The Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring
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December 1, 2013
Hannukah Intergenerational service
Rev. Liz, Rev. Leon, DRE Sarah GonzalezJoin us for an all-age worship experience this morning as we recount theHannukah story in song and story, consider its inspiration and challenges, andstart to enter into the winter holidays in all their beauty and richness. Babieswill also be dedicated this morning, contact Sarah Gonzalez if you wish toparticipate in this ritual. And feel free to bring Hannukah cookies and treats toshare at coffee hour!
November 24, 2013
Preparing to Give Thanks
Rev. Liz Lerner-MaclayThis is it; the big rush begins now and goes right into the new year. We allhave a lot be grateful for. And a lot we are unhappy and unsatisfied about - alot we are working to change. Even a lot we feel guilty about - the only nationin history that can be at war without the kind of impact and sacrifice weusually associate with war. It's a complicated time and that makes givingthanks complicated too. What does it mean to give thanks in a faithful andfulfilled way at this time in history and in our nation and in our own lives? It'sa challenge worth taking up and a question we need to answer.
November 17, 2013
Diversity and Treasure
Rev. Liz and Dr. Miako RankinWe often speak of diversity as if its value is self-evident, but in fact, whatdiversity really means and offers is, well, diverse from one person to the next.This morning, our lead ASL interpreter, Dr. Miako Rankin will step out of herusual interpreting role to shares with us a glimpse of the treasure she hasgained through working closely and directly with deaf people. Rev. Liz andshe will explore how heeding that calling and sacrificing expectations hasopened up new understandings of human diversity. This worship invites us toconsider what it means to live in a sensory world and explore the myriadbenefits of engaging more deeply with visual culture.
November 10, 2013
November 3, 2013
Rev. Liz Lerner-MaclaySacrifice isn't a word we hear much in liberal faith these days. But in many ways it is a timeless and fundamentally human experience in living, as important now, for our consideration, as ever. We'll look at what it used to mean - really - and what it means now - really - and how much has changed and how much has stayedthe same.
October 27, 2013
Reason, Virtue, Robespierre and Us; or, Kindness and Evil; or, When Virtue Becomes Vice
Rev. Ken Sawyer and Rev. LizRev. Liz is very excited to share with you this morning one of her favoritecolleagues, mentors, friends and preachers, the Rev. Ken Sawyer. Ken beganhis UU ministry in 1970 at the First Church of Houlton, Maine, and from 1974to 2011 served the First Parish in Wayland, MA (UU), of which he is ministeremeritus. He served on the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee for eightyears, for three years as president of the UU Ministers Association, and is inhis thirtieth year on the board of the UU Urban Ministry in Boston. He cotaughtpreaching for thirteen years at Harvard Divinity School, and is coauthorof the standard UU preaching textbook. Ken delivered UnitarianUniversalismís prestigious Berry Street Address in 2007. He and his wife livein Wayland, with their twin daughters nearby; they have three grandchildren.
October 20, 2013
Rev. Liz, Rev. Leon, Michael Holmes, Music Director; David Smith, Guest Music DirectorAn annual highpoint for us in our life as a congregation is this weekend withDavid Smith, who comes to share music and worship with us from All Soulsin Tulsa, OK. David has become a dear friend to us all, and our worshiptogether is always vital, deeply moving and musically wonderful. This timeour theme is revelation, how we experience it and what it can mean when welet it. Feel free to invite friends and neighbors and hope you are there for thisvery special morning of music and meaning.
October 13, 2013
Interacting with Individuals who have Disabilities: Strive to Serve, NOT Help
Emily Luedtke, speaker and Kubby Rashid, worship associateIn recent years the question "How can I help?" has become meaningfulto many people. But perhaps there is a deeper question we mightconsider. Perhaps the real question is not "How can I help?" But "Howcan I serve?" Emily will explore this issue as it relates to interactingwith individuals who have disabilities.
October 6, 2013
Rev. LizRevelation is our theme for October and it's a central concept in Unitarian Universalism as well, especially in the thought of one of our most brilliant theologians, James Luther Adams. Revelation is the disclosing of spiritual knowledge or insight in ways that change or illuminate our religious understanding of life and meaning. This Sunday we'll look at what revelation means for faith generally, our faith in particular and in our own lives and experience.
