Listen to sermons

Audio for more recent services will be available soon. 

Please visit Rev. Theresa Novak's blog for texts of her recent services:

Click the play button to listen. To download on a PC, right-click on the title and select "save link as." To download on a Mac, ctrl-click on the title and select "download linked file." For audio copies of the whole service, or for services older that January 2012, pease contact the BFUU office, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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 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.

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 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 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.  

December 29: Auld Lang Syne Poetry Service
Frances Hillyard, Worship Leader 

Featuring poetry from our community. Have you written a poem you'd like to share about beloved people and place or experiences of your past? If you'd like to present at this service, please contact Frances. There will be time for congregants to offer quotes of a few lines on this theme as well.
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

On this Sunday nearest the Winter Solstice, we will acknowledge various traditions that celebrate light in the darkest time—traditions as varied as Hanukkah and Christmas, Hopi and Chinese, Kwanzaa and Yule.

December 15: Jesus the Sage
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

The sermon will explore some of the recent scholarship concerning Jesus, whose birth so many celebrate this month. Whoa was this remarkable figure, beneath the legends? How much of what is attributed to him did he really say?
December 8: What You've Told Me About Your Hopes and Concerns 

Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

In October and November our interim minister conducted several small meetings to explore current issues at BFUU and to envision the future of the congregation. For this service, she will reflect back some of what you have told her in these meetings and in other venues, and offer commentary from an ”outsider’s” perspective.

December 1: A Right Jolly Old Elf

Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

He’s coming to town. Have you been good? Did St. Nicholas really exist? The sermon will explore various myths and stories surrounding this Christian saint, whose feast day is celebrated on December 6th in many parts of Europe.

November 24: Intergenerational Thanksgiving
Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader

Gratitude is a deep feeling that can help us get through even the toughest challenges of life. Join us for a celebration of the attitude of gratitude that the holiday of Thanksgiving helps us to cultivate. Children will be present for the entire service. 

November 10: Alas for the Daisies
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

The autumn leaves are turning. Nothing lasts forever in this universe. Changes, little and big deaths and losses, are inevitable facts of life. And yet, as the poet Wallace Stevens wrote, “death is the mother of beauty.” What would we really bother to do if we had an infinite amount of time to do it in? How can we cope with, and even learn to treasure, the changes and losses in our lives, and the stark fact of our own mortality.

November 3: Connecting with the Spirit of Place
Katrina Martin, worship leader and Wesley Morrison-Sloat, worship associate

How do you connect with the unique spirit of the places in your life? How can places get you closer to Spirit? Ecopsychologist and BFUU Office Coordinator Katrina Martin will reflect on the spiritual relationship to place and how we can cultivate a deeper connection with places including physical structures, land, and water. The service will include songs and readings about the special connection we can create with place.

October 27: Intergenerational Service: Death, Remembrance and the Meeting of Two Worlds
El Dia de los Muertos/Halloween Service
Rev. Joy Atkinson, worship leader 

We will explore themes of the Day of the Dead and Halloween holidays. El Dia de los Muertos is a combination of the Christian All Souls Day and indigenous traditions, a holiday widely celebrated in Central and South America. 

October 20: Let's Talk About Sex
Erica Ward, worship leader 

This service will explore the value of talking about sex and sexuality, particularly in the context of religious community. Erica Ward, a seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry, will draw on her experience completing the Unitarian Universalist "About Your Sexuality" program as a teenager, implementing the Unitarian Universalist / United Church of Christ "Our Whole Lives" comprehensive sex education program for youth as a Director of Religious Education, and teaching sex education to African youth using the "Our Whole Lives" program as a resource as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.

October 13: Association Sunday: UU's, the Good News and the "E" Word
Rev. Joy Atkinson, worship leader and Frances Hillyard, worship associate

We will celebrate the larger Unitarian Universalist movement and explore how we can sustain and strengthen Unitarian Universalism. What is the “E” word, and why does it make some Unitarian Universalists so uncomfortable?

