Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

5 February 2023


“Finding Identity”




Musician: Jennifer Young



Musician: Graziana Presicce



“Unitarian Universalism designates my faith and my institutional allegiance.  While this covenantal identity is firm, my theological convictions are varied and shifting.  Let’s see, I am a mystical humanist with naturalistic leanings and receptivity to disclosures of the divine.  I meander comfortably amid the Judeo-Christian motifs and stories of my heritage.  My religious vision is tempered by existentialism, grounded in earth-centred spiritualities, aligned with the wisdom of Asian tradition, especially Taoism, and bathed in trustful agnosticism.


In short, as Walt Whitman mused,

“Do I contradict myself? Yes, I contain multitudes.”

                                                              ~  Rev Tom Owen-Towle (UUA Minister)



Welcome to each and to all:

seekers, journeyers, questing, and content.

May our time of reflection and worship,

fill our desire for wholeness and belonging.

In this time together we are made worthy…..




by John Carter


We light our chalice, this candle,

          as a sign of connectedness….

                     of a beloved faith community,

                               reaching beyond our boundaries…

                                         seeking equity and justice for all creation….

                                                   learning what the human spirit can do and be…



SYF 43 (CD SYF 4/TK 6)

“Gather the Spirit”

words by Jim Scott


Gather the spirit, harvest the power.

Our separate fires, will kindle one flame.

Witness the mystery of this hour.

Our trails in this light appear all the same.


                               Gather in peace, gather in thanks.

                               Gather in sympathy now and then.

                               Gather in hope, compassion and strength.

                               Gather to celebrate once again.


Gather the spirit of heart and mind.

Seeds for the sowing are laid in store.

Nurtured in love and conscience refined,

with body and spirit united once more.


                               Gather in peace, gather in thanks.

                               Gather in sympathy now and then.

                               Gather in hope, compassion and strength.

                               Gather to celebrate once again.


Gather the spirit growing in all,

drawn by the moon and fed by the sun.

Winter to spring, and summer to fall,

the chorus of life resounding as one.


                               Gather in peace, gather in thanks.

                               Gather in sympathy now and then.

                               Gather in hope, compassion and strength.

                               Gather to celebrate once again.



We take a moment to reflect on our life and living of this week… as we reflect…. explore and ask of yourself….

          For what am I most grateful?

          For what am I least grateful?

          When did I have the greatest sense of belonging to myself, others, nature, the                     universe, God?


As we end these reflections, as we move to worship, may we continue to reflect on the things that make life whole and how we may grow ourselves into them.

May the Great Spirit of the Journey walk with us today.




Today’s service focuses on identity.  Our own identity as individuals, whether that be gender, orientation, ethnic, cultural, even religious.  Also our identity as a corporate body: national, international, religious and political.  Is identity set or is it fluid?  Can you change your identity or not at all?  Is it set by how others perceive you, or how you perceive yourself?


Take a few moments and reflect upon what identity means for you….


READING  “God is not a Christian”

by Archbishop Desmond Tutu


They tell the story of a drunk who crossed the street and accosted a pedestrian, asking him, “I shay, which ish the other shide of the shtreet?” The pedestrian, somewhat nonplussed, replied, “That side, of course!” The drunk said, “Shtrange. When I wash on that shide, they shaid it wash thish shide.” Where the other side of the street is depends on where we are. Our perspective differs with our context, the things that have helped to form us; and religion is one of the most potent of these formative influences, helping to determine how and what we apprehend of reality and how we operate in our own specific context.


My first point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong. The chances are very great that if you were born in Pakistan you are a Muslim, or a Hindu if you happened to be born in India, or a Shintoist if it is Japan, and a Christian if you were born in Italy. I don’t know what significant fact can be drawn from this — perhaps that we should not succumb too easily to the temptation to exclusiveness and dogmatic claims to a monopoly of the truth of our particular faith. You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.


My second point is this: not to insult the adherents of other faiths by suggesting, as sometimes has happened, that for instance when you are a Christian the adherents of other faiths are really Christians without knowing it. We must acknowledge them for who they are in all their integrity, with their conscientiously held beliefs; we must welcome them and respect them as who they are and walk reverently on what is their holy ground, taking off our shoes, metaphorically and literally. We must hold to our particular and peculiar beliefs tenaciously, not pretending that all religions are the same, for they are patently not the same. We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God.


