additional blessings for the depths

an addendum to HELD

We selected just 52 blessings to go alongside art and writing prompts for the collection in our recent publication, HELD: blessings for the depths. Alongside those stunning contributions from an array of writers and artists, below comprises some of the additional blessings we received in our call for submissions. We hope you enjoy.

Spirit Knows (CW: suicide)
by Lois McCullen Parr

I was awakened in the middle of the night, a summons in the moonlight, and
I heard your name. I heard: “go to her.”
I obeyed, even though I didn’t yet know what that meant, that it would turn out that
     I did the dishes, picked up the dry cleaning,
     swept the porch and made the bed,
     turned on the lights,
     turned off the noise.
We couldn’t have imagined that he would take his own life, that he was carrying that much
     deep lament; shared understanding. I took your hand and
     anointed it with lavender lotion.
Years later you told me how much it meant that I did the dishes, the needful things, put my
     hands to use, brought healing into that home and your heart.
Suddenly that image in the night rang back at me:
     the Spirit beckons in its unknown and unchartered ways;
     Spirit knows.

And you, were you awakened by a voice from the moon when I needed you and you came to me?
You never told me that,
but I want to believe it
because you knew deeply that your presence was all that could
hold me as I longed to be held; you were the only one who knew that a tender touch on my
     head – a certain, specific way – was the antidote to my heartbreak.
A salvation in the moment of despair.
Gift of hope when mine was absent.
Life-giving energy in my life-defeating anguish.
Blessing I didn’t know had the power to help me remain.

These are ordinary uses of hands:
     a touch.
The Spirit knows: bring your miracles, receive and give them, that necessary mystery of the
of what can be literally handled,
what can be felt
in order to stir what we can feel, secreted inside,
the heart-soak-fullness of
deep calling to deep.

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For Phi
by Christine Wagner-Hecht, October, 2017, for Stuttering Awareness Day

You came out, at first, silent.
The doctor cheerfully chattered so we would not know
to be scared;

she moved you back and forth so quickly between her hands
to clear your throat and lungs.

But from the very first, even before language,
you made your wishes felt.

Such passion, such hilarity,
such a somber brow
when you were not

When the stuttering began,
we had tears
and prayers: Let this, let this, go away.
We dreamed of fluency and ease
as parents do.

The prayer has changed, I guess:
Let this voice persist. Let this beloved one
find their way. Stay. Speak. Sing.

We who love you, we who wait,
we want to listen.
Through any pauses, any stuck
places, for what will come forth.

Sometimes the words surprise us.
Confuse us. Hurt us. Delight us.
We will wait with you

for the breath, through the pause,
for your strong or your hesitant voice.
If we speak too soon, if we
misunderstand, if we guess a period where it was not.

Forgive us. We want to know
you, as you are; we long
to hear who you become,


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by Mary Beth Emerson


May courage rise up in you when you’re called to speak truth
and also still your tongue when your words become weapons.

May courage push you when it’s time to leave
and also hold you when you’re called to stay.

May courage companion you when striking out on your own
and also comfort you when community is the only thing to be.

May courage flare up in you like flame
fueling your journey.

May courage be your passion, your promise, your path,
and may your courage
encourage others always.

Mary Beth Emerson is a poet, spiritual director, episcopal deacon, and a few other things.

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everything changes
by Catharine Clarenbach, Stone Circle Wicca

Thanks to Jonathan White

You are part of the Big Picture.
The Big Picture is part of you.

The Big Picture of Night, in depths beyond distance.
Fly, Impossible, look for starspace and the Great Above.
The Big Picture seeking.
These are vastnesses beyond notions of time or distance.
You are part of the dark and the light.
The dark and the light are part of you.

The Big Picture of Ocean, in depths beyond touching.
Float, Buoyant, and feel the Great Below.
The Big Picture darkening.
This is dark darker than the holy dark we praise,
winter going, winter coming.
You are part of the rise and the fall.
The rise and the fall are part of you.

And when you come to die, if you can remember,
Then remember, Child of Earth and Starry Heaven.
You are forever part of the Big Picture.
No part of you is lost; everything changes.

Catharine B. Clarenbach is a white, queer, fat femme with multiple disabilities, and all her identities spiral and converge and layer into her understandings of oppression and liberation. She is a priestess of the Third Degree in the Tradition of Stone Circle Wicca, as well as being ordained into the Unitarian Universalist ministry. Liturgical writing and facilitation are two of the activities in life that most make her heart sing.

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Try this
by Kimiko Karpoff

When you see that burst of purple creating an unlikely garden of the sidewalk crack and probably derided as a weed by someone who has never been amazed at the tree root that created the fissure to the underworld in the first place

Instead of wondering in passing if such a beauty has a scent to match and if that’s what has attracted the bumble bee

Get down on your knees and putting your face close breathe deep

This is, after all, the proper posture to honour God’s glory, however you understand God, and how we might, quite frankly, end up when we finally see the truth of beauty

On our hands and knees, our own brokenness redeemed
I am a writer, photographer and energy practitioner. My name, Kimiko, means child of joy and beauty. Ki ~ 喜 = joy; Mi ~ 美 = beauty; Ko ~ 子 = child.
This inspires me to bring joy and beauty to what I do. Find me at

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A Blessing for the One Who Always Has It All Together
by Ashley Buchanan

You must be so tired. Exhausted from carrying stones of expectations and bricks of fear from the unknown to build shelter to keep those you love safe. Feeling weighed down by the gravity of anxiety and depression while everyone believes you to be the one to search for when they need questions answered or advice given. The tightening in your chest as the blood pumps away from your heart as you lay simply a sacrifice for the needs of your community. At a loss for words because your breath has been spent on others for so long that you forgot to save some for yourself.

I know you are weary, sweet child, and I know you cannot stop. So just pause with me in this moment. Remember the Light that radiates through You to Me and to Them that connects Us together. Forget the burdens for a moment. Lay your hand against your skin and feel the warmth of your own touch just this once. Settle into yourself with comfort. You’re going to be together for a long while, it’s about time you remembered to save some air for you, too.

Ashley is a queer Southerner who loves all that grows and breathes in nature. She is a Divinity student who hopes to spend her life learning about ethics and reminding people who important it is to take an intentional breath. She lives by vibrant honesty and love abundant.

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A Blessing for Those Who Feel Out of Place
by Katie Reimer

when you feel out of place
may you find
in the movement of your breath
the path back to belonging
for this most simple dance
between you and the world
reveals your connection
to life

Katie Reimer is a musician, teacher and healer who creates and nourishes the conditions that allow life to flourish. She is passionate about building community and fostering relationships of messy mutuality across all that divides.

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Release the desire to be in control
by Jennifer (Revel) Johnston

The Spirit of life flows freely like water, tumbling down mountainsides and gliding around rocks. There are no obstructions. Spirit is everywhere present, more expansive than the ocean, fully imbuing each drop. Spirit is not constricted and does not strain. Spirit moves effortlessly and gives life.

Spirit breathes through me. I am expansive and open to infinite possibility. I float, allowing the stream of well-being to carry me. I need not effort. I am in harmony with all others and Life. Life is for my good.

Spirit guides me. My role is to enJOY life, not resist it. With great expectancy, I invite in the good, delighting in the twists and turns. I am open to receive Divine Givingness. I ride the waves of my experience with no clinging or fear, only excitement.

Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, and living in eternal summer on the coast of Florida. Jennifer grew up in New England, earned a Master of Public Health, and has dedicated her career to improving the health of communities to support well-being for all.

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Blessing a Beloved in Isolation
by Annabeth (AB) Roeschley

Holy being of many names,
whose soul infuses the multiverse,
in our traditions you have been revealed as
fire, wind, darkness, light, animal, moon, justice, love,
revealing the capacity of the holy to transcend
human structures and human imagination.
So it is with faith that we call on this sacred spirit
to transcend the barriers between us
to make your presence known to {NAME}.

Even while we deeply yearn to hold hands, embrace,
look into each other’s eyes without a screen,
despite the seperation, despite the miles apart,
despite the walls and closed doors,
despite the fear of exposure to disease,
despite all physical limitations,
you are ruach, nephesh, the life-breath of all creation,
connecting us even as we are apart.
We call on your sacred spirit in this moment and place,
to surround {NAME} with eternal love.
To surround {NAME} with our love.
To surround us with {NAME’s} love.
Surround us with the love that knows no bounds.

Annabeth (AB) Roeschley (they/she) is a queer abolitionist spiritual care curator and politicized grief-tender who works/exists/dreams at the intersections of individual and collective healing. AB holds an MDiv from Chicago Theological Seminary and has been deconstructing theo-ideologies of domination, nurturing liberative relationship, and queering the Mennonite Church for over a decade. They draw deeply from rural midwestern roots and love living on the Chicago edge of Lake Michigan (Potawatomi, Peoria and Myaamia land) by way of Washington, DC.