October 6: Annual Blessing of the Animals
Lauren Renee Hotchkiss and Seon O'Neill, worship associates

Please come to this kid-friendly event in which will honor animals currently in our lives, and remember those who have crossed over the Rainbow bridge. Following the service there will be an animal blessing in the courtyard between the Hall and RE BuildingFor those not wishing to bring an animal, please do bring pictures or a memento for the altar, or share virtual pictures from your cell phones after the service.

September 29: Continuing the Ministry of Religious Exploration  
Michelle Mueller, worship leader

Our new DRE Michelle will share the vision she has for our Lifespan Learning program at BFUU. Michelle sees Lifespan Learning and children's RE as ministries of the Fellowship than can benefit us all....from Our Whole Livescomprehensive sexuality education to Tuesdays Together with Live Oak! Hear her introduce herself, her ministry and plans for RE and Lifespan Learning!

September 15: The Miracle of Forgiveness: A High Holy Days Service 
Rev. Joy Atkinson, preaching

The High Holy Days of Judaism ended on Saturday with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This time in the Jewish calendar calls upon observers to take stock of their lives over the past year and actively seek and offer forgiveness. How can the miracle of forgiveness offer a healing balm in our own lives?

September 8: It Begins with Water: BFUU Homecoming/Water Communion 
Rev. Joy Atkinson, worship leader and Michelle Mueller, worship associate

In this intergenerational service, the BFUU congregation will come together to launch a new “church year” with the traditional Water Communion service, celebrated in many UU congregations. Please bring some water from, or symbolic of, your summer journeys and activities to add to the communal bowl.

September 1: Labor, Women & Race: The Struggle Continues
Gene Herman, Virginia Hollins-Davidson and Susan Singh, worship coordinators

This is a Social Justice Committee Labor Day service. The labor movement of the United States includes men and women of all races who have been involved in the development of just and equitable hours, wages and benefits. From the deliverance of the Negro freed from the bonds of slavery to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union to the United Farm Workers…all of these workers have joined in union solidarity. This service focuses on a valiant few in the ongoing struggle and the working class in America.

August 25: Hellos and Goodbyes at BFUU
Rev. Joy Atkinson and Cecilia Owen, worship leaders; Fellowship Band, Deborah Hamouris, musician

In this service, we will look back, honor the year’s transitions, and say goodbye to our summer ministry team. We will also look ahead, saying hello to Rev. Joy Atkinson and welcoming her interim ministry at BFUU. Rev. Joy Atkinson, our new interim minister, will participate in this service.

August 18: Honoring Endings, Welcoming Beginnings
Cecilia Owen, preaching; Virginia Hollins-Davidson, worship associate; Richard Nelson Hall, pianist

What is there we need to honor, to release, and to let go of, in order to make space for the new? In this
service, we will say goodbye to our summer services together and make room for a new season in the life of our community this fall. "It’s celebration time, come on!"

August 11: The Maia Project: Bringing Clean Water to the Children of Palestine
Ziad Abbas, preaching

The Maia Project is one of many programs conducted by MECA, the Middle East Children’s Alliance. Ziad Abbas, program manager for cross-cultural programs at MECA, is a Palestinian refugee from Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank. He is the cofounder of the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh. Ziad is also a filmmaker, journalist, and educator who has worked with Palestinian and international media and helped create several documentary films.

August 4: Composers and Songwriters in Service
Frances Hillyard , worship coordinator; Holly Harwood, worship associate; music by Fellowship band

It is said that artistic expression reflects the need to make sense of our lives and the world around us. Come hear BFUU Community musicians and songwriters speak about what they are attempting to express in their music, how it relates to their spiritual beliefs, what they are trying to bring to the Fellowship, and what they receive. Songs and compositions will also be shared.

July 28: UU Credos in Poetry, Presented by BFUU Poets
Frances Hillyard , worship coordinator; Holly Harwood, worship associate; music by Fellowship band

Poets of BFUU will be invited to read original works that deal with aspects of their personal beliefs as UUs. There will be a chance for everyone to exercise thoughtful creativity and self expression. To be one of our presenters, contact Frances Hillyard at 510-528-4996 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

July 21: Theology of the Next Generation
Wesley Morrison-Sloat, worship leader

Beyond PowerPoint and electric guitars, come hear what young adults actually think about religion, theology, and church. This will be an intergenerational service.

