Sunday January 22 2017: Our UU Presidents

 Prelude: America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee) – Aretha Franklin 2009

A hymn from the first Unitarian hymnbook published in the brand new United States, in 1789, and noted as

Thanks for National Protection

O Come, let us sing to the Lord a new song,
And praise him to whom all our praises belong !
While we enter his temple with gladness and joy,
Let a psalm of thanksgiving our voices employ !
O come, to his name let us joyfully sing !
For the Lord is a great and omnipotent King ;
By his word were the heavens and the host of them made,
And of the round world the foundation he laid.

He stilleth the waves of the boisterous sea,
And the tumults of men, more outrageous than they :
Thy goodness, O Lord! let the people confess,
Whom wars do not waste, nor proud tyrants oppress,
And devoutly contemplate thy wonderful ways,
Thou who turnest the fierceness of men to thy praise !
Then our lands in due season shall yield their increase,
And the Lord give his people the blessings of peace.

Chalice Lighting: A Community of Faith by Judith L. Quarles

At this hour, in small towns and big cities, in single rooms and ornate sanctuaries, many of our sister Unitarian Universalist congregations are also lighting a flaming chalice.

As we light our chalice today, let us remember that we are part of a great community of faith.

May this dancing flame inspire us to fill our lives with the Unitarian Universalist ideals of love, justice and truth.

Song: Gathered Here (3 times)

Gathered here in the mystery of this hour.
Gathered here in one strong body.
Gathered here in the struggle and the power.
Spirit draw near.

Responsive Reading: Seven Promises

Let us live lightly on the Earth, beginning with our church community,

for we respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Let us embrace others both near and far in hope and compassion,

for we lift up the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.

Let us remember that everyone bears responsibility for the health of our congregation, for we affirm the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process.

Let us remain open to new ideas, knowing that we need not be afraid of change,

for we trust in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Let us respect individual religious paths, even those we do not understand, for we aspire to accept one another and to encourage spiritual growth.

Let us treat others as we would like to be treated, for we desire justice, equity and compassion in human relations.

Let us listen actively and speak and act respectfully to others, for we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person

Song: Earth Is Enough

Here on the paths of everyday, here on the common human way,
Is all the stuff the gods would take to build a heaven, to mould and make
New Edens: Ours the gift sublime to build eternity in time.
We need no other stone to build our temple of the unfulfilled,
No other ivory for the doors, no other marble for the floors,
No other cedar for the beam and dome of our immortal dream.

Story: John Quincy Adams to His Son

John Quincy Adams served as ambassador to Russia before he was President, and wrote letters to his eldest son, George. This is part of one.

St. Petersburg, Sept., 1811

MY DEAR SON: In your letter of the 18th January to your mother, you mentioned that you read to your aunt a chapter in the Bible or a section of Doddridge’s Annotations every evening. This information gave me real pleasure; for so great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief, that when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to make men good, wise, and happy — that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it throughout their lives, the more lively and confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country, respectable members of society, and a real blessing to their parents. But I hope you have now arrived at an age to understand that reading, even in the Bible, is a thing in itself, neither good nor bad, but that all the good which can be drawn from it, is by the use and improvement of what you have read, with the help of your own reflection. Young people sometimes boast of how many books, and how much they have read; when, instead of boasting, they ought to be ashamed of having wasted so much time, to so little profit.

I advise you, my son, in whatever you read, and most of all in reading the Bible, to remember that it is for the purpose of making you wiser and more virtuous.


