After the last Plenary Session, we celebrate our time together, reflect on the history we have shared, and dream about the possibilities that lie ahead. This service is filled with song led by General Assembly (GA) Music Coordinator, Kellie Walker, GA Choir Director, Amber Fetner and the GA Choir.
[Composed by Thomas Benjamin; handbell ostinata by Melodie Feather]
REV. JAY LEACH: Come. Come. Whoever you are, we sing in our congregations. And that was our invitation. Come here to our city, to Charlotte, North Carolina. Come to worship and to witness, to pray and prepare, to learn, to laugh, to celebrate a half century of being Unitarian Universalists. And what a week it has been.
My name is Jay Leach, and I and the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, and I thank you for coming to our city this week.
Now, as we prepare to fold our tents and continue on our respective ways, we sound the invitation one last time in this place. Come. Yet again, come. As we began, so let us conclude, let us worship together.
[Words: James Russell Lowell; Music: Thomas John Williams]
KELLIE WALKER: “Once to Every Soul Nation” is one of the first examples of the social gospel and a call to action within a hymn. The text was written by James Russell Lowell to protest the potential spread of slavery. It still calls us as a nation to make tough choices for what is right and just. Let us remain seated as we sing.
[SINGING: "ONCE TO EVERY SOUL AND NATION"]
[Music and lyrics by Holly Near]
KELLIE WALKER: Holly Near wrote "Singing For Our Lives" after hearing of the killing of San Francisco Mayor George Mascone, and City Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978. She much prefers to call it by its original title, "Singing For Our Lives" than by the first line title of, we are a gentle angry people given in our gray hymnal.
In every generation we are called to work for justice and fight the oppressions of the day, and this song helps us find the grace and strength to continue in these struggles. Again, please remain seated as we sing "Singing For Our Lives."
[SINGING: "SINGING FOR OUR LIVES"]
[Music and Lyrics: Rev. Jason Shelton]
KELLIE WALKER: As we get ready to go to Phoenix for GA 2012, we want to recognize the importance of the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign, and energizing the UUs, working for immigration rights in Arizona, and the visibility that that campaign gave to the cause. The yellow shirts and the powerful songs helped us become The Love People, as others kept referring to us.
We honor many ways of being in the world, whether it is making our presence known while sitting in a wheelchair, whether it is cooking for a crowd behind the scenes, or giving a speech at a rally. Jason Shelton's song calls us to take a stand in the sense of making our opinions known and working to support, in our own individual ways, the fight against injustice wherever it is found. And always, always, our voices are strongest when we sing together.
So now, please rise in body or spirit as we sing "Standing On The Side Of Love," and at the end we will sing two choruses.
[SINGING: "STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE"]
KELLIE WALKER: Please be seated.
[English text by Charles A Howe; Spanish Translation by Gaylord E. Smith ©2002. Music by Thomas Benjamin]
KELLIE WALKER: We light this chalice while lifting up the words of “Que recibamos esta luz” from our new Spanish hymnals, Las Voces del Camino.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Que recibamos esta luz y los ricos paisajes que hoy nos brinda.
KELLIE WALKER: May we be open to this light and the beauty of the rich landscape it offers us. With this light, may we have the strength to overcome our fears and the courage to work for what is right and just.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Please repeat after me. Que recibamos esta luz.
AUDIENCE: Que recibamos esta luz.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Y los ricos paisajes.
AUDIENCE: Y los ricos paisajes.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Que hoy nos brinda.
AUDIENCE: Que hoy nos brinda.
KELLIE WALKER: The choir will sing it now once through, then you can all join with us and sing twice more through. Feel free to add harmony and vocal improvisation to the basic melody. Let's remain seated. We'll let the music swell up and then die down.
[SINGING: "QUE RECIBAMOS ESTA LUZ"]
[Words & music: African American spiritual (public domain)]
KELLIE WALKER: "There Is More Love Somewhere" is an African-American hymn reminding us that no matter what our personal circumstances, focusing on the healing potential of love helps us to go on. For purposes of classifying the tune, it was given the name "Biko," in honor of South African Activist Stephen Bantubiko who founded the South African Student Organization. He was beaten to death while being interrogated after his arrest in 1977. His courage to work for freedom continues to inspire us in the ongoing fight against injustice in all its forms. Please rise in body or spirit as we join together in singing "There Is More Love Somewhere."
