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, February 5, 2017
Rev. Dr. Joanne M. Braxton

Friends, we are called to compassion and empathy in dangerous times. How do we sustain the gifts of the spirit: joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in the face of insult and injury? How is it possible to see and resist systemic evil and remain centered in one’s own grounded spiritual ecology—until the glory finally comes?

Dr. Joanne Braxton is a native Washingtonian born to a father who was a machinist at the DC Navy Yard and a mother who worked at the Census Bureau. A graduate of Yale University and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Dr. Braxton is widely published. She is currently David B. Larson Fellow in Spirituality and Health at the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center.

Sunday, January 29, 2017
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Rev. Hardies returns to the pulpit his weekend for the second sermon in a two-part series called "Truth and Love in the Age of Trump." This week we focus on love and solidarity. Rochelle Rice and her trio will offer music that inspires and delights.

Sunday, January 22, 2017
Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry

(Click title to see both the 9:30 and 11:15 sermon recordings.) On the weekend of the Women’s March on Washington—and on the first Sunday of a new administration—we are delighted to welcome to All Souls professor, author, Unitarian, and former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, one of our nation’s pre-eminent African American public intellectuals. Dr. Harris-Perry will share words of wisdom and courage for the road that lies ahead.

Sunday, January 15, 2017
Bokamoso South African Youth Choir

At this Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday intergenerational service, the young South Africans of Bokamoso return by popular demand and, along with the Jubilee Singers and All Souls Children’s Choir, share songs and stories of courage in the face of adversity.

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

The Oxford Dictionary named “post-truth” its 2016 Word of the Year. How can we be faithful to the truth when so many have cast it aside?

Sunday, January 1, 2017
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty!

On the night of December 31, 1862, weary but hopeful people gathered in churches across the land to watch and pray for the long-awaited announcement of freedom. On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and a new day dawned. In the spirit of the Black Church’s “Watch Night” traditions we will gather on New Year’s Day 2017 to ‘pray the old year out and pray the new year in.’ We will remember struggles now past, the struggles still with us, and devote ourselves anew to “Imani”—the seventh principle of Kwanza—keeping faith in the struggle for liberations yet to be.

One service only at 10:15 am.

Sunday, December 25, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies


Sunday, December 25, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Join Rev. Hardies and the All Souls Choir in welcoming Christmas into the world and into our hearts during this candlelit service of readings and carols. Don’t forget to bring a bell to ring every time we sing “Alleluia.”

Sunday, December 25, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies and the children of All Souls

Rev. Hardies and the children of All Souls share the Christmas story in our annual Christmas pageant. An All Souls tradition. Don’t forget to bring a bell to ring every time we sing “Alleluia.”

Thursday, December 22, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Welcome the solstice at our mid-week contemplative service of silence and chant.

Sunday, December 18, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Our vespers hymn goes “Within our darkest night, you kindle the fire that never dies away.” As we celebrate the solstice and prepare our hearts for Christmas, we seek light in the darkness.

Sunday, December 11, 2016
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

How can we speak of hope unless we speak of winter? This season invites us to open our hearts to the times, places, and circumstances in which hope is hardest to find. What can warm and cheer us in these difficult days?

Sunday, December 4, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

People often ask what gives me hope. Yet hope isn’t so much a gift as it is a spiritual discipline. It is the fruit of conscious decisions and actions that we take in our lives. Hope is a journey.

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

We remember the first Thanksgiving as an iconic story of native peoples and pilgrims coming together in peace. But that peace held only for a brief moment. Today, the water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota, summon us to protect sacred land and water for future generations—and to right the wrongs done to indigenous peoples in North America. To do so, we need to better understand the role our Puritan forbearers played in the legacies that haunt our national conscience still and heed the ancestral voices that cry out for healing for the earth and “all our relations.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

After a polarizing presidential campaign, many of us will return home for Thanksgiving to families and communities that are still divided. How can we heal the many divisions in our nation? Who is welcome at our table?

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies
On the Sunday after a bitter and divisive presidential election, and on the 195th birthday of All Souls Church, we return to the fundamentals and focus on the things that really matter.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

How do we cultivate gratitude as a posture for our living and our dying? We ask this question on All Souls Day as we remember and give thanks for those in our community who have died over the past year.

Sunday, October 30, 2016
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

Generosity gives life meaning and joy. But sometimes we give and give and end up broken-hearted when our giving fails to accomplish what we’d hoped. After such a loss, how do we learn to give again?

Sunday, October 23, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Sometimes it feels like we're just going through the motions, skimming life's surface. Other times we live with a profound sense of joy and meaning. Jesus made a distinction in his ministry between mere life and "life abundant." How can we live with and give from life's abundance?

Sunday, October 16, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

To be a person of faith is to believe that what others call “impossible” is, in fact, possible. We are called to be the people who make the impossible possible.

Generosity Sunday is the day we bring forth or pledges of financial support for the upcoming church year.

Sunday, October 9, 2016
Rev. Karen Tse

In this justice struggle, hope lies within the human heart. Rev Tse will share her reflections on the movement to end torture as an investigative tool through early access to counsel and the tenacious generosity of heart that sometimes makes the seemingly impossible possible. 

Karen Tse, international human rights lawyer, UU minister, and former public defender, founded International Bridges to Justice in 2000 to promote systemic global change in criminal justice. IBJ aims to end torture as an investigative tool by providing early access to counsel. Karen has trained the Cambodia’s first core group of public defenders, served as a United Nations Judicial Mentor, trained judges and prosecutors in Cambodia, and negotiated measures for judicial reform in China, Vietnam and Cambodia. Under her leadership, IBJ has expanded its programming to Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, and India. IBJ’s Global Defense Support Program brings assistance to public defenders worldwide, sponsors independent Justice Makers in 25 countries, and currently has a presence in over 40 countries. A graduate of UCLA Law School and Harvard Divinity School, Karen is a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Innovation, Gleitsman International Award, Harvard Kennedy School Award, American Bar Association Human Rights Award, and was named by the US News and World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders.

Sunday, October 2, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

From its beginning Unitarian Universalism has confronted the prophets of fear and hate with a message of love. Now more than ever we are called to continue that legacy. Last in the sermon series, "Being the Beloved Community in Turbulent Times."

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Moore

Henry David Thoreau lived alone in a cabin, near Walden Pond for a little over two years. He journeyed there. Lived there, and when the time came to return from the woods, he left. What can happen if we take time to pause and reflect upon our lives like Thoreau? Can we move forward in the direction of our dreams?

Sunday, September 18, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

In world filled with violence and terror, we face daily temptations to turn our back on the Beloved Community. How do we cultivate souls that allow us to resist this temptation? How do we keep the faith in times of terror? Second in the sermon series, "Being the Beloved Community in Turbulent Times."

Sunday, September 11, 2016
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11 we reflect on what we learned that difficult season about what it means to be the Beloved Community in times of terror. How can those lessons inform our current struggles to live faithfully in turbulent times? Join us on Homecoming Sunday for an intergenerational service featuring a combined Festival Choir and a Story for All Ages. First in the sermon series, "Being the Beloved Community in Turbulent Times." We return to our regular church year schedule: two worship services at 9:30 and 11:15 am.