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In the Shade of the Tree of Life
by Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg

My dear fellow traveler, may you rest a moment – for you have arrived at the Tree of Life, whose shade is here for all who need. Come, let go of the weight you carry. Sit and nestle into the ancient heft of her.

May you lean on the living strength of the one sprung from the first seed, the deep-rooted nexus of life, surviving and providing, season after season, as the generations wheel into eons.

May you ease into the embrace of these mighty roots and release your weariness, the griefs and nightmares coiled in the clutch of your ligaments. As you rest may you sink with her roots down into the dark rich layers of ancestors past. May your yearning guide you, as you grope intermingled with the roots of all beings, deep in the embrace of the ground of all being. May you savor the taste of mineral, the sweet sips of subterranean wellsprings, the heat and force of the fires of existence. May you draw it all up into you, into the strength of your sinews, the fierce pulse of your love, the hot salt of your living, breathing, beautiful body.
May you arise, dear fellow traveler, here in the shade of the Tree of Life. Arise and stretch and reach. May you grasp the fruit of the healing of the nations – and take and eat.

Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg serves as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ of Walla Walla, Washington

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by Rev. Joy Cowan

Bletsunga (n): Old English, meaning blessing; “a gift from God, for temporal or spiritual benefit”
Bletsunga… may you be blessed with a luminous spirit
Bletsunga… may injustice fuel your determination for change
Bletsunga… may the ache of vulnerability draw forth your compassion
Bletsunga… may the everyday be awash in beauty
Bletsunga… may our common humanity be your reality
Bletsunga… may you walk gently, with humility
Bletsunga… may that which is hard call forth your courage
Bletsunga… may Spirit offer you grace with every lesson and leaving
Bletsunga… may God’s presence invite you deeper still into this dance of life
Blessed, blessed, blessed be. Amen.

Rev. Joy Cowan is an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada who is serving Heritage United Church in Regina, Saskatchewan.

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Blessing for Moving On from a Good Thing
by Rev. Rebecca Ajer Frantz

When you came to this place or this season of your life, it was a Good Thing.
You came with purpose and joy and energy to dive deep and fully immerse yourself.
Over days and weeks, months and years, you gave of yourself and received just as much back.

It is time for a new chapter to begin.
For the tether that keeps you here to be undone and connected to a new anchor.
But it is hard to say goodbye to a Good Thing.

May your feelings of guilt for the anxieties of transition be replaced by eagerness and excitement for what tomorrow’s horizon will bring.
May your fear about if the next Thing will be just as Good be abated and calmed.
May you be given clarity to see each new experience for what it is, not clouded by what has been.

You are held and loved by so many, cheered on as you depart.

A piece of you will always remain.
May that piece remind you, when the memories get fuzzy,
That you were part of a very Good Thing.

Rebecca Ajer Frantz (she/her) is a pastor and liturgical theologian. She loves crafting new liturgical language and finding new ways to explore ancient rites. She lives in Gettysburg, PA with her spouse and child.

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A Blessing For When You Just Need To Feel Something
by Bec Ellis

I see you, beloved
with your palms dull and heavy upon your chest
just trying to feel some, small tremor of life
from within, trying to sort through
the numbness of everything
trying to convince yourself
there is more to you than this hollowness.
May you know that even in your pain,
in the liminal spaces you travel through,
where you are neither here nor there,
awake nor asleep – you are not alone.
There is nothing that can sever
you from Source, from the Grand Mystery
that is forever calling you back –
calling you by your one true name,
the one you might be scared to whisper
but feel a flood of home wash down and over
and through you when you hear it.
oh, rest here beloved,
even if just for a moment
and let yourself
be known.

Bec Ellis is a writer/poet living in the high desert of Central Oregon, who focuses on themes of embodiment, self-acceptance, motherhood and healing. While brought up in the Christian tradition, she is a deep spiritual wonderer who finds beauty in the curves and scars of our stories. You can find more of her work on instagram @bec_ellis_writer or

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A Prescription for Times of Transition
by Katherine Kenyon Henderson

To ease the rough patches between what used to be
and what might be next, try this:
place your body in a large body of water.
Notice how your burdens lighten as you float and sink.
Stay in long enough to rinse off the cloying scent
of your resistance to change.
(The principle of grief dispersion also applies;
it will work even if you don’t understand)
Start with a pool, bathing suit optional.
Test the waters and observe your relationship to time.
If you still feel stuck, disoriented, or split with worry,
proceed to the next phase.
Find a lake, maybe at night.
Practice offering your tormented thoughts to the fish
who will suck them in through their gills
and spit back out bubbles of clear acceptance.
Afterward, if you are still reeling, unmoored,
find a body of water that moves: a river, or the ocean.
Notice how the water flows away, but you are still here.
Praise your watery toes and your steady hip bones.
Feel the currents move around and through you,
rinsing away what no longer serves,
making room for what is yet to come.

Katherine is a lifelong seeker whose blessings and poems flow from her work as a healthcare chaplain serving marginalized communities. She has always been drawn to the depths, exploring spiritual landscapes through conversation, prayer, song and dance. Katherine and her family enjoy making gnomes, felt monsters, and fish sculptures at their home in Durham, NC.

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by Heather Streicher Dorr

Insert hook. Yarn over. Pull through one loop. Yarn over. Pull through two loops. Repeat.

My hook. My yarn. And me. And sometimes, when working in never-ending spirals, my stitch marker. The stitch maker that helps me find the beginning and the end when I’m not even sure where my path begins or where my responsibilities end.

It is ancient work, holy work, this yarn work. And when I am done, I will have something to show for it. A blanket. A toy. A scarf. A hat. A gift that will make someone smile. But it will never be perfect. It is handmade. It is not possible to be perfect when it comes from human hands. A dropped stitch here, a loose thread there. Signs of human flaws.

And yet – when there are too many flaws – when I lose count and lose my place- when the mistakes add up and my frustration mounts… A firm tug on my yarn and the stitches are released again. Ready for another attempt. And I am again thankful for the times when the Divine Yarn Worker unties me from my mistakes. When She gives me an opportunity to start over. Another chance to be useful, to be beautiful, to be re-made in Her image in this imperfect world.

Insert hook. Yarn over. Pull through one loop. Yarn over. Pull through two loops. Repeat.

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by Tina Kelley

I sing of the crystal ball, snow-dome, the fluffy dandelion
encased in lucite, the water-filled globe that holds flowers,
the kaleidoscopic water drop bouncing back up to the faucet,

even the fish or honeybee in plastic, looking larger than life in death.
I have given up beachcombing. Nothing wet is as lovely dry.
She wishes for sight permanently that of binoculars or telescope.

And he blossomed under the blessing of focused attention,
the way I thought of him in the holy quietness of hanging laundry.
I did to him what varnish does to teak that’s seen too many summers.

How does a soul magnify the lord, enlarge something so big that it
created creation? Perhaps that is work only a soul could manage.
Wedding receptions used to be called “the magnificences.”

You are my light in the window.

Tina Kelley’s Rise Wildly appeared in 2020 from CavanKerry Press, joining Abloom & Awry, Precise, and The Gospel of Galore, a Washington State Book Award winner. She co-authored Breaking Barriers: How P-TECH Schools Create a Pathway from High School to College to Career and Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope and reported for a decade for The New York Times. She and her husband have two children and live in Maplewood, NJ.

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A Blessing of Confidence
by Rev. Katherine M. Engel

Enfolded in the Circle of Love and Light,
May you know the blessings of being, not doing.
May your heart remain open, and may beauty inspire your spirit.
May you cherish the radiance of your character, that tenderness eases sorrow.
May you have confidence in your place in the Universe, that you trust your inner voice and claim your power.
May you be serene in joy!

Rev Katherine Engel is an ordained interfaith minister, affiliated with One Spirit Alliance in NYC, and an ordained Buddhist minister (“Uphadyaya”) in the Shambhala tradition. Katherine’s business is InnerVoice, a performing arts ministry, and a life ceremony officiant and end-of-life doula. She is employed as a hospital chaplain and has been a professional singer-actor-dancer for many years.

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For One with Monsters Under the Bed
by Sarah W. Whiles

When you go to bed afraid
of what lurks and looms
in the shadows,

May you have a nightlight
perhaps a unicorn,
perhaps a lamp outside,
an incarnation of The Light.
But you and I both know
that this will not dispel what is underneath,
not entirely.

May you have the softest touch
of a cool hand
lingering on your forehead,
the hand of one kind and steady,
certain and sure,
a pilgrim who has walked this way before.
But you and I both know
this monster you must face alone.

