Recent Sermons & Services

February 25, 2024: “Repentance & Repair” The Rev. Angela Herrera

“Repent” is a religious word with a lot of baggage. It brings to mind shame and threats of punishment. But there is another side to it: one that has to do with healing, repair, and peace. This sermon draws from the UUA’s Common Read, On Repentance and Repair by Danya Ruttenberg. You can learn more about the Common Read program here. (https://www.uua.org/read)
Music: Lydia Clark & Tom Godfrey

Repentance and Repair – text version


February 18, 2024: “Thriving Together” The Rev. Christine Robinson, Minister Emerita

We all want to thrive, and what that means differs during our lifespan. There are plenty of hints and tips about that, and I have a few of my own, especially about the life stage of “retirement.” However, almost all the thinking I can dig up about thriving assumes that we can thrive all by ourselves, and I doubt that. We believe we are all connected, after all… and that would mean that we need to put some thought into how the thriving and non-thriving of others impacts us. The puppets will have some thoughts to share about thriving as well.
Music: Chalice Choir, directed by Susan Peck. Nicia Rae, piano.

Thriving– Text Version


February 11, 2024: “Love, Not Legalism” The Rev. Bob LaVallee

We are a covenantal faith, but what does that even mean? First U’s Mission Covenant has great aspirations but very little on specifics. How do we know when we’re out of covenant? How do we return to covenant?
Music: Lydia Clark and Susan Peck


February 4, 2024: Eulogies – The Ministers with Kathryn Probasco and Spare Parts

The popular, annual service dedicated to regular yet notable people who died in the last year. We’ll celebrate some of the 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.


January 28, 2024: Question Box Sermon-  The Rev. Angela Herrera & The Rev. Bob LaVallee
You’ve got questions, and we’ve got… well, we’ll do our best! Today the ministers draw your questions out of a hat.
Music: Susan Peck


January 21, 2024: “A Liberating Love” The Rev. Angela Herrera
Love is a liberating gift, but it doesn’t come for free. A sermon about what love—especially self-love—asks of us. We’ll also collect questions today for next week’s “Question Box” sermon.
Music: Chalice Choir, directed by Susan Peck. Nicia Rae, piano. Anthems include O Love by Elaine Hagenberg, and Show Us How to Love by Mark Miller

Text: A Liberating Love


January 14, 2024: “A Preference for the Poor” The Rev. Bob LaVallee

Liberation Theology was created by Catholic clergy working in the global south. Witnessing the results of colonialism and militarism, they reframed the message of the New Testament to call for a renewed focus on the plight of the poor. Is there a similar theology in Unitarian Universalism?

Music: Susan Peck and Tania Hopkins share music from Las voces del camino


January 7, 2024 Sunday Worship: “Spiritual Autobiography, Part II” The Rev. Angela Herrera

UU ministers, like other UUs, sometimes have “both/and” religious identities: Buddhist-UU, Christian-UU, Hindu-UU … But how does that work? Angela will share her personal spiritual story, and what it means that she has begun to identify as UU and Jewish.
Music: Spare Parts, with Vance Bass, Laura Bartolucci, Jayson Capps, Keith Morris, Chris Paul, Susan Peck

Text Version: Spiritual Autobiography Part II


December 31, 2023 Sunday Worship

Join Rev. Angela at 9:00 am for a special Zoom-only New Years Eve service. A gentle service of readings, meditation, and prayer.

At 11:00 am, we’ll have a special and unusual in-person service, featuring sound healing with our own staff musician, Lydia Clark, and her brother, Mark Clark, percussionist. Join Lydia, Mark, and Rev. Bob LaVallee for a peaceful morning filled with instrumental sounds.

