Resistance Training

by Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

It’s the new year and many of us have made – or possibly already broken – our vows to change our lives in some new direction. We’re told that “resistance training” is the best way to build muscle by ironically, breaking them down first! This sermon will explore the challenge presented by the January theme of “Resistance,” to growth, to spiritual depth and to forces seemingly beyond our control that threaten to challenge the values we hold dear.

The Joys of Compulsory Giving

by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason

There are many expectations we have to deal with at the holiday season, but for me the most difficult ones are the expectation to give gifts, and the expectation of those we love that gifts will be given. Isn’t the gift that is freely given the most meaningful? What does the season of compulsory giving have to teach us about our expectations regarding generosity?

Near the Earth

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

Oh no. Christmas is approaching. The season some call “Giftmas” can be a stressful time of expectations gone wild, with pressure to find deep meaning amid the commercialization. Yet our Unitarian ancestors have a surprising amount of wisdom to impart about this dilemma. Not only did they popularize Christmas as a religious holiday in this country, they also infused it with a Humanist sensibility that serves us well today.

The Hungriest Game

by Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

The young adult novels The Hunger Games depicted a dystopian future where entire nations are starving and children are forced to compete to the death for the right to eat. Escalating inequality is forcing many in our nation – and world – to go without their daily bread. How can we put a stop to this deadly, hungriest game of have and have nots?

Standing in Line

by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason Most of us know where we came from geneologically, but our lineage of blood is not the only lineage in which we stand. How do we understand and honor all the ways that we stand in lines, lines of ancestors, teachers, and predecessors that make us who we are. Standing…


by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

We probably won’t ever time travel to a past era, but we each have secret stories and private histories that seem easiest to leave buried. Do they have to be confronted? What is to be gained if we do? Last spring, Leah invited anyone who was interested to join her in reading Kindred by Octavia Butler. Now, during our month of learning and worship about ancestry, the time is ripe to consider what we might learn from this tale of a contemporary black woman who, by the magic of science fiction, is transported to the world of her antebellum Southern ancestors through no desire of her own and at great personal cost. Whether you read the novel or not, join us as we consider the advantages and pitfalls of confronting our own past, present and future.

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.

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