So may you at last have courage
to throw back the covers—it’s okay if you tremble,
and peer underneath, seeing what is
the dark of your soul,
waiting for you.

Bio: Sarah Wiles is a pastor in Blacksburg, Virginia. When she is not writing, she is running, cooking, and watching cheesy action movies.

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Disabled Divine
by Chelsea Pinson

You are loved by the waters,
You who swims through the depths without aid,
Your own power propelling you forward.
The trees are in awe of you,
You who grows tall and proud,
Who bends but never breaks
Beneath the weight of a body that refuses to conform.

They say “disabled” and they think,
Unable, unworthy, unimaginable.
You live disabled and you are
Capable, worthy, creativity.

You do not flinch as you excavate
Your body, divinity coating your lips and tongue,
And you, peeling back layer after layer of flesh
To find the Godhead at the center,
Broken but whole.

You belong to the mother,
And the son, and the father,
And the whole blooming, booming earth,
But you will not stop there,
Will traverse the cosmos and the molten core
Of existence, will break apart again and again
To become something they have never seen before.

Chelsea Pinson is a totally blind queer woman from Oklahoma. She loves horror, theology, poetry, and folklore. For more of her work, follow her at, or on Twitter @celestialcrone.


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A Blessing for Those Who are Questioning
by  Caly M. McCarthy

that what you are doing –
the questions,
and answers,
and the returns to hesitation –
imagine that this
is precisely the task before you;
to listen
with unrelenting honesty.
that these are not inefficiencies,
exercises in navel-gazing,
dramatic indulgences in doubt,
no, imagine
that these are faithful witnesses
to the pain,
and knowledge,
and longing
of your most perceptive self.

Imagine that God is with you.
that She is well-pleased.

Caly writes, works, worships, and otherwise does life in Washington, DC. She aspires for equanimity amidst chaos and writes poetry in the interim. Beans are her favorite food.


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to the world
by Nicky Manlove

we say to the world as it is:
“how lucky you are that we are new world builders.
that we are gardeners who tend in dusty soil,
that we have made feasts out of sticks and stones,
that we have learned all your songs but sung our own too,
in strange and sacred voices.
How lucky is it that we have been made to move the world.”

we give to the world what we can:
wonder we have fashioned out of chaos.
Who better to work in uncertainty than the us
who are unknowable and impossible?

After all, when Marsha took her own name
and her name was Pay It No Mind,
what else could she have meant but
moments when the world seemed to be upended.
When the world burned, Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson
put on her glowing crown of flowers,
took to the streets and danced and marched
and certainly other things that we have known
in quiet moments with the family we have chosen.
In fact, maybe she lit the fire in the first place.
So we are, and so we shall be,
always and forever.

Nicky Manlove (they/she) is a musician and learner currently living in the occupied lands of the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yacqui peoples. When not singing with friends, they can be found trying to be a hummingbird or waiting for the rain.

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Ducks: A Blessing
by Katy Stenta

God knows, I don’t know where my ducks are
so they aren’t in a row.

How do I prioritize?
Everything is important
Schedules are nebulous, houses are messy, kids need attention.

God, you know, the ducks are waiting
Sometimes they quack at me in the middle of the night.

Is this how the prophets felt?
Chasing down the Wild Goose of the Holy Spirit.

Did they know their ducks would never
ever be in a row?

And that the wild birds of
Friendship, inspiration, food, silliness, etc
Would be the wild blessings of the Holy Spirit


Blessed are the ducks
Silly, quacking, never in a row
Blessed are the messy houses,
the children, the imperfections
the neverending tasks of relationships and adulting
the quacking in the middle of the night.

Blessed is the struggle
for it is real, and magnificent.

Katy Stenta is the mother of three, pastor, dreamer, fantasy/sci-fi romance reader and sunshine catcher, and wife of youth librarian Anthony. She enjoys writing blessings and prayers.

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Travel to your roots
by Nicole M. Crouch

When the wind comes and rustles the leaves
Thrashes the branches and bends the trunk
So close to breaking.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Travel to your roots
Deep down in the dark soil.
Lush with nutrients from the last time a wildfire came
And everyone thought it destroyed you.
But you let your roots absorb those nutrients.
You took your time
Harnessing your divine power
Expanding beneath the surface
And grew back stronger
You can do it again, you beautiful creation
Though the storm is harsh
It will not destroy you.
For you are rooted in divine power
Made with purpose, filled with possibility.
Every cell created with divine potential.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Travel to your roots.

Rev. Nicole M. Crouch is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. She currently serves as the Director of Mission for Annandale United Methodist Church in Annandale, VA.

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Be still and know…
by Tom Reid

Beloved child,
Be still…
Hear and know these words:
“You are enough.”
Sit with these words.
Still. Know. Enough.
Let them wash over you,
Cooling your skin,
Cleansing the soot that has built up
From too much to do, too many emails, not enough time.
No amount of doing or having or acquiring
Can make you better or of greater value or more important.
Not today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow.
Being alive, being a part of creation is what is good.
May you be blessed with empowering yourself,
by giving yourself permission to decide what gets done today
and what gets left behind.
You are wise. You are strong. You are worthy
Worthy of love. Worthy of loving. Worthy of speaking. Worthy of being spoken to.
Be still…
Know that YOU are enough.
And may whatever you do from this moment on
Be experienced as a blessing to you and a gift to the world.
Over and above the gift of your “enoughness.”
And may that knowing long remain,
Singing in your mind and on your heart.
And may it continually be a blessing to you and to others.

Rev. Tom Reid (he/him) is the pastor of Newton Presbyterian Church in Newton, MA and the associate director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College also in Newton, MA. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is committed to interreligious engagement and creating authentic spaces where people can bring their whole selves. He identifies as white, cis-gender, and lives in Cambridge, MA with his husband David.

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A blessing for you, on days like today
by Jen Solis

When the sun hits the flesh that both betrays and emboldens you;
Breathe deep the Mystery queerness, of otherness, of holiness; of Divine presence
Scream with rage, with courage, with pain and weariness
Recall the waters which cleanse you when it feels like you will drown in your own tears;
Embrace the scars of redemption which sometimes still feel the sting of salt that threatens open wounds
The way you put on flesh is valid.
The way you move through the world is real.
The way your heart bleeds, beats and trembles,
Loves, hopes and dreams;
Is your Sustainer at work in the world

Jen Solis (they/them) is an educator, writer and community activist based in Tulsa, OK.

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A blessing for one who plants seeds
by Ruth Harley

May the earth under
your fingernails
be to you an anointing,
a chrism of stardust stuff.

May the roots beneath
your feet
be to you an indwelling,
a steadfastness which abides.

May the leaves between
your fingers
be to you a greening,
a bursting forth of unfettered life,
a wild fulfilment of promise, outpouring
abundance of fragile, tenacious joy.

May you know yourself
held in the dark
germinating chaos
of love, rooted
in vital decay, growing
into the full delight
of who you are.

Ruth Harley is an ordained minister in the Church of England. She is co-author of ‘Being Interrupted: re-imagining the church’s mission from the outside, in’ (SCM Press, 2020).

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her coffee grounds
by Whitney Wilkinson Arreche

the sound of my grandmother’s coffee cups meeting saucers,
conjuring her each time I use them,
the ones that dribble each sip down the side like a tearful offering.
hers was a life made of coffee grounds and growing grounds.
she coaxed shoots upward, fed by dark soil and bright days
and, yes, old coffee grounds.
even in her little apartment in town where she started over
she grew a little flower garden. that it was contraband
was part of the fun. rebellion blossoming, but more than that,
some color, some home, something to care for.
and she did care so very well. i say this because she grew me too.
Jackie, the gardener who smelled of coffee and georgio.
i pray for you to miss someone like i miss her. i hope for you
to be missed like the lantanas and the roses and the gardenias
and the plumbagoes and the magnolias miss her. i dream
of the dark restful earth, where coffee grounds
meet burial grounds and burial grounds bring forth new life.
rebelliously growing, contraband to death, laughing in its face
with a riot of color. and each morning i greet that familiar clink of
cups and saucers she is there, coaxing me, and I think you,
to drink in the life there is for us. to dig deep,
and to make a little holy noise.

Whitney Wilkinson Arreche (she/her) is a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister and a doctor of theology candidate at Duke University. She researches decolonial and antiracist theologies, exploring how the language of reconciliation reinforces whiteness. She lives in Texas with her spouse Carlos and their dog, Fifi. Drinking coffee is a joyful daily ritual for her, especially now. 

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For a Liminal Time
by Janeen R. Adil

I see you bridging the gap of that
between space of choices:
   What lies in weight behind,
    what lies in wait ahead.

