Category Archives: Blog

Unitarian Universalism – who can claim it and who is claimed by it?

Rev. Kate Braestrup is an ordained UU Minister residing in Maine. She has helped countless people cope with acute trauma and navigate unimaginable grief. Her viral video on The Moth Radio Hour introduced millions to our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. She has received many accolades and awards for her work in the mental health field. She has been given an award by the UUA recognizing her contribution to religious liberalism. Recently she has shared this blog post.

Two questions that are paramount: Who can claim Unitarian Universalism as their own…and who is claimed (or rejected) by Unitarian Universalism? What are the standards for UUs in general in regards to how we are to treat each other?

9/11 Again – 2019

Every year on 9/11 my services always include this song – played, sung or spoken. “If I Give Your Name” by Pat Humphries and Sandy O of Emma’s Revolution. As well as some version of Judy Chicago’s Merger Poem as prayer, as meditation, as wish and as dream. May the day come when we can all live in gentle compassion and peaceableness.

Turn the World Around

This Sunday many will gather for the Water Communion. The UU Singers choir in the congregation I serve this week will be singing “Turn the World Around” by Harry Belafonte/Robert Freedman. I adore this song! The reminder, and the call, of our unity. 

When Harry Belafonte performed this on The Muppet Show, he talked about what makes the world go ‘round, that we are here for a very brief time, and that if we take the time to understand each other that there is not really any difference in any of us. And that, if we get to know each other, to really care about each other, we can turn the world around. 

May your Water Communions be beautiful calls to compassionately love one another.

“Turn the World Around” 

by Harry Belafonte/Robert Freedman

We come from the fire

Livin’ in the fire

Go back to the fire

Turn the world around

We come from the water

Livin’ in the water

Go back to the water

Turn the world around

We come from the mountain

Livin’ on the mountain

Go back to the mountain

Turn the world around

Oh, oh so is life

Oh, oh so is life

Oh, oh so is life

Oh, oh so is life

Do you know who I am

Do I know who you are

See we one another clearly

Do we know who we are

Oh, oh so is life

A ba tee wah ha so is life

Oh, oh so is life

A ba tee wah ha so is life

Water make the river

River wash the mountain

Fire make the sunlight

Turn the world around

Heart is of the river

Body is the mountain

Spirit is the sunlight

Turn the world around

We are of the spirit

Truly of the spirit

Only can the spirit

Turn the world around

We are of the spirit

Truly of the spirit

Only can the spirit

Turn the world around

Do you know who I am

Do I know who you are

See we one another clearly

Do we know who we are

Oh, oh so is life

A ba tee wah ha so is life

Oh, oh so is life

A ba tee wah ha so is life

Come share this land

Most of our UU congregations are beginning their new service year in the next couple of weeks. When you reflect on this song, “We’ll Build a Land,” what is it you hope Unitarian Universalism (and your congregation) will help build in the world? I especially like the new verse in this version:

“We’ll build a land where the forests are fertile

Where the water and wind run clean and clear

And community matters more than positions

Come share this land

Let’s build it right here!”

Note: This song is by Carolyn McDade and is included in the primary Unitarian-Universalist hymnal. However, this version sung by Mo Mack in Concert with John and Cynthia Boeling as a benefit for the First Unitarian church of Portland in 2016 drops two original verses and adds a new one.