▶️ Three Suggestions for the New Year January 7, 2024
Wisdom to remember from a clay tablet a potter gifted Rev. Jim on which she’d inscribed three koans of life advice he’d been given and returned with from his month long journey to Panama. A tablet handed down with three guides for right relationship with life; sounds like a familiar ancient story that had ten, but they were in the form of commandments.
▶️ Breathing Love December 31, 2023
We have hymns that borrow from loving kindness meditations; and many of us have learned stress-reduction meditations for self-love. Eric Dittmar is planning a participative event using these and one more—not to deliver a lesson, but to let you explore a message about love that lies in these methods.
▶️ Letting Go of Our Dearest Illusion December 17, 2023
Chris writes: “We may think we know who we are, and where we are. But our self-image and our understanding of our world may have evolved when we were very young, without much grown-up reflection or revision. I am 80. If I’m ever going to see through this illusory, imaginary self, in an illusory, imaginary world, the time is now. Today I’ll say a little about my efforts to look beyond this limiting story. I’ll also invite you to look at your story, and what may await you as you see beyond it.”
▶️ The Gift(s) We Are December 10, 2023
While searching for gifts to give, take a moment to look no further than yourself. Take a holiday from the constant outside messaging of what you don’t have and the internal critique of who you are not. Pause and unwrap the gifts you are as this person, this people, this congregation. Let’s free up some appreciation, self compassion and determination so we might better enjoy who we are while living the process of the who(s) we think we need to be.
▶️ You Gotta Own It December 3, 2023
My daughter shared that insight in the middle of our raft trip of 24 days through the Grand Canyon in December, 2019. It was cold. I was suffering and the Canyon is the ultimate “no way out only through” experience. “Ya gotta own it, Dad,” where “own” is embrace and love and “it” is me, who I am here and now. That “a-hah” moment and phrase have become my guide, touchstone and koan in more adventure, study, personal growth and then the solitude, isolation, limitations and disruption of navigating the pandemic. My hope is that our reflections together reveal a helpful touchstone or two for you as we enter this Holiday season together.
▶️ Guest At Your Table November 26, 2023
The alarming rise of fascism, authoritarianism, and nationalism in the United States and in many places around the world is putting the lives of people, and the sustainability of the planet, in critical danger. These far-right forces have co-opted the word “freedom” for their own purposes, but the concepts of liberation and freedom mean something very tangible to UUSC’s grassroots partners in communities the world over.
▶️ Preoccupied November 19, 2023
We often feel like our lives are being taken over by outside events and influences. The Sunday before Thanksgiving marks the onset of the likelihood of added holiday season stress and alienation. With gratitude, appreciation and mindful reflection we can reoccupy ourselves and share in the fullness around us.
▶️ Hope That Works November 12, 2023
The accent is on “works”. The title is not a wish, but a statement. We’ll share an understanding of hope for right now, hope-in; hope that makes a real difference and brings true joy into every day whether in the face of climate change, illness, politics or the simple overwhelm of too much. Hope-in that resides within our larger hopes and fears is a practice “at the core of who we are already.”
▶️ The Chalice of Our Being: a Spiritual Compass November 5, 2023
Rev. McKinley shares how our UU chalice works for him as profound symbol and spiritual compass. He uses it to ground and focus him amidst the confusions of the constructed world. It brings him back to our home in the cosmos and right place in life.
▶️ A Spiritual Facelift October 29, 2023
Our UU tradition encourages lifelong spiritual growth, even including that encouragement among the seven principles. But just what does spiritual growth look like? If you described how you have grown spiritually since becoming a UU, what would your description say? This service reflects what we might mean when we speak of spiritual growth and how that shapes our choices, as individuals and as congregations.
▶️ My Religious Perspective to Life and Love: A Big Picture Orientation October 22, 2023
I think of religion as a word of orientation. I don’t think of it as a boxed set of beliefs. And Unitarian Universalism is the religious tradition and community that best orients and informs my life journey and spiritual practice. I’ll introduce a simple organizing understanding I use to give it more form and help guide me on my way. My hopes are that it might also speak to you.
▶️ Walking the Path that Comes to You October 15, 2023
It goes by different names. Depending on the culture and the people and the period of time in which they found themselves, it’s been called ‘the journey.’ Or ‘the path.’ Or ‘the way.’ But what they all have in common is a spiritual awakening. An alignment to bring their head and their heart and their soul in sync with everything else around them. Sometimes, to find it, it’s necessary to go and walk the right path. Sometimes, however, the right path comes to walk with you.
▶️ The California Reparations Report October 1, 2023
In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsome and the California State Senate and Assembly helped create a Task Force to study the issue of Reparations. It’s premise has been to acknowledge and address the systemic inequities experienced by African Americans exacted by 160 years of slavery on today’s political, legal, financial, cultural, environmental, social standing and rights. We are blessed to welcome Donald Tamaki, one of the 9 members of the task force to explain its work.
▶️ Lessons on Listening, Learning and Leadership September 17, 2023
Sometimes, we feel called to go prove a point. We are captured by a conviction that someone needs to be taught a lesson. So we summon our courage and strap on our suit of righteousness indignation and are surprised when people turn away and fail to appreciate our brilliance and wisdom!! The world, right now, is in a battle for the hearts and minds of society. If our goal is to influence people, it is love – not indignation – that will prove to be the better tool. This is a service about the war of disinformation we are currently in and what we need to win.
▶️ As the Water Rises, Remembering We’re Blessed September 9, 2023
In this year’s annual ingathering service, we’re going to invite the beloved non-humans in our household to recognize and celebrate the thing that all living things need more than anything else: Water. Plan to bring your pet to church and we will explore how our animals help us to be more loving and humane.
▶️ Connecting the Congregation September 3, 2023
As described in the book, ”The Song of the Cell,” our own human cells evolved from single celled organisms that were capable of living independently. Over evolutionary history, our cells determined that the benefits of interdependence resulted in better survival. Although we as individuals can survive to some degree in isolation, we do better together. The Encouragement Committee has a role in helping each Individual feel connected to the others.
▶️ How to Explain Unitarian Universalism without a Pamphlet August 27, 2023
Think about those times when someone has seen the flaming chalice pin or necklace you’re wearing and asked, ‘oh… UU… what’s that? What do you say? How do you explain this church? These people? This history? This way of being religious – WITHOUT – telling them everything we’re NOT? Come to this service if you want to hear how we claim this faith tradition with excitement and pride! QUESTION: What is Unitarian Universalism?
▶️ A Slight Change of Plans August 20, 2023
What is it about change that makes us feel so terrified to face and yet so terrific to have experienced. Something happens at our core that feels existentially vulnerable when we release control on certainty. Sometimes fear of change is so powerful we will foresake everything in order to avoid facing it. The relationship we forge with change will determine our circumstance, our company, our politics and our legacy. In this service we will finally ask the question, ‘what’s so good about change?’
▶️ Growing ‘Yes’ Brain Souls August 13, 2023
The service this Sunday is really special. MPUUC will have our first Child Dedication service in nearly 4 years. And we’ll have not only ONE child dedication, but THREE. Three families will bring their children and their promise to make MPUUC part of their lives. And they will ask for promises in return. Which brings up the question: What, exactly, do we promise when we accept the honor to dedicate ourselves to a child’s upbringing? And what is required to make good on such promises? In this service, created by Rev. Greg and Ariel Smith-Iyer, we will explore the work and commitment in creating a positive and loving place for learning.