Are they really such opposites,
standing as you are on the threshold?
See if you can rest in this time and place,
embracing an and
to widen your gaze and broaden
   your spirit.

Tehom el Tehom: Deep calls to deep,
    the old psalmist cries!

Listen. And then
you will come to know,
in that liminal time and space:

You are not in exile after all
   but in a place of wonder,
one that is alight with possibility
   and one that may yet
       be aflame with desire.

Janeen R. Adil is a spiritual director, writer, and teacher; within the United Church of Christ, she is Commissioned Minister of Christian Spirituality. She lives in eastern PA, in a farmhouse built by English/Welsh Quakers over 200 years ago.

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Floating Over Mariana Trench
by Eric Braman

(for Cullen)

we made it here
one moonlit seasick night
after the other
following moontide and tidal wave
as we ventured out into the
deep green
and here we are
35,814 feet from solid ground
and here we float
eyes pointed toward a million suns
palms placed patiently in the seafoam
ears pooling with water as we lay
imagining how much must exist
below and above
to hold us here
right here
in balance

it took courage to arrive
it will take courage to depart
the only question is
which way will we go?

Eric Braman (they/them) is a writer, storyteller, and theatre maker living in Springfield, Oregon. Eric was raised in Michigan, where a tenacity for niceties and a love of nature was born. Since coming out, their queer identity has pushed their art to explore themes of masculinity, mental health, and queer possibility. They are inspired by the dualities of themself and the communities they have called home.

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Pool of night
by John Eldon

We meet in the pool of night,
raindrops kissing your skin
and mine,
strong water washing
the detritus of the days
from our bodies,

Cleansed and naked
we face each other
to know
and be known.

My lips call to your lips,
you whisper my true name
and it is perfect.

There is no being apart from you,
there could be no other way,
forever and forever.

I am a queer progressive Methodist preacher, living in the UK, writing to explore/reveal how we become our truest selves through our encounter with the divine, and the diviity of that self.

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Sunlight to a Weed (written in June)
by Robin Gray

You will not find space where you should to grow
You may already feel you are not wanted and
be growing some shield or power of invisibility

You will be turned into the earth and pulled from it
by all and uncivil means

You are the most natural defection
You are the beauty beyond the garden
beyond the walled and worked world

All the wild in all the wind and rain
is yours to forge a blade
from the smallest seed
and make space
Be proud.

Mustard is shelter for the birds of heaven

You have always been.

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A Blessing for Intrusive Thoughts
by Rev. Katy Shedlock

Bless the one that eats the fries off my plate and tells me about the wildfires –
how it will be worse than we’ve ever seen it before.
He is trying to tell me I hunger for a healthier world.

Bless the one that does not quite wake me up in the middle of the night
but wanders through my work dreams naked and singing and changing the plans.
He is trying to tell me I lead through chaos.

Bless the one that plops down heavy on my keyboard
while I’m trying to type, pushing buttons with his ass: dcasiojdsanjasdfoiana’
He is trying to tell me I write and speak things of consequence.

Bless the one that rushes in screaming that everyone I love is dead.
She is trying to tell me how much I care about them.

Bless the one that pokes fearfully at every mole in the shower, the one that googles every
Covid symptom in gruesome detail, the one that checks my pulse to make sure it still beats.
They are trying to tell me my body matters.

Bless the one that grabs my steering wheel to change lanes when pickup trucks with flags
appear in the rearview mirror, the one that notices shadows and carries keys defensively.
She is trying to tell me I threaten supremacist status quos.

Bless these intrusive thoughts and those to come, that they may be seen and heard
and released from their labors. Give me grace to welcome them –
no longer intruders but friends.

Katy Shedlock is a pastor, poet, and performance artist who loves to bless and release people. She lives and works with her anxiety in Spokane, WA.

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The Earthmaker
by Maureen O’Leary

Earthmaker, our mother,
Covers the ground with flowers
And breaks open the soil to make way
For the sprout bending its head
Dreaming of the sun.

She releases the seeds of Aspens
That dream of their someday leaves,
Shivering in the wind,
Their undersides silvery and flashing.

Earthmaker, our mother,
Holds in her embrace
Her giant Sequioa sons
As well as the memory resting in the fossils of their prehistoric brothers.
She holds the buried acorns that will be her
Sturdy Oaken daughters,
As well as the memory of those long ago first fern-like plants
About which so little is known.

Earthmaker knows.

Earthmaker, our mother
Sees every child of hers grow or not grow.
She mourns the ones who leave her embrace
She wraps herself in a fourfold robe of night sky, fire, water and loam.
And nurses her sadness for the lost
In the old soul company of the stars.

The love of Earthmaker, our mother
Like every mother,
Is never less than a mountain.
The strength of every mother’s love
Contains the force of oceans,
The weight of seas,
The might of rivers in flash flood,
The depth of springs,
The quiet endlessness of acquifers beneath clashing tectonic plates.

This is love that outlasts death,
This is love with a geologic age,
This is love that embraces every child,
Found or lost
And takes the lost one, and holds him up to the stars
Where he will take his place among them.

Maureen O’Leary is a poet and writer living in Sacramento. She holds an MFA from Ashland University.

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My Cathedral
by Sharon Baker

On Holy Ground I walk Into My Cathedral.
Sky above lights the way.
I am welcomed by the loving arms of a congregation of trees
Giving me shelter and my very breath.

I pray for healing. For me. And for so many.
And for the planet which we call home.
For the water which sustains life.
For the air which sustains life.
For the growing things that sustain life.

I sit upon the lap of the oldest creation…the rock.
The rock, on which I sit… and stand
Knowing it has the strength to hold me up. Even when I don’t.

I pray for renewed strength. The strength to fly high
To soar through the branches of those dancing trees.
Dancing in the cleansing breeze
Perfuming the very air I breathe with pure LOVE.
In the name of Father Sky, Mother Earth and all the
Holy living things.

And the Fox and the Finches say AMEN.

Sharon lives in the Arizona and has a studio across her back patio. She says “I am an old desert rat. I paint. And now, I write.”

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Blessing for My Daughter
by Marcia Stanard

Before my daughter traveled away
I took her to the beach—the place of my childhood
and her happiest times.
I dipped my fingers into the sea
and blessed her, with the water of her Original Mother
swiped across her forehead.

My love. May you always remember
your original home. May you be held
In the source of all love.

May you have adventures and new
experiences—and may you return safely,
your soul enlivened.

May your definition of home expand, like the sea.

My lesbian daughter of lesbian mothers,
You have learned expansive and creative love.

May my love, and the ocean’s,
carry you, rooting you as you adventure and journey.

May you know that you are held,
by the Source of all Life.
Her depths calling you home, and beyond.

Marcia Stanard is a Unitarian Universalist minister, a mother, and a firm believer in awe and wonder. She lives with her partner and often her adult children in Portland, Oregon.

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by Kelli Owens

May summer surround you.
From waking with birdsong to deep indigo lungfuls of evening sky.
Where once there had been distance between rooted trees, may there now be canopy. An envelope of
playful green light made possible by the stretching toward one another.
May you walk barefoot in the dew.
The poetry of freshly mown grass.
Your soles, their own source of wisdom.
In each step, both rising and falling, both distance and coming together again, may you recognize that
this is the green dance of trees.
This is longing and consolation.
Morning and evening, the first day.
And may the space between enable the longing which sanctifies it, making eventual reunion sweeter.
Some call this gravity, I call it love.
May you know in your bones the erotic paean which winks to unveil even death with a word:
It is generous.
It is generous.
It is generous.

Kelli Owens writes as a way to practice personal rewilding, granular liberation, and participatory perichoresis. It’s a tall order but if your day job was as deadening as hers, you’d do the same. She is especially enamored with poetry and its accoutrements. You can often find her wading knee-deep and barefoot in local creeks with her favorite companions, human and otherwise. She has the insect bites to prove it.

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A blessing for the in-between
by Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey

This is a blessing for people who love certainty
And can’t find any
For people who crave order
And are living in our disordered world
For people who want to know what’s next
And have absolutely no idea

This blessing doesn’t ask you to figure it all out
It doesn’t need your “pretend to be fine” face
Or your grimacing, gripping, “I will get through this”

This blessing invites you to relax into the universe
to admit that you can’t control – well – damn near anything
to find your people – the ones who can bear the truth
to find your animals, your plants, and your poetry.

This blessing is for now. The in-between.
This blessing is for you. You are enough.
Even when you feel like you are failing.
(By the way, you are not.
You are absolutely killing it at being human.)
It is for you in your wild, beautiful authenticity.
You do not have to do one damn thing to earn it.
That is not how blessings work.
This blessing is pure grace, a reminder
that you are created out of stardust and love.

Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey is the pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches. She is proud to be a queer pastor in a queer denomination. Marie and her wife April are owned by one dog, two cats, and one guinea pig.

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a blessing for the space between
by John K. F. Winslow

and when you find yourself in the space between
in the place where the only light
comes from unfathomable distance:
may you remember that every dancing photon
traveled trillions of miles just to kiss your eyes with the luminescence of a million galaxies

and when you find yourself in the waiting room of hospital or prison or battlefield
with nothing and no one to hold you:
may you feel the kiss of the stardust in your bones
reaching out with lips that know the firmness of eons
filling you with the gentle atomic memory woven through each cell that says
You are held even here, because the embrace of every breathing thing is already within You

and when you find yourself in the black hole formed by the collapse
of the love you shared with another,
a pressure and a grief that not even the future can escape:
may you marvel at the truth that the brightest gleaming thing
gathers effulgent and spinning, joyful at the edge of that maternal darkness

in all the places where the pain is no longer a vacuum in your lungs but
a bloated crater in your stomach,
where your spirit is neither here nor there but wandering like an interstellar comet,
ice, trailing vapor through the dark matter of the universe:
may you place a hand upon your heart and wonder-trust its capacity to
become a furnace of nebulae, Sirius-bright, a source without source,
missioning suns into the space between.

John K. F. Winslow is a hospice & hospital chaplain rooted in spiritual traditions that center liberation, sacramentality, and incarnation. Born and raised on a farm in the Pacific Northwest, he has lived in Italy, Boston, and Washington D.C. He currently lives in San Francisco with his fiancé.

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Digging into Grief
by Tracy Rittmueller

When sorrow and suffering come to you,
may grief be a trowel to help 
turn your attention inward and deep.
Let your pain excavate a richer experience 
of interconnection. May your suffering
teach you to bear another’s sorrows with compassion.
And when the reality of your grief
digs you deeper and deeper into loss,
may you find, through memory and through hope,
that serenity and joy, while silent now,
were once the bedrock that formed this loam.

Tracy Rittmueller is a poet and writer based in central Minnesota, and the founding director of Lyricality, a consortium of Minnesota poets and writers working with central Minnesota businesses and organizations to foster the art of empathy through poetry and story. In 2015, with residents and staff at West Bay Residential Services in Warwick, Rhode Island, she pioneered a process for creating collaborative communal poetry as a way to promote community inclusion, personal power, self-expression, and life fulfillment.

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A Dance in Unknown
by Sarah Mayer

Darkness and pressure encapsulate
Inky blackness and midnight blue
Surrounded entirely by Unknown

No bottom to touch
No edge to grasp onto
Only weightlessness and ethereality

The current leads the dance
Entirely Other yet familiar
Alluring in every way

Drawn in by recognition
Strange seeks Strange
Mystery calls out to Mystery

Sarah Mayer is seminarian who enjoys connecting with Divine Mystery in nature and community and through printmaking, poetry, and photography. You can find more of her work at her blog

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A Blessing for One Who is Lost
by Dr. Devoree Clifton Crist

May you be held by the deep mystery of the universe
as the water of the oceans contains, supports, nourishes and is home to so much unseen life
as the rich warm soil cradles the seed until it breaks through to be what it is meant to be
as the cosmic forces bind and form matter into galaxies and heavenly bodies
as light from a distant star is focused by the lens onto the retina of the eye and forms a thought
as a drop of water settles happily on the leaf after the rain
For you are precious and known and loved always and forever.

Dr. Devoree Clifton Crist is a spiritual director, writer, retired physician, wife, and mother, whose work and life is rooted in the sacred mystery. She is a multicultural woman committed to antiracism and the inherent value of all people. She is the author of “Spirit Prayers: Invitations to Worship for Home or Faith Community” and “Spirit Prayers: Praying Through the Pandemic and Social Unrest.”

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At Night, in the Cold
by Elle Anne

I’m scared
And I’m small
But the Love that made the universe
Is with me through it all
Every doubt
Every lie
Every shout into the night sky
You’re here
Even in the dark
And I know You’ll hold me
When I fall apart

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by Elaine Gallagher Gehrmann

Floating in the cold darkness… visual perception just out of reach… tiny bubbles clinging to my goose-bumped skin… I am alone in the icy black depths.
Emerging from the inky abyss, a tenderly glowing light appears…
Bobbing, dangling, blinking… too fleeting and ephemeral to trust.
It persists, moving slowly, erratically, and yet continually forward,
Through wet space and submerged time.
Shared experiences of abandonment and grief; love lost, and found again,
Guiding me to companionship, community, rebirth…
Reminding me I am never truly alone.

Elaine Gallagher Gehrmann is a Unitarian Universalist minister, Monterey Bay Aquarium volunteer, and nature lover. She lives in Seaside, California with her partner and co-minister Axel, and they are the parents of two young adult children.

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Sing Me Your Story
by Shay MacKay

Sometimes we forget the truth of who we are.

C.S. Lewis says we are all possible gods and goddesses.
There are no ordinary people, he says.
There are no ordinary people.

Wait. Listen.
There is a spirit that moves through all things;
a breath of song that is the truth of who you are,
of who you have been,
of who you have the potential to be.

This is important:
This spirit is always moving through you, within you,
connecting you to all that is.
You came into life on this breath
and will leave it the same way,
exhaled into the world,
and inhaled back into silence.

Have you forgotten this truth of who you are?

Let me touch you.
May I lay my hand on you?
Fingertips, palms.
Let me grasp you, lightly, in the embrace of my cupped hands.
Let me cradle your broken, hurting, gnarled and knotted body in the sanctuary of my own.

And let us pray.
Let us breathe again together,
that something holy may move here between us.

I’m here. I’m listening.

Breathe deeply
and sing for me the story of the extraordinary you.


Shay is a queer, ordained UU minister and composer, called to accompany others in deepening, rediscovering, or healing their connection to the divine. She and her wife are the co-founders of Sacred Depths, an online and traveling ministry of creativity and contemplation.

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Tending my wildflowers
by Kayla Mravec, M.Div.

May my body be soil for my wildflower heart;
the roots of my beloved creation plant seeds of loving kindness.

Anger residing on the surface of my frame:
stretch forth, dear lanky and bent arm, as a sprout of empathy.

Sadness that rests tenderly just beneath my winters of loneliness:
may my weary eyes rain tears of compassion within and around me.

Injustice waiting for the first glimmers of the spring sun:
become a resilient sprig with my uneven gait walking a path of hope.

Blessed be each imperfect bud
awakening with dewdrops of my wildly sacred spirit.
Soften, earth of my body
into a sanctuary,
a grace-full bloom reaching toward the sun.

Kayla Mravec is a clinically trained chaplain and poet with cerebral palsy. She holds a M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame, and completed a chaplain residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 2019. Kayla’s faith and her disability are deeply integrated, and she understands her cerebral palsy to be an invitation for herself and others to live with courageous vulnerability. you can read more of her work at Wild Grace Writings.

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A Blessing for the Queer and Questioning
by Maria C. Hartz

Creator of rainbows and stars
of earth and sky
and of the queer and questioning,
bless us.
You knew our truest selves before
we were able to discover them on our own
leading our path and guiding our way.
Breaking down metaphorical closet doors
and physical barriers to acceptance,
you, the divine, have paved the way
for a more colorful kin-dom.
When we feel as though we are the only single person
alone in our longing
our despair
our fear,
remind us that you are there.
When others try to claim the world as theirs,
remind us that we are empowered
to take up the space you have given us.
When the earth feels too small for our whole selves,
remind us
that the cosmos have no limit for our spiritual souls.

Maria Hartz is a current Seminarian studying in Rochester, NY. Inspired by her own journey of collision between her faith and her queerness, she hopes to minister to others on similar paths to find that holy balance.

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blessing a teenager coming out to their parents
by Elizabeth Caldwell

bless them
they who once were she/her
but now are not
as they begin again
a birthing into a new body
a new way of being in the world
bless them

bless them
those family members who surround them
whose questions are many
whose comments are warmly embracing
whose comments are harmful and hurtful– bless them too
really? really?
yes bless them too as they struggle to find a
needed healthy path to the new one in front of them
bless them

bless them
the friends who don’t understand and are full of questions
the friends who do understand and reach out in love
the teachers and coaches who welcome them into spaces of learning and play
the pastors who walk with them on this journey to their new way of being in the world bless them

blessing a teenager coming out to their parents bless them

they who once were she/her
but now are not
as they begin again

a birthing into a new body
a new way of being in the world
bless them bless them
those family members who surround them
whose questions are many
whose comments are warmly embracing
whose comments are harmful and hurtful– bless them too
really? really?
yes bless them too as they struggle to find a
needed healthy path to the new one in front of them
bless them

bless them
the friends who don’t understand and are full of questions
the friends who do understand and reach out in love
the teachers and coaches who welcome them into spaces of learning and play
the pastors who walk with them on this journey to their new way of being in the world
bless them

Elizabeth Caldwell is a teacher, writer, quilter and gardener. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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A Blessing for a New Season of Life
by Sally Howell Johnson

May you know the humble wisdom of seed…gift of hope, promise of possibility, encouragement of new life.
May you know the wisdom of seed.

