|Flag hung over the dais for our Earth Day service.|
As you all know, this past Monday was Earth Day, and the day prior was our Earth Day service at my UU church, which the Green Sanctuary committee planned and executed. We've been planning the service for about a month, and I'm happy to say it came together well! I was very nervous beforehand, but once it got going, things calmed down a lot. This is not to say it was not without bumps, but I think everyone understood this was not something we were able to have everyone together to rehearse over and over. Someone forgot to get up to read something so we had to nudge them, some transitions took too long, and our play was read more slowly than we had rehearsed it. But overall, I heard from people that lay services (services planned by lay members rather than the acting minister) do tend to run long, and that it was worth it. I counted when we were about to start and we had just about 50 people in attendance--not counting the students and teachers down the hall, but actually in the sanctuary for the service--and by mid-way through I noticed that some stragglers had joined us later. I think 50-60 is pretty usual for a general service, so that was good.
You may be able to find links to the songs and readings online. I'll include the numbers as they relate to the UU hymnal, just in case you can find them. Here is a page where you can listen to recordings of hymns from the supplemental hymnal for educational purposes (as in, learning how the songs go!). In doing a quick Google search on UU hymns to find out if you could find them, I actually came across a few pages saying things like "I hate the words to UU hymns," "I feel sorry for UUs who have to sing those songs, Catholic songs are so beautiful," and so on. There is even an article entitled "WHY I AM NOT A UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST" and the first words showing in the search result reveal that this person is not a UU because they think the hymnal "is a disaster." As though the hymnal were the only reason to be a UU! I really enjoy the UU hymns, not only because there are plenty which do not mention the Christian God, but also because I think they touch on something a lot more. AND I like that they're easy melodies that everyone can sing, even people who don't feel comfortable singing or reading music. Besides, UU hymnals do contain Christian and Catholic hymns, as well as Jewish ones, Buddhist and Hindu chants, Native American music, Pagan music, and more. But I digress!
Our Call to Worship reading (#502) was more about activism, and the fact that now is the proper time for change and work. We have to plant today to reap in the future. Then we all sang a song called Mother Earth, Beloved Garden (#1067) which is one of the first UU hymns I ever sang, during a meeting of my college's UU club. The song has five verses, each one ending with a calling of a direction/element: North, East, South, West, and finally, Center/Spirit.