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Honoring Congregational Ancestors
Honoring Congregational Ancestors
Ritual

Our [congregation name] ancestors are the ones who physically bought this land*, built some of our buildings, raised the money to create this space. They're also the ones who made sure there was a safe and welcoming community, who created a religious education program to promote justice and compassion, who came together in times of strife and times of joy. They are the ones who made this community of support, challenge and love.

In just a moment we will recognize and honor these ancestors, but to do that we will work upwards, honoring all the ancestors we have along the way. After each phrase I say I ask that the entire gathered congregation say, “We Thank You!”

Will all visitors and friends of [congregation name] please rise, in body or in spirit:
You have come here today maybe for the first time, maybe you have been coming for many years. As a visitor or friend, we welcome the ideas that you bring. As you challenge who we are and help to create who we will become, “We Thank You!” (Be seated.)

Will the youth and children of [congregation name] please rise, in body or in spirit:
You are the future and the present of our faith. As children and youth you have much to teach the adults about how the world works. For your vision of the present and the future, “We Thank You!” (Be seated.)

Will the those of you who have been members of [congregation name] for 5 years or less please rise, in body or in spirit:
You have made a special commitment to the vitality of this congregation. Your vision is already starting to make a difference in who we are. For this new commitment, “We Thank You!” (Be seated.)

Will the those of you who have been members of [congregation name] for 5 to 10 years please rise, in body or in spirit:
You are no longer the new members here. Your opinions and leadership has greater impact as your time here lengthens. For your ongoing support and commitment, “We Thank You!” (Be seated.)

Will the those of you who have been members of [congregation name] for 10 to 20 years please rise, in body or in spirit:
You have been part of this community for over a decade. You have helped to create who we have been and who we are today, through easy times and through hard times. For your ongoing and steadfast dedication, “We Thank You!” (Be seated.)

Will the those of you who have been members of [congregation name] for 20 to 30 years please rise, in body or in spirit:
You are pillars of this congregation. You have been here through numerous religious professionals, and overseen many changes internally and externally. For your commitment to the long view of this faith community, “We Thank You!” (Be seated.)

Will the those of you who have been members of [congregation name] for 30 or more years please rise, in body or in spirit:
You have made this moment possible. You are the backbone and support of what the [congregation name] is today. Each one of us is here because of your hard work and dedication. There is much for us to thank you for, this is only a small portion of the list.
For these inspirational buildings, “We Thank You!”
For the hours spent in meetings, “We Thank You!”
For the time and energy spent raising money, “We Thank You!”
For the ongoing support and dedication through both the difficult and the enjoyable, “We Thank You!”
For an amazing religious education program based on love and respect, “We Thank You!”
For the vision to work toward sustaining a faith of freedom and individuality, “We Thank You!”
For creating this beloved community which feels like home to so many of us, “We Thank You!”
For being your best selves and expecting us to live into our best selves, “We Thank You!”

Amen.

*who physically bought this land: if applicable. For example, some of our historic congregations rest on land that may not have been purchased.

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