▶️ Music at Mission Peak: A Harmonious Future August 6, 2023
This service will explore the range of music possible as we transition to more live performances and, eventually, an expanded music program. Von Bringhurst, our new choir director, will lead the service, the choir will sing both in-person and virtually, and other Mission Peak musicians and musical groups will delight you with their live and virtual offerings. A magnificent celebration of our musical future at Mission Peak!
▶️ Real Self Care Beyond Bubble Bath July 30, 2023
In a stressful world we all need to have self care. Something more than a bubble bath or fancy tea service, even a massage. True self care involves the kind of moves that keep the same stressors from continuing. It mey involve changes or setting limits or reframing one’s view of life. Not easy but true self care can open up new paths forward.
Mark Rahman will lead the service and assisting will be Worship Associate Rev. Barbara Meyers. Worship Host will be David Gibbons. Peak Performers and Peak Rocks will provide our music.
▶️ MY GOD July 23, 2023
Though we Unitarian Universalists do not have any required or standard theology, we have our individual understandings of the divine. My understanding of divine began to develop in my youth, and has continued to grow and shift throughout my life. From studying many belief systems from many sources, I have realized that there are many meanings of the word GOD. As a result, I have concluded that I am an atheist, an agnostic, and a theist, all three, depending on which meaning of GOD is used. I will recount some of the GODs in which I do not believe, some concerning which I am uncertain, and what I do believe. MY GOD is abstract, consisting of the concepts of LOGIC, TRUTH and LOVE. My faith is that these can consistently guide my life.
▶️ UUA General Assembly 2023 July 16, 2023
General Assembly 2023 was eventful with a new UUA President selected, much work on Article II of the UUA bylaws, and some inspiring speeches. Come learn what is happening in your denomination.
▶️ Poetry – Love’s Longing to be Known July 10, 2023
For almost 7 years a group of people from MPUUC have met twice a month (for the last three years there have been two groups) to read poetry. Reading poetry, as one poet once said, is like ‘opening your soul to 9 centimeters’. Longings, lament, wonder, wisdom, joy and sorrow spill out and are held by the group to see what meaning can be made. But, really, more than the words, we hold one another with our best attention. This service will have members of the poetry groups sharing the poems they think of when they think of Mission Peak.
▶️ The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling! July 2, 2023
What is happening to our democracy? Banned books, the Dobb’s decision, the repeal of child labor laws, a flood of anti trans laws, and Florida’s most recent law prohibiting Chinese people from purchasing property in the state. All of this is dangerous, and damaging to democracy. Though recent word from TN supporting free speech was welcome news, the onslaught continues. How dangerous are things really?
▶️ The Silent Nest June 25, 2023
There is a deep human need that’s met when we feel deeply connected to something truly valuable. We need to feel needed and essential to something larger than ourselves that, itself, is essential to the world. We’ve all probably spent times in our lives struggling with wondering about our place in the world and where, how and why we matter. In this service, beloved member Don Ramie will explore how this question played out in his life and how it helped him find his way to this Mission Peak community.
▶️ Our Living Tradition is Changing… Again?!? June 18, 2023
One of the big changes that Unitarian Universalism has been considering at this week’s General Assembly is the process of changing Article II of our UUA bylaws. This is the section where our 7 Principles and Purposes are listed. MPUUC and nearly 300 other congregations have adopted an 8th Principle (which emphasizes the need to see everything through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression). Changing our Principles is significant. But not unprecedented. This service explores some different perspectives on how we got to this place in our Principles and how we might move forward.
▶️ Wisdom of Sages June 11, 2023
Certain cultures, following ancient wisdom, suggest that there is a special wisdom that comes with time and experience. Many cultures put elders at the center of the community so that their insights and stories might help illuminate and prepare those paying attention how to cultivate more meaning from life. In this service we will hear from a number of our MPUUC Sages as they pass on some of their secrets of a good life.
▶️ From Sameness to Choice – A Flower Communion Fable June 4, 2023
This fable explores how people who find themselves in places of Sameness learn how to discover Choice. It is the story of Bob who represents everyone that yearns to leave the safety of sameness and to trust they won’t get lost or forgotten by being authentically themselves in a vastly diverse world. By accepting his own – and others – differences, Bob discovers the power of love to attend, accept and appreciate being different as beautiful.
▶️ Hildegard of Bingen May 28, 2023
Join us with guest preacher, Rev. Ruth Rinehart, Interim Minister at Starr King UU Church in Hayward. What does astonishing 12th century German nun, Hildegard of Bingen, have to say to Unitarian Universalists today?
▶️ The First Thing to Know about the 2nd May 21, 2023
The right to bear arms has a history even longer – and clearer – than our country’s history. It has been cited by proponents as a non-negotiable right belonging to early colonists who had to protect themselves in the wilderness. It was a central issue in the war of independence to remain sovereign from foreign interests; and it was central to the intense negotiations behind passing the rights guaranteed in our Constitution. But Carol Anderson’s book, The 2nd, points out that there is a common factor connecting our safety, our sovereign interests and our rights. Her book clearly explains that she is neither for or against the 2nd. But she is adamant about the first thing everyone needs to know about the 2nd.
▶️ I’ll Love You Forever May 14, 2023
Our relationship with our mothers is one of both tenderness and tension. Rare indeed is the individual who had every need of mothering met by the mother they were given. It is part of our rite of passage to be born into absolute dependence, struggle with differentiation to achieve independence and then, if we’re lucky, to build a meaningful interdependence. This is a sermon written by Rev. Greg and his mother in the last few years of her life as they tried to make sense of the love they shared.
▶️ A Religion that Sends You to Hell May 7, 2023
As a theological thread in the fabric of religion, Unitarian Universalism comes from two separate strands that didn’t give much credence to the notion of Hell. Early Unitarians are said to have believed themselves created too good by God to be sent to such a place. Universalists, on the other hand, believed that God was too good to send anyone there, much less create such a place to begin with. Yet the widespread references to such a place – even today – is evidence that many people not only believe in it but are quite willing to tell people to go there. What is a modern Unitarian Universalist supposed to think?
▶️ Everything Must Change April 30, 2023
10AM Sunday, 4/30/2023, Rev. Connie Simon
Change is inevitable. It is always happening within, among and inside us. Sometimes change is welcome and other times not so much. How do we cope and even embrace it? Rev. Connie Simon, Interim Minister at the UU Church of Davis, is our special guest Worship Leader.
Order of Service
▶️ THIS is Jeopardy!! April 23, 2023
Rev. Greg went out and recruited some exciting surprise guests from MPUUC’s past to play Jeopardy!. Because the service is celebrating Earth Day, all of the Jeopardy! categories will have something to do with Earth Day, climate change or environmental justice. If you love MPUUC’s past and care about the environment, you won’t want to miss this compelling call for us all to know what’s happening and what’s needed.
▶️ The Better Angels of Our Nature April 16, 2023
Sometimes we find ourselves in a conflict of feeling torn. We’re called toward something new, but with an uncomfortable and unshakeable loyalty to what is being replaced. This is a service where we explore the conversation that divided the nation – and still does. We will look at some of the history and lessons about the price we pay for memorializing our woundedness instead of entertaining the better angels of our nature.
▶️ Easter as a Second Language April 9, 2023
Have you ever had someone tell you a story and it was so hard to understand it felt like they were speaking in a foreign language? Unitarians Universalists have, for much of their recent history, had that kind of experience when listening to the story of Easter. This Sunday, we will look at the words and explore their usage – much like is commonly done in English as a Second Language courses. Perhaps, at the end of the class, we might finally understand what some people mean when they talk about Easter.
