Past Worship Services
titles, leaders, descriptions, audio, video, Orders of Service, texts (as available)

For services prior to those here, please call the office at 510-841-4824 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click title to watch video or listen to audio, or as otherwise noted. (Sometimes clicking the play icon playiconon the left is necessary.) 2020 and forward, click descriptive link for audio, video, Order of Service and/or text (posted as available)

For music and more, please visit the BFUU Music channel on YouTube!

2021

July 18: Until the Wind Sings in Both Ears
Paikea Melcher (she/her)

What stories have shaped your life? A gentle wind, attentive listening, a curious mind, and our wise traditions can help us in our search for truth and meaning. Can they help us find direction in life? An exploration of the UU Religious Education movement.
 

July 11: Dragged Kicking and Screaming into Heaven
video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vTqF3xLnrg

Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed (recorded)
Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed, preeminent scholar of the African-American Unitarian Universalist experience, reflects on the implications on our theological heritage of Universal Salvation.

July 4: Spirit of Life: a Vocabulary of Reverence
Doug Chambers (he/him) and Kathy Riehle (she/her)
The word “spirit” derives from the Latin word for breath and for inspiration. The “spirit of life” can be understood as inspiration for life, or the very breath of life. It can be felt as a loving force, a life force, or as (in the words of Rev. Howard Thurman) a growing edge, “the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor.” The spirit of life can be experienced as god or goddess, as deity unfolding, as divine comforter. It can be felt as the collective human spirit, the power of nature, or innate wisdom. We will explore a vocabulary of reverence drawn from the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition and its supplement, Singing the Journey.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)
On this Sunday, Canada celebrates All Saints Day. Unitarian Universalists offer no official sainthood to those who have given up their lives to stand for the profound principles of our faith. Yet Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles finds it well to offer our gratitude and admiration to Francis David, Servetus, and James Reeb for their wisdom and courage that has formed our faith through the ages.
 
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 
heartGerdAltmannPixabayFREEJune 20: The Legacy of Caring
(sorry, video is unavailable for this service)

Eva Doucette (she/her)
As our 2020-2021 program year draws to a close, we honor members of our volunteer lay leadership and reflect on our shared ministry together.
 
Eva Doucette is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and BFUUer. Eva is homeschooled and enjoys doing gymnastics, making art and drawing, writing stories and adventuring around Berkeley with her friends. She co-founded an environmental activist organization with her friend at a local private school to spread awareness about climate change. Eva is also proud to serve on the BFUU Worship Committee and help run the Sunday Services!
 

Doug Chambers (he/him) & Kathy Riehle (she/her)

..as a congregation? What does UU history have to do with our past? What does the Pride celebration have to do with our future? Who _was_ Norbert Chapek? Bring these and other questions to our service on Arlo Chamber's birthday. (Don’t expect answers. We’re UUs!)
 

June 6: Dedicated to the Proposition… video
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)
When we listen to the inspiring values in the remainder of this phrase, we are so moved that we never question their meaning. The meaning seems obvious, and in this age of lengthy and convoluted EULAs (end-user legal/license agreements) that we sign without regard for the promises we subsequently make, while being lulled into believing that whatever details follow don’t matter?

We are approaching a point in time, a moment in which we will have to answer for our vagaries. Are we all created as equal? What do we mean by that? Does it matter? Isn’t it enough that it just sounds so dog-gone good? But what if it’s not empirically true? Will we still be able to call ourselves Unitarian or Universalist after that?
 
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.
 

May 30: Reparations:  An Act of Ancestral Atonement - video
Toni R. Battle (she/her)

In this day and age of the 21st century, America is painfully experiencing a reckoning on its past and present issues of race. The act of Reparations is the national conversation of how do you atone for the legacies that have been birthed from the histories of enslavement, Jim Crow, segregation, police brutality and systemic racism. Hear from a lynching descendant on the path to truth, healing and reparations.

Toni Renee Battle is a native of San Francisco, CA and was partially raised in the Southern state of Louisiana. Toni owns a small business called “Embrace Diversity…Embrace Success,” specializing in consulting services in the fields of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), communications and diversity. Currently, she is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Programs Senior Specialist with the City and County of San Francisco. She is also Founder of a cultural enrichment program called The Legacy Project which teaches culture, tradition and histories of Blacks and Native Americans to youth 7th through 12th grades. Her goal is to transition it into a Saturday school and eventually a Freedom School. She has more than 15 years of experience in these fields in both private and public sectors. She attended Fisk University in Nashville, TN, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Communications; and attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH, obtaining a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies.  She is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Saint Mary’s College of CA in Moraga, CA majoring in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Social Justice.  Her dissertation research focuses on historical harm trauma, generational grief and healing. Specifically, her research focuses on the impact of being descended from The Trail of Tears, slavery, banishment and lynching histories – on both the victim and perpetrator sides. She has received fellowships from Teach With Africa-South Africa and Columbia University’s Summer Teachers and Scholars Institute (STSI).

Toni specializes in diversity, communication, cultural dynamics, race relations, trauma and healing, and intra-racial prejudice. She has worked and trained in governmental, private, and educational organizations.   She has certification in diversity dynamics from National Multicultural Institute (NMCI), in Washington, DC, specializing in cross-cultural dynamics/communication, sustained mediation dialogue, developing diversity initiatives, and diversity design& implementation, creating diversity councils, and recruiting and retaining a diverse workgroup. She holds additional certification in social justice mediation from Association for Dispute Resolution (ADR), Kingian Nonviolence training, and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Practice. Her professional background includes: Television News Producer, Public Information Officer, Equal Employment Opportunity Manager, and Consultant; where she conducted media campaigns, produced television news, investigated discrimination complaints, customized mediations, and diversity consultations.  

Toni has been a featured speaker and facilitator for clients which have included: Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Bradley University, National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME), and Rosiland Franklin Medical School.   Her specialty areas also include intra-racial prejudice and customized mediation techniques. She is a member of Lambda Iota Tau Honor Society (English/Literature), serves on the board of the Association of Dispute Resolution for Northern California (ADRNC), member of the California Association of Equal Rights Professionals, member of Equal Justice Society, member of National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME), and is Co-Founder of Welcome To the Table (WTTT), the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Coming to The Table (CTTT).

May 23: New Beginnings: The Way to a Greener World - video
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles reviews the chances for success in limiting climate change, as the pandemic’s end offers hope for the survival of the interdependent web of all existence.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.

May 16: Magic is Afoot
5/16/2021: Doug Chambers Opening Words & Magic! video
Nathaniel’s magic video not available for this service - see https://www.segalmagic.com/
Nathaniel Segal (he/him)

Have you ever been sure that you know something; secure in the veracity of a piece of data, only to find that your triple-checked knowledge is incorrect? Has your most deeply held belief about something ever been shaken by a new piece
of information? Join us as Nathaniel Segal asks the question: Can you believe your own eyes?

Nathaniel Segal is an award winning magician based out of the Los Angeles area. He has a degree from UC Berkeley in applied math and theater. He was a past president of the Oakland Magic Circle, teacher of the magic class at Cal, and has been invited to speak at the prestigious Gathering 4 Gardner celebration. He has most recently appeared on the hit television show Penn & Teller: Fool Us on the CW network. Nathaniel continues to perform and teach magic for companies and private events in the LA area and all over the world through online virtual entertainment.

May 9, 2021: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration, a Mother’s Day Reflection and Call to Action - video
Virginia Hollins-Davidson (she/her)

Let us take to heart the goals of BFUU’s Eighth Principle: To dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions. What can we, collectively and individually, do, immediately and over time, that would make a difference?

Virginia Hollins-Davidson, former Peace Corps volunteer, teacher, and attorney, has been at BFUU since 2010, serving on and chairing numerous committees. She currently chairs the nominating committee and serves on the Bay Area Poor People's Campaign Steering Committee. She loves to welcome others and help them feel at home at BFUU. Special joys are being with family, singing, traveling, and walking in nature.

May 2, 2021: How Big is Your Head? Continued - video
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)

We have no proof that our ancestors were not as smart as we. We only know that we apply our intelligence to current data; data that changes all the time. Why are so many creatures on this planet seeming more and more intelligent all the time? What’s going on here!? How we look at this does matter.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.
 
April 25, 2021: Do We Parent Our Pet—Or Is the Pet Our Parent? video
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles weighs in, on this National Pet Parent Day, on the power of pets on our life and our lifespan, and how they help in this time of the pandemic.
 
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 

April 18, 2021: Create Your Own Religion video

Paikea Melcher (she/her)
Paikea Melcher, lifelong BFUUer, will reflect on the value of our liturgical traditions, and ask each of us to consider three steps in spiritual creativity.
 

April 11, 2021: Trees Are Us: A BFUU Poetry Service

  • Opening Words: “Amongst the Redwoods” written and read by Gene Herman
  • Time for All Ages: “Fireflies fill the lowlands” written by Gene Herman, read by Eva; and “Dance of the Golden Poppies” written by Gene Herman, read by Paikea
  • Meditation and Prayer: “Hope” written and read by Frances Hillyard
  • Poetry Service: “The Ocean” written and read by Eva; “Gualala Winter” and “For the Man at Cape Arago with a Small Lacquer Box” written and read by Kathleen McClung; “Fountain” written, played, and sung by Deborah Hamouris; “At Twilight” written by Leigh Harwood and read by Sarah Bergdahl; “Hollow” written by Marianne Robinson and read by Virginia Hollins-Davidson; “Solstice Song Letting Go” and “The Messengers” by Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles
  • Bendiction: “Survivors” written and read by Frances Hillyard

Frances Hillyard (she/her)
Today let’s take some time to savor creative expressions of wonder, awe and joy from people you care about but might not know as well as you think you do. Join in exploration through poetry and music, our place in the interdependent web of all existence.

Poetry in this service is available for viewing or as a printable chapbook (print 2-sided, landscape orientation with short-edge binding, and fold in half for chapbook to be in order.)
 

April 4, 2021: Can We Agree – To Disagree?
(sorry, audio and video are unavailable for this service)
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)

We are about to engage in controversial while non-combative, and yet constructive, Conversation. While I have been gently and subtly gesticulating toward the message of communicating with those with whom we disagree, a grand opportunity for such has arisen; right here at home in BFUU. How, you may ask, does this address speaking to “The Other?” Well, we Fellows are perfectly capable of being our own Other. We know how to disagree– now let's take the next step and learn how to do so in a highly productive fashion.

Practice makes perfect.
 
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.

March 28, 2021: Women in the Life of Jesus

3/28/21 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
3/28/21 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)

On this Palm Sunday, we also celebrate Women’s History Month. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles will consider the significance of women in the life of Jesus and the legacy for today.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.


March 21, 2021: Welcome All of You – A Holy Journey to Good Trouble
3/21/20 Pastor Jacqueline Duhart’s Sermon audio
3/21/20 Pastor Jacqueline Duhart's Sermon video
Pastor Jacqueline K. Duhart (she/her), Guest Worship Leader

Equity, diversity, and inclusion, in this present moment our national conversations are buzzing with discussions about equity, diversity and inclusion. Everywhere you look there is panel that unveils the injustices toward transgender and nonbinary folk. Wise leaders are being appointed to commissions to investigate the obstacles to inclusion. What is being offered to help the individual examine what keeps them from truly, sincerely, genuinely embracing “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” On a personal soul level do you 100% believe that YOU ARE worthy? Do you WELCOME ALL of who you are called to be?

Please join Pastor Jacqueline as we pause and journey inside to our souls to sit a spell. While there, take a spiritual look-see at what obstacles may block us from 100% welcoming all of who we are. A journey to good trouble.

Pastor Jacqueline K. Duhart: Black American- African descent, eldest sibling in a military family, lesbian, mother, committed partner & deeply spiritual/religious. Earned a Master’s of Science in Social Work (University of Texas) & a Masters of Divinity (Starr King School for the Ministry-2008). August 2019 received Certificate for Spiritual Direction (Interfaith Chaplaincy Institute, Berkeley CA). Retired from United States Air Force after 21 years of service (2000) and served in the first Gulf War, retired June 2019 from urban church ministry after ten years of service. Also served for 8 years as an intern and volunteer Chaplain at Federal Corrections Institute (facility for women) Dublin, CA. Avid gardener, hiker, lover of humanity, gospel music, walking meditations, authentic movement, creating beauty & being an instrument of grace, mercy & justice. Amin, Ashay, Blessed Be and Shalom.


March 14, 2021: Good Trouble: UU Women, Past, Present and Future
3/14/21 The Lucile Longview Story read by Christine, Judith, Paikea, and Joanna, with closing by Sarah audio
3/14/21 The Lucile Longview Story read by Christine, Judith, Paikea, and Joanna, with closing by Sarah video

Joanna Foley (she/they) and Sarah Bergdahl (she/her)

UU women have been getting into “Good Trouble” for over 100 years. Why don’t we know their names or powerful accomplishments? You probably learned that Julia Ward Howe created “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but have you heard of the Iowa Sisterhood? Do you know that Lucile Longview, a funny, feisty woman and her like-minded organizers led the way to creating our Seventh Principle? Women’s History Month is the time to celebrate stories of UU women leaders — told by our own female members. Share a story about your UU female ancestor or role model in the breakout room if you wish.

