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
Tuesday 10 am - 2 pm
Sundays by appointment
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday
9:30 am - 2 pm
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Director of Music
Thursday 2 pm - 4pm
or by appointment
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
Wednesday 10 am - 2 pm
Wednesday: 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Director of RE
Home > Sunday Service Speakers & Topics|
Sunday Service Speakers & Topics
Listed below are the speakers and topics for our Sunday services at Clover Lane and Market Street. Unless otherwise stated below, speakers/topics will be the same at both Market Street and Clover Lane and will be presented by Rev. Mike Walker.
2017 SERMONS & MESSAGES
March 5: "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.
March 12: "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 19: "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 26: "What is Your Ministry?" Rev. Bruce Smith
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?
Feb 5: "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.
Market Street: "Taker Guilt and the Exorcism of Anthropocene Angst" with 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 will somehow relate all of this to romantic relationships, parenting teenagers, Stonehenge, and Joni Mitchell.
Clover Lane: "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.
Feb. 19: "When "Spiritual" But Not "Religious" Is Not Enough" Rev. Michael Walker
Feb. 26: "Growing Patience: How Much Can We Withstand?" Jim Cavenaugh
Jan 1 "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.
Jan 8 "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.
Jan 15 "Acceptance & Spiritual Growth" Rev. Michael Walker (‘Seven Principles’ series)
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.
Jan 22 "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.
Jan 29 "Stepping in the Dukkha...And 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?
Dec 4 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.
Dec 11 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!)
Dec 18 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…
Dec 24 Christmas Eve Service Rev. Michael Walker
- 3:00 p.m. Multigenerational Service (Market Street) Families of all ages and sizes are invited to this participatory service, scheduled to be done before your Christmas Eve dinner.
- 7:00 p.m. Contemplative Service (Clover Lane) This will be a traditional Candles & Carols, contemplative and musical service. All are welcome.
Dec 25 No Services
Nov 6 Making Hard Decisions Rev. Michael Walker
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.
Nov 13 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.
Nov 20 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.
Nov 27 Ch-ch-changes 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.
Oct 2: 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?
Oct 9: 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.
Oct 16: Right of Conscience and Democratic Process 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.
Oct 23: 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.
Oct 30 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.
Sept 4: 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.
Sept 11: Homecoming: It Feels Great to be Home Rev. 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.
Sept 18: Inherent Worth and Dignity (Seven Principles series) Rev. 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.
Sept 25: 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.
August 7: "The Day That Changed My Life: Unsung Blessings" Lois Voigt
August 14 "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 21 "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 28 "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?
July 3: "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.
July 10 "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 17 "Future, Dawning Bright and Clear" 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 24 "The Day That Changed My Life: The Poetry of Change" Dorothy Brown
July 31 "The Day That Changed My Life: A Conspiracy of Goodness" Karen Mallah
June 5: "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.
June 12: "We Need Each Other and Volunteer Recognition" Rev. Michael Walker
What can we accomplish together, when we are grateful for each other's contributions? In our families, work, volunteer and congregational life, there is much that we can accomplish when we team up with others. It also seems true that others are more likely to team up with us when we recognize and value their contributions. Today, we explore the ways in which we are strong and effective, together. We will also recognize the many volunteers who make congregational life at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg possible.
June 19: Father’s Day
Details will be printed in an upcoming News You Can UUs. Rev. Mike will be traveling to Ohio for the UU Ministers’ conference, followed by the UUA General Assembly.
June 26: The Day that Changed my Life Jim Handshaw
The summer series of lay-led services will be on the theme of “the day that changed my life.” Jim Handshaw will be leading the first in the series. Rev. Mike will be traveling back from Ohio on this day.
May 1: "One Song: The Science of One" JD Stillwater
JD's sermon is an offshoot of his Seven Candles project. His multimedia talk Seven Candles: Science for a Deeper Spirituality had its public debut here at UCH in 2013, and has since been to seven states and 46 venues.
