Finding Our Center Through Poetry

Poetry services are a beloved twice yearly tradition here at All Souls Church. On this Sunday we will honor the monthly UU theme of Finding Our Center by sharing poems which focus on and distill our sense of who we are.  If you would like to read a poem, one of your favorites or one you have written for the occasion, please contact Christina Gibbons.

Click here Sunday shortly before 10:00 a.m. to join via Zoom. Click here to read our protocols for in-person attendance.When attending in person, please completely power off your cell phone during the service to preserve the Church’s WiFi bandwidth for our Zoom attendees.

“Finding Our Center Through Poetry”

Order of Service 
Sunday, January 29, 2023


You will find the text of all poems being read at this service by clicking on the following link:


Greetings                                                                   Christina Gibbons

Board Welcome & Announcements                         Leslie Kinney

Prelude     “Sarabande” from Holberg Suite, Op. 40    Edvard Grieg  (1843-1907)
                           Eva Greene, piano

Chalice Lighting  
 There is Light  By Eric Williams  read by Mary Moriarty

In the beginning
There was light
Infinite and expansive
Flowing out from an unseen center.

Throughout Creation
There is light
From the steady Sun
The glowing Moon
The flashing Meteor
The twinkling Stars
And the auroras dancing in the northern skies.

Within each part of Creation
There is light
Slowed down and held close
By every cell and molecule
By each atom and element.

Within you
There is light
The same light as the Source
The same radiance that is in all creatures.

May this small flame
Be a constant reminder to you
Of your true nature
And your kinship with all beings.

Lighting Our Children’s Chalice
We light this chalice to celebrate Unitarian Universalism. We are the church of the open minds. We are the church of the helping hands.  We are the church of the loving hearts.

Call to Worship                                                              Christina Gibbons

Opening Hymn #347   Gather the Spirit

Story for All Ages: “Daniel Finds a Poem” by Micha Archer
read by Karen Tyler

Anthem: “A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark”           by Jan Richardson
music by Tom Baehr

A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark
by Jan Richardson 

Go slow
if you can.
More slowly still.
Friendly dark
or fearsome,
this is no place
to break your neck
by rushing,
by running,
by crashing into
what you cannot see.

Then again,
it is true:
different darks
have different tasks,
and if you
have arrived here unawares,
if you have come
in peril
or in pain,
this might be no place
you should dawdle.

I do not know
what these shadows
ask of you,
what they might hold
that means you good
or ill.
It is not for me
to reckon
whether you should linger
or you should leave.

But this is what
I can ask for you:
That in the darkness
there be a blessing.
That in the shadows
there be a welcome.
That in the night
you be encompassed
by the Love that knows
your name.

(from A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, © Jan Richardson)

Poem: “Appealing Apples” by Maisie Crowther

Poem:   “Centerland” by Elizabeth Lewis

Hymn #303: We Are the Earth Upright and Proud

Poem:  “From Out of the Woods” by Martha Nelson

Poem: “If You Turn Around” by Eden Gorst

Poem: “Time is Material” by Ed Burke

Musical Interlude:  Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell
Steve Squires, guitar and vocal

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would’ve done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions, I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancin’ way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way
But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughin’ when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away
I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions, I recall
I really don’t know love at all
Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way
But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well, something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions, I recall
I really don’t know life at all
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions, I recall
I really don’t know life at all

Poem:  “Comings and Goings” by Catie G. Berg

Poem:  “Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller
read by Karen Tyler

Poem: “Sunrise is Personal” by Charles Butterfield

Offering shared with Theatre Adventure & The Minister’s Discretionary Fund

Offertory   Feuillet d’Album, Op. 45:1         Aleksandr Scriabin (1872-1915)
                Piano, Eva Greene

Blessing Our Candles of Joys and Sorrows

Closing Hymn #
352  Find a Stillness    

Chalice Extinguishing: “The Fire At The Center,” Rev. J. Johnson Lewis
read by Mary Moriarty

There is a fire at the center of each of us. A fire that, if nourished, brings light and warmth into our lives. Every other person also has a fire at their center. Our actions in this world can nourish the fire of others. Or, depending on our choices, our actions can dampen, even extinguish those fires. As we dampen or extinguish the fire of others, we dampen or extinguish our own. As we encourage and nourish the fire of others, we encourage and nourish our own fire. By encouraging and nourishing the fire at the center of each other, we bring even greater light and warmth to this world, and to ourselves. This week, may you nourish and encourage the fire at the center of others, and may you be nourished and encouraged in your center.

*Closing Circle: “Carry the Flame of Peace and Love” (sung two times)

*Please join in standing as you are able.