September 29, 2013
Rev. Dr. Leon DunkleyTBA
September 22, 2013
September 15, 2013
Rev. LizOur president, Peter Morales, wrote recently that he considers belief the enemy offaith, because when we dwell on beliefs we ask all the wrong questions. His ownfaith, he says, is much more about what he loves than what he thinks. Your seniorminister thinks - yes, thinks - there may be room for both faith and belief in religion, even in our religion, and that neither need be inimical to each other, indeed that both are necessary for religious living and deepening.
September 8, 2013
Revs. Liz and Leon, DRE Sarah Gonzalez and Michael Holmes, Music DirectorEvery year we celebrate a new church year together and bring water from whereverwe spent the summer, near or far, to add to each others' and symbolize ourregathering, merging, as one community. Our service includes readings andreflections, special music, and the water communion ceremony itself.
Like flower communion, it is the same every year, and it shifts every year, in response to changes in our community and our larger world. This year, our service is an intergenerational service for all ages and will feature contributions from our children's choir.
Please bring water that represents where you spent the summer, and come prepared to share water, music, reflections and joy at reconnecting as we begin another church year, together.
NOTE ON AUDIO: The audio of this service is different than usual, beginning with: a reflection from Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley, who surprised the congregation by attending the service despite having suffered an injury not much earlier in the summer; then Rev. Liz running through the responsive reading for the service; and then Rev. Liz's reflection, which begins with her quoting an essay from Rev. Lillian Daniels.
September 1, 2013
Labor Day Service
Guest Speaker -- Jeffrey Noel- NosbaumLike many other holidays, we tend to ignore the true meaning of Labor Day.We treat it simply as the unofficial end of summer and one last chance tohave a cookout. In addition, in our consumerist culture it is just anotheropportunity for sales and shopping. We will take this service as anopportunity to explore how as a society we still fail to respect the values thatLabor Day is meant to celebrate and reflect on what can be done to fix that.
August 25, 2013
Why I Am A UU
Guest Speakers-- Ken Iobst and Alexa FraserKen and Alexa will answer the question "Why am I a UU." Community,history and soul work are all sub-themes. Come help them celebrate theiroverlapping and independent journeys.
August 18, 2013
My Spiritual Journey
Guest Speaker- Phyllis Stanley, Pianist, UUCSSI will come from behind the piano to share my spiritual journey which beganin the Methodist Church, continued in the Baptist and Presbyterian Churchesin my formative years, and brought me to where I feel most at home: theUnitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring.
August 11, 2013
Of All the People, By All the People, For All the People
Rev. Dr. Terence EllenUnitarian minister Theodore Parker's 1850's vision of what this country couldbe, edited by Abraham Lincoln, is the standard definition of democracy heardaround the world and is in part responsible for our Unitarian Universalist fifthreligious principle's inclusion of democratic process. From Trayvon Martin'sexperience with "stand your ground" law to the NSA's surveillance practices tothe inevitable confrontation between fossil fuel corporate profits and thepublic good, this vision is still as needed as ever. We'll focus on the last ofthese.
August 4, 2013
Rev. Dr. Leon DunkleyArtists try their best tell us the stories of our world. Sometimes, they usepaint. Other times, they use pen and ink. Some artists use words, somesound... All artists try, in one way or another, to share their message. Theytry to bring meaning into the world. How does art help us to create meaning?How do we become the artists of our own lives?
July 28, 2013
Becoming More Fully Human: Religious Humanism as a Way of Life
Guest Preacher, Rev. Bill MurryFor some, Religious Humanism is primarily about rejecting the supernatural, but to me it is about how we live in a way that is responsible, joyful and filled with meaning. This sermon will elaborate on that idea.
