Content resources for Inclusive UU Ministry in a Time of Pandemic

We are facing some challenging times. Let us be gentle with one another. Together, we can create a bit more sustainability, perhaps, by sharing our resources. That is the intent of this document.

Collaboration. Connection. Collective liberation. Caring. Courage.



  1. Scroll through the section and see if someone else has already put your contribution in this document.
  2. PLEASE indicate copyright resources. Has the person given permission for this content to be used? streamed? Recorded? This is VERY important and useful information so we can be in right relationship with the creative beings among us (which is basically everyone!) .
  3. You are welcome to paste a link if it's available. If there is no link, you are welcome to paste in the text (if you have or know of copyright permission) Otherwise, please do not enter the information until you do have copyright permission.

Other things to note:

  1. Visit the UUA’s Worship Web for MUCH more content! [shout out to Rev. Erika Hewitt] If you would like your creation to be considered to be added to Worship Web, please include your email address so that Erika can be in touch with you. Or you can submit it directly to UU Worship Web yourself Submitting does not guarantee publishing to the Worship Web resource.
  2. ‘Lifting Our Voices’ supplement also has, starting on p. 85, info about streaming permissions.
  3. Grapple with the cultural characteristics of white supremacy culture! Yes — even as we face a pandemic together! Amplify the voices of those most impacted, most often marginalized, most often unacknowledged. Don’t steal. Avoid cultural misappropriation.
  4. Be mindful about ableist language. Consider various metaphors and words from a variety of perspectives and strive for an ever growing circle of inclusivity.
  5. Consider sending a thank you message to the creators of this content if you do decide to use it, maybe even a monetary gift to the poets and musicians whose livelihoods are being rather impacted by this virus. ‘We need you to survive.’
  6. If something that appears here is mis-attributed, please make a note and include a correction.
  7. If you change your mind about permissions, please make a note, date the edit, and include the change.
  8. Not everyone indicates their pronouns so you might consider using their names to introduce their work in worship/RE/etc.


Prayers Info/content



Rev. Lynn Ungar-Pandemic 

Audra Friend has also granted permission to use the recording for worship and other congregational life uses: 

Lynn has given permission to use/stream/record with attribution

VIDEO attribution should credit: Lynn Ungar, text UUA, video

Rev. Florence Caplow

My prayer for tomorrow (read by the worship associate because I am self-quarantined)

On this strange Sunday we gather together in new ways

Linked to each other through the delicate tracery of electrons

And through the invisible bonds of caring and love,

Sharing with millions the wondering and fear and uncertainty of this time

May each of us stay well and whole

May each of us find our ground of strength and clarity

May each of us let our hearts break open to new ways of caring for our neighbor as ourselves

May each of us know, even if we are alone, that we are held in a great embrace of love.

Florence says,    Feel free to use anywhere, changing is fine, no attribution necessary, live streaming fine. :)

“Prayer for a Pandemic” by Cameron Wiggins Bellm

May those who are merely inconvenienced

Remember those whose lives are at stake.

May those who have no risk factors

Remember those most vulnerable.


May those who have the luxury of working from home

Remember those who must choose between

Preserving their health or making their rent.


May those who have the flexibility to care for their children

when the schools close

Remember those who have no options.


May those who have to cancel their trips

Remember those that have no safe place to go.


May those who are losing our margin money

In the tumult of the economic market

Remember those who have no margin at all.


May those who are settling in for a quarantine at home

Remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country,**

Let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically

Wrap our arms around each other,

Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God for our neighbors.[end]

Cameron said in FB post-You have my permission to share this prayer, use it in your services, read it aloud, or use it any other way that brings you comfort. attribution

** some folks have substituted world for the word country. Not sure if she has given permission for that. 

Posted on FB. See the website for more info and to seek permissions

Beatitudes by Rev. Lee Paczulla

blessed are the elderly, and the immunosuppressed

blessed are the fearful, the anxious and irritable

blessed are the ones who use humor to get by

the ones who could use a vacation anyway

the ones who fear for their life

blessed are the ones who are sick of it:

all the flawed logic, the security theater

blessed are the ones who cry out “this is why we need a safety net!

a kinder society! a new world!”

blessed are the health care workers,

the administrators catching heat for every decision,

the messengers with no power over the message

blessed are the sad, and the lonely

blessed are the healthy and the sick,

the well and the unwell

blessed are all of us just trying to do our best

blessed are those who stay kind and clear, who keep our eyes open to each other

blessed is our neighbor

blessed are we all

blessed are we all

blessed are we all

~ Rev. Lee Paczulla

Lee FB permission with attribution to be used, streamed, recorded


Test prayer

This is a test

Of the emergency we want to connect system

Of the I miss you message

Of the you are my friend callback

This is a test of our love

Of our fear

Of our pain

Of our connection

Bailey Whiteman

Disappointing news is still hard.

Even when it’s for the best

Even when other people have it worse

Even when, in the big picture, it’s a small inconvenience

Even when it’s unsurprising.

It’s still hard.

In this time of upheaval, sometimes we cling to the things that were exciting or hope-giving or just fun and when we have to let them go, the let-down can be staggering.

We’re in uncharted territory these days.

Let’s remember we’re probably not always our best selves, and in a sea of folks who aren’t their best selves. Stay accountable and acknowledge when you see you’ve slipped. And also. Be real gentle with yourself. It’s ok to be upset, freaked out, numb, frustrated, selfish, scared, angry, or any other feel.

And it’s ok when that concert you’ve waited your whole life to see gets canceled and you break down in a pile of tears.

It’s ok to scream into a pillow for an hour because your graduation ceremony is off.

Do what you gotta do.

Collectively, our reserves are pretty low.

And, when you can, show up and keep going. Do a grocery run for someone who can’t. Give extra donations to the orgs that matter to you. Make a YouTube video to teach your favorite math concept or French story or science experiment to kids and share it for the folks navigating homeschool for the first time. Be less than perfect. And keep going.

I love you. You’re wonderful. This is hard. And you’re enough.

--Lauren Way, now use the name Mylo Way

Lauren has given permission to use/stream/record with attribution

Prayer for The Lamp Keeper- The Rev. Joseph M Cherry

My prayer for you today is that you understand that you cannot be and say everything.  That you are a light, a lamp in the night to help people find their way, but you cannot be their way.

Remember also that a steady lamp by which others may guide their own journey, is a gift from and to the universe.

Be steady, but do not deny your own humanity. Do not forget to take breaks. Do not let your desire to be that steward of that lamp keep you too long from your own journey.

Share the burden

Share the responsibility

Share the honor with others.

Joe has given permission for this to be used, streamed, recorded with attribution.

Prayer for Hope

Rev. Lindasusan V. Ulrich

Spirit of Hope…

                …help me.

I can’t seem to find my way back to your realm.

I’ve been wandering in labyrinths

        running into dead ends

        facing down monsters

        losing my way

Ariadne’s thread only tangles my feet

and leaves my fingers raw.

Spirit of Hope…

                …ground me.

I’ve lost my bearings on what’s real

        who I am

        how I got here

        why it matters

Unreality makes a poor compass.

I remember to look up,

lest I get caught off-guard,

but such preparation means little

to a soul suffering vertigo.

Spirit of Hope…

                …steady me.

