General Assembly: GA Presentations: Presenter views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UUA.

Friday Evening Worship, General Assembly 2000

General Assembly 2000 Event 263
Minister: Rev. Dr. Kristen Harper; Readers: Rev. Whitney Herriage, Rev. Abhi Janamanchi and Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman

"I see ministry as the act of bridging intellect with heart, experience with knowledge, sound with silence, destruction with pain, pain with joy, person with person, and person with spirit. As a minister, I walk bridges and build bridges between the members of my congregation; the community they live in; blacks and whites; rich and poor; heterosexual with gay, lesbian, transgendered; and Humanism with Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, indigenous religions; and much much more."
—Rev. Dr. Kristen Harper

In this moving service, the Rev. Dr. Kristen Harper reminded us that we are all responsible for building bridges. Fellow ministers and former classmates with her at Meadville-Lombard Theological Seminary Rev. Whitney Herriage, Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, and Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman were readers.

"Bridges Go Both Ways," Rev. Harper tells us. She reminds the audience that a racist culture is harmful to both whites and blacks. So often we sympathize with oppressed groups; however, Rev. Harper illustrates the harm done to whites living in a racist world. In addition, she makes the point that both sides are responsible for reaching out to each other, getting to know each other and forming deeper human connections.

Rev. Dr. Kristen Harper was recently called as senior minister to the UU Society of the Daytona Beach Area, Ormond, FL.

Order of Service

"and all that has divided us will merge"
—Marge Piercy

Please observe a respectful silence as you enter the Worship space for the Prelude. Thank you.

Prelude: Barbara Wagner

Invocation: Hymn "Gather The Spirit"

Lighting the Chalice: Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman

Responsive Reading: Rev. Abhi Janamanchi

Reading: Rev. Whitney Herriage

Meditation: From the words of Howard Thurman

Homily: Bridges Go Both Ways (PDF, 5 pages): Rev. Dr. Kristen Harper

Hymn: "One More Step"

Closing Words

Postlude: Barbara Wagner
Thanks to Barbara Wagner for sharing her gift of music, to Doug Strong for designing the cover art, and special thanks to Whitney Herriage, Abhi Janamanchi and Justin Osterman for their insight and presence to this service.

Responsive Reading

Connections Are Made Slowly

by Marge Piercy

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.

More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.

Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.

Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.

Live a life you can endure: make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in, a thicket and a bramble wilderness to the outside but to us interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you like yourself, and it may happen:
Reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.

This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always.
For every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting, after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Reported by Jessie Washington.