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2017

June 18: Fathers Are Men, Too
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
In continuing our conversation re unbecoming someone else’s child, we’ll take a look at one more parent. This time we’ll look at fathers and take into consideration the broad reality that...
Fathers are men.
What makes men the way they are?
 
BFUU congregants were fortunate to experience the beautiful a capella singing of the all-women’s ensemble “The Conspiracy of Venus,” under the direction of Joyce Todd McBride. Here is an excerpt of them singing “The Buddha’s Parable of the Burning House,” text by Bertolt Brecht, music by Joyce Todd McBride. Click on service title above or here: https://youtu.be/JN-9PxozMys
Joanna Foley, Lay Worship Leader
The Conspiracy of Venus is a 30-woman vocal ensemble which creates and shares music for social and political impact. They were founded in 2007 as the sister group to the all-male Conspiracy of Beards which has performed the music of Leonard Cohen twice at BFUU.
Under the artistic direction of Joyce Todd McBride, Conspiracy of Venus speaks out through its music about political issues from environmentalism to feminism.
This service will feature songs interspersed with readings. Excerpts from James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, and Bertolt Brecht will be included. Their music resonates strongly with the UU Seventh Principle.
Joanna Foley, a member of BFUU since 2014, has been connected with UU congregations in Nashville, TN and New York City. A retired social worker and substance abuse counselor, she practiced family therapy. Beginning in college, she has been active in social justice campaigns and progressive journalism.

 

June 4: Make ’Em Laugh
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader

Some funny and musical highlights from this service:
https://youtu.be/INb1GA629_w

Our guest musicians, "Mary Lou's Apartment" perform "Act of Contrition":
https://youtu.be/11aCz0VMClE

Humor brings us together, keeps us upbeat, and reminds us that even when life is absurd we can make it through the day in good spirits. Join Rev. Elena Vera and special guest musicians, the Marylou’s Apartment jazz band, for a Sunday morning that reminds us how good it is to laugh together. Bring your worst puns.

May 28: How Women Wake the World: a Fairy Tale Guide to Real Life
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
Rev. Carrie Knowles considers oppression, liberation, the wisdom of the inner voice, and how the empowerment of women frees the community to live in peace, as envisioned in a Japanese fairy tale.  Women can find their voice and life calling and bring hope to all.
Please note also that Rev. Carrie will meet with visitors and
prospective members of BFUU in the lobby after the service, from 12:15 to 1:15PM.

May 21: Someone Else’s Child
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
The Tibetans have a saying that is also one of the core concepts in modern psychology: “Every person’s main task in life is to unbecome being someone else’s child.” Sounds simple, yet it can take a lifetime to realize and few accomplish it. 
So what? Well, this is the nexus point between politics and personal development. It casts a clarifying light on the difference between liberals and conservatives, shows us how and why the right is winning and what we can do to mitigate the impact of Apocalypse. 
Joining me this morning will be members of the Indivisible movement and the conversation will be illuminating. Tell your friends!

May 14: Mother’s Day: Beyond the Hallmark Card
(reflections from Joanna Foley, Nanci Armstrong-Temple via Virginia Hollins-Davidson, and Gene Herman)

Joanna Foley, Lay Worship Leader
How do we honor mothers in a real way that goes beyond sentimental tokens? Cards are nice, so are flowers, chocolates, and brunch dates. But they wouldn’t even qualify as minimum wages for the time and energy it actually takes to be a mother. Some UUs will share their appreciation of the complexity of the mother role and their heartfelt gratitude to mothers—their own and our nation’s mothers such as Julia Ward Howe, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dolores Huerta.  

In a season of renewal and upheaval, when it can seem unclear how best to advocate for a better world, how do we choose our approaches? When we seek for freedom and justice, are we best served by gentleness or by force? May Day is a time for the people's power to rise up, and a time to bless the beauty of new life. Let us return again together to the troubles before us with summer's fire in our hearts.

 

April 30: Theatre of the Oppressed
Jiwon Chung, Guest Speaker
Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is a set of techniques, games & practices for using theater as a vehicle for transforming individuals and their communities, and effecting social and political change. It is a method of harnessing the theatrical process as a powerful tool for healing communities and breaking cycles of oppression; resulting in empowered and engaged individuals and groups that have the tools to dialogue, educate, problem-solve, and effect change. TO is a collective, creative, whole-brained problem-posing/solving technique of learning and transformation.

Jiwon Chung, past president of the national organization for Theatre of the Oppressed, is the artistic director of Kairos Theater Ensemble and adjunct professor at the Starr King School at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, where he teaches Theater and Social Justice. The focus of his work is in the application of theater as a tool for social and political change, using Theatre of the Oppressed to challenge, resist and transform systemic oppression and structural violence, and to redress large scale historical atrocity and injustice.

 

April 23: The Myths We Live: The Fairy Tale Guide to Ever After
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
Fairy tales teach us profound lessons for the challenges of our lives. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles relates significant tales that speak to the issues of mid-life crises and ancient wisdom about how we may best cope.

April 16: The Wild Unknown
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
This Easter Sunday, we'll join science and theology, economics and individual yearning, the towering redwoods and the limits of sacrifice. As the Pacific salmon swim upstream to feed vast ecosystems, how can our own lives be a flourishing part of the great system of nature that holds us all? What can we give of ourselves so that all may thrive?

April 9: Change: What and How
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
Everyone says they want change but no one wants to be different. Right now, we are facing real and radical change. What happened here, and in Europe? How do we get Change to work with us? How do we get our world, our lives, back on track!? It is the edict of Nature Herself that change will occur. How do we choose where it goes?

April 2: Shields Up!
(sorry - sermon audio unavailable)

Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader

Sometimes the ways we protect ourselves in times of strain can end up hurting us later. Strategies that work to save us can keep us from growing or embracing others further on down the line. Together, let's look at the ways we look after ourselves and each other, pull apart defense from defensiveness, and explore what we can make that will bring us closer, not push us further apart.

March 26: Burning the Bridges to Hope: the Assault on Moslem Refugees and Truth
(sorry - sermon audio unavailable)

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
The president has issued a revised executive order aimed at suspending for 90 days the entry into the US of immigrants and visitors from six predominantly Moslem countries. Campaign rhetoric and the comments of the president’s supporters make clear that the travel ban targets Moslems. Our UU principles ask us instead to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person and to stand up for justice, equity and compassion in human relations. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles looks back over the history of America in resisting the presence of those seen as “other,” based on religion or nationality, and asks that we not repeat the wrongs of the past.

March 19: “Creating a New Paradigm at BFUU”
Lay Led Service with Simone Chiodini, Frances Hillyard, Jeff Palmer and Elayne Ryder
Members and Friends of BFUU will share through song, poetry, sharing, ritual and reflection, what creating a Beloved Community can look like!

March 12: The Truth About Trees
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
In a departure from our familiar conversations regarding how to re-envision the divisive wounds that have become the emergent features of our political, economic, social and even personal landscape, Rev Marsh Agobert will lead us on a nature talk. We'll enter into a world we thought we knew, guided by sciences that are not technologically based to learn how close Tolkein may have been in his vision of the Ents; his giant tree people of the ancient forests.
What can we learn from these ancient societies, their allies and enemies?

March 5: Bread and Roses
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
March 8th is International Women's Day, and this year's theme is Be Bold for Change. From hearthfires to wildfires, we will explore the rich legacy of women rising up to set the world alight. How are we working for the worldwide liberation of women, as 2017's springtime bursts forth all around us? How can we all learn from the long history and beautiful present of women being bold for the sake of bettering our lives?

February 26: In Search of Miracles
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
When faced with life-threatening illness or accident, when is hope false hope? Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles explores the mysteries of beating the odds or succumbing to the inevitable—with many questions, a few answers.

February 19: Takin' It To the Streets
Moses Canales, Worship Leader
The current state of non-violent, mass direct action in America. Where do we go from here? What is the origin and history of non-violent protest in America and historically how effective is it? What role, if any, do faith and spirituality have in the non-violent pursuit of social justice? These questions I will approach with a brief history of non-violent resolution of conflicts, using readings from civil rights leaders, and personal reflections and experiences of those who have struggled against social injustice and tyranny.

Moses Canales is the son of a Mexican Baptist minister. He has been an immigration and criminal defense attorney, a teacher and counselor for the developmentally disabled, and has worked with health advocacy groups. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from U.C. Berkeley with highest honors and holds a Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of Law. He is an enrolled seminarian at the Pacific School of Religion for his Masters in Divinity and Master of Theology. Mr. Canales is the director of the PSR student-led worship program called "The Rising."

February 12: Complaint (sorry - sermon audio unavailable)
In honor of Valentine’s Day, visiting musician playing “Bella Notte” from the famous spaghetti dinner scene of the Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp.” https://youtu.be/5KUs9LgD800

Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
From time to time I'm asked if a person or a people have the right to complain about oppressive conditions under which they have labored for too long. Generally, my response is to ask - haven't they suffered long enough?
Does complaint actually bring the solution? To what extent does it help?

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas.

February 5: The Games We Play
The BFUU Choir singing “Games People Play” by Joe South with Doug on lead vocals and djembe. https://youtu.be/-htqLzp__nU
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
Who we are is often shaped by where we are--the people we are surrounded by, the rules and norms of our environment. From primate instincts to high-tech virtual environments, how are we being shaped? How can we stretch what's possible for us even when the rules change--and how can we change the rules?