May you feel the gift of soil…grounding of place, nourishment of Mother Earth, honoring of Home.
May you feel the grounding of soil.

May you experience the power of Sun… brilliance of Light, warmth of Father Sky, energy of all that grows.
May you experience the energy of growth.

May you be bathed in the nourishment of water…quenched of all thirst, awash in the River of Life, swimming in the remembrance of your baptism.
May you be awash in the waters of life.

May you be held in the Spirit of air…wind of inspiration, breeze of contentment, Breath of ever-enlivening Mystery.
May you be held in the Breath of the Spirit.

Blessing of seed, soil, Sun, water and air be yours to carry you into this new season of your life.

Sally Howell Johnson is a writer and liturgist whose blog, Pause, is found at She is the author of The Practicing Life: Simple Acts.Sacred Living. She is a retired United Methodist minister.

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Blessing the Water we Drink
by Rev. Laura Bogle

This water is sacred, for water is life.
May this water nurture us in body and in spirit, reminding that we are surrounded by all we need, a wellspring of Love spilling forth. Let us not take that Love for granted, may we be better protectors of the sacredness of life.
May this water show us the way of perseverance, always finding a way through cracks, wearing away the hard places, and becoming cloud to cross dry deserts. Like water, ice and vapor let us embrace the possibilities of transformation, without fear.
May this water remind us that all life is change, that we are changing people, that every day we have chances big and small to do better and to be better. Let the changes in our own lives ripple out to touch other shores.
May this water remind us that even when we feel dispersed and separate, like water droplets, we are bound together on a journey to the sea. Let us recommit ourselves to being on that journey together, with grace and love for one another.
This water is sacred, for water is life.
Let us drink to life.

Rev. Laura Bogle is a Unitarian Universalist minister serving a congregation at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. She and her partner are raising 4 chickens, 3 children, 2 guinea pigs, and 1 dog.

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by BrodeeJoe Chacon

I feel im standing on a diving board looking into a pool,
The water runs so deeply you cant see the bottom,
It fades from aqua blue, to a deep navy, and then black,
A terrifyingly intoxicating beauty,
The surface of the water calls to me,
“Jump in, and let gravity guide you to me,”
Every syllable a small ripple in the glass like surface,
It calls again,
“Jump in, and let gravity guide you to me,”
My legs have long forgotten what it means to leap,
So i stay at the edge,
Wondering what it must feel like to dive into to depths,
To feel the cold embrace of the ineffable surround me,
Welcome me into the feeling of being weightless,
My body suspended in a mix of fear and wonder,
A last call from the waters surface rings softly
“Come, jump to me.”
But what if I drown in you?
What if you’re not what I thought you were,
Who they told me you were?
“Come and see.”
“Come and dive into me.”

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For those coping with serious illness
by Caralynn Hampson

May your pain be finite,
when each moment is unending.
May the breath of creation,
that forms dust into life,
fill your lungs to sustain you.
And if that air burns and stings,
may your exhale bring relief.

Caralynn Hampson is a college student who loves learning about biology and theology. They are currently being treated for cancer and when they aren’t in the hospital they love cuddling with their cat.

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O Beloved, soak in the rays of the sun
by Reid

You are ash and dust,
And to dust you return.

O Beloved, soak in the rays of sun.
Allow your breath to slow, and
Your heart to rest.
You are not the sum of your accomplishments.

O Beloved, float on the river with friends.
Laugh from your belly about that time
You shot milk from your nose and tears ran down your cheeks.
You are not the sum of your bank account.

O Beloved, feel the wind on your face.
Stand still with that warm embrace,
Speak the truth of this existence.
You are not here but for a rush of time.

O Beloved, that you would lie beneath the magnolia in the summer.
Her thick leaves protecting you from the heat
while you eat a chicken salad sandwich with your beloved.
You are not the speed of your productivity.

O Beloved, be blessed by the immutable truth of presence.
Learn, along with me, how to see:
This is the only moment.
Now this.
Now, this.
Now. This.

You are ash and dust,
And to dust you return.

Reid is an amateur writer, grateful spouse, and thankful parent. He lives in central Florida spending his day working with teachers and students.

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We Are Held
by M Rudder

We are held. We are held. We are held. We are held in the rocking currents of her waves. We are held as we bathe in the constellations of the night sky. We are held by the medicines of all our relatives. We are held on the inhale taking in that which is meant to carry us forward in this lifetime. We are held on the exhale moving close to the mystery of death. We are held. We are held. We are held. Held in the shape of our lungs. Held in the trees that breathe for us. Held in the light that heals. Held in the soil that feeds us. We are held. We are held. We are held. We are held in the magic of our being-ness. With never a request for us to be more. Or less. Or quiet. Or louder. Or thinner. Or stronger. Or peaceful. Or angry. We are held. Simply held. We are held. We are held by the mystery as we hold one another. We are held by the certainty of death in each moment that we live. We are held in our fear while we strive to live in our joy. We are held in our desire as we dance with our disconnect. We are held. We are held. We are held. We are held by our feet. Our breath. Our blood. Our relations. We are held. We are held. We are held.

M Rudder is a queer, non-binary, transmasculine artist, writer, and deep listener, grounded in earth-based practices and exploring what it is to listen and live as sacred.

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Blessing for National Parks and all Places where Meaning Shines
by Maren C. Tirabassi

For Denali and Death Valley, Shenandoah, Saguaro, and Sequoia, Acadia and Arches, Congaree and Carlsbad Caverns…for Isle Royal and Olympia, Yosemite and Badlands, Haleakalā and Dry Tortugas, and for so many others …

May your lands and waters, summits and gorges,
air and wild creatures, be touched gently.
May your fossil fuels be treasured underground.
May there be places of healing silence
in a world of great noise
and a refuge from light pollution,
so that stars once again are seen.
May your visitors be of all ages, races, faiths,
of all languages, abilities, countries –
those with travel budgets
and those who have little money,
but need peace, wilderness, a dream.
May you be protected from greed,
and open only to exploration by soft walkers.
May the histories of rock, river,
living beings with fur and fin, wing and scale,
be held precious
and rememberings of spirit spoken slowly.
May your sacred space be protected
from corporate invasion,
and returned to Indigenous communities,
where holy stories may be told again.
May children stand on the rim
of a canyon to wonder about the depth of souls,
and, as precious places are newly named –
may your numbers increase.

Maren C. Tirabassi is author or editor of twenty-two books, most recently, “Pitching our Tents: Poetry of Hospitality” in support of Interfaith work in the Republic of Georgia and “Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s and Other Poems.” She loves beagles, quilting, hiking, attending Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions and being a United Church of Christ pastor.

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Half the Time
by Rev. Wendy Bartel

There I was, in a kayak, owned by someone else
and generously shared, along with their lake house
my beloved assisting me into the low seat of the thing
and they hand me a paddle, I push away from the dock

It is quiet save for the splash of water with each stroke
slowly propelling me forward under a clear blue sky
I glance around to watch as my spouse moves carefully
paddling around our suddenly brave small shy dog

The sound of large powerful wings catches our attention
and we bear witness to a bald eagle hovering then diving
and the immense splash as talons grip fish and wings flap
pulling the bird and breakfast aloft and away to a grove.

We gently paddle some more, in awe of what we have just
witnessed and then we hear it, the low and piercing call
of melancholy, the mournful sound of a loon that catches
my heart with its wail of longing, ‘where arrrrre you?’

And that yearning mingles with my own calling to connect
with the holy, to serve the Love that holds us all, to be lost
and found in the mystery, that so often feels elusive and
yet on this lake, with my beloved and our dog, It is here.

On our way back, I note that at least half the time we are
paddling in the wrong direction, each stroke is course
correcting, each breath a surrender, and another blessing.

Rev. Wendy Bartel (name/not/pronouns/please) co-ministers in the Unitarian Universalist tradition. Honoring this sacred Earth upon which we live, Wendy loves queering the(*)logies and imagining the world that’s possible when we’ve dismantled the ableist, classist, hetero-patriarchal white supremacy culture and healed our hearts.