We should in humility and joyfulness acknowledge that the supernatural and divine reality we all worship in some form or other transcends all our particular categories of thought and imagining, and that because the divine — however named, however apprehended or conceived — is infinite and we are forever finite, we shall never comprehend the divine completely. So we should seek to share all insights we can and be ready to learn, for instance, from the techniques of the spiritual life that are available in religions other than our own. It is interesting that most religions have a transcendent reference point, a mysterium tremendum, that comes to be known by deigning to reveal itself, himself, herself, to humanity; that the transcendent reality is compassionate and concerned; that human beings are creatures of this supreme, supra mundane reality in some way, with a high destiny that hopes for an everlasting life lived in close association with the divine, either as absorbed without distinction between creature and creator, between the divine and human, or in a wonderful intimacy which still retains the distinctions between these two orders of reality.


When we read the classics of the various religions in matters of prayer, meditation, and mysticism, we find substantial convergence, and that is something to rejoice at. We have enough that conspires to separate us; let us celebrate that which unites us, that which we share in common.


Surely it is good to know that God (in the Christian tradition) created us all (not just Christians) in (his) divine image, thus investing us all with infinite worth, and that it was with all humankind that God entered into a covenant relationship, depicted in the covenant with Noah when God promised (he would) not to destroy (his) creation again with water. Surely we can rejoice that the eternal word, the Logos of God, enlightens everyone — not just Christians, but everyone who comes into the world; that what we call the Spirit of God is not a Christian preserve, for the Spirit of God existed long before there were Christians, inspiring and nurturing women and men in the ways of holiness, bringing them to fruition, bringing to fruition what was best in all. We do scant justice and honour to our God if we want, for instance, to deny that Mahatma Gandhi was a truly great soul, a holy man who walked closely with God. Our God would be too small if (he was) not also the God of Gandhi: if God is one, as we believe, then God (he) is the only God of all (his) people, whether they acknowledge (him) (as such) this or not. God does not need us for protection (to protect him).


Many of us perhaps need to have our notion of God deepened and expanded. It is often said, half in jest, that God created humanity (man) in (his) God’s own image and humanity (man) has returned the compliment, saddling God with (his own) narrow prejudices and exclusivity, foibles and temperamental quirks.


God remains God, whether God has worshippers or not.


This mission in Birmingham to which I have been invited is a Christian celebration, and we will make our claims for Christ as unique and as the Saviour of the world, hoping that we will live out our beliefs in such a way that they help to commend our faith effectively. Our conduct far too often contradicts our profession, however. We are supposed to proclaim the God of love, but we have been guilty as Christians of sowing hatred and suspicion; we commend the one whom we call the Prince of Peace, and yet as Christians we have fought more wars than we care to remember. We have claimed to be a fellowship of compassion and caring and sharing, but as Christians we often sanctify sociopolitical systems that belie this, where the rich grow ever richer and the poor grow ever poorer, where we seem to sanctify a furious competitiveness, ruthless as can only be appropriate to the jungle.



HFL 146 (CD HFL 4/TRACK 11)

“True Simplicity”

Traditional Shaker Song


’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free;

’Tis the gift to know just where we want to be;

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,

To greet all as friend we shan’t be ashamed;

To turn, turn, will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning, we come round right.


’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free;

’Tis the gift to share our common destiny;

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,

To greet all as friend we shan’t be ashamed;

To turn, turn, will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning, we come round right.



“Children learn what they Live” 

by Dorothy Law Nolte


If a child lives with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive,
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves,
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

But do not despair …

If a child lives with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If a child lives with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, they live with justice.
If a child lives with security, they live to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, they learn to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
they learn to find love in the world.



“Not Christian or….”

by Jelaluddin Rumi – 13th century Sufi mystic


Not Christian or Jew or
Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.
Not any religion


or cultural system. I am
not from the east
or the west, not
out of the ocean or up


from the ground, not
natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all.
I do not exist,


am not an entity in this
world or the next,
did not descend from
Adam and Eve or any


origin story. My place is
the placeless, a trace
of the traceless.
Neither body or soul.


I belong to the beloved,
have seen the two
worlds as one and
that one
call to and know,


first, last, outer, inner,
only that breath breathing


human being.