[SINGING: "THERE IS MORE LOVE SOMEWHERE"]
LYNDA SHANNON: Hey, Gini.
GINI COURTER: Hey Lynda, how you doing?
LYNDA SHANNON: Good. We have a script here, it doesn't have any words.
GINI COURTER: No. There's a change for ya. Other people got words. They didn't give us words.
LYNDA SHANNON: Do you want to do some of these lines? I don't know.
GINI COURTER: I think other people have them.
LYNDA SHANNON: All right. Well—
GINI COURTER: OK.
SPEAKER 1: Is that it?
GINI COURTER: No.
LYNDA SHANNON: No.
GINI COURTER: Welcome to General Assembly.
LYNDA SHANNON: A well-oiled machine.
GINI COURTER: Incredibly well-oiled. So, what's been the most thrilling thing in the week for you?
LYNDA SHANNON: Oh, easy. It's the Synergy Bridging Worship Service.
GINI COURTER: Yeah?
GINI COURTER: Say more.
LYNDA SHANNON: Well, I threw out a challenge to the young adults and the youth leading this year's worship service, and I said, you know the last few years you've had 200, 300, 500 people at most and then down to like 300 last year. And I said, that's not Plenary worship.
GINI COURTER: How many people came this year?
LYNDA SHANNON: Oh, more than 2,000.
GINI COURTER: Excellent.
LYNDA SHANNON: Pretty good service, huh?
GINI COURTER: I was there. It was fabulous. It was absolutely fabulous.
LYNDA SHANNON: So, you?
GINI COURTER: Actually, getting to the point in the Plenary where I knew there was nothing left to be voted on. It comes kind of late, but—
GINI COURTER: —that was the high point. But—
LYNDA SHANNON: That's deferred gratification.
GINI COURTER: That's deferred gratification. But some of my high points came in really quiet moments. I would be in a restaurant or standing in a hallway and somebody would come up and say, I really liked that service, or I love the Ware Lecture, or I absolutely loved the opening ceremony, and I would say, tell me more. Because it's one thing to say we like it, but then I would have people dive down and say, I like this because I'm going to take this back to my congregation, or here's an idea that will change my leadership, or here's a piece of worship that showed a best practice here at GA on something my congregation struggles with every single week.
So, I loved those moments, the collection of them through the week, with congregational leaders from all over the country.
LYNDA SHANNON: That's pretty good, too.
GINI COURTER: It wasn't bad either, was it?
LYNDA SHANNON: Not bad. You guys going to roll some slides to show us the images of this last week?
GINI COURTER: Because it's been a good week.
LYNDA SHANNON: Our well-oiled tech deck machine.
GINI COURTER: It's this part of the script that—[LAUGHTER]
LYNDA SHANNON: What else was good?
GINI COURTER: What else was good? Let's ask them.
LYNDA SHANNON: Worship.
LYNDA SHANNON: You want to be more specific than worship?
LYNDA SHANNON: Who's the—
GINI COURTER: Choir.
LYNDA SHANNON: Choir.
GINI COURTER: Who's loved the music all week long?
LYNDA SHANNON: Did anybody buy anything in the exhibit hall this year?
LYNDA SHANNON: Books?
GINI COURTER: I loved having Youth Caucus in Plenary Hall.
GINI COURTER: And, you know, the Young Adult Caucus wasn't bad to interact with either.
LYNDA SHANNON: Yeah.
GINI COURTER: And the huge cry from the seminarians when we introduced the fact that the MFC and the board were working to shorten the length of time, the wait, the backlog, and all these seminarians—there's our future ministers in the back there.
AUDIENCE: The Moderators Report.
LYNDA SHANNON: The Moderators Report? That was awesome, Gini.
GINI COURTER: Yeah.
LYNDA SHANNON: I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, but it was remarkable and it was moving and I'm going to think about it.
GINI COURTER: Thank you.
LYNDA SHANNON: You know?
LYNDA SHANNON: You know, registration was pretty good, too, this year.
LYNDA SHANNON: Those volunteers get here and they learn and they unpack all those name badges and everybody gets one, and all those little—I didn't get any ribbons this year.
GINI COURTER: Oh.
LYNDA SHANNON: Because I didn't have time to stop by the booth to get the ribbons.
AUDIENCE: The banner parade.
GINI COURTER: That's incredible—
LYNDA SHANNON: Oh, the banner parade?
