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Service of the Living Tradition

General Assembly 2002 Event 4004

Two Services of the Living Tradition were held. Our coverage was of the second service.

At General Assembly (GA) 2002 in Québec, the Service of the Living Tradition was conducted as two separate services. The first service began at 8:00 a.m. with those ministers receiving final fellowship receiving their certificates on stage while ministers in other categories were recognized standing at their seats. The second service began at 10:00 a.m. with those ministers receiving preliminary fellowship receiving their certificates on stage with ministers in other categories recognized at their seats.

For the first time this year, the second (10:00 a.m.) Service of Living Tradition was broadcast live over the Internet. This live broadcast, was well as broadcasts of the Sunday Plenary (PDF) and Ware Lecture, were funded by the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Funding Program.

Music on organ and piano was provided by Leon Burke, Choir Director of Eliot Unitarian Chapel of Kirkwood, MO. Soprano soloist Kerry-Anne Kutz, Music Director and Lay Chaplain of Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Beaconsfield, Quebéc, provided a musical introit, "This Day," written by UU composer Ann MacDonald Diers, and a bi-lingual vocal response after the sermon, "Chaque-Fois" ("Each Time"), which Kutz had also composed. Both pieces were accompanied on piano by Sandra Hunt, Director of Music at the Unitarian Church of Montreal.

Rev. Dr. David P. Hubner, acting director of the Department of Ministry, welcomed the congregation with an uplifting message about turning an ordinary space into holy ground by their presence.

Ministers receiving their preliminary or final fellowship as well as those who completing their full time ministries processed into the convention hall to the singing of "Rank by Rank, Again We Stand" (hymn #358) and took their seats in the center section of the auditorium.

Lighting the chalice for the service and representing the surviving families of ministers who have died during the past year were James Hanson (8:00 a.m. service), the husband of the Reverend Junella Hanson, and Eric Fisher (10:00 a.m. service), the son of the Reverend John Ogden Fisher. Rev. Dr. Ralph Mero led the congregation in "A Litany of Remembrance," a responsive reading giving thanks and appreciation to our ministers.

On behalf of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) Chair Phyllis Daniel welcomed those ministers receiving their fellowship and gave a short review of the work of the MFC.

Honoring those ministers who have entered preliminary fellowship, the Rev. Ellen Brandenburg, Ministerial Education Director, called out the names of all thirty-three parish ministers, nine community ministers and three ministers of religious education and asked the congregation to recognize them.

In recognition of those ministers who have attained final fellowship, Rev. David Hubner invited each to receive their certificate on stage while Rev. Dr. William Sinkford, Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons and Phyllis Daniel extended the hand of fellowship to each.

Ministers completing their service in ministry received their certificates when Rev. Kenn Hurto, Acting Director of Ministerial Continuing Education, called them to the stage.

Rev. Dr. Ralph Mero, director of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Office of Church Staff Finance, explained the purpose of the Living Tradition Fund, which provides UU ministry students and ministers with scholarships, grants and financial assistance in times of need. Last year, the fund received $163,817 at the Service of the Living Tradition, and Mero expressed "the hope that we can double and triple this amount this year." A choir consisting entirely of ministers, ministerial students and their partners, sang the Offertory "Of Love and Understanding" by Betsy Jo Angebranndt, as the ushers passed the baskets.

The sermon, "Only By Your Presence" (PDF, 7 pages) was delivered by the Rev. Barbara J. Pescan, currently serving the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL. She began by singing a less common version of "This Little Light of Mine":

"Gonna let my little light shine, shine, shine…
Gonna let my little light shine, shine, shine…
Maybe someone down in the valley, tryin' to get home."

Quoting Steven J. Gould and citing examples of the heroic effects of rescue and acts of compassion after the terrorists' attack on September 11, Pescan reminded us that we are capable of both good and evil. For every act of violence, 10,000 acts of kindness arise to balance it. Our little lights shine to guide one another home.

Growing up, her grandmother would said to her, "No matter what happens, you'll be all right." Her mother would tell her to "just do your best" whereas friends would tell her that she "has an effect on people." It was these kinds of encouragement and trust, Pescan said, that inspired her to pursue a career in ministry.

Despites negative input like the one from a friend ("If you can avoid going into the ministry, do!"), the efforts and sacrifices were all worth it when she was called to her first ministry with the welcome message, "Welcome! We've been waiting for you."

