Texts of Selected Sermons 2011

December 24, 2011 - Christmas Eve

Something waits to be born through us: something beyond us, beyond our understanding, beautiful, complete unto itself and yet dependent on us. What is waiting to be born through you?

Worship Leader: Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
Sermon: Christmas Eve Homily

November 27, 2011 - New and Emerging Beliefs

We are always developing and changing the emphasis of our spiritual practice. Once in a while there may be revolutionary changes. Four members will tell stories that illustrate where they are right now on their spiritual journey. An “elder,” a mid-life adult, a young adult, and a teenager will “weave” this morning’s web.

Worship Leader: Bill Hilton
Reflection: New and Emerging Spirituality

Worship Leader: Richard Heydt
Reflection: The Unfolding Universe

Worship Leader: Nina
Reflection: Canning

October 9, 2011 - Windows into Other Lives, Mirrors of Our Own

Afghanistan seems like a very faraway and foreign country, but the paintings exhibited in our Main Hall for the past two weekends have given us a window into Afghani lives — and a mirror of our own. Our best hope for ending the seemingly intractable conflict there (the longest in US history), and preventing others, may lie in creating ways to glimpse others’ experiences and see there stories very much like ours.

Worship Leader: Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern

Worship Associate: Don Brenneis
Reflection: Windows into Other Lives

October 2, 2011 - Liberal Religion, Silicon Valley Style

Our congregation stands for the universal ideals of liberal religion, such as the use of reason in religion, and the inherent worth and dignity of each individual. But we are also located a few miles from the headquarters of Google, Apple, and Facebook; we are in a white-minority county with incredible linguistic diversity, and it doesn’t snow at Christmas time. How is liberal religion different in Silicon Valley?

Worship Leader: Rev. Daniel Harper
Sermon: Liberal Religion, Silicon Valley Style

Worship Associate: Karen Skold
Reflection: Yes, I Have Time for You

September 18, 2011 - Autumn Equinox: Celebrating Harvest

The equinox, also known as the ritual of Mabon, occurs this week as we move toward a time of decreasing light and embracing more hours of night. How do we balance the seasons of our lives? What gifts do we have to harvest and offer gratitude for in our lives? Gather to celebrate what has been brought in and the beauty of nature in all her color and cycles.

Worship Leader: Christy Baker

Worship Associate: Dave Weber
Reflection: The Autumn Equinox

September 11, 2011 - The Power of Water, The Power of Community

For this, our ingathering service, all are invited to bring a little water from home or another special place to pour together in a ceremony of unity. Today we mark the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of September 11 and re-commit ourselves to quenching the fires of hatred and fear with the healing waters of love and community.

Worship Leader: Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
Sermon: By the Waters

August 14, 2011 - A Modern Abolition Movement

In the 19th century, Unitarians and Universalists such as Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Benjamin Rush, and Theodore Parker were prominent in the movement to abolish slavery. Tragically, there are many more people enslaved worldwide today than there were then, with tens of thousands of slaves (mostly children and women) being forcibly brought to the US each year and laboring invisibly among us. The good news is we know how to end it. Let’s make Unitarian Universalism the religious beacon of 21st century abolition.

Worship Leader: Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
Sermon: A Modern Abolition Movement

August 7, 2011 - We Could Not Forget

Adoption touches many lives in our community. Nancy Westerfield will share her story of being an unwed mother during the Baby Scoop Era. We will also be joined by Karen Gunderson, an adoption policy expert with the State of CAlifornia and a longtime Unitarian Universalist.

Worship Leader: Nancy Westerfield
Sermon: We Could Not Forget

Worship Associate: Lucy Bunch

July 31, 2011 - Childless

Close to one in five (about 18%) of American women reach the age of 40 without giving birth to a child. That translates into many childless married couples, including those who are “chldfree,”, or childless by choice. What does it mean to be childless in our society? How do parents and non-parents see the world differently? Fewer highly educated women make the choice to be childfree than a deck ago (good news?), but even so 24% of women with advanced degrees do not have children (bad news?).

Worship Leader: Richard Heydt
Sermon: Childless

Worship Associate: Lucy Bunch

July 17, 2011 - Development Over a Lifetime

Experiences observing children and learning about neuroplasticity intersect to provide insight into the problem of making long term, difficult changes in oneself.

Worship Leader: Becky Williams
Sermon: Development over a Lifetime

Worship Associate: Roy King
Reflection: A Blessing from Original Times

July 10, 2011 - The Space Between

Sometimes we sense that we are stuck in an in-between space, a place in which we chafe, feel constricted, and are uncomfortable. How do we move through that space with grace and goodwill? Our UU tradition can illuminate a path for us.

Worship Leader: Melissa Thomson
Sermon: The Space Between

Worship Associate: Kay Brown

July 3, 2011 - A Patriotic Faith

Religious liberals have a long history of expanding conventional notions of patriotism, and they’re still doing so. White Unitarian Robert Gould Shaw formed the all-black 54th regiment in the Civil War. Palo Alto Unitarian minister William Short was arrested for being a pacifist during the First World War. And Unitarian Universalist military chaplains challenge their evangelical colleagues today.

Worship Leader: Rev. Daniel Harper
Sermon: A Patriotic Faith

June 19, 2011 - Getting Unstuck

Sometimes we are so stuck in our way of seeing things that even when we are committed to change, we keep repeating our old patterns. Mark Morrison-Reed gave poignant examples in his recent address about the history of racial minorities in Unitarian Universalism, showing how both individuals and communities can get stuck. And yet, both do change over time, often amazingly rapidly. How? For example — as we’ll ask here on Father’s Day — how did American fathers begin to see the possibilities of their roll differently from what their dads and granddads had done before them?

Worship Leader: Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
Sermon: Getting Unstuck

May 22, 2011 - Sitting and Stories

The simple act of sitting around in a small group and telling stories has been transforming people for generations. Rev. Dan Harper will speak about how Buddha used stories to transform his religious community.

Worship Leader: Rev. Daniel Harper
Sermon: The Power of Stories

February 20, 2011 - One of These Days

When difficult times happen, how does a person that doesn’t “Know God” deal with them? An agnostic’s perspective on the “Higher power” in our communities.

Worship Leader: Mike McLaughlin

Worship Associate: Melissa Thomson
Reflection: When Difficult Times Happen

January 30, 2011 - Making America Home

America’s promise as engraved on the Statue of Liberty, despite current immigration practices, is that it’s to be a home for all who yearn to breathe free. Using a short story by Flannery O’Connor as inspiration, Scotty will discuss the American vision of a national home dedicated to liberty and justice for all.

Worship Leader: Rev. Scotty McLennan
Sermon: Making America Home

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