GINI COURTER: Who loved the banner parade?
GINI COURTER: We have three banners left. We're going to parade those around later after you all are gone.
AUDIENCE: Kelly Walker.
LYNDA SHANNON: Kelly Walker?
LYNDA SHANNON: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I've got to choose another thing? I get to choose another thing.
GINI COURTER: You get to choose another thing.
LYNDA SHANNON: That band.
GINI COURTER: The redesign in the Service of the Living Tradition, so it was clear that our ministers come from our congregations. Oh, goose bumps.
GINI COURTER: Goose bumps in the sermon—all good. All good.
LYNDA SHANNON: Oh. I double that, yeah.
AUDIENCE: Amber Fetner.
GINI COURTER: All good. I don't think we can do the slides.
LYNDA SHANNON: They're not going to do the slides?
AUDIENCE: The people, the rally.
GINI COURTER: The people, the rally.
LYNDA SHANNON: Oh, the rally.
GINI COURTER: Being with thousands of you when we got the news about New York.
LYNDA SHANNON: Oh yeah.
GINI COURTER: You know, I took my "Standing on the Side of Love" shirt out and turned to tag over, and I wondered are there laundry instructions? No, you know what it said? To fix New York, just add water.
LYNDA SHANNON: Oh, I thought God was so happy she was just crying on all of us.
GINI COURTER: That's good too. Excellent. It's been a wonderful General Assembly.
LYNDA SHANNON: It has been a fabulous General Assembly. You know, I often tell people that I wanted to get on the planning committee because I could count up, and I said 2011 is coming, and I want to plan a 50th anniversary, I want to be part of that. And you have made it a 50th anniversary to remember and I am so proud of being part of the planning committee and the board and Peter and the choir and the musicians and you and the speakers. I walked into one session, I was supposed to be taking account and being very official. It was Galen Gingrich, and there's not a seat open and there's 80 people on the floor. And technically I should be saying you have to—
GINI COURTER: You have to leave and get off the floor.
LYNDA SHANNON: Yeah. But I got my cell phone, I had to leave the room. It just happened.
GINI COURTER: It all worked.
LYNDA SHANNON: So, Gini, was it a good week?
GINI COURTER: I think it's been an amazing week.
LYNDA SHANNON: That was the week that was?
GINI COURTER: That was—that was the week that was, that will never come again and was remarkable in its own fabulous way. It was amazing. I thank you and the planning committee for creating this week for the rest of us.
LYNDA SHANNON: I do, too.
REV. JOHN GIBBS MILLSPAUGH: Good evening. My name is Reverend John GIbbs Millspaugh. I am the co-minister of Winchester Unitarian Society in Winchester, Massachusetts.
MAR CARDENAS: Buenas tardes. My name is Mar Cardenas Loutzenhiser, and I a member of the Journey Towards Wholeness Team in San Diego, California.
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: We are joined this evening on my right by Reverend Cheryl M. Walker, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wilmington, North Carolina. And Suzanne Fast, Project Coordinator for Equal Access.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: And on my left are Reverend Paul Langston-Daley, serving as minister of the Sadona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and the Consulting Minister for Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: And Abhimanyu Janamanchi, a former member of the Florida District Board, an appointed member of the Moderator Nominating Committee, and recently elected Youth Observer on the UUA Board of Trustees.
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: Our Association's work in social justice did not begin with the idea of a Justice GA in Phoenix, and our commitment to justice didn't even begin with the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association, and the Universalist Church of America in 1961. Justice was central to both the Universalists and the Unitarians.
Members and leaders of both faiths were outspoken abolitionists, supporters of the women's suffrage, and engaged in all manners of work to support economic justice. Together these faiths shapes the beginnings of the Unitarian Service Committee and their work with refugees of Nazi terrorism, and together UUs of all ages have been active in efforts to end nuclear proliferation and promote peace between warring nations.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: We are truly justice-seeking people, and we invite you to journey to our UUA history as we highlight some of the areas where we have put our faith into action.
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: War, and a sometimes-elusive peace is one such area. Neither the Unitarians nor the Universalists have been willing to remain silent when our nation has been contemplating or is actively engaged in war.
REV. CHERYL WALKER: From Vietnam to the invasion of Panama, to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. We have been challenged with questions of war and peace. We have rarely achieved unanimous agreement, but we have learned how to practice active listening, and to support open conversations. And we have grown better at living with our differences on the complex issues we have confronted while respecting our diverse opinions.
