Sermons

Remembering Forward

by Rev. Karen Hering

Halfway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, when the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween appear on our doorsteps, is a time regarded in many cultures as one when the veils between this world and the next are thin or even lifted. We will mark the occasion, known variously as All Souls or All Saints Day, as the Days of the Dead and as Samhain, by remembering those who have gone before us and honoring our connections both to them and to those who will come after us. The service will include an ofrenda, an altar of remembrance, and children and adults are encouraged to bring mementos of loved ones you have lost. You are invited to place your photos, small objects, treasures and offerings of love on the ofrenda at the beginning of each service and may take them home with you at the close. Rev. Karen Hering serves as consulting literary minister at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is author of Writing to Wake the Soul: Opening the Sacred Conversation Within and leads guided writing sessions and retreats in congregations and other community settings in the Midwest and beyond. She grew up in Appleton and is a graduate of Appleton East. www.karenhering.com

Our Doctrine of Discovery

by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason

These two words get a big response from UU’s. “Doctrine” – BAD! That’s what we don’t want! “Discovery” – GOOD! That’s what we do in our religion – right? We discover our own theology! So what happens when you put these two words together ? You get an obscure, powerful, and troubling legal concept that raises questions about “entitlement.” We’ll touch briefly on the legal concept, but mostly we’ll ask: To what are we “entitled” as human beings, as citizens? What do we have already, and what do we think we need, and what should we let go?

How Might Your Life Story Change If You Let Go of Old Hurts?

by Rev. Karon Sandberg

We tell stories about our lives to others and to ourselves. Our stories help us make sense of things that happened to us. My hospice patients have taught me how important letting go of old hurts can be at end of life. This got me thinking about how letting go of old hurts allows us to open up space for a new way of seeing. Perhaps it might offer opportunity for changing the narrative of some of those more difficult stories to ones that offer us more peace.

The Only Road to Hope is Through Trouble

by Rev. Meg Riley

We want to accept the invitation to live hopeful and joyful lives! And yet, when we open our hearts to joy, we also open them to sorrow, fear, and anger. It turns out we can’t inhabit one emotion fully without receiving them all. How do we accept the invitation to be fully alive without tipping our small boats over into the ocean of emotion?

Rev. Meg Riley is the Senior Minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), a 3500 member UU congregation without walls which includes over 600 prison members and people all over the world. Previously, Riley was co-creator and founding director of the UUA’s Standing on the Side of Love program, director of the UUA’s Washington Office, GLBT office, and Youth Office. She has served on the national boards of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice, the Interfaith Alliance, and Equal Partners in Faith. She is founding president of Faith in Public Life. After a decade in Washington DC, Riley relocated with her family to Minneapolis, where she loves the lakes and her garden. Please visit CLF’s website at QuestforMeaning.org.

Begin Again

By Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg, opening words by Fellowship Member Jaclyn Kottman

Looking inward and letting go are universal themes that can interpreted in many ways. Two lifelong Jewish Unitarian Universalists (Rev. Leah and Fellowship member Jaclyn Kottman) invite you to explore these themes through a UU take on the Jewish High Holy Days traditions. This service is for people with Jewish backgrounds and non-Jews alike, and will end with sharing the sweet traditional snack of apples, honey, and challah (bread).

The Pleasure of Your Company

by Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

A real conversation always contains an invitation.” – David Whyte
The invitation into conversation can be offered and received in so many ways in the society in which we live. This sermon will explore the intersection of both the Fellowship’s monthly theme of Invitation and West Shore UU Church (Cleveland) theme which asks Do I know how to have a real conversation? What is a real conversation, anyway – and how do we issue the invitation to one another to engage as people of integrity and faith?

Dancing in Faith

by Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs

The Fox Valley congregation is in the midst of a great transition. It is a good time to reflect up how we approach change and those times of being “in between” what has been and what will be? Janne will address this very human challenge which is constantly unfolding in our lives, but particularly for the Fox Valley congregation this year.

Janne Eller-Isaacs currently serves as co-minister, with her husband Rob, at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously they served the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, California for many years. Janne is a born and bred Unitarian, having been raised in large congregations, lay led fellowships and mid-sized congregations. Janne has held numerous volunteer positions within Unitarian Universalism. Currently she serves as one of the Ministerial Settlement Reps in our association. She will be serving the Fox Valley congregation in this capacity as well as being a support team member of the group serving the congregation in this year of transition. She and Rob are the proud parents of three children and are very happy grandparents of one perfect grandchild.

Good Orderly Directions

by Mark Marnocha

Whether it be the compass or the Medicine Wheel, we look to cardinal directions and core values as our life rolls on. Crossroads and ceremonies alter the flow of time, and may provoke pain or ignite inspiration. In our travels we will likely become lost and overwhelmed, yet may find intense flow and energy in the most simple insight or comforting touch. Let’s look at some signposts, some directions, and the farther horizons of our lives, honoring roots in world religions, our elders’ gifts, and the weather this morning….. Namaste.

Walking Together

by Transitional Consulting Ministers Rev. Kathleen Rolenz and Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason

The Old Testament Prophet Amos once asked a question that has become central to UU congregations –“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” What has made “walking together” possible, even when we don’t agree on every element of our spiritual beliefs or our fellowship’s priorities, has been the covenants we have made. Our new lead ministers will introduce themselves, and reflect on the covenant we are making with them, and with each other, in the year ahead.

Animal Blessing

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

In our world today, animals can be pets, service companions, sources of sustenance in various ways or even members of our families. They bless us with their presence and deserve, in turn, to be blessed with our gratitude. You and your animal friends (stuffed toys welcome too) are warmly invited to attend this service, which will include some great Shel Silverstein poetry about animals!