July 14: What We Hold Dear
Pam Norton and Cecilia Owen, worship leaders

This service is a celebration of our "credos," or what we hold dear. Please bring something to the service that represents an important value or belief to place on the altar. This service will incorporate song and dance, so be ready to boogie!

July 7: The Common Good: Common to Whom and Good For What?
Adam Dyer, preaching

Often we hear that things are done for the “common good,” but what does that really mean if we haven't explored what our commonalities are? How do liberal assumptions of commonality stifle broader perceptions of what may be common and what may be good?  In a world where the role of religion and faith are continuing to evolve, how can we look to our own faith to evolve with this changing world?

June 30: Pride
Wesley Morrison-Sloat, Elinor Roberts, Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, and Cecilia Owen, worship leaders

As an affirming congregation, BFUU has been a supporter of the queer community for many years. On this day of Pride, come join with those who are holding a spiritual center here at BFUU as others take to the streets in San Francisco. LGBT members of the congregation will speak on their experiences, and the Fellowship band and choir will offer music of support and celebration.

June 23: Summer Solstice

Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, worship leader

Members of the Fellowship presented a ritual in celebration of the Summer Solstice and our relationship with the sun, the season and the earth.

June 16: Stages of Recovery From Mental Health Difficulties
Rev. Barbara Meyers

Recently the psychiatrist Mark Ragins has proposed that there are several identifiable stages in recovery of one’s mental health, similar in concept to the stages of death and dying identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. A reflection on these concepts and how they might be helpful in our congregation and in our lives.

June 9: What I Know...
Rev. Ben Meyers

Rev. Ben’s last Sunday in the pulpit as our Consulting Minister.

June 2: Appreciation Sunday and Flower Communion
Rev. Ben Meyers

There is much to be thankful for and many people to thank, acknowledge and show our appreciation for! Come join us for lots of “Thanks, Goodbyes, and Blessings." This was Caitlin Cotter’s last day with us after three years of service as our Director of Religious Exploration, and an opportunity to thank Matthew McHale for his two years as our Office Administrator, and our wonderful Ministerial Intern, Cecilia Owen. We also acknowledged our RE children and teachers and our outgoing board members.

May 26: Memorial Day: “When Death Comes Near”
Rev. Ben Meyers

A service about death and how we respond to it.

May 12: Mother’s Day: “Love and Other Four-Letter Words: A Vocabulary Primer”
Rev. Ben Meyers

Mother’s Day was originally founded as a day of peace, yet, so much of our world today focuses on conflict and strife, making the language of peace difficult to express or hand down to future generations. Today I will revel in short words with great meaning! May they bring you peace and joy.


May 5: Founder’s Sunday: “It Takes a Congregation…”
Rev. Ben Meyers, preaching

We will celebrate this Beloved ‘Village’ by looking a bit at the past, but at the future more.


April 28: A Journey Inward
Rev. Adél Nagy, visiting Balázs Scholar, preaching

“The only journey is a journey within.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
Most of us like to travel and experience new things -- we seek variety. There is also a kind of inward journey we can take, experiencing new parts of ourselves and our connection to Life. Whether we are humanist, atheist, spiritual or other, we experience an inner life that sometimes surprises us. Come hear about this journey from a Transylvanian Unitarian perspective.

Rev. Adél Nagy is this year’s Balázs Scholar at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley. She presently serves as the minister in the village of Recsenyéd, Transylvania, Romania (population 130, of whom 98% are Unitarian).


March 24: “Salvation by Temptation?
Rev. Ben Meyers

This may seem an unlikely sermon title to find in a Unitarian Universalist service. Raised a Baptist, I was indoctrinated to think some very specific things about these two religious constructs incompatible in the context I have suggested. Both words are seldom heard in a liberal religious setting. They are words that are “loaded” with negative meaning for many people. On this, the Sunday before Passover and one week before Easter, I wish to revisit and even reclaim these bothersome terms because they are words that hold spiritual significance for this Holiday period AND our lives. They are words, I believe, worth revisiting in a liberal light.