Sarah Sayner Bergdahl: Sarah realized she was a feminist before age 10 but never had a label until moving from Wisconsin to California and becoming employed by the National Organization for Women in San Francisco in the early 1980’s. After marriage, two children and a move to WA with her family, she earned a master’s degree in intercultural communication, which she applied immediately to her work as a mediator. She served as president of the WA State Mediation Association and was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Education and Promotion of Mediation award.
Her love and respect for Unitarian Universalism started in a fellowship in Santa Rosa, CA and developed through many leadership roles in her home church, East Shore Unitarian in Bellevue, WA. The Dances of Universal Peace and the local Sufi community have also been rich sources of experiential learning, singing and dancing. Currently she is thoroughly enjoying her 39-year marriage, being a grandmother to 3 grandchildren, and the local Master Gardening clinic leader.
 
Joanna Foley, a retired social worker, joined BFUU in 2014. Prior to moving to Berkeley, she was active in the Fourth Universalist Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. There she worked with V-Day4thU, a group which worked to end violence against women and girls by sponsoring an annual fundraising production of “The Vagina Monologues.”
The civil rights movement in the 1960s brought Joanna in the UU world in Nashville, TN.
Joanna has chaired BFUU’s Worship Services Committee and the Aesthetics Subcommittee of Buildings and Grounds, and served on the Caring Committee. When she can find free time away from BFUU, Joanna is a practical mystic, a good cook, a folk dancer and the grandmother of two.

March 7, 2021: Why it’s So Hard to be an American
(sorry, audio and video are unavailable for this service)
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)

It seems as though The Insurrection is over and that our ‘Enemy’ has suffered a massive defeat. However, their orders were to Stand Back AND Standby. Why do we say that the South won the last Civil War, even after it seemed to be over? How Did the South win that war and how can we avoid repeating our mistake? Moreover – What’s fundamentally wrong with the idea of winning a civil war?

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.


February 28, 2021: Love and Marriage in the Time of the Pandemic
2/28/21 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
2/28/21 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)
In this unprecedented era of COVID-19 risk, social distancing and masks, Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles considers the effects on love relationships in America.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.

February 21, 2021: Celebrating Black History with a deeper understanding of our Next Door neighbor:  Haiti

2/21/21 Dr. Yanick Louis-Lindquist message audio
2/21/21 Dr. Yanick Louis-Lindquist message video
Dr. Yanick Louis-Lindquist (she/her)
Nicky will present a brief overview of Haiti's rich and yet tumultuous history.  She will reflect on her cross cultural experiences and the joy of reconnecting to her homeland after decades of living abroad.

Dr. Yanick Louis-Lindquist, also known as Nicky was born and raised in Haiti under the brutal dictatorship of Dr. Jean Francois Duvalier known as Papa Doc. She immigrated to Boston in her early teens where she joined her family. Education played a huge role in her life even as she struggled in school to learn a new language and adapted to a new culture. Her mom always instilled in her that she must strive to do her best in school because no one will ever be able to take her knowledge away from her. Her mom also taught her that she had the responsibility to help those she left behind in her homeland.

Nicky earned her Bachelors in French and Spanish at Notre Dame College in Manchester, N.H. She pursued a career in Education and made her mother proud when she earned a PH.D in Bilingual Education. She also wrote a Children's book entitled: A Visit To My Homeland: Haiti. She wanted to make it easier for newly arrived Haitian children to feel a sense of belonging in the classroom environment and feel both valued and validated when they see their own experiences reflected in a book.

One of Nicky's most significant achievements of which she is very proud is her establishment of a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Oasis For Haiti's Children was established on her family land in Haiti after the 2010 devastating earthquake. This Facility is now a Sport and Education Center where children in distant villages are now exposed to a variety of sports and able to have a nutritious meal a day. This has been a true Oasis in that community where children can come and learn, play sport, socialize and be children for at least part of the day and forget their every day hardship. This has been a
family operation where her three sons have become passionate about volunteering and mentoring children who grew up less fortunate.

Nicky loves to travel. Her passion for service traveling has taken her to faraway lands with Global Volunteers. She held Summer workshops for new teachers and shared her best teaching practices in Ghana, Tanzania, Thailand and India. However, the trip that impacted her the most was visiting the Elmina Slave Castle on the Western Coast of Ghana where she walked through the dark dungeons used to confine her ancestors. She tried to visualize how they must have felt in such unimaginable inhumane conditions before they exited the "Door of No Return" for their fateful journey to the New World. Her cross-cultural experiences have widened her horizons, becoming more accepting of others and living a life filled with gratitude.


February 14, 2021: We Are All Together: Love

(sorry, audio and video are unavailable for this service)
Kele Nitoto (he/him)
Kele Nitoto reminds us on Valentine's Day that love is more than just the romantic feelings shared between couples. Love is broader and deeper than that, encompassing the actions we take together to build love for our communities. Love is an action verb, a command – go forth and create love.
 
Kele Nitoto is a second generation percussionist based in Oakland who performs and teaches widely. He believes in the power of music to heal individuals and communities and help them resonate together in love.

February 7, 2021: How We Got Here and How We Move Forward as a Nation

(sorry, audio and video are unavailable for this service)
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)

Let’s take a look at how the American Civil War was intentionally and carefully undermined, how we live in the sway and shadow of that Oligarchic manipulation, to this day. Will this provide us clues as to how we can, in groups and personally, once again change the course of this mighty river?
 
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.

January 31, 2021: Tapestry of Faith—Themes in UU History
Worship Service Team
Though it has roots going back to early Christianity, Unitarian Universalism as an organized movement on this continent comes from two particular religious traditions—Unitarianism and Universalism—which consolidated in 1961 to form the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Though both Unitarians and Universalists have practiced their faith in individual and original ways, certain themes emerge in our story. Four themes we will consider today are freedom of thought, or noncreedalism; on-going revelation; the power of Nature; and building the Beloved Community. Bonus activity: Our service this Sunday will include a quiz! Print out this answer sheet if you want to play along.

January 24, 2021: Deadly Justice: Capital Punishment in the
Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

1/24/21 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
1/24/21 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)

In its final weeks in office, the Trump administration has resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles looks back over the history of capital punishment, the structure of our laws, and the arguments for and against the death penalty.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.

January 17, 2021: Martin and Malcolm Were Both Right

1/17/21 Clovice Lewis’s Sermon audio
1/17/21 Clovice Lewis’s Sermon video

Clovice Lewis (he/him)

People often tend to compare Martin Luther King, Jr.’s approach towards the Civil Rights movement in the United States with Malcolm X’s approach. Some feel our country “dodged a bullet” by taking King's non-violent path. Many of us are aware that both men expressed very nuanced opinions that contradicted the public perceptions of their positions. This sermon examines how those nuances speak powerfully to the historical confluences that shape our racial challenges to this day.

Clovice Lewis is a professional cellist and composer who composed his first symphony at the age of 17, and was a professor of computer music at UC Santa Barbara from 1978-1986. He has also been a serial entrepreneur and software designer for the past 30 years. In addition to music and technology, he has had had a life-long passion for aviation, and has been a private pilot since 1987. Clovice is in the final stages of receiving a Master of Divinity to become a UU Minister. His ministry emphasizes breaking down racial, class, and ethnic barriers, and preaching the gospel of the madness of human self-extinction.

January 10, 2021: Begin The Year in Forgiveness. Here’s Why.

1/10/21 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
1/10/21 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)
To begin this year (with the blessing of the approaching Metal Ox) I will share one of the lessons I learned from a small snake, with whom I lived for some years.  Forgiveness is a tremendously powerful gesture for ending one year and starting another. He showed me why we’d do well to forgive our loved ones, then ourselves and eventually our enemies. After all, “We’re only human.”

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.

January 3, 2021: Now the Work Begins 
1/3/21 Melanie DeMore’s Sermon audio
1/3/21 Melanie DeMore’s Sermon video
Melanie DeMore (she/he/they/them)
Many see the outcome of this election as a battle that’s been won, but the war has just begun. A door has opened onto a path that we can choose to walk, every day, on our way to a better world. Right here, right now, we are tasked to keep doing the work of Justice. What does it mean to be a true ally to our fellow people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ persons, unhoused, youth, and so many more? Join us as we look at THAT!

 

Melanie DeMore has traveled the world, was a founding member of the Grammy nominated vocal ensemble Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, and is constantly amazed by her life. But nothing is closer to her heart than bringing people together wherever she is to experience the healing power of music. Whether she’s performing solo, leading stick pounding workshops , doing residencies with choirs all over the country or teaching Sound Awareness to sixth graders, baby boomers, or senior citizens, one thing is certain: her mission is to make sure you unlock the key to experiencing yourself in all your Glory and return home with the very same excitement and passion for living that she herself has. When she comes your way, her energy will charge the very air you breathe like a meteor shower, so get ready to rise up!

2020

December 27, 2020: Our Democracy Going Forward, Act 2
12/27/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
12/27/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)

Rev. Dr. Carrie will again focus on the extraordinary crises our government faces as we approach the coming 25 days to the Inauguration of President-elect Biden—and reflect on how we can live with the unexpected in this time of a surging pandemic.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 

December 24, 2020: Christmas Eve Service: A Musical Christmas Around the World
(sorry, audio and video are unavailable for this service)
*Please join us at 5:00 PM for this special service!*
Santa brings gifts to people around the world while sharing favorite songs he learns on his travels. He ends up in the USA, singing with us the Christmas Carols that we have come to love.

Worship Service December 20, 2020: Winter Solstice
12/20/20 Max Venture Message audio
12/20/20 Max Venture Message video
BFUU Pagans and Friends

We will gather to celebrate the Longest Night, the rich and sacred Darkness that allows us to rest and nurtures the seeds of possibility. Maxina Ventura, longtime musician, activist, and priestess in the Reclaiming tradition, will lead us.

December 13, 2020: Reparations
12/13/20 Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at’s Message audio

12/13/20 Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at’s Message video

Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at (he/him)
In many ways, Reparations are already being won. Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at makes the point that reparations are about much more than a check. So discussing Reparations at this moment, considering the options, respectfully debating our differences, planning our strategies, studying our story of humanity, and more is a victory! While we are making great strides, overcoming some of the deepest effects of white terrorist supremacy and black self-hatred might take generations. What is key is that WE get and stay on the Reparations, and Ma’at, paths.

What is critical is that WE continue to make PREPARATIONS . . . FOR REPARATIONS!

Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at (fka European enslavement name, J. “Harry” Armstrong) seeks the sacred Way of our beloved Ancients and Ancestors, manifested in Ma’at. He is an ascendant of the Yoruba and Ewondo nations in Alkebulan-Afrika, who were captured as prisoners of war and tortured and enslaved in the 13 European colonies and what has become the United States of America. He is a Baba (Father) of one Sun, Chioke Bakari and mentor of many youth over the years. As well, Baba Jahahara is a Pan Africanist, socialist, (inter)nationalist and supporter of full equality and reparations for women and girls. In 2014, he “FREE-tired” after serving for more than four decades as a successful community-labor-environmental justice and human rights organizer (in Chicago, Kansas City, New York, the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area and around the African Diaspora). In addition, he is a long-time yogi, martial artist, organic plantarian (vegan), writer, composer/musician and author of several books, including “Many Paths to Kujichagulia (Self-Determination).” Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at is a Life Member, former National Male Co-Chair, recently-assigned Acting West Regional Representative and past editor/publisher of REPARATIONS NOW! for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA); and also served for a number of years as African Initiative Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, a Nobel Peace Prize-awarded international humanitarian organization. While planning for repatriation to the African continent, Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at currently resides in the sacred Indigenous lands of the OHLONE people, now known as Oakland, California. Reach him c/o This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or FONAMI, P.O. Box 10963, Oakland, CA 94610.

December 6, 2020: Being Present is EVERYTHING
12/6/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
12/6/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)

“May you live in interesting times.” This is an old Chinese saying… Well, actually a curse. Whether a saying or a curse is a matter of perspective. Yet, we Can say: We live in interesting times. So that double edge has never been more clear, as our culture comes of age. To the extent that we feel at the mercy of the tremendous tidal pulls of this moment, is the extent to which we are paying attention. If you’re not sure if you’re getting it (everything) right at this time…you ARE paying attention. Being present is even a challenge for the enlightened. One definition of enlightenment might simply mean that one releases resistance and accepts the challenge.

Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.

November 29, 2020: Cathedral of the World

11/29/20 BFUU Cathedral of the World Excerpts Audio - coming soon!
11/29/20 BFUU Cathedral of the World Excerpts Video
BFUU Worship Team

It behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming. — Ralph Waldo Emerson. Reflections and conversation about the UU tradition and our BFUU spiritual practices, with words by Rev. Dr. Forrest Church.

November 22, 2020: Our Democracy Going Forward
11/22/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
11/22/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her)

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles will summarize the state of our nation, twenty days after the 2020 election, and consider the future we face in the halls of power: the presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court. What tasks may we face, as citizens of a country in transition?

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 

November 15, 2020: Adapting to Adapting
11/15/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
11/15/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him)

Here’s the News: No matter which way the election goes…We’ll have to adapt to what comes next. Yet no matter which way the nation and the world swing, the question arises: will we adapt to the new world and/or will we co-create this next world. Will we still be in transition, not yet at rest? Rest is just a moment in change. So, yes…that will always be true. Forever more, as long as we exist.
What the heck! Let’s get good at this.
 
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.
 