Maybe my only way forward is to stay still.

Perhaps if I rest my bones exactly where I am,

        instead of scrabbling for purchase

        searching for loopholes

        willing myself on

the dust will settle enough for a path to reappear.

It needn’t be tended and beautiful — just discernible.

Spirit of Hope…

                …guide me.

You dwell in the turnaround between exhale and inhale —

a moment of trust that pulls me into the future.

I’ve been looking for something

        more grand

        more obvious

        more compelling

not recognizing the promise in the flickering signs:

my body already knows the way home.

Lindasusan gives permission to use, stream, and record with attribution.

For adding to WorshipWeb:

These are strange times.  There are so many things that feel unfamiliar.

We are still figuring out how to protect ourselves and one another.  We are still figuring out ‘social distancing’.  We are still figuring out phone trees and virtual community.  We are still figuring out how to weave a safety net secure enough so that no one slips through.

Some of us may not know how to manage these strange new technologies.  Some of us may not know where we can find toilet paper.  Some of us may not know where our next meal or our rent is coming from.  

None of us know if we will get sick, or how sick we will get.  None of us know who we will lose.

But we know the things that are important:

We know how to manage our anxiety.  We know that we are resilient, as individuals and collectively.  We know how to come back to our best selves, again and again.  We know how to breathe.

We know how to be kind.  We know how to be generous.  We know that we can count on one another.  We know that when all of us offer what feels right, what feels good, we always, ALWAYS, wind up with everything we need.

We know that this epidemic won’t last forever.  We know that the world is a beautiful place, and that we are meant to rejoice and be glad in every day we are given.

Above all, we know that we are held in a love, a love whose tensile strength is limitless.  It will stretch.  It will give.  But it will not let us go.

May we trust in that love, in these strange times, and in all times.

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stevens

(Use freely with attribution)

The Mindful Garden               ~ by Sarah Ahrens


The sins were sown into the earth

Greed, pride, wrath, envy

Fertilized by hate and fear

Tended in secret, with gloves of lies

Clutching at the underground


Now those seeds have sprouted

In every last direction

Weeds with a chokehold on our breath

Strangling all life in some way

Uncontained and spreading


But the tools of love and compassion

Are powerful pesticides

Connection, gratitude, kindness, grace

Will wither all insidious organisms

From the cosmic to the microscopic


Let us learn to plant mindfully

Using seeds that bloom in beauty

Of unity, equity, liberty, peace

Let us cultivate with truth and justice

In our global garden of vibrant life

Sarah Ahrens

Use freely with attribution

Prayers/Meditations Info/content



Surrender to Prayer by Rev. “Twinkle” Marie Porter-Manning,

interfaith minister & co-convener of UU Women and Religion

Permission with attribution to be used, streamed, recorded. Please email to let her know you have selected her work to be shared.

In This Love: A Universalist Meditation by Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

Spoken or thought in rhythm with the breath. One might adapt the pace of breathing depending on one’s abilities.  


[Breathing in] There is a Love

[Breathing out] Holding me.

[3 breaths with words, 3 breaths in silence]

[Breathing in] There is a Love

[Breathing out] Holding all I love.

[3 breaths with words, 3 breaths in silence]

[Breathing in] There is a Love

[Breathing out] Holding all.

[3 breaths with words, 3 breaths in silence]

[Breathing in] I rest

[Breathing out] In this Love.

[Breathing in] There is a Love

[Breathing out] Holding us.

[3 breaths with words, 3 breaths in silence]

[Breathing in] There is a Love

[Breathing out] Holding all we love.

[3 breaths with words, 3 breaths in silence]

[Breathing in] There is a Love

[Breathing out] Holding all.

[3 breaths with words, 3 breaths in silence]

[Breathing in] We rest

[Breathing out] In this Love.

[Breathing in] __________

[Breathing out] In this Love.

Continue the meditation by filling in the blank with the names of people and places on your prayer list (or in your class, or on your staff team, or…) Hold those people and places in the embrace of Love’s presence, mystery, and transforming power.

This was shared with several classes at Starr King School for the Ministry during Parker’s tenure. Dr. Parker has given permission to use, share, stream, and record with attribution.

A prayer for the listeners by the Rev. Joe M. Cherry 03/20/20

When my ears are full,

Of the worries,

The concerns,

The pains,

Of others

Grant me permission for silence

When my arms

And shoulders,

And back,

Ache from the burdens,

Of others

Grant me permission to set them down

Guide me to another,

A friend, perhaps

To talk with

Not, for once, to be talked at

And may I not be a burden to them

As I pour out my pain

My weariness

My exhaustion

But a place, a space of mutual care.

My listener friend,

May you always know

No matter how tired I am,

You can turn to me, too.

Use, stream, record, with attribution

Blessing of the Hands in a Time of Pandemic

Rev. Lindasusan V. Ulrich

Many hospital chaplains offer a “blessing of the hands” for those who work there. This ritual is intended to honor that blessing in a way that maintains safe distances. Invite those present to follow your hand gestures as you speak the blessing. 

[Hands together, palms up]

Bless these hands that hold the health of those who come through our doors.

[Hands together, palms down]

Bless these hands that shelter and protect the vulnerable among us.

[Palms facing out] 

Bless these hands working to stop the spread of fear as well as illness.

[Palms towards self]

Bless these hands that mirror the love and compassion within each of your hearts.

[Palms facing out and fingers “twinkling”]

Bless these hands that shimmer with wonder at the way life flows through our bodies.

[Hands with palms touching, fingertips forward]

Bless these hands that connect with others, no matter what the distance.

[Hands out at sides, palms up]

Bless these hands, that you may stay safe as you labor on behalf of the entire community.

Lindasusan gives permission to use, stream, and record with attribution.

For adding to WorshipWeb:

A prayer for health care workers

Rev. Florence Caplow

I have been thinking about those working in health care, their tremendous courage and willingness and vulnerability to this epidemic. Already there have been doctors and nurses who have become critically ill. I think also of the cleaning staff in hospitals, therapists, chaplains, and others.


To those who care for us

When our bodies grow weak.

For those using all their love and skill to keep the vulnerable alive another day.

For those working without enough protection this morning, without masks or gowns, re-using yesterday’s mask with a silent prayer that it still works, or using only a bandanna.

Who may be frightened of what is coming

Or who are already working around the clock

We send our deep love and gratitude.

May you be safe.

May you be well.

May your family be well.

May you be nurtured yourself by family and friends.

May you feel and know our wholehearted prayers and appreciation.

We send our blessings.

From Florence Caplow: feel free to use and change

Blessings on Those Staying Home

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 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 gift. 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.

Rev. Linda Barnes Feel free to use and/or adapt however it serves you best.

A Call to Solidarity in a Time of Distress,

by Christopher Heuertz


With this litany, we set our intention

to offer hope, help, and resilience

for all of us aching with the uncertainty

of our shared vulnerability,

and especially for some of the most susceptible among us:

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the parents of newborns who feel the sadness of not being able to introduce their babies to friends and family because of social distancing …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For retired folks who are already struggling to get by but are now watching their shaky financial futures vaporize with every hit the stock market takes …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For everyone getting married over the next few months, try to remember, you’re not celebrating alone even if your community cannot be there for the ceremony …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the refugees trying to make sense of all this chaos in a foreign country in a language that’s often difficult to comprehend …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the small business owners who are forced to close shop out of service to our collective health but who will struggle to stay in business once this is all past …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For single parents who are already undersupported and overworked …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the 20+ million children in the United States who need public school meal assistance just to get one or two hot meals a day, and for their parents suffering the pain of seeing their kids go hungry ….