March 17: “TBD: The Nature of Change
Rev. Ben Meyers


March 10: “Hope, Joy & Faith
Rev. Earl Koteen

Rev. Earl, our Community/Environmental Justice minister, will lead this service about the journey of hope, joy, and faith that is environmental justice work.


March 3: “Marriage Rites, Equal Rights and the Religious Rights’ ‘Wrongs’
Rev. Ben Meyers

Many of the arguments against marriage equality from the religious "right" claim to be Biblically-based. But, are these arguments religiously or even culturally sound? By what authority? This service will offer both a critical eye and a spiritual interpretation to help us in our respectful and rightful engagement to counter these arguments and to support the rights of all people to marry, "Wherever Love Is." All are worthy, all are welcome.


February 24: “Celebrating Our Elders”: The Forest Sings
Mindy Mull

This service will be dedicated to honoring the elders of the BFUU community, by celebrating together in their stories, songs and talents.


February 17: “Unitarian Presidents (and Some ‘Also-Rans’)
Rev. Ben Meyers

There have been either four or five Unitarian Presidents, depending on the status accorded Jefferson. (Like Lincoln, Jefferson never joined a church.) Our faith has produced its share of heroes and heroines, men and women whose names will be remembered as long as history is written and read and recounted by us. This is a sermon on ‘faith and freedom’ to celebrate Presidents’ Day.


February 10: "Standing on the Side of Love" Intergenerational Service: "Hand in Hand" / "Reflection"
Caitlin S. Cotter, Director of Religious Exploration - "Hand in Hand"

Wesley Morrison-Sloat - "Standing on the Side of Love" Reflection

Join us as we re-frame Valentine's Day as Standing on the Side of Love Day, a day for justice and solidarity. The kids will stay with us for this service about love and equality.


February 3: “Spaces Between: A Theology of Rainbows
Caitlin S. Cotter

This Sunday we take on the gender binary, and the question of who we are as men, as women, and as those somewhere in between. Who we love and who we are rarely fits into tidy boxes. What does this mean for us, as Unitarian Universalists standing on the side of love?


January 27: “Sowing Seeds of Justice and Growing Community
Matthew McHale

This Sunday we consider our relationship to one another and to the environment which sustains all life on this planet. In this age of climate change, ecological destruction, and economic disparity how can we create systems and communities that align with our liberal religious values—promoting justice and honoring the interconnected web of existence?

Matthew McHale is a candidate for Unitarian Universalist Ministry and an active supporter of anti-opression and ecological justice work. He is also BFUU's office administrator. This service will draw on his experience with Occupy the Farm.

January 20: “Abraham, Martin and Barack”: MLK Sunday
Rev. Ben Meyers

This Sunday before the second inauguration of President Obama, we honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and reflect on one of our greatest Presidents.

January 13: “Belong
Cecilica Owen, Intern Minister

What does it mean to belong to a spiritual community in terms of our spiritual growth and well-being? This is an excellent service to bring a friend!
Ingathering of New Members during the service. If you are ready to join this beloved community, please contact Rev. Ben This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


December 30: "Poems: Social Justice from the Heart"
Holly Harwood, Michael Tucker, Wattie Taylor, Seon O'Neill, Gene Herman, Deena Andrews, Marianne Robinson, & Frances Hillyard, Poets


December 23: “A Prayer for Peace
Rev. Ben Meyers

A service on peace and how we make it.


December 9: “From iChurch or Beloved Community?
Rev. Ben Meyers

Our culture is steeped in individualism, but at what cost to the common good, the beloved community, and the future of Unitarian Universalism? Can we articulate a more universal message in service to something larger than the individual?

December 2: “What Are You Waiting For?”: Looking to the Fig Tree / “Room to Wait
Cecilia Owen, Intern Minister - "Looking to the Fig Tree"

Rev. Ben Meyers - "Room to Wait"

“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the Christian tradition, this is the first Sunday in Advent, a period of waiting and preparation. In this season of hurry embellished in a culture of unbridled speed, it seems a good question to ask: “What are you waiting for?”