November 8, 2020: Sacred Waiting
Pastor Jacqueline K. Duhart (she/her), Guest Worship Leader

11/8/20 Pastor Jacqueline Duhart’s Sermon audio
11/8/20 Pastor Jacqueline Duhart’s Sermon video

As one of my seminary professors stated, “There are some times in history that are THICK times. So much is happening and in flux.” Now is such a time. Our personal and communal lives are very pregnant. For some, waiting for the labor and birth process to begin in earnest is painfully overdue. Our national and global connections are strained at best. What’s a human to do? How shall we BE during this time of watching and waiting? Please join us as we explore what it means to brave the waiting and to stay connected in kindness and bright hope.

Pastor Jacqueline K. Duhart: Black American- African descent, eldest sibling in a military family, lesbian, mother, committed partner & deeply spiritual/religious. Earned a Master’s of Science in Social Work (University of Texas) & a Masters of Divinity (Starr King School for the Ministry-2008). August 2019 received Certificate for Spiritual Direction (Interfaith Chaplaincy Institute, Berkeley CA). Retired from United States Air Force after 21 years of service (2000) and served in the first Gulf War, retired June 2019 from urban church ministry after ten years of service. Also served for 8 years as an intern and volunteer Chaplain at Federal Corrections Institute (facility for women) Dublin, CA. Avid gardener, hiker, lover of humanity, gospel music, walking meditations, authentic movement, creating beauty & being an instrument of grace, mercy & justice. Amin, Ashay, Blessed Be and Shalom.
 

November 1, 2020: Honoring Our Ancestors, Beloved Dead, and the Cycle of Life
11/1/20 Evelie Delfino Såles Posch’s Message audio
11/1/20 Evelie Delfino Såles Posch’s Message video
Evelie Delfino Såles Posch (she/her/siya) Worship Facilitator

Starting October 31st (All Hallow's Eve/Hallowe'en) begins a week of honoring our Ancestors of blood and spirit (All Saints Day), our Beloved Dead (All Soul's/Araw ng  mga Patay/Dias de Muertos) who have crossed over. This is also considered the New Year of Earth-honoring traditions, marking the cycle of birth, life, renewal. Yes, there are so many New Years within the calendar year (consider Jewish Rosh HashaNa in September.)
The two Readings will consist of the Litany of the Names of the Beloved Dead. We ask you to submit names now for the Readings, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. At home, please prepare their Ofrenda/Altar with their favorites: spirits, food, colors; have extra tea lights to light (safely) when the names you have submitted are read.
We will deepen our connection with meditation, music, praying, singing, and visualizing our future for a better world, and ways to take steps to attain what we envision. Evelie will have Special Guests join us.
 
Evelie Delfino Såles Posch is a sacred song singer-writer; magical activist; Pranic & Shamanic Healer, and Certified Sound Therapist. She grew up Roman Catholic, but early on began to question some of the teachings. She studied for her Bachelor in Science in Psychology degree as her pre-med major, with a 2nd major in Philosophy.  Gradually, her vast readings led to opening her soul to other philosophies & even occult practices. She has connected deeply with spiritual traditions, practices, and teachings from all over the world. As a Babaylan ~ a healer ~ she is grateful for and accepts this great responsibility, and believes that anyone can be a healer and that anything can be a healing modality when they take the time to look deeply at the root of our conditioning to decolonize, unlearn racism, to have conversations, to learn to rehumanize our relationships. Please connect with Evelie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/evelie.posch
 

October 25, 2020: Blessing Our Sisters and Brothers of the Sea: the Life of Whales
10/25/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
10/25/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her) Worship Leader

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles tells the story of these brilliant mammals who travel the oceans.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 

October 18, 2020: Blessing of the Animals: Hypoallergenic and Conflict-free on Zoom!
10/18/20 Leigh Harwood and Joanna Foley’s Message audio
10/18/20 Leigh Harwood and Joanna Foley’s Message video

Leigh Harwood and Joanna Foley, Speakers (pre-recorded audio with slides by Eva)
It’s time once again for BFUU’s annual Blessing of the Animals service. This ceremony acknowledges that our lives are made richer by all the creatures that inhabit the Earth with us, not just those that share our homes. As we affirm our UU seventh principle on the interconnected web of all existence, we come together in the pure joy and playfulness that characterizes our lives with animals. Congregants are encouraged to bring their pets to the service on Zoom, and share stories about animals in their lives.
Leigh Harwood: “I am currently a lily of the field. I now use they/them pronouns, because I am non binary.”
Joanna Foley is a former journalist, retired social worker, and the Chair of the BFUU Worship Services Committee.

October 11, 2020: Voting During COVID-19

Adena Ishii, Guest Speaker
10/11/20 Adena Ishii’s Message audio
Speaker Adena Ishii from the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville will speak on how to check your registration, get informed, and vote during this pandemic. You will also hear about the history of the League, what to say when convincing others that their vote matters and how you can get your community engaged in this election.
Adena Ishii is the Voter Services Director of the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville (LWVBAE). She has been involved with the League since 2009. In 2014, she was honored with the Spirit of the League Award for her work connecting students with opportunities for civic engagement and from 2017-2019, she served as the youngest and first woman of color to be President of our League. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

October 4, 2020: Where to from Here?  

Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
10/4/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
10/4/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video
We’ve made many good choices to meet this pivotal moment. How are we doing? Where can we go from here? These are the questions we’ve heard so much from recent media to our private thoughts.
This is a big moment and we shall not drop the ball now. Let’s clarify what’s left for us to do.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.

September 27, 2020: Yom Kippur: The Day to Cast Away Our Sins
(sorry, audio and video are unavailable for this service)
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her) Worship Leader

On the eve of Yom Kippur, Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles reflects on the Judaic tradition of atonement for our sins and the search for forgiveness. In today’s world, how do we understand and acknowledge sin and acts of repentance?
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.

September 20, 2020: The Great Transition Part Two
9/20/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
9/20/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video

Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
We, at BFUU, have an open conversation regarding the current “great revealing.”* There are areas of interest for most everyone. How the two most recent entries (the surge in Black Lives Matter and the viral
pandemic) will come to impact our movement forward in time has yet to be determined. Yet we have been graced with a momentary pause to consider such questions. Where do we want to come out on the other side of this moment, and how can we make the most of it? What role can our small community play in this event? Part two: Given we don’t need to know how to do something before setting out to create or do it, what can we do to get where we want to be?
*Apocalypse:  Greek apokálypsis revelation, equivalent to apokalýp(tein) to uncover, reveal.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.

September 13, 2020: Celebrating the 13th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
9/13/20 Evelie Delfino Såles Posch’s Message audio
9/13/20 Evelie Delfino Såles Posch’s Message video

Evelie Delfino Såles Posch (she/her/siya), Worship Facilitator
Look to our ancestors and we can discover our indigenous roots around the globe. Our world is rich with art, culture, music and spirituality to commemorate our ancient creation stories. Here in America is a link to find out what land we are on: native-land.ca. Please research and bring that information to share. If you feel called, set up an altar with items representing the Directions and Elements. Evelie will have surprise special guests joining our ceremonial-service.

 

Evelie Delfino Sãles Posch is a sacred song singer-writer; magical activist; Pranic & Shamanic Healer, and Certified Sound Therapist. She grew up Roman Catholic, but early on began to question some of the teachings. She studied for her Bachelor in Science in Psychology degree as her pre-med major, with a 2nd major in Philosophy.  Gradually, her vast readings led to opening her soul to other philosophies & even occult practices. She has connected deeply with spiritual traditions, practices, and teachings from all over the world. As a Babaylan ~ a healer ~ she is grateful for and accepts this great responsibility, and believes that anyone can be a healer and that anything can be a healing modality when they take the time to look deeply at the root of our conditioning to decolonize, unlearn racism, to have conversations, to learn to rehumanize our relationships. Please connect with Evelie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/evelie.posch

Service September 6, 2020: Update on Migrant Community
9/6/20 Patricia Contreras-Flores’s Message audio

*9/6/20 Patricia Contreras-Flores’s Message video
Patricia Contreras-Flores (she/her), Guest Speaker

Mutual aid for immigrants in this moment: front line stories shared about what is happening and how to support communities.

 Patricia Contreras-Flores is a Bay Area raised Community Bruja and Organizer who works at Street Level Health Project.

*Note: the audio is complete, but the video begins after Patricia Contreras-Flores's first sentence. Please listen to the audio to hear that sentence, in which she expresses being honored as a conscious settler in these occupied precious Chochenyo Ohlone lands. 


August 30, 2020: Rising to the Climate Emergency: What Can We Count On?
8/30/20 (from 9/8/19) Joanna Macy Message audio
8/30/20 (from 9/8/19) Joanna Macy Message video*
Joanna Macy (she/her), Guest Speaker

Joanna Macy encourages us to identify our strengths and tools for change as we face the challenge of the global climate crisis. Young activists will also join us to report how they are building a mass movement of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.
Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with learnings from six decades of activism.
*Note: the audio is complete, but the video cuts off just prior to the end of Joanna Macy's message due to technical difficulties at the time. Joanna Macy continues:
“That which is keeping you alive goes back, back through to the first living cells in the oceans of Gaia and even further than that; every atom and every molecule and every cell of our body goes back to the formation of the galaxies.
My dear ones, we are old.
You may think I look old. I’m a spring chicken compared to you when you see how deep is the age in you. But just count, it’s okay if you just count your age as that of Gaia. 4-some billion years.
So when you decide to stand up in the meeting, when you decide to move out and do what you need to do for the sake of the planet and for the climate and to still the fires, you will know your true age and your true authority.
Glad to be part of you.
Thank you.”

August 23, 2020: From Sojourner Truth to Stacy Abrams: Women’s Equality Day and the Right To Vote
8/23/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio

8/23/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
On this 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote, Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles traces the history of voting rights for African American women and other women of color, and the fight for equality in all walks of life.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 
August 16, 2020: The Great Transition Part ONE (again) 
8/16/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
8/16/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video

Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader

Rev. Marsh was unable to attend Worship Service, so the Worship Team shared his July sermon (reposted above), inviting further reflection on that theme.
We, at BFUU, have an open conversation regarding the current “great revealing.”* There are areas of interest for most everyone. How the two most recent entries (the surge in Black Lives Matter and the viral pandemic) will come to impact our movement forward in time has yet to be determined. Yet we have been graced with a momentary pause to consider such questions. Where do we want to come out on the other side of this moment, and how can we make the most of it? What role can our small community play in this event? Part one: Identifying the (potential) changes on the table. 
*Apocalypse:  Greek apokálypsis revelation, equivalent to apokalýp(tein) to uncover, reveal.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.

 

August 9, 2020: The Color-Blind Society and Other Myths: Dismantling Racism in America
8/9/20 Clovice Lewis’s Message audio
8/9/20 Clovice Lewis’s Message video

Clovice Lewis (he/him), Guest Worship Leader

Through his many careers as music composer and performer, entrepreneur/software designer, and professor of computer music, the unifying life theme for Clovice Lewis has been his personal mission to break down racial, gender, class and ethnic barriers. Through his spoken and musical messages, Clovice urgently reminds the world of the madness of human self-extinction.

Clovice is a professional cellist and composer who composed his first symphony at the age of 17, and was a professor of computer music at UC Santa Barbara from 1978-1986. He has also been a serial entrepreneur and software designer for the past 30 years. In addition to music and technology, he has had had a life-long passion for aviation, and has been a private pilot since 1987. Clovice is presently completing a Master of Divinity degree at the Starr Kind School for the Ministry. He describes his personal mission as breaking down racial, gender, class, and ethnic barriers and in preaching the gospel of the madness of human self-extinction.
 

August 2, 2020: Youth Leaders Stepping Forward
8/2/20 Mame Diarra AbdurRahman and Reginald Gentry audio
8/2/20 Mame Diarra AbdurRahman and Reginald Gentry video
NOTE: references are made in audio and video to the YSA website: https://youthspiritartworks.org/
Mame Diarra AbdurRahman (she/her), and Reginald Gentry (he/him), Guest Speakers

Recent headlines bring news  about young people stepping up to organize large protests about anti-Black police violence. Young voices speaking truth to power! Meanwhile, although not as visible to the world at large, Youth Spirit Artworks  is  empowering its own group of youth leaders. Several of its talented artists will report on their work to serve unhoused and housing-insecure young people. Building tiny homes together, their vision is to create Tiny Home villages where young people can thrive through mutual support.

Mame Diarra AbdurRahman: I am 25 and the Community Outreach Leader at Youth Spirit Artworks. I was born in Oakland CA. I am currently attending Mitchell College and majoring in Family and Behavior Studies to later run a nonprofit helping people dealing with dismantling trauma and giving more opportunities to youth of low-income backgrounds. I love working at Youth Spirit Artworks because I love helping the community but also because YSA feels like a family to me. YSA has given me the courage and assistance to be able to step out in the world and develop myself despite my challenges.
Reginald Gentry: I am the Social Media Communications Leader at YSA. I grew up in Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond. I currently live in Berkeley. I’m working towards earning an Associates Degree in Animation and Game Design from Berkeley City College, gaining more social media management and coordination experience and establishing a more notorious video game career as a streamer and competitive gamer. Since I’ve been at YSA in August of 2015, I’ve worked as an Aspirant Artist, Social Media Leader, Board Member, and Assistant Project Manager. There are multiple skills and knowledge I’ve learned here such as getting more comfortable with public speaking, how to be a social media coordinator, getting familiar with different genders and sexualities, as well as seeing the positive influence that YSA has upon the Berkeley and the Bay Area community. I’ve never been an artist necessarily, but art has helped my life by showing me to appreciate the creativity and originality of people’s artwork, to have a more in-depth conversation with people, and has presented me with opportunities to make money.
NOTE: Eli Streiff (he/him or they/them), originally scheduled to appear, was understandably unable to do so): I am a Community Art Leader at YSA. I am a Bay Area raised Illustrator, painter and muralist. Mixing regional flora and forms with invented mythologies, my art is inspired by the wilderness and hidden or forgotten places. I came to YSA to participate and engage with my wider community, and develop new skills to further his practice. I am currently working on expanding our capacity for screen-printing production and am the lead youth on our Tiny House Village Murals Project.
 