The Rev. Elena Rose Vera, originally hailing from rural Oregon, has distinguished herself as a political and theological writer with a focus on the intersections between colonial history, race, gender, and queer liberation. Between touring nationally as an acclaimed preacher and educator and working as a minister-at-large in marginalized communities, she emphasizes a compassionate approach rooted both in deep scholarship and a commitment to making that work broadly accessible. A board member both of Solar Cross Temple, a pagan service organization, and San Francisco's historic Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, Elena lives and labors in the East Bay.

January 29: Poetry Service (links by name below)

Carl Saffira
Gene Herman
Holly Harwood
Frances Hillyard
Séon O'Neill
Wattie Taylor

Nearer, My God to Thee,” arranged and performed by visiting musician Steve Baughman on guitar.
https://youtu.be/riJ7rPc7-zc

The Six UU Sources: Inspiration and Healing
Holly Harwood and Frances Hillyard, Worship Leaders
What are your personal sources of inspiration, joy, healing and spiritual growth? Some BFUU poets will present original works sharing the sources of spirituality in their lives.

January 22: Sanctuary Churches: A Haven of Refuge for Immigrants under Threat
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
In the current political climate, undocumented immigrants are fearful of deportation. Religious congregations around the US are now declaring themselves sanctuaries for those at risk. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles looks back on ancient biblical tradition, the history of our Southern border, and the situation of immigrants today.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles is a graduate of Starr King who was called to UU ministry after careers in psychology and law. She provides spiritual care to the BFUU community on a part-time basis, and leads Sunday Services as guest speaker at BFUU and other Bay Area UU churches.

January 15: Universalism: A Weaving of Forgiveness and Justice
Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, Guest Worship Leader
Our UU heritage feeds into Martin Luther King Jr's leadership and the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks said," The Civil Rights Movement is not about hate, it is about loving oneself." James Palmer acted with courage as he changed the law of this land and bent the law toward justice for all.

The Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT, is a graduate of SKSM where she formerly served as Adjunct Faculty. She has served as Minister to 4 UU Congregations. Her psychotherapy experience includes successful facilitation to heal post traumatic stress, historic trauma, and issues being experienced by couples, families, and individuals. She has been Clinical Supervisor of the Native American Counseling Center in San Francisco. She is a graduate of The Rev. Dr. Jeremy TayIor ‘s Dreamworker Institute. She presently leads Dream Groups and does short term counseling in her private practice.

January 8: Standing Rock: Every Footfall Is a Prayer
Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, Worship Leader
The Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT will reflect on her trips in November and December to Oceti Sakawin where the “Black Snake” has been stopped. The Bismarck Mandan UU Church and Fellowship plays an essential part in supporting this movement led by First Persons of the North American Continent to save our water and earth.

The Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT, is a graduate of SKSM where she formerly served as Adjunct Faculty. She has served as Minister to 4 UU Congregations. Her psychotherapy experience includes successful facilitation to heal post traumatic stress, historic trauma, and issues being experienced by couples, families, and individuals. She has been Clinical Supervisor of the Native American Counseling Center in San Francisco. She is a graduate of The Rev. Dr. Jeremy TayIor ‘s Dreamworker Institute. She presently leads Dream Groups and does short term counseling in her private practice.

January 1: Be It Resolved
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader

BFUU Musicians singing "Glory" from the movie "Selma" about the struggle for equal voting rights:
https://youtu.be/YaMuCa15VhM

Interpretation of Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini by one of our pianists:
https://youtu.be/-HXZsXPJNXw

For many of us, a new year is a chance to take fresh stock of who we are and who we would like to be. This New Year's Day, we will join together not only to make resolutions but to strengthen our resolve. What do we believe? What is true? What commitments can we keep to our values, principles, and communities in the year to come? How can we keep growing in our capacity to hold to those commitments?

The Rev. Elena Rose Vera, originally hailing from rural Oregon, has distinguished herself as a political and theological writer with a focus on the intersections between colonial history, race, gender, and queer liberation. Between touring nationally as an acclaimed preacher and educator and working as a minister-at-large in marginalized communities, she emphasizes a compassionate approach rooted both in deep scholarship and a commitment to making that work broadly accessible. A board member both of Solar Cross Temple, a pagan service organization, and San Francisco's historic Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, Elena lives and labors in the East Bay.

2016

December 25: Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
Perhaps from the beginning of time, humans have celebrated the solstice, the rebirth of the sun, with festivals of light and song, and the sacred gift of trees symbolized in the yule log. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles reflects on the many traditions that enliven the holiday season.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles is a graduate of Starr King who was called to UU ministry after careers in psychology and law.  She provides spiritual care to the BFUU community on a part-time basis, and leads Sunday Services as guest speaker at BFUU and other Bay Area UU churches.

December 18: Songs in the Night
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
As we move toward the winter solstice and the longest night of the year, we may grapple with the ancient human fear of the dark--but what can the darkness teach us? In our brightly-lit modern world, so often devoid of quiet and solitude, what does the night still mean? Let us join together to find the consolation and beauty in the long night, the truths in hidden places, and courage for when we cannot see what lies ahead.The Rev. Elena Rose Vera, originally hailing from rural Oregon, has distinguished herself as a political and theological writer with a focus on the intersections between colonial history, race, gender, and queer liberation. Between touring nationally as an acclaimed preacher and educator and working as a minister-at-large in marginalized communities, she emphasizes a compassionate approach rooted both in deep scholarship and a commitment to making that work broadly accessible. A board member both of Solar Cross Temple, a pagan service organization, and San Francisco's historic Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, Elena lives and labors in the East Bay.

December 11: Conflict and Compromise
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
Most of us learned the value of compromise during our growing years. This may work in the moment, but are we safe? Or is the soothing feeling only momentary? We must use the moment of pause, the brief moment of suspension and fleeting instant of safety not to lull ourselves into a torpid trance but to focus awareness on the Dream we say we want.

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas.

December 4: Songs of Leonard Cohen sung by The Conspiracy of Beards
The male choir, The Conspiracy of Beards, performs dynamic, original, a cappella arrangements of the poetic songs of Leonard Cohen. Drawing on influences ranging from jazz and gospel to barbershop and doo-wop, the unique arrangements that choir members create capture all of the emotion and humor of Leonard Cohen’s original music and inspire audiences to ponder common human experiences. Some of the songs in the service will be Suzanne, Hallelujah, Come Healing and If It Be Your Will. This is an occasion to celebrate the life of Leonard Cohen, in light of his passing.

Formed in 2003 through the inspiration of the late San Francisco performance artist Peter Kadyk, his brother Patrick Kadyk, along with friend and composer Daryl Henline, gathered a small group of friends to learn and sing a couple of Leonard Cohen songs as a tribute. Since then the choir, still directed by Daryl Henline, has grown to over 30 members.

November 27: Festivals and Thankfulness
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
On this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles will consider the long tradition of feast days and the value of celebrating abundance, even in times of stress and meager availability of food.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles is a graduate of Starr King who was called to UU ministry after careers in psychology and law.  She provides spiritual care to the BFUU community on a part-time basis, and leads Sunday Services as guest speaker at BFUU and other Bay Area UU churches.

November 20: The Uses of Fear
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader

“Dona Nobis Pacem” performed by the BFUU Choir:
https://youtu.be/gYmKtkaHK7k

Who are we taught to fear, and who holds the power to do harm? Our society can send us misleading messages about danger that teach us to excuse and justify violence against vulnerable people and ignore our own power to change the situation. We'll join together to discuss some of the people our stories place in harm's way, and what we can do to approach each other with clear perceptions and fresh compassion.

The Rev. Elena Rose Vera, originally hailing from rural Oregon, has distinguished herself as a political and theological writer with a focus on the intersections between colonial history, race, gender, and queer liberation. Between touring nationally as an acclaimed preacher and educator and working as a minister-at-large in marginalized communities, she emphasizes a compassionate approach rooted both in deep scholarship and a commitment to making that work broadly accessible. A board member both of Solar Cross Temple, a pagan service organization, and San Francisco's historic Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, Elena lives and labors in the East Bay. 

November 13: The Veil
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
The elections have affected us all, and there are many different feelings running through our community. Rev. Marsh will be addressing the emotional impact and bringing the BFUU together in light of the results.

We hope you can join the BFUU community in this place of spiritual growth and social action.

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas. 

November 6: Sinner in Winter
Mtuaswa Anthony Johnson, Guest Worship Leader
“Sinner in Winter” is a sermon that speaks to our human nature as winners and as sinners. It speaks to our sameness and it speaks to our uniqueness. It addresses our joys and our sorrows and challenges us to own our whole selves. The sermon is based upon my original poem of the same title encompassing the belief, as expressed by Emerson, who said;” the poet is the sayer, the namer and represents beauty. He is sovereign, and stands on the centre.” The sermon will also contain poetic elements of William Blake, Langston Hughes and Rumi.

Anthony N. Johnson, is a Spiritual Counselor, writer, poet, producer, soldier, teacher, mentor and student. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer and producer in the film and television industry and is currently writing and producing a feature film based upon the autobiography “Of Water and The Spirit” by Malidoma Somé. Mtuaswa, as he is known, is a graduate of the Indigenous African Spiritual Technology program of Malidoma Some and is a Practicing Diviner. He is a certified presenter on “Race, Class and Sex” through the Mankind Project, an international men’s organization and is a second year seminarian at Starr King School for The Ministry in Berkeley. 