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the activists, charities, and nonprofit organizations fighting to build a better world one donation at a time, while watching their funding thin out …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the elderly in assisted living communities who fear they may never see their family again …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the authors, artists, musicians, speakers, and everyone else in the gig industry whose livelihood is dependent on events that have been canceled …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the immuno-suppressed and immuno-compromised who fear running down to the market to buy the basics so they can get by for just one more day …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the undocumented who have been illegalized by an unjust and unwelcoming system and who fear applying for assistance at the risk of deportation …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For those who are incarcerated and concerned for their own health in their isolated communities or worried they may lose loved ones they’ll never see again …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the flight attendants and local grocers who graciously serve all their customers while making themselves vulnerable …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the hospice workers who wrestle with the risks of showing up or not showing up to care for their patients and the difficult consequences of either choice …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the chefs, bartenders, delivery folks, dishwashers, hosts and hostesses, line cooks, servers, and all the hospitality industry who have prepared and provided meals for us who are about to lose their jobs, or who have already …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the parents whose employers won’t make concessions as you stay home with your children who now aren’t able to attend their own schools …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For the health care professionals who put themselves at risk to care for the suffering bodies of our collective humanity …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.


For every single one of us who will lose a loved one, a friend, a family member, or a partner to this virus, and will be forced to grieve alone …

Community Response:

You are not alone.

We’re in this together.

We’ll do everything we can to help.



Poems and Chalice Lightings Info and content

Copyright permission

Rev. Lynn Ungar    ‘Pandemic’ 

Audra Friend has also granted permission to use the recording in worship and other congregational life uses::     Please credit Lynn Ungar, words UUA video

Lynn has given permission to use, stream, record with attribution. Refer others to her website as a way of helping give thanks to her good work.

Our Community Knows No Boundaries by Nancy Reid-McKee

Our community

knows no boundaries.

We are not confined by the physical limits

of walls

Or, for that matter,

Of what often

Binds us, restricts us

Holds us back.

We are free-er than we know

When we release ourselves

And each other

From expectations

Of what is needed

For true community.

We are here


In space.

I see you.

I hear you

I love you

And I light this chalice

A beacon of this community

Holding us all together.



Nancy says use as you wish.

How to Survive the Apocalypse by Rev. Sean Dennison

First, learn to listen.

Not only for enemies around

Corners in hidden places,

But for the faint footsteps

Of hope and the whisper of resistance.

Hone your skills, aim your

Heart toward kindness and

Stockpile second chances.

Under the weight of destruction,

We will need the strong shelter

Of forgiveness and the deeper wells

That give the sweet water of welcome:

“We have a place for you.”

When the world ends, we must not

Add destruction to destruction,

Not accept a beggar’s bargain,

To fight death with more death.

In order to survive the apocalypse--

Any apocalypse at all--

we have to give up

The counterfeit currency of self-

sufficiency, the mistaken addiction

To competition, the lie that the last

To die has somehow survived.

Sean gives permission for use, streaming, and recording with attribution.

Watch for the new book Breaking and Blessing: Meditations from Skinner House

[be mindful of the footsteps metaphor when you share]

Prayer for Living in Tension by the Rev. Joe Cherry

If we have any hope of transforming the world and changing ourselves,

We must be

Bold enough to move into our discomfort,

Brave enough to be clumsy there,

Loving enough to forgive ourselves and others.

May we, as a people of faith, be granted the strength to be

So bold,

So brave,

And so loving.

Joe gives permission to use, stream, record with attribution. The original appears in ‘Voices from the Margins’. Available. You can order this book from the UUA Bookstore

Joe gave permission to change the word ‘step’ to ‘move’

March 2020

Rev. Lindasusan V. Ulrich

the cloudless watery blue sky

has yet to learn about the small virus

wreaking havoc on the earth below

the red buds emerging from winter trees

have no idea they’re awakening to a world

where people can’t hold the hands of their dying

the wind blows chill air through

whether or not cheeks and fingers

remain protected within walls

stars continue to burn

their great stores of energy —

do they also fear the day they’ll run out?

but the birds know everything about

singing to each other across empty spaces

dogs understand greetings

that don’t involve touch

tortoises take things slowly

and carry their sense of home everywhere

cats flatten their curves all the time

what will history write about this moment?

what will our children remember?

may it be a story of mutual care across all boundaries

a habit of compassion as hopeful as the spring’s return

and as encompassing as the vaulted sky

Lindasusan gives permission to use, stream, and record with attribution.

For adding to WorshipWeb:

One Love by the Rev. Hope Johnson which appears in the Voices from the Margins book of readings

We are one,

A diverse group

Of proudly kindred spirits

Here, not by coincidence--

But because we choose to journey--together

We are active and proactive

We care, deeply

We live our love, as best we can.

We ARE one

Working, Eating, Laughing,

Playing, Singing, Storytelling, Sharing and Rejoicing.

Getting to know each other.

Taking risks

Opening up.

Questioning, Seeking, Searching…

Trying to understand…


         Making Mistakes

Paying Attention…

        Living our Answers

Learning to love our neighbors

Learning to love ourselves.

Apologizing and forgiving with humility

Being forgiven, through Grace.

Creating the Beloved Community--Together

We are ONE.

Hope gives permission to use, stream/record with attribution.

If you don’t have this book yet-Order it from the UUA Bookstore!

A Letter in Return by the Rev. Lynn Ungar 3.18.20

And how do you live and what are your fears

During this crisis?

What a questions to surface

after midnight from across the world!

In your country is it the time of day

to wrestle all the existential and daily dreads

until, like Jacob and the vicious angel,

they conceded to bless us?

I am afraid that people I love will die.

I am afraid that my child is inheriting a world

so much harsher than what she deserves.

 I am afraid that desperate times call

for desperate measures and I

am not quite desperate enough.

Should I go on? I am afraid

that people have wandered away

from the very idea of truth.

I am afraid we have unlearned

how to speak, and how to listen.

I am afraid the fabric that holds us together

is woven more loosely than I thought

and  people keep slipping through.

And how do you live?

With grief. With fear. With laughter.

With boredom. With glee. With contentment.

With fury. With hope.

With the firm conviction that no thing

cancels any other thing out.

Death does not cancel life.

Grief does not cancel joy.

Fear does not cancel conviction.

Nor any of those statements in reverse.

Make your heart a bowl

that is large enough to hold it all.

Imagine that you are the potter.

Stretch the clay. Cherish the turning wheel.

Accept that the bowl

is never going to be done.

Lynn gives permission to use, stream, record with attribution.