▶️ Opening the Door April 3, 2023
We as UUs are often called to open doors to new understanding and yet struggle with change. Perhaps the answer resides in how we perceive the world and the biases we bring to the conversation. Can we, are we capable of residing and living into the opportunities the open door of change reveals?
▶️ The Brain Trust Behind Any New Deal March 26, 2023
From the very beginnings of this ‘experiment called democracy’, the U.S. has been caught in the middle of an age-old fight: between the founding fathers (who were land-owning, educated, white men) and the second tier (in terms of privilege) and ever more populous in number: the people. Much of the official-speak that comes from us includes phrases like ‘We the people…’ but for the most part, it was elite wealth at the center and the people in the margins. But for a short time, the margins gathered together and occupied the center. In this service we will recall that moment and praise the person who helped it happen.
▶️ Our Religious Imagination March 19, 2023
One of the struggles of our human condition is our frequent inability to view the world from another person’s perspective. This seems to be a problem religiously, politically, and culturally – creating significant divisions amongst us. Our Unitarian Universalist religious tradition places great emphasis on the use of reason to interpret our lived experience to derive spiritual meaning and ethical guidelines. This worship service will explore how engaging our imagination can enrich our spiritual life by gaining a wider perspective beyond our own experience.
▶️ Loving From the Insight Out March 12, 2023
What makes you shine? And how does the light you possess brighten the world around you? Those are hard questions for Puritan minded folks who were taught not to pay any mind to the light within. But, often, they don’t prove much easier for UUs who, on the one hand eschew archaic religious ways of thinking; but on the other still have trouble and ‘hide their light under a bushel.’ Still, if we believe our first principle, none of us are an exception. Or a mistake. In this service we will explore Marianne Williamson’s oft cited concern: ‘it is our light – not our darkness – that most frightens us.’
▶️ Inconceivable!!! March 5, 2023
In the 1987 movie, ‘The Princess Bride’ the character of Vizzini (played wonderfully by Wallace Shawn) keeps watching his evil plans be thwarted by the heroics of protagonists, Westly and Buttercup. ‘Inconceivable!’ he cries. This is a service where we try to imagine a world without the inventions, the heroes and she-roes and the various influences, movements and events that saved the day and bent the moral arc of the universe toward justice.
▶️ Our Zeroth Ministry February 26, 2023
While Mission Peak has a minister, we have a shared ministry; but what does that mean? Eric Dittmar wants to reflect on the word “ministry,” and suggest that we have a ministry that comes—not first amongst our congregational priorities—but before we set goals for our shared ministry.
▶️ Temptation February 19, 2023
We all remember the 7 Deadly Sins (now what was that last one?) that are considered temptations. But there are parts of our inner being that can lead us astray often without our knowledge. They become habits that are part of a natural order as considered by our inner being. Can we unlearn the habits of a lifetime and see when we are taking an easy path that leads away from the right relation?
▶️ Love Hero February 12, 2023
Cornell West once said that “Justice is what Love looks like in public.” Each year, MPUUC celebrates a ‘Love Hero’ – a person or group who exercises the kind of ‘public love’ that resembles and inspires justice. This year, our Love Hero is Sergio Jaime Lopez who has successfully navigated our broken immigration system to attain asylum status and is now working on the 12-18 month process of bringing his family to the U.S. from Nicaragua.
▶️ The Myths and Realities of True Love February 5, 2023
Falling in love is the euphoric moment when we discover someone with the unique combination of what you’ve always wanted and needed: attention, acceptance, appeciation, affection, allowance – what David Richo calls ‘the 5 A’s of Love’. And, somehow, you muster the courage to go all in. You find – or borrow – enough to lower the powerful shield of our ego, and rejoice and make promises that bind you in that reunion with connection. But there are downsides as well. As he meanders through his 4th year as a married man, this is Rev. Greg’s chance to talk about the promises and pitfalls of True Love.
▶️Louise L. Celebration of Life February 4, 2023
1PM Saturday, 2/4/2023, Rev. Greg Ward.
A recording of the Celebration of life for Louise L.
Order of Service to Download
▶️ Finding Your True Self January 29, 2023
In this book, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, Father Richard Rohr likens the true self to a diamond buried deep within us, formed under the intense pressure of our lives, that must be searched for, uncovered, and separated from all the debris of ego that surrounds it. In a sense, the true self must, like Jesus, be resurrected. That process is not resuscitation, but transformation. What would your true self look like if it was excavated? Let’s explore a few ideas about revealing true ourselves.
▶️ The Good Ancestor January 22, 2023
We live in the age where we’re subject to the tyranny of the ‘now.’ Driven by Facebook, tweeting, 24/7 news, and the ‘buy-now’ button. But the obsession with the immediate has further decimated our abilities for long-term planning. And the truth is resolving the problems we currently face – from climate change to pandemic response – are long-term conversations. Drawing from Roman Krznaric’s brilliant book, we will explore six ways we can become time rebels and learn to think long.
▶️ Belum January 8, 2023
Greek philosopher Heraclitus once talked about our quest for stability and permanence and the pain that’s inevitable in a world that never stops evolving. He said, ‘The only thing constant in this world is change.’ Buddhists have a similar take, citing ‘impermanence’ as a more accurate descriptor of what we often call ‘reality.’ This is what led them to the third noble truth which describes suffering as brought about by attachment to the way things are. Before we can get to anything resembling enlightenment, we have to learn to accept change.
▶️ Why Democracy? January 1, 2023
Unitarian Universalist principles include “the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large,” but the need for democracy is much deeper. Not only is it a mechanism for realizing other U-U principles, it is also basic to the survival of humanity. Worship leader Paul Davis has delivered previous messages on the functioning of democracy; this message will explore the importance of democracy.
▶️ The Gift of Greatest Price December 18, 2022
The midwinter holidays are filled with generosity and gift giving. Christmas, in particular, has made gift-giving so central, that it’s sometimes hard to remember that it is not the true purpose of the holiday. The commercialization of Christmas and the juggernaut force with which advertisement campaigns have co-opted the season, almost require us to put things in perspective. In this service, we will explore what gifts we have received in our lives that teach us the most about ourselves, our lives and the season.
▶️ It’s Dark Out There December 11, 2022
We are entering into the season in our trip around the sun where we are the farthest – and most tilted away – from the light and the warmth of the sun. This means light and warmth are most scarce. Those who are unfamiliar and sensitive to living in cold, dark climates struggle. When it is dark as we leave the house and dark when we return, it can become hard to keep the chill and the lack of visibility from dampening our mood, our energy, our vision and even our hope. This is so true, some even allow the symbols of darkness to assume feelings of fear and resentment. This is a service about learning to understand, accept and maybe even invite darkness into our lives.
▶️ Disability Justice December 4, 2022
The UUA has recently made a commitment to make disability one of the social justice issues it will focus on. We will look at this topic, the history of disability in our denomination and where we are called to take it as the future unfolds. Rev. Barbara has been involved in disability issues during her ministry and will give her perspective on the struggle.
