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Chalice Lighting Words, Ordination Ceremony, March 29, 2014

Words for Chalice Lighting by Roger Jones

Ceremony of Ordination of Amy Moses Lagos to the UU Ministry

Saturday, March 29, 2014, in San Francisco

Good afternoon. When Amy Moses-Lagos was growing up in Springfield, Illinois, she attended the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist, now the Abraham Lincoln Congregation.

I know this, because when she was six, I was one of her Sunday School teachers there, when I was younger then, than she is now. Of course, this means that of everyone in this room who has had a formative influence on Amy as a Unitarian Universalist, I had the earliest influence, and therefore I guess the most profound…unless you count her mother, brother and sister, who are also here

Back then, in that congregation, at the start of every Sunday service, a child would lead the congregation in words for lighting the chalice.

Those words, and ours today, are combined from two sources: the late Rev. Elizabeth Selle Jones, now departed, the minister emerita of our church in Livermore, and from a Passover Haggadah, whose words are in the gray hymnal.

 

This flame affirms the light of truth, the warmth of community, and the fire of commitment.  [Selle Jones]

Please repeat each line after me:

 May the light we now kindle -PAUSE

Inspire us to use our powers -PAUSE

To heal and not to harm, -PAUSE

To help and not to hinder, -PAUSE

To bless and not to curse, -PAUSE

To serve you, Spirit of Freedom!

 

So may it be.

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Words of Invocation for Ministerial Installation Ceremony at UUSS

[in separate posts:  Chalice Lighting words, Act of Installation, Installation Prayer, Sermon, Charge to the Minister]

Invocation                  Rev. Dr.William Hamilton-Holway, Amy, Michele

Bill:  As President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, I bring you the greetings of 1,800 clergy colleagues from all across North America.  Our members represent active ministers in congregations, or in roles of chaplaincy, education, and community service and leadership.  Our membership includes retired colleagues as well as student candidates for fellowship as Unitarian Universalist ministers.  As the body that upholds the Standards of Professional Practice for our ministry, our Ministers Association affirms the sacred trust now expressed in the calling and installing of this minister by this congregation.

Amy:  As a candidate for the ministry, I bring the greetings of the next generation of religious leaders, acknowledgment of the heritage of our liberal ministry, and our gratitude for the current friendship and continuing examples of our seasoned colleagues.  Also, I bring to this occasion an almost lifelong familiarity with Roger Jones, as he was my Sunday school teacher as a volunteer in our congregation in Springfield, Illinois, back when I was 6 and he was 26.

Bill:  Now let us invoke the spirit of blessing on this occasion in words both sung and spoken.

Soloist sings Verse #1 of Hymn #126 “Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing.”

1) Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune our hearts to sing thy grace.  Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.  While the hope of life’s perfection fills our hearts with joy and love, teach us ever to be faithful, may we still thy goodness prove.

Pianist continues to play as these words are spoken:

Voice 1:  Come all who seek forgiveness and arrive with broken hearts this day

Voice 2:  As we comfort and grieve amid the struggles of life, holiness accompanies our longing for connection and for compassion.

Voice 1:  Come all who share in memory and hope, searching for meaning with humility and gratitude for the gifts we have received.

Let us be mindful of our responsibilities to savor the world’s beauty and be of service to others.

Voice 2: Come all who seek liberation of the spirit, freedom from oppression, and clarity of vision. Let our common song of praise be a call to justice, in solidarity with all of God’s children, with all creatures great and small, and all of life on this this green and blue planet.

Voice 1:  Let us all join in the chorus of every blessing.   We sing praise for the gifts of this sacred hour, and we open our hearts to love and power of our gathering!

Soloist   gestures to congregation to rise for verses 2 and 3 together.

2)  Come, thou fount of every vision vision, lift our eyes to what may come.  See the lion and the young lamb dwell together in thy home.  Hear the cries of war fall silent, feel our love glow like the sun. When we all serve one another, then our heaven is begun.

3)  Come, though fount of inspiration, turn our lives to higher ways.  Lift our gloom and desperation, show the promise of this day.  Help us bind ourselves in union, help our hands tell of our love. With thine aid, O found of justice, earth be fair as heav’n above.



