Fixing numbers (that appear as text) in LibreOffice

Time to start cracking Unitarian Universalist Association numbers again. Congregational certification ends at the end of the month, and it’ll be exciting to see this year’s membership and financial numbers.

These days, one can download the certification numbers in a CSV file, which I then open in a LibreOffice spreadsheet. (And thanks to whomever made that improvement.) But anything with a dollar sign is essentially a text item, not a number to be manipulated.

If you find and replace all of the dollar signs, you will find that they were replaced by a single opening quotation mark.

See this page for instructions on how to successfully remove it. (This post is as much a reminder for myself as instruction for others.)

Happy data crunching!

Sunday-only calendar for 2018

Back in 2008, I put together a Sunday-only calendar as a planning tool for church worship leaders. It has been evergreen at by old blog, Boy in the Bands, and is probably the most popular item I’ve ever posted.

And so I’m crossposting it here. Enjoy.

You can also edit the OSD file in LibreOffice and (so it seems) newer versions of Microsoft Office. I included the rest of December 2017 and January 2019.

Lay centers service book: first thoughts

Returning to the Service and Hymn Book for the Unitarian League of Lay Centers, I wanted to share my process of understanding it. I think that starts with getting the texts of this hard-to-find book public. A searchable text also makes it easier to annotate, which then gets us closer to understanding how these early twentieth-century Unitarians viewed the liturgy, and from that their religion.

The “services” are really opening sequences, with a pastoral prayer: in a sense an abbreviated morning prayer before the hymn-framed sermon. It’s a familiar format. There are two forms here: the first two services are more elaborate, and for general use. The last three — Righteousness and Peace, A Service of Thanksgiving and a Commemorative Service — outside the sequence of numbered services are more elaborate, perhaps for use on civil holidays … or civil crisis.

The ten numbered services in the middle are an exended responsive reading matched to what might be called a “pastoral prayer.” That is, that kind of page-long, non-topical general prayer so often found in print in that era, and which continues as the most common genre of prayer in Unitarian Universalism (and elsewhere I bet.) A good period Universalist source of this genre, is Charles Hall Leonard’s 1915 Light and Peace and I bet many of my readers will also think of Rauschenbusch’s Prayers of the Social Awakening. My point is this: even without composing new prayers, it would have been easy for a local lay leader to match up extra prayers and extra responsive reading (they were commonly published in their own volumes, too) and club together new opening sequences, even if that meant obliging the members to buy a second book, or using a job printer. An appealing thought that.

Back to our text:

I thought it would be easier to dictate the text — around 9,500 words — into Google Drive and edit it from there, than to try and straighten all the photos of the pages and OCR them. I’ve included links to the page photos, and the “before” and “after” of the text editing below. (When I publish this page, I will not have started on the editing.)

Photos of the first (liturgical) part of the Lay Centers book

Lay Centers book as dictated

Lay Centers book as it be being edited

A Unitarian Te Deum

I’m looking to find liturgical elements in Service and Hymn Book for the Unitarian League of Lay Centers drawn from contemporary Unitarian works — and there were several. I thought it would be helpful to see what family of resources and what influences were in play.

The American Unitarian Association Book of Common Worship (1913) — only responsive readings — begins with, of all things, the late antique hymn of praise, the Te Deum, under the appropriate title “Praise to God.” It’s unusual because it’s hardly the most unitarian of texts, and so I include it here.

We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.

To thee all creatures cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein;
The vast array of thy creation continually doth worship thee, holy, holy, holy. Lord, God of the universe;

Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the apostles praise thee;

The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee;
The noble army of martyrs praise thee;

The holy church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee, the Father of an infinite majesty:
The everlasting Light of all that live, Spirit of grace and truth, the Comforter.

Thou art the King of glory, O Lord; thou art the ever blessed God our Father.
When thou lookest upon us in our low estate, thou dost not despise our humble prayer.

Thou settest us free from the bondage of sin, and dost open the kingdom of heaven unto all the faithful.
Thou callest upon us to enter in and to dwell with thee for ever.

We believe that thou art Judge of all the earth.
We therefore pray thee, help thy children, to whom thou hiast revealed the knowledge of thy love;

May we be found faithful in the keeping of thy law.
O Lord, save thy people, and bless thy heritage.

Govern them, and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee, and we worship thy name ever, world without end.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.

O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have we trusted; let us never be confounded.

Revisiting the Lay Centers book

More than three years ago, I wrote about a Unitarian effort about 110 years past for the creation of “lay centers” that in many ways anticipated the post-WWII Fellowship Movement. (This was itself called for ten years prior.)

There’s little said about this episode, and little evidence of it apart from a few articles and a small worship guide. I intended to say more about the book — famous last words — but it is fragile and rare enough that I did not want to subject it to a flatbed scanner.

2014-04-02 21.13.36

So I’ll pick up where I left off, and using my phone camera hope to find some efficiencies in bringing the contents of this book to light.

In the meantime, review those past articles:

Sources of prayers: an English book from 1903

The services before the Hymns of the Spirit include prayers and litanies from various sources, including the 1903 Devotional Services for Public Worship, by John Hunter. He was the minister of King’s Weigh House Church, then a Congregational church, in Mayfair, London.

You can read it at

I’ll see if there’s any commonalities, and if so I’ll note them below.

Crossposted at