October 30 Spiritual Rx: Laughter
Jean Marie Stine, Guest Speaker
There is a reason clowns were once considered sacred, and now you'll discover why, as we explore and celebrate the reasons humor and spirituality go hand-in-hand, and why laughing every day is an essential nutrient for health and happiness. The humor in wisdom and the wisdom in humor. UU jokes. A bit of spiritual slapstick. Laughter, fun, silliness, childishness, frivolity, absurdity, and clowning around—meditation in disguise? We will touch on these and more—and don’t worry about bringing a clown nose; we'll have one for you.

 

October 23: How to be a Better Animal
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader

October is by tradition the time of blessing the animals. Rather than our blessing them, what we learn from other species can bless our lives, and teach us deep lessons about compassion and mercy.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles is a graduate of Starr King who was called to UU ministry after careers in psychology and law. She provides spiritual care to the BFUU community on a part-time basis, and leads Sunday Services as guest speaker at BFUU and other Bay Area UU churches.

October 16: In a World Full of Transmitters, Reception is the Key
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader

Herein lies a treasure map to fortune beyond measure. The great paradox lay in the fact that with all the time in the world...still, time is running out. So the question remains to be answered...What Do You Want? And, of course...Where is it and Why?

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas.  

October 9: Honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day (Sorry, this service recording is not available.)
Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, Guest Worship Leader

Indigenous people from over 100 tribes in the United States and Canada joined together to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Gathering at Sacred Stone Camp, they have declared the project would violate the sacred lands of the Lakota people, threaten their water supply, and contribute to the economy of exploitation. This Sunday, we will honor the spiritual witness of indigenous peoples across time and explore how we might “exist, resist, indigenize, and decolonize.”

Jeremiah Kalendae is a love warrior, urban sufi, and queer scholartivist, committed to those surviving on the margins, counter oppressive change, and radical enlightenment. A student of the late sheikh, Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé, he declared the Kalima Shahada (lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh) and was given bay'at into the Chishtī Order of Sufism in Istanbul, Turkey. A revolutionary mystic at heart, he aspires to call forth the divine radiance of others with holy boldness, irreverent wit, humor, joy, and beauty.

October 2: In Praise of Turkey Vultures

Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Guest Worship Leader

Here in the darkening of the year, what can a vulture teach us about love? In embracing the ugly, the decaying, the unglamorous in our world, what joyful lessons can we find? Autumn is a time for gathering in, and a time for letting go. Together, with a broad and compassionate perspective, we will explore beauty in unexpected places, the worth of our world's clean-up crews, and the great value of endings.

The Rev. Elena Rose Vera, originally hailing from rural Oregon, has distinguished herself as a political and theological writer with a focus on the intersections between colonial history, race, gender, and queer liberation. Between touring nationally as an acclaimed preacher and educator and working as a minister-at-large in marginalized communities, she emphasizes a compassionate approach rooted both in deep scholarship and a commitment to making that work broadly accessible. A board member both of Solar Cross Temple, a pagan service organization, and San Francisco's historic Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, Elena lives and labors in the East Bay.

September 25: The Mystery of Dream-Work
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader

The poet Byron wrote, “Sleep hath its own world, and a wide realm of wild reality….” Rev. Dr. Carrie explores some of that wild reality, what dreams accomplish, and how some dreams changed the world.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles is a graduate of Starr King who was called to UU ministry after careers in psychology and law.  She provides spiritual care to the BFUU community on a part-time basis, and leads Sunday Services as guest speaker at BFUU and other Bay Area UU churches.

 

September 18: The Blessing of Two Feet(note: please excuse distortion, part of service was at very low volume)
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
We'll look at how you can use any election to create the change you seek, regardless of who "wins."
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas. 

September 11: 9/11: Reading the Signs of the Time
Rev. Dr. Jay Atkinson, Guest Worship Leader

Founded in hope and idealism 240 years ago, our American nation today is increasingly beset by polarization, tribalism, violence, and fear of the stranger. How did we come to this?  What are the lessons from 9/11 fifteen years ago now in the era of "Black Lives Matter"?And what does our history call us to do in such a time?

Jay Atkinson retired in 2011 from 32 years of full-time service in Unitarian Universalist parish ministry, most recently twelve years in Studio City (Los Angeles) and, before that, thirteen years in Davis, Calif. During those ministries he also served at various times on the adjunct faculties of our UU seminaries in Chicago (Meadville Lombard Theological School) and Berkeley (Starr King School for the Ministry). Before turning to professional ministry, he did research in nuclear physics for eleven years. Currently he is a Research Scholar at Starr King with a focus on UU history.

September 4: Flowing Together: Ingathering and the Communion of Water
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader

The Berkeley Fellowship welcomes back our members with their gifts of living water from near and far, and gathers in our new members who share the call to heal and sustain our community and the world.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles is a graduate of Starr King who was called to UU ministry after careers in psychology and law.  She provides spiritual care to the BFUU community on a part-time basis, and leads Sunday Services as guest speaker at BFUU and other Bay Area UU churches.
 
August 28: Interconnected Accountability (Sorry, this service recording is not available.)
Satya Tabachnick, Guest Worship Leader
Last time I was in the BFUU pulpit, we explored using gratitude practices to find a way to belong to this land without appropriation of native traditions. This Sunday, we will continue to explore the ways that we can come into right relationship with First Nations people and the land on which we have found a home.
Satya is a third year seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry. She was raised UU in a multi-faith household (Pagan, Sikh, and Jewish) in Upstate NY. Satya's passion is looking for Spirit under furniture, in dark corners, and behind the house plants.
 
August 21: Voting Matters/The Right of Conscience
Reflection: Joanna Foley, Worship Associate
Sermon: Terra Collier-Young, Guest Worship Associate
This is a year when political candidates and electoral issues demand our attention in ways energizing and inspiring as well as contentious and infuriating. Voting can be seen as a secular sacrament, a ritual of participation in the wellbeing of our nation, our state and our community as a whole. People have struggled and died to achieve this right and to defend it against encroachment and suppression. BFUU Member Joanna Foley will reflect on the history of Aug. 26, Women’s Equality Day—which the President proclaims each year, and which will be deeply relevant in 2016.
Joanna Foley, LCSW, grew up in Tennessee, the state whose ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment added it to the US Constitution. Her progressive maternal grandmother was active in the campaign for women’s voting rights, providing a legacy of political activism for her descendants.
 
August 14: I'm Still Standing!
Moses Canales, Guest Worship Leader
This Song & Story Sharing is presented by Moses and the multitalented musical group, Soul Rising. It's based on a true story of someone physically abused in their marriage; who arrived at a shelter with two young children, and eventually went on alone to found a great company as CEO. It's an emotional, inspiring story of the triumph of faith in oneself and focused determination.
Moses Canales is the son of a Mexican Baptist minister. He has been an immigration and criminal defense attorney, a teacher and counselor for the developmentally disabled, and has worked with health advocacy groups. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from U.C. Berkeley with highest honors and holds a Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of Law. He is an enrolled seminarian at the Pacific School of Religion for his Masters in Divinity and Master of Theology. Mr. Canales is the director of the PSR student-led worship program called "The Rising."
 
August 7: Lessons From The Edge
Lorena Boswell, Guest Worship Leader
Guest speaker Lorena Boswell, Quaker and recent graduate from Starr King School for Ministry, shares lessons learned from founding and editing a street paper in Humboldt County that features the voices of people who are living on the edge of homelessness and financial insecurity.
Lorena Boswell is founder and former editor of The Humboldt Edge (humboldtedge.org), a street paper of Humboldt County CA. The paper’s mission is to honor and invite the wisdom, knowledge and creative expression of people living on the street experiencing homelessness and/or living on the edge economically. Lorena is a recent graduate from Starr King School for the Ministry, a Spoken Word Poet, and a community builder. She grew up in and around the UU Fellowship of State College PA and is now a Quaker and a member of Humboldt Friends Meeting. 
 
July 31: To Whom Shall I Speak? - No recording was made of this service.
Elena Rose, Guest Worship Leader
How do we stay kind and open in a troubled, often frustrating world? How can we hold each other's concerns with compassion, even when we feel small? When we don't, what dangerous roads can we end up on together? From Finnish subway choirs to ancient Egyptian philosophers, from petty gripes to the frightening political landscape of this year's presidential election, Rev. Elena will explore with us the ways we listen to each other, and the great consequences, good and bad, of our choices in handling life's unfairness.
The Rev. Elena Rose Vera, originally hailing from rural Oregon, has distinguished herself as a political and theological writer with a focus on the intersections between colonial history, race, gender, and queer liberation. Between touring nationally as an acclaimed preacher and educator and working as a minister-at-large in marginalized communities, she emphasizes a compassionate approach rooted both in deep scholarship and a commitment to making that work broadly accessible. A board member both of Solar Cross Temple, a pagan service organization, and San Francisco's historic Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, Elena lives and labors in the East Bay.
 