July 21, 2013
Rev. Dr. Leon DunkleyTBD
July 14, 2013
As I Get Older, I Tend Toward Piety-- Lessons from e.e. cummings
Guest Preacher, Rebekah A. MontgomeryThe celebrated poet and painter e.e. cummings was raised in a Unitarian family. As one author wrote, his life embodied endless conflict between radical individualism and faith in love. In this sermon, we will glean lessons about life, love and art from the brilliant writings of e.e. cummings.
July 7, 2013
Confessions of a Country Bumpkin
Guest Preacher, Raz MasonWhat makes a meaningful life? What or who has a claim on you? Sometimes social messages about prestige and success get in our way of going after what really matters. Raz will share about a 4-month summer adventure as along-haul truck driver, which helped her rediscover her origins as a "country bumpkin."
For a text copy of this sermon, contact Raz Mason directly at: mason[at]masonconsult[dot]net
June 30, 2013
Rev. Dr. Leon DunkleyThe new beginning happens before the morning. Before breakfast time and the waking of the world, before showers and, even before coffee, the beginning happens. Perfect clean, untouched by stress or anxiety, fresh and beautiful. Daybreak, not sunrise, but daybreak has so much to teach the world. What does daybreak have in store to say to us?How are we touched by it? How are we healed?
June 23, 2013
My Journey to Happiness
Guest Speaker Chris LindsleyHappiness is something I used to take for granted, as I focused my energies on problems and areas I felt I needed to improve. Over the last year, though, I've done a better job of allowing myself to be happy. I will discuss this personal transformation, and share examples that helped me get there.
June 16, 2013
Guest Preacher, Rev. Dr. Terrence Ellen, Unitarian Universalists for Social JusticeHow do the effects of the climate crises - these already upon us and these more dire ones coming the more we delay - make an imperative moral claim upon us all? Join Rev Ellen as he discusses climate change and what we, as UU's can do to push for change.
June 9, 2013
Rev. Liz, DRE Sarah Gonzalez, Michael Holmes, Music DirectorOur annual celebration, rounding out our church year and welcoming the mellow and lovely days of summer, all ages attend this service of mindfulness and gratitude. Please come with at least one flower for every member of your party, that way we can be sure we'll have enough flowers to go around. Feel free to bring flowers from your garden or anywhere you like to go to get blooms. Special music will round out this service of sharing, communion and benediction.
June 2, 2013
Rev. Elizabeth Lerner-MaclayIt's the end of the regular church year and all bets are off. The sermon topic could be anything that qualifies as 'mystery.' Could be our UU living tradition source: "direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life"... or it could mean something entirely different. What will this service be about? It's a... yeah...that's right... mystery.
May 26, 2013
Guest Preacher, Rev. Gabrielle ParksAs children, we look at the world out of big eyes, surprised and awed by the many wondrous things around us. As adults, we seem to have misplaced this ability; most of us can barely keep up with the daily rat race and the many worries and problems in our life. Can we reclaim our sense of wonder? How?
May 19, 2013
The Mercy of Poetry
Rev. Elizabeth Lerner-MaclayThe famous British novelist and philosopher, C. S. Lewis once wrote: "We read to know that we are not alone." That may not be the only reason we read, but when I read that line, many years ago, I realized that indeed, one of the best gifts literature gives me is recognition - seeing myself, or something, someone I recognize, in something I read. With the recognition often comes insight, acceptance, resolution - all kinds of things. And one of the forms of literature that does this most strongly, for me, is poetry. This service will explore some pivotal poems and poets that are for Rev. Liz essential scripture, perennial wisdom, and sometimes even rocks for clinging to in navigating life.
May 12, 2013
Circle of Life Service
DRE Sarah Gonzalez, Revs. Liz and LeonThis worship service celebrates transitions in our Children and Youth Religious Education program. Join us for our bi-annual Child Dedication ceremony as well as an exploration of how we are all connected. All ages are encouraged to attend this multigenerational worship service.
May 5, 2013
Mercy and Diversity
Diversity Team plus Revs. Liz and LeonEach year our congregation continues further on our journey into becoming and being a multicultural, multiracial community. This path takes us to new places, often beautiful, sometimes uncomfortable, always requiring courage and openness. It's a precious experience we are sharing and the UUCSS Diversity Team works hard every year to help support the efforts and engagement of us all. Mercy is our theme in May; this service will be an opportunity to hear from the team: their reflections, vision and truths about this experience and what it holds for us all as individuals and as one church.