SYF 83 (CD SYF 1 / TK 11)

“Just as long as I have breath”

words by Alicia S. Carpenter


Just as long as I have breath,

I must answer, “Yes,” to life;

though with pain I made my way,

still with hope I meet each day.

If they ask what I did well,

tell them I said, “Yes,” to life.


Just as long as vision lasts,

I must answer, “Yes,” to truth;

in my dream and in my dark,

always that elusive spark.

If they ask what I did well,

tell them I said, “Yes,” to truth.


Just as long as my heart beats,

I must answer, “Yes,” to love;

disappointment pierced me through,

still I kept on loving you.

If they ask what I did well,

tell them I said, “Yes,” to love.




SYF 101

“May I use my hands with care”

words by Andrew McKean Hill


May I use my hands with care, touching gently all I share.

May I with attentive ears hear another’s hopes and fears.


May I, using well my eyes, notice what before me lies.

May I, with my sense of smell musk form mint distinguish well.


May I with my gift of taste savour all things without haste.

All my senses I employ; all Your gifts may I enjoy.



READING   “I am who I am”

by Rev John Nichols


“In Exodus 3:7-14 we hear these words…


‘Then the Lord said,


‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters.  Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.  So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’


But Moses said to God,


‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’


God said,


‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who send you; when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’


But Moses said to God,


‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is this God’s name?’ What shall I say to them?’


And God said to Moses,


‘I am who I am.’


And then God said,


‘Furthermore, thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”


So in Moses story, we find that he fled Egypt to escape punishment for killing a slave driver, and in doing so took up the quiet life of a shepherd.  One day, while he was alone in the mountains, a bush burst into flames.  Moses knew immediately that God was in the fire, for a voice told him that he now stood ‘on holy ground.’  God had seen the sufferings of the Israelites and told Moses to go to Egypt and plead with the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go.  Moses wondered why the Israelites would follow him, of all people, and so he asked for a sign, a name that would give him credibility with them.


God responded, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’


What’s in a name?  Why do we ask for them?  If someone tells you his name, he gives you a way to get his attention. He tells you something about himself and offers what could be the threshold of a closer relationship.  He dispels some of the mystery of who he is and implies that he may give up even more of that mystery as your acquaintance deepens.  The God of this passage is not going to do that, not then, not ever.  Moses and the rest of us will have to get used to the idea that God is radically, mysteriously and beautifully different from anything we can shape, control, or even describe, and that is how God remains free from being defined (and therefore not limited) by us.


We can only hope that once in a while, and likely when we least expect it, we will find ourselves ‘on holy ground.’ There may be no burning bush in those moments but we will, as a result, become more sure of who we are and more confident of what we must do.  God leads not by becoming more attractive or visible to us, but by becoming unavoidable.  I AM WHO I AM or, as it is sometimes understood, I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.


The Israelites finally sought their freedom not because they knew God would hold their hands, leading them safely past all danger and then making everything right, but because they believed they had to do it.  Something finally unavoidable compelled them to leave the comparative securities of slavery for the freedom and terror of the wilderness.  As it turned out, God’s five-word self description really meant, ‘I AM WHO YOU MUST CONFRONT.’


When those confrontations arise, when we are asked to do what is difficult but right, something crucially important to our future integrity and happiness happens. 


May we recognise this even if we don’t understand why.”



As we take time to reflect and to listen to the musical offering, let us spend some time in silent reflection on the words we have heard this morning?  How do they speak to you and your understandings of Identity?


Let us take a few moments and reflect upon todays readings and hymns.




HFL 188 (CD 2 / TK19)

“Let Love Continue”

words from traditional American folk source.


Let love continue long,

And show to us the way,

And if that love be strong

No hurt can have a say;

And if that love remain but strong,

No hurt can ever have a say.


If love can not be found,

Though common faith prevail,

When love does not abound,

A common faith will fail,

When human love does not abound,

A common faith will always fail.


If we in love unite,

Debate can cause no strife;

For with this love in sight

Disputes enrich our life.

For with this bond of human love,

Disputes can mean a richer life.


May love continue long,

And lead us on our way;

For if that love be strong

No hurt can have a say.

For is that love remain but strong

No hurt can ever have a say.





We Shall Overcome,

words and music Guy Carawen, Pete Seeger, Zilphia Horton and Frank Hamilton


We shall overcome,

We shall overcome,

We shall overcome some day;

O, deep in my heart, I do believe

We shall overcome some day.