Our faith has supported conscientious objectors, and we have honored those brave individuals who served and who have died for our country, and who serve today. We were called to speak in opposition to the war in Vietnam and to publish, in the face of opposition, the Pentagon Papers.
We started the UU Peace Network. We marched, ran national advertisements against the Gulf War saying that "Talk is Cheaper." We passed resolutions and actions that opposed war and nuclear armaments.
[PIANO MUSIC: "THERE'S MORE LOVE"]
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: The ongoing struggle to achieve racial justice, and our efforts to fully embrace multiculturalism have been major priorities for our justice work. At the 1997 General Assembly, we set a high bar for ourselves as we pledged to embark on a path to become an anti-racist, multicultural institution. The ongoing fight against discrimination in its many forms have both motivated and confounded us.
SUZANNE FAST: Our connection to anti-racism and anti-oppression had auspicious beginnings. Although our President and dozens of our ministers marched next to Dr. King in Selma, and UU's, the Reverend James Reebs and Viola Liuzzo gave their lives to the cause of racial justice. The dream of full racial equality remains unrealized today. We have fallen short, but we will not give up the dream.
Our work in the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s, desegregation and voter registration, Selma and Birmingham, are a part of our history. So is the Thomas Jefferson Ball of 1993, as well as the well-intentioned, but sometimes hurtful comments made in too many of our congregations and district and national gatherings about race and class and belonging. We remain both the hope and the problem.
[PIANO MUSIC: "WE'RE GONNA SIT AT THE WELCOME TABLE"]
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: Women and religion. We turn our attention now to the impact that women have had on justice in the UU faith tradition. 100 years after Unitarian Susan B. Anthony began organizing for women's right to vote, the 1970s saw UU congregations deeply engaged in the support of the Equal Rights Amendment. While the ERA did not pass, a denominational revolution was occurring at the same time—the beginning of the Women and Religion Movement.
REV. PAUL LANGSTON-DALEY: It was Lucile Shuck Longview, who upon returning from a UN International Women's Conference in 1975, realized that the roots of our religion might be discriminating against women's positions within our faith. Longview, working with Rosemary Matson and others, helped the Women and Religion Resolution to pass unanimously at the 1977 General Assembly. And the focus of the UUA turned to eradicating sexism and promoting equality in our faith.
There were changes made to the music and to the words of worship together. Great numbers of women entered study for the ministry, but there were also an increasing number of cases brought against male ministers who were accused of inappropriately using their powers over women.
Through the 1980s and into the 1990s the need developed for a different way of being together, of understanding the nature of abuse and power. This was spurred in part by the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation. Today the UUWF provides grants and scholarships to further support this movement. Now, more than 50% of our ministers are women.
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: Other advances were new curricula, Cakes for the Queen of Heaven, and Rise Up and Call Her Name. Deeper conversations and a program of education for lay leaders and those serving in professional and ordained positions about safety and ethics in our congregations.
The work of justice is challenging, but change does not always occur in straight lines, but change continues, as does our understanding of our commitments and our need to be in right relationship with one another.
[PIANO MUSIC: "I KNOW THIS ROSE WILL OPEN"]
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Economic justice. In 1985 the UUA Board of Trustees took a position followed by a courageous action in adopting a policy calling for full divestiture of its financial investments in South Africa. The issue, apartheid, itself was simple; making the decision to divest was not so easy. Well, we wanted to do something symbolic or otherwise against Apartheid. The financial cost of the association were not insignificant.
The Board weighed all those factors, and voted to make a religious statement about apartheid that was clear and unambiguous.
ABHIMANYU JANAMANCHI: UUs continue to work to promote economic justice through working with and among Interfaith organizations, joining our voices to theirs, calling on elected officials to pay attention to the devastating consequences of economic inequity. From New York and Colorado, to Ohio, Florida, California, and Wisconsin, Interfaith organizations have successfully spoken out for economic justice in our country. As a result, there has been change. Many communities have seen greater access to health care, transportation, and affordable housing.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Living wage legislation has been passed in cities and states. Educational equity is now a benchmark, not an unknown concept. We continue to see legal system reforms and job programs getting more visibility, as well as improvements in many other areas.
