Welcome Renewal 2020

Published by FirstUUAdmin on

The First UU Welcoming Congregation Committee is encouraging all members and friends to complete the “Trans Inclusion in Congregations” course offered by the UUA Transforming Hearts Collective. In doing this work we will develop meaningful connections and awareness of issues faced by LGBT+ individuals. Ultimately, it is in our hands as a congregation to educate ourselves, using valuable resources, to ensure that we are as welcoming as we aspire to be.

Individual videos:
Scoop Peery
Laura Parsons
Sherry Buchanan
Bob Eckels
Colleen Appel

Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Words adapted from Rumi
Music by Lynn Adair Ungar
Used with Permission
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir

I don’t think it gets much more welcoming than this hymn. Like any organization or institution, we have our biases and limitations, but we’re also the kind of place to sing this together on a Sunday morning and we are always striving together to really mean these words. My hope is that as we continue to work through our welcome renewal process, and as we continue to identify and dismantle all the ways white supremacy culture has taken root in our processes and structures, we may continue to become that beloved community where ALL who have been marginalized may truly seek and find a safe spiritual home, and we can say to them, “come, come, whoever you are.”

– Emily, Music Director

Our opening words this morning are “Being Sanctuary”
By Jennifer “Jo” VonRue and Linette Lowe

Welcome to this space, this sanctuary of peace where we come to not only create our best selves, but to also do the work of creating a beloved community. We come together today as individuals much like individual pieces of glass or pottery that are different shapes, sizes, and colors, all of which are broken, with imperfect jagged edges, but always beautiful.

While our pieces may not always fit neatly together, it is within this sanctuary, guided by our Principles that we gather together to create a beautiful mosaic. May the brokenness and beauty you find in one another create peace in this space and fill our hearts with love as we create worship together.

Days of Rage and Days of Hope

by Amanda Udis-Kessler, used with permission
Performed by the Virtual First UU Choir

One of my favorite things about Amanda Udis-Kessler’s compositions is that she often sets progressive, inclusive, or unexpected texts to very “traditional” sounding hymn melodies, and that’s the case with this beautiful piece she describes as “a Pride hymn.” The music sounds much like something you might hear in any number of mainline Protestant churches on a given Sunday morning, but these lyrics are a joyful celebration of the beautiful, treasured LGBT+ people among us. At one point, there was a section on her website describing why she chose the name “Queer Sacred Music” as the title of the site. I cannot locate that section to link it for you all now, but the gist of it was that our beloved LGBT+ siblings are worthy of having serious sacred worship music written for their needs, too. Part of making church a welcoming place for all is addressing who writes our music, who our music is about and for, and how we share it with one another. I hope you enjoy this beautiful reflection on struggle, triumph, and love for Pride as much as I did.
See Amanda’s composer bio here: https://queersacredmusic.com/bio

– Emily, Music Director

All of Us Are Loved

by Amanda Udis-Kessler
used with permission
Performed by Emily McKinney and Eva Riebold

I believe these lyrics speak our collective heart’s desire for the kind of community we want to be. To me, these words are what Welcome looks like. We strive to be a place where our differences and our identities are not just quietly tolerated, but seen, acknowledged, celebrated, and welcomed. May we live more and more into this truth with each passing day.

– Emily, Music Director

Meditation on Loving Kindness

Words and Music by Emily McKinney
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir

I’m so grateful this little composition was so well-received by our congregation that I was asked to keep using it on a regular basis. These hopes and intentions towards this community and our whole world continue to ring true for me as we see the worrisome effects of rising COVID cases in our area and continue to live our lives in so much isolation. This one also takes on a new layer of meaning for me as I hear it in the context of our welcome renewal process and imagine us doing the work to be a community that might speak these words to people who have never before been embraced by a spiritual community. May all who have ever been ostracized by society because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression be safe. May they be healthy. May they be happy, and may they live with ease. Happy Pridefest, all!

– Emily, Music Director

Our closing words are:

Room for the Voice of the World
by Rev. Scott Tayler

As we leave this space,
May the bonds we feel remain.
May the words of this day
continue to guide and steady us
as we make our way.
May the silence we held for each other
keep us tethered
to that place of calm
to that opening in our hearts
that allows the grace of the world
to continually flow in
and speak.