We’ll walk hand in hand,

We’ll walk hand in hand,

We’ll walk hand in hand some day;

O, deep in my heart, I do believe

We’ll walk hand in hand some day.


We shall live in peace,

We shall live in peace,

We shall live in peace some day;

O, deep in my heart, I do believe

We shall live in peace some day.


Truth shall make us free,

Truth shall make us free,

Truth shall make us free some day;

O, deep in my heart, I do believe

Truth shall make us free some day.


We shall overcome,

We shall overcome,

We shall overcome some day;

O, deep in my heart, I do believe

We shall overcome some day.




“Finding Our Identity”

Rev John Carter


Ursula LeGuin wrote a series of books, reportedly aimed at children or young adults.  But many adults I know discovered them in adulthood and love them as much as any younger human.


In these books we follow the adventures of Ged, would be wizard as his power is discovered and he goes away to wizard school, by the way Ursula wrote these books long before JK Rowling even thought of Harry Potter.  In the first book of the series, we meed Ged, find out his real name,  which is Sparrow-hawk, one’s true name must never be spoken to anyone except for those you most truly trust.  For real names  have power, and to know it you can bind and harm someone.


As a young boy Ged discovers he has power and is then sent into the central islands to the school for training of wizards.  There he has troubles, partly because simply he is a hick, from the outer islands and therefore of no consequence, expect that the head wizard, head of the school sees the potential of Geds greatness.  Yet also due to his anger, temper, unwillingness to take criticism.  A powerful combination for young or adolescence boys.   In one important night, out of pride and anger, even a need to show off to one of his bullies, Ged cast a spell that rebounds and releases a great evil, a shadow.  Which begins to create havoc upon Earthsea.  Wizards are to bring balance, not chaos. Thus is the beginnings of Ged’s journey, to find and name this evil in order to bring it back under control.  He travels and works as a journeyman wizard, stays with colleagues, helps and heals, meets dragons, does many great things,  and he also has several hits and misses with this shadow he released. The shadow flees from him, and he continued to track it….


Until it could run no more and they confront one another.


In this confrontation Ged draws the shadow, the evil to himself and then speaks the shadow’s name, Sparrow-hawk, and the shadow was no more.


As in any good Jungian, Taoist way, Ged in his travels learns that the very evil he released was his shadow and that he could never be whole, or truly know himself until he confronts and come to peace with his shadow side.


As we all know the US over this past decade has been crazier than what any of us expected from previous craziness. That craziness then expanded over here as we in the UK have joined with our own particular trait of culture wars….


Take for instance Transgender identification, and the way pundits on both the conservative and mainstream liberal sides have exploded around this area of identification.


Caitlyn Jenner,  once known as Bruce Jenner a 1970’s Olympic Gold medal winner, decathlon, a career of doing various acting jobs, sports related work, and in the early 2010s began to come out as Transgendered and then in 2015 completed her transformation on the cover of a US magazine.


And the tabloids, and far right pundits all exploded. 


Sadly for Jenner, who was well known to be politically conservative and aligned with the Republican Party, as they were the first to attack and to continue to attack transgendered folk.


We all know that sad tale of JK Rowling, someone whose Harry Potter series is a beacon of hope to all readers who suffer the demands of the closet, unable to express who they truly know themselves to be, especially persons who are transgendered.

Another example was the one in which a conservative lily white couple in the southern US outed their daughter. 


Rachel Dolezai, was the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People in Spokane Washington up until her abrupt resignation. The background of is she had support the NAACP, but as this became more known in the  public attention. That support disappeared.  Not by the agency but by those the agency served.


That outrage of loss of support was due to her not being honest about who she truly was.


The the focus turned on to her parents.


What was became clear was that this may have been a move on their part to discredit their daughter who is supporting her adopted sibling in a abuse claim against them. I highlight the adopted bit because it is one of the clues to the whole saga. 


Rachel has several adopted siblings who are African American. 


There where equally questions about the motivation of the parents in these adoptions, and their connections to an extreme fundamentalist Christian group and its advocacy of strict, even extreme physical punishment.


And from my notes at the time of this was that my own sense of what I had read is that these parents didn’t discipline, they actually abused.