Sound Healing- click here to watch 


December 17, 2023 Sunday Worship: “Solstice” The Rev. Angela Herrera

At this time of year, there are so many winter holidays, so many twinkling lights. But the oldest tradition of all—one that has been largely lost in mainstream US culture—is celebrating the winter solstice.
Music: Chalice Choir

Click here to watch the service
Text Version: Solstice


December 10, 2023 Sunday Worship: “Religious Experience” The Rev. Angela Herrera

One of the sources of UU faith is “the direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder.” What does that mean? How do you know if you’ve had one?
Music: Lydia Clark, Chris Paul, Susan Peck

Click here to watch the service
Text Version: Religious Experience


December 3, 2023 Sunday Worship “Mysterious Beliefs” The Rev. Bob LaVallee

It’s estimated that there are more than 4,000 religions in the world. Why do people choose to believe what they do, and why do they join the religious communities that they do?
Music: Doug Cowan and Sharon Stepler

Click here to watch “Mysterious Beliefs”


 

November 26, 2023 Sunday Worship “Experience, Strength, and Hope” The Rev. Jane Davis

Early in life, we are taught to share our material possessions, and to share the spotlight—giving everyone a chance to be seen. However, it is not until we have experienced struggles and challenges that we learn to share our humanity.
Music: Susan Peck

Click here to watch “Experience, Strength, and Hope”


November 19, 2023 Sunday Worship “All God’s People” The Rev. Angela Herrera & The Rev. Bob LaVallee

Where is the holy in the conflict between Israel and Palestine? In this time of grief, a message from the ministers about deepening our compassion and understanding.
Music: Lydia Clark

Click here to watch “All God’s People”


 

November 12, 2023 Sunday Worship “Gifted” The Rev. Angela Herrera

Every day, we receive from the earth and her creatures, and from the labors of our fellow humans. The commodity economy does not encourage us to think of these things as gifts. Yet doing so is both life-changing and soul satisfying.
Music: Lydia Clark

Click here to watch “Gifted”

Text Version


 

November 5, 2023 Sunday Worship “Generosity of Spirit” The Rev. Bob LaVallee

November’s theme at the church is generosity, and Rev. Bob will kick the month off talking about the ways that we can cultivate more generous spirits. This service includes a candlelighting ritual for those who have died. Zoom participants are encouraged to have a candle ready at home.
Music: Chalice Choir

Click here to watch “Generosity of Spirit”

 

October 29, 2023 Sunday Worship “Welcome Back, Rev. Bob” The Rev. Bob LaVallee
We’ll welcome Rev. Bob back into the pulpit today, after a four-month sabbatical. What will he talk about? Come and find out. Family-friendly Halloween costumes are encouraged. There will be a multigenerational costume parade at the end of the 11:00 am service.
Music: Lydia Clark

Click here to watch “Welcome Back, Rev. Bob”


October 22, 2023 Sunday Worship “Demons” The Rev. Angela Herrera
Here’s something we don’t talk about much at First U. Where did the idea of demons come from? What do they do? And are they real?
Music: Spare Parts

Click here to watch “Demons”

Text Version


October 15, 2023 Sunday Worship “How to Cast a Spell” The Rev. Angela Herrera
Just in time for Halloween, a sermon about magic and the mysterious power of words. From the archive, this sermon was originally preached in 2013.
Music: Rafe Pearlman

Click here to watch “How to Cast a Spell”

Text Version


 

October 8, 2023 Sunday Worship “The Salem Witch Trials” The Rev. Angela Herrera
The phrase “witch hunt” has been used in the news by certain politicians lately and, well, that’s pretty ironic. Here’s why.
Music: Lydia Clark

Click here to watch “The Salem Witch Trials”

Text Version


 

October 1, 2023: “Heritage” The Rev. Angela Herrera
We are born into families and cultures that shape us, often in ways that are invisible to us. Drawing from the fields of family systems and trauma, a sermon about developing an intentional, life-affirming relationship with your heritage.
Music: Chalice Choir sings music by Sweet Honey in the Rock

“Heritage”

 


September 24, 2023: “Welcoming the Disenfranchised and the Rejected” The Rev. Jane Davis
A reflection about welcoming those in recovery and those re-entering our community from incarceration. Jane is an Affiliated Minister of First Unitarian.