Reflection: Send Me!

Reflection: Send Me!

By Rev. Dr Gaye W. Ortiz
Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta

This past week the marchers from America's Journey for Justice stopped in Augusta for several nights of Teach-Ins open to the public. Several of our members participated and also marched during the day along the route.
I was honored to be asked to make these closing remarks on Sunday night, August 23rd:
FullSizeRender of gaye at event
This past week I have been reflecting on this verse from the Scriptures: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!' -Is. 6:8
One of my favorite hymns as a teenager was “Here I Am, Lord.” Its first verse is the voice of God saying
“I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?”
And the chorus is the voice of Isaiah, saying
“Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.”
A young Jesuit priest, Dan Schutte, wrote this song for a friend who was being ordained. He had “always loved this passage where God calls Isaiah to be his servant and messenger to the people”, and Isaiah responds with both hesitation and doubt, but also with a humble willingness to surrender to God. If it was going to work, it would have to be God's power and grace making it happen.”
You, the marchers of Journey for Justice, might have heard that voice calling you in the night. And you might also have had some doubt, some hesitation…but you have come this far, and your belief in what is right and just has kept you on the road. “I will go Lord, if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart.”


For sure you are holding your people in your heart, the people of these United States, who see you as voicing the call to protect every American’s right to a “fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education”. (
If you read on in the book of Isaiah, you’ll find that “God is asking Isaiah to preach to his own country and that they will not even listen to him”. And some of you may feel that way tonight, that your country is not listening to your call for justice; but let me remind you of two men whoanswered the call for justice. The first, Rev. James Reeb, was a Unitarian Universalist minister who answered the call from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to come to Selma after the violent march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in the spring of 1965. He had a young family, he had rewarding work in his congregation in Massachusetts, but he heard the voice calling him to go. He died for that call, beaten on the streets of Selma by a group of white men with clubs. 
"Here I am, send me!"
Another man who, every day, answered the call for justice as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate, as a leader of the N.A.A.C.P. and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as a climate-change activist and an advocate for marriage equality, was Julian Bond, who died earlier this month.
In March of 1960, he helped draft an article called “An Appeal for Human Rights,” and it included this phrase: “Today’s youth will not sit by submissively while being denied all the rights and privileges and joys of life.” He was only 20 years old when he wrote that, and that same year he co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coördinating Committee. Five years later in 1965 he was elected to the Ga House of Representatives, but they refused to seat him until 1967 because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. (



So when you are marching in the days to come, and your feet are aching, and it’s hot and humid down here in the South, you might question that call that came to you to commit to this historic march. But turn your thoughts to those three men, the prophet Isaiah, Rev. James Reeb, and Julian Bond, centuries apart, civilizations apart, but each of whom held his people in his heart, each of whom answered the call to work for justice, for equality, each of whom said, “Here I am, send me!”
We pray today for the courage to step up to doing God’s work, in the name of all that is holy, Amen.


Rev. Dr. Gaye W. Ortiz, 8-23-2015



Four Seasons Chamber Jazz Series Featuring: Layla Angulo Friday, August 28th – 7:30pm

The Second Year of the Four Seasons Chamber Jazz Series kicks off on Friday, August 28th with Latin jazz performer Layla Angulo. The opening set will feature a favorite of the CSRA music scene, Edwin Eddybeat Hamilton. 
The concert begins at 7:30pm; tickets can be pre-ordered online at for pick up at the will call desk on the evening: $18 Regular, $13 Senior, $8 Student/Military. Tickets are also available at the door with payment by cash or credit card: $20 Regular, $15 Senior, $10 Student/Military. Refreshments will be available before the concert and during the intermission, we appreciate a donation (cash or card). You may pre-order via an online form here at this link:
Sax player and vocalist Layla Angulo brings a sizzling hot live salsa performance to Augusta. Layla is one of the only female saxophone players/singers/band directors in the world of Latin music today. As a Saxophonist, she spent a year on tour with Reggaeton Superstar, Don Omar, has toured with Tito Puente Jr., the Sugarhorns (Beyonce’s horn players) and played with many other grammy award winning artists. Her first CD, Live at The Triple Door was a huge success, especially in South America where her song ‘Que Te Vaya Bien’ became an underground hit. The song, as well as her current compositions, reached Semi-Finalist position in the International Songwriting Competition, and have received other awards and high reviews. See more about Layla on her website:

Registration for Children’s RE is HERE!

It’s Registration Time!!

Now is the time to fill out new 2015-2016 Religious Education Registration Forms for your children and youth!

Our goal is to have a new form (one with the years 2015-2016 at the top) on file for ALL children and youth. The first class to have 100% new forms by September 13th will get special recognition in the October Newsletter and have the first ice cream celebration. As each class reaches 100%, the class will be treated with their own ice cream social. Forms are available two ways. You may either download the form here at our website from this link and email them to our Director of Children's R.E. at her email address: . You may also print them and bring them to church to turn in. Forms are also available at the C.Y.R.E. Registration Table in the R.E. Hallway on Sunday. The new forms ensure we are up to date with contact information and details relevant to your child’s needs. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping us to meet this goal.

– Ruth Garrison and the C.Y.R.E. Committee

UUCA Green Sanctuary Assessment Survey

The results of the UUCA Green Sanctuary congregational assessment are ready for you to review and add to! Perhaps you carpool to church or bring sustainable snacks when you bring food for the coffee hour. Perhaps you are part of or work with a marginalized community, even if it’s not local. Do you have skills or knowledge that you would share as we work toward making our community more eco-friendly? These are the types of questions you can help us answer by following this link to review the information we’ve generated and provide additional information if you’d like: