Closing Celebration: Hold On, General Assembly 2018

General Assembly 2018 Event 506

Program Description

”Above all, clothe yourself in love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
—Colossians 3:14-17

As we leave our General Assembly with the affirmation of our commitments and inspired in our callings, let us hold on to the threads that weave our stories as we start again in the work of justice and love.


  • Storytellers: Patrice Curtis, Ben Rayhill, Hannah Roberts Villnave, Kimberly Debus, Lilia Cuervo, Yadanee Hailu
  • Musicians: Kiya Heartwood, Francisco Ruiz, The Choir Anne Watson Born, (Kenneth Griffiths, accompanist) (Beth Norton, Soloist)

Order of Service

Anne Watson Born, Kenneth Griffith, The General Assembly Band, Kiya Heartwood

When the Spirit Says Do

affirmations in word and song

Hold On

honoring our faith, our relationships and our commitments

Weaving our Threads

celebrating our callings and making promises together

Be the Change

blessing our work with song

With gratitude to all of the musicians, speakers, technical teammates and worship artists who have shared creativity and persistence in the design of our General Assembly 2018 Worship program

  • Rev. Michelle Favreault
  • B. Tyler Coles
  • Rev. Patrice Curtis
  • Rev. Kimberley Debus
  • Rev. Tania Márquez
  • Dr. Leon Burke
  • General Assembly 2018 Worship Arts Team

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. Unedited live captions (TXT) were created during the event, and contain some errors. Captioning is not available for some copyrighted material.


Opening Words

Hannah: We come into this place 
The spirit 
Our spirits 
We gather 
There are things we 
Must do
Hurts we must mend 
Wrongs we must end 
Wounds we must tend 
We gather 
There are songs we 
Must sing 
Melodies to share 
Hearts laid bare 
The notes that carry 
our spirits home 
We gather 
There are times we 
Must dance 
Because when all 
Seems lost 
And our bodies are weary 
And the cost of living seems 
Too Much 
The spirit says 
However your body does 
The spirit says “do” 
And so we will DO 
The spirit says “sing” 
And so we will SING
The spirit says “dance” 
And so we will DANCE
So let the spirit rise 
And join your voice with mine 
Let us worship.

Opening Song

Kenneth: (lyrics)

Yadenee: This week, we have been called to be and to do and to hold on to the threads of our callings...

(voice rises from the choir) All are called

And we have work to much work

All are called to this moment

Oh, yes, we are in the mud and the muck and the joy and the beauty

All are called to this day

As the generations have taught us, the moral arc of the universe is long,” and it bends towards justice”

All are called, all are called, all are called….

Hannah: As we move into these days and weeks and years of carrying forth from this General Assembly in Kansas City, with our callings and commitments, we harken to the invitation of the poet (WIlliam Stafford the way it is) who reminds us (a unison reading):

Yadenee: You don’t ever let go of the thread

Hannah: You don’t ever let go of the thread

Anthem: “Hold On”

Words and Music by Kiya Heartwood

Soloist with Band


Patrice: In these recent days we’ve learned so much in and about Kansas City, about ourselves, our faith, our callings and our challenges - but one story that maybe you didn’t yet hear is about Nellie Don who “revolutionized” the garment industry at the start of the 20th century,

"Above all, clothe yourself in love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
—Colossians 3:14-17

Ben: Nellie’s story is of a woman who owned a successful business that could also offering generous employee benefits, and a vision of equity and compassion for the community folks who worked with her in this endeavor: Nelly Don Self Made in America.

Lilia: The Handy Dandy Apron…

Which reminds me of an ancient story….perhaps you have heard it before:

Kimberly: Once there was a poor (seamstress?), who made the finest clothes for the finest people. And when she was just getting started would collect the scraps from the coats and pants and dresses that were left over and one day, the seamstress, this crafter, had enough material to make their own cloak.  
Oh it was wonderful! Threads of many colors, each piece a story woven into one whole work of beauty. DIfferent, of course than the styles of the day, but magnificent and warm and wonderful.

Ben: Over time, the coat was worn and washed and stained and frayed - but in time, that coat came to make a lovely jacket - and in more time with wear and tear and weather and the day came that the jacket was a fine vest.

Lilia: And then you know what happened, the passage of time, and the unravelling and the reworking of the pattern and the vest became a handkerchief and tears of joy and tears of sadness soon rendered the cloth merely enough to make one fine button….

Kimberly: And one day, seamstress’ grandchild held the button and said “is this all there is?” and the seamstress said - “oh, dear one - here in each thread, there is so much...this button is a hundred stories of mine, now to be tied to a hundred stories of yours and all of our stories are woven fine with the generations past and the generations to come…”

Patrice: Dear ones, let us weave these threads and let us always be called to share these stories of faith and hope and love…

Our stories of our callings
Our memories of General Assembly
Our hopes and aspirations
Our commitments to the work of repairing the world
All of this is heard in these threads

Choral Piece with Soloist: “Oh Had I A Golden Thread”

With Beth Norton Soloist

Charge to the threads

Ben: We invite you to tie that thread around your wrist, or a finger or a button on your collar as a call to memory - of what you are called to do 
And who you are called to be
Moving out into these months ahead

Patrice: Until we meet again, may the thread that ties you

Kimberly: To me

Lilia: And to me

Ben: Remind us of our callings committed to at this General Assembly 
Because we are indeed ever growing in our learning that 
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. 
May these threads call us to be the change we wish to see, with our commitments to weave the tapestry of love known as, growing as, beloved community.

Choir and soloist “Be The Change”

Music & Lyrics by Michael Abels

Francisco Ruiz with Choir: (lyrics)

Benediction and Extinguishing the Chalice

Hannah and Yadenee Right Relations CoChairs: I know you can
I know we can
In our garment of destiny
In our shape shifting faith
We can hold on to our callings
Hold on to one another
Hold on for dear life to that which we hold most dear.

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
Things that change, but it doesn’t change….
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

Choral Benediction


UUA General Assembly Off-site Participation: Kansas City, Missouri | 2018