July 24: Our Rings of Inclusion
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Guest Worship Leader
We've already begun a serious discussion re our very human experience of "Us vs Them" and this will be another branch of that discussion. This time it will be flavored with a thematic hint of our culture's traditional summer fare - Movies, and why we'd do well to pay attention to such frivolity.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas.
 
July 17: Heavenly Bodies (originally Bodies, Food, and Morality)
KC Slack, Guest Worship Leader
We receive a lot of messges about bodies, food, and morality, but what effect do these messages have on our lives? We will discuss the relationship between diet culture and eating disorders, and look towards healing relationships with our bodies.
KC is a writer, artist, activist, and professional fat girl. Originally from Cleveland, she moved to the Bay to attend Starr King School for the Ministry. Having recently completed her MDiv, she is off to Los Angeles to begin a chaplain residency can. In her spare time she can be found reading, doing full faces of makeup for no particular reason, dancing, and listening to hip hop with her cats.
 
July 10: Finding Safe Harbor
BFUU's service recording is not available but Good News! UUCB hosted this service on 7/17/16 and their audio is available to you here: http://uucb.org/services/finding-safe-harbor-healing-power-love/. Thank you, our good friends up the hill, UUCB!

Moses Canales, Guest Worship Leader
This will be a "song and story" presentation about a young family of five living in the squalid Bangladesh refugee camps in the 1990s. The narrative, based on a true story, follows the efforts of one father, Tuhin who, having escaped the encampment to freedom in America, petitions the UN to bring his family to the United States. Our musical group, Soul Rising, will perform secular, contemporary songs that will amplify each event in the narrative. This is a story of love triumphant.
Moses Canales is the son of a Mexican Baptist minister. He has been an immigration and criminal defense attorney, a teacher and counselor for the developmentally disabled, and has worked with health advocacy groups. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from U.C. Berkeley with highest honors and holds a Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of Law. He is an enrolled seminarian at the Pacific School of Religion for his Masters in Divinity and Master of Theology. Mr. Canales is the director of the PSR student-led worship program called "The Rising."
 
July 3: Art & Poetry - Celebration of Nature
BFUU Poetry Committee, Guest Worship Leader
BFUU artists and poets will share original works expressing their relationships with nature. Included will be a ceremony welcoming our new Poet Laureate – Holly Harwood. Members of the congregation are also invited to express their responses to nature. Please bring images or words either original or cut from magazines. Some will be provided at the greeting table so everyone can participate.
Elayne Ryder has been a member of BFUU since May of 2015. She graduated from John F. Kennedy University with a degree in Arts & Consciousness and has facilitated intuitive art classes for children and adults. Today, she mostly creates her own art, using as her guide the designs and connections she sees in nature and the cosmos.
Frances Hillyard is a longtime BFUU member, poet, and activist. Her senses have always been open to the beauty of sound, movement, color, light and form in nature and in art. She endeavors to bring an element of each into her poetry and through it explore the truth of creativity in beauty, and the beauty of power and clarity in truth.
 
Lauren Hotchkiss, PSR Seminarian
On this Pride Sunday, Master of Divinity student Lauren Renée Hotchkiss will speak to us about the history of transgender oppression, its basis in scripture, and its more recent and current manifestations. A post-op male-to-female transsexual herself, she will also offer insights on working toward a just, safe, and equal world for members of this severely marginalized community.
Former BFUU Administrator, Band Leader, and Choir Director Lauren Renée Hotchkiss​ will be entering her third year of seminary at the Pacific School of Religion this fall. She has served this past year as Pastoral Intern at Epworth United Methodist Church and is also a band member and member in discernment at her home church, Grace North UCC. She will also be taken in care by the Bay Association of the UCC this summer. This coming academic year she will be serving an advanced field education internship at Island United Church.
 
June 19: Summer Solstice Service
Dominic Jeffries, Guest Worship Leader
This service is about celebrating the summer season. We will be recognizing several pagan beliefs about summer as well.
 
June 12: Fatherhood (Sorry, this service recording is not available.)
W. Kamau Bell, Guest Speaker
"I tell jokes, but I'm not really kidding," is W. Kamau Bell's summary of his work as sociopolitical comedian, activist and experienced father of two. Bell's new show, "United Shades of America", debuted on CNN this spring; in a weekly series of roving documentary interviews with Americans from inmates of San Quentin to members of the KKK, he tries to get to the bottom of what really makes our nation tick. His only regret is that this show keeps him on the road and prevents him from picking up his daughter from school as often as he would like.
Bell did not live with his own father for most of his childhood and considered Bruce Lee, the actor and martial artist, a surrogate dad. As the father of two daughters, Bell says, “I realize that now I’m a dad that it’s a major part of my identity.”—and thus he has lots to discuss about his experience of fatherhood from a variety of angles.
 
June 5: Flower Communion
Marsh Agobert, Guest Worship Leader
The sermon will be on the 3rd and 4th Principles of the UU Seven Principles, to complement the Flower Communion that we will be celebrating that day.
The Third Principle: Our acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth.
The Fourth Principle: The free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas.
 
May 29: Soul Wounds, Broken Covenants and the Search for Grace
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Guest Worship Leader
The emotional injuries of war are commonly referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, the injuries suffered go much deeper. The experiences of war have often eroded the warriors’ sense of integrity, decency and humanity, as they confront the evil of inflicting death and destruction. Healing is most effective when the veterans can tell their stories and find reconnection within a spiritual community that offers acceptance.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles entered ministry after careers in psychology and law. With the sponsorship of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio (San Francisco) she organized a series of conferences on the moral injury of war and the paths to healing. Currently, she provides pastoral care at BFUU on a part-time basis, leads groups where women share the narratives of their lives.
 
Satya Tabachnick, Guest Worship Leader
There is a tension in liberal religious communities between learning gratitude for earth-based traditions and trying not to use white, elite privilege to take those traditions and make them our own. Working with the words of Robin Kimmerer, a First Nations botanist, we will explore what it means to belong to this land as transplants and immigrants.
Satya is a second year seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry. She was raised UU in a multi-faith household (Pagan, Sikh, and Jewish) in Upstate NY. Satya's passion is looking for Spirit under furniture, in dark corners, and behind the house plants.
 
May 15: Spiritual Warriors: Invoking Collective Liberation
Jeremiah Kalendae, Guest Worship Leader
Besieged by toxic cultures of white supremacy, cisgenderism, heteropatriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, speciesism, and ecocide, how do we identify, nurture, and ground ourselves in what is sacred as an act of resistance? How might we purify ourselves so that we might become effective agents of collective liberation? Join us this morning as we explore wisdom from the world’s religious traditions and discern our roles in countering the dominating cultural powers of oppression and death. 
Jeremiah Kalendae is a yoginī of the Mahākālī kaula (family of Kālī), a sufi dervish of the ancient path of surrender, and a Unitarian Universalist spiritual leader. He currently serves as the Director of Admissions and Recruitment and adjunct faculty at America's most progressive divinity school--Starr King School for the Ministry.
 

May 8: Mother Wisdom: Counseling Conscience from the Hearth to the World
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, with Joanna Foley, Worship Leaders

Mother’s Day began with the call to women to take counsel together to end the carnage of war and bring peace to the human family. The values of charity, mercy and patience should be carried forth from the hearth into the world. The service will present the voices of women whose lives and work have had major impact on the world for peace and the resolution of conflict.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney. After careers in psychology, teaching and law, she received the M. Div. degree from Starr King, and was ordained to UU ministry. She provides pastoral care at BFUU on a part-time basis, serves on the chaplaincy team at UUCB, and leads “Women’s Voices,” small groups of women who share the narratives of their lives at the Interfaith Peace Project. Her community ministry has also been concerned with the moral injury of war, organizing workshops on recovery and reconnecting for veterans and spiritual communities.
Joanna Foley, a member of BFUU since 2014, has been connected with UU congregations in Nashville, TN and New York City. A retired social worker and substance abuse counselor, she practiced family therapy. Her maternal grandmother was active in the campaign for women’s suffrage in Tennessee.

May 1: The Faith Journey of the Cuban Revolution
BFUU Social Justice Committee and Guest Speakers 

 Alicia Jrapko and Bill Hackwell, Co-Founders of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity, will explore the ethical and socialist path of the Cuban people. Specifically, we will focus on the Cuban Five and their inspiring and amazing stories. This is especially important now, at this moment when our country and Cuba have expressed a desire to "discuss and resolve our differences without renouncing any of our principles." (—Pres. Raul Castro.)

April 24: Two Dogs 
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Guest Worship Leader

Each of us is a keeper of twin dogs. Both are from the same litter, yet they are VERY different. 

Relationships seem complicated, yet truly they're simple...

They're just not easy.

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas.

April 17: The Awesome Being You Were Born To Be 
Moses Canales, Worship Leader

Within each of us lives a wonderful human being of awesome spirit: full of life; full of love - to give and to receive; ready to forgive and share with others; to see ourselves in each other lovingly; and thus sustain a zest for life. It is that person inside we were born to be. I will share with you surprisingly simple and easy ways to re-engage that loving, caring person inside of you - and inside each of us - using impactful stories and motivational music in a new celebration of our fellowship.