It is probable, when you receive these letters, you will not, at first reading entirely understand them; if that should be the case, ask your grand-parents, or your uncle or aunt, to explain them: if you still find them too hard, put them on file, and lay them by for two or three years, after which read them again, and you will find them easy enough. It is essential, my son, in order that you may go through life with comfort to yourself, and usefulness to your fellow-creatures, that you should form and adopt certain rules or principles, for the government of your own conduct and temper. Unless you have such rules and principles, there will be numberless occasions on which you will have no guide for your government but your passions. In your infancy and youth, you have been, and will be for some years, under the authority and control of your friends and instructors; but you must soon come to the age when you must govern yourself. You have already come to that age in many respects; you know the difference between right and wrong, and you know some of your duties, and the obligations you are under, to become acquainted with them all. It is in the Bible, you must learn them, and from the Bible how to practise them. Those duties are to God, to your fellow-creatures, and to yourself. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” On these two commandments, Jesus Christ expressly says, “hang all the law and the prophets;” that is to say, the whole purpose of Divine Revelation is to inculcate them efficaciously upon the minds of men. You will perceive that I have spoken of duties to yourself, distinct from those to God and to your fellow-creatures; while Jesus Christ speaks only of two commandments. The reason is, because Christ, and the commandments repeated by him, consider self-love as so implanted in the heart of every man by the law of his nature, that it requires no commandment to establish its influence over the heart; and so great do they know its power to be, that they demand no other measure for the love of our neighbor, than that which they know we shall have for ourselves. But from the love of God, and the love of our neighbor, result duties to ourselves as well as to them, and they are all to be learned in equal perfection by our searching the Scriptures.

Let us, then, search the Scriptures; and, in order to pursue our inquiries with methodical order, let us consider the various sources of information, that we may draw from in this study. The Bible contains the revelation of the will of God. It contains the history of the creation of the world, and of mankind; and afterward the history of one peculiar nation, certainly the most extraordinary nation that has ever appeared upon the earth. It contains a system of religion, and of morality, which we may examine upon its own merits, independent of the sanction it receives from being the Word of God; and it contains a numerous collection of books, written at different ages of the world, by different authors, which we may survey as curious monuments of antiquity, and as literary compositions. In what light soever we regard it, whether with reference to revelation, to literature, to history, or to morality — it is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.

Offering and Response (Unison)

For the gifts which we have received—and the gifts which we, ourselves, are—may we be truly grateful.

Yet more than that, may we be committed to using these gifts to make a difference in the world: to increase love and justice; to decrease hatred and oppression; to expand beloved community; to share, and to keep sharing, as long as ever we can.

We heard the Aretha Franklin version of this as a prelude. It was written in 1832, became popular immediately, and was the de facto national anthem until the Star Spangled Banner was officially adopted in 1931. Even when I was growing up, it was sung much more than the official anthem.

Song: America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.


I thought on this Inauguration weekend a look back at our Unitarian Presidents was appropriate. Our first two Unitarian Presidents, Adams and Jefferson were founders and friends, and their thought and discussions, and that of many others of similar thought, including Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestly and other Unitarian ministers, gave our government its shape, based on more than 150 years of experimentation in self-government in the colonies, and in Enlightenment and liberal religious thought. There was no country on earth that did not have a landed aristocracy of some sort that ran things. To depend on even the limited franchise of all male property owners, and to have no qualification for holding the highest seats of power except age, citizenship, and the faith of their fellow citizens, was a huge leap of faith. Both Adams and Jefferson had doubts, frequently expressed in their letters and debates, that we could develop the knowledge and character necessary and learn to govern ourselves.

John Adams

John Adams, one of the most active thinkers of the Revolution, was our first Vice-President, and became our second President. He was a lifelong member of First Parish, Braintree, now Quincy, Massachusetts, growing up in a time when the roots of Unitarianism were being argued in New England, and long before the formal separation of Unitarian congregations, but his pastor was a liberal, and when he was Ambassador to Great Britain he and Abigail attended Unitarian services and knew Joseph Priestley and other British Unitarians. Adams and Jefferson had a long correspondence, not just about government, but about philosophy and religion. He told Jefferson

The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion

and he also had universalist inclinations:

