Recent Sermons & Services

Worship Calendar with Sermon Topics

To access videos on a tablet or phone, or access our full sermon archive, click here.

May 9
“Resilient Democracy”
Dr. Mike Hogue, Guest Minister
Mike Hogue is the father of three amazing kids (ages 10, 12, 21) who are growing up too quickly! He is a dog person by nature and upbringing, but his wife, from whom he has learned many things, has taught him to love a couple of cats, too. He is a Professor of Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School. His most recent book is American Immanence: Democracy for an Uncertain World.
Music: Lasotras, videos of live, socially-distanced performances from this pandemic year

May 2
“Story Is a Calling”
Beth Elliot, Alana Rodriguez, & Emily Kuo-Lillie
Sharing stories connects us and helps us better understand each other and what we are called to do together.
Music: Tom Godfrey, guitar. Pauline LaBar-Shelton, soprano

April 25
Coming of Age
Kristen Satterlee with Kelsey Atherton, Meara Christopher, and Meghan Shattuck
The Coming of Age program at First Unitarian is designed to help our youth develop and articulate their personal theologies. Come hear the spiritual wisdom of some wonderful young folks in our community.

April 18
“Becoming Free: Our Worth Is Inherent”
The Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, Guest Minister
What would it feel like to let go of our toxic attachments to things? What could it look like to collectively let go of the mirage of endless growth and the cycle of consumption? Join us for this Earth Day celebration where we explore the possibilities of liberation from excessive production
and consumption through remembering our inherent worth.
The Reverend Jennifer Nordstrom is the Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, where she preaches, teaches, and organizes for social justice. In 2018, the book she co-edited, Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class and
the Environment, was published and chosen as the Unitarian Universalist Association’s national Common Read.

April 11
“Widening the Circle of Concern”
The Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Guest Minister
Rev. Takahashi is the lead Minister of the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, a position she has held since 2015. She has been active in many volunteer roles in the UUA, UUMA and at the local level, where she participates now as part of the Faith in Action East Bay justice network. Her work has been published in many anthologies and she is the primary author of The Arc of the Universe Is Long: Unitarian Universalism and the Journey Towards Wholeness and of “Widening the Circle of Concern: The report of the Commission on Institutional Change.” She is the mother of two children and two bully breed pups and loves walking, water, and gardening.

Sunday 2021, April 4

O,Easter! The Rev. Bob LaVallee
We will use the poetry/prayer form of antiphon (each stanza beginning “O,…”) throughout the service to name our longings and gratitudes. Although the form has roots in Christian worship, this service is designed to have universal appeal.

Sunday, March 28
Beloved Conversations: Justice, Discomfort, and Joy
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Participants in the Fall session of the Beloved Conversations program share their learnings and lessons. Rev. Bob LaVallee leads the discussion.
Sermon Text.

Sunday, March 21
Guest Minister, Dr. Elias Ortega
Dr. Elias Ortega is the President of Meadville Lombard Theological School. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who received his M.Div. and Ph.D. (Religion and Society, Magna Cum Laude) from Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to leading Meadville Lombard, he currently serves the larger Unitarian Universalist movement as a member of the UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change.

Sunday, March 14
At the Precipice: Climate & Faith
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Inspired by Laura Paskus’ recent book At the Precipice, Rev. Bob will discuss how faith can drive our response to a changing climate in the world and at home here in New Mexico.

Sunday, March 7
“Some Steps I’ve Been Glad to Take”
Guest Minister The Rev. Joel Miller
Rev. Joel is the Interim Minister at All Souls Indianapolis. A graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA, his ministry includes opening and serving the Columbine UU church in the Denver area for 7 years, serving as senior minister in Buffalo, NY for 11 years, and serving as interim minister for 5 different UU congregations since 2011. He is primarily a Humanist, but has been surprised to find himself a theist because of his spiritual practices in recovery from alcohol addiction.
Sermon Text

Sunday, February 28
“To All Get Free Together” The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. His journey offers some lessons on our journey towards collective liberation.
Music: Virtual Chalice Choir, Creation of Peace, by celebrated Methodist composer, Mark A. Miller

Sunday, February 21
“Dance in the Desert, Bring Your Tambourine”
The Rev. Erin Walter
Drawing upon scripture, spiritual practice, and original music, we reflect on how to foster joy and gratitude in 2021, even as we continue to live in a pandemic.
Rev. Erin J. Walter is a community minister, nonprofit director, writer, and musician based in Austin, Texas. Her work is rooted in the powerful connection between the arts, justice movements, and multicultural community.

