50th ANNIVERSARY - FINALE SUNDAY

There is not a liberal American and a conservative America;
there's the United States of America.

-Barack Obama (new senator from Illinois),
at the Democratic National Convention last July

PRELUDE A Wedding at Troldhaugen E. Grieg
David Chapman, pianist and music director

WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS Jennifer Grant, worship associate

GREETINGS Richard Speck, district executive of the Joseph Priestley District

CALL TO WORSHIP Barbara W. ten Hove, co-minister

I stand before you this morning with my heart full. Over the past three Sundays, we have celebrated the liberal spirit that birthed this church 50 years ago. Today, the last of four such services falls on the Sunday after the national election. This past Tuesday, many, many people went to the polls to participate in something we say is primary not only to our political life but our religious life as well ­ the democratic process. Democracy is hard. Democracy is messy. And, because it allows all of us to cast a vote to decide who will serve us, it can also be disappointing. Not everyone who deserves to win, does so. Not everyone who loses is wrong.

Yet, I am still amazed that in a country as diverse and at times as volatile as ours, elections happen peacefully. I got up Wednesday morning and was unhappy at many of the choices my fellow Americans made. But I was grateful that we are able to make choices, even if we don't always get our way. Democracy is messy. Democracy is hard.

As we enter into worship this morning, and conclude our formal tribute to the many men, women and children who have created and sustained this congregation for these past 50 years, I can't help but feel grateful that I am a part of a religious community that stands on a foundation built not on fear but on hope. Our faith teaches us that diversity is a strength. Our faith teaches us that all of humanity, even as fragmented as we sometimes appear, is one. And our faith teaches us that love-deep, powerful, hard love ­ lies at the heart of all that we call holy. And that only by learning to live that love will lasting peace in our nation and our world come to be.

When I began to plan this service with David Chapman, our music director, we decided to use a short piece called "The Miracle" as an intonation. The composer of this piece, Allen Koepke, writes in his performance notes that "the lyrics suggest one possible answer toward achieving a lasting peace. Although some may suggest that 'love' is an oversimplification of the solution, others may insist it is the only real one." The song says:

Perhaps the answer's in believing that faith will show the way.
Just as a soothing breath of hope, descending from above,
lasting peace is found in the miracle of Love.

CHORAL INTONATION The Miracle A. Koepke

FLAMING CHALICE DEDICATION

INTRODUCTION OF GUEST SPEAKER Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister

Some of you may have attended Unitarian Universalist summer camps over the years, such as our regional one, UUMAC (UU Mid-Atlantic Community) in Pennsylvania. When I was in junior high school I started going to one such camp in New York State, called Homestead. Today I'm very happy to introduce to you one of the counselors from that very camp in 1965, who now happens to be president of our entire Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), Bill Sinkford.

Bill grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he connected with the First Unitarian Church when he was a teenager. (Later he would declare that being a part of that church "saved my life.") He was elected president of the continental youth organization of that era, called LRY (Liberal Religious Youth), of which I was also a local and regional leader. Later Bill also became an adult advisor for youth groups, another path we shared.

After graduating from Harvard College in 1968, he went to Greece for a year and returned to gradually set up his own successful business, called "Sinkford Restorations." He also raised two children, who are now in their 20s. Returning to his home church in Cincinnati, he heard a call to ministry and went to Starr King School in Berkeley, another path we share. He joined the staff of the UUA in 1995 and was elected president in 2001. He's here to help us celebrate both our 50th anniversary and the renovation of our RE Building. Welcome, Bill

TOGETHER TIME Speaking of Presidents
with Bill Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association

SONG#346 Come Sing a Song with Me
Children may leave for Religious Education/Exploration.

READING A Politics of Hope B. Obama

HYMN #134 Our World is One World

SERMON The Liberal Church in a Fundamentalist World

[Text will be transcribed from audio]
The Rev. William G. Sinkford

CHORAL RESPONSE Just One Dream J. Bettis & W. Afanasief

SILENCE, REFLECTION OR PRAYER

OFFERTORY Romance C. Saints-Saens
John Lagerquist, flute
Silent Candles of Joy or Sorrow may be lit at this time.

CLOSING WORDS

Bill: For over 400 years, liberal religious people have tended the flame of hope. Its light is strong even in the face of fundamentalism.

Barbara: For nearly 250 years, our nation has struggled to live up to its vision of freedom and possibility. Its light is strong even in the face of extremism.

Jaco: For fifty years, good people have shaped a congregation that proudly carries forward the local liberal tradition of our faith. Its light is strong even in the face of growth and change.

Jennifer: And so we move forward, with hope in our hearts that the next decades will be years of strength, vision and joy. Yes, we have learned much in 50 years and yes, we still have much more to offer our world and each other in the years to come.

Bill: For this we know: our world is one world, what touches one affects us all.

Barbara: This we know: lasting peace is found in the miracle of love.

Jaco: This we know: side by side, heart to heart, we can finish anything we start.

Jennifer: This we know: our congregation can give life the shape of justice.

Barbara: As we conclude our celebration of fifty years together, I invite all of us we sing together our closing hymn #123 Spirit of Life.

RESPONSE #123 Spirit of Life C. McDade

EXTINGUISHING THE CHALICE

POSTLUDE
COME ALONG DOWN TO PAINT BRANCH Zoe Mulford & Paint Branchers (1/18/04)

Selected verses (slightly adapted by Jaco B. ten Hove, guitar and vocals):

Won't you come along with me (3x)/ to this place I know(2x)
Every week it's where I love to be!
COME ALONG DOWN TO PAINT BRANCH,
'CAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE PEOPLE GO [repeat after each verse]

We embrace diversity (3x)/ in this place I know... (2x)
We are a blended community

Woods and stream surround this place (3x)/ on this land I know (2x)
Manifesting sacred space

Come and hear the music flow (3x)/ in this place I know...(2x)
Hear the P-I-A-N-O

(Closing verse, added later by JBtH):

This is a song that has no ending (3x)/ in this place I know(2x)
The past and the present and the future are blending

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