Visit her website 

A Mountain-Vermont Response of COVID-19 by the Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

They just now built a fire on the hill

I can see it in the distance, burning brightly as the night comes

Burning a quarter mile away…

…which is more than six feet…

…so, we are safe


I feel its warmth somehow

Not with my body but with my soul

I feel its warmth and smell its smoke

And I can hear it calling me


And I call back

And my love goes out praise of the arsonists

The rebel pyros in the night

High praise for burning down the distances that separate me from them

                …for burning up every one of them except the one that matters now

…for burning out an emptiness in me


I feel the fire but I don’t approach

I don’t feel like going even though the fire beckons me

I don’t feel like going because the welcome-dance is very different now

Because so much is unknown

The world is dangerous to touch

So, I don’t go.  I stay.

It’s dangerous outside of family circles…

…outside of circles of more than ten…

…the ten that was once twenty-five that used to be fifty down from a hundred


I don’t approach

I don’t feel like going because it feels good this way somehow

Watching them build a fire on the hill

from across a half-frozen muddy pass

and the orchard row of branches

branches, barren above their cider-drunken earth

earth, so bitter and fermented

earth, so fragrant and fantastic

out where they built a fire on the hill

across the  pass and beneath the branches

over two fence lines and a garden hose

to where the hard-weed hillside rises without cause or interruption


I don’t approach and I don’t have to

I’m toasty-warm right here

Warming soul-touched toes from where I stand

Leon Dunkley is the writer.  Anyone is free to use it.

Be mindful of the ‘stand’ language at end.


Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,


Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM

Joan Javier-Duval wrote to Bro. Richard Hendrick via FB messenger and he gave permission for his poem "Lockdown" to be used in worship, live stream, and recorded worship with attribution.

Opening words

By Cynthia Landrum

“Let us worship with our eyes and ears and fingertips;” said Kenneth Patton.

Never has it been more true.  

We turn our eyes to screens,

Our fingertips touch keyboards and fiddle with the radio dial.

Our ears turn to listen to speakers.

Across the waves, across the town, the state, even the country,

We gather together.

“Let us worship with the opening of all the windows of our beings,

with the full outstretching of our spirits,” Patton continued in words familiar in our hymnal.

Today we stretch out not arms to clasp one other, but truly the outstretching of our spirits.  We stretch out our connections of caring, of courage, of compassion.  We stretch out our spirits to bind ourselves in religious community in this new way.

“Life comes with singing and laughter,

with tears and confiding,

with a rising wave too great to be held in the mind

and heart and body,

to those who have fallen in love with life. Says Patton.

We come together to share those joys and sorrows, that we might know one another and be present to the passing of our days, our trials, our triumphs.  We bear witness to the fullness of our lives, no longer shared in one building, but held lovingly across the distance.

Let us worship, and let us learn to love.”  Patton concludes.

May it be so.

Permission given; use with attribution.

Test Prayer

This is a test

  Of the emergency we want to connect system

  Of the I miss you message

  Of the you are my friend callback

This is a test

  Of our love

  Of our fear

  Of our pain

  Of our hope

We will pass this test

There can be no failing it

And this is a test

  A hard one

  A frightening one

  A long one

  A new one

  An old one

This is a test of whether we can risk







This is...

Bailey Whiteman

Permission for livestream, recorded, and archived use with attribution. If I’ve missed something, just send me an email. It’s probably fine.

I would love to know if you use it, if you have time to send me an email.

j7aggOVgWwOqFRtuiVUZ2Pwmg  Praise Song for the Pandemic

Poems and Chalice Lightings Info and content

Copyright permission


By Rev. Marcia Stanard

March 19, 2020


Yesterday, there were fewer cars at the Arrivals dock

at the Portland airport, than there were dogs being walked

on my block.


Yesterday, a friend reported a clandestine meeting—a walk

with her elderly mother—careful to keep a six foot distance

as they strolled together in the sunshine.


Yesterday, schools were closed, and bars, and restaurants.

We no longer gather, laughing, in bustling crowds of strangers who might become friends.


But today, you could see fish in the canals in Venice, and

the swans have returned.  The skies over Beijing are clearer than they’ve been in a decade.


Today, the technology that we swore was killing our relationships, those phones our youth sink into, ignoring the world in front of them—is saving us. Letting us gather, see one another’s faces.


Tomorrow, fewer people will sicken and die if we keep our distance today. Imagine if all difficult choices had such clear and obvious results, like Greta’s been preaching.


And then live as if they do.

You may use this in any way you’d like, with attribution.  

By the Rev. David Miller

Excuse me

for stating

the obvious.

This pandemic

has no false borders

between countries.

It sees

no imaginary

constructs of race.

It does not discriminate between

the powerful,

those who have made fortunes


struggle to put food on their table.

It will not cede to


illusion of control.

It treats us all as if we are one,

one human entity,

one fallible,


and irrepressible family,

which if we could ever recognize,

like this virus does,






You may use, stream, record with attribution.

CALL TO (ONLINE) WORSHIP by Rev. Rod Richards
We who gather here
In this tender and anxious and confusing time
We have been awash in a sea of information
And misinformation and disinformation and this information
that we seek is simply so that we
May make wise decisions about how we respond
And learn how we hold one another when we can’t hold one another
And decide how we can be when we can’t be
What is this we face? How best do we respond?
And why is this happening, the why the why the why
And why do those who suffer so, suffer most, always suffer
Suffer most from what we now face…why?
And what can we do for those who are most at risk, most vulnerable
all the time, and now, again.
And how do we respond and how do we hold one another
When we can’t hold one another and how do we stay together
And stick together and worship together when we can’t be together
Yet we are, here we are, we are

Rod Richards

Permission given to use in any form with attribution

Written for UU the Vote by the Rev. Ashley Horan

Another world is possible.

We say it, again and again,

even when the proof lies somewhere beyond the horizon,

beyond our reach,

beyond our imagination.

This is our faith:

Another world is possible.

Not somewhere else--

another world, another lifetime-- but here, and now,

for us and for all.

Another world is possible. There is no single path toward that world;

no one strategy or approach that will restore balance, heal brokenness,

sow wholeness,

free creation.

There are many routes toward liberation;

toward freedom.

But the abundance of options does not absolve us of

the responsibility of acting.

Another world is possible.

The call--the duty--

of each moment in history Is to discern:

Who are we, and what can we bring

with humility, integrity, faith?

What is the context, and how can we address it with agility, resilience, skill?

What is the vision, and how can we realize it with accountability, relationship, joy?

Another world is possible.

In this time of despair, of fear, of collapse-- this time that is both like every other era and like no other time in history--

It is audacious

to declare our faith

and to commit our work to a world that is

more free,

more just,

more whole.

But we are an audacious people in good company, with many kin, and we are ready to show up and work hard

and stay humble

and make friends

and hold the vision

starting here, now, today, with us and persevering--

however long it takes-- until that other world Is not only possible, but

Another world is here.

You may use, stream, record with attribution

A Ritual of binding community, in a time of virtual worship:

I asked each of you to bring a piece of thread, or string, or something that you can tie around your wrist or ankle or finger.  Please find that now.

Hold that in your hand.  

Hold it out before you.

I want to bless that thread.

I want to bless that bright thread

That thread that binds you to me

That binds you to us

That binds us all into our community

Not to exclude others

Not to bind your will

But to bind our love

These next weeks may be hard

Breathe into this knowing.

We will be tried with loneliness

And others, with boredom

Breathe into this awareness.

We will be faced with anxiety

And with grief.

Breathe into this possibility.

Breathe into the time coming

Remember to breathe

And if it seems too much

Breathe anyway.

