• BUC

September 27, 2020 | Online Worship

Our Zoom recording was accidentally set to Gallery View, so for the privacy of our participants, we are sharing only the audio of this service.

Worship manuscript (partial):


Good morning. It is a joy to be with you today at our virtual Birmingham Unitarian Church, where we welcome people of all races, ages, abilities, and all people of goodwill.

I am Donna Larkin Mohr, joining with fellow worship associate, Tony Kubien, musicians Forrest Howell and Chris Slon, and tech support from Jane O’Neil and Drieka DeGraf.

We are a Welcoming Congregation, a designation given to us by the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1996. We are dedicated to doing the work of being fully inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals and families.

We live out our faith through commitment to justice matters, including a focus on issues addressing the climate crisis and confronting racism in ourselves and in the world.

We celebrate our theological differences and encourage people of a variety of beliefs and philosophies to participate fully in the life of our congregation.

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 enjoying our virtual coffee and conversation following the service.

If you feel that BUC may be your church home, please contact our minister to talk about the path to membership, or Brianna Zamborsky, our Membership Chair.

Today’s service is titled: Sabbath, Rest, and Getting Your Head Screwed on Straight, where—among other things—we will offer a few tips to help with all the anxiety we have experienced of late. —

And now our service will begin.

Chalice Lighting

“A Flame to Light Our Path” by Debra Burrell, with some additional words by Melanie Davis

If ever there was a time for a candle in the darkness, this would be it. (Melanie Davis from “A Spark of Hope”)

Fire consumes, and casts a bright light.

May our chalice flame consume our regrets for the past,

Our fears about the future, and our worries about today.

May it light a path of joy and peace.

Opening Words

"A Renewed Hope for This World" by Nathan Ryan (with a few

adaptations to reflect the fact that we are Zooming)

Be it real or metaphor, whatever is in your backpack, or your

briefcase, or your purse that you’ve brought into this “virtual”

sanctuary that is weighing you down: leave it behind.

Whatever you are carrying that is keeping you distracted, or caught

up in shame, or guilt, or hopelessness: leave it behind.

If you need it, it will be there when we’re done, but for this “time,”

just let it go.

Come into this “space” with open hearts.

Come into this “space” with a soul that has remembered how to be

tender again.

Come into this “space” with a renewed hope for this world.

Come into this “space” ready to build a world we’ve always been

worthy of, and have always dreamed of. (Pause)

Today we will be talking about the Sabbath, Rest, and Getting Our

Heads Screwed on Straight. I think that you will find this service

quite upbeat.

Time for All Ages

"The Cobbler’s Boots: A Story About Self-Care" from

Once upon a time, there was a cobbler who was very busy.

He lived in a large village and was the only cobbler in town, so he was responsible for repairing the boots of everybody else.

However, he didn’t have time to repair his own boots.

This wasn’t a problem at first, but over time, his boots began to deteriorate and fall apart.

While he worked feverishly on the boots of everyone else, his feet got blisters and he started to limp.

His customers started to worry about him, but he reassured them that everything was OK.

However, after a few years, the cobbler’s feet were so injured that he could no longer work and no-one’s boots got repaired.

As a consequence, soon the entire town started to limp in pain, all because the cobbler never took the time to repair his own boots.

I wrote this to illustrate a simple principle that is so often disregarded.

If you don’t look after yourself, after a while you’ll be no good to anyone else either. Your best intentions will mean nothing and you’ll be unable to do what you’re meant to do.

This goes for pastors, leaders, social workers, teachers even parents.

If you don’t take the time to care for yourself, no-one else will.

I’m not talking about living a self-absorbed existence.

I’m talking about making sure that you have the energy and focus required to sustain your performance in the years ahead.

I’m talking about fixing your boots.

Are you looking after yourself?

If you keep going without making any changes, will you eventually burn-out?

So, be sure to take care of yourself.


Your gifts for this morning’s offering may come in the form of a check or by going to our website or using Venmo. Why do we give? We give because it makes us feel good; we give because we are able to; we give because it is the traditional thing to do; we give because we learned to do so as children; we give because our beloved community means so much to us, individually and collectively; we give. nThank you for your gifts.

Joys and Sorrows

Joys and Sorrows is a special time in our service where we have the opportunity to share a personal, intimate moment in our life that has brought us a distinct joy or a profound sadness. We know sharing this moment brings greater connection within our community.

We have a sorrow from Dick Rappleye. Karen Rappleye, wife of Dick Rappleye, passed away last week. Karen has many dear friends at BUC, and has appreciated the caring, supportive and like-minded community over the years.

We have a joy from Annis Pratt. “We are immensely grateful that my daughter Faith is home from the hospital with her mile a minute brain as good as ever after a benign tumor was removed the day after Labor Day. Your calls and prayers and concern for her comforted me deeply during those truly awful days.”

We have a joy from Valerie Phillips. “About a week ago, my 13 year old Sarah asked if we ever submit our joys and sorrows. It turns out that we do! Happy 14th birthday to Sarah today (September 27).”

Pastoral Prayer

For those of you who have joys and/or sorrows that are maybe too tender or painful to share, know that we hold you in our hearts. And for all of us, just trying to make it through this global pandemic, hang in there, let us lean on each other, our family and friends, and we will get through this together. May it be so.

Now, please join me in a brief meditation, breathing in, breathing out, silently for a short interval, sending healing energy to all who are in need.


"Blessings on Those Staying Home" by Linda Barnes

We’re staying home. Love has never asked this of us before.

We’re staying home, this is our gift to humanity.

Let us wish each other well.

For those staying home alone, I offer you this blessing. May you

grow a deeper understanding of your own worth. Dear one, leaven

the aloneness with gentle care, for this too shall pass. May you be

blessed with a peace and serenity; may you find the courage to

reach out to hear one another’s voice and to remember others need

you too.

May you be well.

For those staying home together. I offer you this blessing. May you

find moments of patience and grace in your relations. May you

offer each other enough time apart, reassurance and space enough

to cry, to safely rage, for this too shall pass. Then, let peace come

again into your home. May you see one another’s whole self as a


May you be well.

For those working from home, I offer you this blessing. May you

remember to take breaks. May you find the means to relish your

imperfection and the imperfection of others as evidence of our

shared humanity. You are enough even when there isn’t enough.

Make order in your days and then let it go.

May you be well.

For those staying home with children, I offer you this blessing. May

you find humor and compassion in your days. There will be

learning of a different kind, deeper no doubt, unexpected for sure.

May there be patience and forgiveness, again, and again, and again.

For this too shall pass. May you all remember the deep love that

brought your family into being. May there be peace and

understanding in your home.

May you be well. May we be well. May it be so.


May we go out into this world with our heads screwed on straight. Let us take the light from this chalice with us and may we be a light for everyone we come into contact with. May it be so. (pause) Amen.

Our postlude was "Longest Time - Quarantine Edition" by the Phoenix Chamber Choir, which can be viewed here:

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