1280 Clover Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17113   |   1508 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17103   |   Phone: 717.564.4761  | Fax:  717.455.9469

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Services & Directions

Sunday Service Hours
 9:30 am @ Market Street
11:30 am @ Clover Lane
1280 Clover Lane
Harrisburg, PA 17113
1508 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17103

Office Hours @ Clover Lane

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday
9 am - 4 pm

*Staff Hours @ Clover Lane*

Rev. Michael Walker
Interim Minister
Tuesday 10 am - 2 pm
Sundays by appointment

Kel Kyle
Congregational Administrator
Tuesday, Thursday 
& Friday
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Tavia Flanagan
Office Assistant
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday
9:30 am - 2 pm
Alicia O'Rorey
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Ann Hossler
Director of Music
Thursday 2 pm - 4pm
or by appointment

Sara Palmer
Director of RE
Tuesdays 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
or by appointment
Office Hours @ Market St
9:00 am - 1:30 pm

*Staff Hours @ Market Street*
Rev. Michael Walker
Interim Minister
Wednesday 10 am - 2 pm
Sundays by appointment
Kel Kyle
Congregational Administrator
Wednesday: 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Sara Palmer
Director of RE
By appointment

Home > Sermons & Messages

Sermons & Messages

April 2017
April 23, 2017
Declaring Peace
Rev. Michael Walker
It's time to stop declaring war. Here's a radical idea: let's intentionally declare peace, instead. What can we, individual citizens, do to make this happen? Is it worth the effort? If we are comfortable in our own lives, does it matter what is happening elsewhere? Yes, let's declare peace - at home and abroad.
April 16, 2017
Ann Hossler, UCH Choir & Special Music
Due to music copyright regulations there will be no audio or video provided for this Sunday.
April 9, 2017
Seekers on a Journey: A Free & Responsible Search for Truth ("Seven Principles" series)
Rev. Michael Walker
In the UU faith, we often speak of the individual's right to pursue their own free and responsible search for truth and meaning (the Fifth UU Principle,) and how we as a community seek to support each other in our searches. Where does your search take you, either in metaphor or in reality? And when you got to where you are going (if you have), what have you found? Is there some essential truth about our existence that you have gleaned from your search for truth and meaning?
April 2, 2017
Love Thy Neighbor: World Community & Peace for All
Rev. Michael Walker
March 2017
March 26, 2017
"What is Your Ministry?"
Rev. Bruce T. Marshall
Everyone can have a ministry. Not just those who are ordained, also lay people. Everyone can respond to the sense of “something more” to existence that calls us to service, to creativity, to a spiritual journey, to a mission. But not all ministries are the same. What is yours? Rev. Bruce Marshall is a Transitions Coach for the Central East UU Region. He is retired from fulltime parish ministry, having served congregations in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Maryland. Bruce is currently chaplain to the UU community at Riderwood Village, a retirement community. He is also a writer and is working on his fifth book, “Meaning and Spirit in Aging,” which will be published later this year by Skinner House. Bruce and his wife, Amy, live in Silver Spring, Maryland.
March 19, 2017
If I Could Write a Letter to God
Rev. Michael Walker
If I could write a letter to God, and She is actually there and able to read it, what would I say? Should I stick to pleasantries - Hi, how are You? I hope You're having a nice time up there. How about this weather? Or, should I ask some hard questions - So, what's with all the war? Are You really leading the charge to defund the arts, dismantle health care and place He Who Shall Not Be Named in the White House? Or, are some folks just ascribing all this to You? If I could write a letter to God, what should I say? What would you say, if you were writing such a letter?
March 12, 2017
Answering the Call
Rev. Michael Walker
During Orientation at the beginning of my seminary education, I was amused by a presentation given by a minister who served on the staff of the school. During her talk about what a 'Call' means to ministers, her cell phone rang. We all assumed she forgot to turn it off before we got started. So, she answered it, "Hello. Who is this?" She looked at all of us, wide-eyed. "Oh, it's God! Thank you for calling." We all got a good chuckle (seminary humor!) and went on to discuss how we each discerned (or are discerning) our 'call to ministry'. In this case, answering one's call is another way of saying that we are engaging in a vocation that means more to each of us than a mere job. What is calling you? What is your vocation?
March 5, 2017
Will You Be A Refuge?
Lois Voigt
Learning of dysfunction in some other families, Lois finds herself grateful for her own family. Maybe not saints, but worthy of her gratitude, all the same - despite issues that arose, they still loved each other, still offered refuge from a broken world. In the midst of all that happened in her biological family, Lois also found a chosen, spiritual family that has been a refuge, as well.
February 2017
February 26, 2017
Jim Cavenaugh
Growing Patience: How Much Can We Withstand?
If you are like me and some of my Republican friends, your patience has been strained anew every day since the election. It seems impossible to be patient when we think of the bumper sticker that seems made for these times: If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention A fresh definition of 'patience' comes from the Tibetan word 'to withstand,' and so the issue becomes 'how much can we withstand? And insights from Nathan Walker can help us realize that the issue revolves around our first UU principle, which reminds us that we affirm and promote “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.”