Most ministries are not perfect, she reminded the congregation. She recounted some failing moments: not listening, speaking wounding words, missing the essential question.

But there were also moments of profound connection. She would come to give comfort but instead receive comfort and depart in awe. She shared her story of ministering to a friend dying of AIDS. One of the final requests from this friend was to ask her if she would do his memorial service. When she agreed, he asked, "What is a memorial service?" Upon hearing more details, he said that's exactly what he would want after he died. Other requests included asking her to sing him his favorite tune, "The White Cliffs of Dover" and, she said, "rubbing his butt." There were long moments of silence. Through the grace of silence, they found communion.

She talked about reaching out, unfolding our ministry of love to balance acts of evil, and creating holy ground "only by our presence." In closing, urging the congregation to bring their presence to others, she led the congregation in singing again her opening words: "Gonna let my little light shine…" We need, she said, to pay attention to our similarity and to relinquish our differences so that all of our spirited 'little lights' can help one another get home.

*Editor's note: the offering for the Living Tradition Fund collected a total of $98,500 USD to support the UU ministry.

Reported by Kok Heong McNaughton; edited by Deborah Weiner.

Order of Service

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age,
perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.
—Adrienne Rich


Chorale Prelude: "O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen"
(Blessed Ye Who Live in Faith) Johannes Brahms


Rev David P. Hubner


"I thank you God for most this amazing" —e.e. cummings/Ann Diers

Call to Worship

Rev Dr. John H. Weston

Processional Hymn

"Rank by Rank, Again We Stand" John Huntley Skrine
Recast by Rev Carl G. Seaburg, 1990

Congregation rises

Rank by rank, again we stand,
From the four winds gathered hither.
Loud the hallowed walls demand
Whence we come, and how, and whither.
From their stillness breaking clear,
Echoes wake to warn or cheer;
Higher truth from saint and seer
Call to us assembled here.

Ours the years' memorial store,
Honored days and names we reckon,
Days of comrades gone before,
Lives that speak and deeds that beckon.
From the dreaming of the night
To the labors of the day,
Shines their everlasting light,
Guiding us upon our way.

Though the path be hard and long,
Still we strive in expectation;
Join we now their ageless song
One with them in aspiration.
One in name, in honor one,

Guard we well the crown they won;
What they dreamed be ours to do,

Hope their hopes and seal them true.

Lighting of the Chalice

8:00 a.m.: James Hanson
10:00 a.m.: Eric Fisher

A Litany of Remembrance and Recognition

Rev Dr. Ralph Mero

Adapted from the Reverend Ralph Norman Helverson

Minister: We are gathered in remembrance and recognition of all ministers who seek the light of understanding, who extend the fellowship of freedom, and whose words and deeds remain as a living memorial.

Congregation: We lift up thankful hearts for all ministers who deal out to others their lives passed through the fire of thought.

We remember and recognize ministers who seek wisdom and reach across barriers of belief and doctrine, who affirm in the spirit of truth the healing hand of argument, who serve the needs of others-lift the fallen, uphold the weak, establish community, and preach the living word.

We lift up thankful hearts for all who carry on the tradition of asking questions, who go beyond false stopping places that stifle growth and weaken faith.

We remember and recognize ministers who embody goodness, embrace the love of all people, encompass differences of color and creed, age and sex, and surmount every circumstance of hobbling tradition, to push back ignorance and declare the glory of God and the human spirit.

We lift up thankful hearts for the ministry of beauty, for all who quicken our love of nature and of ourselves, who by line and color, music and ceremony, and the spoken word, help us to rejoice in life.

We remember and recognize every minister who teaches living religion, who helps us to see the limits of unexamined orthodoxies, and while standing in a particular tradition declares the religion universal, and who leads us in the dedication of ourselves to the church of all souls.

We lift up thankful hearts for the ministers who set before us examples to follow. May the work and the purpose of their calling show forth in those yet to come, the ministry they proclaim.

Welcoming the New Ministers

Phyllis Daniel

The congregation is asked to hold applause until each group of ministers has been recognized.

