Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Daily Meditation from “Building the Beloved Community”

Every day on our website the Spiritual Encouragement Chair is providing a message of inspiration.

Here is today’s, but you can find the others at


Sunday 9/30

We light this chalice for all who are here, and all who are not; For all who have ever walked through our doors, for those who may yet find this spiritual home, and for those we can’t even yet imagine. For each of us and for us all, may this flame burn warm and bright.

by the Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom, for UU Association Sunday 2009

Installation Preview: What About the Music?

These are notes from the order of service. At this time I am not sure which song we’ll sing as the recessional. But it’s only Friday!


Notes about Music in this Service

Preludes:  “Sarabande” is by Clif Hardin, the music director at River Road Unitarian Church (Bethesda, MD) since 1983.  “The Maiden’s Prayer” is by Tekla Badarzewska (1834-1861), a Polish composer. She had five children and died at age 27.

Processional:  “Siyahamba” comes out of the South African Freedom Struggle in the late 20th century.   Often it is sung with percussion from the sound of marching and stamping feet on dirt roads.  It appears as #1030 in the UUA’s Singin the Journey supplement.


Chalice Lighting:  “Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing” is sung to John Wyeth’s tune “Nettleton,” from his Repository of Sacred Music, 1813.  Verse 1 is by Robert Robinson (1735-1790), a Dissenting (Baptist) then Methodist in England, written when he was 22; the added verses 2 & 3 are by minister of religious education Eugene B. Navias, who was born to Unitarian parents in 1928.  It appears as #126 in the UUA’s Singing the Living Tradition.


Music for Reflection:  The tune for “Ashokan Farewell” was written by American composer and folk-music camp organizer Jay Ungar in 1982.  It was used in the 1990 PBS miniseries The Civil War. 


Offertory Medley:  >The Sanskrit chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” translates as:The jewel is in the lotus” or “Praise to the jewel in the lotus.” According to His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, this means that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

>“Simple Gifts” is recognized that this traditional “dancing” tune was written by Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) who first joined the Shakers community at Gorham, Maine.

>“Amazing Grace”is considered to be “the best known hymn in the English language” with lyrics written by English clergyman John Newton (1725–1807), published in 1779, but written to illustrate a New Year’s Day sermon in 1773.  It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses’ it may have been chanted by the congregation without music. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to the tune “New Britain,” to which it is most frequently sung today.


Recessional:  Music for “The Fire of Commitment” was written in 2001 by the Rev. Jason Shelton, music minister at First UU Church of Nashville to accompany words by him and the Rev. Mary Katherine Morn, senior minister at the UU Congregation of Fairfax in Oakton, VA.  It appears at #1028 in the UUA’s Singing the Journey.   “This Little Light of Mine” (circa 1750-1875) is an African American spiritual.  It appears as hymn #118 in the UUA’s Singing the Living Tradition.

Installation Ceremony—What to Expect Whether You Can Make it or Not!

All Welcome:  At UUSS in the Main Hall, 4:00 p.m., Saturday, September 29

This is a formal ceremony to enact the calling of a settled minister by a congregation. Our members’ vote to call me in April was an honor for me.  For UUSS I think it underscores that you have become officially a two-minister congregation.

UU ministers from around the Pacific Central District will robe and enter in a procession (along with my doctoral classmates and friends who are clergy in other denominations).  A Collegial Choir will sing.

Our cooks and bakers will throw a tasty reception, and other volunteers play many important parts.  I am grateful to Meg Burnett, Tina Chiginsky, Linda Klein, Judy Morrison and Susan Rothman for coordinating this event.  Thanks to our office staff for their support!

At the service, our offering will be dedicated to the UUA’s “Fund for the Living Tradition.”  This provides emergency assistance to ministers in financial distress and medical emergencies.  The fund helps out seminarians and new ministers burdened by educational debts.  It supplements small pension incomes of elderly retired ministers and surviving spouses.

Installation and ordination ceremonies are the main way that this lifesaving fund gets replenished.  If you cannot attend the ceremony but wish to help out, feel free to drop off a check at the UUSS Office or hand one to me.  You may write it to “UUA-LTF.”

If you can help out, please know you will be making a difference.