Invocation for Post-Election Political Party Meeting

Background:

I minister to (and strive to be inclusive of) people of all political affiliations, and my congregation is non-partisan.  Yet on many issues of stewardship, social justice and fairness I am engaged with Democratic activists and campaigns. Also, I am a member of a local Democratic club.   I was invited to give an invocation at the start of the General Session of the California Democratic Party’s Executive Committee members, which includes about four party officials from every county. The parliamentarian, an elderly gentleman in a bow tie and glasses, told me afterward that he had heard many invocations and that he considered mine to be one of the best ones in content, while all of the invocations have been excellent in intent. I saw a few former acquaintances from Santa Clara County and my church had a follow-up visit by a young adult whom I spoke with. The best part of this experience was that people actually listened. A few years ago, I did an invocation for the start of a Santa Clara County Supervisors’ meeting on a Tuesday afternoon, and they weren’t really paying attention.   Indeed, the supervisor whose office had invited me to go there was not present to introduce me, and she showed up mid-way through my remarks.  An honor like that, I can do without in the future, even if it means I won’t be seen on local-access cable TV. But this political meeting was quite different, and I was glad to be there.

Invocation
Meeting of California Democratic Party Executive Committee
Saturday morning, November 20, 2010, Sacramento, CA

Good morning, and welcome to Sacramento. It’s good to be with you.
Please join me for a moment of centering and some words of intention.

Take a moment and take a deep breath, and let it out. Notice your breathing, and notice your feet on the floor and your bodies in the chairs.
Let us pray. Holy one, spirit of life and of love, as we gather we give thanks for the gift of life, and the gift of this new day. For the blessing of this community of colleagues, allies, friends, and extended family, we give thanks. For generations of men and women on whose brave and strong shoulders we now stand, we give thanks.
In the wake of the November elections, let us give thanks for all those who offered themselves for public service and opened their lives to scrutiny, and thanks for the days worked, dollars given, miles walked, and the hours of sleep sacrificed by the candidates, their families, friends, volunteers, staff and allies. We celebrate with all who won election. To those near and far disappointed by outcomes of general or primary elections, we extend words and gestures of understanding, reassurance, and care. For putting their hearts into their campaigns, we extend our thanks and our fellowship.
May all be blessed first, with times of rest and reflection, and then, with a new sense of purpose and vision. Perhaps among us are those who felt betrayed or let down by others, or by themselves, in recent campaigns. Perhaps among us are some who feel our own words or deeds have not reflected the best of who we are as people, and who we aspire to be. Indeed, in life most of us fall short of our convictions. We let one another down, or let ourselves down. May we receive a measure of humility and forgiveness, and may provide us with a new chance, a fresh beginning in the days and months ahead.
As we gather today, let our minds extend beyond these walls to all those who are vulnerable and all who need our support and advocacy: children and families, people without enough to eat or a home, people suffering afflictions of body, mind or spirit, those who are victims of racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty and all other forms of violence. We extend our thanks for those who help others and those make our local communities more livable and safe. Let our care extend around the globe to zones of war, occupation, and oppression. We pray for the safety of all now serving abroad, and we pray peace for all who call such places home.
As the work of this meeting begins, we invoke the commitments that call us into service and sustain us through times of challenge as well as times of joy: the values of freedom and fairness, civic duty and personal responsibility; stewardship of the natural world, compassion, understanding and inclusiveness; and the values of dignity and respect for all members of the human family.

We are drawn together this day by our love of this party, of California, of this country, and of its people. We are drawn together today by visions of a better world and by hope and care for the generations that will come after us. We are drawn together for good work and worthy purposes.

So may it be.
In the names of all that we call holy, Amen.



Opening Prayer for UU District Annual Meeting

Opening Prayer

for the 2009 Annual Meeting

Pacific Central District, Unitarian Universalist Association

 

 Please join me in entering and centering and settling into this time and place, as I offer this prayer of intention for our annual meeting.

Spirit of Life and Hope, be present with us at this meeting. We give thanks for all gathered at this Assembly and those Unitarian Universalists who grace the life of our PCD congregations but could not be here today. We remember those leaders we have lost, in particular Patti Lawrence, our former trustee, mentor and friend, who passed away Thursday. We are grateful for so many gifts of service–for the gifts of time, talents, money and love to this movement.

We strive to support, strengthen and build this religious movement because it has meant so much to us. We trust that it can embrace many more people who long for fellowship, celebration, spiritual depth, and inspiration.

Grant us wisdom for our meeting today, with clear speaking and a deeper listening. Let us be together in ways that will draw the circle wide and wider still. Even as disagreements arise among us, let us not stand apart, but together, in solidarity, compassion and forgiveness. Let us practice with one another the way of hospitality that we aspire to offer those who visit and join our churches.

Spirit of Love and Grace, bless the people of this gathering, our families, congregation members, and the local communities in which we live and serve. In this time of deliberation and conversation, may we be drawn closer to one another, and closer to the heart of understanding and care. So may it be, and blessed be.

May 2, 2009 Mariott Hotel, Fremont, CA

By Roger Jones, Family Minister, UU Society of Sacramento

and Board Member, Pacific Central District-UUA