Also, Seven Candles will be presented at Just Plain Yoga in Camp Hill on Friday May 13, 7:00 pm. Details at sevencandles.org.
May 8: "Mother’s Day & Flower Communion" Rev. Mike Walker
Today, we will honor all those who have been mothers in our loves, whether they be our bio moms, or wise women who mentored us just when we needed some compassion. Part of the service will also be our Flower Communion. If able, everyone is encouraged to bring a flower that will be shared with someone else (preferably from one’s own garden), although we will have some extra flowers in case someone is unable to bring one or forgets.
May 15: "Music Service: Being ‘We’ in an ‘I’ World" Linda Hope and Choir
PLEASE NOTE: There will only be one service on May 15, 10:30am at Clover Lane.
We will celebrate what being in community means, sing together and listen to some wise words about being together. This Sunday is a ministry of music, led by our Clover choir and musicians.
Afterwards, please join us for a celebration in honor of Linda Hope — she came out of retirement at a time of need for UCH, and guided our feet as we sang [our] songs. Now, she is retiring from service at UCH, and leaves us with our deepest gratitude and best wishes.
May 22: "Our Search for Truth and Meaning" UCH Youth (with Bridging Ceremony)
With spoken word and music from youth members of the congregation, we will explore our Fourth UU Principle, the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. It is timely, at the end of the school and church year, to learn about searches for truth and meaning, as it is viewed by those who are in the midst of such a search now.
On this day, we will also honor four youth-turned-young-adults, with our Bridging Ceremony. RGL Coordinator Sara Palmer and Rev. Mike will assist in this part of the service.
May 29: "Fallen Heroes" (Memorial Day) 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.
April 3: "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.
April 10: "Living with Uncertainty" The UCH Worship Team
Please join the Worship Team as we explore what it means to Live with Uncertainty. We will learn what living with uncertainty means to different people and how uncertainty is managed -- including how prisoners handle uncertainty; improvisation and an unexpected lesson derived from managing uncertainty; and working with uncertainty to live in a state of active hope. This exploration will also showcase different ways in which we can worship together including both familiar (participation through singing hymns) and less familiar (participation through chant). Ironically, through this writing we are trying to provide a level of assurance as to what to expect as we journey through Living with Uncertainty. We hope to see you there — even if you're not completely certain about this...
April 17: "Music for the Soul" Sparkie Radcliffe and choir
PLEASE NOTE: There will only be one service on April 17, 10:30am at Market Street.
The Unisingers will share some of their favorite worship music and readings, weaving song and spoken word into a heart-centered service. The service begins at 10:30, although all are invited to join us early (at 10:20) for congregational singing and dancing! Following the service, please join us for a party honoring our longtime Director of Worship Arts, Sparkie Radcliffe, as she is retiring. This will be Sparkie’s last service at UCH in her current role.
April 24: "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.
Mar 6: "Dogen Zenji and Lessons about Impermanence" Rev. Mike Walker
Taking a Zen approach, Rev. Mike will guide us on an exploration of impermanence and simplicity as watchwords for life, and ways of accepting that which is, without undue stress over that which is not. How do we walk through life, providing a non-anxious presence? The readings this week will be from Buddhist sutras (scriptures).
Mar 13: "A Change Will Do You …?" Rev. Joan Van Becelaere/Rev David Pyle
American religion is changing, and yet change is hard. How we relate to our faith communities, and how those communities relate to the world is in flux, and that has implications for how we are leaders and members of congregations through such a time of change. Rev. Van Becelaere and Rev. Pyle will present a “Sermon in Dialogue” on the nature of the changes before our congregations, and the resources and experience our congregations have to thrive amidst those changes.
Note: Rev. Van Becelaere is the Regional Lead of UUA’s Central East Region. Rev. Pyle is District Executive of the Joseph Priestley District of the UUA, and the Central East Regional Primary Contact for the Central Pennsylvania Cluster, including UCH.