July 26, 2020:  The Puzzle of Sudoku: If It’s Mind, Does It Matter? 
7/26/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
7/26/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
In this time of stress and isolation, when the future remains uncertain in so many spheres of our lives, we do well to seek refuge in solo activities that can give us pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. Rev. Dr. Carrie considers the evidence that mastering puzzles like Sudoku has promise not only of escape from stress but also of strengthening our cognitive skills that support us beyond the challenges of today.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 

July 19, 2020: The Great Transition Part One
7/19/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
7/19/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video

Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
We, at BFUU, have an open conversation regarding the current “great revealing.”* There are areas of interest for most everyone. How the two most recent entries (the surge in Black Lives Matter and the viral pandemic) will come to impact our movement forward in time has yet to be determined. Yet we have been graced with a momentary pause to consider such questions. Where do we want to come out on the other side of this moment, and how can we make the most of it? What role can our small community play in this event? Part one: Identifying the (potential) changes on the table. 
*Apocalypse:  Greek apokálypsis revelation, equivalent to apokalýp(tein) to uncover, reveal.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.
 

July 12, 2020: There’s Something Wrong With the Village; reflections on being the parent of a trans-gender teen
7/12/20 Rev. Ben Meyers’s Sermon audio
7/12/20 Rev. Ben Meyers’s Sermon video

Rev. Ben Meyers (he/him), Guest Worship Leader
There’s a famous African proverb often quoted by white liberals: “It takes a village to raise a child.” And yet...if we’re unable to raise ALL of our children, including our trans-, gender non-binary children, then there must be something wrong with the village. The sermon looks at what that might be, based on direct experience.

The Rev. Ben Meyers is celebrating his 25th year in the UU ministry and was a part-time minister at BFUU from 2009 to 2013. He is currently serving his eighth year of service at the UU congregation in San Mateo, serves in his local NAACP branch and is on the steering committee of the San Mateo County Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) chapter.

July 5, 2020: InterBeing | Interdependence | Interrelatedness
7/05/20 Evelie Delfino Såles Posch’s Message audio
7/05/20 Evelie Delfino Såles Posch’s Message video

Evelie Delfino Såles Posch (she/her/siya), Worship Facilitator

Come to a Ritual to celebrate InterBeing | Interdependence | Interrelatedness. We’ll create a sacred space to hold our Intention to re-discover, re-member how we Inter- are, are interdependent, are interrelated and thus how change and transformation may happen for ourSelves and how we affect each other; for a shifting of our brain waves; for inspiration to take action supporting humanity’s needs for environmental and social justice. Let’s weave a journey of singing, healing, guided meditation/ vision quest, indigenous shamanic blessing & wisdom, poetry, readings, and more. If you wish, you may prepare your altar at home with correlating symbols of the Directions & Elemental Spirits: North/Mother Earth (Ancestors, Nature spirits); East/Air (Breath, Spiritual Vision); South/Fire (Energy/Passion, Inner Will); West/ Water (Dreaming; Feeling); Center/Spirit (Alchemy/Change; Ultimate Mystery).
Pinagpala na/ Blessed Be.

Evelie Delfino Sãles Posch is a sacred song singer-writer; magical activist; Pranic & Shamanic Healer, and Certified Sound Therapist. She grew up Roman Catholic, but early on began to question some of the teachings. She studied for her Bachelor in Science in Psychology degree as her pre-med major, with a 2nd major in Philosophy.  Gradually, her vast readings led to opening her soul to other philosophies & even occult practices. She has connected deeply with spiritual traditions, practices, and teachings from all over the world. As a Babaylan ~ a healer ~ she is grateful for and accepts this great responsibility, and believes that anyone can be a healer and that anything can be a healing modality when they take the time to look deeply at the root of our conditioning to decolonize, unlearn racism, to have conversations, to learn to rehumanize our relationships. Please connect with Evelie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/evelie.posch
 

June 28, 2020: Pride Service: 50th Anniversary of Stonewall
Ira X Armstrong (they/them) and Aïsha-Linnáea Joy Holden (she/her), Lay Worship Leaders
6/28/20 Melanie DeMore’s Message audio
6/28/20 Melanie DeMore’s Message video

Please join Melanie DeMore, Aïsha-Linnáea Joy Holden, and Ira X Armstrong in a musical celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Revolution. Let us follow Black and Trans leaders and make our life as a celebration and a song.
Ira grew up in the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles and is a 3rd generation UU raising 4th generation UUs. They have taught Religious Education classes in different UU churches in Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles both as a volunteer lay leader and as a paid professional. They are a trans Blacktivist, an experienced worship leader, storyteller and vocalist for the revolution. Ira is currently the President of the BFUU Board, a regular worship associate, an Our Whole Lives facilitator, and the accidental and intentional ad hoc middle school coordinator. They believe it is possible, with OWL and other consent-based sexual education models, to end rape culture in one generation.
 

June 21, 2020: The Power of Curiosity
6/21/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
6/21/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video

Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader

Build a good Question and your answers will come. A good question is the seat of wisdom. But how do we find a good question? Is it the first thing that comes to mind? Or do I build it on a pile of other questions; like a Great Pyramid? Can we work together to find some honest answers to the question, “Am I asking the right questions in life?”
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.
 

June 14, 2020: Riding the Storm—Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
6/14/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
6/14/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her) Worship Leader
As we approach the halfway mark of the year 2020, Rev. Dr. Carrie looks back over the pandemic crisis and what we hope for on the path forward.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 

June 7, 2020: From Marching to Zooming: Activism in the Age of Shelter in Place
6/7/20 Rev. Tom and Rev. Rowan’s Sermon audio
6/7/20 Rev. Tom and Rev. Rowan’s video
Rev. Tom McAninley (he/him) and Rev. Rowan Fairgrove (she/her), Guest Worship Leaders
From canceling fundraising films and a live mass assembly and march on the Mall in Washington, DC, to zoom and webinar organizing and car caravans, we in the Poor People’s Campaign have had to adjust and be very creative about social justice work while “Staying Home, Staying Alive and Organizing.” Rev. Rowan and Rev. Tom will share their strategies for activism TODAY!

Rev. Rowan Fairgrove, EPs, currently a National Interfaith Representative for the Covenant of the Goddess. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council.She is also part of the PACT (PICO CA) Clergy Caucus and Beloved Community Team. She has been volunteering with the Poor People's Campaign and attended the PPC National Congress in Washington DC last year. She helped with the M.O.R.E. tour stop in San Francisco of last December and is part of the Bay Area PPC Faith Leaders Outreach Working Group.
Rev. Tom McAninley is a long time member of BFUU, serving on the board for the maximum of eight years, being president or co-president for many of those years. He also served many years on the Worship Committee. He was ordained by BFUU in 2017.He has been on the Bay Area Steering Committee of the Poor People's Campaign since October of 2019.
 

May 31, 2020: The Journey of 1,000 Miles Begins with One Step 
5/31/20 Andrea Henson’s Message audio
5/31/20 Andrea Henson’s Message video

Andrea Henson (she/her), Guest Speaker

The COVID-19 virus has upended many of our lives, and especially those of our unhoused friends. Andrea Henson from Where Do We Go, Berkeley? brings us up to date on what is going on in the homeless community and what steps we can take now to help all of us on our journey together.

Andrea Henson is the lead organizer and founding member of “Where Do We Go, Berkeley?” a grassroots effort which challenges the eviction of homeless people from public lands. Recently, she and other volunteers have formed an emergency network of workers from half a dozen nonprofits that have formally shut their doors. Andrea goes into the camps and interacts directly with residents, nearly all of whom she knows by name. Andrea applies her wide ranging education and experience (she dropped out of high school, but now holds degrees in law and in science, information systems technology; has worked as an education attorney, a member of the DHS Computer Emergency Readiness team, and as a beekeeper) in her powerful work as a homeless advocate.
 
May 24, 2020: When Truth Walks the Plank: Covid 19 and Captain Crozier 
5/24/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon audio
5/24/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles considers the fate of the messenger of bad news when sailors face the pandemic that came on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Their story brings to the fore the concerns with the widening spread of the coronavirus through the military and the lagging response.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 
May 17, 2020: Know What You Want
5/17/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
5/17/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video

Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
If you look at it carefully, you will find that more people can tell you what they don’t want much more clearly than they know what they do want. Well, isn't that OK, non-attachment, and all? Wanting things might be the seat of greed. Some of the best advice I can proffer would be to become curious about this.
Marsh Agobert is an ordained Unitarian-Universalist cleric who began his ministry with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland in the late 70s and early 80s. He has long practiced psychotherapeutic treatment and has successfully worked with individuals, couples, families, and actively psychotic inpatients. 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 extensive experience in several spiritual practices, including martial arts and yogas such as Mindfulness, Anusara, and Tai-Chi/Qi Gong, being among the most recent during the past ten years.
 
May 10, 2020: Becoming Mama: Experiences in Motherhood Across Gender 
(sorry, audio and video are unavailable for this service)
Ira X Armstrong (they/them), Lay Worship Leader
The original Mother’s Day was created as a war protest. This Mother’s Day, please join Ira X Armstrong and Johanna Holden as they explore gender, motherhood, and the power of mamas and their allies and accomplices to unite in solidarity towards a world that values the life of all beings and of the earth.
Ira grew up in the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles and is a 3rd generation UU raising 4th generation UUs. They have taught Religious Education classes in different UU churches in Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles both as a volunteer lay leader and as a paid professional. They are a trans Blacktivist, an experienced worship leader, storyteller and vocalist for the revolution. Ira is currently the President of the BFUU Board, a regular worship associate, an Our Whole Lives facilitator, and the accidental and intentional ad hoc middle school coordinator. They believe it is possible, with OWL and other consent-based sexual education models, to end rape culture in one generation.
 
May 3, 2020: May Day!
5/3/20 Ira X Armstrong’s Homily Audio 5/3/20
5/3/20 Ira X Armstrong’s Homily Video
5/3/20 Order of Service
Ira X Armstrong, Lay Worship Leader

May Day has several associations—a nature-associated spring holiday, International Workers’ Day and the world-wide call for help for ships at sea. We will weave all these themes together with readings and music, to celebrate our community, our labors, and our support of each other through this new season.
 
April 26, 2020: Faith, Feasting and Fasting
4/26/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon Audio
4/26/20 Rev. Dr. Carrie’s Sermon video
4/26/20 Order of Service

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
In the month of Ramadan, our sisters and brothers of the Islamic faith fast every day till evening. This summer on July 30th and again on September 28th, Jews will fast for a day. Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, Jains and Hindus practice fasting.  Rev. Dr. Carrie explores the question of how fasting became part of the spiritual life of human beings.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 
April 19, 2020: Gratitude: A Timely Reminder
4/19/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon audio
4/19/20 Rev. Marsh’s Sermon video
4/19/20 Order of Service

Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader

We’ve spoken of gratitude before. This is intended to be a return to that subject; among the greatest of all subjects and states of being. It seems particularly important at this point in time when it might be too easy to overlook its magic.
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 12, 2020: Looking for our Resurrection
4/12/20 Jeff Palmer’s Message audio
 
4/12/20 Jeff Palmer's Message video

4/12/20 Order of Service
Jeff Palmer (he/him), Lay Worship Leader

At times of distress and disaster we need a resurrection, an infusion of new life and new possibilities. Two thousand years ago the disciples of Jesus needed a resurrection to turn their disaster into hope. Today we look for our own sense resurrection in unsettled times.
Jeff grew up in the East Bay and attended Christian churches until adulthood. He has been a plumber, public school teacher, and a volunteer at a variety places including Haiti and more recently at BFUU as chair of Sunday Service Committee, and a board member. He joined BFUU a few years ago and he and his wife Margaret want to continue to be involved in the exciting things that BFUU does for social and environmental justice.
 

April 5, 2020:  Finding Hope Among Sacred Loss 
4/5/20:  Joe Gabaeff’s Sermon audio
4/5/20 Joe Gabaeff's Message video
4/5/20 Order of Service
Joe Gabaeff (he/him), Guest Worship Leader

With a pandemic upon us, we are inundated with messages of loss, fear and uncertainty. And, from the cracks that have appeared on our lives, there is light flowing through in the form of love, connection and hope. Join us as we honor sacred loss and elevate the importance of our elders finding and spreading hope in these difficult times.

Joe Gabaeff (he/him) is a first-year Mdiv student at Starr King School for the Ministry, looking toward ordination into the Unitarian Universalist movement. A former video game attorney, Joe decided to leave the corporate world to pursue a calling in creating safe spaces for others to further self-discover their own authenticity. As a lover of the other-than-human world, his ministry seeks to emphasize the interdependent nature of our existence with the web of All, and welcome in all sides of life as necessary for living from our true, authentic selves. The most important thing for you to know about Joe, is that, You, all of You, are welcome here.
 

