This Sunday we welcome The Rev. John Crestwell to our pulpit. Rev. Crestwell is the associate minister of outreach, leadership, and evangelism, as well as the founder of AWAKE Ministries, at the UU Church of Annapolis. He will share with us his belief that a more emotionally literate and competent society is the key to reaching Beloved Community. Using research, anecdotes, and personal stories, Rev. Crestwell will compel us take up his cause that he believes can save the world. Music by the AWAKE Singers.
There is much in our Unitarian Universalist religious history worth celebrating, but there are also some deeply problematic elements to reckon with. For example, several Unitarians were among the most public, influential proponents of the eugenics movement in this country. Should we forgive them as products of their time? What responsibility do we have for their legacy?
How do we recover a sense of moral integrity and personal worth when we have participated in causing harm to other human beings and/or the planet? How do we recover from violation of our core humanity by others? In such experiences, when we find it nearly impossible to forgive ourselves, others, or ‘the system,’ is there a pathway to recovering our sense of humanity? What does recovery involve? How can it be achieved? This sermon will give special attention to the moral dilemmas experienced by soldiers and will draw on new research into “moral injury” as a hidden cost of war, as discussed in the book Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War (Beacon Press, 2013), by Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini.
Sometimes we forgive too soon and minimize a harm that needs healing. Sometimes we delay forgiveness so long that bitterness corrodes our spirits. Sometimes we crave forgiveness but don’t want to change. Sometimes we find it easier to blame ourselves than to hold someone else accountable. How do we find the balance that makes forgiveness a pathway to genuine transformation of injustice, betrayal, or broken relationship?
Mother’s Day began as rallying cry from mothers who called for an end to war. The outcries of women from around the globe continue to call humanity to seek forgiveness for how we have failed to care for life. Can we hear and heed their call? How, this Mother’s Day, might we learn from the spiritual and ethical imperatives arising from the women of the world?
In this ritual of passage, All Souls Youth read their credos before the congregation.
In honor of Earth Day, this Sunday we will reflect on the religious and moral challenges of global climate change. What spiritual practices can inspire, heal and direct us aright as we seek to live faithfully on this earth? What might the trees themselves teach us?
The Unitarian Universalist Church celebrates our environment this year beginning March 22 as “World Water Day” to April 22, “Earth Day.” Let us celebrate our relationship with water from inception to cremation – we are one. We must care for water as she has cared for us.
Love for this earth, this interdependent web of which we are all a part, is at the heart of our spiritual commitments as Unitarian Universalists. This Sunday, we will explore how Christianity traded love of this world for crucifixion, crusading, and exploitation of the earth. How can of we draw on the deep well-springs of our faith tradition to resist the violation of earth and its peoples and orient our lives to love for paradise here and now?
We may intellectually understand the concept of interdependence, but we don't often feel its truth. Our 7th principle encourages us to see our lives as part of and impacting the larger web of Life. What experiences do we have the help us see these threads of connection between and among all living beings? How might we bring those threads to the surface? How might the way we live change if we felt our interdependence more keenly?
Rev. Shana Lynngood has served as co-minister of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria, BC, Canada, with her wife since 2010. Prior to the move to BC, Shana served All Souls as associate minister for seven years (2003-2010). A native of the Philadelphia area and lifelong UU, Rev. Lynngood currently serves Unitarian Universalism as vice-chair of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (the UUA committee that approves ministerial candidates for ordination). Rev. Shana's passions include art and art history, jazz, and poetry. She and her wife parent two children, Athena, age 10, and Demetrius, age 3.
Easter Sunday opens our hearts to the affirmation that life goes on beyond sorrows, losses, and tragedies. Recalling the experience of Jesus’ followers after his crucifixion, we will remember the loved ones we have lost, make room for the grief we feel at injustice in the world, and turn again to the beautiful feast of life to receive refreshment for our souls.
Join us for our tenebrae service, with readings from sacred texts, music, and a common table of remembrance and love.
How do we stay steadfast and strong in the face of adversity? How do we remain resilient, hopeful, and engaged when despair weighs us down? This Sunday we will reflect on the prophetic leadership of Jesus, including how he is seen through Buddhist, Muslim, and Feminist eyes. How might Jesus and other exemplars of courageous and persistent faith guide us in the struggles we face in our time?
Many wonder how can we thrive in the face of adversity, setbacks, losses? There are ways to return from life’s traumas from within and without.
Resisting evil is a good thing to do, but what if it was also fun and interesting? The sermon will explore how to help others, be happier ourselves, and maybe even save Christmas along the way.
Evil rarely operates in the open with its gloves off. More often, it parades in disguises that deceive us. Ancient spiritual wisdom teaches that to resist evil we must become astute about seeing through its disguises. How might this ancient wisdom help us now?
On Valentine's Day, we celebrate the power of love--not only the power of romantic love, but also the many ways and forms that love takes in resisting evil and helping to repair harm caused by injustices. We also honor the UUA's "Standing on the Side of Love" campaign in solidarity with our All Souls members who will be in Raleigh for the Reeb Voting Rights project and the Moral March.
American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr said, “Evil is not to be traced back to the individual but to the collective behavior of humanity.” Each of us has the propensity to do good or evil in our lifetime. How do we discern that which is malicious and cruel around us? How can we know what is the right thing to do?
How do we discover and name that which grounds our sense of reverence? Many sensitive people of faith have rejected problematic and oppressive concepts of God. For others, a sense of divine presence and support is an unshakable given. Honoring both perspectives, this week’s sermon will explore the importance of wrestling with God. How might we think differently about the divine by listening to voices from the margins, from oppressed communities, from within our own lives and experiences?
How do we discover and name that which grounds our sense of reverence? Many sensitive people of faith have rejected problematic and oppressive concepts of God. For others, a sense of divine presence and support is an unshakable given. Honoring both perspectives, this week’s sermon will explore the importance of wrestling with God---and allowing ourselves to be questioned by that which is larger than ourselves.
On Rev. Hardies’ final sermon before his sabbatical, we explore what it means to embrace life whole-heartedly. In the New Year, how can we make our broken hearts whole again?
The New Year is a time for turning and often we begin by setting intentions and making resolutions, calling on the strength of our will-power to make change. In honor of the season of epiphany—the shining forth of life’s gifts—this sermon will invite an alternative approach: What might happen if we turn from a will-centered life to a spirituality of reverence and receptivity? Just as the Magi learned to kneel before a baby, becoming more deeply open to the gifts of life that we neither earn nor create can alter how we approach making change both on a personal level and as we labor for social justice.