Now, my friend, can Prophecies, or miracles convince You, or Me, that infinite Benevolence, Wisdom and Power, created and preserves, for a time, innumerable millions to make them miserable, forever, for his own Glory? Wretch! What is his Glory? Is he ambitious? does he want promotion? Is he vain? tickled with Adulation? Exulting and tryumphing in his Power and the Sweetness of his Vengeance? Pardon me, my Maker, for these Aweful Questions. My answer to them is always ready: I believe in no such Things. My Adoration of the Author of the Universe is too profound and too sincere. The Love of God and his Creation; delight, Joy, Tryumph, Exaltation in my own existence, tho’ but an Atom, a molecule Organique, in the Universe, are my religion. Howl, Snarl, bite, Ye Calvinistick! Ye Athanasian Divines, if You will. Ye will say, I am no Christian: I say Ye are no Christians: and there the Account is ballanced. Yet I believe all the honest men among you, are Christians in my Sense of the Word.

But, on government, Adams did not trust Christian, or any other, virtue, and he did not trust the people, by themselves, to govern themselves, without a strong constitution and laws with checks and balances.

Look over the history of any republic, and can you find a period in it, in which ambition and avarice do not appear in very strong characters, and in which ambitious men were not the most popular?

Moral and Christian, and political virtue, cannot be too much beloved, practised, or rewarded; but to place liberty on that foundation only would not be safe…It is not true, in fact, that any people ever existed who loved the public better than themselves, their private friends, neighbors, &c., and therefore this kind of virtue, this sort of love, is as precarious a foundation for liberty as honor or fear; it is the laws alone that really love the country, the public, the whole better than any part; and that form of government which unites all the virtue, honor, and fear of the citizens, in a reverence and obedience to the laws, is the only one in which liberty can be secure, and all orders, and ranks, and parties, compelled to prefer the public good before their own; that is the government for which we plead.

Thomas Jefferson

Unlike Adams, who seems to have been more discreet about his beliefs in public, Jefferson was frequently accused of being an atheist, or worse. But his beliefs were essentially the same. He attended Joseph Priestly’s church when in Philadelphia, but, as he said in a letter to Benjamin Waterhouse late in his life that he “must be contented to be an Unitarian by myself, altho I know there are many around me who would become so if once they could hear the question fairly stated.

He also said

the religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconcievable, as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, and drive them rashly to pronounce it’s founder an imposter. had there never been a Commentator, there never would have been an infidel. … I do not wish to trouble the world with [my creed], nor to be troubled for them. these accounts are to be settled only with him who made us; and to him we leave it, with charity for all others, of whom also he is the only rightful and competent judge. I have little doubt that the whole of our country will soon be rallied to the Unity of the Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also.

Besides his eloquence in drafting the Declaration of Independence, we have Jefferson to thank for religious freedom and our separation of church and state, which he formulated for Virginia in the wake of hundreds of petitions from the mainly German and Scots-Irish settlers, who were of many faiths. This is from the Virginia Statute, which preceded the Bill of Rights:

That our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than on our opinions in physicks or geometry…. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any relig[i]ous Worship, place or Ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams, son of John and Abigail Adams, served as a diplomat and Secretary of State, ran, apparently reluctantly and without a party, for President against Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay, and was elected by the House when no-one got a majority of the Electoral College. He was unsuccessful as President, refused to campaign when he ran for re-election, in the first election where there was a popular vote, and was overwhelmingly defeated by Jackson. He served in Congress afterwards for many years until his death. He was more conservative religiously than his parents, and argued for Trinitarianism, but eventually returned to Unitarianism. We heard parts of John Quincy Adam’s letter to his son George, where he emphasized the Bible as a source of learning and study, rather than the inerrant word of God.

Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore grew up on a farm in upstate New York and became a lawyer. He was a charter member of the UU Church of Buffalo. An abolitionist, he was elected Vice-President to balance slave-owner President Zachary Taylor, and succeeded when Taylor died. He is mainly remembered for having signed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, despite his opposition to slavery, and his suspicion, which was correct, that it would end his political career – in order to keep the Southern states from seceding. He said “God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil, for which we are not responsible, and we must endure it, and give it such protection as is guaranteed by the Constitution, till we can get rid of it without destroying the last hope of free government in the world.” He was defeated in the primary, and later ran, and lost, again, as the candidate of the American Party, known as the Know-Nothings, which was nativist and anti-Catholic, but ran on his old platform, essentially that of the now-defunct Whigs.

Fillmore worked with Dorothea Dix, and took John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln to services at the Buffalo church. In politics, the highest praise for him seems to have been that he was honest and practical, and his last State of the union was almost entirely a report of practical matters of commerce and trade, foreign relations, boundary lines, and practical considerations such as the fire danger to government offices and the running of the Naval Academy. But he warned against trying to expand American democracy or interfere in other countries

We live in an age of progress, and ours is emphatically a country of progress. … The whole country is full of enterprise. Our common schools are diffusing intelligence among the people and our industry is fast accumulating the comforts and luxuries of life. …This is in part owing to our peculiar position, to our fertile soil and comparatively sparse population; but much of it is also owing to the popular institutions under which we live, to the freedom which every man feels to engage in any useful pursuit according to his taste or inclination, and to the entire confidence that his person and property will be protected by the laws. …

It is not strange, however much it may be regretted, that such an exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change for progress and the invasion of the rights of others for national prowess and glory. The former are constantly agitating for some change in the organic law, or urging new and untried theories of human rights. The latter are ever ready to engage in any wild crusade against a neighboring people, regardless of the justice of the enterprise and without looking at the fatal consequences to ourselves and to the cause of popular government. Such expeditions, however, are often stimulated by mercenary individuals, who expect to share the plunder or profit of the enterprise without exposing themselves to danger, and are led on by some irresponsible foreigner, who abuses the hospitality of our own Government by seducing the young and ignorant to join in his scheme of personal ambition or revenge under the false and delusive pretense of extending the area of freedom. These reprehensible aggressions but retard the true progress of our nation and tarnish its fair fame.

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft is the only person to have served as both President of the United States and Chief Justice of its Supreme Court. Taft grew up in Cincinnati, in the First Congregational Church (Unitarian). His father served as Attorney General and Secretary of War, and Taft served as Solicitor General and a federal judge in Washington, when he attended All Souls in DC. He was also the first civilian governor of the Phillipines, and while there, worked with the newly formed Philippine Independent Church to join the American Unitarian Association, but they eventually became Episcopal. Taft also was temporary governor of Cuba and was in charge of the building of the Panama Canal. During his campaign for President in 1908, his religion was attacked, particularly by evangelicals in the Midwest, which succeeded in increasing support for him among Catholics. He attended All Souls in DC while President. Taft was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921, and he was elected President of the international Conference of Religious Liberals in 1927. in 1921, Taft made a speech on The Religion Convictions of An American Citizen which is a fitting summary of the intersection of Unitarianism and American government

[I]t is the influence of religion and its vivifying quality that keeps the ideals of people high, that consoles them in their suffering and sorrow, and brings their practices more nearly into conformity with their ideals. The study of man’s relation to his Creator and his responsibility for his life to God energizes his moral inclinations, strengthens his self-sacrifice and restraint, prompts his sense of fraternal obligation to his fellow-man, and makes him the good citizen without whom popular government would be a failure.

If it be said that this view of the need of religion and its value is not as high as it should be because it looks chiefly to progress in human welfare and happiness in this world rather than in the next, I can only say that the character and needs of this world we know, while we can but surmise the features of the next.

