From Women of the South, by Dorothy Emerson and Janet Bowering, Unitarian Universalist Women’s Heritage Society Worship Service General Assembly 2000, Nashville, Tennessee

Chalice Lighting/Opening Words: Frances Ellen Watkins. Unitarian (1825-1911)
We come, but not to celebrate,
Amid the flight and whirl of years,
The deeds of heroes, on whose brows
Are laurels, drenched with blood and tears.

Not yet to tell of wondrous deeds
Performed on fields of bloodless strife;
But of the lonely precious things,
That bless and beautify our life.
“For the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the ‘Old Folks’ Home,” Annual Report for the Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored People, 1889, 13-14.

Topic/Activity: Women have been influenced by, and have influenced others through outreach to share the message of Unitarian Universalism:
Athalia Lizzie Johnson Irwin (1862-1915) was born in Arkansas, the daughter of a Baptist minister. After her marriage, she moved to South Carolina. She became friends with the circuit-riding minister, Rev. Quillen Shinn. She became a Universalist minister and circuit rider.

Rev. Hannah Jewett Powell (1866-1954) served churches in Maine for 22 years before being appointed by the Women’s National Missionary Association to work in the mountains in North Carolina. She worked for 20 years in the area, developing a variety of programs.

Annie Bissell Jordan Willis (1893-1977) worked for a school and social work center for children, especially African American children, in Suffolk, Virginia, after her father had converted to Universalism after hearing Rev. Quillen Shinn and becoming a minister.

Laura Matilda Towne (1825-1901), from the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, was inspired by Rev. William Henry Furness to become an abolitionist. She went to Port Royal Sound, the Sea Islands, specifically St. Helena, to help create opportunities for freed slaves.

Abby A. Peterson (1856-1919), from Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts, was active on the Board of The National Alliance of Unitarian and Other Christian Women, which sent her to help in eastern North Carolina. Her work resulted in a chapel and school at Shelter Neck.

Who or what has influenced you in the direction of your life work?
How have you influenced others?
How are you, or can you, participate in Unitarian Universalist outreach?

And now, as we extinguish this chalice, this symbol of the common spirit that calls us forward in our lives, may its light go with us to illuminate the path ahead. May the flame of our heritage light the way through whatever present challenges we face that we may truly live lives endowed with power and transcribed with deeds of love.

Likes and Wishes: How was this session for you?