Our faith community emerges from our shared creativity and improvisation. Let’s give thanks for the many ways we each contribute, sharing our gifts to create something greater than we could ever achieve on our own.
Rev. Erin Gingrich
Envisioning an end to sexual violence involves many things, including the willingness to understand and compassionately address the underlying motivations of those who cause harm. It involves a willingness to see those who have caused harm as whole and worthy of care. As a religious community, let us hold the pain of all with sacred compassion together.
Where does love’s call come from? We will consider a humanist answer to this question, creatively told through the retelling of a Bible story written by UU minister Rev. David Bumbaugh.
Special music by the Bell Ave. Ringers
9:15 & 11 am
In this service for all ages, we share a tale of tenacity: the story of Esther. This true story is the centerpiece of the Jewish celebration of Purim, which this year begins on February 28. In many ways Esther was a true superhero: a seemingly ordinary person who saved many lives through her persistence and courage. Today we consider how our own narratives intersect with this tale of tenacity.
Perseverance carries an exhausting connotation, especially if we think about perseverance as holding our breath as we push through impossible conditions. This month our theme in worship asks us how we are called to be a people of perseverance. What alternative understandings of perseverance might we need to share if we are to be a people who persevere together?
Joining us over the weekend of this service is Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs, our ministerial search transition coach, along with Rev. Jen Crow. After each service, Rev. Janne will hold open meetings to share information about the search process for our new settled senior minister. This purpose intersects beautifully with January’s Soul Matters theme exploring how we are called to be a people of intention. Setting personal intentions is a spiritual act that can shape our living. Setting collective intentions is a spiritual act that can transform a congregation and the wider community. In these services, guest minister, Rev. Jen Crow and Rev. Erin will speak to the power of love and ministry that is unleashed when a congregation re-imagines their shared intention for vision and mission. May we be inspired for the Connections Parties in February, when we will share our individual light to create the vision for our collective future.
In this all ages service, we will carry forward our New Year’s tradition of walking through a doorway to greet the coming year with intention. We will celebrate new beginnings and ponder the intention we want to bring to them through storytelling, song, and origami crane making.
This Christmas Eve service of carols and readings invokes not only the 2,000 year-old story of Christmas but also its message of hope for our world today. Come with open hearts; go with the spirit of Christmas.
The old story of Stone Soup tells of two weary travelers who arrive in a small village and unexpectedly bring a community together under the guise of making a delicious soup from stones.To make this story come to life, we’re encouraging everyone who can to bring pre-cut veggies to add to the pot, as well as non-perishable food to support the children with their food drive. This participatory service will engage young and old alike in this important tale and also offer food to the hungry in our community. Special music by visiting musician Peter Mayer.
Having a sense of financial abundance is about more than having the ability to buy plenty of things. Or is it? Depending on our income and class background, depending on our family’s relationship to money, or on major events in our generation’s lifetime, we will have different experiences that have shaped how we understand abundance, having enough and our definition of generosity. Reflection by Darin Jensen.
This service for all ages remembers the loved ones who have passed away. As we honor their memories, and the ways they shaped our lives, we’re also reminded to cherish every moment we have with those we love. Please bring a photo or item of remembrance for any people and/or animals who has passed away that you (or your family) would like to remember during this service.
Unitarian Universalists are collectively taking action to dismantle white supremacy. On Oct. 22nd, worship services and religious education classes will focus on disrupting white supremacy in our lives and communities. This is our second teach-in; the first took place last spring when our church joined with over 700 UU congregations across the country in examining white supremacy in our lives.
In September, Rev. Erin Gingrich joined with 8 Iowans and more than 30 faith leaders from across the United States to meet with our Members of Congress in DC. She will share stories and reflect on the American dreams and American nightmares in our current system and its history.
Each September, we celebrate our “ingathering” as a community and reaffirm our covenant as people committed to transformation of our own lives and the life of the world. In this service, we use water, the source of human life, as a symbol of our interconnectedness to all living beings. All life emerged from water; all life requires it; and the water cycle, from rain to rivers to oceans to clouds to rain, is a continuing reminder of the cycle of life. In today’s service, we reflect on our passage along the River of Life and the ways we restore our hearts, minds, and spirits through life’s challenges and changes. Just as water buoys us up, this community supports and sustains us during our life’s journey. Together we covenant, and together we renew, our life together.
Transitions take energy. Starting or going back to school, changing work, moving, finding new doctors, making space for new love or a broken heart, becoming politically engaged. It takes energy to try out and begin new ways of doing things. What might it take for us to find new stores of energy along the way as well?
Every moment is fresh. Each day is brand new and totally unknown. We may dismiss this reality, fearing change, to instead cling to our routines for a semblance of control. At other times, we may wish we could embrace a beginners mind to be open and know wonder again. How might mindfulness support us through transitions, repetitive responsibilities, or chronic pain? Let us take stock of our recurring inner monologues to see what thoughts and feelings are shaping our days.
The speakers at a conference Rev. Erin recently attended called participants to be creators of “Revolutionary Love”. They defined this as loving ourselves, loving those who are marginalized, and loving those we consider our opponents. The conference was title, Revolutionary Love: Disruptive Ethics to Dismantle Racism. How might we allow love to disrupt our lives? As we celebrate Father’s Day, let us recall when and how love has been revolutionary in our lives.
A special service to honor the conclusion of Rev. Mark’s ministry with our church. Everyone is invited to attend, enjoy some storytelling, a slideshow, a “charge” to us from Mark, and a ritual of “de-installation”. This is our final service with Rev. Mark, to celebrate 16 years of shared ministry, and to offer thanks and blessings for his future with the ACLU.
Watch the Video of the Sermon (YouTube link)
In August of 2001, Rev. Mark Stringer delivered his first sermon as our settled minister. In that sermon, “Start with the Ending”, Mark spoke about the unique relationship of a minister to a congregation and reminded us that there would come a time when the relationship would, inevitably, end. For this Sunday, Mark’s last preaching in our auditorium as our senior minister, he will revisit the themes of that first sermon, believing that it may have wisdom that could be useful as the congregation prepares to welcome a new interim minister this fall. New members will be recognized at this service.
Annual Congregational Meeting at 11 am.