April 28, 2013
UUCSS YRUU Youth, Rev. Liz Lerner-Maclay, and Rev. Leon DunkleyJoin us for a series of short sermons regarding the spiritual, denotational, and historical meanings of the flame. This worship service will be in spirit with our annual Flower and Water Communions. Candles collected through travels appreciated but not required.
April 21, 2013
Rev. Liz Lerner-MaclayFreedom is held up as a universal good, especially in our own free faith, but like, well, everything, when we really look at it, it's complicated. The famed (and knighted) British novelist Irish Murdoch believed that freedom is not a moral value but a political one and that it was problematic, common and dangerously confusing to confuse the one with the other. It's an interesting, and important distinction to explore and freedom is our theme this April - so let's dive in!
April 14, 2013
Rev. Leon DunkleyA slave can wait forever for the good will of his master and the captive, for the one who holds the key. But never in the history of everything there is was there someone who was not already free. Let's begin exploring Life's possibility. Let's explore a sense of freedom that cannot be won.
April 7, 2013
Revs Liz and Leon & Special GuestWhen I think back 13 years ago and I remember all the precious, powerful rivulets of people and passion that held UUCSS' present and future in the face of so many challenges, I am amazed, truly, at how far we have come. I think then of all the people who have joined us since, all the dams and blockages we broke through, worked through, and faced down. I think of all the energies and resources and contributions and vision that have fed our people with passion created out of rivulets, streams and the rivers, always conjoining, conjoining, becoming, becoming the river church, the water shed we have grown into, with a shared and clear identity and sense of purpose. There is a flow, a current and a momentum that helps us go further and further on the path we have carved for ourselves on this earth. We have become a river and now we just need to let the river run. Come to this service for phenomenal music and inspirational worship, along with a special message, as we kick off our annual budget drive and gather our gifts that make this special faith community possible.
March 31, 2013
Revs Liz and LeonWith redemption as our theme this month, the renewal of life that is central to Easter's story aligns to remind us that any experience of redemption carries with it a sense of renewed life, renewed hope, reconnection to the freshness that is part of living in our cyclical world of spring as well as winter and life after death. What in our lives allows us life again, in the wake of loss,grievous sorrow or disappointment, failure and the other 'endings' that assail us in life and living? The Easter story always carries relevance, even for those of us who interpret it most liberally. Let's explore redemption and renewal together, with special music to celebrate the holiday.
March 24, 2013
Gaia Circle Service
UUCSS Gaia CircleThe spring equinox is one of the four great solar festivals of the year. Day and night are equal, poised and balanced, but about to tip over on the side of light. Just as the dawn is the time of new light, so the vernal equinox is the time of new life. In our area, the spring equinox brings crocuses and tree buds, and the urge to plant seeds, both in the ground and in our lives. Join the Gaia Circle in this celebration of spring and new life.
March 17, 2013
Blessing of the Animals
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Rev. Leon Dunkley, & Sarah Gonzalez, DREOur annual tradition is where we give thanks and ask blessings for the companions of our homes and hearts, along with honoring all the earth's creatures plus our precious, fragile interrelationship. Bring your pet, appropriately crated or leashed, housebroken and so forth, with a blanket if you'd like to sit on the floor. We'll bless our pets with the water we gather each year at the ingathering service. If you've lost a pet in the past year, feel free to bring a photo you can place on the pulpit table for the service in memoriam. Virtual pets are also welcome as are your neighbors, friends and their pets. This is an annual festival of love and care, a service of all ages,with special music in keeping with our theme.
March 10, 2013
Yoga, the Me-Me, and the UU: Negotiating narcissism, connection to the self, and the 'point' of existence
Benjamin Lorr, Author (and former UUCSS member)Mr. Lorr will discuss the interrelated themes of self-transformation and narcissism within the history of hatha yoga as explored in his book Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, the Search for Something-Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga.