ABHIMANYU JANAMANCHI: If Unitarian Universalism is to fulfill its promise to my generation to truly become the religion for our time, then we will continue to add our voices to those of Interfaith groups, community organizations, and others working to promote economic justice.
[PIANO MUSIC: "STEP BY STEP THE LONGEST MARCH"]
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: Immigration reform. Since the 1960s, the General Assemblies of the UUA have made public statements advocating for the rights of migrant workers and comprehensive immigration reform. In the late 1980s, many UU congregations were actively involved in the sanctuary movement, providing support, protection, and advocacy to Central American immigrants coming to the US because of the violence in their own countries.
REV. CHERYL WALKER: Beginning in 1995 the General Assemblies is the UUA have renewed efforts to support immigration reform and to stop immigration, custom and enforcement raids and deportations that break up families. UU congregations around the country have joined the new sanctuary movement, have created job centers for migrant workers, and we are organizing in Arizona and across the country against legislation that discriminates against immigrants. Through the Standing on the Side of Love campaign, we are advocating for humane immigration reform, including passage of The Dream Act and a pathway to legal status and citizenship. We have been there. And we will continue to be there. Today, the struggle continues and intensifies.
[PIANO MUSIC: "STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE"]
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender justice. In 1970 the General Assembly passed a resolution making their first public statement supporting the rights of gay and lesbian people. We have passed 29 such resolutions in our history. In 1989, the UUA introduced the Welcoming Congregation Program to help change the culture of UU congregations to be more welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
In 1996, vowing to make sure that same-sex couples did not have to suffer inequality at the hands of the government, these couples were publicly recognized on the stage of this General Assembly for the first time.
SUZANNE FAST: For more than 27 years, Unitarian Universalist ministers have presided at Services of Union for same-sex couples. In 2004 the right to marry was won for same-sex couples in Massachusetts in a court case in which UUs took the lead. Five other states plus the District of Columbia followed.
We continue to travel on a long road of learning and growth, victory and failure. From marriage equality to equal rights and non-discrimination laws, UUs have publicly and proudly, if not perfectly, proclaimed our moral commitment to bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender equality. Today, this work has extended beyond our borders and brought us into partnerships with UUs and human rights groups in Uganda. There, the Reverend Mark Kiyimba and other people of faith have been courageously resisting attacks on the rights, the lives, and the safety of BGLT people and their advocates.
SUZANNE FAST: The struggle for justice goes on.
[PIANO MUSIC: "SINGING FOR OUR LIVES"]
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: The environment. From earlier General Assemblies where marches against our assault on the environment were a focus, to a change in our very principles that recognizes our connection with the natural world, the environment has remained a matter of deep concern.
REV. PAUL LANGSTON-DALEY: A commitment to the interdependent web that includes all living things is a passion growing in our movement. We actively promote green building construction and lead certification. We have joined with the UU Service Committee in promoting water education and conservation. Our congregations have been deeply engaged, some four decades, in community gardening and other environmental conservation projects.
The Green Sanctuary Program, nurtured by the UU Ministry for Earth, has provided education, support, and advocacy for our congregations as we learn to show love for our planet. So that there are now 161 certified green sanctuary congregations within the UUA, and with more than 100 on the path toward certification.
REV. PAUL LANGSTON-DALEY: From global climate change to ethical eating, we continue to challenge ourselves to become more aware of the impact of our individual and collective actions to the planet. We have become an undisputed leader in the religious conference planning industry for incorporation of greening practices in our gatherings.
[PIANO MUSIC: "HYFRODOL" IMPROV]
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Equal access. In our congregations and our meetings, we have sought to make participation accessible for all. There are stories, hundreds of them, where people who wish to worship were shut out for want of a ramp, an elevator, accessible restrooms, hearing assist devices, large prints orders of service and hymnals, and more. There are other stories of congregations who took seriously the call to the words "every person" in our first principle. They found ways to create accessible worship, meetings and social gatherings.
ABHIMANYU JANAMANCHI: We are painfully aware that we have created barriers that people with disabilities have had to overcome just to be able to participate in congregational life, as well as in the work of our association. Slowly, we are learning. We have published books and offered education on the differences among us, to help guide us toward change. The awareness that all are called to worship to serve and lead, is prompting congregations all across our association to think more deeply about what it means to have inherent worth and dignity. Attitudes that have excluded people with disabilities from full participation in our congregational life are changing.