▶️ Guest at Your Table November 28, 2022
More than 80 years ago, a small delegation of the Unitarian Service Committee were sent to western Europe to offer a response to those victims of the ethnic cleansing and human rights violations taking place under the reign of terror imposed by the Third Reich. That essential and successful justice campaign set into motion a ministry of engagement from Unitarians – and later Unitarian Universalists – responding to international human rights violations. Today our work of exercising our principles can be seen all around the globe. In this service, we will meet four people who will act as ambassadors for the work we do at raising awareness and support for justice world wide. Our offering in this service will Share the Plate with the UU Service Committee.
▶️ Survival of the Friendliest November 20, 2022
How in the world did we make it this far? Had impartial observers witnessing evolutionary dynamic been asked to place a wager on which human species would thrive and go on to dominate the planet, Homo Sapiens would certainly not have been the leading candidate. But the reason we did is not due to the misunderstood theory of Darwin dealing with ‘survival of the fittest’. It is more accurate to say we successfully evolved due to ‘survival of the friendliest.’ In this service we will explore the internal tendencies that led to our success and how we have sometimes overridden such evolutionary code to our peril. In this service we will welcome our new members joining MPUUC.
▶️ A Dream Forgotten November 13, 2022
Our MPUUC CaYRE program (for Children and Youth) has been in significant transition. Several events over the last five years have led to families, parents, Youth, Children and others taking a step back. Most recently, a beloved DRE also stepped away. The good news is that I strongly believe there are amazing insights that will help us understand and remember the Dream that we – together – all held for MPUUC’s CaYRE program. The bad news is I can’t say exactly what they are. But, I believe without a doubt, that WE can. Our collective wisdom knows both the love within the dream; and the disappointment of a dream denied. In this service we will explore the power of our hope as well as our hurt.
▶️ Habits of the Heart November 6, 2022
Habits of the Heart is an idea from Parker J. Palmer as he talks about conditioning our hearts to break in the right way – which is to say, ‘break open.’ What kind of preparation is required of us if we are to be expected to respond with compassionate service and healing as opposed to responding with fragility and defensiveness?
▶️ Samhain: Connecting to the Spirit of Our Ancestors October 30, 2022
For the Celts, who lived during the Iron Age in what is now Ireland, Scotland, the U.K., Samhain (meaning literally, in modern Irish, “summer’s end”) marked the turning point in the year. It signaled a time where the end of a bountiful harvest met the start of a cold, dark winter. It also signaled a time where birth and life met death and rebirth. Many believed it was a time where the veil between this world and the afterworld was the thinnest and our ancestors came to be present with their descendants.
▶️ The Politics of the Brokenhearted October 23, 2022
At a time when the U.S. was still a fledgling democracy and we were even more tenuous and fragile than we are today, Abraham Lincoln attempted to play a role in leading this democracy to a place where he asked us to appeal to ‘the better angels of our nature.’ What was he asking and what were the concerns he was responding to? And what do they have to do with today?
▶️ Woven in a Single Garment of Destiny October 16, 2022
Our interconnection comes despite our differences. We’re beginning to all notice how a war in Ukraine can cause hunger throughout Europe; and gas shortages in other parts of the world. The pandemic taught us that we don’t need to know one another or agree to infect each other. It is time we proactively and positively employed our interconnection for cooperation rather than reactively braced for it on hindsight. In this service brought to us by leaders at the UUA, we will consider the single garment of destiny that binds us together.
▶️ Why the Right Get it Wrong and the Left Don’t Get it October 9, 2022
This is part one of a 4 part sermon series on politics and democracy. This one speaks to Capitalism as a special element of democracy and how capitalism has positioned itself to be more important than almost everything else – including health and well being.
▶️ Feet on the Ground October 2, 2022
How do you put your UU values into practice? How can you use what you believe to make decisions about what you should and should not do? Voting. Problem Solving. Parenting. Relationships. Today we will talk about personal ethics–aligning values with behavior. #ethics. #values and behaviors
▶️ Death by Hymn September 25, 2022
Sometimes singing an unfamiliar hymn in church can be really painful. Enough so, we may find ourselves looking ahead at the hymns scheduled to decide if we should attend on Sunday. There is an old Dutch proverb which says that ‘Trust walks in on foot and rides out on a horse.’ It’s true enough in that trust takes a long time to build. It is incremental – one good experience at a time. But since no one is perfect and, invariably, trust is tested, if not broken altogether, how is it that we choose to begin accepting new contributions to trust building after we already determined that accounting came up short?
▶️ Walking Upstream to the Original Water Communion September 18, 2022
Our annual in-gathering service – the Water Communion – is a mainstay of many (if not most) UU Congregations. This year we will look back on where it came from, how it changed, and reflect on what might be some of the most important aspects of the service to honor.
▶️ Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander September 11, 2022
In 1968, Trappist Monk wrote Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander responding to some of the horrific events on the political landscape trying to examine what sense of accountability the good citizen had in failing to make a nation safe for its people. Today, we can look back 21 years and ask ourselves some of the same questions. And one of the questions that needs an answer is how the patriotism we initially responded with has impacted our democracy.
▶️ My Struggles With Anxiety Disorder September 4, 2022
I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, but I eventually realized that my level of worry often went beyond reasonable caution. In this message, I will describe my journey of discovery that I had anxiety disorder, some of the effects it has had on my life, the medical factor that is probably behind my more than neurotypical level of anxiety, and what I have done about it.
▶️ What Happened to You? August 28, 2022
Because of the rapid proliferation of technology and communication, traumatic events and acute personal reminders have become much more commonplace experiences. We’ve become conscious of what previous generations could only imagine. These difficult new experiences can startle and trigger anxiety and alarm rather than empathy and compassion. This is a sermon about what recent events have taught us about mental health and how to cultivate compassion instead of paralysis.
▶️ Bird by Bird, Stone by Stone, Hand in Hand August 21, 2022
Each of us has probably experienced the feeling of being abandoned and betrayed. In moments that mattered, we have had to imagine facing the world unprotected and alone. It is a scary sequence of thoughts that come when we have to piece together our own survival rather than the creative imagination that comes when we see ourselves as part of greater body. This is a sermon of what happens when we learn to see ourselves as part of something larger rather than settle for the rugged individualism our culture often promotes.
▶️ The Dawn of Everything August 14, 2022
Why were Natives Peoples left out of history when I was growing up? How archaeologists and anthropologists’ new findings have flipped our Euro-centric views of the intellectual and political contributions of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.
▶️ Einstein’s Dilemma August 7, 2022
In 1939 Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt explaining the possibility of a nuclear bomb. In 1945, after two of them were used to obliterate Japanese cities, he regretted the letter and began campaigning for international restrictions on nuclear weaponry. Unfortunately, though many more prominent voices have been raised, little has been accomplished to control the severe threat of nuclear weapons. Worship Leader Paul Davis, a retired physicist, will review the history of this problem, emphasize the current danger, and sketch what is and could be done.
▶️ General Assembly 2022 – A Turning Point in Our Faith August 2, 2022
Our Denomination is changing! This year’s General Assembly was quite different from others: Fully multi-platform, a changed governance model, an interim report from the Article 2 Study Commission. Hear all about it.
▶️ Worship of General Assembly 2022 July 24, 2022
Every year, for 60 years now, UUs have come from all over the country to congregate in one city and celebrate the Good News of Unitarian Universalism. One of the best parts of General Assembly is the amazing worship that brings together some of the best and brightest preachers, musicians, choirs, etc. This year, General Assembly takes place in Portland OR. We will intersperse our own Welcome / announcements, Chalice Lighting, and Joys and Concerns with virtual video of the service. You don’t want to miss this service.
