At our May 17, 2015 Service of Commissioning, Reverend Vanessa Southern gave our keynote address. You can view a video of the service on the Video Services page of this web site.
UU clergy from around the country were present at the service. Each came forward to give our congregation a charge to carry out as we greet our next 150 years.
Introduction presented by UUAA Senior Minister, Rev. Gail R. Geisenhainer
It will take many voices to frame the future of Unitarian Universalism and it will take many hands to craft the future of this congregation.
Let’s open our hearts to words of commissioning from our visiting clergy:
Rev. Lisa Presley – Congregational Life Consultant, MidAmerica Region UUA
I charge and commission you to reach out big. To share your generosity of spirit and leadership not just here in this congregation but with the neighboring Unitarian Universalist congregations who yearn for what you have and for those other congregations in this community whom you can lead and teach. I charge you to reach out big to support all in our community who require that love and compassion and joy you know here.
Rev. Don Southworth – Executive Director of the UU Ministers Association
I charge and commission you not just for the next 150 years, or 150 months, or 150 days, or 150 minutes, but in the next 150 seconds and all of the above to remember that spirit is always bigger than we can ever imagine or dream it to be.
I charge and commission each of you to go home tonight, write down the biggest dream you can think of about this congregation, about this World. Come back and share it with somebody else and then dream bigger. Because it’s when you do it together that the dreams come true. May it be so.
Rev. Meg Riley – Senior Minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship
I commission you to allow your heart to be broken; to hold the collective broken heart together; never to allow the pastoral care, the one to one intimacy to be separate from the public healing that we need to do around racism and classism and other forms of oppression. Never to allow ourselves to become distant and do that as if somehow our own healing and liberation is not directly bound to it. So along with all of the joy and all of the love, I commission this congregation always to hold the broken heart.
Rev. Tandi Rogers, Innovation & Network Specialist for the UUA
I charge you to love each other boldly and deeply. To love each other well. To love each other so much that it pushes and pushes and pushes against your walls and pushes against your ceilings until both fall... and love spills out into the streets.
Rev. Sue Phillips, UUA Regional Lead for New England
I’m here to commission and charge you to remember how much we need you in the larger movement, how much we need you to be the leaders that we see you already being. I also charge you not to forget that you need us.
Our faith has given us each other for siblings in faith, Amen? [Amen]. We are inextricably connected and so I charge and commission you to remember Bangor, and Baltimore and Birmingham and Bellingham, and St. Louis and Boise, and Miami, and San Antonio and Chicago. Our faith has given us each other. So as you forge your bold course forward, I ask you to remember the rest of us wishing you well in this great cloud of benevolent witnesses. Remember that you need us, too. We are always better when we are together.
Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout, UUAA Director of Music
The names of injustices, the names of shortsightedness, human needs, aspirations and goals change over time. What remains constant is our charge
to keep our revered traditions strong while reshaping their forms for each new generation,
to keep the songs of unbattered hope alive,
to hear prophetic voices speak new truths to new powers,
and to continuously renew our visions for a Living Tradition, a religion that stays in motion over time, not so that we ourselves can achieve a promised way of living, but so that we may empower the next generations to move one step closer.
We cannot stop moving.
We cannot stop singing.
So may it be that we wake into this new morning with our minds continually staid on freedom, and that our minds spur our hearts to compassion, and that our hearts stir our feet to motion.