By Youth Ministry Coordinator Courtney Firth, with contributions by Rev. Christin C. Green, on behalf of the UUCF Worship Team: Rev. David A. Miller, Rev. Christin C. Green, Laura Weiss, Diana Tycer and Courtney Firth
My first Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (GA) experience was in 2016 in Columbus, OH. I spent the first few days with a cold and lost my voice. Normally that wouldn’t be such a terrible thing, but I was also performing with the GA choir that year, and spent the first couple of rehearsals in the back listening and trying to sing the gravel out of my throat. This was the year Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout was leading the choir. His brilliance, kindness and talent were ever-present and made even more wonderful when we sang David Frazier’s “I Need You to Survive,” with Dr. Rideout as the soloist. This was also only weeks after we lost 49 souls to gun violence at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. The repeating chorus of “I need you to survive” became a mantra in that space and has stayed with me since.
At UUCF, we strive to be welcoming to all, and I hope that the other adult advisors for our youth and I have created a space for youth of all identities, genders and creeds to feel especially welcome. (One of the youth tenets is radical hospitality.) But what would it look like if we not only welcomed all, and especially our transgender and non-binary siblings, but served each other with the mantra “I need you to survive”? In this month of transgender remembrance, it is not only vital that we extend a heartfelt welcome to people of all genders and sexualities in our congregation, but to say, explicitly and with love, “I need you, you need me, we are all part of God’s body … I love you, I need you to survive.” As you recite the prayer below, know that we, this beloved community, need you to survive.
The ministry team at UUCF cares deeply about our trans and non-binary members, friends and families. We are committed to learning in public and curating brave space where we can explore and be held as whole sacred beings. We recognize the power of our presence in the community, including at Fairfax County School Board meetings. We will rise together because we need you to survive.
We invite you to meditate on these words offered by Rev. Theresa I. Soto, a non-binary, queer,
Latinx Unitarian Universalist minister:
Spirit of Life, In these difficult times, we ask for connection, to You, to ourselves, to one another, and to our greater purpose. We turn toward you, like a swift breeze, able to bring refreshment and life to our hearts that are burdened. We know that you know that transness is life and that You accept us and all the ways that we are, not as part of being human but as a multiplicity of expressions of love.
We call on you for strength, as the way before is long, and we have so far to travel. We travel toward Justice. Keep us focused on that. And to make that journey, we need safety and courage in equal measure. Give us both.
Soften the hearts of those who are causing their own suffering by clutching their transphobia so tightly. Show them the way back to their own humanity.
But above all, we ask for more love, around us, among us, between us. We give thanks and say amen.