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February 28, 2021 | Online Worship

Updated: Mar 2

Recording of our February 28, 2021 online worship service

Worship manuscript:


Welcome

Tony Kubien


Good morning, and welcome to Birmingham Unitarian Church, where we welcome people of all races, ages, abilities, and all people of goodwill. I am Tony Kubien. Donna Larkin Mohr and I will be your Worship Associates this morning. Shiehern Kubien will read our Chalice Lighting. Our music will be provided by world renowned pianist, Forrest Howell, and hymns will be led by… Thee Best Tenor in the Choir, Keith Ensroth! We also have terrific technical support from Jane O’Neil and our Zoom Greeter is Mary Jo Ebert. BUC worship services are hosted on Zoom every Sunday morning at 10:30 and then later posted on our website and Facebook.

Social justice is an essential component of our church life. BUC is a Welcoming Congregation, a designation that means we are committed to being intentionally inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals and families.

BUC is also a Green Sanctuary Congregation, which is a similar program for environmental justice work. We are taking action to address the climate crisis.

We are also deeply committed to addressing racism within ourselves and in our world. We believe that Black Lives Matter! We celebrate our theological differences and encourage people of a variety of beliefs and philosophies to participate fully in the life of our congregation.


Before the service begins, there are a few announcements highlighting events in the life of this church. For additional information about the opportunities for involvement here, you can check our website at bucmi.org.


And now for our announcements:


We extend a special welcome to those who may be visiting us for the first time. We invite you to learn more about our church by joining us for a virtual coffee hour following this service. If you would like to participate, please stay with us after the service ends, and you will be randomly assigned to a small group.


The Environmental Action team invites you to learn more about how you can decrease your carbon footprint, and hopefully have fun working on it with other BUCers. As part of the How Green Can You Go initiative, we will examine a carbon footprint calculator, compare notes on what we found, and consider more earth-friendly actions we might take now. Immediately after service today, Mary Dunn will present a brief introduction to this project, and then she and Izzy Khapoya will stay in the main meeting room during coffee hour to talk more about the project with anyone who is interested in participating.


Join Rev. Mandy this Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00 pm on Facebook Live for our monthly Vespers Service. This is a joyful, yet introspective evening service that centers gratitude for the day that has passed and welcomes the night that is beginning. The service will include candle lighting in remembrance of your beloved dead and any concerns in your heart. Names and information for candle lighting can be submitted via the link on our website under Worship Links, or shared in comments during the service. To view the service live, visit the Birmingham Unitarian Church Facebook page at 7:00 pm this Tuesday. The video will also remain on Facebook for later viewing.


Next Sunday, March 7, is Stewardship Sunday! Immediately following our worship service, please join us for a special all-ages stewardship kick-off event. This fun celebration will include an open-mike opportunity for anyone to share what BUC means to them in this difficult time as well as what it will mean for them in the future. You are invited to share what you love about BUC in whatever way you like: a one-sentence statement, a song, a dance, or a 2-minute family skit. We might not be able to enjoy mimosas and quiche together like we usually do on Stewardship Sunday, but we’ll still have a great time celebrating our community. AND, we’ll be raffling off prizes for those who fill out their pledge form that day! Watch your email or postal mail for your pledge packet and plan to join us after service next Sunday.


Today, our service will explore what Unitarian Universalism means to us. Thank you again for joining us this morning, or whenever you are watching. Although we are not physically together, we are together in spirit, and it is good to be together again. And with that, our service will begin.


Chalice Lighting

read by Shiehern Kubien

chalice lit by Tony Kubien with assistance from Eleanor Kubien


Today’s chalice lighting is by Albert Schweitzer. At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Opening Words

“Come, Come, Whoever You Are” by Ian W. Riddell; modified

read by Tony Kubien


Do you hear that voice calling you, calling us?

That voice which calls us together, here today, in this Zoom (instead of room), made holy by our presence and by the sacred breath we share in our singing and speaking and silence.

That voice which calls us to remember that we are not alone and that we are inextricably linked to all other life—woven into a vast tapestry of existence of which we are a powerful, integral, and holy part.

And just as we have been called together here today, we act as the voice—the heart—the hands of another call:

The call to:

Walk with the wanderers

Sing and dance with the worshipers

Proclaim the memory of those who have taken their leave

Wrap the despairing and the broken in the arms of love and community

And hold the hands of all of us who have broken our vows and call us back—again and again—to the covenant and work of justice, humility, and steadfast faithfulness.

For this we are here together today. So, my friends, come, yet again; come let us worship together.


