Transcript: Opening Words and Chalice Lighting

Thank you, Meg.

I am Susan Frederick-Gray, president of your UUA. I am wearing my Side with Love stole. I am a furious, middle-aged white woman with brown hair. [CROWD APPLAUSE] And in my body, I am roiling. [PAUSE] Between holy rage and heartbreak and fear. If you’re angry, you’re welcome here. Your anger is welcome here as is your heartbreak. As is your fear.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the nearly 50 years of protection to the right to abortion. [BOOS FROM CROWD] This decision manifests the worst fears of those who have been working for decades to protect and affirm reproductive rights.

Spirit of Life, hear our prayer! Hear our anguish and our cries for the people across this country, for everyone who faces the possibility of pregnancy. We pray especially for those who we know will be most harmed by this decision. People of color, young people, poor and working class folks, folks in rural areas, everyone who already experiences the least access to comprehensive, equitable healthcare, including reproductive care and including the right to an abortion.

Spirit of Life, hear our prayers! May we be held this day rooted in faith, rooted in a faith that is
unapologetic in our support of access to abortion for all who need or want it. [CROWD APPLAUSE] Give us strength for this day and for all the days ahead because this is going to be a years-long struggle to win back the right to abortion, to win back the right to bodily autonomy. To win back gender equality, and we know it wasn’t equality. We know we weren’t there. But it is going to be a generational struggle.

Root us in faith and strength, collaboration and courage. Knit us together in solidarity, in solidarity that leaves no one behind. Not women, not trans people. Not people of color. Not the incarcerated. Not migrants. That leaves no one behind until we build a community where all can thrive.

We as UUs remain committed, not in spite of our religious belief but because of our religious belief. [CROWD APPLAUSE] We are committed to the framework of reproductive justice defined by Black women in the 80s and 90s, which affirms the right for every human to have children, to not have children, and to parent the children one has in healthy environments. To safeguard bodily autonomy, to express one’s sexuality freely. And we recognize that the overturning of Roe, that Roe established precedent that protected the rights of trans people and gay people and access to contraception and so many other fundamental rights and our privacy.

We will fight! God gives us courage. Spirit of Life, give us courage for this day and for all of the days ahead. And light in us a fire of justice that will not go out. That will not go out. Root us in love. Hold us fast to that which we seek, most highest and righteous, the liberation of all.

And blessed be, ashe.


I am glad to be with you all today. I feel strengthened by your presence and we will have more
information at the end of general session, that is our hope. We are working with organizers on the ground, we will have opportunities to engage in public witness on this, and so we will offer more details is our hope at the end of general session.