Mar 20: "Faith, Hope and Love Abide" Rev. Mike Walker
This was previously scheduled for January, but was postponed due to snow.
About his own UU congregation, Rev. Dr. Robert French Leavens once wrote:
Through this quiet hour breathes
The worship of ages,
The cathedral music of history.
Three unseen guests attend,
Faith, hope, and love: Let all our hearts prepare them a place.
A Biblical phrase that has entered common parlance is “Faith, hope, love abide… and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13.) This morning, we explore what faith, hope and love have to offer in our contemporary, secular world.
Mar 27: "Arisen Again: The Meaning of Resurrection Myths" Rev. Mike Walker
On this Easter Sunday, Rev. Mike explores the meaning of various myths about resurrection and why they have been important to us throughout history. Christianity has one story to tell, the Pagans another, as do others. We look at mythology through the critical lens of modernity, using story to find meaning. This service will be structured a bit differently than most, to make it family-friendly and multi-generational. No regular RGL programming this Sunday.
Feb. 7: "What do we believe in, and what do we do about it" Rev. Michael Walker
Perhaps you have heard it said, “In Unitarian Universalism, you can believe whatever you want?” We do have a principle that upholds the individual’s own search for truth and meaning, but it is also true that there is an arc of history regarding the development of Unitarian Universalism. It has never been a free-for-all — so, what is UUism, then?
Feb. 14: "Finding Self in Relationships" Rev. Michael Walker
On Valentine’s Day, Rev. Mike explores love, friendship and other personal relationships and our needs for fulfillment in them. At the same time, contrary to some popular sentiment, it is not healthy to completely subsume the Self in relationships. Relationships are healthier when we still maintain our individual Selfhood. In a relationship between two people, there are actually three entities: you, me, and us. Us, as a unit, is very important; but our relationships should not be limited to just us, because the parts called you and me are each important, too.
Feb. 21: "A Service of Remembrance" Sparkie Radcliffe
Each year, we take time to recollect the lives of those we have lost in the last year. Acknowledging death as a part of life, we still feel a loss for those who have gone, and this is a time to remember each of those people who have so touched our lives.
Feb. 28: "A Covenant of Care: What Does it Mean to be in a Covenantal Community " Rev. Michael Walker
In this sermon, Rev. Mike explores covenant, a formal and serious agreement that UUs make to life and society. This is not about a congregation’s Covenant of Right Relations, but rather the overarching concept of covenant, in which our Seven UU Principles are guidelines for the work we do for social justice, community building and fellowship. UUism is a covenantal faith, and we are a covenantal community, and this is a deeply important part of who we are and how we interact with the world.
Jan. 3: Winter, A Time to Fill Our "Spirit Storehouses" Hannah Belser
In this time of winter, come hear what the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture tells us about Winter, the season of Water. What does our body-mind-spirit need so that we can fill our "Spirit Storehouse?" And what might this wisdom tradition offer us as we continue the journey in our Beloved Community?
Jan. 10: "White Privilege - Another Elephant in the Room" Brian Kahler
This service is about Brian’s struggles with and denial of White Privilege, including the horrific racism in his family in the 1950s, a huge (almost) relationship-ending fight, and some AHA! moments, among other not-to-be-missed stuff.
Jan. 17: "An Answer to Injustice" Rev. Michael Walker
Liberation Theology allows us to consider the work of social justice exemplars, particularly the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coming out of the Latin American culture in response to abject poverty, Liberation Theology has been an update to our understanding of Jesus’ example of addressing economic, social and political realities in ways that relieve the pressure on the poorest and less able in society.
Jan. 24: "Faith, Hope and Love" Rev. Michael Walker
About his own UU congregation, Rev. Dr. Robert French Leavens once wrote, “Through this quiet hour breathes/The worship of ages, /The cathedral music of history./Three unseen guests attend, /Faith, hope, and love:/Let all our hearts prepare them a place.” A Biblical phrase that has entered common language is: “Faith, hope, love abide… and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13.) This morning, we explore what faith, hope and love have to offer in our contemporary, secular world.
