Saturday Morning Worship: Frayed? Not! General Assembly 2018
General Assembly 2018 Event 402
Be not afraid, the youth are leading! The call to join in a healing, transformative faith is strong and our hearts are filled with love. Join us for song and story always remembering “Your love will lighten up the candle. Your love will lighten up the world.”
Order of Service
Liturgist/News Anchor: Ben Rayhill
With Weather, Traffic and Late Breaking News from the Education Desk
(KANSAS CITY) Headline News: Your Love is Enough—You are Everything!
At press time, we have just received BREAKING NEWS that the Youth of The World are UNDER ATTACK
More news: June 23, 8 a.m.
(KANSAS CITY) Headline News: Everyone’s a part of you and me
At press time, we have just received BREAKING NEWS that the Youth of The World are OUR ONLY HOPE
Tune in for our news special: June 23, 8 a.m.
(KANSAS CITY) Headline News: Your love will lighten up the candle! Your love will lighten up the world!
At press time, we have just received BREAKING NEWS that the Youth of the World are ON FIRE
A prime time report: June 23, 8 a.m.
(KANSAS CITY) Headline News: Only love, only love, only love, only, only, only
At press time, we have just received BREAKING NEWS that ALL ARE CALLED
Join your cracker jack news team for Spirited Worship as we UNTANGLE the mixed media messages of fear and share a faithful lead story of LOVE and transformative healing. This youth-led service will start your day with holy boldness!
The Morning Worship report: June 23, 8 a.m.
With special musical guests: The Wholly Imperfect All Ages Ukulele Choir
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.
Youth begin service out of chaotic “reporting live” from the floor with hand held mics.
Pablo deVos-Deak: Good Morning! We have just received BREAKING NEWS that the Youth of The World are OUR ONLY HOPE! Unitarian Universalist Youth are called to serve the world, and one another, with justice, compassion and abiding love!
Alison Luck: Our stories this morning come from around the country—Indiana, Colorado, California, Florida and right here in Kansas City. Our ace reporters will be sharing more news, with weather, and traffic, after this word from our sponsors: Youth Sponsors: a vital part of the UUA General Assembly Youth Caucus community. Sponsors are responsible for the safety, health, and well-being of the youth at all times throughout GA. Thank you to all of our sponsors for your support.
(it’s ok to cheer for the youth sponsors!) After a short break, we’ll be back with our morning weather report!
Ukulele Choir plays “Morning Has Broken” (instrumental only)
Ben Rayhill: Good morning! The weather… seems to be a growing problem. The 2017 hurricane season was one of the worst in history with $282.16 million dollars in damages and (thousands of deaths of US citizens in Puerto Rico). With the 2018 season upon us, there are already signs that it may devastate some of the areas that are still trying to rebuild.
Wildfires have become the norm in parts of the west of the United States. Heat waves and large periods of rain and flood have become more common. Last winter it snowed in places where the snow rarely falls and did not in places where it does. Extreme Weather events are on the rise and it seems that every news channel is having the same debate: where Bill Nye the Science Guy and some pundit argue if climate change is real. As John Oliver once said, “You do not need a debate on fact. You might as well have the debate which number is bigger 15 or 5 or do owls exist or are there hats.”
The Earth and her health is a problem and for the youth of this world it is scary because we want the future to be on a planet that is green and full of life. I want to be able to show my kids New York City above water. I want to be able to take my kids to the zoo and see a polar bear in real life and not just read about them in books. I want my kids to grow up in a world where they can breath clean air and drink clean water, and live a life surrounded by nature and life.
Kids are doing some amazing things to fight climate change in Indiana where I live. Groups of youth have gotten resolutions passed thru 3 major cities including the capital of Indianapolis for communities to agree to go carbon neutral by 2035 and youth are working to get similar resolution passed in 3 even more town in the state. High school senior Jonny Cohen created Green Shield in his garage - it’s an inexpensive device when put on a school bus decreases fuel use by 25%.
And if we look at the big weather map—we see Little Miss Flint, Mari Copeny who reminds us that it’s four and a half years since there was clean water in her city. And so many other places.
Enough is Enough. We despair, and we are tied up in knots of worry. AND…
We gather as faithful justice makers to do what we CAN do—all of us—young, old, and in between. Even if we are afraid, or overwhelmed by the storms that threaten our lives.
Friends, let’s remember the fire of commitment that connects our lives and let’s join in worship, together.
Singing the Chalice Lighting
Kiya Heartwood: Francisco and I are pleased and proud to be part of this amazing youth-led team today—and we invite all of you to please rise in solidarity of spirit with us as we all teach a little song: (lyrics for “Only Love”)
Tessa Hall: (lyrics)
Ben Rayhill: (lyrics)
Francisco Ruiz: (lyrics)
Tessa Hall: This is a multi part song by Northern California musician Debbie Nargie Brown, and we need all of your voices to get this chalice lit this morning, please join in as your voice and spirit arrive in this moment!
Pablo DeVos-Deak: ENOUGH? Enough!