November 11: “E Pluribus Unum?
Rev. Ben Meyers - preaching, Tom McAninley - worship coordinator

A post-election sermon and a recognition of Veteran’s Day.


November 4: “The Benefit of Doubt”
Rev. Ben Meyers - preaching, Lauren Renee Hotchkiss - worship coordinator

“Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the attendant of truth.” --Robert T. Weston
Some people never reach the stage of doubt in religious development, some seem to be born with it. The tendency to doubt religiously, despite its unconventional nature, is a legitimate and important stage of faith development. (The Buddha insisted that an attitude of doubt is necessary.) Today we will explore and honor doubt as “an attendant of truth” and the servant of discovery, maturation, and—faith.


October 21: The Practices We Keep
Rev. Ben Meyers - preaching, Cecilia Owen - worship coordinator

Unitarian Universalism is a faith for our time, yet few can succinctly name its sources, principles, or practices. Today's "UUism" has been distilled through "time-tested" practices based on religious thought and spiritual actions that require a constancy of merger, fusion, adaptation and change to maintain its value and relevancy. How can such a paradox be maintained? What are some of the ways we embody these practices in our lives today? What practices will we need to adopt to move into the future? What practices sustain you?


October 14: Intergenerational Work and Regeneration: Reflections from the Field
Lena Richardson - preaching, Rev. Ben Meyers - coordinator

In this service, Lena Rebecca Richardson discusses her work in the field of intergenerational circles and relationship-building both at BFUU and beyond. She reflects on the practical and spiritual dimensions of this work, and what it has meant in her own life.

This service celebrates the publishing Stories Between Us: Oral Histories from a Countercultural Congregation, based on the BFUU Oral History Project conducted from 2009-2010.


October 7: The Hip Bone Is Connected to the Thigh Bone
Rev. Earl Koteen - preaching, Cecilia Owen - worship coordinator

We talk about the interconnected web of existence and interlocking oppressions, but once we look deeply and broadly into any injustice, we see how it is connected to others. Come join us to learn how we can address systemic injustices and give meaning to our lives and work.


Sept. 30: Sharing Stories: From Bee'more to Berkeley
Cecilia Owen, Ministerial Intern

Ministerial Intern Cecilia Owen introduces herself to the congregation on this Sunday by way of storytelling. She shares stories from her adventures away from Berkeley. Cecilia has been serving as a hospital chaplain for the last two years in the Baltimore/Washington DC area. We reflect together as a community on the stories that bring each of us to this new moment in BFUU history. What are YOUR stories and how do they bring you into the present moment?

Sept. 23: “Spiritual Center/Justice Circumference”
Rev. Ben Meyers

In these confusing and contradictory times in which we live, we are often easily discouraged or irascibly angry (or both). As Unitarian Universalists, a tiny slice of progressive religion, we wonder about our role in the great scheme of things. What is our response? Bill Moyers, Baptist minister, media guru and social prophet, once said the role of the media is to be a “public nuisance.” I believe one of our primary missions, and perhaps our unique mission as a religion, is to be a gadfly on the body politic and religious “right.” We need to have what poet Robert Frost called, a “lover’s quarrel” with our world.


September 16: Teshuvah: Turning, Returning, and Beginning Again in Love: A Service Commemorating the Jewish High Holy Days
Rev. Ben Meyers

The Jewish High Holy Days are traditionally a time for re-flecting on the year past and an opportunity to “set things right” for the coming year. The term teshuvah, or “turning,” provides us a context in which to do the difficult, but necessary, work of changing our patterns of behavior and letting go in order to move ahead.


September 2: Journey Towards Home
Caitlin S. Cotter

What Is Pilgrimage for Unitarian Universalists? Our Director of Religious Education, Caitlin S. Cotter, explores the concept of journeying in search of our sources and the physical sites of the sacred. We will consider the question of where our spiritual homes are and how we seek them.