We continue to grow in our awareness of the human and Civil Rights abuses that people with disabilities experience in our world—in employment, health care, housing, voting rights, physical abuse and bullying, in addition to the denial of access. Many of our congregations have become advocates for change.
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: We are a justice-seeking people. We have been seeking this for generations, well before a consolidated, Unitarian Universalist Association even dreamed of.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: Together, as one faith tradition, uniting the beliefs of Universalism that we are all beloved, and the beliefs of Unitarianism that there's one loving force present in our lives, we are stronger.
REV. JOHN MILLSPAUGH: We move on together, on towards deeper understanding.
MAR CARDENAS LOUTZENHISER: On towards equality.
ALL: Onward, together, towards justice.
[PIANO MUSIC: "CIRCLE ROUND FOR FREEDOM"]
[Refrain text and music: Linda Hirschhorn; ©1982; Verses text and music: Rob Glover; Arranged by Rob Glover; ©1997 GIA Publishing]
SPEAKER 2: Please join us in singing the chorus of this well-known chant by Linda Hirschhorn, which has been sung at thousands of demonstrations. I will sing the verses that have been added to this arrangement by Rob Glover.
[SINGING: "CIRCLE ROUND FOR FREEDOM"]
REV. SUSAN FREDRICK-GARY: This week we have honored 50 years of Unitarian Universalism, and now we look ahead to Phoenix. Come and be a part of the worship, the witness, the action, and the reflection and growing of those days.
REV. PETER MORALES: Join us as we begin the next 50 years of our history.
DAN FURMANKSY: Come to Phoenix in 2012.
REV. SUSAN FREDRICK-GARY: We'll see you there.
[Music and Lyrics: Aileen Vance, as sung by Dean Stevens, arr. by Nick Page]
[MUSIC: "LET JUSTICE ROLL DOWN"]
SPEAKER 3: In the historic words of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., "If you can't fly, than run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. When the way gets rough, we will make a new way. Walk together, children. Don't you get weary. Walk together, children."
SPEAKER 4: Please join us on the chorus of this hopeful song, written by Aileen Vance, which was inspired by the speeches of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the peace demonstration of 2003.
[SINGING: "LET JUSTICE ROLL DOWN"]
REV. JAY LEACH: Of course, we get weary. And now, perhaps, some of us are weary. But we must not stay weary. Again and yet again, we must renew ourselves, restore our spirits, recover our energy, return to the work and to the witness of our faith. The world needs us, needs our voices, our hands, our feet, our passion, and our determination, not just to let justice roll down like waters, but to help make justice roll down like waters.
Together, together we can embolden one another for the journey that lies ahead. Brave of heart, firm in hope, trusting together in the strength of love.
[Music: George W. Warren; Words: Rev. Don Vaughn-Foerster; Used by Permission.]
Let us now rise in body or spirit and sing together new lyrics to an old, familiar tune, National Hymn.
[SINGING: "BRAVE ARE THE HEARTS"]
REV. PETER MORALES: Please take the hand of your neighbor for benediction, because we go from here hand in hand, vamos de aqui, mano en mano.
Friends, we now take leave of one another. As we go from here, let us also take the love we have felt, the inspiration that has filled our spirits, the shared power we have experienced. Let this be a new beginning, for this, now, is our time. The future of our religious movement is in our hands. This is our time. Together let us write a chapter filled with love, filled with justice, filled with joy. Let us go in peace, go in love, go in strength. Amen.
[By Shelley Jackson Denham, © 1999; Arr: Jeannie Gagné, © UUA. Used by permission.]
[SINGING: "THEN I MAY LEARN"]
DAN FURMANKSY: Harness the power of love!
AUDIENCE: Harness the power of love!
DAN FURMANKSY: Come to Phoenix for Justice GA!
AUDIENCE: Come to Phoenix for Justice GA!
DAN FURMANKSY: Speak out for compassion!
AUDIENCE: Speak out for compassion!
DAN FURMANKSY: Speak out for human rights!
AUDIENCE: Speak out for human rights!
DAN FURMANKSY: Speak out for love!
AUDIENCE: Speak out for love!
AUDIENCE: Speak out for love!
DAN FURMANKSY: I'll meet you in Phoenix for Justice GA!
[African American spiritual from the slavery period. In public domain.]
Closing Celebration is General Assembly 2011 event number 5009.
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Last updated on Thursday, April 12, 2012.
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