March 29, 2020: How to Hold Onto Each Other at Arm’s Length
3/29/20: Melanie DeMore’s Message audio

3/29/20 Melanie DeMore’s Message video
3/29/20 Full Service video (edited for privacy) on YouTube
3/29/20 Order of Service
Melanie DeMore (she/he/they/them), Guest Worship Leader

we can always count on a message of hope from Melanie DeMore, the powerful musician and Oakland-based vocal activist whose anthem “One Foot in Front of the Other” inspired millions after the 2016 election.

 

March 22, 2020: Love in a Time of Novel Coronavirus
3/22/20: Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles’s Sermon audio
3/22/20 Full Service video (edited for privacy) on YouTube

3/22/20 Order of Service
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles considers the level of community upheaval in the face of the pandemic affecting our nation, our people, and how to keep our mental balance.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 

March 15, 2020: Building the Star Trek Future
3/15/20 Laila Ibrahim’s Sermon video

3/15/20 Order of Service
Laila Ibrahim (she/her), Guest Worship Leader

The stories we tell about our past can help us more honestly understand our present – or keep reinforcing the myths that maintain they system of oppression and privilege we were born into. It takes humility and accountability to reveal the painful truth hidden in plain sight.

Author Laila Ibrahim, a devout UU and active member of First Unitarian Church of Oakland, will speak about her challenge to write meaningful stories about the historical legacies that shape our world today. She had sold more than 1.3 million novels in 10 languages.

March 8, 2021: Good Cop, Bad Cop? When Women Call for Help (sermon audio)
Reflection on Women’s Activism and the Consequences by
Joanna Foley
 
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader

On International Women’s Day, Rev. Dr. Carrie examines the problematic experience of women with law enforcement when they take social action and when they seek protection in face of violence.
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.
 
March 1, 2020: On Waking AND Rising (message audio)
Nell Myhand (she/her), Guest Speaker
In these perilous political times we are admonished to wake up, if we are asleep and to stay woke if we are awake. But is woke enough? We will think together about what is required to bring about the changes that we need to have the society we want. One that values all of us and the planet.
Nell Myhand is a member of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival's Bay Area Supporters Steering Committee. She has been working for justice for most of the 63 years she has been on the planet starting in the 1970's at My Sister's Place the first battered women's shelter in southeast Ohio, with Columbus Women Against Rape in Safe, Strong and Free their child abuse prevention program, then in the Bay Area at Oakland Men's Project and the Todos Institute working with young people and adult allies to build alliances across differences before becoming a full time caregiver for her mother and partner in the mid 2000's.  Nell resumed her political work as a housing rights activist doing foreclosure prevention with Causa Justa:Just Cause. During the 2000's, Nell was active with the Global Women's Strike and Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike demanding that women's unpaid caring work valued and waged. She is currently working on a young adult novel, "Nyeliah Fights for Justice" a coming of age story about a Black teen whose father is murdered by the Oakland Police. She is politicized and joins the Black Lives Matter movement.
 
February 23, 2020: Social Justice Through Music (no audio available - service didn’t include a sermon or message)
Clovice Lewis (he/him), Worship Leader
This service will focus on the power of music to encourage social justice. Music will take the lead, so be prepared to bring your voice. In addition to music of liberation and justice, Clovice will also offer selections from his new musical about social justice, “Harlem Voices.”
Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., who has composed numerous musical works ranging from ensemble to electronic and orchestral pieces, graduated from the prestigious College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He began teaching as a freshman at the school, and upon completion of his studies, accepted a position as an Associate Professor there and taught until 1985. He was, at the time, one of the youngest professors in the UC system (at 22 years old) to hold such a position. In addition to his experience as a composer and cellist, Clovice has also enjoyed a dual, and extensive career as a technologist and serial entrepreneur. Based in the Silicon Valley, Technology Media Enterprises, has been at the forefront of desktop publishing, computer graphics, 3D modeling and animation, digital audio, computer based training, high level object oriented programming, and multimedia productions. Since 1984, Clovice has created multiple businesses. He is presently at the beginning a new career, studying at the Starr King School of Ministry to become a Unitarian Minister.
 
February 16, 2020: Three Points Toward Raising Racial IQ sermon audio
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
Any conversation regarding race indicates controversy, a myriad of historical references, current factoids and a cyclone of emotion. Today we will simplify our quest with a look at three simple points that may help raise our Racial IQ by, well, three points; if we can relax and pay close attention. Fear not.
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.
 

Minister Cherri Murphy (she/her), Guest Worship Leader
Although displacement happens to everyone, it mostly affects African Americans. Ten years ago, African Americans comprised 40% of the City of Oakland. Today that number hovers around 28%. Of those living on the streets, 70% are African American.
This abomination provides a much-needed spiritual response to the Empire’s legal and unjust methods to justify acts of violence and invites us to imagine new practices of belonging for EVERYBODY. Without an intentional practice of “getting free,” our souls are in grave jeopardy of becoming inaccessible.

Our thought partners to support us today are Moms4Housing, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and ancient Hebrew texts, Jeremiah 30. We are going to look at these texts through the hermeneutics of displacement.

Minister Cherri Murphy is a social justice minister in the East Bay area, and a Doctoral Student at GTU-American Baptist Seminary of the West. She is also a member and licensed spiritual practitioner at Heart and Soul Center located in Oakland, Ca.

January 26, 2020: The Magical Gift of Light sermon audio
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
As the new year begins, our planet is changing the angle of its path around the sun.  Long nights of darkness are yielding to the light of our star.  Rev. Dr. Carrie considers forgiveness and peace of spirit in the comfort of the growing light.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with providing pastoral care at BFUU and preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a memoir.

January 19, 2020: The Tribal Mind sermon audio
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
The tribal mind is one of the most profound characters in our intimate theater and one of the oldest. It’s the tribal mind that is responsible for nearly, if not every inhibition, internal warning, shame, paranoiac fear, and every should, ought or have to. At the same time, it is a primary player in how we’ve survived thus far. Like the notorious Ego, its sole job has been to browbeat us into both our collective and personal survival. That is until it isn’t.
How do we know that growth and change are necessary? Because it is these very mechanisms that brought about our survival in the past, which bring us to our current brink.
On this morning, we will seek the truths of the Tribal Mind, and perhaps gain some practical insight into why we “Seek the Truths (plural) in Life.”

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.

January 12, 2020: Humanity, Nature and the 5G Apocalypse sermon audio
Gar Smith (he/him), Guest Speaker
An overview of the invisible health and environmental impacts of the “5G wireless revolution” that lies behind The Internet of Things.

Gar Smith is an award-winning investigative reporter, co-founder of Environmentalists Against War, Editor Emeritus of Earth Island Journal, and author of Nuclear Roulette and the War and Environment Reader.
 

January 5, 2020: The Secret Life of Trees message audio 
Joe Gabaeff (he/him), Guest Worship Leader
Father Richard Rohr teaches that on an individual and societal basis, “The way we do one thing is the way we do everything.” Today we will explore this statement through the lens of our society’s treatment of trees. We all know they are alive, vital to our existence and beautiful, yet as a people, we have no issue treating them as mere objects, ornaments and nuisances - things to be cut, killed and grown as we see fit. In many ways, we treat their livelihood like they are invisibly hiding in plain sight. Drawing from recent research on the social nature of trees, how they grow and interconnect, we see there is much more going on in their existence than we thought. With these understandings in hand, as a community that values and recognizes life in all forms, how will we respond, and what does this say about our society's treatment of human lives?

Joe Gabaeff (he/him) is a first-year Mdiv student at Starr King School for the Ministry, looking toward ordination into the Unitarian Universalist movement. A former video game attorney, Joe decided to leave the corporate world to pursue a calling in creating safe spaces for others to further self-discover their own authenticity. As a lover of the other-than-human world, his ministry seeks to emphasize the interdependent nature of our existence with the web of All, and welcome in all sides of life as necessary for living from our true, authentic selves. The most important thing for you to know about Joe, is that, You, all of You, are welcome here.

2019

December 29, 2019: Breaking Chains, Black Voices Rising

This message is in two parts:
Doug Chambers (he/him), Lay Worship Leader (audio)
Ira X Armstrong (they/them), Lay Worship Leader (audio)
Worship Leaders Ira X and Doug, Worship Associate Virginia Hollins-Davidson, and other members of African descent celebrate the contributions of Black individuals and communities to the beautiful mosaic of Unitarian Universalism. From Whitney Young, Jr. to the current leaders of BFUU, African American Unitarians are leading us all to a better future.

December 24, 2019: Christmas Eve sermon audio
Lauren Way (they/them), Guest Worship Leader
Lauren Way returns for another service of lighting candles, singing carols and sharing hopes for joy, love and peace in the coming year. This service welcomes all who are seeking warm fellowship and refuge from the commercialism of the Yule holiday. Families with children are especially welcome.

Lauren Way’s journey has involved seminary work at Starr King, scientific research, bartending, direct services, peer advocacy and education. They always come back to heart connections.

December 22, 2019: Overshadowed by Love
Rev. Emily Hartlief (she/her), Guest Worship Leader

In the midst of the holiday season, we pause and reflect on what is most important to us, and how we can be more fully present to the miracle of life.

Rev. Emily Hartlief is a pastor, storyteller, parent, doula and poet. Not always in that order. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, she has served congregations of every size and flavor in Southern California, Western New York and British Columbia. She lives in Berkeley with her partner, Marcus, also a UU minister, and her son, Henry

December 15, 2019: Relationship, Compatibility and World Order – Our story to date
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
If you are comfortable and secure in humanity’s continuity and truly have no concern, feeling we have it handled – this conversation will be a waste of your time. Do something fun instead. I believe we are still, at this late date, searching for some key to empowering everything we could do.
In addition to several good ideas as to how we can move through the current crisis, we need to find personal motivations to do whatever is necessary, whatever it takes to survive this moment. When we find the right (our real) motivation to move forward we will know our personal paths and those will irresistibly attract each of us.

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 8, 2019: The Radical Teachings of Jesus
Jeff Palmer (he/him), Lay Worship Leader
What were the radical teachings of Jesus, how did he come by them, and how did the Early Church follow them? Are any of them useful in today’s modern society?

Jeff grew up in the East Bay and attended Christian churches until adulthood. He has been a plumber, public school teacher, and a volunteer at a variety places including Haiti and more recently at BFUU as chair of Sunday Service Committee, and a board member. He joined BFUU a few years ago and he and his wife Margaret want to continue to be involved in the exciting things that BFUU does for social and environmental justice.

December 1, 2019: Journey into the Heart: Bhakti and Kirtan
Sita Devi (she/her), Guest Worship Leader
Journey into the heart through Bhakti yoga and the practice of Kirtan, ecstatic group chanting, with Sita Devi, in the ancient language of Sanskrit. Transcend the material monkey mind and connect deeply with spirit and the divine through sound and song. No experience necessary, come with an open heart and mind.

Sita Devi is an International Kirtan singer and Yoga Instructor with a BFA in Dance from UCSB and registered as an ERYT 500 with the yoga alliance in 2007. In 2010 she took initiation into the Gaudia Vashnav lineage under the instruction of Swami B.V. Narayan Maharaj. Sita returns to Vrindavan, India yearly to deepen her knowledge and practice of Bhakti Yoga.

November 24, 2019: Why Can’t Religion and Evolution Just Get Along?
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
One hundred and sixty years ago today, Charles Darwin’s world-changing book, “On the Origin of Species,” was published in England. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles surveys the almost endless struggle over time between conservative religious doctrine and the careful, caring science that upended old assumptions with the power of truth.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.

November 17, 2019: Joy in the Darkness
Claire Eustace, MDiv (she/her), Worship Leader
It is said that joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin. In this service we will delve into the mystery of what brings us joy and how to access it in our lives. We will move, sing, and be still as we contemplate joy in the short days of this season.

Claire Eustace is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate who serves as a hospice chaplain in the East Bay. Claire is a member of First Unitarian Church of Oakland and graduate of Pacific School of Religion. She lives in Oakland with her spouse, child, and two cats.

November 10, 2019: Patience & Kelly visit BFUU for a Zimbabwean themed service
Kelly Takunda Orphan (she/her), Guest Speaker
Kelly will tell us about her musical journey and how it moved her spirit to embrace Zimbabwean music and how it transformed her and the music community here in the Bay Area.
We have the honor of meeting Patience Munjeri who is visiting here from Zimbabwe. Patience will share her Zimbabwean culture and music.

Patience Munjeri, one of Zimbabwe’s rare women mbira players, has played in traditional ceremonies since she was very young. Because her mother is a traditional healer and medium and her brothers also played mbira for the spirits, Patience grew up immersed in mbira music and deep Shona culture. She has earned a university degree and communicates very well in English.

Kelly Takunda Orphan received a grant in 1994 to do a year-long Ethnomusicology course at the University of Zimbabwe as part of her California State University education. Kelly continues to have a strong relationship with the musicians who reside in Zimbabwe and has been fortunate to travel back to Zimbabwe this year to record a new album with her band The KTO Project. The Record release party will be held at the Freight & Salvage Jan 28, 2020.

November 3,2019: An Unsettling Force, the Revival of Class Organizing
Millie Phillips (she/her), Guest Worship Leader
The past several years have demonstrated an enthusiastic revival of organizing on the basis of class. From teachers unable to afford to live where they work to the new Poor Peoples Campaign reintroducing the spirit and tactics of the Civil Rights Movement, more and more of us are realizing that economic injustice is entwined at the roots of all our social problems. Frankly, many UUs have been a bit slow to engage in this “new” approach. Millie will discuss why UUs need to get on board practically, ethically, and spiritually.

