Invocation for the LA County Board of Supervisors

May 16, 2017

Thank you for the honor of addressing you this morning. My name is Rev. Hannah Petrie and I serve The Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City. Our church has been a hub for 12-step meetings for over 50 years – we rent out space at low cost for over 40 meetings a week. We advocate to end needless gun violence. We host a “Laugh Out Proud” LGBTQ comedy night each month. We UUs embody justice and compassion in our families and wider communities. Part of my church’s covenant says, “service is our prayer.”

We believe you have to work hard toward right relationship, which makes it holy work. That’s what your work is, too, Honorable County Supervisors.

You are the role models and advocates of right relationship, stewards of all who dwell in this vast and vibrant region of America. A region that is as flagship and influential as you dare make it. Never doubt the seismic impact of your power on our nation’s course, and inevitably, our history.

So take a moment to settle into your soulful and sacred space, whatever that means for you. Close your eyes if you like, breathe deeply, and let yourself take pride in your holy work,

When there are impossible decisions to make and you must make them,

When you choose to lead by protecting the least among us,

(the undocumented, the elderly and disabled, the homeless),

When you lead with generosity and boldness, in service of the truth,

It is holy work.

I have a more specific message to deliver, from Pasadenans Organizing for Progress, or POP!, where I serve on the Executive Board, and where we advocate successfully for some of the strongest sanctuary city policies in the nation. Our full-time organizer is a Dreamer and an attorney.

First, thank you for your bold action taken for the Legal Defense Fund. POP applauds all who voted in favor. But second, please don’t carve out loopholes in the Legal Defense Fund. This is no time for Swiss cheese policy, when so many immigrants across our embarrassed nation are targets of exclusion, cast out with nothing, the tactic of a tyrant who deals only in absolutes.

A bungling Sith the likes of which no world has ever known.

Let California respond with our own style of absolutes: unity, leadership, common sense, compassion.  An historical grasp that we are a young nation of immigrants.

May your work today be holy work, for everyday is a chance at salvation, in that refuge of conscience, integrity, and vision.

Blessings of foresightedness upon you, and AMEN.

Then I got my picture taken with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who was hilarious moments before when she explained that after my invocation, we would turn and salute the flag.  “But I don’t salute myself,” she said.  “I just stare at the flag and ask, what the hell happened to my country?”  She puts her hand on her heart, as do I, to recite the pledge.

Just another morning in my clergy hustle, this holy racket I humbly serve.

PS.  Okay, I didn’t actually utter, A bungling Sith the likes of which no world has ever known.  But I bet if I had, the Honorable Sheila Kuehl would have chortled.  I opted for civility, that dwindling precious resource.