Reporting from right here in Kansas City—where we are on Day 3 of General Assembly—and let me tell you, we’re ENERGIZED! Since arriving at Youth Caucus, there has been big hard news in the world about what being a youth can be like today. We are aware of children and youth detained in detention “camps in the United States” and child soldiers around the world. And maybe this leaves you feeling afraid for us.
Alison Luck: We’re here this morning to say “Fear Not.” As Unitarian Universalist Youth we are energized to make a difference in this world. Since we got here, we’ve been connecting with one another, learning with and from one another. And today we’re going to share some difficult news. Please know that we are well-taken care of and that we have and appreciate your support. We also want you to know we are offering a content warning that we will use frank language today, so please take care of yourselves and one another and remember that chaplains are available.
Pablo deVos-Deak: Youth are talking about racial justice and #BLUU and we’re amplifying youth of color voices. We’re practicing our covenants and making new agreements. Yesterday we celebrated in the Synergy/Bridging Ceremony that being a UU Youth can lead to being an empowered and strategic UU Young adult—and that all of us are in it together—needing to learn AND celebrate, AND be advocates and activists.
Alison Luck: We’re taking time to just BE with one another and to worship. You should know that there are luminary leaders here, ready to shine! And Summer Seminarians preparing to share really good news with congregations and the world! And we’re at the general sessions AND game night, too, because being involved in the work and the play helps us to stay healthy for the long haul. And this is long haul work. We are aware that there is much to do and we are called to be part of the change for the good—and we say we are Strong Enough, here today and We are NOT AFRAID.
Pablo deVos-Deak: So, Fear NOT: We are already here to love the hell out of the world!
Francisco Ruiz: gestures for crowd to sing “Only Love”
News Desk Testimonies
Emma Prats: Reporting from near and far, I am here to report that I learned rape is a crime where the victim becomes the accused. I was asleep on the motor coach coming home from an orchestral music festival. I woke up suddenly to a fellow musician’s hand in between my legs. Strangely enough earlier that day we had been dancing and laughing together. I woke up startled and felt my throat burn. But I made the mistake that lots of survivors do, I told no one.
Still, word got out and my name was slandered. I was called names, such as a rape caller, a slut, “asking for it.” My house was egged multiple times, I was told to kill myself on multiple occasions. I felt alone, my pride and self confidence shattered. My youth community was shocked. How could someone do something so disgusting, how could others be so cruel. Many demanded I remain quiet, they tormented my friends for speaking out again the assailant. I knew many survivors were afraid to speak out about what happened to them, and I refused to be one of them. Though there are more severe cases, and more challenging scenarios.
My friends and I decided enough was enough. Shortly after, other individuals heard my story, and decided to speak out against their assailants, too. In no way shape or form is is ever okay for someone to make you feel as though you are less than whole. It is never okay for someone to cause you to feel silenced and belittled. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. So let me conclude with this, if any of you here today have experienced the horrors of rape, sexual abuse, assault, or harassment: Speak out.
This is a place of unconditional love and support. You are not alone in this. You have a community here, stronger than a bull. Dig your heels into the earth and stand your ground, for you are beautiful and strong.
And lastly, be brave, be bold, make a change and be loud as hell!
Francisco Ruiz: gestures for crowd to sing “Only Love”
Zoe: ENOUGH! Reporting today from Colorado and beyond.
As a queer kid in high school, things are messy. It seems as if you are a facing a strict dichotomy at all times - gay or straight, out or closeted, cis or trans. When really you may be both, all, or neither.
However, beyond this polarity, LGBTQ high schoolers are organizing within their GSA’s. In the past, these three letters stood for gay straight alliance, but in an effort to break down barriers, many groups are now gender sexuality alliances.
With national issues such as bathrooms, healthcare, and purchasing wedding cakes, we see more than just court cases, and rather feel as if our hearts on being on trial.
As society puts us underneath a legal spotlight, we handle our own questions of sexuality, gender, whether or not to come out, and if we are safe. We come together to GSA to support and encourage each other through queerness in high school. Taking all of our questions and our confusion and our love and our anger, we translate that into a determination to create a just and loving world.
In schools, many groups are identifying gender inclusive restrooms to be used by non-binary students, if not changing main restroom facilities to be ungendered. We’ve also accompanied our friends to discuss their pronouns with teachers. We take the love that we have in our group and spread it through neighboring areas. Within my school district, we have all of the school’s GSAs meeting together at least once a quarter to create a wider support system and leadership development days twice a year. We have also established contact with groups in nearby
colleges to create an intergenerational coalition. We’ve partnered with local groups that care for LGBTQ youth that don’t have safe places to stay. But don’t doubt that we go further. Each year in Denver, we attend the LGBTQ lobby day at the state capital to personally talk to our representatives about issues that matter to us and why they should care. This past year, we saw an issue pass through the House of Representatives that would allow trans folk to change their gender marker on their birth certificate without having to state that a change had been made.
We are involving ourselves in this world. We lift up our hearts despite the fear that they may be broken by society. We are enough and we will do more than enough to protect this inherent truth.
