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The Masks We Wear

Halloween is a time when children can choose to be whatever they want, but who do we choose to be and do the masks we wear hide or enhance ourselves? Walter Clark, M.Div., has done ministerial internships at Unitarian Universalist congregations in Richmond and Newport News.

Our Unitarian Heritage: William Ellery Channing

Channing was a flag-bearer in an early-1800s culture war, against a harsh Calvinist orthodoxy. His sermons helped Unitarianism break from Congregationalism and develop a separate identity and theology. Is Channing relevant today, or is he past his sell-by date?

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Conscience and Democracy

In this second of eight sermons on Unitarian Universalist Principles, we look at the Fifth Principle. Unitarian Universalist congregations and our association function democratically and promote the same in the world. And just as the Qur’an says there is no compulsion in matters of faith, the individual conscience remains free.

Bread Service

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we bring homemade breads that are meaningful to us to share with those who have gathered. Grandma’s recipe from the old country. A bread you discovered. We explore the metaphoric and symbolic use of bread as it brings us into community with each other.

Why I Am Grateful to Be a Unitarian Universalist

In this Sunday after Thanksgiving, when the embers of consumerist culture burn hot, our members will share what this fellowship or our denomination have given that they are grateful for.

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Peace, Liberty, and Justice for All

In December we hear carols proclaiming “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All!” We never achieve that goal, but having it allows us to do good in the world. In this third sermon of eight in the series on UU Principles, we explore the meaning and value of the Sixth Principle.

Pulpit Exchange

The Rev. Dr. Katherine Low, Chaplain and Faculty Member at Mary Baldwin University, will bring us this message. A few weeks later, Rev. Paul will speak at an MBU interfaith event. Topic to be announced when available.

Chanukah – It’s Complicated!

The version of Chanukah that has served Jewish children for millennia works if you don’t need it to tell the whole truth. The oil lasted eight days. Miracle! Judaism was saved from a foreign foe. Miracle! Latkes, gelt (chocolate money), dreydl, lighting the chanukiah. Everybody’s happy! But wait. There’s more…

Winter Solstice | Yule

No matter what you believe about ultimate things, you know that, at the turning point that is the winter solstice, we go from ever diminishing duration of daylight to ever increasing daylight. Before humanity learned writing, this was recognized as a significant time in our communal life. Celebrate with us!

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Christmas

American poet Wallace Stevens looked at a blackbird thirteen ways that he told us about. We’re looking poetically at Christmas instead of blackbirds, recognizing that it is not just one thing. That it holds importance and value – or sometimes doesn’t – for many different reasons.

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Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

This service is in a Lessons-and-Carols style. With Christmas carols, scripture readings, special music, and words of blessing on this “night when Christ was born,” we recognize with 20th-century UU religious educator Sophia Lyon Fahs that “Every night a child is born is a holy night.”

Endings and Beginnings

In this service rich with readings and ritual, we will join together to leave behind things from the old year that would keep us from being our best selves in the new year and to plant seeds of hope for 2018.

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”?

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?

A Musical Service

Bill and Lorain Harouff will lead us in a musical service.

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The Promise and the Practice

The UUA Board and President are inviting every Unitarian Universalist congregation to be part of “The Promise and the Practice,” a Sunday to commit our full support for Black Lives of UU and to reimagine the future of our faith.

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The Parable of the Sower

One piece of garden lore my grandmother lived by was that, no matter the weather, lettuce should be planted on February 15, even if it had to be broadcast over a snowy surface. What does the parable of the sower mean when we see salvation as a matter of human justice?

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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 Universalist, 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?

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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.

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 beat the earth?

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 about Jesus and resurrection.

From Our Walls

In this service, members who have brought art from their own collections to adorn the Fellowship walls will talk about what the piece(s) they shared mean to them. In what way does art enrich our lives and enhance our spirituality?

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 with this principle.

Justice Sunday

Each year, we follow the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in a justice service focused on a shared concern in the wider world. We will announce the topic of this year’s focus when materials are available from the UUSC.

Bridging and Coming of Age

In this Religious Education-focused service, those graduating high school will go through the bridging ceremony and youth who have completed the coming-of-age class will share their learning with the congregation.

Our Transcendentalist Heritage: Margaret Fuller

Never fully at ease identifying herself as a Unitarian or even as a Transcendentalist, despite being the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial, Margaret Fuller, nevertheless, was an important figure to mid-19th-century Transcendentalists and Unitarians. What does she offer that continues to touch the hearts of Unitarian Universalists?

Shavuot and Sinai

What do all night study sessions and cheesecake and blintzes have to do with a Jewish holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai? And what insight can one gain by looking at this day if one is Unitarian Universalist?

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 portion offer 21st-century people?

Torah Portion – Naso

Rabbi Joe Blair will preach at UUFW in pulpit exchange with Rev. Paul. Both will preach this weekend on a topic from the Torah portion Naso (Numbers 4:21–7:89). What can this confusing and archaic portion offer 21st-century people, some of whom are conflicted or doubtful concerning the value of Torah today?

Inherent Worth and Dignity

This is the eighth and final sermon in our series on Unitarian Universalist principles. First in the list, it seems to challenge the seventh in the list and set up the individualism as the prime value of Unitarian Universalism. What is it really about? And why do we need it?

The Meaning of Membership

On this day of the Annual Meeting of our Fellowship, we count the quorum. How many members are present? Do we have enough to vote on the issues before us this year? Other than voting, though, what is being a member all about?

LGBTQ Pride Service

Why do we celebrate Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer Pride? We’ve got marriage equality now throughout the US. So why do we, an LGBTQ+ Welcoming Congregation, still need to say anything about it? Why do we need to make our commitments of support and welcome explicit? Details TBA.