPLAUSE]

Thank You to Outgoing Leaders

TOM LOUGHREY: We're going to be introducing these other folks to you shortly. But we also want to recognize the other outgoing leaders of our association. We are driven at the volunteer level by an incredible number of volunteers who give an extraordinary amount of time on the committees that they serve.

We're dependent on volunteers for numerous tasks and duties that our bylaws and rules prescribe and assign to members of congregations who are called to serve the greater good of the association. I call on all the retiring members of the Board of Review, the Commission on Appraisal, the Commission on Social Witness, the General Assembly Planning Committee, the Nominating Committee the Audit Committee, the Committee On Socially Responsible Investing, the Investment Committee, the Health Plan Trust, the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee, the Open UUA, the Moderator Nominating Committee, and the Retirement Plan Committee. Please stand.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: It does indeed take a village to do all the work. Thank you, one and all. Your service is much, much appreciated.

[APPLAUSE]

[MUSIC PLAYING]

WENDEL WERNER: 

We have said our thanks to those who have served us in the past. And now, strengthened by the leadership of those who we are about to recognize, we prepare to continue on [INAUDIBLE] journey to a new place. You will be allowed to sing with us.

[SINGING]

Reinstallation of the UUA President

TOM LOUGHREY: Peter, it's my pleasure to formally inform you you were reelected President of the Association. Surprise, surprise.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: So now the time comes to be reinstalled. And I recall the first time we did this, we had how many hundreds of people with their hands on your shoulder? The laying on of hands. But it's a little different this time. And Peter's going to do something a little bit different. Change is always good. And Peter is going to do his own installation with your help.

REV. PETER MORALES: Someone just commented to me that reinstalled sounds like something you do with a piece of software that didn't work the first time.

[LAUGHING]

REV. PETER MORALES: Well, I promise to be a faithful steward of our living faith. I promise to seek ways for us to grow in spirit, grow in strength, increase our influence, and to share our faith with those who would be part of our journey.

I promise to challenge us to seize new opportunities. I promise to be a passionate spokesperson for compassion and for justice. I promise to listen. I commit to be your partner in this faith.

But alone, I can do very little. I need your help. We all need to one another in this faith. I need for you to make some promises today too. So I ask you to take the hand of your neighbor. Stay seated. Take the hand of your neighbor.

And again, as we did in earlier service, feel that connection. A connection that goes beyond your own congregation. It spans the continent, and the globe, really, and connections that reach back for centuries, and that project far, far into the future. And if you're willing in this GA, its focus on covenant, if you're willing to promise to support this faith of ours, I want to hear you say yes.

ALL: Yes.

REV. PETER MORALES: And if you're willing to stand on the side of love with fellow UUs, let me hear you say yes.

ALL: Yes.

REV. PETER MORALES: And if you're willing to open your hearts to those who would be one in spirit with us, say yes.

ALL: Yes.

REV. PETER MORALES: Thank you. Thank you for trusting me to serve as your president. We are on a wonderful spiritual adventure together. Let's be on our way. Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

Incoming Leaders Honored

SUZANNE FAST: It takes a large network of volunteers working with the staff and the board of trustees to carry out the mission of our association. Tonight, we install those who have been elected, or who have been appointed by the board, and honor their service. Many of them are here tonight. I ask you to please hold your applause until after our leaders have received their charge.

Tonight, we celebrate these people who have responded to our call and brought their energy and commitment to the service of the association. As the names of these volunteers and the committees they serve on are projected tonight, I invite you to think about the variety of the work they do.

As I reviewed the missions of these various groups in preparation for tonight, I noticed that many of them had much in common. Advising, assessing, monitoring, compliance, raising questions, helping us keep our commitments to one another, and to our faith. The leaders we are charging tonight are engaged in enormous range of endeavors.

The Nominating Committee, the Presidential Search Committee, and the Election Campaign Practices Committee are concerned with the elections of our leaders. The Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and the Board of Review are involved with the work of credentialing religious professionals. The Commission On Appraisal researches broad aspects of our denominational life, while the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee, and the Open UUA monitor how we live our values.

The Audit Committee, the Retirement Plan Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Association Employee Benefits Trust have oversight responsibilities. The Investment Committee manages the Common Endowment Fund for long-term growth, while the Committee on Socially Responsible Investing helps us use our investments to uphold our values.