This thread is the thread that runs between us

It says that you are not alone,

Although you may not see others in your space.

This thread is the thread that runs between us

You are not alone on this journey,

Although you may have grief or fear.

This thread is the thread that runs between us

Reminding you to breathe,

Reminding you that you are held in love,

Reminding you to hold on

Hold on until we are together again.

Look at this thread,

It is blessed.

tie it to you, make it part of you

Look at it each day.

It is to remind you

To breath

To love

To hold on

To know you are not alone.

Amen, Aho.

Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee, use as you wish, with attribution please

Chalice closing for a virtual time:

We extinguish this chalice,

But remember you,

each of you in this space,

Carries on with this divine spark within you.

You may feel alone,

Yet you are integral

A part of this community,

A part of our common fire.

You are here.

Your light carries through

Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee, use freely and adapt at will

Life Comes For Us - Chalice Lighting and/or Call to Worship- by Gretchen Haley

Life comes for us

In a thousand different ways

Undoes plans and upends traditions

Knocks down the doors of our defense

In a moment

Every expectation releases

Like the in and out of breath

Life is urgent and also, unbearably slow

And does not take well

To our fantasies of control.

We gather here to practice

Surrendering to the waves

of grace and grief

In song, in silence, in story

We come to remember the possibility

Of a larger call,

That we might offer our gifts

with a surprising generosity

That we might release ourselves

From the needing to know

That we might simply be present

To this beauty, these partners,

This hope that we make


Please use and adapt in whatever way you need!!

(True for anything you find of my writing!)

Shelter in Place Call to Worship or Chalice Lighting by Gretchen Haley

There is enough space

between us

to hold

all that you are carrying

all you’ve been waking wondering

worrying, or wearing out with

confusion, or attempts to control,

trying to find some sense of normal,

all of your irritability,

your curiosity, your fragile sobriety,

your numb disbelief, your loneliness,

your exhaustion, your daily question: allergies, or the virus –

and, your joy – we can hold that too,

we can hold all of it here, for this time -

and bless it,

here we will call each other,

just as we are,


Here in this far apart space

that is also

close in,

so much remains uncertain

with each passing breath

the ground is shifting,

all we can say for sure

is that we are caught

in this tangled blessing of life

of grief and gratitude,

together –

like always, except more –

with all the forces of Spring

and the spinning of the earth

we are turning, and becoming,

and beginning again –

offering ourselves like the crocus flower

breaking through with a

wild beauty

ready for whatever comes

next -

Come, let us worship together.

Please use in all the ways! GH

Give Up the Fight  - Call to Worship / Chalice Lighting by Gretchen Haley

Give up the fight

For some other moment

Some other life

Than here, and now

Give up the longing

for some other world

The wishing

for other choices to make

other songs to sing

other bodies, other ages,

other countries, other stakes

Purge the past; forgive the future -

for each come too soon.

Surrender only to this life,

this day, this hour,

not because it does not

constantly break your heart

but because it also beckons

with beauty

startles with delight

if only we keep

waking up

This is the gift

we have been given:

these “body-clothes,”

this heart-break, this pulse

this breath,

this light,

these friends,

this hope.

Here we re-member ourselves

All a part of it all -

Giving thanks, and centering joy.

Come, let us worship


This would go really well with a song our Music Lead Christopher Watkins Lamb wrote with these words - Give Up the Fight - Maybe he will add it here and give permission. I will ask him.

Here is my song:

I give permission for the song to be streamed for the purposes of UU worship, just please credit Christopher Watkins Lamb as the composer.

Close In - A Call to Worship for David Whyte by Gretchen Haley



close in.”

as David Whyte would say…

Let’s not

“take the second step

or the third,

start with the first


close in,

the step

you don’t want to take.”

Close in

shows the wrinkles, afterall

the pimples,

the memory loss, the first time

Close in reveals

the rage that became silence,

the worries that run wild, the confidence that has skipped town

Close in is messy,

and not-yet-packaged-with-a-story

Close in is risky

and real

and where we have any chance of seeing each other

seeing ourselves

seeing this life as it actually is

undone and imperfect

alive and filled with grace

already willing to be changed in this coming together

this breath,

this silence,

this singing for peace

Let’s start

close -

in the small, the slow,

in our bodies, our stomachs, our hands, our feet

Let’s start with the ground beneath our feet

with the knowing we are held, and here

created small, “but not for small things”*

Let’s start with giving thanks

for this day we did not make

the hour that is already gone

and still another that offers itself

with a light that persists and a

beauty that is


and also right

here, now -

Close in.

Come, let us worship together

*this is a reference to a quote from Meister Eckhart, who wrote, “Therefore do not let trifles confuse you, for indeed you have not been created for small things.”

Cast Your Vision Here - by Gretchen Haley

Cast your vision here

in the middle of the hardest moment

this life with so much worth

saving, this fragile faith –


For the children born

now, into the world as it is

with the threat of war and whole continents burning

And illness uncovering any sense of control

into this day,

offer the vision you’ve

tried to talk yourself down from,

your wildest dream,

your audacious aims,

the beauty that whispers to you

to follow, and build, and become


For this world coming undone

by distraction, and greed

and fear – this world

divided by made-up borders

fake fights

and all that needs forgiveness –


Here, stir up your steadfast hope

your resolute clarity of what remains

possible – be generous

with your dreaming

and brave –

All paths to the future

are born in this courage

of imagination – this willingness

to shed, to salvage, to

start again

to be this blessing

for each other

to be this blessed.

Come, let us worship, together

Poems and Chalice Lightings Info and content

Copyright permission

Earth Day orientation but applicable to other things as well.

Part homily part spoken word near the 10 min mark. By W. Bartel and L. Gardner

Just raw footage-sustainable, real, home office striving for connection rather than perfection.

You are welcome to show the video or quote us or to show just the spoken word piece for streaming, recording, in worship or vespers.

Thoughts during a Pandemic by the Rev. Theresa Hardy

Thoughts during a pandemic-




are tired,

Not the kind of tired that eight hours of sleep will fix.

Bone tired, the kind of tired that makes leaving the couch for a glass of water seem impossible.




are bone tired,

Weary down to our souls tired.

Tired of staying home or being forced to go out to provide for your family, without adequate protection-sacrificing yourself- for the economic well being of the ultra wealthy.

Tired of making the moral choice to keep providing essential work- work you are called to that was broken way before Covid, healthcare/education/social services- only to decontaminate each night before allowing seven-year old arms to wrap around your middle with welcome.

Tired of the fear that one four foot distant conversation will mean the demise of you or someone you love.




Are tired of being anxious

Hyper vigilant



Not knowing who to trust,

Not knowing how much longer we can hang on,

Not touching another human being for 2,4,6......weeks.

Tired of not knowing when the pre-covid normal, that was already awful for so many,

will be back


fearful that it will return.




Are tired of being apart for birthdays, graduations, memorial services and staying apart to lessen the latter.

Tired of explaining to tear streaked families that dinning in comes before visiting the dying.  That face time will have to do, because in person is too risky-

Tired that those most removed from the reality of death and emotional destruction have the most power and chose denial over leadership.

Tired that we’re all in this together rings hollow, when some have the privilege or naïveté to work from home or risk reopening regardless of the numbers.