Moses Canales is the son of a Mexican Baptist minister. He has been an immigration and criminal defense attorney, a teacher and counselor for the developmentally disabled, and has worked with health advocacy groups. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from U.C. Berkeley with highest honors and holds a Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of Law. He is an enrolled seminarian at the Pacific School of Religion for his Masters in Divinity and Master of Theology. Mr. Canales is the director of the PSR student-led worship program called "The Rising."

April 10: Taking Our Place in the Circle: Embodying Connection & Interdependence

Gregory Rouillard, Guest Worship Leader

Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to recognize and embody interdependence within our congregations, with our surrounding communities, and indeed with the whole of existence. How well do we do this in our personal and congregational lives? Take your place in this circle as we bring to life the values of connection, inclusion and wholeness to which we aspire.

Gregory Rouillard, M.Div., is passionate about supporting UU congregations in living our covenantal faith, especially through the practice of worship. He has extensive experience as a lay leader in UU communities in three states and is a Master of Divinity graduate of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Gregory and his ministry partner Jared Finkelstein are co-founders of the Seven Principles Project.

April 3: How to Dance in a Hurricane
Andy Chirch, Guest Worship Leader

In all our lives, there are but a few constants: Death, Taxes, and Change. Though we mostly frown on all three, what is it about change that sometimes feels so scary? What if there was a way to acknowledge the potential for loss that change brings, while also honoring the newness and promise that it allows?

Andrew Chirch is a Master of Divinity student at Starr King School for the Ministry. Andy and his wife Meredith raised a family at First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati from 2003, and found themselves swept into a deepening relationship with Unitarian Universalism. After a twenty-year career in corporate finance, Andy made the (both) joyful and scary decision to embrace change and follow the call to ministry. Andy, Meredith, and their 9 1/2 year old daughter Xela live in Berkeley.

March 27: Eggs, Rabbits, Chocolate... and Resurrection?!

Rev. Matthew McHale, Guest Worship Leader
Easter—the death and resurrection of Jesus—is Christianity’s most important story, but its observance is deeply infused with pagan elements celebrating Spring and fertility, and it has become increasingly commercialized. So what does Easter mean for us as Unitarian Universalists, anyway?

The Rev. Matthew McHale is a UU community minister, who is deeply passionate about Climate Justice and Anti-racism work. He serves in the Steering Committees for the UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory, UU Young Adults for Climate Justice, and Allies for Racial Equity and organizes with Occupy the Farm. He is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry and is the former Office Coordinator for BFUU.

March 20: Moments in Time
Rev. Jay Atkinson, Worship Leader
The flow of time is one of the great mysteries --- for physics, cosmology, and human meaning. Many philosophers and physicists​even dismiss free will and the flow of time as illusions of human consciousness.​In contrast, process theology takes the reality of time seriously and tells us that every moment of our lives is a moment of freedom to move ourselves and our world toward the common good, building upon the​lessons​of the past and responding to the​visionary lure of a better future.

Jay Atkinson retired in June 2011 from 32 years of full-time service in Unitarian Universalist parish ministry, most recently twelve years in Studio City (Los Angeles) and, before that, thirteen years in Davis, Calif. During those ministries he also served at various times on the adjunct faculties of our UU seminaries in Chicago (Meadville Lombard Theological School) and Berkeley (Starr King School for the Ministry). Before turning to professional ministry, he did research in nuclear physics for eleven years. Currently he is a Research Scholar at Starr King with a focus on UU history.

March 13: Open Heart, Open Mind, Open Will: Transforming Certainty into Confidence
Gregory Rouillard, Guest Worship Leader
How certain are you about the future of BFUU? Does anyone really know what the future will hold until it arrives? How can we move through periods of uncertainty, change and transition with grace, flow and confidence? Join guest worship leader Gregory Rouillard, M.Div., and members of the Process of Discernment team, in a worship service and embodied sermon exploring these and other questions relevant to BFUU and our Process of Discernment.

Gregory Rouillard, M.Div., is passionate about supporting UU congregations in living our covenantal faith, especially through the practice of worship. He has extensive experience as a lay leader in UU communities in three states and is a Master of Divinity graduate of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Gregory and his ministry partner Jared Finkelstein are co-founders of the Seven Principles Project.

March 6: Female Safety Nets: Breakthroughs and Continuing Barriers

Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, Guest Worship Leader
The Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT, will speak on a topic related to the rights of women and girls. Margaret Fuller, Transcendentalist, followed a life long quest for self knowledge. In 1844, she stated “People seem to think that not more than one phase of character can be shown in one life.” This statement is illustrative of the multi-faceted issues of International Women’s Day.

The Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT, is a graduate of SKSM where she formerly served as Adjunct Faculty. She has served as Minister to 4 UU Congregations. Her psychotherapy experience includes successful facilitation to heal post traumatic stress, historic trauma, and issues being experienced by couples, families, and individuals. She has been Clinical Supervisor of the Native American Counseling Center in San Francisco. She is a graduate of The Rev. Dr. Jeremy TayIor ‘s Dreamworker Institute. She presently leads Dream Groups and does short term counseling in her private practice.

February 28: For All That Is, I Am Grateful
Rev. Matthew McHale, Guest Worship Leader
Cultivating gratitude is one of the simplest and most transformative spiritual practices. Being grateful leaves us happier, healthier, improves our relationships, and helps us feel connected to something larger than ourselves. But how can we find gratitude when life isn’t going well? In the face of widespread suffering, can gratitude help us be a force for healing and justice in the world?

The Rev. Matthew McHale is a UU community minister, who is deeply passionate about Climate Justice and Anti-racism work. He serves in the Steering Committees for the UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory, UU Young Adults for Climate Justice, and Allies for Racial Equity and organizes with Occupy the Farm. He is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry and is the former Office Coordinator for BFUU.

 

February 21: Two Francises and Creation

Sarah Hennessey, Guest Worship Leader
Francis of Assisi had an experience in the 1200s that turned his life upside down and led him to live radical poverty and joy. We will tell some stories of the man who set the world on fire. Why did he really talk to birds? What happened when he went to Jerusalem? How did he convert a wolf to peace? This summer another man has followed in his footsteps. Pope Francis says that Francis of Assisi is the model of “the inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace” We will explore basic principles from Pope Francis’ document on ecology and just living, “On Care for Our Common Home,” and what are the implications for us today.

Sarah “My journey has taken a varied path. I grew up as a Quaker in a family committed to peace and racial justice in a large military town in North Carolina. After studying in Latin America and teaching at a Quaker school I found myself drawn to a Franciscan community in Wisconsin. Now, I have been a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration for 13 years and coordinate our daily prayer ministry in which two people have been praying every hour of the night and day for over 137 years. I love my wacky sisters as we seek right relationship with creation and to live our modern prophetic role. I live with three other women with whom I share and care deeply. We happen to make the best popcorn on the planet and love movies and dancing to live music.”

February 14: Agape, A Butterfly Story
Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, Guest Worship Leader

“Valentine’s Day” also known as” V-Day” has many aspects. This story is of an experience in nature between seemingly “different” creatures. The sermon explores unconditional love, an instrumental presence in Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and in respect for the Universal Web of All Existence. Susannah Wood who is a community theater activist, actor, director and will sing during this service.

The Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT, is a graduate of SKSM where she formerly served as Adjunct Faculty. She has served as Minister to 4 UU Congregations. Her psychotherapy experience includes successful facilitation to heal post traumatic stress, historic trauma, and issues being experienced by couples, families, and individuals. She has been Clinical Supervisor of the Native American Counseling Center in San Francisco. She is a graduate of The Rev. Dr. Jeremy TayIor ‘s Dreamworker Institute. She presently leads Dream Groups and does short term counseling in her private practice.
She will be joined by Susannah Wood, community theater actor and activist, who will gift us with song.

February 7: Embodied Compassion
Gregory Rouillard, Guest Worship Leader
What does the word “compassion” mean to you? How do you experience compassion in your life? Join guest worship leader Gregory Rouillard, M.Div., for an embodied exploration of the practice of compassion in everyday life and everyday encounters. This “sermon” will get you out of your seat and interacting with other people in a deep and meaningful way.

Gregory Rouillard, M.Div., is passionate about supporting UU congregations in living our covenantal faith, especially through the practice of worship. He has extensive experience as a lay leader in UU communities in three states and is a Master of Divinity graduate of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Gregory and his ministry partner Jared Finkelstein, co-founders of the Seven Principles Project, are honored to be working in community with BFUU this weekend. 

January 31: Songs of Leonard Cohen sung by The Conspiracy of Beards

The male choir, The Conspiracy of Beards, performs dynamic, original, a cappella arrangements of the poetic songs of Leonard Cohen.Drawing on influences ranging from jazz and gospel to barbershop and doo-wop, the unique arrangements that choir members create capture all of the emotion and humor of Leonard Cohen’s original music and inspire audiences to ponder common human experiences like romance, heartbreak, politics, sex, longing, and spirituality. Some of the songs in the service will be Suzanne, Hallelujah, Come Healing and If It Be Your Will.

Formed in 2003 through the inspiration of the late San Francisco performance artist Peter Kadyk, his brother Patrick Kadyk, along with friend and composer Daryl Henline, gathered a small group of friends to learn and sing a couple of Leonard Cohen songs as a tribute. Since then the choir, still directed by Daryl Henline, has grown to over 30 members.

