Sermons

Birds of a Feather

by Rev. Vail Weller

Perhaps you’ve heard of a “murder of crows,” an “exaltation of larks,” a “parliament of owls” or an “ostentation of peacocks.” This morning, we will ask what “murmuration of Unitarian Universalists” might be. Join us as our spirits take wing! Rev. Vail Weller is the Congregational Giving Director at the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is an inspiring speaker and in her good friend Roger Bertschausen’s opinion a very cool person. It’s a thrill to have her visit.

Keep Trying: The Trouble With Being Smart

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

Growing up, I always thought the key to being resilient (maybe as a kid I would have called it “ending up ok”) was to be good, think smart and do everything correctly from the get-go. That way, you can’t go wrong, right? Well, no. Research suggests and I think most of our experiences of adulthood confirm that it can be a lot more helpful to just keeping plugging away at life than counting on everything going well in the first place.

I Want to Burden My Loved Ones

by Rev. Roger Bertschausen

If I had to pick an all-time favorite sermon, it would be “I Want to Burden My Loved Ones,” a sermon I preached back in 1999. Some people have asked this year if I’d do a series of “greatest hits.” I’m not doing a a series, but will do just this one. A favorite part of the service will also be reprised: Cheri Bricco and Paul Reiser singing Stuart Stotts’ and Tom Pease’s song “Silver Dollar.”

Nurturing Resilience

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

So many studies as well as anecdotal evidence suggests that resilience is an extremely important quality, especially when times are tough. People who fashion amazing lives out of a whole bunch of bad luck and circumstances seem to always have resilience as a central attribute. How can we cultivate resilience in our lives? Part of the sermon will focus this question on the challenge of living with mental illness or loving someone who lives with mental illness.

What I Would Say If I Was Leaving

by Rev. Roger Bertschausen

Ten years ago almost to the day, I gave a sermon with this title. I talked about ministers who speak the real, sometimes hard truth once they’ve announced they’re leaving. Since I hadn’t had that opportunity and it didn’t feel like I’d have the opportunity anytime soon, I announced my departure–at an unknown time–and said what I felt needed to be said. Well, now that the departure date is set, I have an opportunity to do this sermon for real! A high point of the Sunday services will be the premiere by our choir of a piece written by our own Jay Thomas, “Greater From the Difference.”

Is Unitarian Universalism a Faith?

by Rev. Roger Bertschausen

Unitarian Universalists sometimes refer to our tradition as a faith. Others among us find this an uncomfortable word to use. Is Unitarian Universalism a faith? If so, what do we mean by “faith?” Come and join us as we dive into our monthly worship and learning theme: faith.

Cautiously Leaping

by Rev. Roger Bertschausen

Unitarian Universalism is a faith characterized by skepticism and doubt. We don’t take anything as truth without putting it through the fire of our own experience and reason. This is a good thing. But there is another part of spirituality that is important, too: faithfully leaping. William Sloane Coffin wrote, “I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, then you grow wings.” This sermon will be a meditation on cautiously leaping.

Giving Voice

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

How do we give voice to that which is precious? Rabbi Shefa Gold, a renowned educator, composer and performer of spiritual music, says that we can do it literally, with our actual voices. Join us to reflect on how we express our faith in life’s goodness. We’ll even try out some simple Hebrew chants!

Finding My Corner of the Sky

by Rev. Roger Bertschausen with Folk Singer-Songwriter Peter Mayer

This sermon will feature three songs written and performed by the well-known folk musician Peter Mayer, with Roger Bertschausen weaving words around the songs. When times are difficult–as an individual and as a world community–where can we can turn for solace and understanding? A Unitarian Universalist, Peter has a beautiful, humanist answer to this question.

Black Lives Matter — in Ferguson, Staten Island, and the Fox Valley

by Rev. Roger Bertschausen

I’ve mentioned Ferguson and the latest convulsion in race relations and racism in our country tangentially. I’ve tried to duck doing a sermon on this topic, but it’s time. My focus will be on what all this means to us–residents of the Fox Valley, members of this Fellowship.