Jan. 31: "Living a Rainbow Life in a Black and White World" Rev. Michael Walker
Freedom is not free — it is something we work to maintain, day in and day out. Many people, of many orientations, have worked for equal rights and protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people, in the workplace, in the wedding chapel, and walking down the street. In this sermon, we reflect on living life with the belief that these freedoms are a right, even while we are surrounded by a more conservative society in which some members believe that their own rights are eroded by giving others the same rights. In recognition of the growing movement for LGBTQ rights, Rev. Mike will share some of his related life experiences.
Dec. 6: "Sitting Under the Bodhi Tree" Rev. Michael Walker
The first in a series of interfaith sermons, we will hear the story of Siddartha, later known as Buddha, in recognition of Bodhi Day this week. His childhood was a life of privilege, in which his eyes were shielded from the privations of those who had less. When he grew older and learned the way of the world, he dedicated his life to ending suffering – and became enlightened in the process.
Dec 13 "The Candles of Chanukah" Rev. Michael Walker
The second in a series of interfaith sermons, we will learn the story of the Jewish holiday, Chanukah – the eight-day Festival of Lights. This service is not a religious observance of Chanukah, but rather a telling of the story behind the holiday. We will honor the faith, struggle, and perseverance of the Jewish people, seeking self-determination and the end of tyranny in their homeland.
Dec 20 "Jesus, the Teacher (or, The Life and Times of the Real Dude)" Rev. Michael Walker
The third installment of the interfaith series is a story about Yeshua ben Yusuf, the man and teacher (before he became known as a god), and some of his teachings that are applicable to life today. Before he was a rabbi, he was a boy — a carpenter’s apprentice, one who we would not really expect history to remember. History records the doings of kings and prophets, not carpenters, and certainly not their apprentices. Who was this boy, and who was the man he came to be?
Dec 24 (Thursday) Christmas Eve: "Beauty in the Stillness" Rev. Michael Walker (Market Street @ 6pm & Clover Lane @ 8pm)
You and your family are invited to join us for an evening of candles and carols, sharing in good cheer and company. It is the custom of UCH to include a children’s activity in the earlier service at Market Street; while the service at Clover Lane will be more contemplative.
Dec 27 "Dark of Winter" Sparkie Radcliffe
"Dark of winter, soft and still, your quiet calm surrounds me. Let my thoughts go where they will, ease my mind profoundly."
-Shelley Jackson Denham.
At this time of year, when the days are shortest and the holidays are almost over, we often find ourselves contemplating the coming of a new year. During this service of readings and meditations, we will ponder and share what eases our minds profoundly.
Nov. 1: "Becoming a Culture of Generosity"
A generous act feeds the soul of not only the beneficiary, but also the benefactor. In this Thanksgiving season, one might be grateful for the generosity we have received. One might also be pleased to extend our own generosity to another. While generosity is often discussed in terms of money, a generous spirit may encompass far more than that. What does this look like when we step back and look at generosity as a cultural act, as opposed to a personal act? Rev. Mike asks us to consider whether we are a culture of generosity.
Nov. 8: "I'll Race You to Class"
This Sunday, we will explore our Unitarian Universalist values as they relate to issues of race and class. Always, this is a difficult and controversial subject. Rev. Mike will look at this issue through the lens of life in multicultural cities and by recounting some of his experiences while going through the UUA’s ministerial fellowship process and other parts of his life that have raised his awareness of his own place of privilege in our society.
Nov. 15: "Finding Oneself in an Icon of Compassion"
Too often, we see people that one might think of as icons (such as Mother Theresa, Gandhi or MLK), and think that they are larger than life and we could not see ourselves in them or we could not accomplish as much good as have those icons. In fact, one might fear that their examples are so overwhelmingly huge that an average person (such as you and me) could not possibly live up to them. Au contraire! Rev. Mike discusses how we can each emulate an icon of compassion, be agents for change and goodness in our communities.