January 24: Between Melting and Freezing
Rev. Dr. Jeanne Foster, Guest Worship Leader

We often feel buffeted between crisis and crisis, problem and problem, issue and issue. How do we find moments of rest, times of peace, in a fast-paced, crisis-torn world? In a passage from the Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot writes: “Between melting and freezing / The soul’s sap quivers. / The dumb spirit stirs.” This poet, who is part of our UU tradition, has wisdom to offer us about living in the “between” times.

Rev. Dr. Jeanne Foster grew up in New Orleans. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Starr King, was ordained by the Monterey Peninsula UU Church, and served as minister of the UU Fellowship in Modesto. She earned her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in the interdisciplinary area of Religion, Literature, and the Arts. She is currently Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Saint Mary's College in Moraga. A published poet, her work has appeared in numerous journals. Her poetry book, A Blessing of Safe Travel, won the Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Award. Among her other books are Appetite: Food as Metaphor, an anthology of poems by women, and a critical work, A Music of Grace: the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry, which asks the question, Is there still sacred ground to stand on? A new book of poems, Goodbye, Silver Sister, was released by Northwestern University Press in Spring 2015. Her passions are ballroom dancing and Tuscany and, in particular, ballroom dancing in Tuscany.

January 17: Beyond Imperialism: Dr. King on War and Peace
Paul Rockwell, Guest Worship Leader

Are the teachings of Dr. King relevant to an age of climate change, a time of corporate globalization and blowback? Paul Rockwell, who was at Riverside Church when America's greatest peacemaker delivered his anti-imperialist, soul-searing address, April 4, 1967, will share his thoughts.

Rockwell is a peace activist and columnist for the Bay Area News Group and In Motion Magazine. He holds an M.A. from Columbia University and a B.D. from Union Theological Seminary.

January 10: Death, Destruction, and Dumbledore
Satya Tabachnick, Guest Worship Leader

Death is something that we all have in common. As we enter into magical realms where maybe Death isn't permanent or necessary, let's consider what a world without death might look like and whether we would like it. Taking inspiration from Harry Potter and related works, we will delve into different perspectives on death from atheist scientists and mystical old wizards.

Satya Tabachnick is a second year seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry. She was raised UU in a multi-faith household (Pagan, Sikh, and Jewish) in Upstate NY. Satya's passion is looking for Spirit under furniture, in dark corners, and behind the house plants.

January 3:  Gratitude

Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader

Gratitude is among the highest and most exquisite experiences we human beings can have. Yet it can provide far greater depth than we allow ourselves. Take a moment, at any time before the service to consider a few of those people, things or moments for which you feel grateful, and perhaps even why. Rev. Agobert will take a broader, deeper look at gratitude.
We will have a gratitude ritual to honor and celebrate all the wonderful contributions made to our beloved spiritual home of BFUU.

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas.

December 27: Poetry and Motion

Guest Artists: Lois Ann Flood and Nika Rejto

Lois Ann Flood will dance out the Old Year and dance in the New to the accompaniment of Nika Rejto's haunting flute, interspersed with readings from our fellowship's own resident poets reading from their own insightful work. Melody and form come together as Lois Ann Flood presents breathtaking dance in the style of Isadora Duncan inspired by the beautiful music of Nika Rejto's flute. As a special treat, the BFUU's poet laureate, Frances Hillyard, along with Gene Herman, Jean Marie Stine and others, will present poems specially selected to suit the time of year.

Nika Rejto is an acknowledged jazz master flutist who has produced and recorded six CDs, four of which feature original compositions. Nika has performed with such greats as Dmitri Matheny, Denise Perrier, Airto & Flora Purim, and Bobby Hutcherson. Lois Flood studied classical ballet, then became fascinated by the work of Isadora Duncan, whose unique approach to dance she pursued under a number of Duncan masters. Lois has performed at venues such as Danville Theater, San Francisco's Legion of Honor, and St. Mary’s College.

December 20: Solstice Service
Dominic Jeffries, Worship Leader

Join us for a unique and inspiring celebration of the Winter Solstice, incorporating elements from many traditions for a winter morning of rebirth and renewal.

Unfortunately, the sermon on December 13, 2015: “Honoring Neurodiversity”, led by Nick Walker, was not recorded due to technical issues.

December 6: Shifting Energy: From Fossil Fuels to Climate Action

Rev. Matthew McHale, Guest Worship Leader

As people of faith and conscience we are called to help heal our planet and work for climate justice. But the scope of the climate crisis so often leaves us in despair, feeling overwhelmed and disempowered. This Sunday we will move out of despair as we explore how we can collectively respond to climate issues and help to bring about a just transition.

The Rev. Matthew McHale is a UU community minister, who is deeply passionate about Climate Justice and Anti-racism work. He serves in the Steering Committees for the UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory, UU Young Adults for Climate Justice, and Allies for Racial Equity and organizes with Occupy the Farm. He is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry and is the former Office Coordinator for BFUU.

November 30:  Report Back from General Assembly / Transgender Day of Remembrance
BFUU Members, Worship Leaders

What experiences were gained at the General Assembly in June? Members who attended will share their stories with the congregation. Frankie Hill and Jean Marie Stine will lead a ritual for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

November 22: Our Visions of Fire
Jeremiah Kalendae, Guest Worship Leader

We can wield vision like a sword that cuts through illusions, revealing hidden possibilities that bring clarity and help us to chart a course forward. It is written, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18), so let us explore the power of living as radical visionaries for our time!

Jeremiah Kalendae is a Hindu Yoginī and Sufi dervish of The Chishtī Order who teaches at the intersection of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Unitarian Universalism, and Islam. He currently serves as the Director of Admissions and Recruitment at America's most progressive divinity school--Starr King School for the Ministry.

November 15: Finding God in the Struggle

Amanda Weatherspoon, Guest Worship Leader

We are in a time of struggle. From Palestine to Ferguson to our own backyard, we are witnessing great turmoil and uncertainty. Through so much confusion, strife, anger, and hopelessness, one must wonder: Where is God? Such a question is made even more complex in a liberal/progressive faith such as ours. Through an intersection of Black Liberation Theology and Unitarian Universalism we begin to explore such questions. Join us as we explore the mystery of the struggle, what this means in our lives and in our own journeys, and what it means in our larger global community.

Amanda Weatherspoon is a third year seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley with a concentration in Africana Studies and Women’s Studies in Religion. As a Womanist and Black Liberationist, Amanda is exploring the intersections of liberal/progressive faith and justice work, specifically Black Liberation (Black Lives Matter) and Unitarian Universalism. As a former social worker in the rural South, Amanda embraces the complexities of intersectionality and allows this complexity to inform her spirituality and faith. In addition to academic pursuits, Amanda practices Vinyasa yoga, dabbles in oil painting, coordinates the chapel singers at school, is active in community organizing and planning around racial justice, and is addicted to singing.

November 8: Ambivalent Gratitudes

Rev. Jay Atkinson, Guest Worship Leader

November brings us two holidays that invoke gratitude: Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.  But honoring war veterans presents some of us with tensions between gratitude for their sacrifices and their belief in our country's ideals on the one hand, and on the other, grave misgivings about the legitimacy of the military actions from which they return.  In addition, many soldiers come home more in need of gentle compassion and healing than of traditional displays of military pomp that tend to glorify war.  How should our gratitudes to soldiers be nuanced and balanced against our legitimate prophetic protest against war and militarism?

Jay Atkinson retired in June 2011 from 32 years of full-time service in Unitarian Universalist parish ministry, most recently twelve years in Studio City (Los Angeles) and, before that, thirteen years in Davis, Calif.  During those ministries he also served at various times on the adjunct faculties of our UU seminaries in Chicago (Meadville Lombard Theological School) and Berkeley (Starr King School for the Ministry).  Before turning to professional ministry, he did research in nuclear physics for eleven years.  Currently he is a Research Scholar at Starr King with a focus on UU history.

November 1: The End of Humanity’s Longest Running Experiment: Money and its place in future human society

Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader

One of the oldest human experimental paradigms (money) is coming to a close.  And you can be a part of that change with only minimal effort on your part. Together, let’s plant a new seed in Garden Earth.

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who ministered to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the 70s and 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families and the actively psychotic. Marsh is an experienced management consultant (he prefers small and mid-sized businesses) and a life coach, which well utilizes his broad background. Marsh has extended experience in several spiritual practices including martial arts, and other yogas. 

October 25:  Pathways to Redemption: Climate Justice/Just Transition

Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald, Guest Worship Leader
We have come to it ... the decision point. We have come to the realization that as UUs we must commit to respond to the greatest challenge human kind has ever faced ... we must take our place, offer our gifts ... we must, together, take the redemptive pathway to climate justice and a just transition for all people, all species and Commit 2 Respond.

Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald, UU Community Minister, Endorsed, is also the Founder of and/or Activist for Decade Zero Ministries, Climate Justice, Just Transition, Black Lives Matter Allies, and SURJ Interfaith Committee

Rev. Kuhwald has served 8 congregations as minister in various capacities (including BFUU). He has also served in three community ministries including a street ministry in San Franciso, faculty at Starr King School and community change activist for racial, economic and climate justice in the SF East Bay.