Millie Phillips recently became the consulting minister for the UU Community of Lake County. She is planning to be ordained in January by the San Francisco UU congregation, her home church. Millie is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry (2015) and served two years as the intern minister at Santa Rosa UU. Before retiring to study for ministry, Millie focused on labor activism. Today, she remains active as a volunteer, including serving on the board of the national Labor Fightback Network. Millie lives in Oakland with her husband, a jazz musician. She has two adult children and two grandchildren.
 

October 27, 2019: The Legacy of Michael Servetus, a Father of our Faith
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
Humanist, theologian, medical pioneer, student of law, master of classical languages, and one of the fathers of Unitarianism—this sixteenth century genius offered his powerful critique of trinitarianism that led to his execution for heresy on October 17, 1553. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles considers his life in a time of ferment, his quest for truth, and his courage in confronting orthodoxy when it errs.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.

October 20, 2019: The Call for Beloved Community - Ingathering (service was active-not suitable for listening)
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
For long time community members, and for the intrepid newly arrived; whether summer far ranging, or if you held the home front – Welcome!
In the midst of great tumult, we take this moment to Be together: meet, greet, welcome and huddle with those in this small raft. Ingathering is here! You are home.
Bring, a blessing or wish in writing for this coming year. We will place these in our basket this occasion and for years to come.
Welcome Home!

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 13, 2019: Maybe I’ll Be Your Healing: Waking in Forgiveness
Tom Rudderow (he/him), Guest Speaker
Waking up in forgiveness from a near-death coma after a violent assault, Tom wrestles with understanding both, the assault and the forgiveness. In this message, he would like to talk about what this close call with death has taught him and what he wants to share with others.

Following a life-changing violent experience, besides dealing with a brain injury and PTSD, Tom has become deeply involved in restorative justice activities, including being on the leadership team of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, affecting policies regarding prison inmates as well as survivors of crime; serving as a “surrogate victim,” sharing with inmates in Insight Prison Project healing classes in San Quentin; as well as involvement with RJ classes and activities in SQ. Also, having never thought much of “channeling” until it happened to him, and having “received” many spiritual, political, and spiritually active songs, he seeks opportunities to share them. He is grateful to BFUU for many of these opportunities recently.

October 6, 2019: Babaylan Indigenous Autumn BlesSING, Gratitude & Healing Music Rite
Evelie Delfino Såles Posch (she/her), Guest Worship Leader
Join Evelie Delfino Såles Posch & Friends for a ritual bringing in the balance of the Autumn Equinox, releasing that which no longer serves us, expressing gratitude for our Harvest, and making pledges for how we can contribute to heal our Earth home & all Her Beings. Evelie blends her native tradition with her immersion in earth-honoring practices, Buddhism, Sanskrit mantras, Sufi circle dances. Bring an item for the main altar that you can take back. Bring another item for the Exchange altar to give away.  Contact info: 510-684-0654, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Evelie Delfino Såles Posch is a sacred song singer/writer; recording artist; multi-instrumentalist; kirtan wallah; Pranic and Certified Sound Healer & Therapist; band, choral & ensemble director; storyteller; music educator; culture bearer; independent scholar; and magical activist whose talents have flourished for over forty years, spanning the traditions of her ancestors and the progressive edge of healing world music.

September 29, 2019: Hunt, Gather, Grow
Rev. Leela Sinha (ze/zir), Guest Worship Leader
What do you need? What are you good at getting? What are you good at creating? And where do you seek help? In these most tippy of pivotal times, the one thing we can’t do is do it alone.

Rev. Leela Sinha is a proud (and out) Unitarian Universalist minister with a theology of pleasure based in a pragmatic lifetime of loving and wrestling with our faith. Ze embraces big personalities and wild ideas in zir ministry, which centers on leadership development that emerges from identity, values, integrity...and pleasure. Rev. Sinha is the founder of The Intensives Institute and is the author of You're Not Too Much: Intensive Lives in an Expansive World. Ze lives in the East Bay with a housemate and her pitbull, and works throughout the Bay Area.

September 22, 2019: Waters of the World (sorry - audio unavailable)
Please enjoy sermon text here: 190922 Sermon The Great Warming Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
As we come together to celebrate our Water Communion, Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles considers the profound changes in all the waters of Planet Earth and the consequences for all life.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.

September 15, 2019: “Be, Do, Have” In the Time of the Great Warming
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
Some processes must be undertaken in the correct order to work effectively. This is true for realizing our deepest convictions. What slows down our ability to make the necessary and timely adjustment in our rapidly changing environment? Could it be that we are doing it backward? Like the great Taoist and Buddhist warriors perhaps we should slow down and get this done faster.
A minor adjustment yields a better result.

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 8, 2019: Rising to the Climate Emergency: What Can We Count On?
9/8/19 Joanna Macy Message video*
Joanna Macy (she/her), Guest Speaker

Joanna Macy encourages us to identify our strengths and tools for change as we face the challenge of the global climate crisis. The “Sunrise” group of activists will also send a representative to tell us a little about how they are building a mass movement of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.

Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with learnings from six decades of activism.

*Note: the audio is complete, but the video cuts off just prior to the end of Joanna Macy's message due to technical difficulties at the time. Joanna Macy continues:

“That which is keeping you alive goes back, back through to the first living cells in the oceans of Gaia and even further than that; every atom and every molecule and every cell of our body goes back to the formation of the galaxies.
My dear ones, we are old.
You may think I look old. I’m a spring chicken compared to you when you see how deep is the age in you. But just count, it’s okay if you just count your age as that of Gaia. 4-some billion years.
So when you decide to stand up in the meeting, when you decide to move out and do what you need to do for the sake of the planet and for the climate and to still the fires, you will know your true age and your true authority.
Glad to be part of you.
Thank you.”
 

September 1, 2019: We Are the Ones
Rev. Emily Hartlief (she/her), Guest Worship Leader
“The pitcher cries for water to carry, and a person for work that is real” writes Marge Piercy. What is the work that is real for each of us? In this sermon, Rev. Emily will address the question of how can we take the long view on our work in the world— and hold on to hope— in these heated and complex times.

Rev. Emily Hartlief is a pastor, storyteller, parent, doula and poet. Not always in that order. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, she has served congregations of every size and flavor in Southern California, Western New York and British Columbia. She lives in Berkeley with her partner, Marcus, also a UU minister, and her son, Henry who will proudly tell you he turns FOUR in November.

August 25, 2019: All Men Are Created Equal – What’s Happened to Women?
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
We’ll look back at the history of the Equal Rights Amendment and how conservative women joined in blocking its passage. The inherent worth and dignity of every person remains a hope still to be realized in the third millennium.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.

August 18, 2019: The Book of Ruth
Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin (she/her), Guest Worship Leader
Exploring the classic story of the triumph of righteousness in a harsh and unjust world.

Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA. After ordination from HUC-JIR in New York, Rabbi Mates-Muchin served as the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo and then as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Oakland before becoming Senior Rabbi in 2015. Rabbi Mates-Muchin focuses her efforts in serving her community through worship, pastoral care, social justice work, and encouraging the recognition of the vast diversity within the Jewish community. As the first Chinese America Rabbi, she has lectured broadly on the changing nature of the American Jewish community and how established Jewish institutions can become more inclusive. She is actively engaged in the general East Bay community, as well, through interfaith and other organizational work, and nationally, Rabbi Mates-Muchin serves as a Central Conference of America Rabbis representative to the Board of the Union for Reform Judaism. She is married to Jonathan Mates-Muchin and together they have four children, ages 10, 13, 15, and 17.

August 11, 2019: The Golden Key
Derrick Mustelier, M.Div (they/them), Guest Worship Leader
In his seminal 19th-century children's story, “The Golden Key,” George MacDonald tells of a key that unlocks a door to the imagination. This is no mere indulgence. Imagination and stories are at the very core of who we are. What do the stories we tell say about who we are and who we want to be? What does it mean to think of imagination as a radical act and a spiritual practice?

Derrick Mustelier is a recent graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry pursuing their call to an entrepreneurial ministry of creative and ritual arts. They were born and raised in Miami, FL where they became a "Born Again UU" nine years ago and they love to write (music and words) and read and get lost in the worlds and fandoms of movies and television. Identities they claim include Queer, Genderqueer, and Ravenclaw.

August 4, 2019: Joyful Life
Clovice Lewis, Guest Worship Leader
Clovice Lewis will speak about how to experience a life that is more filled with joy. The following is an excerpt from his sermon: “So, Clovice, you might say. ‘How do you find joy?’ My answer is that joy can be planned for, and even expected, but have you noticed that the actual feeling just comes over you spontaneously? Planning for joy doesn’t take a lot of work. You can simply put yourself into situations that invite joy’s presence.”

Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., who has composed numerous musical works ranging from ensemble to electronic and orchestral pieces, graduated from the prestigious College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He began teaching as a freshman at the school, and upon completion of his studies, accepted a position as an Associate Professor there and taught until 1985. He was, at the time, one of the youngest professors in the UC system (at 22 years old) to hold such a position. In addition to his experience as a composer and cellist, Clovice has also enjoyed a dual, and extensive career as a technologist and serial entrepreneur. Based in the Silicon Valley, Technology Media Enterprises, has been at the forefront of desktop publishing, computer graphics, 3D modeling and animation, digital audio, computer based training, high level object oriented programming, and multimedia productions. Since 1984, Clovice has created multiple businesses. He is presently at the beginning a new career, studying at the Starr King School of Ministry to become a Unitarian Minister.

July 28, 2019: How to Become an Angel (sorry - audio unavailable)
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
An ancient saying in the Bible reminds us, “Be not forgetful to welcome strangers for thereby some have welcomed angels unawares.” Each of us has entered BFUU’s doors as a stranger. Now the call to stewardship asks that in our thankfulness for the embrace of this community we become the good angels who welcome strangers seeking here the home of Spirit and compassion.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.

July 21, 2019: Check Your Wiring
Jeff Palmer (he/him), Lay Worship Leader
We will look at recent scientific discoveries and ancient religious teachings to study how our brains are wired. Can we change our brain's wiring? Can we really control how we feel by changing the wiring of our brains? Yes and yes.

Jeff grew up in the East Bay and attended Christian churches until adulthood. He has been a plumber, public school teacher, and a volunteer at a variety places including Haiti and more recently at BFUU as chair of Sunday Service Committee, and a board member. He joined BFUU a few years ago and he and his wife Margaret want to continue to be involved in the exciting things that BFUU does for social and environmental justice.

July 14, 2019: Forgiveness (sorry - audio unavailable)
Moses Channels (he/him), Guest Speaker
We have all experienced some form of personal transgression, betrayal, assault, or what we may rightly perceive to be unforgivable harm inflicted on us by others. Yet we have also experienced inflicting harm on others, whether intentional or unintentional. I will share what I have learned about forgiveness. In words and music, we will explore together the pivotal and often healing role that forgiveness may impact on our lives.
Moses Canales is in his final academic, seminary year at the Claremont School Of Theology in Southern California, completing a master of divinity and theological studies, focusing on spirituality issues, but through the lens of science.

July 7, 2019: Finding the Way to Heaven
Simone Chiodini, Guest Worship Leader
When Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching, he inspired a spiritual revolution. The Tao Te Ching is 81 little lessons of spiritual wisdom that instruct the reader on how to make it into Heaven. Taoists believe in reincarnation. We keep getting lives, until we become a sage, and then we ascend into Heaven. Simone Chiodini has been studying Taoism for 18 years. It is a religion that predates Buddhism by one hundred years.

Simone Chiodini is a soon-to-graduate student at Starr King School for the ministry. She hopes to find a small congregation that would enjoy her as their minister. Raised Catholic, she now considers herself a Taoist-UU. Writing is dear to her heart and she has published a science fiction/romance novel, and is working on the sequel. Among her previous professions, she was preschool teacher.

June 30, 2019: Love in the Time Of Hatred (sorry - audio unavailable)
Rev. Leela Sinha (ze/zir), Guest Worship Leader
Pride Sunday, 2019
We were lucky. There was a moment when things were looking up.
They weren’t perfect, but they were getting better.
Then the clouds blew in.
What does it mean to love out loud now?

Rev. Leela Sinha (pronouns ze/zir) is a proud (and out) Unitarian Universalist minister with a theology of pleasure based in a pragmatic lifetime of loving and wrestling with our faith. Ze embraces big personalities and wild ideas in zir ministry, which centers on leadership development that emerges from identity, values, integrity...and pleasure. Rev. Sinha is the founder of The Intensives Institute and is the author of You're Not Too Much: Intensive Lives in an Expansive World. Ze lives in the East Bay with a housemate and her pitbull, and works throughout the Bay Area.

June 23, 2019: Hope: The Blessed Four-Letter Word (sorry - audio unavailable)
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles (she/her), Worship Leader
Hope is that powerful urge we know and act on, long before we grasp the darkness we often must traverse. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles shares some of what life teaches us about this powerful force that rises in every language, as in every being.

June 16, 2019: Where Shall We Go From Here?
Rev. Marsh Agobert (he/him), Worship Leader
Following our recent examination of homogeneity (members are alike) and the heterogeneous (highly diverse) let us take a look at a specific homogeneous quality of our community to better understand how this affects us now and in the near future.
This month we will open the question of choosing our Fellowship’s future. Have we fulfilled our task, by being leaders into this most interesting of times, or shall we choose a bold new purpose and move forward yet again? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is a matter of the heart.

