Appreciation and Commission of New Church Leaders

Appreciation of Church Leaders

To be sure, there are people who give much to this church of their time and their talents whose names will not be called this morning, and there are people on this list who do things for which they are not, now, being recognized.  This service is not an attempt to honor all those who serve this community.

Today, we recognize those who have stepped up for the past year or more to the task of church leadership.

Today, we pause to say thank you, to those who accepted a charge and served, to those who will be passing on the light of leadership.

Will all the outgoing members of leadership please come forward to be recognized for your contributions to the life of this vital and dynamic faith community?

As you come forward please take a candle from the basket and light it from our chalice.

Will the outgoing leaders please come forward now…

You hold in front of you the symbol of our faith, a flame from our chalice the symbol that brings us together and binds us together in the common search for the common good.   For the past year you have stepped up to the call of leadership guiding us toward this vision. We are grateful.

I invite the congregation to join together in expressing their appreciation by reading the response found in your order of service

Congregational Response:

Grateful for your commitment and vision to leadership during this past year, we celebrate you.

For all that you have done to keep the values of liberal religion at the center of church business, we celebrate you.

For all that you do to keep the life of this faith community vibrant and engaging, we celebrate you.

For who you are, for the vision you kept in front of us, we are grateful. Thank you.

As you return to your seat I invite you to place the ongoing flame of leadership in joys and sorrows. Do not blow out your candle.


Commissioning of the Church Leaders

[The newly elected leaders will stand and step to the sides and front of the congregation]

Leader:  These are the people we have called to serve us.  Will the Congregation please join in the Ritual of Commissioning?

Congregation:  We, the members of this congregation, charge you to be guided in your work by the vision we express in our unison chalice lighting and by the Unitarian Universalists Principles we affirm in common.

Right Side:  We charge you to affirm the dignity and worth of all persons and to champion the rights of children, youth, women, and men; straight and gay; old and young; that this might indeed be a “free church, open to all people.”

Left Side:  We charge you to cherish our spiritual diversity and to help us to live together so that we are strengthened rather than divided by our religious pluralism, so that we might truly “cherish the integrity of each individual and search for truth with reason as our guide.”

Right Side:  We charge you to honor our past without being bound by it, that we might be “mindful of our past [yet draw on] modern knowledge [as we] respond to the spiritual needs of persons.”

Left Side:  We charge you to hold in your hearts the needs of the wider community in which we live, so that we live out our devotion to “the common good in community, nation, and world.”

Leader (to the Board):  Members of the Board, you are charged with keeping sight of “the Big Picture,” with holding our vision, honoring our past, and guiding us toward our future.  Are you ready and willing to accept this charge?  [Board Members respond: We are.]

Leader (to the elected Chairs, Long Range Planning, Committee on Ministry, Small Group Ministry Steering Committee, Nominating Committee):  You are charged with keeping sight of your particular piece of our community’s mosaic, with advocating for the needs of the area of our communal life which is your specific concern, and working with one another for the common good of the whole.  Are you ready and willing to accept this charge?  [New leaders responds: We are.]

Leader (to the Congregation):  Do you, the members and friends of this congregation, affirm these elected leaders as volunteers who need your support, your participation, and your appreciation as well as your caring and concern?  [Congregation responds: We do.]

Congregation:  Grateful for your willingness to take on the responsibilities of leadership in our community, we affirm your calling and vow to support your ministries of leadership in every way we can.  We encourage you to take care of yourselves as you take care of us, and to remember that you are part of this community even while you lead us.

Officers, Chairs, elected committee leaders:  We thank you for your faith in us, and vow to do our best to live up to the charge you have given us.  We promise, also, to remember that the ultimate responsibility for our church lies with all of us, for this is our home, our community.  May we all do what we can to make it a home we can be proud of.

Leader “For all that has been – thanks.  For all that will be – yes.”  Blessed be. Amen