▶️ Words Matter July 17, 2022
Everything we say, every way that we say it, every way that people can hear what we say has an effect on those around us. How that works is often outside our awareness of the communication that is taking place. Communication is a two way process in which we only vaguely know the other side. Today’s world is so divided and stressed that it is easy to cause pain and not be aware of it. What can we do to ease the path and maintain good relationship when we do cause pain?
▶️ This Machine July 10, 2022
Roy Zimmerman is a musical, social satirist extraordinaire whose signature blend of heart and hilarity is so on point you will be laughing, smiling, nodding your head and clapping your hands. Roy’s songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime, he has shared the stage with musical and comedic luminaries like Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, Arlo Guthrie, Bill Maher, Holly Near, John Oliver, George Carlin and others. Joni Mitchell says, “Roy’s lyrics move beyond poetry and achieve perfection.” His videos have garnered hundreds of millions of views. This service will be a musical social commentary you will NOT want to miss.
▶️ Our Country: In Sickness and in Health — A Seventy-Year Perspective July 3, 2022
With so many things going terribly wrong in this country, it’s easy to lose sight of our strengths. Today we will consider the long-term progress our nation has made, looking for signs of health and hope. Before the service, you may want to ask yourself what you think of as America’s greatest strengths, and how these can help us through our current crises. Our worship leader will be Rev. Chris Schriner, Minister Emeritus at MPUUC. Paul Davis will be our worship associate, and Rev. Barbara Meyers will offer a reflection. Jo Ann Schriner and Knuti VanHoven will provide our music.
▶️ MPUUC for a Change June 26, 2022
This is a service based on the music that has moved us. It is a great blessing to have music that moves us. It’s an even greater blessing to be able to make music that moves us. This is a service from our music makers about the particular songs that they have brought into our worship services that meant something special. We will hear the music as well as the stories about making it that rendered that music as memorable or special.
▶️ Juneteenth June 19, 2022
Known to some as the country’s “second Independence Day,” Juneteenth celebrates freedom. Not just the freedom of folks who assumed they were free, but what it might feel like if ALL people were free. The news that enslaved people would be freed after the civil war, took a long time in reaching some communities – especially where enslaved folks were reliant on their enslavers to tell them. On June 19, 1865 news reached the far outpost of Galveston TX. On June 17, 2021, it became a Federal Holiday.
▶️ Flower Communion June 12, 2022
Our annual Flower Communion service asks us to remember the courage and vision of Norbert Capek who presided over one of the largest Unitarian Congregations in Prague, Czechoslovakia in the years when the Nazi regime terrorized political dissidents for criticizing the Third Reich. Capek asked people to imagine the beautiful diversity in everything – from skin color to language to cuisine. He asked people to bring flowers to represent all the difference that was possible. In this service we will be radical dissidents for diversity.
▶️ We Need One Another May 29, 2022
A favorite reading from our hymnal begins this way: “We need one another when we mourn and would be comforted.” We all need comforting in these times, as we are barraged daily with news of pandemic deaths, climate catastrophe, systemic oppression, and war. How can we give shelter to each other in these times of fear, loss and grief? Can our Unitarian Universalist faith offer us comfort?
▶️ 8th Principle May 22, 2022
In this service we will share some of the stories of our racial history that we recall with pride and that for which we still hold regret. As UUs, we will acknowledge our important, inspiring, compelling and confusing journey toward racial justice and what has led us to this point of feeling like we need an 8th Principle – something that explicitly announces that racial justice is an intentional core principle of UUism. We will talk about what happens if we pass the 8th Principle and what happens if we don’t.
▶️ When Angels Meet Giants May 10, 2022
Baseball is full of heroes. The amazing catch. The game-changing home run. The play no one can never forget. And, of course, baseball is a game spotlighting the specific player who performs these unforgettable feats of grandeur. We all want such players on our team. Indeed, some say the game today is actually the game behind the game, played in the front office. It’s about how teams lure heroes to play for them. But what if championships weren’t really about signing giants of the game? But fielding the team that plays together with heart?
▶️ The Presence of a Protector, the Promise of Peace May 8, 2022
Unitarian Julia Ward Howe was one of the first people who conceived of a Mother’s Day. But she did not envision what we currently have today – a Mother’s Day celebrated as a sentimental and gift-giving day honoring mothers. Ward, was a 19th century social reformer (and author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,”) who was distressed over ‘sons killing the sons of other mothers’ and called on women’s groups to promote a universal peace. The holiday has strayed from its origins more than 140 years ago. In this service, we will explore the complicated messiness in a mother’s hope for peace for her children.
▶️ Peace Be With You – Reflections on Islam and Ramadan May 1, 2022
Eid al-Fitr begins tonight - the religious holiday marking the end of the fast of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of fasting and of prayer, reflection and community, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is the commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran. Many of us have little experience with fasting, but member Graham Bell often tries a modified fast during Ramadan. His teacher, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Tamil-speaking Sufi mystic from Sri Lanka, considered fasting an opportunity to take on our inner “demons” or “bad qualities” (such as pride, greed, anger, and impatience) and to surrender instead to that which is greater than the self, to reflect on unity, and to find compassion for others. For many Muslims Ramadan is a time of putting others first and making donations to charity. Our service today will be lead by Allysson McDonald and Graham Bell as he reflects on what he has learned from his experiences of fasting for Ramadan,and about the meanings of some Arabic words that provide insight into the true meaning of Islam. Salaam alaikum!
▶️ The Interdependent Web of Life of Which We’re a Part April 24, 2022
Almost everyone will tell you that they care about the earth. They care about the relationship they have helped to co-create with the other 8.7 million species that co-habitate with us on planet earth. But what does it really mean to responsibly live up to our end of the interdependent bargain? This service celebrates our relationship – and our promise – to the millions of other plants, animals, flora and fauna that make up our creative co-existence.
▶️ The Easter Exam April 18, 2022
What is Easter? Beneath all the fancy clothes, the music and pagentry… Beyond the history, theology, and confusing stories of eggs, empty tombs, bunnies and brunches… what would we find that gives us real hope? What’s there that would tell us whether we’re on the right track for transformation in our lives and for the larger world around us? This is a service where we will explore what the Easter exam is asking, It’s not about passing organized religion’s test. It’s about living up to the real hope we are part of providing.
▶️ Preparing to Encounter Divinity April 10, 2022
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have sacred periods of intentional preparation during this time. There are stories and rituals. Prayer and fasting. Each of these faith traditions knows that encountering a sacred, transformative time is not happenstance. It depends as much on practicing ways that tell us how to show up as much as relying on God to show up for us. In this service, we will explore ways that teach us how to be ready for the sacred when it comes.
▶️ Wrong God April 3, 2022
Father Greg Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the founder of Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. He’s worked with over 10,000 human beings each year for the last three decades. Most of them, he says, have come to the startling revelation that, when faced with neglect, abuse, judgment and condemnation, the urge to belong to something resembling any kind of love is undeniable. Gangs substitute for the love they need. But when they begin to recognize that toughness is not a replacement for love, they realize they were lured into believing in ‘the wrong god.’ The stories we will explore are from Fr. Boyles book, “The Whole Language – The Power of Extravagant Tenderness”.
▶️ Glimpsing the Sacred March 22, 2022
What does our faith teach us about a theology of creating Beloved Community? What sustains us as we labor and endeavor to create it? In this service, we’ll explore Beloved Community and the sacred glimpses we have in the here and now of the world we dream to create together. In the end, this theology could be one such way of renewing faith and our commitments to one another and our shared world.