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A Blessing for Having One Foot Out of the Closet
by Kaleigh Corbett

It’s almost like
A partly cloudy day
Where every so often
You get a glimpse
Of the sun
Shining in between
The clouds
There’s a moment
Where you look up
To the sky
And notice
The sun.

You breathe in.
You feel your lungs
Fill with air.
You feel your body
Fill with warmth.
You feel your heart
Relax a little.

The sun
As quickly as
It came.

The cloud
The light

But you hold
Inside of you

What is possible

The glimpse
Of what could be.
Of what
Might come.

The sun will

And that
Is a blessing
In and of itself
When the days
Are full of clouds
And there are no
Glimpses of sun.

It’s a reminder
Of what is possible.
That the sun will return.

So may you hold onto
The glimpses of sun
Even when it feels
Like the cloudiest

As we know
The sun returns
And someday soon
It will not be partly
But you will
Be living
In the sun.

Rev. Kaleigh Tomich Corbett is a queer ordained United Methodist clergy woman. She is currently finding her sun on the Connecticut shoreline with her partner, Leyna and son, Jesse.

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For the one with cancer
by Sandee Prouty-Cole

“How are you doing?”
“I am praying for you.”
“Well, you look good!”
“Let me know if you need anything.”

Well intended thoughts of care and concern
which somehow miss the mark.

Was I truly created for this suffering,
both to my body and now to my soul?

To feel so alone, down to the last cell in my body,
fighting to stay healthy and alive.
To feel so alone, down to the depths of my soul,
wondering if anyone will ever truly understand
the fatigue, the pain, and the emotional toll
that is part of this battle that I now must face.

And yet, You do…

You understand the pain and emotions of human suffering.
You sit with me when I am waiting, alone.
You wrap me in peace when my nerves are on edge with worry,
when I fear what the future will hold.
You beg me to let go, to release it all to You.
You help me find joy and humor in the crazy little things
that I am now learning about my body.

And You hold me close within the depths of my soul…
…a beloved hurting healing human body and soul.

Sandee Prouty-Cole is a Certified Candidate for Ordination as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church, currently working as a Children’s Ministry Coordinator. She is the mother of Sophie, a very wise daughter, who is about to graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree.

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by Mandi Watson

Energy from a wave comes from being drawn. Drawn to the shore and to its end. For the rough edges of the sea have nowhere else to reach.

Energy, often thought to come from without, is actually found only from within. Within ourselves, as we too come to our own end and ponder the parts of us that need to reflect upon the water. A deeper understanding waiting, bubbling up and drawing us to who we really are.

Energy is found in movement, a rubbing against what was into what might be. A swelling within of hope, only possible when we crash, then ease into what’s left and worth keeping.

For energy cannot be harnessed until it’s observed, quietly watched, with no desire to take. Sat with, nudged into being and held with gratitude for its source.

Mandi Watson is a wife and mother of one who enjoys yoga, animals and practicing mindfulness. She loves sharing ways to help others increase a greater sense of their own awareness.

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Blessing for the Silence that Follows
by Rachel Mumaw

May the silence greet you,
May the silence catch you as the storms fall still.

May the silence strengthen you,
May the silence breathe for you when your breath is gone.

May the silence comfort you,
May the silence settle like a blanket onto your shoulders.

May the silence carry you,
May the silence buoy you up from the depths of what was.

May the silence bring you through what is to what will be.

Rachel Mumaw is a student at Perkins School of Theology, pursuing her Masters of Divinity. Her first novel, Jericho, was published in April of 2021. Some of her most profound experiences have occurred in the silence after the storm, and she prays that the silences of life will bring you peace and comfort.

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A Blessing for the Weary
by Tiffany Sapp

When earth and stone
Call you home
May you let go
And rest.

May you be welcomed by deep connections where you are already known.
May grace trickle down into the cracked stone of your heart.
And you feel the love that is always there for you,
So you can just be.

Let out that breath you’re holding,
And feel the earth embrace you:
The depths are here to hold you
When you can’t hold anything else.

Sink deeper
Into rest
Into earth

Where mycelial roots
cradle you
Where the mother’s loam
enfolds you.

Tomb becomes womb
Struggle becomes seed
Tears become fire

And every part of you is sacred.
And you are renewed once again.

Tiffany Sapp is a Unitarian Universalist minister that lives in the mountains of East Tennessee. She goes to the woods and the hollers regularly to be renewed.

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by Pamela Brothers Denyes

all is still,

out beyond the thoughts,
above my mantra,

where there is honest breath
but I am not the one breathing.

There is a body but I
am not feeling it.

There is only openness,
free-floating comfort,

where I am I
and I am not I.

Pamela Brothers Denyes is published in multiple Virginia writers’ journals, Shakespeare of Today, Wondrous World: Poems that Spark Magic, Vallum, Barstow and Grand V, and several international collections by The Poet Magazine. Her poetry has won awards in several competitions. Retired now, Pamela is harvesting forty years of poetry, song-writing, journals and travelogues to create new works—and fun!

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A Blessing for Reconnecting the Body
by Kelsey Aebi

I dreamed of a Lady in an ancient city.

She showed me a place where dead things were buried,
left forgotten in the deep water.

I found something there.
A body.

“What am I supposed to do with this body?”
I asked the Lady.

She told me, “Her muscles are your muscles.
Her tendons are your tendons. Her body is your body.”

The thought occurred to me,
shall I connect this body to my own?
But the Lady was gone.

I began to sew,
her muscles to my muscles and her tendons to my tendons.

But it hurt,
the planes of her body my body stretching in new ways.

Three healers came, friends of mine.
“We’ll help you connect your body,” They said.

One led me back to the deep water
and there I became whole.

The Lady is waiting still,
in the graveyard of deep water,
to help you find your body.

Kelsey Aebi is an Episcopal Youth Minister and avid dreamer from Chattanooga, TN. She likes to pray the rosary and spend time with her wife and her cats.

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A blessing for wanting to belong
by Jordan Miller-Stubbendick

Alone in the cafeteria, I grip my lunch tray,
slightly damp from its turn in the industrial dishwasher.
I seek a friendly face under the harsh fluorescent glare.

One Who Sees, you notice me standing there,
swirling with the fear that I am
not cool enough funny enough sparkly enough.

Friend Of My Heart, you are with me in that cafeteria
As I look around, taking shallow breaths.
Steady One, you catch my eye and smile, beckoning me over
There is a seat for me at your table—and for all of us
Who ever feel not cool enough funny enough sparkly enough.

Divine Embrace, you sweep all of me up
into your ever growing rainbow embrace
into your warm blanket of peace, of rest.

You say: Come. Sit with me.
Set down your fears and frantic striving.
I see you just as you are, and I love you always.
Yes, you are so much more than enough.
You belong, and there is a place for you here.

Jordan Miller-Stubbendick is a writer who lives in Buffalo, NY with her family.

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by Laura Ajayi

skin and glass
both break
sometimes together
sometimes each other
hairline cracks
thin red
if we squeeze tightly enough
will agonizing fragments nestle into soft palms?
If we squeeze tightly enough
will we staunch the wound?

Laura Ajayi is a mother-artist whose immersive, home-based practice is informed by the sensory and intellectual load of domestic life and child-rearing. Rooted in the tradition of self-portraiture, Ajayi works primarily in drawing, fiber arts, photography and text to explore relationships between sensuality and domesticity, perceptions of feminine identities, and the (abject) maternal.

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The Morning Light
by Cookie Cranston

Morning had broken, but barely. That morning light seeped in, filtered only by a few leaves that lingered on the branches of the near-naked flowering crab trees along the east side of the driveway, in perfect view from the window. My yellow chair facing that direction. So many, many days I sat there in the predawn darkness and watched the light murmur softly as it filled the sky with morphing tints and shades on the autumn horizon–shades of gray whisked in with blushing pinks and bold oranges and blended nautical hues of every combination. Deliberately mixing and romping with pastels and patterns as they crept in to fill the big vacant sky. Framing a new day. The sun always rises. I could count on it even though it looked bizarrely different each morning. Divine recreation for a new day no doubt. How that happened in such gradual, deliberate, finite moments. Just like life creeps in and creeps up on me.

​There was an unfamiliar briskness to the air outside. My canine companion leaped to my lap. My body to warm her while she napped. Her body to warm mine while the sun made its way up past the horizon, those colors slowly changing hues on their daily march across the sky. Across that big sky—lighting the way. Lighting my way. Giving me some sense of inspiration and hope. Direction. Sometimes just shadows, but they too were grounded in light.
​And just like the changing sky, so too were the events and drama and mixed blessings that unfolded each 24. Brace for it, I told myself. No two days alike. Ever! Some 45 years later here I am needing a way to plumb and balance all that was thrown at me. I would need extra doses of grace blended with that sunshine
In the days of caregiving, that sunrise was many times the only thing I could count on. The calm and warmth of sunrays. The calm before the chaos. The colors of morning. The colors of mourning. A light to bring me back to the center as the day passed. No matter how dark or long or lonely the nights. The dawn always comes. The sun always rises, and the earth is what we all have in common.