Recognition of Those Ministers Who Have Entered into Preliminary Fellowship

Rev Ellen Brandenburg

Recognition of Those Ministers Who Have Attained Final Fellowship

Rev David P. Hubner

Extending the Hand of Fellowship

Rev Dr. William G. Sinkford, Rev Dr. Kendyl L. Gibbons, Phyllis Daniel

Recognition of Those Completing Service in Ministry

Rev Kenneth Gordon Hurto

Extending Appreciation and Thanks

Rev Dr. William G. Sinkford, Rev Dr. Kendyl L. Gibbons, Rev Dr. Peter S. Raible, Rev David P. Hubner, Phyllis Daniel

Offering for the Living Tradition Fund*

Rev Dr. Ralph Mero


"Of Love and Understanding" Kenneth Patton/Betsy Jo Angebranndt


"Only By Your Presence" (PDF, 7 pages) Rev Barbara J. Pescan

Vocal Response

"Each Time/Chaque fois" Kerry-Anne Kutz

Roll Call and Prayer

Sermon by Rev. Dr. William G. Sinkford (PDF)

Congregation rises

Instrumental Response

"Communion" Alexander Shreiner

Recessional Hymn

"For All the Saints" (Adapted) William Walsham How

Congregation remains standing

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, most holy, be forever blest: Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their rock, their shelter, and their might;
Their strength and solace in the well-fought fight;
Thou in the darkness deep their one true light: Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the conflict long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph-song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong: Alleluia, Alleluia!


Rev Ellen Brandenburg


"Postludio" Domenico Zipoli

Notes on the Service

This is the fifty-seventh annual Service of the Living Tradition of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry, which recognizes those ministers who have been granted preliminary fellowship, achieved final fellowship, or completed full-time service and commemorates those ministers who died between May 22, 2001, and May 15, 2002. The service is prepared and led by the Department of Ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Association: the Reverend David P. Hubner, Acting Director of Ministry; the Reverend Ellen Brandenburg, Ministerial Education Director; the Reverend Kenneth Hurto, Acting Ministerial Development Director; the Reverend Ralph Mero, Church Staff Finances Director; and the Reverend John Weston, Ministerial Settlement Director.

The offering received today supports the Living Tradition Fund, which provides Unitarian Universalist (UU) ministry students and ministers with scholarships, grants, and financial assistance in times of need.

The preacher for the service is Rev Barbara J. Pescan, Co-minister since 1995 with RevAnn E. Tyndall, of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois. She has also served the UU Society of Northern Fairfield County, West Redding, Connecticut and Beacon Unitarian Church, Oak Park, Illinois. Barbara received her B.A. from Kent State University in 1968 and an M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1981. She is author of the 1999 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) meditation manual Morning Watch.

Other worship leaders are:

  • Phyllis Daniel, Chair of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee
  • Rev Dr. William G. Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association
  • Rev Dr. Kendyl L.Gibbons, President of the Unitarian Universalist
  • Ministers Association and Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rev Dr. Peter S. Raible, President of the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association and Interim Minister, Eliot Unitarian Chapel, Kirkwood, Missouri

Representing the surviving families of ministers who have died during the past year are James Hanson, the husband of the Reverend Junella Hanson, and Eric Fisher, the son of the Reverend John Ogden Fisher. The organist is Leon Burke, Choir Director, Eliot Unitarian Chapel, Kirkwood, Missouri. Soprano soloist Kerry-Anne Kutz is Music Director and Lay Chaplain, Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Beaconsfield, Quebec. The accompanist is Sandra Hunt, Director of Music, Unitarian Church of Montreal.

Singers of the Living Tradition

Our choir, the Singers of the Living Tradition, is composed entirely of UU ministers and students in ministry and their family members. The choir director is Rev Dr. Gretchen L. Woods, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, Oregon. The choir accompanist is Rev W. Donald Beaudreault, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Florida.

The flaming chalice was crafted by Robert Duprey, a member of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Brockton, Massachusetts.

Ushers for the service are ministers in Preliminary Fellowship.

We are grateful to Suzanne Morgan of the UUA Publications Department for the design of this Order of Service, and to Rev Douglas Morgan Strong of Plano, Texas, for hall arrangements and for the flaming chalice "stained glass" window used in this service. We would also like to thank Robin Bartlett, Administrative Assistant to the Ministerial Fellowship Committee; A'Llyn Ettien, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Ministry; and Chris May, Administrator of the Ministerial Education Office, for their help in putting the service together.

A brief reception will be held for all participating ministers and guests in the Solarium and Third Foyer at the Convention Center after the service.