The Commission on Social Witness works to engage us deeply in social issues in our congregations and here at General Assembly. And the General Assembly Planning Committee plans and oversees much of our General Assembly.

In addition to these elected and appointed committees, there's our financial adviser, an officer who serves on the Board of Trustees. We have elected Ed Merck to that office, where he will join our new Board of Trustees. Natty Averett, the Reverend Rob Eller-Isaacs, the Reverend Clyde Grubbs, Michael Sallwasser, Julian Sharp, James Snell, Susan Weaver, Donna Harrison, Lew Phinney, the Reverend Susan Ritchie, and the Reverend Sarah Stewart. And here's Tom Loughrey to deliver the challenge to our new leaders.

TOM LOUGHREY: If I could also have the incoming leaders for the committees named. If you're here, please stand as well. Guided by love for this tradition and hope for the future, this General Assembly has duly elected members of the Board of Trustees and committees of the association. We welcome your gifts, your skills, your time, your sacrifice, and voice to be shared in love, trust, and dedication in the years to come.

Please join with me as we covenant together to install these leaders to the offices to which we have elected them. May our Unitarian Universalist faith and heritage inform your work and deeds as you serve with our leadership, our congregations, and our staff. May your efforts and work inspire goodwill among all.

As you signify Unitarian Universalism in the wider world, may you serve as an instrument of reconciliation, hope, and welcome. May you deal forthrightly and honestly with us, keeping foremost in your heart the health and well-being of our movement, speaking your truth without fear of repercussion and encouraging others to do the same.

In the spirit of hospitality and understanding among people, may all who cross your path feel they have been heard and seriously considered. We covenant to encourage you and support you as you serve our movement. May our trust carry you through both difficulty and triumph. In gratitude, we thank you for your willingness to serve. To our newly elected leaders and delegates, if you accept this covenant, please signify by saying, I do.

ALL: I do.

TOM LOUGHREY: Congratulations to all of you, and our grateful appreciation.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM LOUGHREY: We didn't know who the youth observer was going to be when our scripts had to be prepared. And I neglected. This is Rosemary Dodd. You met her once today earlier. I want to reintroduce her again. Congratulations, Rosemary.

ROSEMARY DODD: Thank you.

Installation of the Moderator

TOM LOUGHREY: And with that, I will introduce Reverend Dr. Susan Ritchie, who's coming up and will do the installation of our new Moderator.

REV. DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: Hello, General Assembly. So I'd like to begin with an understatement. The Moderator enjoys a special relationship with the Board of Trustees and with the General Assembly. The General Assembly and the Board extend great trust and affection to this role. Trust and affection, Jim, which I know you will offer to these good people in return.

Various General Assemblies have reconsidered different configurations of the Moderator role, but repeatedly, the delegates of our congregation have chosen the Moderator to offer special leadership to them and to the Board of Trustees in order to help us find our own long-term vision for the association, and helping us to realize that vision in the form of bold policy and scrupulous practice.

Jim, as our Moderator, you will serve as the chief governance officer of this association. Governance is finally about the appropriate delineation and exercise of power and authority. And in a free church tradition such as our own, and in the context of our congregational polity, this means nothing less than we give to you primary responsibility for the democratic processes and structures that are our most precious inheritance.

Do not confuse these processes and structures as mechanisms of our association. They literally constitute it as an explicitly religious body, and they carry special theological weight. Language going back to the fourth century of the Church speaks of something known as the authentic note of the Church. We authentic note of the Church is the gauge of spiritual truth so profound that power and authority can only be granted to the degree to which it can be held accountable to this measure.

For centuries, the authentic note of the Church was the faithful and undeviating adherence to past tradition. In the 16th century independent churches, the first churches to practice congregational polity, the authentic note of the Church was no longer tradition. Now it was conscience in the language of the time, holiness.

In some parts of the past, the measure of holiness was used to restrict the membership of our churches only to those individuals who could demonstrate great personal piety. You may have noticed we've departed from that tradition. And thank God we gave that up.

For in its most liberating expressions, holiness suggests something else. It's suggests an openness to the voice of the spirit wherever it listeth. It is a reminder that some time the spirit and truth will appear to us in forms that are surprising to what scriptures describe as the powers and the principalities.

