Appeal, Gratitude, Delight, Lament (Or: Help, Thanks, Wow, This Stinks)

What is prayer? Fresh berries in a tiny container? A story in a driveway? A thumb on a forehead? A noise machine? A rudder? Shoes? Is it gratitude, recognition of a miracle, an appeal for help, a curse, an apology, longing, hope, grief? How do you pray? How have you been praying lately?

“To those who…deny the human spirit, I give you these chroniclers of its joys and sorrows, light and dark, hope and despair and say that they have but liberated what is in us all. Their dancing notes say, ‘Here it is! Humanity’s real self. Look! Isn’t it wondrous?”— From a poem written about Aubrey and Elwood, “The Folk Singers” by Philip R. Pearson, Jr., longtime member of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, published in his book Poetry is to be Consumed, Vantage Press, NY.

Folk singers and multi-instrumentalists, Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly present American and Celtic songs with unique vocal harmonies, guitar, mountain dulcimer, Irish whistle, harmonica, banjo, and more. Aubrey and Elwood are long-time members of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, as well as part of two theological, action, and contemplation groups. They have spent many years performing in and visiting churches throughout the United States and beyond. Aubrey and Elwood hosted a monthly community spiritual gathering, “Church in the Barn,” in Foster, RI from 1997-2012, a community experience that they will forever treasure. Married since 1989 (by Rev. Tom Ahlburn), Aubrey and Elwood have performed widely in the United States. Their 13 recordings receive international airplay.