Past Sermons

Please explore this archive of past sermons. You can stream the sermons using the audio player controls or you can download the audio file by clicking on the MP3 file name below the audio player.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Against all odds the oil in the Maccabees’ lamp lasted eight nights. Against all odds a child born in a stable became a Prince of Peace. Against all odds the diminishing light grows again. What can the winter holidays teach us about finding hope when the odds are stacked against us?

Sunday, December 1, 2013
Rev. Dr. Susan Newman

Sunday, December 1 is the first Sunday in Advent, and the theme is Hope. Hope is an often misunderstood emotion, if you can call it an emotion. We have it when we desire a positive outcome in a situation in our lives, but many think it is useless and unnecessary. With hope we can look through the eyes of what has happened--whether good or bad--and still see something positive on the horizon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving we make our annual offering of food and funds. The food feeds our neighbors in need on Thanksgiving; the funds support our social justice ministries. Thanksgiving is a time for us to ask how the church can feed both body and soul, and how our work for justice must be nourished by a robust spirit.

Sunday, November 17, 2013
Rev. Cathy Rion Starr

"Fuente de Amor” can be translated as “source of love.” As a congregation of agnostics, humanists, theists, and more, we may have different names for the “source(s) or love,” yet we share a thirst for justice and abundant love. The question Unitarian Universalism asks of us is not whether we believe in God, but rather, “How do your beliefs and practices help you to live a life of abundant love?"

Sunday, November 10, 2013
Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed

While attending Dunbar High School, Rev. Morrison-Reed's father fell in love with chemistry and, after graduating from Howard University, became one of the few African Americans involved in the making the A-bomb. Rev. Morrison-Reed will tell you his story and then why, in response to an inner call, he traveled to Hiroshima to come to terms with an event that happened before he was born.

At 1:00 pm, Rev. Morrison-Reed will read from several of his books.

Sunday, November 3, 2013
Rev. Dr. Susan Newman

The Sankofa Ghana sojourners tell their stories.

Sunday, October 27, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

William Ellery Channing said that each of our actions is like a pebble in the water, rippling out in ever-widening circles of love. How can our lives be gifts that keep on giving?

Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

If, as our faith promises, the gift of love is at the center of our lives, then generosity can be understood as a kind of gratitude for—or faithfulness to—that gift. How do we remain faithful to the love we’ve been given?

Sunday, October 13, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Our Unitarian Universalist faith teaches that at the center of our lives is a gift of love—a gift of grace. But how do we come to trust that gift in our lives?

Sunday, October 6, 2013
Rev. Cathy Rion Starr

New Orleans Jazz musician Evan Christopher joins us for this Sunday of special music and worship. Improvisation is central to jazz—how does improvisation show up in our everyday lives? How do we keep creativity flowing amidst the everyday challenges and stresses of life?

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Ever since the tragic death of Trayvon Martin there have been many who, in solidarity with the slain young man, have proclaimed, “I am Trayvon.” I haven’t yet heard anyone admit to identifying with George Zimmerman. We will understand the true meaning of Beloved Community only when we can identify with the part of ourselves in both of these young men. This Sunday we also bless and send off our Sankofa Pilgrims who leave for a ten-day journey to Ghana.

Sunday, September 22, 2013
Rev. Dr. Susan Newman

Often when we hear of the “Beloved Community” we understood it as Dr. King’s vision of a community where people of all races, classes, and faiths live together in harmony, justice, and peace. Is this community just a byproduct of Dr. King’s dream? Is it just a hoped for future that we seek after like Nirvana? I believe we create such a loving and just place—not instantly, but gradually, with each other one step at a time.

Sunday, September 15, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

The old adage says, “To forgive is to forget.” But real forgiveness asks us to remember more than forget. What must we remember in order to forgive? This Sunday we join with our Jewish brothers and sisters in marking Yom Kippur, a day of atonement and reconciliation.

Sunday, September 8, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

One of my favorite hymns begins “We would be one, as now we join in singing.” Church is one of the places where people who can’t carry a tune join together with those who can and sing…but for what do we sing?

Sunday, September 1, 2013
Rev. Cathy Rion Starr

We all say we believe in economic justice, but when it comes to decisions we make in our own lives – or in the life of the church – it’s easier said than done. How do we wrestle with the tensions of living out our values?

Sunday, August 25, 2013
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

In his address to the 1963 March on Washington, Dr. King said, “We have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.” Yet in our own time, the demands for justice are also fierce, also urgent. What lessons does the past offer for our urgent present?

Sunday, August 18, 2013
Abbey Tennis

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.” We each hope to leave behind something meaningful when our short time on earth is over. How do we measure the impact of our lives? What kind of legacy will we leave behind? 

Intern Minister Abbey Tennis preaches her final sermon at All Souls before returning to her studies.

Sunday, August 11, 2013
Rev. Rob Keithan

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. While much has changed in 40 years, issues related to reproductive decisions—and sexuality overall—are still hotly contested in culture and politics. What’s going to move us forward, and what’s religion got to do with it?

Sunday, August 4, 2013
Abbey Tennis

Racism not only causes inequality in our material lives and communities, it fractures the very core of our souls. Each of us carries the wound of racism, regardless of our race or ethnicity. When we have been taught to be divided, how can we become united? When a wound runs this deep, where can we find healing?

Sunday, July 28, 2013
Rev. Cathy Rion Starr

We worship in a diverse, historic, and yet gentrifying neighborhood. What is our relationship to our neighbors? What is your relationship to YOUR neighbors in your neighborhood? What exactly is a good neighbor? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013
Abbey Tennis

Nearly eight years after the decimation of Hurricane Katrina, those who call New Orleans home are still struggling to recapture a normal life—a task made harder by institutional racism and classism. Why does home matter? How do we face devastating loss and systemic injustice? Where can we look for support, healing, and transformation?

Sunday, July 14, 2013
Rev. Dr. Susan Newman

Remember when you fell in love, and the relationship fell apart? You vowed that you'd never be that vulnerable again. Many of us open our hearts to lovers, family, and friends, and sometimes things happen and we give up on love. As fearful as we are of being hurt again, let's look at how we can be courageous lovers. What we can do to salvage something sweet, that is about to go sour.

Sunday, July 7, 2013
Abbey Tennis

What if living an ethical life was not about closely following a list of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots,” but was instead about coming to know true beauty and dedicating our lives to protecting and nourishing what is beautiful? Join us as we connect to the age-old human challenge to live a nourishing and principled life.

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Rev. Dr. Susan Newman

Carl Jung said, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness. Take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” We don’t mind when the answers to prayers are yes and no, but we have a difficulty with “wait.” How do we handle the holding patterns of life?

Sunday, June 23, 2013
Catharine Clarenbach

Our Vision Statements carry the dreams of All Souls, our hope of Beloved Community. Today we reflect on the blessings of abundant life at All Souls through the lens of our shared Vision.