February 19, 2017
When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough
Rev. Michael Walker
Have you heard someone say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious?” Perhaps they then spoke ever so eloquently about finding meaning in a sunset or when looking into a baby’s eyes. But, what is missing from this spiritual outlook? In the America of our grandparents’ time and earlier, it was presumed that all people attended church. That’s just the way it was. Today, we live in a time when institutionalized religious community is eschewed. It has become more important for people to pursue their own personal spiritual practices, while membership in churches has become much less important. Something that seems to be missing from this modern trend is community and the support system that it provides.
February 12, 2017
Living in Tumultuous Times - Cultivating the Courage to Say the Wrong Thing
Cindy Terlazzo
Now more than ever each of us need to find ways to reach across the divides that exist in our world - within our families, our places of employment, within the community at large. Now more than ever we need to practice our UU values and put them into action through active love and active hope. We are the future we are waiting for - the builders of the world we long to inhabit. Cindy Terlazzo is a long-time member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York. She is a social worker for individuals with intellectual disabilities and a seminarian at the Lancaster Theological Seminary where she is working toward becoming an ordained UU minister.
February 12, 2017
Taker Guilt and the Exorcism of Antropocene Angst
JD Stillwater
That humans are having major impacts on the planet is now quite clear, and some of those impacts may be evident millions of years from now. Are we a cancer on the biosphere, a plague? Would it be better if we had remained blissfully in the stone age? Our angst about such matters may be no more helpful to building sustainable systems than is white guilt in forging racial justice. JD relates all of this to romantic relationships, parenting teenagers, Stonehenge, and Joni Mitchell.
February 5, 2017
Walking the Talk
Rev. Michael Walker
In the long interim period at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, members and leaders have had ample opportunity to contemplate its mission and accomplishments, and plan for its future beyond the interim period. To do so, we work on some 'interim tasks,' which include: claiming and honoring the past; shining a light on the church's unique identity, strengths, needs and challenges; clarifying leadership roles and responsibilities (for volunteers and staff); renewing connections with the wider UUA and our surrounding communities; and enabling the church to renew its vision, strengthen stewardship, and otherwise prepare for the future. Rev. Mike will be taking a look back, and a look forward, providing his thoughts about how UCH fulfills (or could fulfill) its potential and meets the needs of its members and friends.
January 2017
January 29, 2017
Stepping in the Dukkha...And The Suffering We May Cause
Rev. Michael Walker
In Buddhist teachings, the path to ending suffering (dukkha) in this life come through the practice of eight attributes. These are: Right Understanding, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. Rev. Mike will discuss suffering in our own lives, and how the above informs a set of Buddhist practices that helps one to end suffering in our own lives. But what about in the lives of others? What if one does something (perhaps unintentionally) that causes another pain. How can one return to Right Intention and Right Effort, to make things right with this other person?
January 22, 2017
The Stories We Tell: The Meaning of Myth
Rev. Michael Walker
I’ve always found mythology and folklore to be a fascinating subject. As a child, I was captivated by the drama and magic of the old stories. All the heroes and villains; the quest, or hero’s journey; the discoveries, rewards and punishments; as well as the morals of the stories that actually conveyed some truth about humanity. In college, I became acquainted with the work of Joseph Campbell, who used the archetypal psychology work of Carl Jung as the lens through which he studied cross-cultural myths. Psychology puts forth the idea that there is inherent truth or wisdom to be gleaned from any story, from your dreams, and from other ways in which we understand the world around us – even if these stories are not literal or factual.
January 15, 2017
Acceptance & Spiritual Growth
Rev. Michael Walker
In the Third UU Principle, we say that we affirm and promote acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. We each follow our own paths, sometimes exploring various world religions or sometimes no religion at all. Yet, in our congregations, many of us find our paths converging, and we travel together on our spiritual journeys, at least for a time. This is one thing that has long been an aspect of UUism that I admire: We seek not to give people the ‘answers’ – rather, we seek to provide them with questions and tools for finding their own answers.
January 8, 2017
Speaking of Racial Justice
Racial Justice Task Force
The Racial Justice Task Force will lead this gentle, participatory service that includes elements of music, art, dance, and discussion. Be where you are. Envision where you could be. Come together as UUs.
January 1, 2017
Find A Star
Rachel Mark, Dorothy Brown & JD Stillwater
Start the New Year with a special service featuring the music of Minnesota singer/songwriter Peter Mayer.