Are navigating territory that surpasses our abilities emotionally/physically/mentally and yet we are waking up,

caring for ourselves and our loves,

Tending to our sick,burying our dead alone,

Masking our selves to save lives,

Learning new ways to survive and praying for the day when we once again may thrive

Permission to use in worship, streaming, recording, chaplaining, with attribution


Stories Info and Content

Copyright and permissions

Aisha Hauser -Leo Tolstoy’s 3 questions 

Public domain. Aisha has given permission to use/stream/record with attribution to Leo Tolstoy and Aisha

Joanna Fontaine Crawford - The Little Purple Hen (what happens if we all work together generously): The Little Purple Hen rev.doc --

Joanna has given permission to use, stream, and/or record with attribution.

Lynn Gardner - Trust Falls - (a story of trust, faith, and letting go) 

Lynn has given permission to use, stream, and/or record with attribution.

When you squeeze a tube of toothpaste, toothpaste comes out. You could squeeze any number of things and it would be pretty obvious what gooey mess would be the end result. The events of the past week have felt eternal, and we have all felt the tightening of the unknown. But what comes out of us when we get squeezed? For me, it’s anxiety. I was squeezed today and anxiety came gushing out, but not just any anxiety. It wasn’t even about Covid 19- not directly, anyway. No, it was an ancient anxiety: one that was easy to find because it was old and familiar. It was my own inadequacy that I could easily give voice to. It didn’t matter, in the moment, if my speculations were true or even still believed; it was familiar. In these uncertain times, it’s so easy to find words coming out of our mouths that we don’t truly mean, over-reactions that we know in the moment are too strong, or actions or inactions that don’t fit who we know ourselves to be. We are being squeezed. Our very spirit and emotions are being pushed on by events and circumstances that are out of our control. But maybe there’s grace in acknowledging that. Maybe there’s peace in naming our anxieties and giving voice to them. Maybe sharing the “goo” that emerges when we find ourselves squeezed has some kind of healing, even if the tightening pressure remains. For whatever is coming out of you, know that you are not alone. May we have compassion for ourselves and understanding for others in this time of pressure bearing down. We are being squeezed.

~ by Julie Cecil, a hospital chaplain and Affiliated Community Minister of Westside UU Church in Ft. Worth, TX  

 [she gave her blessing for colleagues to use this in any way, including livestreaming/recording, with attribution]

Sophe and the Red Marker by the Rev. Allison Palm 

A Wonder Box story If it is useful, feel free to use, stream, adapt

Written for the pandemic--these puppets are regulars--wide to allow social distancing

Leslie Takahashi

Feel free to use or stream

Story for All Ages on the origins of UUSC and how that legacy inspires us to do the right thing today.

Laura Randall - Feel free to use in streaming or recording.

Story for all ages video on sheltering in place:

Jamie Hinson-Rieger, feel free to use or stream.

Stories Info and Content

Copyright and permissions


Even when musicians have given their permission, consider sending them a contribution to show appreciation for their gifts.

Music Info


Rev. Matthew Johnson (Rockford, IL) has put together an amazing hymn analysis resource on copyright permissions for the songs in SLT and SJT.

That file is right here.

Files are in FB-UUMA colleagues and also in the FB-UU Religious Prof Response COVID-19

Sarah Dan Jones has given permission to use #1009 Breathing Meditation for streaming and recording worship

Yes-FB post

Jason Shelton has given permission to use his music for streaming and recording worship

yes-FB post

Rev. Meg Barnhouse and Kiya Heartwood  All Will Be Well

Meg has given permission to share, use, stream, and record with attribution

Composer ElizabethAlexander has posted this to her website.

Please follow her instructions for what and how to use her wonderful music.

Kindred, We Now Meet to Worship words-Thommy Lee Snell. text was written with the tune HOLY MANNA (#66)  in mind, but may also be sung to other well-known D tunes, such as HYFRYDOL, IN BABILONE, or HYMN TO JOY,

Kindred, we now meet to worship,

Reaching out through screen and phone.

Though we dwell in isolation,

We don’t have to be alone.

Worshipping beyond our building,

Our connection’s no less real.

Though we cannot meet in person,

Covenant unites us still.

Siblings, share a song of gladness

Lifting spirits, spreading cheer,

So that in these days of sadness

We won’t be consumed by fear.

In this time of mass confusion,

Sickness, loss, and overwhelm,

Let’s encourage one another,

Hands not joined, but hearts are held.

Friends, be gentle with each other,

There’s so much we’re going through.

May this be a time for healing,

Holding space for grieving too.

Bodies, minds, and hearts are weary,

Anguish fills the aching soul,

But we know with perseverance

Broken hearts can be made whole.

You are most welcome to use this hymn with attribution; I’d also appreciate an email letting me know you’re using it. If you choose to alter the words, please reflect that in the attribution (e.g. words by Thommy Snell, adapted by Your Name).

PDF of public domain arrangement of HOLY MANNA (the arrangement in StLT, #66, is under copyright) can be found in worship & music folder

AUUMM has been HARD at work acquiring permissions. This is the current updated list. Go back and visit often to see what has been added. Note-On 3.21.20 it only includes streaming permission, not recording permission necessarily. So read carefully.

AUUMM is working to grant these permissions.

Check back regularly.

There is a Love by the Rev. Rebecca Parker, words and Beth Norton music 

Please note that the UU Church of Berkeley has not yet been approached to give permission for the streaming of this youtube video. Beth has given permission to use the song.

[Question: This video was taken at a UUMN--now AUUMM--conference in San Diego. Why would the Berkeley folks need to give their permission? ]

Excellent question! The video that was posted on this page when this document was first created was of the UU Church of Berkeley choir singing this song. I (Wendy) am actually in this video of the UUMN, now AUUMM, conference that is posted at this link. Have not yet heard that these videos from this repertoire Silliman contest reading session are ok to use. Do you know? -WB

Prayer by Rev. R. Parker, music by B. Norton who has given permission for this song to be used, streamed/recorded in worship with attribution

“Be Safe, Be Well” by Dan Berggren (UU folk musician located in the Adirondacks in upstate NY) ( )

video here:

Article here: I'mclid=IwAR1qy6CSoQa_FaJFvJ_xf5zR9wWhBJwn6WC9v84lRfMFB4n0ApLhteINZfs

Lyrics and Chords here: 

Note from Dan: “You and others may want to add your own verses.”

Dan has given permission to broadcast video, sing the song, and broadcast the lyrics; he’s promised more: “ I apologize that it's such a crude version - the song was 5 minutes old. After I "learn" it I'll be recording a decent version to share.

Tomorrow by Kate and Justin Miner

"Tomorrow" Song and lyrics written by Kate and Justin Miner 

sung by the Persisters of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland: Sharon Dolan, Nita Crow, Sarah Watts, Joci Kelleher, and Susan McKenna

"Tomorrow" byKate and Justin Miner, who have given their permission for the song to be used in non-commercial contexts. Posted by the Rev. Theresa I. Soto

Rivers of Grace by Carla Gates

PDF of music is in the Worship and Music -music sub-folder

Note-Carla is also working in the healthcare profession-so let’s give her an extra shout-out appreciation for her generosity at this time!

Carla Gates 

Carla has given permission to use, stream, record this piece.

