Just as our service in honor of Tom Funk was about to close Bill Rother whispered in my ear: “Jose Feliciano is here and he wants to sing.” We were delighted. Jose and Tom had played together at nursing homes at Christmas and other times over the years.
His tribute to Tom was very meaningful and moving. For 30 years Jose has made a significant contribution to soul music; on Saturday night he made a very meaningful contribution to our souls.
It happened again on Sunday morning when Andy Gundell brought his friend Julie Gold to sing her Grammy Award winning song, From a Distance. Julie and Andy each sang two songs. Both added very affirming commentary about the church to their songs.
On Sunday afternoon we gathered 420 strong at the Continental Manor in Norwalk for an outstanding canvass event. Master of Ceremonies, John Hooper, sprinkled the program with wit and humor; Frances Sink made a masterful Vision 2028 presentation; with Ed Thompson at the piano, Scarlett, Andy and Suzanne raised our spirits in song; canvass chair Carl Serbell came right to the point about making an eighteen-month pledge so we can change the fiscal year; and the Reverend Bill Sinkford, our UUA president, inspired, encouraged and challenged us.
Karen Wright, who put it all together, got a well-deserved standing ovation.
I attempted to express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone, not only for the event that brought us together, but for everything that everyone does to bring, keep, and hold us together, and to grow.
I was assigned closing words so I used the occasion to invite everyone to recite our standard benediction: “Now say to thyself, ‘If there’s any good thing I can do, or any kindness I can show to any person, let me do it now, let me not defer or neglect it, for I may not pass this way again.”
Canvass weekend didn’t end on Sunday night-at least not for me. I took Bill Sinkford to visit with Christopher Reeve on Monday afternoon. We talked about the idea of establishing an office of ‘science and religion’ at the UUA, in order to improve our voice in the public and political discussion around stem cell research. The religious right has kidnapped that discussion, and they’re holding it hostage for political ransom.
Bill and I drove away from Christopher’s house with deepened appreciation for this remarkable man. At one point Chris gave an impromptu sermon of appreciation for his Unitarian faith. It was a very moving moment for me, as it was for our UUA president. I wish you had been there.
The visit with Chris was a fitting conclusion to a very successful canvass weekend.
In case you were not in the congregation on Sunday morning, the canvass sermon, “Money Matters” is available on tape and in print on our website. I hope you’ve made a pledge you can feel good about. If not, please do. Thanks.