What to expect
Worship services at Silver Spring are vital, engaging, diverse, and central to our life as a community. Most visitors mention the energy they feel in the building and the people when we share Sunday morning together and that seems to be a foundational part of our experience together. Worship connects us, uplifts us, challenges us and comforts us. We are a diverse congregation, with a wide range of gifts, needs and perspectives, and our worship reflects us in this. The mood of a worship service can range from personal to political, spiritual to practical, individual to global, and reflective to humorous, grounding to inspiring – sometimes all in the same service! We draw on world religious traditions with respect and care, and celebrate a number of holidays within the church year: the Jewish High Holidays, Samhain, Christmas and Hannukah, Solstice, Martin Luther King Sunday, Easter, Passover, and more. Our Sunday experience is one of the strengths we are proud of and glad to share with visitors. Though the elements of a service may very from week to week, they always include live music. We have a choir, house band, celtic music ensemble and a number of gifted musicians and vocalists within our church. We also invite local and national artists to celebrate with us over the course of the year. We sing hymns from two hymnals, Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey, and sometimes incorporate popular, folk, spiritual, gospel and world music into our congregational singing. For the spoken aspects of our service, we draw on both sacred and secular texts. We also share in reflective readings, prayer, and silence for personal meditation. Most, but not all, of our services feature a sermon. Generally, these are delivered by our parish minister; however, during the summer, and frequently during the rest of the year, a church member or guest preacher speaks on a special topic.
Look below to learn about and listen to some of our past sermons. Click here to visit our Sermon Archive for older sermons.
Columbus Day is always fraught with the pain of remembering that encounters between Europeans and the native peoples of this hemisphere have included profound injustices. In 2017, confronting these tensions is as important as ever.
A sermon for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring
The Rev. Evan Keely, Interim Minister
In the 1930s, Indian author and scholar Shri Purohit Swami wrote his English translations of Hindu scriptures, and he did so making an effort to translate these ancient texts in a way that Westerners unfamiliar with Hindu concepts and mores would find accessible. These words are from his translation of the Bhagavad Gita [12:1-10]:
Arjuna asked: My Lord! Which are the better devotees who worship Thee, those who try to know Thee as a Personal God, or those who worship Thee as Impersonal and Indestructible?
Lord Shri Krishna replied: Those who keep their minds fixed on Me, who worship Me always with unwavering faith and concentration; these are the very best. Those who worship Me as the Indestructible, the Undefinable, the Omnipresent, the Unthinkable, the Primeval, the Immutable and the Eternal; subduing their senses, viewing all conditions of life with the same eye, and working for the welfare of all beings, assuredly they come to Me.
But they who thus fix their attention on the Absolute and Impersonal encounter greater hardships, for it is difficult for those who possess a body to realize Me as without one.
Verily, those who surrender their actions to Me, who muse on Me, worship Me and meditate on Me alone, with no thought save of Me, O Arjuna! I rescue them from the ocean of life and death, for their minds are fixed on Me.
Then let thy mind cling only to Me, let thy intellect abide in Me; and without doubt thou shalt live hereafter in Me alone. But if thou canst not fix thy mind firmly on Me, then, My beloved friend, try to do so by constant practice. And if thou are not strong enough to practice concentration, then devote thyself to My service, do all thine acts for My sake, and thou shalt still attain the goal.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the liturgical calendar of Judaism, falls on September 29 this year. What can this ancient custom teach us?
“What can we learn from the traditions of Rosh Hashanah, and how do they fit with our UU Values. Spoiler alert: they fit perfectly!”
A reflection on the question “For What Do We Work?” by Interim Minister Rev. Evan Keely.
If I had to pick a single day in the history of this country that I would name as the worst day, I think it would have to be April 12, 1861 — the day Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, beginning the Civil War. Many things have happened in our country that were demonstrably…
Veronika Martin spoke about her work in conflict zones in Asia and Africa, how her family history guided her there, and what she learned from the human connections made during these difficult times.
Even the oldest historical records, not to mention the mythologies and stories of cultures in every era, have provided narratives of how human beings cope with the challenges and opportunities of change.
Rev. Evan Keely delivered his first sermon as UUCSS’s new interim minister The start of two-year period of intentional transition at UUCSS to reflect on the core values of this faith community and renew our commitment to those values – and to each other.
When Catherine Buckler initially offered to do this, she had planned to talk about her experiences at the last two Revolutionary Love conferences. However, after viewing three videos related to the NRA ad campaign controversy, she decided to focus in on one of the ideas explored at the conferences – loving one’s enemies. See what…