August 12: “In Musical Service”
Lauren Renée Hotchkiss, Lisa Stein, Marty Rosman & Vic Sadot

Come hear some of the wonderful house and guest musicians that grace our services talk about their music and what they wish to bring to the Fellowship, and of course share some of their beautiful playing. There are some you might expect, but also be prepared for a few surprises. And there’s even a rumor that some musicians may play together for the first time ever.


July 29: “This I Believe”

Virginia Hollins-Davidson & Alex Tuggle

Unitarian Universalism is a creedless religion - we follow no dogma. We may be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Agnostic, or none of the above. Yet we share one faith, a faith in common values and principles, and in religious freedom. Our first principle says we affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” The Fourth Principle supports “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning,” which we do together. This Sunday new members Virginia Hollins-Davidson and Alex Tuggle share their spiritual paths and how their beliefs shape their lives today.


July 22: Poetry Service: Gratitude—Gladness for What Makes Life Good
Tom Ross, Michael Tucker, Gene Herman, Kathleen McClung, Holly Harwood, Seon O'Neill, Redwood Mary, Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, Marianne Robinson & Frances Hillyard, Poets

Today our poets explore through original works the impact on their lives of people, relationships, experiences and things that have lifted their spirits, and helped make living worthwhile.


July 8: “The Neurobiology of Enlightenment”
Jody Savage

Traveling from Carl Sagan to Joseph Campbell, from the reptile brain to the primate brain, we explore the quest for enlightenment.
Jody is member of the Live Oak UU Fellowship where she often leads worship services.


July 1: “This I Believe” Intergenerational Service
Pam Norton, Worship Leader & the Members and Friends of BFUU

In this intergenerational service, members and friends share their beliefs and how those beliefs affect the way they live. Pam Norton shares a story about Helen Keller.

June 17: “What’s a Summer For?”
Rev. Ben Meyers

This will be Rev. Ben’s last Sermon until August 19th. A reflection on the year past, what’s ahead, and the need for rest and renewal.
We will also have a recognition of Fathers’ Day during the service.


June 10: “Between a Rock and a Soft Place”
Rev. Ben Meyers

A sermon about brokenness and hope in trying times.


June 3: "There Must Be 50 Ways to Say "Thank You'"
Rev. Ben Meyers

Join us as all ages gather for a day full of gratitude for every aspect of our community- especially those individuals who serve us in the Religious Exploration program, on Sunday mornings, and who work around the year to support this congregation.

May 27: MEMORIAL DAY - “Some Myths of War”
Rev. Ben Meyers

We will explore some of the mythology that underlies the ancient human practices of warfare. Why is it that no generation, no matter how badly wounded by the ugly realities of war, is ever able to communicate its disillusioned suffering to its grandchildren? How comes it that human beings so readily, almost eagerly, construct Enemies? Is war an inevitable byproduct of human culture or, if we really wanted to bring this historical curse to an end, what might be the best ways of going about it? Come join us in worshipping, exploring, and remembering on this holiday of commemoration.


March 18: “Hardwired for Altruism”
Rev. Lucas Hergert

Some say that human beings are basically selfish. Rev. Lucas Hergert, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, begs to differ. Following recent findings in sociology and anthropology, he argues that we are actually hardwired for altruism. We need to have opportunities to care for others and to be generous.

March 11: “The Cure for ‘Humanity Fatigue?’”
Rev. Ben Meyers

Are you tired of the polarization of politics? Do you weary of the punitive path leading us to moral and social disaster? From our various political and economic perspectives, we can—indeed, must—disagree honorably about precisely how to build a just society and care for all our fellow citizens. But we must once again agree as a national people to care—consistently and compassionately—for all.