▶️ The Color of Law March 20, 2022
The conversation around ‘reparations’ has been a hotly contested and highly polarizing conversation in American Social Policy for over 175 years. In Reparative Justice, we rely on agreed upon evidence to determine whenever someone has been ‘wronged’ and then attempt to discern what action could be taken by the perpetrator and what benefit could be received by the survivor such that a common reconciliation might be possible. In this service, we will look at 150 years of racial discrimination under U.S. law and where that leaves us in terms of reparations.
▶️ What Women Really Want March 13, 2022
The pathway to present day world power has been built from the labor and dreams of women. But unlike most dynasties that work hard to build their kingdom and legacy, the world reveals shockingly few signs of the spoils of victory. During Women’s History Month, we will explore the slow and painful march of women to finally gain what they have always wanted.
▶️ Five Dollars is Five Dollars March 6, 2022
Whether we realize it or not, we have all been taught many messages about money. And whether we know it or not, many of those messages have been reinforced in important ways. So, it would behoove us to get around to asking ourselves the question of whether these reinforced teachings actually have anything to do with our fundamental core values. In this award winning sermon, I highlight an epiphany that came to me early in life and how I have been trying to live up to it ever since.
▶️ Is Pluto a Planet? The Blessings and Perils of Labeling February 27, 2022
We generally feel that labeling and categorization of people is bad, but I have learned that sometimes it is valuable. In a recent sermon Joshua Schwartz explained that the autism label helped in self understanding, and after that service, in break-out room discussion, participants noted how accepting and receiving labels of lesbian and of dyslexic had relieved perplexity and stress. Nevertheless, labeling can also be very damaging, with racial labeling coming immediately to mind.
In this message I will take the question of whether the astronomical object Pluto should be labelled a planet or a dwarf planet, and explore both the blessings and the perils of labeling, and develop some tentative criteria for useful versus damaging labeling. I will apply some of these criteria to labeling of people, and will include some of my own pet peeves of misleading terminology.
In widening the circle of knowledge of how to use labeling as a blessing, we can widen the circle of our understanding of others, and widen the circle of loving community.
▶️ What If I Only Had 30 Days to Love? February 20, 2022
30 Days of Love is our Side With Love campaign’s annual celebration that runs approximately from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January through Valentine’s Day in February. It is taken as an opportunity to collectively nurture our spirits, deepen our understanding, and take action on our values for collective liberation. The celebration this year concluded with Side With Love Sunday. This is a worship service featuring stirring music, deep-hearted reflection, and moving testimonies from a range of UU leaders including President, Susan Frederick Gray.
▶️ What Does a Fremont For Everyone Look Like? February 13, 2022
Every idea that offers hope to the hurting, requires courage. It takes courage to think out of the box – courage to go beyond the problem and all the reasons it got to be this way… courage to see those in pain… courage to get proximate, accept them and understand how to connect those needs to promises of it being different. Our Recipient for this year’s Courageous Love Hero award is Fremont for Everyone. We will have a conversation with them to understand more about how courage can make a difference right where we live.
▶️ How the Dye is Caste February 6, 2022
A number of things aren’t routinely taught in U.S. or World History. A number of interesting truths aren’t recorded for posterity for the simple reason they don’t cast those in power in the best light. One such telling bit of recent world history is how when those in the Third Reich were looking around for models on which to base their ‘Arian Super Race’ model they turned to a surprising source: the United States. In this sermon, we will explore a good deal we didn’t know about hierarchy and subjugation which may wind up being our unintended legacy.
▶️ The Secret Behind Real (and Not-So-Secret) Superpowers January 30, 2022
Power is such an interesting thing. We all want it. We all need it. And, if we’re honest, most of us prefer to keep what limited power we do wield something of a secret. In this service, we’ll explore, ‘Dragon Psychology 101,’ hoarding and how power has been typically used throughout history. As well as how it is needed today.
▶️ Why an 8th Principle? January 23, 2022
For as long as the U.S. has existed, two things have been true: (1) Unitarians have exerted a religious influence; and (2) black persons have been enslaved and exploited. There has not been a time where Unitarians have been silent on the issue. Racism has always been a good idea, but not a core purpose and principle. As we approach our 200 year anniversary in this country, are we ready to name ending systemic racism as a core principle?
▶️ The Path Toward Building Beloved Community January 16, 2022
In this service commemorating the liberational work of Dr. Martin Luther King, we will explore the vision of Beloved Community – originally espoused by James Royce in the 1930s but which became the cornerstone of the non-violent civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Unitarian Universalists responded to King’s call to go to Selma and we invited him to preach for our denomination the following year. But our time with King has only served to emphasize the question of whether – and how – to make his ‘Dream’ come true in our lifetime.
▶️ A God Who Laughs January 9, 2022
Becoming an adult is serious business. So serious, in fact, that many of us lose our sense of humor – or, exchange it for something we think will be more useful – along the way. Has this been the case for you? Did you, one day, set aside your mirth, your Imagination or whimsy, only to come back and find it missing? How about playfulness? Are you operating from less than you were originally given? And where will you discover and coax back such essential tools now that you recognize their value?” After the service we will explore the history – and the future – of our children and youth programming.
▶️ Starving Autist – Neuro-Queerity / Gender Vaguery / Privilege January 2, 2022
What is important to understand about truth? Beauty? Justice? Equality? Diversity? Liberation? And what if we were to hear about such concepts from someone who sees and experiences life from a neurodivergent perspective? Could we really count on recognizing truth, beauty, justice, equality, diversity and liberation if we didn’t seek out and embrace such a perspective?
▶️ Learning from the Magi December 26, 2021
Using the visit of the magi to advocate that religious traditions should accept input from other traditions, we review the six broad sources from which Unitarian Universalists look for guidance and inspiration.
▶️ Christmas Eve Service – The Journey to Bethlehem – a Modern Story December 25, 2021
This Christmas Eve service will explore the journey to Bethlehem from a surprisingly unconventional lens: what would the nativity story look like if it happened today. Who would play the various roles? Which part would the shepherd play? Who would be the Wise ones? Who are Mary and Joseph today? And what will the Angel proclaim about the child?
▶️ A Star is Born December 19, 2021
Nearly 15 years ago, Rev. Michael Dowd (who spoke to us in the spring) and others started introducing concepts such as ‘Big Time’. They wrestled away from us a very rigid relationship between time and history (that placed human beings at the center) and replaced it with a cosmology that is much bigger than us. What if we were to explore our past – and our future – through such a cosmic timeline? Would we still find light in the time of darkness? Birth in an unexpected place?
▶️ Miracles Amidst Mayhem December 12, 2021
Miracles are not necessarily the currency of Unitarian Universalists. We deal more in discussion groups, spreadsheets and a stack of assorted policies. When it comes to those things, we have it all over Evangelicals and Catholics. But when it comes to miracles we’re in last place in the religious pantheon. Which is too bad. Because we could use a miracle or two when it comes to some of the areas where we’re trying to make a difference: holding our elected leaders accountable, racial equity and justice, helping the hungry, unhoused and the poor. Our efforts in these arenas seem less successful lately. Maybe the real miracle comes in continuing to believe our efforts will prevail.
▶️ Mystery Pageant Theater 2021: A Pandemic Odyssey December 5, 2021
MPUUC has a long history of children and youth pageants many of which were designed and written by our own community! Join us as we walk down memory lane with highlights of pageants past and special appearances by some of our favorite performers.