October 18:  Etty Hillesum: "Life is beautiful, in spite of everything"

Stephanie Kroner, Guest Worship Leader
Etty Hillesum was a remarkable Jewish woman from the Netherlands. Her deeply spiritual letters and diaries, kept between 1941 and her death in 1943 in Auschwitz, were published in 1981. While many fled Nazi occupied Amsterdam, Etty Hillesum consistently turned down offers to go into hiding. She said that she wished to "share her people's fate" and wrote that "life is beautiful, in spite of everything." What are some of the pieces of wisdom that Etty left behind and how are they relevant to us today?
Stephanie Kroner is a member of the UU Church of Berkeley, where she is teaching Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education classes for this year. Her background is in counseling and teaching. She is from the Netherlands and has lived in the Bay area for 3 years.

Unfortunately, the sermon on October 11, 2015: “The Elephant in the Room is God”, led by Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, was not recorded due to unforeseen circumnstances.

October 4: "Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together: The "I" that is "We"

Joanna Foley, Worship Leader
Joanna Foley, a BFUU member, social worker and former journalist, reflects on how personal growth and community building can and often do reinforce each other. Or as the Buddha used to say, "All is One."

 

September 27: What Do I Do With This “Door”

Sally Hindman, Guest Worship Leader, with Rev. Dr. Ludwig Moller; with Youth Spirit Artworks Leaders: Mahal Bryant, Jay Hill, Carena Ridgeway and Rayven Wilson

Sally Hindman, Executive Director, and young Leaders from Youth Spirit Artworks will dialogue with us about their liberating art and how we approach opportunities for personal and social transformation. Youth Spirit Artworks is an interfaith “green” art jobs and job training program in Berkeley which is committed to empowering homeless and lowincome San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25.

 

September 20: Without A Hurt The Heart Is Hollow

Tom Luce, Worship Leader

Justice Reinvestment: John Jones III

How should BFUU be involved in the Black Lives Matter movement? Drawing on recent critical writings and the UUA GA passage in June of the AIW “Black Lives Matter,” let’s compare our UU preaching and ourpractice faced with the latest outbreak of racism--mass incarceration--in the US.

Tom Luce, age 77, ordained RC priest, married 45 years to Judy, 3 children/grandchildren; French/Spanish teacher; homosexually oriented and LGBTQI advocate; fought for desegregation in Boston; volunteer advocate onsite since 1990 for Nicaraguans and Guatemalans and, since 2004, for Haitians suffering from US intervention. Currently BFUU liaison with BOCA, Berkeley's interfaith org, advocating for "Justice Reinvestment" to stop mass incarceration of Blacks and other minorities.

 

September 13: Gather the Spirit: Coming Together Again (A Water Communion)

Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Worship Leader

This summer, the Religious Education and Exploration classes used the “Gather the Spirit” curriculum. In this service we will share with you some of the elements and rituals from our summer journey. We welcome those who wish to bring water from their homes or travels, but the focus of the service will be gathering our spirits, individually and collectively, for the coming year.

 

September 6: A Labor of Love: Dismantling White Supremacy

Lincoln Statler, Worship Leader

Message:  Amanda Weatherspoon

We will ready ourselves for the labor of love that is the work of fighting white supremacy and institutionalized racism in our world today. We will gather to renew the spirit for the work ahead. We will tell the stories of people who have worked tirelessly to end racism and oppressions. There will be 4.5 minutes of silence, song, open prayer, rituals and readings of those working to dismantle racism in the world today. #BlackLivesMatter.

 

August 30: Why I Chose To Go To Seminary

Moses Channels, Worship Leader

Moses will share his hope and goal to deepen his spiritual life and how he plans to express his ministry within the Unitarian Universalist tradition. He thinks we're ready for change.

 

August 23: Footprints of Indigenous Activism

Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT, Guest Worship Leader

We can learn much from the activism in terms of Indigenous Food Sources, Ecological Activism from Native American and First People of Canada clans and nations. Personal stories from those those peoples whose lands we now live on hold keys for determined and consistent actions that span many years.

The Rev. Meg Whitaker-Greene, LMFT graduated from SKSM in 1978. She has served UU congregations in the United States and England by doing Interim Ministries, Minister-on-Loan, Called Minister. She has been the Clinical Supervisor of the Native American Health Counseling Center in San Francisco and also as counselor at the Oakland Native American Health Center, leads Dream Groups, is a graduate of the Marin Projective Dreamworkers' Institute founded by the Rev. Dr. Jeremy Taylor and is a psychotherapist.

 

August 16: Science, Religion and Post Materialism

larens imanuel, Worship Leader

Unitarian Universalists may continue to lead theologically by helping to define the relationship between science and religion in an emerging post-materialist era. The Earth will play a fundamental mathematical role as historical home of the observers, undermining the philosophical dominance of physics and technology as the producers of material wealth.

August 9: One Hand Clapping (Note: The Humor Service was cancelled & may occur later in the year.)

Jean Marie Stine, Worship Leader

Unitarianism, spirituality, and the Zen koan. Pardox as a springboard to spiritual transformation.

Paul Rockwell, Guest Worship Leader
“Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods is holy,” wrote Chief Seattle. Only when enough people awaken to a deep spiritual connection with nature will environmentalism become a global ethic.Are American churches, synagogues, mosques ready for spiritual ecology? And what are the implications for environmentalism of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical?
Paul Rockwell is a columnist for the Bay Area News Group and In Motion Magazine. He holds an M.A. from Columbia University, a B.D. from Union Theological Seminary, and he is a food-justice environmental activist in the East Bay.

July 26: Love: Devotion and Forgiveness

Moses Channels, Worship Leader

Moses will share with you his thoughts and ideas - using testimony and song - regarding this paradox of love: How love heals us and how love hurts us; and how we may convert hurt into healing.

July 19: The Story Behind the Story: Archetypal considerations in a world of accelerating change

Jeremy Taylor, Guest Worship Leader

The more we engage in social reconciliation and positive change the clearer it is that evolving consciousness is the key.

Jeremy Taylor, ordained by BFUU in 1980, author of several books about dreams and dreaming, teacher/lecturer for over 40 years, has always been an artist and a community organizer. He has also always been a dreamer and a person deeply interested in the whole range of multiple, simultaneous meanings inherent in every dream. These days, he spends his time intuiting, feeling, thinking, and, (when he can manage to hoist it up to consciousness), sensing that there really aren’t “two worlds” - there’s only one.

July 12: Transitions

Rev. Earl Koteen, Worship Leader

Our congregation, the UU Association of which we are a part, and the biosphere are all going through transitions. Rev. Earl Koteen, our community minister and the Environmental Justice Minister for the UU Ministry for Earth, lead this service on transitions.

July 5: Love One Another

Jeff Palmer, Worship Leader

July 5th we will have Lauren Hotchkiss leading us in a Taize type musical experience and Jeff Palmer presenting Love One Another. Love One Another is a homily given that supports the first three principles of Unitarian Universalism and it will give us a chance to put into practice these same principles.

June 28: Pride Service

Dominic Jeffries, Worship Leader

Sunday June 28th is Pride Sunday in San Francisco. Our congregation is recognizing this by having speakers from our congregation talk about their experiences as LGBT etc people. The service will be led by Dominic Jeffries, a trans man with a fluid sexual orientation. Dominic will also provide music for this service.

June 21: Father's Day 

Douglas Chambers, Jeff Palmer and Dan Cunningham, Worship Leaders

BFUU will celebrate Father's Day by having three fathers from our congregation speak about how being a UU has enhanced and deepened their parenting and given them support and resources to have a fuller, richer life with their children and partners. As we are blessed with at least two musician fathers, they will play songs expressing their feelings about being a father.

June 14: Poetry Service 

Holly Harwood, Worship Leader

BFUU honors its poets present and past with a service devoted to poetry. Poets reading include Frances Hillyard, Gene Herman, Dolores Helman, Holly Harwood and Marianne Robinson. We will also read poems of deceased BFUU poets Gene Sharee and Geneva Foote. We will also read a poem by Bob Randolph, a friend of the Fellowship who died Saturday.

June 7: Gather the Spirit - Due to audio difficulties, there is no recording of this service.

Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Worship Leader
Water is a great gift, and we in California are in the midst of a time of necessary reflection about how we use water, and who has access to it. This is a practical and an ethical spiritual question, and this summer the Sunday School will be studying "stewardship and water as critical at every level of being, from self to universe." In this inter-generational service, we will share with you the beginning of this spiritual and practical journey and introduce opportunities for community, connection, and service at a congregation-wide level.

May 2015

May 31: Carry It On

Jeff Palmer, Worship Leader
Long time BFUU members will present on what BFUU has meant to them over the years and what they get from the Fellowship that they can't get anywhere else.

May 24: Living by Liberal Faith

Rev. Jay Atkinson, Guest Worship Leader
UU theologian Paul Rasor says that our liberal religious tradition "is not for the faint of heart," suggesting that Unitarian Universalism offers a challenging pathway not always easy to follow.  What are the historic elements of this liberal faith that we call our own? What does it mean to be faithful Unitarian Universalists in today's world, and how do we help one another live up to that ideal, as ​individuals and as congregations?

May 17: Turn, Turn, Turn
Virginia Hollins-Davidson, Worship Leader

As we celebrate the ingathering of five new members this morning, we are also mindful of the departure of Rev. Theresa. For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

May 10: Real Mothers
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

On this Mother's Day Sunday we will explore what motherhood means. Can any of us really live up to the Hallmark images? We will also look at some of the history of this holiday. It might surprise you.