Jim, then, in taking primary responsibility for our democracy, you are not merely to hold the center. You are to help us remain open in our minds, and in our hearts, and in our processes to truths from the most marginal and surprising of locations. You are to help us keep the door of Unitarian Universalism propped open as widely as possible.

You promise to hold your power and ours in accountable relationship to our congregations, to the vision of beloved community, to the heritage, tradition, and ideals of Unitarian Universalism, to current and future generations of Unitarian Universalists, and the spirit of life, love, and the holy.

Jim, will you hold the interest and needs of our association as a sacred trust? Will you strive to nurture our vision and to teach us how to more fully embody it?

JIM KEY: I will.

REV. DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: Will you be a faithful steward of the spirit of cooperation, democracy, freedom, and interdependence that is our association, and which gives it transforming power?

JIM KEY: I will.

REV. DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: Will you work to make our democracy as robust as possible? Will you help us to remain open in our process and our hearts to truths from marginalized locations? Will you hold us and yourself in accountable relationship to all of the sources of our authority?

JIM KEY: I will.

REV. DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: Assembly, if you are willing to support the work that this Moderator undertakes on our behalf and on behalf of our association, will you please say, we are.

ALL: We are.

JIM KEY: I will strive to deserve your confidence.

REV. DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: General Assembly, would you please repeat after me. Mindful of its privileges and responsibilities--

ALL: Mindful of its privileges and responsibilities--

REV. DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: --and on our common behalf--

ALL: --and on our common behalf--

REV. DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: -will you now take up the office of Moderator?

ALL: --will you now take up the office of Moderator?

JIM KEY: I do so with a deep sense of obligation and opportunity. Thank you for the trust you have bestowed on me. I pledge to work to bring all voices to the table to lead and to guide our vision, and to share our common work as broadly and as openly as possible.

[APPLAUSE]

[CHORAL MUSIC]

Charge to Congregations by the New Moderator

JIM KEY: And you thought I was gone for the evening. Did you have a good week? Was this a good GA for you?

[APPLAUSE]

JIM KEY: Not surprisingly. It was a pretty good week for me as well. Here's the real question. Are you feeling a bit tired? Boy, I am. I am a little sleep deprived. But the work starts tomorrow.

We learned and experienced many things these past few days together about covenants and promises made. And I've made by promises to you about ecological justice, about reproductive justice, about immigration. We have lived into fifth principle, and we've elected a new Moderator.

As I said, I'm humbled and energized by your support, [INAUDIBLE] maybe the energy may not kick in until tomorrow. I promise to serve you with integrity, and transparency, and walk together with you in love. GA always energizes me. This is where the bug bit me many years ago. I'm always inspired by the sermons. Were you? Who was not?

Now comes the practical part. Putting this enthusiasm and knowledge into practicing in our congregations and communities. So I ask you to consider these things. Certainly present a worship service when you get back home. Lead a discussion group. Write a column for the newsletter. Maybe your local newspaper.

Come out, as I like to say. Post a blog. Comment on Facebook. We've all learn to tweet this week. Continue doing so. Tweet about your experience, and social witness, and the underlying ecological issues we addressed this week about new ideas you've picked up on governance, stewardship, social justice, about that participation of our youth and young adults.

Who doesn't get energized by that? Where are the balloons and the balls tonight? And our future as a faith community and a movement for social change. I always like to quote Rebecca Parker at a time like this. "None of us alone can save the world. Together, that's another possibility waiting." Safe travels home. And I look forward to seeing you in Providence. And remember, I've got to learn to tap dance.

[APPLAUSE]

JIM KEY: Good night.

[APPLAUSE]

Hymn

REV. DAVID M. GLASGOW: We're going to sing the choir anthem again to give you kind of the right energy to go out and do the work that Jim is calling you to do. That Gini called you to obey Jim to do. You do remember that part, right? Were we listening? I've had very little sleep. I'm cranky. We are a wonderful movement. So let's take that river of dreams out into the world.

[CHORAL MUSIC - "RIVER OF DREAMS"]

Extinguish the Chalice

REV. CHIP ROUSH: Before we extinguish the flame in our GA chalice, may we each use it to Kindle the fire in our own heart and carry it back to the congregations and communities from which we came. May our individual fires build, and roar, and come together again even stronger next June. So may we be. See you in Providence. Pease let the wheeled vehicles go first.

Postlude

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Last updated on Thursday, August 22, 2013.

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