▶️ Guest at Your Table November 28, 2021
In the 1930’s the Unitarian Service Committee was created to recognize and serve those persecuted by Nazi xenophobic push. Since then, the service program has continued to reach out to all parts of the globe to serve those who are treated unjustly. The Guest at Your Table (GAYT) program introduces our 2020-21 GAYT ‘Partners’.
▶️ Transgender Day of Remembrance November 21, 2021
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance that honors the memory of our transgender identified siblings whose lives were lost in the past year. Join us as we take time to hold space for the lives lost and explore how we as a community support the lives of our transgender siblings.
▶️ Where the Light Gets In November 14, 2021
Family – which is the origin of our work to forge a workable self-image – is, ideally, loving and supportive. Unfortunately, few of us live, exclusively, in an ideal world. So, it is rare that any of us escapes the entirety of our upbringing without a few cracks and chips in our self image. Some of us recognize – sometimes years later – that part of our ego or self image was bent or cracked in places. Often we inherit these imperfections from our caregivers who attempt to love us through their own imperfections. Our challenge is to recognize the blessings of these imperfections.
▶️ Power Versus Force November 7, 2021
David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. wrote a trilogy of books beginning in 1994 which explored the energy associated with consciousness. Employing techniques of measuring energy to definitive levels of consciousness, he revealed how different levels of consciousness – such as ‘shame,’ or ‘anger,’ or ‘courage,’ or ‘love,’ all possess inherent levels of energy. He proposed that when we bring a specific consciousness into any engagement, we also bring its commensurate energy (which is always felt by others). This service is designed to help us become more aware and intentional about the consciousness and the energy we bring into any interaction.
▶️ A Place within the Liminality of the World October 31, 2021
Poet, philosopher, priest and scholar, John O’Donohue lived in County Clare, Ireland – a place he said had magical abilities. David Whyte is from Wales. They both understand and revere the truths of such lands and its peoples. They both help us open an entirely new world – a world between worlds – where it is possible to commune with the souls of ancestors and revel in ancient wisdom. O’Donohue’s book, Anam Cara (translated from the Gaelic as ‘Soul Friend’) helps us explore ways of letting go and holding on and reawakening a life giving connection with those who have left this world and live in another.
▶️ Animal Blessing October 24, 2021
The bonds forged between human beings and our animal companions can often be the most compelling and powerful of all emotions and loyalties. Acts of cultivating these connections are among the greatest lessons available in our lifetimes. They require an open-heartedness, a selflessness, a shared – instead of a selfish – reality. Daring to open our hearts even after they’ve been broken is an act of transformational love. In this service we will name, honor and bless the animals that taught us to stretch to the bounds of our humanness.
▶️ Grief For Beginners October 17, 2021
None of us know how to do it until we have to. We often go for years, giving what seems like good advice to everyone else who comes upon the unthinkable. But, suddenly, when we find ourselves – moments after a screaming match with mortality – needing a deeper wisdom, we forget what we we thought would get us through. Or, all that advice falls flat. Either way, we pick up that pamphlet that says, “Grief for Beginners.”
▶️ Why an 8th Principle October 10, 2021
The 8th principle was developed and written by Paula Cole Jones and Bruce Pollack-Johnson, and they were to first to encourage the Unitarian Universalist Association to adopt it. This is a joint service with 5 other UU congregations.
▶️ Dragged Kicking and Screaming October 3, 2021
On the 250th anniversary of John Murray washing up on the shore close to New Jersey. Thomas Potter believe that a prophet would arrive. He built a church and waited. What arrived was a weary man who wound up bringing the blessing and burden of Universalism.
▶️ How We Can All Help Keep it 100 September 26, 2021
Rev. Dr. Xolani Kacela is committed to honoring truth. One of the truths he knows, deeply, is what it means to serve. He has served in the U.S. military as a chaplain, served on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee with Rev. Greg, our UUA Nominating Committee and on our Commission on Appraisal. He is currently serving as minister of our Las Cruces, NM congregation. The other truth that he knows deeply, is the experience of being black in America – as well as being Black in Unitarian Universalism. He has recently completed two books: ‘The Black UU Survival Guide’ and ‘Jumpstart Your Allyship.’
▶️ Water Communion September 19, 2021
This morning we will reflect on the role of water in our lives. We will explore how it is that the indispensable source and biproduct of life-giving processes is in such a precarious shortage. We will look at how water wields power and influence, as well as how it reveals graft and greed and moral corruption. We will consider how, historically, it has served as a barrier between nations and cultures. And we’ll explore how, in the future, it can serve as a bridge.
▶️ Will Violence and Terrorism Ever End and Allow Our Goodness to Prevail? A Minister Takes Odds at Six to One September 12, 2021
On this second Sunday in September, we will reflect back on the 20 years that have passed since 9-11. We will call to mind the day which was supposed to change everything and ask how it did. Most notably, we’ll ask whether – and how – this has been a catalyst to our truest selves.
▶️ A Labor Day Faith September 5, 2021
The origins of the Labor Day holiday have been all but lost in the 127 years since it was created to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the contributions of laborers to our society. This day we explore both the role of faith as the glue that binds together the notion of the common good and the meaning of the word itself.
▶️ Courageous Conversations and the Spiritual Art of Reconciliation August 29, 2021
He had bumped up against it his whole life: condemnation, derision, contempt, exclusion… But he could never wrap his head around it. He couldn’t understand it. ‘How can they hate me, if they don’t even know me?’ he asked. This simple question propelled him. It transformed his anger to energy, his fear to curiosity, his despondency to courage to confront his oppressors. This service is about one man’s story of learning how to challenge ‘haters’ without ingesting hate. It is about taking the prejudice that builds walls and using it as energy to build reconciliation.
▶️ The God of Our Misunderstandings August 22, 2021
The road to reconciliation has a great advocate and nemesis all in one: religion. On the one hand we hear religion’s testimony of peace, harmony and compassionate co-existence. Yet, that’s often countered by its absolutes, extremism and division. In this service, we look not at what ‘they’ (religious organizations) get wrong, but where ‘we’ (human beings) struggle in our instincts between connection and protection.
▶️ Difficult Decisions and Leaps of Faith August 15, 2021
Faced with a difficult decision, such as whether to undergo a medical procedure with serious potential side effects, we may go through layers of thoughts and emotions. But if there’s still no simple answer, we may need to take a “leap of faith”. What does that mean and how do we use it so we are most satisfied with whatever comes?
▶️ Here Is What We Have August 8, 2021
How many universes has it taken to bring us here, exactly where we are on the life path? Here is what we have, and “each voice sings its note of eternity” (John Tarrant, The Light Inside the Dark).
▶️ The Power of Choice July 11, 2021
Have you ever been worried, frightened, full of anxiety? Did it fully embrace you and swallow up all other emotions? Did it take away all feeling of choice? Calista Ames was faced with just such a situation and found her path through it in an inspiring space full of hope and love.
▶️ Democracy July 4, 2021
Democracy is sacred to Unitarian Universalists. This is concretely expressed as one of our values: “The right of the conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large”. But democracy is not a simple word, it is a complex process, a process which includes much more than simply voting, though voting is of extreme importance. Full democracy must both protect the majority from an oppressive minority and protect minorities from an oppressive majority – no easy task. And democracy is not just something to be established, it must be effectively maintained. Our July 4th service will explore the processes of democracy, their historical roots, and our present needs.
