Rev. Mark Stringer

Celebrating Our Shared Ministry with Rev. Stringer

Watch the Video of the Sermon (YouTube link)

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.

Ending with the Start

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.

Boldly Being Who We Are

>>Click on the Sermon title to access YouTube link of the sermon and the PDF of the sermon text<< Through this reflection about a few of the “field trips” to other congregations that he has taken during his ministry with us and what he learned in the process, Mark considers what it might take for Unitarian Universalism to become “A Religion for Our Time”? Could it be more simple than we may believe?

Saying Goodbye Well

>>Click on the Sermon title to access a PDF and a YouTube link of the sermon<< Ending a long-term ministry like the one we have shared with Rev. Mark can be challenging, both for him and for us. But it can also be a blessing in that what we learn together may help us prepare for other goodbyes that are to come in our lives. Over these last few weeks, then, we’ll have many chances to practice and maybe even learn to get some things right. Let’s consider the possibilities.

No Going Back

>>Click on the Sermon title to access YouTube link of the sermon<< When Rev. Mark entered the ministry, he wasn’t sure he could write one Easter sermon. Over the years with us, however, he grew to appreciate the themes and lessons of this special Sunday, even for us Unitarian Universalists who are sometimes challenged by the notion of resurrection. For this, Rev. Mark’s last Easter with us, he will be reprising (or is it resurrecting?) one of his favorite Easter sermons, a meditation on how death can lead us to life.

Courting Life

>>Click on the Sermon title to access YouTube link of the sermon.<< In keeping with this quote from T.S. Eliot—“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”—a meditation on the adventures we choose in pursuit of lives worthy of our highest aspirations. We will also conclude and celebrate the success of this year’s “Continue Our Legacy” Stewardship Drive.

Ours to Continue

>>Click on the Sermon title to access YouTube links of the sermon and celebrant reflection.<< What did we inherit when we became a part of First Unitarian? What now is ours to continue? As we kick off our 2017 Stewardship Drive, a time when we are asked to thoughtfully consider a generous annual commitment of financial support to our congregation, Mark reflects on why it matters to us and to our community that we continue to grow our identity as generous stewards.

Inconsolable Women and Relentless Promises

Watch the Video (YouTube link)  | Download the Text (PDF) >>Prophets, and the people of whom they were a part, were messy and visionary, devastated but hopeful. They knew violence, yet they longed for peace. As we remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many who marched with him in uncertain and … Continued

You Make the Call Sunday

Watch the Video (YouTube link) > At a service a few weeks back, the congregation voted for a sermon they would like to hear Mark deliver again.  “Reverent Agnosticism”—originally presented in 2013—was the winner.  In a world with an unending diversity of theological perspectives, one person’s reason is often another person’s lunacy.  Attempts to try … Continued

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Watch the Video (YouTube link); Download the Text (PDF) > On this first Sunday following the 2016 election, we will think about “problem saturated” stories, the stories in which a problem seems so dominant that we come to believe there may be no alternatives to the status quo.  What can we do to help change … Continued

We Remember Them: A Festival of Remembrance Service

Watch the Video (YouTube link) > For this, our traditional end-of-October service of remembrance to honor those who have died and to celebrate the continuity of life, we will together create an altar adorned with items that we think would be beautiful to our departed loved ones. All who attend are encouraged to bring photos, … Continued

Forgetting to Heal?

Watch the Video (YouTube link) Watch the Celebrant Reflection Video (“To Be a Family Man”)  > What if we could simply choose to forget the memories that haunt us? Would we? What might we gain and what might we lose if we did? Considering that forgetting doesn’t seem to be an option that most of … Continued

The Bonds that Bind Each to All

Watch the Video (YouTube link) > Mark Morrison-Reed reminds us that the “central task of religion is to unveil the bonds that bind each to all.” The unveiling is, in and of itself, a healing—of disconnection, loneliness, alienation. We will explore the practice of unveiling these bonds in our shared life and our individual spiritual … Continued

Thou and I

Watch the Video (YouTube link) Watch the Video of Celebrant Reflection (YouTube link) > If Martin Buber, the 20th century Jewish existentialist philosopher, was correct in his assertion that human life finds meaningfulness in relationships (specifically in “I-Thou” rather than “I-It” encounters), how are we to find meaning right now when so many of us … Continued