Sunday, February 14
“Better Together: The Beauty and Morality of Groups”
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
In this time of pandemic isolation, let’s celebrate the power and grace of what we can do together.

Sunday, February 7
“The Power of a Word”
The Rev. Tania Márquez
Words are powerful, they help us make sense of the world and many times can help us see things with more clarity. This message is about a word coined by the Spanish Philosopher Adela Cortina that was selected as the word of the year in 2017. Let’s explore together what this word offers us and how it challenges us, too.
Rev. Tania Y Márquez is the assistant minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego. She is also a group leader of the UU College for Social Justice. She has a background on Latin American Literature and Spanish Linguistics, is married and has two teenage daughters. She has lived most of her life in the border region and her fronteriza experience has greatly influenced her ministry.
Music: We will sing the contemporary Spanish-language hymn Cuando el pobre:
“Cuando el pobre nada tiene y aún reparte…va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar. When the poor ones, who have nothing, still are giving…we see God, here by our side, walking our way.”
Sermon Text

Sunday,January 31
The popular, annual service dedicated to notable people who died in the last year. Though 2020 brought so much grief, let us not forget to celebrate some of the regular people whose lives touched ours, even if we never knew their names. Inventors, activists, scientists, and more… come for good music and good stories; leave with a spring in your step. Angela will also pass the ceremonial Key to the Church to Bob today.

Sunday, January 24
“Being Born”
The Rev. Angela Herrera & Olivia Herrera
Although every person on earth was born, the subject of birth is conspicuously absent from religious art and literature. Angela (a former doula) and her daughter Olivia, a nurse at Dar a Luz birth center, will reflect on this, and on what being present with birth has taught them.
Text Version

Sunday, January 17
“MLK’s Gift & Challenge”
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
On this MLK weekend, we’ll honor Rev. Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr., and also reckon with what his message
means to us today. Spoiler: It’s not what you think.

Sunday, January 10
“Religious Imagination”
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Unitarian Universalism is the result of courageous acts of religious imagination. Our tradition went from looking a lot like other mainline Protestant denominations to the vibrant and evolving religion that we are today. Rev. Bob will talk about a few of the amazing people who helped us get

Sunday, January 3
“Spiritual Imagination”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
Whether we are inspired by science, ancient stories, or
our own experiences of transcending mystery and wonder,
imagination plays a big role in our understanding of
ultimate reality and our place in it.
Sermon Text

Sunday, December 27
“Inside the Chrysalis”
The Worship Coordinators
We’ll contemplate stillness and metamorphosis as we welcome the New Year together. How are you
transforming in this time of waiting? What will you become? This intergenerational, interactive service will
incorporate our annual worship stations, modified for Zoom.

Thursday, December 24
“Virtual Christmas Eve Service”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
Homily Text

Sunday, December 20
“Kings and Their Gods”
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Sermon Text
In 2008, Catholic priest and activist Daniel Berrigan wrote a book called “The Kings and Their Gods” about the pathology of power, using the books of Kings from the Hebrew Bible as a leaping off point. Twelve years later, Rev. Bob reflects on power and morality in this moment.

Sunday, December 13
“Gratitude and Expectation”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
A sermon about gratitude and the blessing of low holiday expectations. First preached by Angela in 2011,
this message has fresh relevance today as we reshape our holiday plans in the world’s pandemic year.

Sunday, December 6
The Rev. Angela Herrera
In her poem “Today,” Mary Oliver writes, “I’m taking the day off. Quiet as a feather. I hardly move thoughreally I’m traveling / a terrific distance. Stillness. One of the doors / into the temple.” Today we’ll lookthrough that “door,” in an introduction to this month’s theological theme.

2 Responses

  1. Sara Neyer says:

    Today I read “What do we believe,” Rev. Angela Herrera’s sermon from February 10, 2019, at the Prairie Wind Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Gillette, Wyoming. We truly enjoy your sermons here, and since we have no minister of our own, we are a “do it yourself” type church. Thanks for making your sermons available in text form. You give us great ideas and we appreciate your sharing so freely.

  2. I appreciated and enjoyed Rev. LaVallee’s sermon on El Salvador. It was inspiring that he traveled there for a powerful ministry effort. I need to do that, myself. Bob has an excellent ministerial presence in the pulpit, too. Very comforting. xk

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