Nov. 22: Gift-Giving for the Common Good with Rev. Richard Gordon
The Beloved Community embraces an interdependent network of mutuality, where all share their gifts for the benefit of the whole. On this day of in-take for Common Ground Community Center (page 4), Rev. Richard Gordon talks about gratitude, giving, and our own interdependence.
Nov. 29: "I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door"
The poet, Emma Lazarus, once wrote an iconic poem that is now engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Using that poem as a framework for our observance of World AIDS Day, Rev. Mike will speak about his past nursing and social services work in support of people living with AIDS or HIV, and will share ways in which you can help.
Oct. 4: "Walking with Grace"
When considered as a virtue and a state of being based in theistic belief, the concept of grace has often been overlooked in UU circles. However, even in a non-theistic sense, grace still has meaning: It is finding joy in life and sharing it with others. One finds grace in the extended hand helping another to stand up. We also recognize that someday, it may be you or I that need that helping hand. Rev. Mike discusses how grace is living a fulfilled life as best we can, and how we can share and use that sense of grace to help others do the same.
Oct. 11: "Who Was Here First?"
In a critique of Columbus Day, Rev. Mike explores the question of who was here first. Why do we say Columbus discovered America, when the continent was already populated? The globe-spanning error of colonialism has profoundly affected the course of history, and cultural misappropriation in the modern era has only compounded the error. What can we do now to right the wrong? Finally, how do we help others, without “othering” them to a point of creating a separation so wide that the other’s humanity is no longer visible to us, or vice versa? Holding up the humanity of others, who also hold onto our own.
Oct. 18: "The Work of Many Hands"
The proverb, “Many hands make light work,” has been in the English lexicon since at least the 15th Century. It was used to good effect by the Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones (1843-1918), who organized the Western Unitarian Conference (WUC), to bring Unitarian congregations together and have a louder, collective voice, mostly (in his mind) to promote peace. WUC was one of a few organizations that merged and eventually evolved into the current Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Holding up the idea of a collaborative ministry (to which we each contribute), Rev. Mike helps us explore how our many hands can make light work in fulfilling the missions of UCH.
Oct. 25: Compassion--the Energy for Service
Distinguishing between "compassion" and "pity," we will consider compassion on both the personal and global spheres. Rev. Joyce Stoltzfus, a UCH member and chaplain at a local hospice center, will incorporate personal experiences as well as thoughts from the recent book on Toxic Charity, by Robert Lupton.
Sept 6: Open Hearts, Open Minds
Who are you? Who am I? How do we build relationships and find our way together? This will be Rev. Mike’s first service at UCH. We’ll have the same sermon at both campuses, but the services will have different "flavors," as has been the UCH custom for some time.
Sept 13: Coming Home, Again
The official kick-off for the church year, this Sunday is "ingathering" or "homecoming." Come join in celebration, greet friends you haven’t seen all summer, and make new ones! Rev. Mike will talk about being on a journey together and finding ourselves at home with each other. Food and fellowship after the service.
Sept 20: Hard Hats Required! Building Bridges Needs Careful Engineering
Riffing on church motto, bringing in ideas and scenarios from outside the church.
Sept 27: Repentance, Redemption, and Rejoicing (9:30 am @ Market Street)
Through words and music, Alanna Berger will lead the congregation in an exploration of the three September Jewish Holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
Sept 27: Climate Change: Pope Francis' Encyclical and UUs (11:30 am @ Clover Lane)
This is the weekend that Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia. UCH member Don Brown, Scholar in Residence and Professor of Sustainability Law and Ethics at Weidner University Commonwealth Law School and a noted author on the ethics of climate change, will discuss the Pope's Encyclical on climate change and other related topics.