I am grateful to be generously supported by this congregation—hence, not to be in need of emergency assistance.  I am grateful also for the privilege to be your minister!


Personal Reflection by Lay Worship Leader last Sunday at UUSS

With a story-filled sermon by our capital campaign consultant, Rev. Bud, this congregation kicked off our 2012 Giving Campaign this past Sunday.  The theme for this campaign–our first one in over 50 years–is Building the Beloved Community.

Here is the Chalice Lighting Reflection by the lay worship leader that Sunday, Deirdre.  Many of us were touched!

Given on September 23, 2012



September, 2009. I help my daughter move into her dorm room for her first year of college. She is beginning a new life.

I step off the plane back home in Sacramento, ready to begin my own new life. I have been divorced about a year. I have friends, a house, pets, and a part-time job. I am not looking for a new community, beloved or otherwise.

But I have been thinking about the things I want to have more of in my life, and one of them is music. I have decided I want to sing in a choir, but I’m not sure where to find one. I know that most churches have choirs, but I’m not going to pretend to believe in God just to sing in a choir.

Then, I remember. I do know of one church where they don’t ask you to pretend. That Sunday, I visit UUSS to find out if they have a choir. They do. I arrange to attend the next practice. I join the choir. I attend services whenever the choir sings. I start to make connections with people. I listen to the sermons, and sometimes, they move me to tears. I learn that this is a safe place where I can light a candle to give witness to a joy or sorrow. I never had that place before. My little candle seems to mean so much more when it burns in the bowl with the others.

In February of 2010, I become a Member of the congregation.

Today I light the chalice for finding the beloved community.

Congregational Prayer of Blessing and Gratitude–and Daily Meditations

The blogger of “Giving Speaks” sent this to me knowing that our congregation was launching the first Capital Giving Campaign in a half century.  She revised it somewhat from its original form in her friend’s UCC church, and I revised it in a couple of places.  It’s lovely.

The Spiritual Encouragement Chair for our Giving Campaign is providing a Daily Meditation during the campaign.  It’s on our website:

This was the first one:

“Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.”

– Arnold J. Toynbee



Spirit of Life, fall afresh upon our community. Make us a people who remember, who give thanks, who bless and are blessed, and who dare to dream the beautiful dream of justice, healing, and peace that our hearts long for.

We remember our mothers and fathers in faith who listened to your call and worked to build this faith community with a wide and loving heart. We remember those whose generosity built our churches, whose vision saw beyond their own horizons, whose hearts and hands toiled in the vineyard of good works, works of justice and peace.


Make new, we pray, our practice each day of compassion and justice close to home and around the world; renew our hunger for peace in a world marked by violence and grief; strengthen the commitment of our leaders to speak truth to power and to work with those who shape our public life so that together we will build a more just society for all of your children.


We give thanks for the gifts of ministry and for ministry. Lift up and inspire the shepherds who care for our flock and the leaders who serve faithfully, quietly, joyfully, day in and day out.


Give us the energy and foresight of the gentle but persistent gardener who sees the rich harvest in the smallest of seeds: may our congregations flourish, large and small, old and new.


Prosper the work of our hands, so that, moment by moment and day by day, in every generation and every age, we will be salt, we will be light, we will be leaven in this world you love so well.    Blessed Be.




Adapted by Laurel Amabile, Unitarian Universalist Association, from a reading by The Rev. Kate Huey, United Church of Christ, with permission, Sept 21, 2011


One Book Sacramento this THURSDAY night downtown–“Sex, Lies, and the Founding Fathers”

Greetings.  If you are local, you might find this author talk at the Sac Library to be of interest.  Also, if you are a UU you’ll be happy to know that along the lines of “One Book,” is the choice of a UU Common Read for October.  That will be The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

Click this link to read about the book for Sept. 27.

Need for Discretion in Dealing with Immigration and Local Policing: Need for Gov. Brown to Approve the TRUST Act!

This op-ed commentary in Friday’s Sacramento Bee is clear and compelling.  It explains what is wrong with ICE and the federal government’s “Secure Communities” program, and calls for Gov. Brown to sign the TRUST Act.  It is written by a Unitarian Universalist now retired from the California Supreme Court.