March 4: “Kickapoo Wisdom" vs. "The Precarious Western Bird’s Nest": Putting an End to the End
Fred Wahpepah, Kickapoo Elder - "Kickapoo Wisdom"

Andrew Scott, Intern Minister - "The Precarious Western Bird's Nest"

A reflection on the difference between particular forms of indigenous spirituality and the dominant western paradigm of the impending end. Is there a connection between a religious belief system, that’s been telling us for centuries that judgment day is coming, and the particular global reality that we are now witnessing? Do we have the responsibility or the power to change it? Is there somewhere else to go; or is it possible for us to return to where we are? Do we inherit the earth from our ancestors, or do we borrow it from our descendants? We will discuss possibilities for creating a more beneficial reality for the sentient beings that will inhabit the earth in coming centuries.


February 26: The Dream of the Diaspora
Rev. Zoltán Kopándi-Benczédi

“Diaspora” describes people of a common ethnicity who live away from their home community, among foreigners. In the Unitarian Church of Transylvania, the term Diaspora is used for ethnic Hungarians of the Unitarian faith, spread across a vast Romanian majority. To build community in a Diaspora, we must adopt the visionary attitude of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and have a large, but realistic dream, which speaks to the way the congregation imagines itself in the future. It is hard work, but it will be successful if done by people who believe their work is lead by God's Providence.

The Rev. Zoltán Kopándi-Benczédi is the 2011-2012 Balázs Scholar at Starr King School for the Ministry, and minister to three congregations in Transylvania. He hopes to return at the end of his scholarship year with new insights into the connection between church life and community development, particularly work done in multicultural environments.


February 19: “Not For Sale: Today’s Abolition Movement”
Rev. Ben Meyers

By conservative estimates, there are 27 million slaves in the world today. Human trafficking is, in fact, the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world, ranking close behind drug trafficking and the illegal arms trade. It is, in short, a huge and growing industry of organized crime. As people who affirm the value of freedom, justice, equity, compassion, interdependence, and the worth of every person, how are we to respond? The answer is unequivocal not only in our modern Unitarian Universalist principles, but also when we turn to our abolitionist heritage and our pride in that heritage.


February 12: “The Power of Love”
Andrew Scott, Ministerial Intern

What do we mean when we say we are acting out of love? How does love fit into our quest for social justice in the world? How can we be more gentle with ourselves, and kind to others? In this intergenerational service we explore the relationship of love to community, in our daily lives and the world in which we live.


February 5: “Unitarian Universalism: Then, Now, and Tomorrow?”
Roger Husbands and the Rev. Ben Meyers

To know where you are going, you first have to know where you’ve been. This service will look at the legacy of the Fellowship movement, where we are as a movement now, and our hopes for the future of this congregation.


January 29: “The Age of Reason” in the Era of Globalization & Occupy Wall Street: A Celebration of Tom Paine’s Birthday
Jeffrey Melcher & BFUU's Social Justice Committee

On his 275th birthday, the Social Justice Committee leads a service on the revolutionary intellectual and pamphleteer, Thomas Paine. Drawing on writings including “Common Sense,” “The Crisis Papers,” “The Rights of Man,” “The Age of Reason,” and his letters, we examine how Paine's ideas remain relevant today, particularly to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.


January 22: Love and Justice in the Heart of Berkeley
Rev. Earl Koteen

Rev. Earl Koteen, our Community Minister for Climate Justice, reflects on the history, the present, and the future of the Fellowship.  As Dylan said, "the times they are a-changin," both within and outside the Fellowship, and these words are truer today than when he wrote them.  Let us all find love, joy, and justice in this community we cherish.


January 15: Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Sunday: “When Systems Fail, Character Calls”
Rev. Ben Meyers

We celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. best when we remind ourselves of his clarion call to respond to ‘the fierce urgency of now.’  Our ‘now’ moment of economic collapse, societal change and global crisis calls us to remember and repeat the lessons in leadership which King taught.  We live in an urgent moment and must respond to the issues of social justice locally, nationally, and globally. Come and let’s inspire one another!

January 8: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

Andrew Scott, Ministerial Intern

This is the story of how your Ministerial Intern ended up in Berkeley (of all places), and in Seminary (of all places)! It’s a story about how the class clown discerned a call to ministry. It is also a story about lunacy and perseverance, about a young man who found his mind in Thailand before losing it (again) in Colorado, and how he got to “be here, now.”