*Please note due to copyright laws we cannot provide written, video or audio files for this service.
December 2016
December 24, 2016
Christmas Eve
Rev. Michael Walker
Christmas Eve message from our Clover Lane campus.
December 18, 2016
Warmth in the Winter/Gratitude for Friends and Family
Rev. Michael Walker
This service – the last Sunday service that will be held at UCH this year – will be a celebration of friends and family. If you have guests in town, please invite them to join us. If not, we hope you are here to share the day with friends and family right here at church. Oh, yes, and ugly Christmas sweaters are encouraged…
December 11, 2016
Can I Help You?
Rev. Michael Walker
Generosity of spirit is a common attribute during the holiday season. Following the exploration of codependency last week, this week we consider further how to help others help themselves. We consider positive and heartwarming ways of relating to others in our lives (even that proverbial relative that I have to see at Christmas, who just happens to get on my last nerve!)
December 4, 2016
Can You Fix Me?
Rev. Michael Walker
It sometimes seems like the holiday season amplifies whatever propensity or way of being in the world we have available to us. Are we generally happy – and does that translate into overabundant good cheer, at this time of year? Do we really rely on others, and find that starting to look like codependency? Do we like to help others, to such an extreme that they are unable to help themselves? As always, finding a balance is important, especially at this time of year.
November 2016
November 27, 2016
Robin Stillwater
The world today has many things that can bring us down, both in our personal lives and the larger world. Chosen community can help us rest, relax, and find inspiration to change what we can. Now a seminarian (minister-to-be) at Union Theological Seminary, with a long history in the UCH community, Robin Stillwater returns home to be our guest speaker this week. She is the daughter of UCH members Ann and JD Stillwater.
November 20, 2016
Justice, Equity, and Compassion (The Seven Principles series)
Rev. Michael Walker
In the third installment in this sermon series, we discuss the second UU Principle in which UU congregations affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. It is a cornerstone of UU thought and action. We tend to believe and act for justice in the face of injustice, equity when we find oppressions of all kinds, and compassion when we seek to help others. This is the principle that calls us to “walk our talk” and live out our principles in the world beyond our sanctuary walls.
November 13, 2016
Grant Me Serenity…
Rev. Michael Walker
The Lutheran theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, wrote the now famous Serenity Prayer. The first two verses are widely used on posters and in meetings and have been adopted by some Twelve Step programs as a mantra: “[G]rant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, / Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” In this sermon, we will use the whole prayer as a starting point to discuss approaches to less-than-serene events in our own lives.
November 6, 2016
Rev. Michael Walker
Making Hard Decisions
Sometimes, it feels like the living of life is all about making of a series of hard decisions. Flora Whittemore once said, “The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.” We will explore some very difficult decisions of life, as well as the relief that may come from the resolution of some issue after making such a hard decision.
October 2016
October 30, 2016
Standing Stones and the Caravan of Love: Honoring our Ancestors and Inspirers and Our Beloved Dead
Libby Tisdell
In this season of Halloween, we will reflect on walking in the footsteps of our ancestors and those living and dead who inspire us. We will consider multiple ways of marking their presence in our lives, from standing stones, to spiral paths, to favorite symbols, and how to carry forward their legacy.
October 23, 2016
Integrating Head and Heart – the UU Genius
Rev. Richard Gordon
Head versus Heart: It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. We’re called to travel the longest and most difficult journey in the universe – the 18 inches between the head and the heart.
October 16, 2016
Where Does Your Conscience Lead?
Rev. Michael Walker
