Recent Sermons & Services

Worship Calendar with Sermon Topics

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August 1
“Braiding Sweetgrass”
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
One of the strengths of Unitarian Universalism is our willingness to embrace spirit AND science. In Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass, botanist and Potawatomi Nation citizen Robin Wall Kimmerer does just that. Rev. Bob will explore how her dual wisdom helps us to navigate the climate crisis.

July 25
“Life Hack: Communication”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
From time to time, we all get frustrated in our attempts to communicate. If you’ve ever wished you could understand someone better, or feel heard yourself, then this sermon is for you.
Sermon text:

July 18
The Rev. Angela Herrera
Are you experiencing a transition of some kind? Aren’t we all? Whether it’s a change you looked forward to, or one you would never have wanted or imagined, this sermon on the psychology and spirituality of transitions will offer perspective.
Sermon Text

July 11
“Same Storm, Different Boats: Surviving Capitalism with Your Soul Intact”
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Late-stage capitalism has fostered incredible income inequality, exacerbating other issues like climate change, racism, and sexism. In addition, it diminishes our hearts, minds, and souls. How can UUs protect themselves and others from this blight?

July 4
“Freedom Within”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
Whether we are conscious of them or not, negative beliefs about ourselves can become like prison bars around the spir¬it. On this holiday, a sermon about freedom of the most personal kind: freedom within.

Sermon Text

Sunday, June 27 at 11:00 am
“Poetry for Life”
Our Worship Coordinators
For many UUs, poetry is an important source of wonder and renewal, speaking to our hearts and souls. Join us for First Unitarian’s not-quite-annual poetry service, and bask in words of insight, compassion, and humor.

Sunday, June 20 at 11:00 am
Unitarian Universalists recognize that the transition from youth to young adulthood is a moment to be celebrated, a process to be supported, and requires a lifelong commitment from all of us. This week we honor our congregation’s most recent high school graduates with a special Bridging service. Charlotte Clark-Slakey and the Rev. Bob LaVallee will share their perspectives.

Sunday,June 6 at 11am
Love: Our Teacher A Sermon Preached by the Rev. Angela Herrera
First Unitarian Church
Sermon Text:

Sunday, June 6 at 11:00 am
The Rev. Angela Herrera. “Play”
The historian Johan Huizinga once said, “In play we move below the level of the serious, as the child does; but we can also move above it— in the realm of the beautiful and the sacred.” That’s true for everything from “dad jokes” to sacred dance. (Yes, really!) On Angela’s first Sunday back from sabbatical, a sermon about the divine, sometimes ridiculous, act of being playful.
Music: This Sunday, our service will feature music by our own contemporary band, Disparate Parts, playing music by Todd Rundgren and Los Lobos.
Sermon text:

May 30 “Master of Disaster”
The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Late-stage capitalism has fostered incredible income inequality, exacerbating other issues like climate change, racism, and sexism. In addition, it diminishes our hearts, minds, and souls. How can UUs protect themselves and others from this blight?
Music: Classical tracks from Gabriel Longuinhos and friends, and the Petroglyph String Quartet.

May 23 “Looking for Bearings”
Rev. Dr. Nicole Kirk, Guest Minister
Rev. Kirk is a professor of history at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Dr. Kirk’s first book, Wanamaker’s Temple: The Business of Religion in an Iconic Department Store (NYU Press, 2018), offers a historical exploration of the relationships between religion, commerce, and urban life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Music: First Unitarian’s Virtual Chalice Choir.

May 16
“One Brick at a Time”
The Rev. Xolani Kocela, Guest Minister
How do we create the story of our life? We go about it one brick at a time. Our lives are made of many stories which come from many sources. We build stories upon stories as we become who we are. Let’s explore a few stories and ideas about who we are as individuals, a community, and as Unitarian Universalists. This is a joint service with our sibling congregation in Las Cruces!
Music: Special guest Randy Granger, Native multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter.

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

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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