Reader 1: In 1637, the white settlers in what was to become the town of Dedham, Massachusetts, wanted to start a church. What they longed for was sincere religious association based in love, and founded in freedom.
Reader 2: The idea of a free church took shape among the people—a church whose individual congregations were controlled by no outside authority; a radically lay-led church gathered by mutual consent rather than by mutual belief, founded in covenant rather than creed, and governed by the congregation itself.
Reader 1: Ten years later, this basis for gathering and governing was described in the Cambridge Platform, which remains a defining document for the people of faith, including Unitarian Universalists, who continue to practice congregational polity.
Reader 2: If you are a Unitarian Universalist from beyond this congregation, whether you are lay or clergy, would you please rise, in body or in spirit, and turn to face the members of that congregation as we affirm our mutual responsibilities to one another.
*Affirmation from the UU Community:
What our religious ancestors proclaimed in 1648 is still true today: “The communion of churches is exercised… by way of mutual care in taking thought for one another’s welfare; in case of need, to minister relief and succor one unto another.”
We, your family in faith, affirm the shared ministry formalized here today. We offer to you care and succor; we commit to taking thought of your welfare as a congregation. We call upon you for the same, for we have promised one another that we will be a beloved community. We have found that there is always more to learn about how love really works, and could work, in our lives and in the world.**
*These words will need to be printed in the order of service.
**These words, and the spirit of this piece, draw from the work of Rev. Alice Blair Wesley.