Offering

Tony Kubien


The mission of Birmingham Unitarian Church is to create a free and

welcoming religious community that encourages lives of integrity,

learning, service, and joy.


We are stewards of our community, and of our beautiful campus. Even

when we’re not worshiping onsite, there are expenses associated with

maintaining our community, and our campus, that are ongoing- like

keeping our parking, and walkways, plowed and salted in the winter time.

Many of you make an annual pledge to the congregation and that is

what we use to pay our bills.


Your weekly offering is a way of re-committing to our mission and way

of strengthening the bonds between you and your fellow congregants.

Please give generously as you are able.


Contributions can be made using Venmo with username BUCMI, through

our website, or by putting a check in the mail. However, it is that you

choose to give, please do so with a heart of gratitude and a heart of

generosity.


Thank you for your offering.


Reflection

by Tony Kubien


Today I will reflect on what Unitarian Universalism means to me. And in order to do that I will take you through my journey to UUism.

Like many of you, I was born and raised in the Catholic Church. I went to St. Christopher Grade School in Detroit, was an altar boy for about 4 years, I sang in the choir for a year or two, even though I am sure that my voice did not warrant it, and I even thought about becoming a priest, that is until I realized that I liked girls, and priests could not get married.

I enjoyed many of the traditions, music, moral teachings, and the sense of community, but it all came with a great deal of dogma. One of the first major questions that I could remember having as a young boy was, “How could God welcome an uncaring or bad person who happened to be Catholic into heaven while not welcoming a caring or good person into heaven because they were not Catholic?” It did not make any sense to me. Many things did not make sense to me, and by the time I went to high school, I realized that I was done with the church. My parents were not happy with me; I know that they were disappointed and I would guess probably very embarrassed as well. I also felt judged by many others in my family, which really turned me off from all of religion for a very long time.


Years later, my brother-in-law held a guitar recital at Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church. Unitarian? I never heard of that before so I picked up a brochure. I saw a description of religion that I didn't know existed: free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Shared values but no creed? I thought to myself that if I were ever to belong to a church again, it would be a Unitarian church.

Years later, I finally shook off my negative religious feelings enough to try out Birmingham Unitarian Church. One of my first services was a youth service in which they shared their beliefs with the congregation. They were all very thoughtful and articulate. Some expressed a belief in god, some did not, and some were not sure. I was so impressed that from that point on, I knew BUC was home and now it is home for my family as well.

I am so happy to be part of a church community that accepts me as I am and also challenges me to be better. To me Unitarian Universalism is not a religion that will help me attain some type of eternal salvation. To me UUism is a lifelong spiritual journey with other caring and questioning people, giving me the opportunity for “salvation” right here on Earth. That is what Unitarian Universalism is to me.


Reflection

by Donna Larkin Mohr


When our children were six and two years of age, we resided in beautiful San Diego. Some dear friends recommended we try a new church—one that impressed them and offered exceptional music.

When we arrived on Sunday, my spouse took our six-year-old to class with her peers. I took our two-year-old to the nursery. The teacher explained that they were going to be making mud pies and learning what happened to the soil when it was filled with water. Would it be okay to remove clothes. I said, of course.

After the service, which we thoroughly enjoyed, my spouse collected are oldest, and I went to the nursery. My two-year-old was completely naked and covered from head to toe in mud—as were all the other children. They were having a marvelous time making mud pies and covering each other in mud. Cleaning off the mud was no easy task.

After we piled in the car, my spouse and I discussed everything that happened that morning, especially our naked kid covered in mud. We decided that Unitarian Universalism was definitely worth exploring.

When we lived in Montana, it was a 45-mile drive to the nearest UU church in Missoula—one lane each direction on a roadway that was often covered with ice in the winter. We decided to check out a local congregational church. The sermons were excellent, and the church was less than 15 minutes from our little log and stone house. Not being Christians, however, meant it wasn’t a perfect fit.

When we moved to the magical Puget Sound region of Western Washington, we discovered there was a small, lay-led UU fellowship on our island. We joined and soon became active. We helped bring a minister to our fellowship, became a church, and participated in more than doubling our membership.

When we moved to Michigan and started looking for a new UU community, we spent some time on the net checking out every UU church within one hour. We knew we wanted a mid- or large-sized church. Even though BUC was an hour away, it was the only church that met our requirements. We began attending in the summer of 2013 and became members in December of that year.

Because our UU faith offers us polity, the ability and the responsibility to select our own minister, it is a good fit.

Because our UU faith has seven Principles to which we can aspire, it is a good fit.

And, soon we may have an 8th Principle. Our faith is growing and changing—changing for the better; it is a good fit.



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