In some of the reports, at the time, indicated that their christian community’s materials advocated that it was the duty of a true Christian to adopt children from another culture in order to turn them into “white” children, or  we might say on an individual basis, child by child, to perform a type of cultural genocide.


Now what I have said is my take on what I had read about this case. 


Overall the basics are the parents were held as heroes for outing their deceitful liberal daughter by the conservative tabloids and news pundits of the US.


That daughter did identify as Black, she even passes as black.


She has publicly argued against the term African American, and preferred the use of Black. Which at that time was an ongoing conversation within the community.


She is married to an African American, and has worked tirelessly for justice for African American persons.


She had support as well as critique from the African American communities.


She supported her sibling in a court case against their parents.


The case is a charge of long standing abuse by the parents against this child.


Of the many children of colour that were adopted, several have reported abuse. 


There is also a side line that the elder son (natural) of this couple also abused his female siblings.


Meanwhile the blog o sphere and the social media of the time was agog with opinions and whatnot about this case. And then is was off the circuit, and all I have is my notes. But to note racism takes many directions and faces, but in the end it is about white people having superiority over other people who have a darker skin tone.


While I don’t want to go to this example, but I must admit I see parallels of the racist treatment of Megan Markel and Harry.


Yet we must be mindful of our sense of self and how we use source material.


In Unitarian and Universalist circles we are still having debates about what materials we can use from another culture.

As example here in the UK, a pagan friend of mine goes on very strongly about Unitarians doing pagan gatherings.  She points out, that this can be seen as cultural or religious appropriation.  After all Unitarians are not truly pagans, and to use their rituals etc is a form of miss use of the material, and potentially abusive.


In the US there are long chapters written on this topic of Cultural appropriation, and for good reason.


It seems during the later part of the 20th century, UUAs were using all sorts of ritual and work from other religious sources, but without the cultural context.  Especially of Native American material.  Many of the Native Americans call the use of this material, genocidal.  It is a form of culture genocide, that for all the honour and acknowledgement of the goodness of the material, there is great harm being done.  Our flippant use of materials not germane to our culture in many ways trivialises the very culture we are trying to uphold, and even learn from.


I use Native Nation American prayers, I try to do so without comment.  To allow the words to speak for themselves and to allow you to hear it as best you can. 


The Navajo Beauty way prayer speaks to me.  Yet I would not try to tell you why it speaks to the Navajo, or the links to their culture.  I am not a Navajo.  I am one who has lived with them, sees the beauty their culture possesses, and also seen the downside of what has happened to them.


I am, for lack of a better term, a Western North American with my cultural roots going deep into Europe.  Yet even as I now live and call the United Kingdom my home, I realise that historically I have cultural links here, but I am not British, and there are distinct things that is of British culture.  I participate in many of these things, learning them, but…..


Did you know that the first time I experience some form of High Tea, was when I was first interviewed by a congregation for ministry at the General Assembly. I had lived in the UK close to 12 years at that time and that GA in 2014 was my first experience of an afternoon tea. I have since had a friend gift me and my hubby to tea at the Ritz in London. Meanwhile after nearly 20 years of promise, I still await the invite to go to a Cricket match and have someone actually explain the game to me.


I would not try to comment on what tea or cricket truly means for the British, for I am not culturally British. For my identity is one that is a North American who is still rooted to the wheat fields of western Kansas and the desert of northern Arizona.  That is why I tend to tell my alien stories from these places to invite you to explore your story and spirituality in this place and context.


When I began to explore this topic, it was due primarily to the Rachel Dolezai case.  I was intrigued, and have yet to ask this question, for which I don’t rightly know if I can even really ask or am able to answer. 


Is there a cultural identity that is not linked to the physical, DNA of a person or a group?  ie Is there such a thing as an independent Black culture, of which anyone may partake and thus become self identified as “black” regardless of their DNA.


This issue of Identity is interesting.


It is also one of the barrier’s we Unitarians need to transcend.


Not for us to identify as something we are not, but for us to clearly identify who we are, so we may invite and welcome those that are interested and excited by our Unitarian identity.


Case in point: the Society of Friends are seen as a peace church.  That is part of their identity and it helps to sell them to non quakers who are exploring that side of spirituality.


So for we Unitarians,  we need to ask what are the markers of Unitarian identity, or spirituality, or even life that are distinct and inviting. 


We need to ask this of our national body or loose collective of congregations.


