Winter Solstice Worship Service 2023

Dear Community,

Here is a recording of our Solstice Service. We hope you are able to find grounding for the remaining months of Winter ahead and find nourishment in both the darkness and the light.

The Winter Solstice occurs when Earth’s axis tilts away from the sun, making it the shortest day and longest night of the year for those living in the Northern Hemisphere. It also marks the time of celebration that daylight begins to grow to shed more light on us Earth!

Join us the evening BEFORE the Winter Solstice for music, reflection, meditation, and spiritual grounding.

On this longest night, we featured the work of the Energy Democracy Project and shared a portion of our offering with them. Let’s work for light for all on the longest night of the year. Our service is part of the larger arc of Clean Energy as a Human Right being led by Side with Love. 

Order of Service

Welcome and Chalice Lighting – Rev. Kelly Dignan

Gathering MusicWe Shall Be Known by MaMuse – Li Kynvi and Kristin Leary

Story Winter Solstice Across Traditions – Rev. Jerrie Hilldebrand

MessageWinter and Light – JeKaren Olaoya

Light Art – JeKaren Olaoya

MusicI Am Light by India.Arie Simpson – Li Kynvi and Kristin Leary

Meditation – Rev. Kelly Dignan  

Message Light for All – Crystal Huang, National Coordinator, Energy Democracy Project

Offering – Rev. Daniel Lawlor and Zoë Johnston
Donation link:  (In the comment section, please add “Winter Solstice”. A portion will be shared with The Energy Democracy Project.)

MusicWinter Solstice Round by Becky Reardon – Li Kynvi and Kristin Leary

Closing Words and Extinguishing the Chalice – Rev. Kelly Dignan

Closing MusicLord of the Dance; melody: American Shaker song Simple Gifts; original Christian lyrics by Sydney Carter with alt. lyrics crowd sourced from various Pagan sources & adapted by Li Kynvi 
Li Kynvi and Kristin Leary

UUMFE Staff Participating


JeKaren Olaoya (she/her) is a life-long UU, poet, writer, mixed-media artist, and Chaplain to religious professionals.

She serves on the UUA Board of Trustees and has an MDiv with Chaplaincy concentration from Starr King School for the Ministry. As an earth-based African spiritualities practitioner with foundations in Christianity, she draws from the guidance of her ancestors for spiritual care.

Rev. Jerrie Hildebrand serves as a consultant to the board of trustees of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans as President Emerita.

She is accountable for organizational communications. She is an ordained minister with Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin and attends First Church Unitarian in Salem, Massachusetts. She is an co-editor and co-author of the book, “Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism”. 

Crystal Huang, National Coordinator, The Energy Democracy Project

The Energy Democracy Project serves as a collective resource to advance the work of organizations democratizing energy for everyday people across the country. It consists of a decentralized group of Project Collaborators who believe in the idea that community ownership and control of the clean energy transition are a means to bring about racial and economic equity. 

Music Provided by :

Li Kynvi (they/them) is the student minister-in-residence at First Parish Church of Groton, MA.

They have worked 17 years as a hospice music therapist and are a candidate for UU ministry, completing their MDiv at Starr King School for the Ministry. Li leads a weekly hybrid singing-as-a-spiritual-practice group

Kristin Leary is happily retired and sings
with Li whenever she can.

She lives in Haverhill, MA, with her cat.

Much gratitude! Tech support provided by: Wendy Weirick

Side with Love:

UU Women’s Federation:

UU Congregation of Danbury

UU College of Social Justice

UU Church of Richmond

…and more to come!