Francisco Ruiz: gestures for crowd to sing “Only Love”
Pablo DeVos-Deak: Reporting Live from, New Haven Connecticut and Syria and Iraq. I attend the Unitarian Society of New Haven which has a strong commitment to supporting refugees and immigrants. Personally, I have been working on behalf of refugees since I was 11. It began when a few friends asked me if I wanted to participate in the Annual IRIS Run for Refugees, a fundraiser hosted by Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services.
After the race I started to get really involved in the summer of 2015. IRIS was seeking help for a UCC congregation that was setting up an apartment for a Syrian family and needed help cleaning the apartment and moving furniture. While the request went out to the whole congregation, only a few youth and their parents responded. That was the beginning of an amazing journey for me that continues to grow.
When Trump issued his Travel Ban, severely restricting refugee resettlement, our group was discouraged. We didn't know what were we going to do. Some of us protested on the street and front of town hall. My mom reassured our group, telling them that we would resettle people, even if it meant supporting efforts of UU’s in Canada, rather than resettling people in Connecticut. Then the first ban was lifted right as we thought all hope was lost.
Since then I have helped set-up another apartment and have been a member of a resettlement team that has co-sponsored with IRIS an Iraqi family. I helped set-up their apartment and, since they arrived in April of 2017, have been worked with the children to help them adjust to America. I have also been a top fundraiser in the IRIS Run for Refugees for three of the past four years and recently made a promotional video for them last year.
This summer, the day after I get back from GA, June 25th I plan to serve as an intern at IRIS working with children in the Summer learning camp program. I will also continue helping the Iraqi family we co- sponsored as they become more independent.
I want my children to grow up in a world where people and even our president don't think refugees are bad people. From the time I have spent working with refugees I can tell you they are some of the nicest, hard working and caring people I've met. I've had enough of the hatred, enough of our the people who tell them “you aren't welcome here.” This is why we all should do more than enough to support refugees.
Francisco Ruiz: gestures for crowd to sing “Only Love”
Alison Luck: ENOUGH! Reporting from Davis, California and Washington DC and Parkland, Florida and Ferguson, Missouri and dozens of cities and towns across the country. ENOUGH!
I got out of school at noon on Wednesday, February 14. I walked out of my photography class, water bottle and keys in hand, and started the walk to my car. I opened the Twitter app on my phone. Pulled down to refresh. Immediately my feed was filled with reports, images, and videos of a gruesome shooting in Parkland, Florida.
I reached my car, unlocked it, set down my backpack, and sat in the driver's seat. I clicked on a video. I watched a young girl get dragged across a classroom by her peers. She had just been shot. I closed the app. I drove home in silence.
For the next hour, the next day, the next week and month my thoughts were consumed by this shooting that occurred more than 3,000 miles away. In fact, for the past 129 days, during which we’ve seen at least 15 more school shootings, the Parkland shooting has been on my mind.
It was on my mind when only 20 students from my school participated in a walk out. It was on my mind when my mother and I flew to Washington DC from California to participate in the March for Our Lives. It was on my mind when someone I’ve attended school with for six years threatened to bring an assault rifle into school and shoot all of the women on campus.
As a teenager, I am not expected to be passionate about topics as controversial as gun control. I’ve received shocked expressions, exclamations of surprise, unwarranted opinions. I’ve gotten the “you liberals just want to take away our guns” and the “teenagers are too young to have a say in policy making.”
And yet here we are. Movements organized by high school students, national organizations creating student branches, millions of young people turning up and making the changes we want to see. Young people, students, teenagers, we have all decided that we have had enough.
Enough of our friends and peers dying, enough of turning classrooms into warzones, we have had enough.
Song: “One Day”
Tessa Hall, Ben Rayhill, Kiya Heartwood, Francisco Ruiz: (lyrics)
Rev. Claudia Jiménez: We are called to be of support and to be led by the youth of our faith community. We adults who are tied in knots with worry and concern, find ourselves called to a greater strength, resilience and accountability to these callings and the inheritances, and testimonies of our ancestors and our offspring.
Let us enter into a spirit of prayer, honoring and listening to each vocation of the heart and spirit no matter the age and stage of life—with these words from the Rev. Normal Cordell, who herself was a religious educator and later parish minister in San Rafael, CA until her death in 1999.
Chant and Benediction
Pablo deVos-Deak and Ben Rayhill: We ARE called! Repeat after me!
Ben: As we conclude our morning Broadcast: we invite YOU to weather the storms with us and to weave the prayers of YOUR calling—share a ribbon of hope and commitment into our tapestry of hope. Throughout this General Assembly we have been called to dream, to serve, to unravel and to repair.
Pablo: Fear Not! We’re all in this together. And through the affirmations of our testimony we grow stronger and may it truly be that in our faithful, active daily living that our community be the missing remnant in the fabric of our future.
Together (all youth voices): amen… ashe… blessed be… and Go Shining.
Ukulele Choir plays “This Little Light of Mine” (no lyrics, just instrumental)