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By Shelby Clark Petkus
Whatever holiday event LGBTQI people and allies plan to celebrate this season, the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor will be around to host; the church will dedicate one particular service to LGBTQI people and their friends, families and allies this month.
The interfaith service themed around “love and justice,” dubbed “Interweave: Interfaith Service of Affirmation,” will take place on Dec. 16. The Hon. Judy Levy, Federal District Judge, will serve as feature speaker. Levy was recently installed as U.S. District Judge for the eastern district of Michigan. The gathered clergy will offer a special blessing to all in attendance, including a group blessing of all the same-sex couples who were able to be married as well as those LGBT couples still yearning to wed. Children are welcome. A social gathering will follow the service, with a free will offering following the event at the Jim Toy Community Center, 319 Braun Court, Ann Arbor.
UUAA has been a vocal and liberal part of the religious community in Ann Arbor since 1865. The multigenerational, multiracial, multicultural religious community currently has over 600 members of diverse individuals, including LGBT people and allies. According to UUAA, “We gather to encourage and inspire each other’s individual spiritual journeys, to honor and care for the natural world around us, and to join forces in furthering social justice in the Ann Arbor area and the wider world. We invite you to visit a Sunday service and fill out a visitor card, sign up to receive our newsletter and talk with some of us during our coffee hour. Newcomers are always welcome.”
Unitarian Universalists are known for not adhering to a particular creed, but rather affirming the seven principles: the inherent worth of every person, justice, acceptance, the search for truth, peace, respect and the right of conscience. The faith draws from many sources, ranging from Jewish and Christian teachings to the more earth-centered traditions of other spiritual practices. Since 1793, the non-creedal religion has practiced humanist teachings that align with the fundamentals of the movement for LGBT civil rights.
Music at the service will be provided by Katie Geddes, Kath Weider Roos, Laz Slomovitz, David Vaughn, Lori Fithian, Jean Chorazyczewski and Brandy Sinco. Geddes, who recently sang in a benefit concert for the Clawson United Methodist Church along with Out Loud Chorus, is known for her traditional and contemporary folk, country-folk and folk-pop stylings. Having released the CD “We Are Each Other’s Angels” in 2010, Geddes brings “new life” to the music of John Prine, Buffy Sainte-Marie, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Michael Nesmith with her “captivating voice and velvety-smooth delivery.”
The gathering will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Road. For more information, call 734-665-6158, contact Margaret Pekarek at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.uuaa.org.