March 3, 2013
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay & Rev. Leon Dunkley, with special guest Elise WittFull of special music from UUCSS friend and visiting artist Elise Witt, this service will explore the theologically complex theme of redemption which is our topic for May. Rev. Liz will preach on this idea which is so essential, and varied, in all faiths. In terms meaningful for our liberal faith, and the approaching holidays of Easter and Passover, does redemption come from within or without? What defines it? What makes redemption possible? And ultimately, what difference does it make?
February 24, 2013
Rev. Leon Dunkley"What gives you the right to judge what I believe? ... to try to change me?... to evangelize?"
I was indignant, having been too long the object of his proselytizing.
"You're not the spiritual boss of me!"
With respect and patience, he said: "What gives me the right not to try? I am beholden to you, my brother."
February 17, 2013
Rev. Liz, Rev. Leon, Sen. Jamie Raskin, Rev. Megan FoleyAs our state takes on some major justice issues this legislative session, repealing the death penalty is one of the main priorities. We have powerful speakers to help us explore this initiative this morning: State Senator Jamie Raskin, and our own Rev. Megan Foley, a member of this congregation with personal experience of this issue; her father was killed and the men convicted of his murder were executed. Revs. Liz and Leon will lead the service - and there will be rich music to meet this deep and powerful issue. Make sure you attend and please bring family and friends with you.
February 10, 2013
Rev. Liz, Rev. Leon, Michael Holmes, and Jason SheltonThe UUCSS music program and members of the Great Noise Ensemble will present "Sources: A UU Cantata" by UU composer Rev. Jason Shelton. Rev. Shelton is the Minister of Music at First UU Church of Nashville, TN, and he will be our special guest for that weekend. This cantata serves as a continuation to last year's two-part series based on the "Seven Principles" and the "Six Sources" of Unitarian Universalism. Rev. Liz will preach within this service that unfolds from movement to movement with modern classical, jazz,gospel, chant, and even hip-hop. Don't miss this unique and inspiring service!
February 3, 2013
Coming of Age Service
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Rev. Leon Dunkley, & Sarah Gonzalez, DREWhat does it mean to have a successful Religious Education program? Congregations all over the world have dramatically different answers to this question and this is shown in the differences in RE programs in these congregations. In this service, UUCSS Director of Religious Education, Sarah Gonzalez, will talk about her philosophy of Religious Education and how she hopes to bring us from a high quality program to one fully immersed in the life and success of the church.
January 27, 2013
Sarah Gonzalez, UUCSS Dir. of Religious EducationWhat does it mean to have a successful Religious Education program? Congregations all over the world have dramatically different answers to this question and this is shown in the differences in RE programs in these congregations. In this service, UUCSS Director of Religious Education, Sarah Gonzalez, will talk about her philosophy of Religious Education and how she hopes to bring us from a high quality program to one fully immersed in the life and success of the church.
January 20, 2013
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayWhat did Dr. King see as evil? And how do we see his life's relationship to evil? Once you start looking, this often un-mentioned aspect of theology is everywhere... We'll use this morning to celebrate the man and the dream and remember what he set himself against, and what we are up against, every morning, every day.
January 13, 2013
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayHaving begun, on January 6, to look at the place, if any, of evil in Unitarian Universalist theology and world view, this service will continue where we left off on questions like: Is the devil really in the details? If evil exists - and that's a real question - does it exist in us, outside of us, in people or circumstances, choices or actions? These aren't lofty hypotheticals, they're the essence of how we understand and deal with so much that is fundamental and devastating about our lives and our world. We'll be rolling up our sleeves and digging deep.
January 6, 2013
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayEvil is our focus in January - nothing like starting the year off with a bang! Anyone familiar with Dr.Horrible's Sing-Along Blog knows the league of which I speak, run by the villainous Bad Horse. Evil isn't actually something Unitarian Universalists talk a lot about - it's off on the edges of our theological language, along with the devil and hell and other baddies. But we can't lose sight of it, because if we do, we don't recognize it when we encounter it. So - can we recognize it? Is anything, anyone, really evil? And if so, then what?