May 3: The Meaning of Money
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

What does money mean to you? It can't buy love, but what can it do? As Unitarian Universalists we try to live our values in the world. Do we spend money in ways that also reflect those values? This will be the kick off of the spring stewardship drive will will run through the end of May.

April 2015

April 26: Music That Moves You
Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Worship Leader

How does music move you? Is music a means to a spiritual experience, or the experience itself? Worship leader Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Worship associate Jeff Palmer, and Music leader Dominic Jeffries, along with special guest performers, will take you on a musical journey with music that moves them, religious, secular and transcendent. Please join us, and bring your rhythm and voice, as all are welcome to participate in many aspects of the service.

April 19 - For the Beauty of the Earth - there was no sermon at this service
A celebration of Earth Day 2015. Are we living responsibly and respectfully in our interdependent web of all existence?

April 12 - Tending Our Garden - Flower Communion

We will celebrate the annual flower communion during this intergenerational service.  Please bring flowers to share. The annual meeting will follow the service.

April 5 - Rolling Away the Stone
Reverend Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

How can the traditional Easter story speak to us as Unitarian Universalists?  Most of us simply do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth or that he died for our sins.  What, then, can Easter mean?  Is it more than Spring?  Can we roll away the stones that are in the way of our own resurrections? 

March 2015

March 29:  It's All About Us
Moses Channels, Worship Leader

We humans are born with all the neurological tools needed to build a loving community. So why don’t we? What stops us from loving and caring for each other? Why do we often feel competitive, jealous, and judgmental towards each other? New and exciting research provides greater insight into the biological foundations of love and hate in our relationships with one another, and how we may “pilot” our feelings towards building better relationships within a loving community.

March 22: Nature is My Church - Love is My Religion
Rocky Morrison, Worship Leader

A random encounter with a bumper sticker provides some provocation for reflecting on the meaning of church and religion. What does it all mean? What is important?

March 15: The Gospel Truth
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

Did St. Patrick really drive the snakes from Ireland?  Did David write the Psalms?  What kind of conversations might we have with friends and relatives who may be Biblical literalists? A little knowledge of modern Biblical scholarship can be helpful to all of us as we try to navigate a world where too many people think they have the one and only truth.

March 8: Not Dogmatic, but not Wishy-Washy
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
Many people today say that they are spiritual but not religious. What does that mean for the future of Unitarian Universalism?  We are a big tent faith, but does that mean all of us just believe whatever we want?  What holds us together?

March 1: Using Our Anger
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

Too often, our anger gets us into trouble. Expressions of anger can shatter relationships and can make us feel bad about ourselves and others. Can we learn to better understand our anger and learn how to use it in ways that help bring about the community and the world we would like to create? I think we can. During this service, we will explore some of the tools for using our anger in more effective ways.

February 2015

February 22: Poetry Service: Social Justice from the Heart
Frances Hillyard, Worship Leader
Holly Harwood, Worship Associate
We are part of a social justice community inspired in our work by the courage, wisdom, compassion and commitment of those we admire. Today you are invited to celebrate those who inspire you. Poets include Marianne Robinson, Seon O'Neill, Holly Harwood, Gene Herman, Dolores Helman, Deena Frances and Frances Hillyard.

February 15: What's Love Got to Do With It? 
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
On this Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day we will explore the different types and qualities of love. What does "Love your neighbor" really mean? Can we really love our enemies? 

February 8: What is Time? 
Matt Weinstein, Worship Leader
Matt Weinstein is a student at Starr King School for the Ministry preparing for Unitarian Universalist ministry. Matt is pursuing a call to interfaith university chaplaincy, and has a deep passion for contemporary philosophy and theology. In this Sunday’s service, Matt will share with us some basic philosophical and theological approaches to the seemingly simple concept of time. By the end of the hour, Matt hopes to seriously complicate your understanding of time. 

February 1: The Gender Games
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
Gender roles and rules permeate our culture. There can be a negative impact on all of us if we take those roles and rules too seriously. What does this mean for us who affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all? Why are people who do not fit the gender norms and stereotypes seen as such a threat? Why is there such violence perpetuated against them?  There is a theological explanation and a theological solution.

January 2015

January 25: People Get Ready: The Power of Music in the Civil Rights Movement; Then and Now
Tom McAninley, Worship Leader

Tom McAninley will reflect on his awakening to that historic movement of the Sixties and how it has impacted his life since then. And the band Soul Rising will invite the congregation to sing powerful songs from that era to strengthen us for these current struggles.

January 18: Still Dreaming
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

On this Martin Luther King Sunday, we will explore the power of having a vision of a better world.  Does the arc of the universe really bend toward justice?  What can we do to make it so?


January 11: A Family Church
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

People often say that BFUU is like a family to them. What does that mean? How is functioning "like a family" a good thing for a religious community and how can it sometimes hold us back from really fulfilling our mission in the wider world?


January 4: Letting God Off Leash
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
The images we have of God affect how we live in the world, how we think of ourselves, and how we treat other people.  This is true even for people who do not believe in God.  Atheists, theists, and everyone in between might be surprised at some different ways we can imagine God.


2014

Select 2014 Sermons (more to come)

December 2014

December 28: New Year Wishes
Holly Harwood, Worship Leader

December 14: How the Unitarians Saved Christmas
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
There was an earlier war against Christmas, and the Unitarians won. This will be a fun service and a fascinating history lesson.

September 2014

September 28: The Fountain of Age
Rev. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
Rev. Carrie confronts and corrects some of the unfounded assumptions and stereotypes of aging. She invites us all to see the cup half full, not half empty, and seize the day with curiousity, hope and love.

March 2014

March 30: Confessions of a Mystical, Humanistically-Inclined Agnostic Theist with Pagan Tendencies and a Love for Jesus
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader
The title of this sermon is inspired by the diversity of beliefs one finds within a UU congregation—and sometimes even within one individual Unitarian Universalist! Joy will explore her personal theology, and invites you to do the same.

March 23: Expressions in Spring
Sunday Services Committee Members and Others
To further open to the wonderful array of creative talent in our Fellowship, let us join together to explore how spring inspires our community in words, music, and art.

March 16: St. Patrick's Service: Celts, Snakes, Godessess and St. Patrick
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader
The sermon will explore some of the legends and myths surrounding the saint known as Patrick (who was actually not Irish!), as well as some of the more ancient pagan practices that Patrick is said to have supplanted with Christianity.

March 9: Born Again, Deity Free: In Search of the Transcendent Self
Moses Channels, Worship Leader
Can we become more Christ-like, without deifying Christ? Can we become more loving, caring, forgiving, tolerant and helpful with each other without deifying Jesus? Do we need to believe in any deific figure, or bearded sovereign in the heavens, in order to become more virtuous? If not, then what moral principles are we to follow: what makes right and wrong; and what then is our purpose in being here on earth? Do we have a destiny to fulfill? Using the writings of Emerson, Channing and others, I will explore the possibility of spiritual renewal, rebirth, or personal renaissance, without reliance on deity.

March 2: The Third Principle
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader
The Third Principle of our faith calls upon us to encourage one another to spiritual growth. What is “spiritual growth,” and how can we pursue it for ourselves and encourage it in our congregations?

February 2014

February 23: The Gift of Anger
Pam Gehrke, Worship Leader
Reflecting on the good, bad and ugly of this most heated of emotions, we consider what makes anger a "gift." How can we best deal with its destructive potential in ourselves and others?

February 9: Exploring Transylvania: The Seat of Unitarianism
Jo Green, Worship Leader
How much do we know about our Unitarian family in Transylvania? Are we different or the same? In her travels, Jo Green, a Starr King student on scholarship in Transylvania, explores the roots of our faith tradition, our similarities and differences in practices and conventions and the knowledge we can gain from our Unitarian family in the country of our beginnings.

February 2: Evolution Sunday: All That Has Given Us Birth
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader

Amazingly, there are still those who question the scientific theory of evolution on religious grounds. But to many modern scientists and theologians alike, science and religion are not enemies. Many religious organizations set aside a Sunday in February annually to celebrate Evolution Sunday, as an answer to those who continue to denounce the theory of evolution. This service will celebrate the contributions of Charles Darwin, born 205 years ago on February 12, and explore the interface of the scientific and religious world-views.
During this service, we will also welcome several new people into membership at BFUU.

January 2014

January 26: On The Sacrament of Being
Wesley Morrison-Sloat, Worship Leader
Please bring your favorite books or your e-reader to decorate the altar as we explore the spiritual tradition of sacred texts and reading for education, enlightenment and joy.

January 19: Martin Luther King Day Service: Following a Dream
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader
This service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King will focus on issues of racial justice and the phenomenon of white privilege, woven together with African American poetry and personal experience.

January 12: Journey to Wholeness Through Service
Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, Worship Leader
Using examples from her life experience, the BFUU Community and what she has learned along the way, Lauren will explore the idea of working with our challenges by being of service to others – and ultimately ourselves.

January 5: Your One Wild and Precious Life
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader
It’s a New Year—a time for resolutions, perhaps, on how to live the rest of our lives most fruitfully. The service and sermon will explore the issue of time in our lives and how we might live more fully in this new year and beyond.