Now, what are Unitarians? Are they Christians? Of course, that is a matter of definition. If a man can be a Christian only when he believes in the literal truth of the creed as it is recited in the orthodox evangelical churches, then we Unitarians are not Christians. A Unitarian believes that Jesus Christ founded a new religion and a new religious philosophy on the love of God for man, and of men for one another, and for God, and taught it by his life and practice, with such Heaven-given sincerity, sweetness, simplicity, and all-compelling force that it lived after him in the souls of men, and became the basis for a civilization struggling toward the highest ideals. Unitarians, however, do not find the evidence of the truth of many traditions which have attached themselves to the life and history of Jesus to be strong enough to overcome the presumption against supernatural intervention in the order of nature. They feel the life of Jesus as a man to be more helpful to them, as a religious inspiration, than if he is to be regarded as God in human form. …{T]hey deny that they lose the essence of Christianity when they give up miracles, the Virgin birth, and the deity of Jesus. The Unitarians have always emphasized the life of Jesus in his teaching of love as the foundation of all things spiritual, and the motive and end of the Kingdom of God. In that sense, and that we believe to be the true sense, Unitarians are Christians.

Jefferson, though a sincere student of the teachings of Jesus and a Unitarian, was denounced as an atheist. We know the contumely, insult, and mob violence to which Priestley was subjected in England. Franklin, the Adamses, and Fillmore were all Unitarians, but they were looked at askance. Lincoln, one of the most deeply religious men, was clearly Unitarian in his faith. In spite of all these illustrious examples, religious prejudices have been played upon in politics to defeat Unitarians and upholders of liberal Christianity and in very recent years; but even in the time my life compasses, I can see a great change for the better.

When the intolerance was great, when the real feeling of the orthodox clergy and laity was, in its spirit, out of harmony with the constitutional declaration in favor of freedom of religion, it was necessary for Unitarians to be militant, and to deal blow for blow in controversy, and to give reasons for the faith that was in them. But now that the struggle for liberal Christianity has so largely prevailed, now that it is showing itself in the orthodox churches themselves, and in their laity, we can be content to maintain our Unitarian congregations and fold, still comparatively small in number, knowing that, consciously or unconsciously, our attitude and the scientific spirit of modern days in Biblical criticism have revealed, in its proper lines, the real essence of Christianity, and have blurred doctrinal and denominational distinctions in a union of effort to follow the teachings and religion of the life of Jesus Christ. The office performed by Unitarianism in this respect has been one of the highest importance in retaining for many men and women of strong intellect, independence, and courage of thought, the consolations and strengthening inspiration of religious faith and their responsibility to God, without the necessity of professing beliefs which to them are unproven and unprovable. A people without religion are lacking in the greatest aid to the progress of society through the moral elevation of individuals and the community. A church and a faith which reconciles religion and freedom of thought and retains the essence of a Christianity and which has done so much to redeem the world and advance it in real happiness toward the Kingdom of God, has a right to claim a reason for being.

It is not for us to attack the faith of other Christians. It is not for us to rouse in them the doubts that have troubled us in accepting their creed. It is not for us to deny the good their faith does them or the comfort their religion gives them. It is for us to encourage all churches where they are working, as they all are working, for the good of man, and where we can unite with them or express our general sympathy with them to do so.

which brings us to two Presidents who were not Unitarians in fact, but who were in faith.

Lincoln and Obama

Lincoln’s religious beliefs are to this day a topic of scholarly debate and conservative Christian concern. That one of our most revered presidents might not have been an orthodox Christian, or a Christian at all, is an unwelcome thought to many. By all reports, he was reluctant to share his personal beliefs. He, too, was accused of being an atheist in his early elections, and, I think, would not share his beliefs because they would have been unacceptable in the new atmosphere after the revivals of the 1840s, when evangelicalism became the new orthodoxy. But he had both Unitarian and Universalist friends and influences, and his most famous line in the Gettysburg Address came from the Unitarian minister Theodore Parker who said in 1850

There is what I call the American idea. I so name it, because it seems to me to lie at the basis of all our truly original, distinctive, and American institutions. It is itself a complex idea, composed of three subordinate and more simple ideas, namely: The idea that all men have unalienable rights; that in respect thereof, all men are created equal; and that government is to be established and sustained for the purpose of giving every man an opportunity for the enjoyment and development of all these unalienable rights. This idea demands, as the proximate organization thereof, a democracy, that is, a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people; of course, a government after the principles of eternal justice, the unchanging law of God; for shortness’ sake, I will call it the idea of Freedom.