Ministers Receiving Preliminary Fellowship


  • Kathryn Adele Bert
  • Hope Johnson
  • Jon K. Reid
  • Lori B. Crawford
  • Janet Boykin Johnson
  • Margaret J. Roberts
  • Catherine Cullen
  • Frederick T. Koyle
  • Thomas A. Rosiello
  • Jean Siegfried Darling
  • Susan Grace LaMar
  • Amy MacMillan Russell
  • Frances Dearman
  • Eugene "Guy" LaMothe
  • Dawn Sangrey
  • Nathan W. Detering
  • Phillip Bruce Lund
  • Leaf Seligman
  • Frances Leigh Deverell
  • James Howard Macomber
  • Sarah Christine Stewart
  • Mary Louise DeWolf
  • Beth Marshall
  • Robert Preston Tucker III
  • Janet Elizabeth Ives Ernisse
  • Karen J. McFarland
  • Felicia Mary Urbanski
  • Ann C. Fox
  • Christina M. Neilson
  • Georgette Irene Wonders
  • John E. Hickey
  • Jan K. Nielsen
  • Dana Elizabeth Worsnop


  • Karen Broenneke
  • Azande Mangeango
  • Kathleen Riegelman
  • Brian P. Clougherty
  • Cathleen Diane Cox McCarroll
  • Madeleine MacNeill Sifantus
  • Barbara R. Kellett
  • Denis G. Meacham
  • Karen Brigid Taliesin

Ministry of Religious Education

  • Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley
  • Virginia Pavelka Luke
  • Lori Louise Staubitz

Ministers Receiving Final Fellowship


  • Kenneth Samuel Beldon
  • Paul G. Hull
  • Robert R.N. Ross
  • Karen Brammer
  • Alison Hyder
  • Samuel Schaal
  • Helen Christine Brownlie
  • Abhi P. Janamanchi
  • D. Michael Smith
  • Eric M. Cherry
  • Jeffrey G. Jones
  • Erin Elizabeth Splaine
  • Daniel Charles Davis
  • Daniel Chesney Kanter
  • Betty R. Stapleford
  • Leonard R. De Roche
  • Nicole C. Kirk
  • V. Elaine Strawn
  • Sharon K. Dittmar
  • William Leggett
  • Alan Curtis Taylor
  • Kathy Duhon
  • Dena McPhetres
  • Patricia V.M. Tummino
  • Marlin Gilbert
  • Jeanne Melis Mills
  • Kate R. Walker
  • James E. Grant
  • Makanah Elizabeth Morriss
  • Marlene R. Walker
  • Glenda R. Gray
  • Lowell R. Patton
  • Victoria Anne Weinstein
  • Georganne Greene
  • Wendy Luella Perkins
  • Vail Eliza Weller
  • Katherine Anne Greenleaf
  • Scott Gerard Prinster
  • Samuel (Chip) A. Wright III
  • Ricky Hoyt
  • Thomas A. Rhodes
  • Carole Yorke


  • Jan Marie Carlsson-Bull
  • Lynn Mikula Kerr
  • Susan D. Videen
  • Carol Lana Jackson
  • Dale Emerson Lantz
  • Patricia Shelden Ward
  • Kathryn A. Jorgensen
  • Parisa Day Parsa
  • LaurieAnn Yeisley-Drogin

Ministers Completing Full-Time Ministries

  • Meredith U. Anderson
  • Victor H. Carpenter
  • F. Everett Morris
  • Sarah Barber-Braun
  • Richard M. Fewkes
  • Peter Tufts Richardson
  • Elizabeth Klein Benjamin
  • Leslie Hulme Heyboer
  • Robert L. Schaibly
  • Suzanne T. Black
  • Richard G. Kimball
  • Norma Goodwin Veridan
  • Michael Edward Boardman
  • Eugene William Kreves
  • Robert E. Wolf
  • Anne R. Buehler
  • Ruppert Lovely

Ministers Deceased

  • Harold D. Buck
  • Donald G. Lothrop
  • Thomas E. Payne
  • John Ogden Fisher
  • Andrew X. Mahy
  • Albert Q. Perry
  • Junella E. Hanson
  • Earle T. McKinney
  • Charles W. Phillips
  • Violet A. Kochendoerfer
  • Joseph F. Nerad
  • Burchard A. Royce
  • Fred A. LeShane
  • Albert C. Niles
  • Hugh W. Weston