Recent Sermons & Services

Worship Calendar with Sermon Topics

To access videos on a tablet or phone, or access our full sermon archive, click here.

September 19, 9AM Zoom service
“The Possibility of Imperfection”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
The rest of this sermon title might as well be “and the Impossibility of Perfection.” We all know it’s impossible to be perfect, and, well, sometimes that really stinks. But it also opens the door to one of our superpowers as humans.


September 12, 9AM Zoom service
“Embracing Possibility” The Rev. Angela Herrera
First Unitarian has had two Sunday services for many years. Now that one is on Zoom and one is in the sanctuary, what possibilities lie before us? In our personal lives as well as at church, how do we embrace possibility?


September 5
“About Hope”
Matt Pargeter-Villareal, Ministerial Intern
In the midst of the global pandemic and rising new cases due to the Delta variant, there is much uncertainty about what the future will hold, and whether we will ever return to a sense of “normal” again. Matt offers a message of how we can find hope, inspired by the life and the words of Julian of Norwich and the music of UU minister/songwriter Rev. Meg Barnhouse.


August 29 “Question Box Sermon”
The Revs. Angela Herrera & Bob LaVallee
This month we’re tackling some big questions in church… and giving you a chance to ask yours! Throughout August we’ll collect your spiritual, moral, and theological questions via email and the chat box. Today, Bob and Angela will take turns responding to them.


August 22
“Resilience”
The Rev. Christine Robinson
Last March, we felt resilient for locking ourselves down for the greater good, and last September we hunkered down for a long winter, and last Spring we got our vaccinations so we would be able to breathe freely and see each other’s faces and travel the world again, and now…here we are, masked again, worried, and, perhaps, sticking close to home. In the meantime, the world is not just heating but burning, and it looks like that is going to go on for the rest of our lives. How is your resilience? Are you ready for the long haul? If not, let’s talk about it. We get some help from my dog, Mosby, who had a trauma of his own to deal with last year and sailed through. Christine Robinson is our Minister Emerita, after serving as the Minister, then Senior Minister of this congregation from 1988-2017. She says she learned a lot about resilience from us!
Text Version:


August 15
“Doubt”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
Doubt has gotten a bad rap in Protestantism, but it wasn’t always that way. In
fact, it is an important part of spiritual growth, and UUs especially embrace it.
Sermon text.


August 8
“Inter-faith”
The Rev. Angela Herrera
Not every church would place giant interfaith symbols in the center of its worship space. As we prepare to return to our beloved sanctuary, we’ll take a closer look at our mural in this sermon about First Unitarian’s interfaith faith.
Text version


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
“Transitions”
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
“Bridging”
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.


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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