June 9, 2019: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations - Celebrating Diversity as a UU Sacrament
Lincoln Statler, M.A.S.C. (he/him), Lay Worship Leader
Once upon a time, the universe exploded with the potential to be anything. You, me, and those whom we do not know all come from that initial spark of potential infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Let’s reflect on this truth and celebrate one of Unitarian Universalism’s most cherished sacraments; the Flower Communion. This ritual recognizes the unique perspectives we all bring to Unitarian Universalism and how each of us are transformed when we learn from one another in a covenanted community. Please bring a flower of your choice to this worship service!

June 2, 2019: Spiritual Epiphanies from the Life of Mary, Mother of Jesus
Hashim Alauddeen, Guest Speaker
Mary, the mother of Jesus, plays an important role in the legacy of spirituality. Her life has been studied and examined by scholars worldwide. Hashim will reflect on some of the epiphanies which come from her example and look at how we can benefit and use them on our own spiritual journeys and quest for truth.

May 19, 2019: The Whole Journey of Rosa Parks
Rev. Tom McAninley, Guest Worship Leader
Most of us were taught the Rosa Parks story as: a black seamstress, who was tired after working all day in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, spontaneously decided to not get up from her bus seat for a white passenger. And as a result, she was arrested.

But there were very important factors that prepared her for that historical day. We’re going to talk about those influences because in this age of individualism we need to use the resources that will give us the courage to confront the challenges of our times and in the process develop and nurture deeper relationships.

Rev. Tom McAninley is a long time member of BFUU, serving on the board for the maximum of eight years, being president or co-president for many of those years. He also served many years on the Worship Committee. He was ordained by BFUU in 2017.

May 12, 2019: Our Mothers’ Legacy
Jeff Palmer, Lay Worship Leader
Our word for the person who gave us birth is mother and our name for the planet which nourishes us is Mother Earth. They both create a legacy of holding and sustaining us, helping us to grow and thrive. What can we do to express our gratitude on Mother’s Day? In our family, we call or send flowers and a card. Maybe take a mom out to lunch. How can we join with all our siblings worldwide to promote the health of Mother Earth on this special day?

May 5, 2019: Aligning Our Menus with Our Values (sorry - audio unavailable)
Jay Quigley, Guest Speaker
Jay Quigley will discuss the devastating impacts of animal agriculture on the planet and the ethical imperative to rebuild our broken food system. He will introduce the new Green Sunday initiative.

April 28, 2019: After Exodus: Our Call, Our Response
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
Yesterday was the last day of Passover, a time that commemorates the Israelites' exodus from their enslavement in Egypt and journey to the Promised Land. This Bible story is myth, not history–yet for centuries it has been a template for liberation and justice. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles considers our challenge as Americans in these turbulent times as our values face attack. Exodus tells us, getting out of bad times is one thing–getting to a better place requires even greater effort and the efforts of new generations.

April 21, 2019: Revisiting the Rings of Inclusion
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
We are each entitled to our opinion, regarding absolutely anything and everything. Therefore, we will eventually come to disagree about some or several of these points. Yet, even with this understanding at the outset we still find it important to make these points of contention, so deeply held that we are willing to risk everything; life, limb and planet. How do we fall into such deep separation and how can we change this most ancient of processes; that we might find a way to include even those who are different?
This may well be, the tenth hour of our human presence on this planet. The outcome is NOT inevitable; it is a choice. Choose first – figure out how later… as we go.

April 14, 2019: Faith for the Journey
Sue Magidson, Guest Worship Leader
How do you keep on keeping on when things get rough? Does faith play a role? What the heck does faith mean for a UU, anyway?

Rev. Dr. Sue Magidson is the Chaplain and Spiritual Care Coordinator at San Leandro Hospital. She's also a Community Minister affiliated with the UU Church of Berkeley. In this sermon, she reflects on her hospital chaplaincy work, grounded in her daily prayer, “May I be what's needed. May I be of service. May I be a blessing.”

April 7, 2019: What Does It Mean to “Green the Church”?
Ryan Carroll, Guest Speaker
Climate change hits the hardest in communities of color. Now those communities are fighting back through Green the Church, a campaign to expand African American churches’ role as a force for environmental and economic resilience.
Green the Church empowers church leaders and lay people to develop practical solutions to economic and environmental issues in the Black community. Rev. Ambrose Carroll, the founder, is a Berkeley pastor at Church By the Side of the Road. His nephew Ryan Carroll will speak about how allies can support and enhance the power of Green the Church.

March 31, 2019: Fluid and Multitudes
Lauren Way, Guest Worship Leader
Sunday March 31 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
Join is for an exploration of identity and expression as we consider what it means to be seen on this Transgender Day of Visibility.

March 24, 2019: Sex, Sins and Souls: Roe v. Wade Turns Forty Six
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Worship Leader
Sunday March 24 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
The Supreme Court decision that established women’s right to control their reproductive lives was a hard-won victory that grew out of years of women’s political activism. Now women’s bodily autonomy again is under threat from an increasingly conservative judiciary. In the words of Coretta Scott King, the lesson for our lives today is that freedom must be won anew by each generation’s struggle.

March 17, 2019: Faith in Science, Faith and Science
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
Sunday March 17 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
I find that some people take offense when I refer to Science as the most widespread religion of the 20th and 21st centuries. I think this is pretty solid proof that humans are still partially rational and partially irrational creatures. I see nothing wrong with this. I don’t hold this balancing act as a weakness…as long as we can maintain a dynamic balance. I AM concerned that we are battling a substantial slide toward the irrational in an untutored manner. Let’s look at how both the rational and the irrational are important to living as a whole human being and how we can reconcile this delicate dynamic.

March 10, 2019: Sound Healing Meditation
Special Feature: Sound Bath (Note: this is best enjoyed by using headphones)
Melissa Felsenstein, Sound Practitioner
Sunday March 10 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
Rediscover the art of relaxation, rejuvenation, and reflection through a live meditative soundscape. Explore why sound has been celebrated globally as a healing agent for thousands of years. Listen, relax, and feel a sense of inner tranquility.

March 3, 2019: International Women’s Day
Melanie DeMore, Guest Speaker
Sunday March 3 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
On this, the first Sunday of Women’s History Month, Vocal Activist Melanie DeMore will return to BFUU as we sing songs of life and celebration. When women sing, when women rise together, when women of all sizes, shapes, religions, sexual orientations, ethnicities and classes raise our voices together, we are so powerful that we can interrupt injustice anywhere. Join us as we rise up singing a joyful song that will ring throughout Berkeley and, quite possibly, the whole world.

February 24, 2019: The Question Behind the Question
Minister Cherri Murphy, Guest Worship Leader
Sunday February 24 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
With the power and authority that will make a change what is the question that we must ask ourselves in discerning our boldness for justice and love. Because what we really love is only as good as the work we do to create a loving and just world.

Minister Cherri Murphy is a social justice minister in the East Bay area. She is also a member and licensed spiritual practitioner at Heart and Soul Center located in Oakland, Ca.

February 17, 2019: Selma For the Complete UU Part II
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
Sunday February 17 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
Dr. Martin Luther King addressed UUs on many occasions and this personal connection has a great deal to do with who we are today.
In January we moved through the Universalist and Unitarian history revolving around race, from 1865 (involved, primarily, the ‘Negro matter’) right up to, but not into, the Events of 1964 (The Selma to Montgomery march.) This like so many UU justice issues was steeped in controversy. This month we’ll finish the march and maybe see what it started… in the UU world.

February 10, 2019: Making Murals, Creating Community
Edythe Boone, Guest Speaker
Sunday February 10 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
Decades before her nephew’s final words, “I can’t breathe” ignited a national outcry for racial justice, Edythe Boone embodied the truth that black lives matter. This bold muralist, activist and educator works to tackle poverty, racism and inequality—with a paintbrush. She continues to make murals with all who share her yearning for community. After the service, an artist’s reception will include the screening of a documentary, “A New Color: the Art of Being Edythe Boone.”

February 3, 2019: Breaking the Silence With Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rev. Clovice Lewis, Guest Worship Leader
Sunday February 3 at 10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall
Lewis will offer a sermon about how MLK influenced him as an African American boy growing up in the 1960s. He examines the lessons MLK taught in light of issues of today concerning continual conflict in the name of the “war on terror.” Explaining how he was able to predict our current and spiritual crisis in a sermon from 2001, Lewis writes, “The accuracy of my predictions are quite easy to explain… they are drawn from an understanding that we have sacrificed our spiritual compass for the sake of political expediency.”

Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., who has composed numerous musical works ranging from ensemble to electronic and orchestral pieces, graduated from the prestigious College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He began teaching as a freshman at the school, and upon completion of his studies, accepted a position as an Associate Professor there and taught until 1985. He was, at the time, one of the youngest professors in the UC system (at 22 years old) to hold such a position. In addition to his experience as a composer and cellist, Clovice has also enjoyed a dual, and extensive career as a technologist and serial entrepreneur. Based in the Silicon Valley, Technology Media Enterprises, has been at the forefront of desktop publishing, computer graphics, 3D modeling and animation, digital audio, computer based training, high level object oriented programming, and multimedia productions. Since 1984, Clovice has created multiple businesses. He is presently at the beginning a new career, studying at the Starr King School of Ministry to become a Unitarian Minister.

January 27, 2019: Service as Ministry
Lauren Renée Hotchkiss, Guest Worship Leader
We are all familiar with the various careers in professional church work and chaplaincy being considered a ministry. But if we expand this concept to include any calling to a life of service, we find that ministry is much broader than we are often accustomed and can include medicine, the arts, social justice and so many more. And what if we widen the circle still wider and view all human endeavor as an opportunity to be of service, or in other words a ministry. MDiv, ministry candidate, and chaplain Lauren Renée Hotchkiss discusses how she integrates ministry and service in her church activities, chaplaincy, and music, and how we might do so as well.

Lauren Renée Hotchkiss is a former BFUU member, active in leadership, who wore many hats while she was here. She is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion, and now is in her second year as a chaplain intern at UCSF Health. She is nearing the end of the ordination process with the UCC and is planning on a blended ministry involving pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, and music ministry. She currently also works as a pulpit-supply minister and Minister of Music.


January 20, 2019: Selma for the Complete UU
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
Of all the world’s denominations Unitarian-Universalism is neither among the oldest nor largest. Yet Dr. Martin Luther King addressed UUs on many occasions, including our General Assembly. What was our connection and from where did it come? Who were we before and during Selma and how can it inform who we are now?
Know thy self, oh UU. By coming to terms with history we may not be doomed to repeat it and yet we may be able to learn from it and move forward in new ways… if we can continue to grow and apply a little wisdom.

January 13, 2019: To Tell the Truth…
Rev. Emily Hartlief, Guest Worship Leader

Religious and ethical traditions around the world share the value of telling the truth. But what about in situations where the truth is not always clear? Or easy? What does telling the truth make possible?
Rev. Emily Hartlief is a pastor, storyteller, parent, doula and poet. Not always in that order. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, she has served congregations of every size and flavor in Southern California, Western New York and British Columbia. She now lives in Berkeley, California with her partner, Marcus Hartlief, the minister at UU Marin, and their three year old son.
 
Rev. Dr. Sue Magidson, Guest Worship Leader
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, past President of Starr King School for the Ministry, invites us to “choose to bless the world.” This sounds great in theory, but what might it look like in practice? How does your life bless others? Are there things you might consider doing differently in 2019? How would it feel to live your life with the intention of being a blessing?
Rev. Dr. Sue Magidson is the Chaplain and Spiritual Care Coordinator at San Leandro Hospital. She's also a Community Minister affiliated with the UU Church of Berkeley. In this sermon, she reflects on her hospital chaplaincy work, grounded in her daily prayer, “May I be what's needed. May I be of service. May I be a blessing.”
 
2018
 

December 30, 2018: Kwanzaa Service: A Time to Connect with Family
Simone Chiodini, Guest Worship Leader
The service will center on family traditions related to the African American holiday of Kwanzaa. We will all get a chance to explore the symbolism of this day, as we pledge to reconnect more closely with our own families in the coming new year.

Simone Chiodini is a student at Starr King School for the ministry. She hopes to graduate in a year and find a small congregation that would enjoy her as their minister. Raised Catholic, she now considers herself a Taoist-UU. Writing is dear to her heart and she has published a science fiction/romance novel, and is working on the sequel. Among her previous professions, she was preschool teacher.
 
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
Knowing what we truly want is a gift in itself. I’ll tell you something about me that you may not know…and why it took ½ my life to learn to like Christmas (the holiday season my family acknowledged.) Today we’ll help each other shop for the best present ever.
 

December 16, 2018: Turning Off the Valves at the Border
Leonard Higgins, Guest Worship Leader

Oil from the Canadian Tar Sands flows into the US through giant pipelines at the border. What would happen if someone turned off the valves that regulate that flow? Leonard Higgins and four companions decided to find out. These “Valve Turners” were arrested and they put the nation’s energy policy on trial. Leonard Higgins is one of the leading UU activists in the Environmental Justice movement.

Leonard Higgins:  I retired in 2011 from a 31 year career with Oregon state government focused on managing large information technology projects. I awakened to the social and climate justice crisis in a 2007 Joanna Macy workshop. I’m a member of the Corvallis Oregon UU Fellowship and was a cofounder of the Corvallis chapter of 350.org. I’ve been an organizer and participant in many social and climate justice efforts since then. I was called to nonviolent direct action beginning in 2013 and have participated in several acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to call attention to the climate crisis. I recently became a board member of the UU Ministry For Earth (UUMFE). I love long walks with my partner, Angela, and bicycling.