We need to ask this of our district body.


We need to ask this of our congregation,


and, yes


We need to ask this of ourselves.


What are our distinct Unitarian markers as a group, as a sub culture, as an identifier?


Some of these things are universal, in that many spiritual and religious bodies share them.  Some of these are more Unitarian, and most are, please pardon this term, but it does fit here, most are our unique Unitarian spin on a wider shared value or way of being.


What does it mean for you to be Unitarian?




Why would anyone want to join us?


This is my challenge for us today, to you, to myself, to anyone reading this or hearing this today….what does in mean to be Unitarian, what is our identity, and gift for the world.





Reflection: All that you need lies within you by Angela Herrera       

Long Prayer: Prayer for all Creation by Rev Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918)


All that you need lies within you

by Angela Herrera


“Consider this an invitation

                     to you.

YES – you


with all your happiness

and your burdens,

your hopes and regrets.

An invitation if you feel good today,

and an invitation if you do not,

if you are aching –

                     and there are som many ways to ache.


Whoever you are, however you are,

wherever you are in your journey,

this is an invitation into peace.

                     Peace in your heart,

                     and peace in your heart,

                     and – with every breath –

                     peace in your heart.


Maybe your heart is heavy

or hardened.

Maybe it’s troubled

and peace can take up residence

only in a small corner,

only on the edge,

with all that is going on in the world,

and in your life.

Ni modo.  It doesn’t matter.


All that you need

for a deep and comforting peace to grow

lies within you.

Once it is in your heart

let it spread into your life,

let it pour from your life into the world –

and once it is in the world,

let it shine upon all beings.”




Prayer for all Creation

by Rev Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918)


“O God,

we thank Thee for this universe, our great home;

for its vastness and its riches and for the manifoldness of the life which teems upon it and of which we are part.


we praise Thee for the arching sky and the blessed winds, for the driving clouds, and the constellations on high.


we praise Thee for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills, for the trees, and for the grass under our feet.


We thank thee for our senses by which we can see the splendour of the morning, and hear the jubilant songs of love, and smell the breath of the springtime.


Grant us, we pray Thee,


a heart wide open to all this joy and beauty,

and save our souls from being so steeped in care or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and unseeing when even the thorn-bush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God.


Enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all the living things, our little brothers and sisters, to whom Thou hast given this earth as their home in common with us.


We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of humanity with ruthless cruelty, so that the voice of the Earth, which should have gone up to Thee in song, has been a groan of travail.


May we realise that they live,

not for us alone,

but for themselves and for Thee, and that they love the sweetness of life, even as we, and serve Thee in their place better than we in ours.


When our use of this world is over and we make room for others, may we not leave anything ravished by our greed or spoiled by our ignorance,

but may we hand on our common heritage fairer and sweeter through our use of it,

undiminished in fertility and joy,

that so our bodies may return in peace to the great mother who nourished them and our spirits may round the circle of a perfect life in Thee.”


So say we all…..






Thanks to Graziana for playing for us today.


I will be leading next weeks service.


Are there other announcements to be made.



SYF 181 (CD SYF 2/TRACK 17)

“Wake, now, my senses”

words by Thomas J. S. Mikelson


Wake, now, my senses, and hear the earth call, feel the deep power of being in all; keep with the web of creation your vow, giving, receiving as love shows us how.


Wake, now, my reason, reach out to the new; join with each pilgrim who quests for the true; honour the beauty and wisdom of time; suffer thy limit, and praise the sublime.


Wake, now, compassion, give heed to the cry; voices of suffering fill the wide sky; take as your neighbour both stranger and friend, praying and striving their hardship to end.


Wake, now, my conscience, with justice thy guide; join with all people whose rights are denied; take not for granted a privilege place; God’s love embrace the whole human race.


Wake, now, my vision of ministry clear; brighten my pathway with radiance here; mingle my calling with all who would share; work toward a planet transformed by our care.




words found in Ely Cathedral (adapted by John Carter)


May the divine Spirit of Pilgrimage

be with us upon our journey through this life;

          guard our steps

          defend and shelter us

          feed, challenge and most of all inspire us.


May we be taught and lead in this our journey

          to the ways that make for love, justice and peace in our world,

          so that when our days are ended,  we are welcomed home at last

          to rest fully in Love for ever.


Go in peace.



The Digest - YUU Blog