This is the second in a series, to be spread out through the year, about the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism. In one of his last sermons before Election Day, Rev. Mike lifts up our Fifth Principle, which says that we affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in our congregations and in society at large. Churches and ministers avoid publicly speaking about partisan politics. However, this election year has been quite extraordinary, and often extraordinarily negative. On this Sunday, we affirm the right of conscience and the importance of voting based on one’s values.
October 9, 2016
A Meditation on Weaving
Rev. Michael Walker
We often speak of the tapestries of our lives, in which each woven thread has meaning. In fact, in the folklore of many cultures there are stories about weavers, often having an important role in determining the fates of people. Some have found that the rhythmic movements of weaving are conducive to meditation and introspection, giving us time to tease out the threads of life and learn what comes next in the tapestry. This service will be a mythopoeic exploration of weaving as a spiritual practice – a story of spindle and thread, shuttle and loom.
October 2, 2016
What Does Faith Mean in a Rational World
Rev. Michael Walker
With every advancement in science, spiritual people wonder if the shelf-life of faith has expired. Some people will avoid anything spiritual and especially the concept of spirit, which they perceive as supernatural. However, the Transcendentalists taught us that spirit is a part of nature – and we will explore that idea this Sunday. As for faith, what happens to our lives when we have faith in something larger or beyond ourselves?
September 2016
September 25, 2016
The Day that Changed my Life
Andy Loza
A long-time member of the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, Andy Loza will share with us part of his life journey.
September 18, 2016
Inherent Worth and Dignity (Seven Principles series)
Rev. Michael Walker
This will be the first in a series, to be spread out through the year, about the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism. Following our first principle, we publicly and frequently affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people (and some would add, all life), regardless of color, class or creed, affectional orientation or gender identity, and so on. It has long seemed important to UUs that we live out this principle on a daily basis and make a difference in our surrounding communities.
September 11, 2016
Homecoming: It Feels Great to be Home
Rev. Michael Walker
The first Sunday of the church-year, we gather together again and welcome friends who may have been away for the summer. It can feel good to go home (literal or figurative) again – while, at other times, some challenges that may arise. However, for us on this Sunday, we mark the joyful ingathering of the UCH community. These services will be followed by celebrations at both campuses. We hope to see you there and feel free to bring some friends, too.
September 4, 2016
The Ties that Bind
Rev. Michael Walker
What are the bonds that connect us to our communities, families and friends? In this service, we celebrate those things that connect us: shared culture, history, commonality of purpose. A defining characteristic of our communities, families and friends is the deep need for relationship and bonds of caring that we share with each other, and all the work we each engage in to nurture those relationships.
August 2016
August 28, 2016
"Love is the Spirit of this Church"
Rev. Michael Walker
When we say something often enough, the words can become a blur and we might forget what they actually mean. If this happens to him, Rev. Mike finds it helpful to slow down and consider the words. What does it actually mean when we say that love is the spirit of this church?
August 21, 2016
"The Day That Changed My Life"
Anita Mentzer, Rachel Mark & Karen Sykes
We finish the summer lay-led series with Anita Mentzer Rachel Mark and Karen Sykes separately sharing on transformative points in their lives.
August 14, 2016
"Get Off My Lawn!"
Rev. Michael Walker
Rev. Mike examines how the world has changed so much and so fast – and what that means to us spiritually. Just how adaptable are we or is human adaptability only a myth? And, why do I gripe about that kid hot-rodding down the street and, my god!, didn’t that just sound like my dad talking?
