Multi-generational Ritual of Remembrance and Renewal

Multi-generational Ritual of Remembrance and Renewal in response to recent racial violence in the US – July 10, 2016

As I wrote this,  we adults were responding to the recent killings in Baton Rouge, LA; Falcon Heights, MN; and Dallas TX.  With the help of my DRE colleagues on line, I hastily created this  multigenerational Ritual of Remembrance and Renewal and offered it as a choice for families after Sunday school. And I encouraged families who didn’t attend to use it at home.  I didn’t have time to research a more kid-friendly poem for the beginning of it. If you have a good poem about broken things and fixing them, let me know. Sadly, we’ll continue to need these sorts of rituals for children, youth and families.

Participants will be welcomed into sit in a circle in room 26. Finger labyrinths and pipe cleaners will be available as “fidget items”


Leah will be reading the spoken parts; children will have a chance to say what’s on their hearts.


Welcome to our ritual of remembrance and renewal.

I start with this poem “Everything That Was Broken” by Mary Oliver


Everything that was broken has

forgotten its brokenness.

I live now in a sky-house, through every

window the sun.

Also your presence.

Our touching, our stories. Earthly

and holy both.

How can this be, but

It is. Every day has something in

it whose name is forever.


I light a candle to honor these people who died last week:  Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Brent Thompson, Patrick  Zamarrika, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens [Suggestion was made afterwards to articulate the men who were of color and killed by white police officers, and the names of the white officers who were killed by a man of color]


I invite the children to say something from their heart.  If you want to honor your thoughts silently, in invite you to place a stone in this vase of water.

Recorded instrumental music plays for a few minutes



Let us turn inward for a moment:

We are gathered here as Unitarian Universalists. We know these things to be true: that each person in this world is important and has dignity and worth; and that we are all connected in the web of life.


This morning, I lift up our Unitarian Universalist teachings,

that the strongest power is the power of love and that we should love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves;

that we use reason and the power of our minds  to understand our responsibilities

that we work together for truth and justice.


Abby Willowroot writes that each of us has gifts that will help us to conquer our fears and doubts, to meet others with compassion and to face each day with hope and joy.


May we each feel the strength of our gifts.

And remember that we can come to each other for help and comfort.


This ends our ritual of remembrance and renewal.

About Leah

Leah and her husband, Kevin Purcell, live in Albany. They have two grown daughters that were raised at Albany UU. Leah has served as DRE at Albany UU since 2007; before that she worked in both private and public schools. She served as Chair of the Seaway Chapter of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) and now serves on the LREDA Board.

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