Good Enough by Lea Morris 

Lea has said however it would be most helpful right now-which we are interpreting as recording too. 

Lea has granted to share and stream this video in service.

We have two virtual meditations with photo illustrations on our youtube channel:

Leslie Takahashi

Grants permission to use in your virtual services

Video of a still image with text to Spirit of Life, #123, which is permitted to livestream. Please drop a note to baileywhiteman at gmail dot com if you use it and have time.

Bailey Whiteman grants permission to use in your online services and archived videos. Spirit of Life is on the approved list for streaming/etc on the UUA website.

Please use the choral music Jason and I (Gretchen Haley) collaborated on - once you’ve purchased them from Jason’s site.  

Any streaming/recording once you purchase the music!   When The World Is Sick

Someone pasted this video here but do we have permission from the singers listed at the end of the video to use this in our worship?-wendy



If they give you permission-then do this:

1)Please credit MaMuse for the song, and include our website:

2)We generally make the request that you would share with us a "love donation" of between $50 and $200. This is not mandatory by any means.. so offer if you can and what you are comfortably able.

This offering can be made directly through our website (at the bottom of our contact page), or through paypal (by selecting send money through Friends and Family and sending to : Thankyou!

3)Please check for correct lyrics. They are on our website. Here's a link: 

(the lyrics are found by pushing a button that says "lyrics" located below each album.

4)Enjoy the song!


Sarah and Karisha 

Very specific limitations and use requirements-please follow them and honor these lovely musicians.

Rumor has it they will also send you sheet music with 3 choir parts if you write to them.

Please be patient. They are fielding many requests.

And join the UUthe VOTE event May 12 to hear a version!


(theological spelled in this way can be a more inclusive spelling for the possible identities of god/not god)

The(*)logical Reflections Info

Copyright permissions

Rev. Kendyl Gibbons sometimes I hit the note I'm looking for on the first try. In case this description is useful to anyone for tomorrow, or maybe serves to entice the sermon fairies... Add your own site specific intro/closing:

There is no way around it; this is scary, and confusing, and we are going to be profoundly more lonely and sad before it’s over. Business as usual is no longer a possibility, and even when we reach a point that we have developed vaccines and treatments and herd immunity against the Corona virus, things will not go back to just the way it all was before. We are living through an inflexion point of radical change, while being deprived of one of our oldest and most basic resources, which is human connection.

See, I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. Everything I think I know about COVID-19 I have learned in the past three weeks, from a variety of sources whose validity I have few resources to examine. Here is what I knew before, that I learned over time, that I have reason to trust – and I know this because it is relevant to the work I do. Like many primates and some other mammals, human beings have open limbic systems. This means that we physically influence the way the bodies of people around us function. We influence one another’s breathing, pulse, hormones, blood pressure, body temperature, to name just a few. When one person is subjected to stress, whether from physical injury or emotional crisis, that stress makes it more difficult for them to regulate their own physiological functioning – they feel tired, sick, anxious, weak. The normal – and normally helpful – response of others is to touch that person; to hug them and hold them and be physically close, which helps to support their less regulated limbic system through the better regulation of those less stressed others. The injured person can rest in the breathing and heartbeat of community, and be allowed to heal. That impulse to take someone who is suffering literally into our arms is deeply instinctual, and deeply right most of the time. The cruelest thing about the Corona virus and its kin is that they use our social nature against us. And in order to fight them, we must fight our own instinct of what it means to help, and to care. It’s a smart trick that virus has, but in the end, we are smarter. Or we can be.

What we are being told right now, and it makes sense, is that this virus is so contagious, and our bodies are so unprepared for it, that the most effective response is to practice ‘social distancing,’ which means to stay away from each other. In a crisis like this, which would normally pull us toward our families and friends and communities of support, we must discipline ourselves to keep an uncomfortable boundary. And this does not mean that we won’t get sick eventually, only that we won’t get sick as fast, all together, and that gives our health care infrastructure a better chance to take care of us. So, if we are smart, we will keep that crucial distance which slows down the progress of the epidemic, so that more of us will be okay in the end. And that means that gatherings like this one won’t be safe for a while – we don’t really know yet for how long.

The problem, of course, is that a church is all about connection – that is what religion is; renewing and strengthening our connections – to each other as one important dimension. And so many of the ways we do this are, in fact, physical. We come together, we greet each other with touch, we sing together, we eat together, we breath the same air as we con-spire together to change the world. All of this we must now relinquish for a season -- think of it as what we are giving up for Lent.

Once upon a time, the season of Lent was about necessity. It was about the time of year when the stored harvest was pretty well used up, before anything much was growing in the early spring. It was a time of want, and hardship. A time, perhaps, of temptation, when you might want to eat the grain that was stored for seed, or the animals that would soon give birth to the next generation. It was a time of self-restraint, when it was better for the community as a whole if the rich and privileged did not indulge themselves when the poor could not. It was a time of recognizing the connection between human behavior and the creative, generative forces of the earth and the universe, that could only function in cooperation – of acknowledging the interdependent web of all existence, and what it required from us in order for abundance to happen again in time. It didn’t start out as sacrificing an arbitrary pleasure in order to give god a cheap thrill; it started out as a reverent acknowledgement of sacred necessity, of the role played by self-restraint in the service of both the common good and the web of life.

I invite you into that consciousness for the next several weeks, or months; however long it takes to ride out this wave of disease. I invite you to share the spiritual challenge of maintaining our connection to one another, and to the ideals that we share, even while we are forbidden to touch. We are sacrificing something that is profoundly good, and that we deeply want and enjoy and depend on, in the service of a larger purpose, so that our community may live and thrive over the long term. And we are, I promise you, doing this together. We are smart; smarter than this virus. We are creative; we will figure this out.

On Kendy’s FB page: So can I just proclaim that anybody, anywhere has permission to use any words I have ever said or published anywhere for any purpose -- including but not limited to on line worship -- for the duration of 2020?

Yes and Thank you!

Rev. Elizabeth Stevens has uploaded a document for service text into the FB Religious Professionals Response to COVID-19

Permission via FB for folks to use/adapt/whatever no need to give Ginger Yoder or Elizabeth credit.

Heather Janules wrote to Rabbi Kanefsky to cite in worship. 

Per a FB post from Heather Rabbi Kanefsky would be honored to be cited/included/excerpted in worship use/streaming/recording

Melissa Carvill Ziemer

Yesterday I had a plan. I worked so hard to follow the plan, then went to sleep exhausted. This morning I woke up knowing my plan is not sustainable. Even if it were sustainable, the headlines of the day reminded me that this is a time to hold any plan very lightly.


I thought of taking time to strategize with new knowledge and new circumstances, but decided to read some poetry instead. Wislawa Szymborska. She reminded me that there are many possibilities.


This is a hard time, there is no doubt. Life has changed dramatically for every single one of us. Fear and anxiety are intimate companions. Sorrow, anger and confusion are streaming worldwide. These things are already true. But Szymborksa reminded me we can hold multiple truths and that there are many possibilities.


It is possible we will find ways to keep blessing each other through the hard times. Creativity and courage are in abundant supply. Generosity is bubbling up everywhere and inspiring more generosity. Old truths are becoming new again as we remember the power of individual sacrifice for the common good. We are remembering that we are deeply interconnected, that we depend on one another for our very lives. It is possible we will remember these things for a long time to come.