August 7, 2016
The Day That Changed My Life: Unsung Blessings
Lois Voigt
UCH Member, Lois Voigt shares with us the day that changed her life.
July 2016
July 31, 2016
The Day That Changed My Life: A Conspiracy of Goodness
Karen Mallah
Lay-led series.
July 24, 2016
The Day That Changed My Life: The Poetry of Change
Dorothy Brown
July 17, 2016
Future, Dawning Bright and Clear - Rev. Michael Walker (July 17, 2016)
Rev. Michael Walker
This week, we will go deeper into our Worship Theme for the month: Identity and Mission, with a Vision for the Future. We will review some of our successes of the past year, and look forward at what we might accomplish together in the coming year. While there is so much to consider around the church and its future plans, we will also consider how our work — to fulfill our vision of a just and equitable future for all — can bring positive change to our surrounding community.
July 10, 2016
Feast before the Famine: Muhammad's Journey
Rev. Michael Walker
This Sunday, we consider the meaning of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr and the conclusion of a month of fasting, Ramadan. In an attempt to see the world through different eyes, we will hear a story about the life and teachings of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Western culture currently holds many judgments about the role of Islamic extremism on the world stage, but extremism/fundamentalism is not the totality of Islam. This sermon will be partially mythopoeic, imagining the story from the perspective of those who were there in the days of Muhammad.
July 3, 2016
By Our Deeds, Not Our Creed
Rev. Michael Walker
In honor of our monthly worship theme about Mission, we will embark on a historical journey of Unitarian leadership for social justice. The Father of American Unitarianism, the Rev. William Ellery Channing, once said (paraphrasing) we are saved by our deeds, not our creeds. He taught that it was by our actions, our work for justice that we should be judged in this life, and not merely by what beliefs we each hold to be judged in the next life. Channing did not have a concept of a metaphysical afterlife and day of judgment – he lived for today and counseled us to find ways to do good today. In an era that was straining from puritanical Calvinism and its doctrine of predestination, Channing’s views were a breath of fresh air for some.
June 2016
June 5, 2016
"C’est la Vie"
Rev. Michael Walker
The famous prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr says, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Sometimes, life offers challenges, unwanted and unneeded — yet there they are, standing before us. Sometimes, with no other choice, we seek to find ways to live up to these challenges. What else is there for us to do? That’s life. In this service, Rev. Mike recognizes the many ways in which we each meet our challenges head-on and how we do the best we can.
May 2016
May 29, 2016
Fallen Heroes
Rev. Michael Walker
For Memorial Day, it seems appropriate to remember those who have died in the service of our country. We may have very conflicted feelings about the “war on terror” and other wars, national defense as a major industry, and imperialism -- and yet, we can still find it in our hearts to remember and honor those who have fallen.
May 8, 2016
Mother’s Day & Flower Communion
Rev. Mike Walker
April 2016
April 24, 2016
"For the Love of Gaia"
Rev. Michael Walker
In honor of Earth Day, this earth-centered, justice-oriented, love-affirming sermon from Rev. Mike celebrates the summer and environmental spirituality found throughout UU history, up to the modern day. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are sure to make an appearance, along with more contemporary thinkers.
April 3, 2016
"Lessons from Cesar"
Rev. Michael Walker
In observance of Cesar Chavez Day, we discuss the status of farm workers in America today, and immigrant labor in particular, through the UU lens of social justice. Although his life was not without some controversy, Chavez is often seen as a leader in labor reform and the prevention of exploitation of workers. As immigration continues to be a debate in this country, Rev. Mike asks us to consider how our spiritual paths and values inform our opinions on this debate.

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