​The sun and my dog to greet me. What could be more important in this lonely moment!
​Only the shoes I was wearing perhaps? Probably none. What would my footsteps look like today?

Cookie Cranston – I have been writing for years, but much of it written just on my heart. After a 32-year career in a high school library, I began a second career as a writer. I freelance regularly for Guideposts, have published an essay in A COVID 19 ANTHOLOGY, written four children’s books and a memoir, not yet published. Plus much much more. My soul is imbedded in my writing.

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A Blessing for Complicated Relationships
by Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage

Spirit of Life, Spirit of a Greater Love that Holds us All,

I know You hold my heart in Your tender care,
I feel Your breath on my cheek with every warm embrace from
My beloved.
I feel You encircling my bones each time my Beloved holds me close and whispers in my ear that I am loved, I am worthy, I am whole.
I feel Your joy when we dance, laugh together and entwine our bodies and gleeful, mischievous Spirits.
I know You laugh when my heart is lightened by my pleasure as I delight in You and Your creation.
I feel You giving strength to the muscles of my core when my Beloved holds my hand tightly and confirms that All Will Be Well.

And Yet, Eternal Beloved, Heart of my Heart, Source of Peace and Good in this world and the Next.
I know my Beloved is not the perfect package I had hoped they would come to me in.
I know that their life is complicated and hard, fraught with tangled choices that predate our connection.
I know that they suffer as they hold many truths in one breath, even when there isn’t enough air to fill their lungs.
I know that none of this is mine to carry or hold – or even solve.
I know that I cannot fix any broken pieces in them.
I know that my faith has waivered time and again – in my beloved and even in You,
Yes, You, Holy of Holies, Sweet Sacred Pulse of Life.
For this, my Eternal Beloved, I seek your forgiveness.
I beseech You for your mercy and grace.

Search my heart and know that I am grateful for the many gifts and blessings of my life.
Search my heart and know that I am grateful for the many challenges of my life,
For in them, I draw closer to You – Oh Delicious Succor of my Soul.

In Your flames, I am lost.
In Your mercy, I am found.

In Your love and the gifts of Your love, I am made whole again,
And again.


Rebekah Savage is a Unitarian Universalist minister, serves a congregation in Maryland and a military veteran. Her heart follows the mystic path of service and strives for simplicity and collective liberation in a complicated world. Rebekah, her two awesome children and their pet corn snake, Elliot, live in Bethesda.

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A Blessing for Searching
by J. Andrew C. Gilbert

Let me find you in the spaces in between
Between the clouds and leaves
Against the blue sky
Between the tall grass blades
Sprawling through the hills

Let me search for you between the spaces of
Hills and valleys
Between rivers, and waves of
The oceans, that fall,

Between tears of broken hearts,
I keep looking for you there

There, where you greet me with a
Smile, where you hug me with
Warmth and a breeze of delight,
Where you teach me about how
Everything exists beyond myself

Your smile greets me with joy
I find joy in you. For you are
Always there

J. Andrew C. Gilbert is a visual artist and writer focused on bridging the worlds of faith, queerness, emotional health, art and mindfulness. He posts his work on Instagram, @jandrewcgilbert. Currently Andrew lives in Brazil, working to create a mindfulness art and faith center.

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Love is my Guide adapted from the 23rd Psalm
by Melissa C. Jeter

Love is my guide;I shall not falter
Love calls me to rest when I feel disconnected
Beloveds lead me to deep waters
Where I sit to think in solitude;
My mind and heart reshape and adapt
Love allows my ego to slowly sink Though I walk through the valley of chaos and inequity
I shall keep my heart and eyes open
For there is Elegance in patterns seen over time
Love is my breath of Breath
And just as long as I have Breath
I will keep steadfast on a moral path.

I am Black woman in ministerial formation for Unitarian Universalism.. I attend seminary at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, where the UU House of Studies is located. I am the student minister at First Unitarian Church of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.

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love holds me
by Brandon Roiger

love holds me
in my deepest despair
it searches and finds me
in what feels like nowhere

love holds me
in my goodness and gratitude
it guides me and carries me
it creates life anew

it comes as a song
or a walk through a grove of trees
it flows through the water
sometimes even through me

it might be a moment or a presence
surrounding me or by my side
i’m not always sure what it is
maybe existence, maybe the divine

however and whatever
love shows up to be
i’m just glad love comes at all
especially when love holds me

Brandon Roiger (he/they) is an abolitionist, chaplain, youth worker, and person who experienced childhood abuse. They are centered by abolition and transformative justice as spiritual frameworks for reframing how they and their communities approach harm.

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tears of (w)holiness
by Xan Kellogg

let your blood flow, my darling
let it rain down on the ground
every fear, every pain
each moment of suffering
let it fall from you
drain the terror hiding in your fragile heart

nourish the earth with the overwhelming depths of your experience
sorrow and joy are welcomed here
the Mother does not turn her face
vulnerability is the treasured offering

and as you pour out the last of your solemn rage
notice the sprouts nudging gently at your feet
bare soil whispering hints of colour and shape
for you are not a burden
it is your fullness of existence
which breeds growth in this place

In her dreams, Xan imagines herself as a wood nymph exploring the landscapes of both this magical world and her mind. You can often find her frolicking barefoot in the woods of Western North Carolina! The rest of the time she works as a family med doc helping the underserved.

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Cosmos Profaned
by Rye Galbreath

Holy Mother,

Your children are numinous as the stars in the sky, spread to every corner of the earth. We are vast, many, and varied. Saint, sinner, holy, profane.

But who are the stars to cast out their brethren? To look upon their ilk, to spit and banish those that make the constellations? For are they not your creations? Profane and holy, all fruits of your labor?

Great Mother, vast as the heavens above, do you look upon your children and weep? How great is your sorrow as the sky goes dark, each star cast out by another?

How boundless is the outcry of the cosmos? How much must you weep before tears run dry as your love pours down? When will the skies shine bright with lights once more?

When will you return to your children, and once again hold them in your embrace?


Rye Galbreath is a young person raised in the Southern Baptist Church. In adulthood, they are diving deep into a renewed understanding of divinity as ng not contained to the pulpit, but something present in everything and everyone. An aspiring seminarian, they hope to guide others through their own spiritual journeys, wherever they may lead.

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Who Am I?
by Joanne Spence

I am heavy
I am light

I am full
I am empty

I am shadow
I am bright

I am the me who sees and hears.

Oh, to the songbird
All the sights and sounds

Fluttering gently in my subconscious mind

I. Am. Here. Now.

God is closer than my breath.
That’s the me I see

Here. Now. Sensing Her presence

The Divine Feminine in me.

By Joanne Spence

Joanne Spence is the author of “Trauma-Informed Yoga: A Toolbox for Therapists.” She is a yoga teacher, social worker, and spiritual director. She likes to hike, bike, read, cook, dance, and travel, just not all at the same time

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Perspective blessings
by Andrea Simmonds

To the man whose clutching my hand
Waiting to hear the news
That thirty-five years will soon
Come to a soft hush escaping from
between cracked bone
Hoping for a miracle—possibility against all probability
Bless you.

To the woman wandering to the locked door of the church
Nearly catatonic from loose promises and mangled hurts
“I’ve been called an abomination, because I’m gay, pray for me please.”
Bless you.

To the person reading this, waiting on a sign.
Afraid that everything is all going to end—and yet nothing will change.
To the one holding their breath and waiting on the exhale of Sacred Wonder
“To say it’s all going to be ok.”
Bless you.

Rev. Andrea Simmonds is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She is originally from Suches, GA. She currently serves as full time oncology chaplain and lives in Kernersville, NC.

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Held in Your Promise
by Joseph Blotz


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Your Destination
by DC Sills

Light, I wish you light
I wish you light
To find your way
Light to find your way

Peace, may you find peace
May you find peace
On your journey
Peace on your journey

Love, only love
When you reach your destination
When you reach your destination
Only love
When you reach your destination

Love, Light and Peace
When you reach your destination
Love, Light and Peace
When you reach your destination

DC Sills is a singer-songwriter, pastor and occasional activist. She received her Masters of Divinity from Iliff School for Theology in Denver, CO. DC is currently growing a coffee-house worship service, Feed & Seed. She also facilitates the UBU CENLA, a Gay/Straight alliance for ages 12-19. DC is passionate about ensuring that folks understand that they are worthy & loved and nothing they do can ever change this fact.

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