President Obama’s mother grew up in the First UU Church in Bellevue, Washington, where he attended while living with his grandparents, and he also attended their church, First UU Honolulu, as a teenager. He became a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of Chicago in 1992. The UCC is, like us, a liberal denomination. State of the Union Address, he echoed our First Principle. “We believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.”


All of these Presidents, from the earliest to the last, had many Unitarian Universalist beliefs in common:

  • A belief in the value of the teachings of Jesus, and in a religion based on studying those teachings for guidance in how to live a good life here on earth
  • A belief in reason and not the supernatural
  • The basis of virtue in love, Jesus’ Great Commandment to Love your neighbor as yourself
  • The basis of government in laws to promote the public good, and a democratic system to arrive at them which counteracted people’s natural tendencies to promote their individual good
  • The belief in liberty, self-determination, and the right of conscience

In Taft’s time, as he said, “the struggle for liberal Christianity ha[d] largely prevailed

Since then, in the pendulum has swung back, and the religions that continue the ideas of judgment and exclusion that Adams and Jefferson so condemned have a louder voice, and we have in many ways forgotten Adams’ injunction that “all orders, and ranks, and parties, [be] compelled to prefer the public good before their own”. And Unitarian Universalists, over the last hundred years, swung more to reason, and not so much the cultivation of individual virtue and as Taft said, inspiration and consolation. The American Dream has come to be symbolized by material goods and individual welfare, not liberty and opportunity and the common good. The Prosperity Gospel, the idea that God makes people rich, has overtaken the idea that Love your neighbor is the Great Commandment. There are many who believe, and would have us believe, that power, nationalism, and the supremacy of the individual are the American Dream, and that we are unpatriotic if we disagree. Those were not the principles on which we were founded.

The Founders, who by and large believed as we believe, in taking that great leap of faith, were concerned that we would not be up to the task of government of all of us, by all of us, and for all of us. They built the Constitution and laws as best they could to sustain it, and it has been sustained, and been a beacon and an example to the world. We must not forget that legacy, and that it is our legacy.

Song: The People’s Peace

Peace is the mind’s old wilderness cut down –
A wider nation than the founders dreamed.
Peace is the main street in a country town;
Our children named; our parents’ lives redeemed.

Not scholar’s calm, nor gift of church or state,
Nor everlasting date of death’s release;
But careless noon, the houses lighted late,
Harvest and holiday: the people’s peace.

The peace not past our understanding falls
Like light upon the soft white tablecloth
At winter supper warm between four walls,
A thing too simple to be tried as truth.

Days into years, the doorways worn at sill,
Years into lives, the plans for long increase
Come true at last for those of God’s good will:
These are the things we mean by saying, Peace.

Joys and Sorrows

If you woke this morning with a sorrow so heavy that you need the help of this community to carry it;
or if you woke with a joy so great that it simply must be shared, now is the time for you to speak.
For the joys and sorrows that haven’t been spoken, but which remain in the silent sanctuaries of our hearts.
These joys and griefs, spoken and unspoken, weave us together in the fabric of community.

Silent Meditation

Song: Go Now In Peace (3 times)

Go now in peace, go now in peace
May our love and care surround you
Everywhere, everywhere, you may go

Closing: The Work Continues by Martha Kirby Capo

Our time together is finished, but our work is not yet done:
May our spirits be renewed and our purpose resolved
As we meet the challenges of the week to come.

The chalice flame is extinguished

Until once again ignited by the strength of our communion.

Go now in peace.

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