“The Darkness Invites Wonder” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, December 11, 2022

Gathering Music (Mary Bopp)

Welcome and Announcements


Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

excerpt from “Crisis Contemplation”
by Barbara A. Holmes
spoken by Rev. Josh Pawelek

Opening Hymn (Dorothy Bognar)

“Now Light is Less”
Words by Theodore Roethke, music by Alfred Munroe Smith
#54 in Singing the Living Tradition

Now light is less; noon skies are wide and deep;
the ravages of wind and rain are healed.
The haze of harvest drifts along the field
until clear eyes put on the look of sleep.

The garden spider weaves a silken pear
to keep inclement weather from its young.
Straight from the oak, the gossamer is hung.
At dusk our slow breath thickens on the air.

Lost hues of birds the trees take as their own.
Long since, bronze wheat was gathered into sheaves.
The walker trudges ankle deep in leaves;
the feather of the milkweed flutters down.

The shoots of spring have mellowed with the year.
Buds, long unsealed, obscure the narrow lane.
The blood slows trance-like in the altered vein;
our vernal wisdom moves through ripe to sere.

Welcoming New Members

Introductions (Membership Committee co-chairs)

The Charge (Minister)
As you take up membership in the Unitarian Universalist Society: East, I charge you to share
with us who you are. Share your creativity, your experiences, your questions, your doubts, your
beliefs, and all your discoveries of life’s meaning. I charge you to shake us up with your ideas,
to stir us up with your conscience, to inspire us with your actions, and to stimulate our hopes with your dreams of what life can be.

Congregational Welcome (Congregation)
We welcome you as companions in the search for truth and meaning. We invite you to share in our
mission of caring for one another, encouraging each other in spiritual growth, working for justice and peace in the wider community, and living in harmony with the earth. We join our gifts with yours, trusting in the power of community to bring freedom, healing, and love.

New Member Affirmation (New members)
We join the Unitarian Universalist Society: East out of a desire and willingness to participate in a
liberal religious congregation. We pledge to share our time, energy, and gifts; to diligently seek our spiritual truths, and to strengthen the bonds of community.

Responsive Hymn (Dorothy Bognar)

“What Is This Church?”
Words adapted from Eugene Sander
Music by Jean Sibelius

What is this church?
A place of love and gladness.
Where all may meet, to seek the common good.
A source of strength, to face each doubt and sadness.
Where every dream is known and understood.
What is this church? Ask those who came before,
And found themselves, by crossing through its door. 

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

We do not gather our gifts only for ourselves, but to share with the greater community.
Continuing our practice of sharing our gifts with the community beyond our walls, fifty percent of our Sunday
plate collections for the month of December will be given to the three area shelters:  McKinney Men’s Shelter
(Hartford), East Hartford Community Shelter, and Cornerstone Shelter (Rockville).

Offering Music

“Flieder, op 21, no. 5 (Lilacs)”
by Rachmaninoff
performed by Dorothy Bognar, piano and Peggy Webbe, bass flute


“Early Waking Reflections”
by Carrie Kocher


“Darkness Invites Wonder”
Rev. Josh Pawelek

Closing Hymn (Dorothy Bognar)

Hymn #55 “Dark of Winter”
by Shelley Jackson Denham
#55 in Singing the Living Tradition

Dark of winter, soft and still, your quiet calm surrounds me.
Let my thoughts go where they will; ease my mind profoundly
And then my soul will sing a song, a blessed song of love eternal.
Gentle darkness, soft and still, bring your quiet to me.

Darkness, soothe my weary eyes, that I may see more clearly.
When my heart with sorrow cries, comfort and caress me.
And then my soul may hear a voice, a still, small voice of love eternal.
Darkness, when my fears arise, let your peace flow through me.

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.