For the Earth Forever Turning — UUS:E Virtual Earth Day Service

Click here to watch the video of UUS:E’s April 19th Earth Day Service.

For the Earth Forever Turning — UUS:E Virtual Earth Day Service, April 19, 2020

 

Worship Preparation: Bring a small branch from a tree or bush into your personal worship space. Hold it up in your video feed during “Time with Gina.”

Gathering Music (Begins at 9:50)

Welcome and Announcements

Prelude “Song for the Birds” (Kristen Dockendorff)

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words  “I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth” (Vern Barnet) (Spoken by Meadow Bornhorst)

I pledge allegiance to the earth and all life,

the fields and streams, the mountains and seas,

the forests and deserts, the air and soil,

all species and reserves, habitats and environments;

one world, one creation, one home, indivisible for all,

affected by pollution anywhere, depleted by any waste,

endangered by greedy consumption, degradation by faithlessness;

preserved by recycling, conservation, and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

protected, preserved by reducing, reusing, recycling.

With conservation and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

 

Opening Song “We Shall Not Be Moved” (African American spiritual, adapted by Anne Vaughan for Earth Day 2020))

We shall not, we shall not be moved.

We shall not, we shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

We’re fighting for our children,

We shall not be moved.

We’re fighting for our children,

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

We’re fighting for our earth now,

We shall not be moved.

We’re fighting for our earth now,

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

We’re loving all Creation

We shall not be moved.

We’re loving all Creation

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

Everyone together

We shall not be moved.

Everyone together

We shall not be moved.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,

We shall not be moved.

 

First Reading  “Earth Day Prayer” (Vern Barnet) (Spoken by Anne Vaughan)

Musical Meditation “Blue Boat Home” (Peter Mayer, ad. by Mary Bopp)

Second Reading – “Letter from Chief Seattle.” (Spoken by David Klotz)

Musical Meditation “Blue Boat Home” (Peter Mayer, ad. by Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns 

Musical Meditation “Blue Boat Home” (Peter Mayer, ad. by Mary Bopp)

Offering

For the next two Sundays we are taking our community outreach offering for the CT Alliance to End Sexual Violence. UUS:E member and Alliance board member, Lisa Sementilli says: As we know, sexual violence victims often know their assailants.  April is sexual assault awareness month, and there is, unfortunately, no moratorium on sexual violence during a pandemic. All of the Alliance’s support centers are open, and their hotlines are operating 24/7 to provide counseling, advocacy and support to victims and survivors.  However, the Alliance and its member centers are incurring costs associated with the unprecedented need for technology to support survivors  by phone and video during the crisis.  As a board member, I am also very concerned about our state and nation’s uncertain financial future and what that might mean for services moving forward.  The vast majority of the Alliance and its member center’s financial support comes from state and federal grants.  UUSE’s support is critical because it not only helps to fill new gaps created by the pandemic, but provides us with unrestricted dollars that we can use with flexibility to support victims however they need support, and to build the capacity to face potential funding crises. Thank you

 Offering Music “Coaxing the Moon” (Kristen Dockendorff)

 Third Reading “The Story of the Sacred Tree”(Co-authored by Judie Bopp, Michael Bopp, Lee Brown, and Phil Lane, Jr. of the Four Worlds International Institute, an organization of Indigenous elders, spiritual leaders, and community members from across Canada and the US dedicated to holistic human, community, organizational and economic development. ) (Spoken by Mary Lawrence)

 Time with Gina  “Tree Meditation” and “blessing of the branches.” (ad. from the book Forest Bathing Retreat by Hannah Fries)

If you’ve brought a tree branch into your worship space, hold it up in your video feed during this meditation

Closing Song “For the Earth Forever Turning” (Kim Oler)

For the earth forever turning; for the skies, for ev’ry sea;
for our lives, for all we cherish, sing we our joyful song of peace.

For the mountains, hills, and pastures in their silent majesty;
for the stars, for all the heavens, sing we our joyful song of peace.

For the sun, for rain and thunder, for the seasons’ harmony,
for our lives, for all creation, sing we our joyful praise to Thee.

For the world we raise our voices, for the home that gives us birth;
in our joy we sing returning home to our bluegreen hills of earth.

Brief Closing Remarks (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Words “I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth” (Vern Barnet) (Spoken in unison)

I pledge allegiance to the earth and all life,

the fields and streams, the mountains and seas,

the forests and deserts, the air and soil,

all species and reserves, habitats and environments;

one world, one creation, one home, indivisible for all,

affected by pollution anywhere, depleted by any waste,

endangered by greedy consumption, degradation by faithlessness;

preserved by recycling, conservation, and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

protected, preserved by reducing, reusing, recycling.

With conservation and reverence,

the great gift renewed for all generations to come.

 

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life

And hope for the community of earth

And love of the light in each other

Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

Coffee Hour / Chat

Plant seeds. Dig in the dirt. Water, weed, feed.


by Mary Lawrence

Plant seeds. Dig in the dirt. Water, weed, feed. Nurture with love. Then hope and pray. This is how we grow a garden. This is also how we grow community. We are planting seeds of peace, love, and justice with the UUS:E Peas & Love Community Garden, creating a space for connection with nature and each other.

In the words of botanist and Potawatomi Nation member, Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, [it] activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”

The UUS:E community garden is an extension of the Sustainable Living Committee’s mission to minimize our carbon footprint and live in harmony with Mother Nature. We use natural, organic compost created onsite from dried leaves and plant-based scraps collected in our church kitchen, amendments such as dried kelp and coco coir, straw and bark mulch, companion planting, and green manure cover crops. By using these regenerative veganic growing methods, we eliminate the use of chemicals and dependence on the animal agriculture industry, where factory farms pollute the environment and disrupt natural ecosystems.

Through the garden we are reminded that nature is not just something to admire from a distance. Nor is it something to control and dominate. Nature is part of who we are: in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the ground we walk on and share with other beings, in the sun that warms our skin… we are infinitely connected. And we are infinitely indebted.

The garden is here for all of us, as a resource for anyone who seeks to learn where their food comes from, how it grows, and how nutritious and delicious meals can be that are made from the harvest. Today is our first planting day, so please, come visit, and check out what’s growing over the next few months (fingers crossed)! In addition to feeding UUS:E members, produce will also be donated to the Manchester Area Conference of Churches food pantry to feed people in need, so that anyone who wants to eat healthfully can, regardless of age, race, gender, income, or ability.

When we reciprocate the gifts from Mother Nature, we secure the sacred bond of mutual respect, honor, and protection. We erase unconscious lines of separation. We recognize our responsibility in maintaining this precious relationship. We consider how our daily decisions have repercussions for all. We grow in ways unimaginable.

Many years before the first Earth Day, Rachel Carson wrote these ominous words in the groundbreaking book Silent Spring, which inspired me to stop and think when I read it 20 years ago: “We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance, to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

On this day, Earth Day, we reflect on our place in the world and how grateful we are for the beautiful planet we call home. We also reflect on our responsibility, and the decision we make when we come to that fork in the road. So plant seeds! Take a packet, dig in your garden, or fill a pot with soil, and know that in this synergistic act of combining seed with soil with water, you are reciprocating the gift, honoring Mother Nature, and making a commitment to preserve and protect this planet.