▶️ Flower Communion 2021 June 13, 2021
There is a tradition that, within the religious world, is rather unique to Unitarian Universalism. It came at a time of tremendous political turmoil and tension when a defiant idealist encouraged everyone to surrender to the spirit of beauty, wonder and generosity. This service is the story of that ritual and its power to change struggle into strength.
▶️ Sustainability 101: Separating Fact from Fiction May 16, 2021
Guest speaker Rev. Michael Dowd is an American Progressive Christian minister, author, and eco-theologian known as an advocate of Big History, religious naturalism, sustainability, climate activism, and the epic of evolution. He speaks on Sustainability 101.
▶️ From Aging To Saging May 2, 2021
Invite those who are 80+ if they would like to share testimonies about their most meaningful moments and the wisdom that they have drawn from these experiences that they feel needs to be passed on to the community.
▶️ Rev. Greg Ward and the MPUUC Installation Service of Shared Ministry April 29, 2021
Mission Peak UU installed Rev. Greg Ward as its settled minister on Sunday April 25th, 2021 at 1 p.m. over Zoom using a covenant Mission Peak UU members adopted on April 18th.
▶️ THIS is JEOPARDY! April 25, 2021
There are a lot of questions facing the world – and Unitarian Universalism. How well do we remember and understand the past sometimes determines how well we will do in facing the future. (And showing some humility by phrasing our responses in the form of a question).
▶️ Just Gotta Sing the Blues April 18, 2021
The ‘blues’ is a style of music born from oppression that couldn’t help but sing. It has a quintessential American history – the painful and forgotten side of our rugged individualism. In this service, we will explore some of what gave birth to this music and what it says about who we’ve been and who we long to be.
▶️ Can We Afford NOT to Make Reparations a Real Thing? April 11, 2021
The old song goes ‘which side are you on? There are no neutrals there.’ The world around us with all its hate and inability to acknowledge humanity is not one that we can wall off. We are a part of the whole and our lives are intertwined. To do nothing is to make a choice. What is given to us to do is to bring the whole of society into right relationship. If by some miracle racism disappeared, the current and ongoing effects of racism would continue. How can we move forward?
▶️ What They Dreamed Be Ours to Do April 4, 2021
2000 years separate their lives, but they both sacrificed much in their own life to dream about what might be possible for others to know a bigger life than what they had ever been able to imagine. What is the secret to breaking through and transcending our limitations such that, in our wake, others will find possibility where only obstacles and barriers had been? This is a sermon about the secrets of Easter. It will help us understand where – and to whom – we look to help make Easter real.
▶️ A Life Less Ordinary March 28, 2021
The greatest of epiphanies provide something amazing – something we couldn’t imagine. But they also take from us something we thought we would always have… something we couldn’t live without. The greatest periods of growth always come when we are ready to stop holding so tightly to ‘what is,’ long enough for ‘what can be’ to slip in and take root. It is a adventurous and visionary to let go of the ordinary and be willing to live a life less ordinary.
▶️ Finding Happiness March 21, 2021
Give up on all the Gods ‘out there’ who’ve promised to save you. There is only one thing that will save you. That CAN save you. And that one thing requires all your acceptance, all your reverence, all your perseverance and all your commitment. People have been looking for it and yet stepping over it. Chasing it and yet being haunted by it since time immemorial.
▶️ Loved Into Being March 15, 2021
A story shared with me reflects on a young boy witnessing his church in the midst of a great struggle. He was watching all the people in his life he’d admired, who taught him about commitment and perseverance, walk out from division. The question was about the response to racism. And whether to answer Dr. King’s call. What he witnessed over a few years time taught him everything he needed to know about getting to the heart of the matter.
▶️ Re-Dedication to Anti-Racism Work March 7, 2021
The history and future of our congregation’s commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression. Our original commitment. What we’ve done this year. Where we see this in the future.
▶️ The High Lonesome February 21, 2021
There is a liminal space of time – between listening and healing – where we get a glimpse of our soul. Bill Monroe, one of the father’s of Bluegrass, called this space, ‘the high lonesome.’ He watched soldiers walk home along railway lines while mourning and moaning about all they’d lost. This is a service to see if we can respond to loss with learning instead of yearning. A commitment to how things could be rather than condemnation of how things have been.
▶️ A Tad Too Much Sanity February 7, 2021
Don Quixote travelled the world fighting windmills. He had a keen eye for the romanticism of what was ‘right’ and ‘just.’ So much so, few others recognized what he was so ardently trying to point out. As he would make a charge against injustice, others would accuse him of fighting windmills. Sancho Panza would, ever-so-carefully, be there to pull him from precipice of disaster. What do we do in this world on the brink of disaster with so few Don Quixotes and so many Sancho Panzas?
▶️ Here If You Need Me January 31, 2021
Kate Braestrup was not intending to be a UU minister. She has happy to leave that for others who dreamed of such things. But when tragedy visited her unexpectedly, she – quite by surprise – heard the call to offer love and solace from the most unlikely source: her own grief. This service will talk about the true stories that call us to be our true selves.
▶️ Beginning a Pandemic January 24, 2021
This past year we experienced a great pandemic, perhaps the twentieth or so in recorded history, and it continues. Like previous disease pandemics, it was accompanied by a pandemic of illogic, untruth and selfishness. Let us work, during this new year and new presidential administration, to infectiously spread a pandemic of logic, truth and love.
▶️ Strange Fruit January 17, 2021
Abel Meeropol, like many of us, saw something he could not unsee. And he took it extremely personally. He connected the dots that wove a web of interdependence between himself, black men who were terrorized by racism, the children of spies, and the song no one liked but everyone remembered. This is a sermon about the prejudice that condemns and the acts we undertake for liberation.
▶️ Begin with the End in Mind January 10, 2021
Steven Covey wrote the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit 2 urges us to begin with the end in mind. That habit, calls us to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of our desired direction and destination, and then continue to flex our proactive muscles to make things happen. One of the best ways to incorporate Habit 2 into your life is to develop a clear and focused aspiration. This is a sermon about living our life with our intentions in mind.
▶️ Holiday Pageant December 20, 2020
Hoshmakatu is a jaded Camel who’s long had others greed strapped to his back. Now he turns his back on the world. He would have entirely missed the miracle that would save his life but for a Lamb who believed in him more than he could believe in himself. Join us for our first ever virtual pageant!
▶️ The Communion That’s Hard to Swallow November 15, 2020
We live in a world of great disparity. Some get a lot. Some get enough. And some live every day on less than enough. The inequity of distribution of wealth and food and housing and privilege is striking when we look at it. What we do to see this or ignore it will determine whether it changes or remains in place.
AIM To Be Inclusive July 27, 2015
Today’s service is to introduce you to a new UU congregational program. At General Assembly this year we launched a new program jointly sponsored by the UUA and EqUUal Access – a UU organization working to enable the full engagement of people with disabilities in UU communities and the broader society. The full name is Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry, AIM for short.
Dawn’s Farewell June 21, 2015
On June 21st we bid farewell to our beloved intern minister, Dawn Fortune.
Our Hidden Selves June 14, 2015
Today were were pleased to hear from both Reverend Emeritus Chris Shriner and Rev. Jeremy on the topic of our hidden selves.
Volunteer Appreciation Sunday June 7, 2015
Audio from Rev. Jeremy’s June 7th, 2015 sermon..
Broken and Reframed March 22, 2015
Audio from Rev. Jeremy’s March 22nd, 2015 sermon on the theme of “Brokenness”.