Right now my children are planting seeds. Who knows what the summer will bring. Many things are possible.


Beloved, all in all, help us to have faith in life-giving possibilities. May we pay attention and give thanks for the good we find. And may we keep finding ways to give ourselves, sustainably, to the flourishing of the good.

Permission for anyone to use in any way.

Written for the UU the Vote by the Rev. Ashley Horan

Another world is possible.

We say it, again and again,

even when the proof lies somewhere beyond the horizon,

beyond our reach,

beyond our imagination.

This is our faith:

Another world is possible.

Not somewhere else--

another world, another lifetime-- but here, and now,

for us and for all.

Another world is possible. There is no single path toward that world;

no one strategy or approach that will restore balance, heal brokenness,

sow wholeness,

free creation.

There are many routes toward liberation;

toward freedom.

But the abundance of options does not absolve us of

the responsibility of acting.

Another world is possible.

The call--the duty--

of each moment in history Is to discern:

Who are we, and what can we bring

with humility, integrity, faith?

What is the context, and how can we address it with agility, resilience, skill?

What is the vision, and how can we realize it with accountability, relationship, joy?

Another world is possible.

In this time of despair, of fear, of collapse-- this time that is both like every other era and like no other time in history--

It is audacious

to declare our faith

and to commit our work to a world that is

more free,

more just,

more whole.

But we are an audacious people in good company, with many kin, and we are ready to show up and work hard

and stay humble

and make friends

and hold the vision

starting here, now, today, with us and persevering--

however long it takes-- until that other world Is not only possible, but

Another world is here.

You may use, stream, record with attribution

Homily and spoken word piece for Earth Day and other applications Part homily part spoken word near the 10 min mark. By W. Bartel and L. Gardner

Just raw footage-sustainable, real, home office striving for connection rather than perfection.

Lynn and Wendy give permission to use this video or just the poem or to quote from it for streaming and recording


Activities (Coloring Pages, etc.)

Copyright and permissions

Coloring Pages by Rev. Cynthia Landrum (Facebook:

Permission given. Please use with attribution if using with groups.

The Rev. Aisha Ansano has put together a document for routines and rituals for intentional meals. Find it here: 

Aisha says you can use or modify however it works in your setting.

Indigo Lewis

Use with attribution--plz!

Ritual of Altar Making excerpt from Worship Script by the Rev. Molly Roush Gordon

(full text includes poems and readings for which we do not have copyright/permissions so this is an excerpt from the service though they are referenced here for context)

 Reading It Is That Time and That Place by Qiyamah Rahman from Voices from the Margins


Altar - I now invite you to bring into your sacred space, something that invokes the resilience and strength of your ancestors.


I am using for an altar cloth a baby blanket crocheted by my great grandmother.

And I am adding my grandmother’s ring. My grandmother who lived through the dust bowl and the great depression. Whose pantry was never less than fully stocked. My grandmother who lost more in her life than I have yet had in mine and knew the deepest reaches of grief. My grandmother who had a wicked joyful laugh and bottomless generosity.


I’m going to put on reflective music for you to ponder the wisdom, resilience, and strength of your ancestors, and, if you’d like, to go find an item to invoke them in your sacred space. Tell us in the chat what you add.


Play Hans Song


Reading  “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry


Altar -- When the world is uncertain and we are afraid, and when we are hunkering down to avoid exposing ourselves or others, it can be easy to forget that we live in a world that is beautiful and generative and bursting with life on the verge of spring. But it is safe and good and very very necessary to go outside. To put bare feet in the dirt. To ground yourself.


So now, I’d like to invite you to take 3 minutes and go outside. Take a deep breath of the cool air. Look around at the buds and the grass and the muddy ground. And bring in something for your sacred space that will remind you to ground your feet and look up at the sky and feel the life that stirs in the earth. When you come back, tell us in the chat what you found.


If going out doesn’t work for you. Please enjoy some music from Hans.


Hans Song, photo of spring.


Reading   “Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower”        Rilke


Altar  - The last item for this morning that we’d like to invite you to bring into this space, is something precious to you. Something that channels your energy toward hope and survival and love and reaching out. Something that calls you to be the person you want to be in this time.


I am adding a photo of my two girls, staring very fiercely, to remind me that I want them to remember this as a time when we loved our neighbors and cared for our community.


As you search out your last precious item for your sacred space, I’d like to invite you to invoke the practice of community care, by taking an offering for the benevolence funds of the church as we seek to mobilize our ministry to aid those most vulnerable in this time.


The link to give is in the chat.


Hans song

Joys and Sorrows...

Use, stream, record with attribution


Take good care

Take care of yourself, of your hands, of your health, of your heart, of your loved ones. Take care to remember you are part of the great family of all beloveds. Take care of your joys, your sorrows, your laughter, your need for connection, your need for quiet contemplation, your need to create the possibility of more joy for all the precious people (and they are all precious).

Leslie Takahashi

Any use with attribution

We have a multivoice show about the virus and a how to build a chalice activity on our youtube channel.

MDUUC any use with attribution

Flower Communion / Ceremony Ritual by ??????
In the
weekly update before the service:

Flower Communion - During the online worship service

You are invited to bring a sweet piece of spring into your home for our annual Flower Communion Ceremony. If what you have access to is a wildflower in the yard, it is welcomed. If you have a blooming tree branch clipping, it is welcomed. If you'd like to draw a representative flower, it is welcomed. If you have bought flowers, they are welcomed. As we navigate this new online experience, the flower in your heart is more than enough; if you'd like to have a visual representation to share during the worship service, it is welcomed.

During the service:

Flower Communion - In the weekly update, we invited you to bring a flower to this gathering. Normally during our ceremony we would place our flowers with those of others to form bouquets. It takes many flowers to make a bouquet, and it takes many kinds of people to make a church community. It takes ALL of us to make our congregation strong and special. Everyone in our Fellowship needs a little something different, and in our ceremony we pass a flower to our neighbor, symbolizing a unique gift, a unique receipt. Today, let us consider how our giving and receiving might be different - we may need more than we have in the past, and/or we may be able to give more, in new ways we hadn’t been opened to considering before. Let us share the blossoms we’ve brought - please hold up your flowers, and if you can and would like to, change your view to Gallery View. Let’s take a moment to see the beautiful representation of gifts we bring to this community.

[Notes:So many people held up so many different kinds of flowers - dried ones, art, candle holders shaped like flowers, bouquets, single flowers... It was so moving seeing everyone holding up their flowers and participating, and we got great feedback afterwards. At first I was so excited when I moved to Gallery View that I just started mentioning some of the flowers - then I remembered the people calling in and tried to be more intentional about describing the different flowers I was seeing.  I did not get a screenshot, it was mentioned in a comment, something to think about.  

Permission to use in any way, with any modification, no attribution necessary.

If you want to express gratitude for this resource and/or to the folks who have contributed to it, feel free to write below this! We can all use some encouragement right about now!

This is such a lovely and thoughtful document - the contents are so much more than words on paper, the offerings are inspiring, comforting, nourishing and engaging.  Thank you!  -Mari

You are so welcome Mari! Thanks for taking the time to make a note for these wonderful contributors!  (wendy, the curator..