Rev. Paul Oakley

Free and Responsible

The fourth principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association is the promise to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. But what makes a search free and responsible? And what are the parameters of truth and meaning?

Race in America, 2018

On Martin Luther King Day weekend, Rev. Paul preaches on race. Our interest is not mere praise for the leader who lost his life for the cause of racial equity but the racial state of the union. How far are we from Dr. King’s “Dream”?

Torah Portion – Naso

Rev. Paul will preach on this Friday at Temple House of Israel in Staunton as part of a pulpit exchange with Rabbi Joe Blair. Both will preach this weekend on a topic from the Torah portion Naso (Numbers 4:21–7:89). What can this confusing and archaic … read more.

Justice, Equity, Compassion

Certainly since Martin Luther King, Jr. called Unitarian Universalists to Selma and two of our people were martyred there, these guideposts have been central to the UU spirit. In this seventh of eight sermons on UU principles, we will consider what we’ve signed on to … read more.

Beating the Earth, Hosannah!

The Sunday before Easter is observed as Palm Sunday, when Christians carry palm fronds in a procession echoing the “Triumphal Entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem. But the story features the ritual of Hoshanah Rabah (“Great Hosanah,” a ritual from a different time of year). Why … read more.

Widows’ Mites and Buried Treasure

Each week we take an offering. We don’t talk much about it, except when it is for another charitable organization. Yet Western religion retells stories Jesus told that use money both literally and metaphorically. Can we still learn something about generosity, spirituality and strategy from … read more.

Flower Service | Easter

Our annual flower service falls on Easter Sunday. In a religion that centers on covenant among members rather than on belief, this 20th-century Unitarian ritual allows us to celebrate the flowering of grace and consider what meaning we may find in Easter without required beliefs … read more.

The Eighth Principle Project

Many of us are familiar with the seven Unitarian Universalist principles, whether or not we can recite them. Did you know another is being considered? It is a principle committing UU congregations to dismantle racism and other systems of oppressions.

The Third Principle

In this sixth sermon in our series on the principles of Unitarian Universalism, we will consider our congregations’ commitment to affirm and promote acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth. What are the challenges and opportunities in this commitment?

Our Universalist Heritage: Olympia Brown

Olympia Brown (1835-1926) was an American suffragist and was the first woman of any American denomination to graduate from a theological school and receive full ordination (in 1863) and a call to full-time ordained ministry. She pastored churches at Weymouth, Massachusetts; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and in Racine, Wisconsin. In this … read more.