December 9, 2018: Ingathering
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
You may be thinking that it is customary for the celebration of “Ingathering” to take place at the very onset of the church year; and you are right. Yet, there is more to the meaning of this tradition; more that calls us to plumb its core values and  celebrate who we are now. They call us together to celebrate and give thanks for the person sitting next to us. Today, let us love these closest neighbors as if they are divine.

December 2, 2018: Remembrance, Resilience, and Resistance: A Celebration of Trans Life
Lauren Renée Hotchkiss, Guest Worship Leader

In addition to Lauren Renée Hotchkiss’ sermon, “As We Do Unto Others,” which you can hear by clicking on the service title or sermon title, the Reflection and Reading can be enjoyed:

Reflection by Nanci Ira Armstrong-Temple

Reading of Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray's words by Elinor Roberts
 
Please join Lauren Renée Hotchkiss and Nanci Ira Armstrong-Temple for a music-filled service dedicated to re-centering Trans Life and a rejection of the current attempted erasure of Trans community and people. There will be an opportunity to donate to TRUUST, the UU association for trans religious professionals.
 
Lauren Renée Hotchkiss is a former BFUU member, active in leadership, who wore many hats while she was here. She is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion, and now is in her second year as a chaplain intern at UCSF Health. She is nearing the end of the ordination process with the UCC and is planning on a blended ministry involving pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, and music ministry. She currently also works as a pulpit-supply minister and Minister of Music.

 

November 25, 2018: An Attitude of Gratitude
Jeff Palmer, Lay Leader

*This service has three audio elements (click on titles below to hear audio):
Why is gratitude recommended by all the great religions  around the world? Most agree that it is a powerful expression of love which can bring miracles into your life. Among the benefits of practicing gratitude are increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction, improved health and stronger relationships.
In this lay-led service, you will learn how other members of the Fellowship increase their sense of well being by living with an attitude of gratitude.
 

November 18, 2018 Sunday Service was cancelled due to anticipated continued poor air quality. 

November 11, 2018: Planting More Justice through Gardening?
Anthony Forrest, Guest Speaker

Anthony Forrest’s family had the best looking yard in Hayward when he was young. They made him cut the grass with scissors. Later in life Anthony ended up in San Quentin, where he joined the training program of Planting Justice, an organization that teaches gardening skills to help people turn their lives around after incarceration. After his release, he got a job at Planting Justice. He has since opened his own business, which hires and trains formerly incarcerated people and at-risk youth. Anthony’s compelling story of putting down roots in his community provides a ray of hope for many people in a time of Mass Incarceration...and he still has the best looking yard in Hayward.
 

November 4, 2018: Thoughts and Reflections on Thanksgiving From a Native American Perspective
Wally Ogi Johnson, Guest Worship Leader

Wally Ogi Johnson of the Potawatomi Tribe will share his thoughts and reflections on his experiences of Thanksgiving from yesteryear and today. Wally will also play Native American flute joined by Manny Lieras, Manny’s wife Yvonne Marshall, and their two young daughters in traditional dance, song, drumming, and story telling. Manny and Yvonne’s heritage is from the Navajo, Comanche, Eastern Shoshone, and Shoshone-Bannock tribes.
Wally Ogi Johnson, Indigenous Flautist of twenty-five years in Northern California, is also a Guest Lecturer, and Performance Artist.
 

October 28, 2018: Creating the Community You Long For
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader

“Our goal is to create a beloved community,” said Dr. King. “And this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
This month we will build on what we’ve discovered during Jeff Palmer’s service, offered in September. Beloved community is not a onetime act…it is a way of life; a choice. Is it our choice? It is mine. Let's keep moving forward, together!
 
October 21, 2018: People Who PLay Together, Stay Together
Claire Eustace, Guest Worship Leader
Together, let’s integrate mind, body, and spirit through play! Worship leader Claire Eustace participated in Interplay’s six-month Life Practices program and is now an Interplay evangelical, eager to share Interplay practices with as many people as she can. Even Science supports these practices! For those of you who attended Ms. Eustace’s service on play last year, don’t fret, this is a different service with the same theme!
Claire Eustace is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate who recently completed a year-long residency program as a hospital chaplain at St. Francis Memorial Hospital. There, she was the chaplain for the Behavioral Health Unit, where she led spirituality groups. In her chaplaincy work, Ms. Eustace introduced play as a modality for dealing with anxiety and negative thoughts.
 

October 14, 2018: Songs of Leonard Cohen sung by Conspiracy of Beards
Tom Gallagher, Guest Speaker
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.

October 7, 2018: Carrying a Torch for Liberty
Diana L. Paxson*, Guest Worship Leader

The true spirit of America is enshrined in the symbols of our land. In this election season, let us kindle a light from the torch of Lady Liberty to banish the fear and dispel the hopelessness that cloud the mind, and keep that light burning until we are once more a land of liberty and justice for all. *Diana L. Paxson and the RARAS ( Reclaiming and Restoring our American Symbols) project of the Fellowship of the Spiral Path.

September 30, 2018: The Gifts of the Crow (includes *Blessing of the Animals)
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Guest Worship Leader

The more we learn about other living creatures, the more we realize we are surrounded by and connected to intelligent beings who learn and feel and communicate as they cope with their existence. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles tells the story of the crow and some of the questions their talents raise.
*This year, we ask you submit a photo of your pet(s) to the office to be projected onscreen during the service. We’d like to get all photos by Thursday. September 27 at 11 AM. Please call the office 510-841-4824 ext. 1 before sending your photo. Please don’t bring actual animals to the Hall (other than service dogs) - we have folks with allergies!
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.
 

September 23, 2018: Unitarian Universalism: A Radical Vision for 21st Century Religion
Alessandro Gagliardi, Guest Worship Leader

Unitarian Universalism is the merging of two streams—each considered heretical in their time—arising in response to New England Puritanism in the 18th century. Unitarianism and Universalism each represent breakthroughs in the “thinking” and “feeling” of religious experience respectively. Brought together in UUism, the progression of these two streams make for a radical vision for religion and ethics in the 21st century.
Alessandro Gagliardi is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate and student at Starr King School for the Ministry. Prior to that, he pursued a PhD in Behavioral and Neural Science at Rutgers University. In his personal and ministerial practice, he works to combine the rational with the mystical and considers himself a student of the world’s religions.
 

September 16, 2018: Building Beloved Community
Jeff Palmer, Lay Worship Leader
We learn from each other through speaking face to face and sharing heart to heart. We may think of listening as a passive act but really listening and hearing each other is a deeply active process. You could say it is HEART-FULL.

September 9, 2018: The Promised Land
Clovice A. Lewis, Guest Worship Leader
“The Promised Land” is both a place and a state of mind, and many times, it is both things at once. The promised land represents a place or situation in which someone expects to find happiness, or the potential for a better life. This sermon will examine how the United States fares as a Promised Land in light of its recent immigration policy challenges.

Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., who has composed numerous musical works ranging from ensemble to electronic and orchestral pieces, graduated from the prestigious College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He began teaching as a freshman at the school, and upon completion of his studies, accepted a position as an Associate Professor there and taught until 1985. He was, at the time, one of the youngest professors in the UC system (at 22 years old) to hold such a position. In addition to his experience as a composer and cellist, Clovice has also enjoyed a dual, and extensive career as a technologist and serial entrepreneur. Based in the Silicon Valley, Technology Media Enterprises, has been at the forefront of desktop publishing, computer graphics, 3D modeling and animation, digital audio, computer based training, high level object oriented programming, and multimedia productions. Since 1984, Clovice has created multiple businesses. He is presently at the beginning a new career, studying at the Starr King School of Ministry to become a Unitarian Minister.
 
September 2, 2018: 1 in 8: Songs & Stories from the Heart
Deborah Hamouris, Guest Worship Leader
Breast cancer happens to 1 in 8 women annually. It happened to us, 2 women musicians, sister-survivors. Each of us wrote music as an antidote to the host of challenges to our bodies in the name of healing.
1 in 8 is a story in song. From country to jazz, folk to funk, there are songs and stories of lessons, wonder and small miracles. This music tells a personal tale, inspiring to anyone who has survived such challenges.
Guide to this Audio
0:00 Prelude - Mimi Fox, guitar
1:40 Opening Words - Joanna Foley
3:03 Deborah's Story part 1 - Deborah Hamouris
3:47 Healing Ritual - Mimi Fox, guitar
7:08 Introduction to Sermon and Song Program - Joanna Foley
7:25 song "One in Eight" and part 2 of  Deborah's Story - Deborah and Mimi
11:10 Deborah's Story part 3 - Deborah Hamouris
13:00 song "Worthy" - Deborah and Mimi and the BFUU Choir and Congregation
17:40 Deborah's Story part 4 - Deborah Hamouris
18:24 song "Beloved" - Deborah and Mimi
21:29 Deborah's Story part 5 - Deborah Hamouris
24:33 song "Strong Medicine" - Deborah and Mimi
28:57 NOTE: Strong language in this segment: "What's It Like?" blog post by Caitlin Feeley (by permission from the author), read by Deborah Hamouris
33:35 Mimi's Story - Mimi Fox
36:20 Deborah's Story part 6 - Deborah Hamouris
38:15 song "Song of Life" Deborah and Mimi
42:16 Deborah's Story part 7 - Deborah Hamouris
43:22 Sharing of Responsibility - Joanna Foley
44:27 song "No Time to Waste" - Deborah and Mimi
46:25 Offering Dedication
47:16 Deborah's Story part 8 - Deborah Hamouris
50:29 affirmation "Radiance" - Deborah Hamouris
53:15 song "Glad and Grateful" - Deborah and Mimi
57:55 Deborah's Story part 9 - Deborah Hamouris
59:58 song "I Can Live With That"
Deborah Hamouris is a musician and teacher, known for her work with the Appalachian Dulcimer.
Musically versatile, Deborah performs as a jazz vocalist and a traditionally influenced songsmith. In 2015 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and found herself channeling physical, spiritual and emotional stress into music. With collaborator, Mimi Fox, she recorded that music in 2017. Those songs, as well as personal stories of cancer treatment, are the show “1 in 8”.
Mimi Fox: Internationally renowned guitarist/composer/recording artist Mimi Fox has been named a winner in six consecutive Downbeat Magazine international critics’ polls and has been recognized by writers and colleagues alike as one of the most eloquent guitarists on today’s scene. As a composer, Mimi has written and performed original scores for orchestras, documentary films, and dance projects, while receiving grants from prestigious funders such as Meet the Composer and the California Arts Council. "1 in 8" is her 2nd collaboration with Deborah.
 
August 26, 2018: Women’s Voices, #MeToo, and the Momentum for Cultural Change
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Guest Worship Leader
Women are speaking up as never before, and institutions throughout our society are facing their history of sexual abuse by men in power. Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles considers how change begins with hearing the truth, respecting the authentic voices of others, and holding abusers accountable.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.

August 19, 2018: Answering Our Call
Claire Eustace, Guest Worship Leader

Reflection by Joanna Foley

Claire Eustace, a recent seminary graduate, is scheduled to speak at BFUU as a returning guest speaker this Sunday to lead a service on “Answering our Call.” Come attend the service to welcome back this wonderful speaker whose previous sermon on “Play” was so enthusiastically received.
Claire Eustace is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate and recent graduate of Pacific School of Religion. She currently learns and serves as a chaplain resident at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. Claire worked as an environmental planner, trusts & estates attorney, and consumer advocate in energy policy before accepting her call to ministry. She is a lifelong UU, likes to cook, make art and dance, and lives with her partner and child in Oakland.
 

August 12, 2018: The Power of Words
Jeff Palmer, Lay Worship Leader
We look to our sacred texts and personal experiences to see practical steps to take to build beloved community. During the service those that are interested will have an opportunity to express themselves through painting. Water colors will be available.

August 5, 2018: The Stranger
Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., Guest Worship Leader

“The Stranger” is part of a 5-part sermon series that Clovice Lewis wrote for a Starr King course entitled “Promised Lands and Immigrants” in the Spring 2018 semester. Lewis wrote, “We are all strangers to each other... a stranger is simply someone you have not engaged with... and a stranger is, most likely more like us than not.” Such is certainly the case with our neighbors in Latin American countries. Lewis examines the spiritual aspects of this very timely topic.

Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., who has composed numerous musical works ranging from ensemble to electronic and orchestral pieces, graduated from the prestigious College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He began teaching as a freshman at the school, and upon completion of his studies, accepted a position as an Associate Professor there and taught until 1985. He was, at the time, one of the youngest professors in the UC system (at 22 years old) to hold such a position. In addition to his experience as a composer and cellist, Clovice has also enjoyed a dual, and extensive career as a technologist and serial entrepreneur. Based in the Silicon Valley, Technology Media Enterprises, has been at the forefront of desktop publishing, computer graphics, 3D modeling and animation, digital audio, computer based training, high level object oriented programming, and multimedia productions. Since 1984, Clovice has created multiple businesses. He is presently at the beginning a new career, studying at the Starr King School of Ministry to become a Unitarian Minister.
 

Dr. Susan T. Mashiyama, Lay Worship Leader

Special Reading: Nature Poem #1 by Frances Hillyard
How can we be fully human without music in our lives? Whether it be singing, playing an instrument, or tapping our feet along to the rhythm of a favorite song, we are all music makers. Last year’s Music Sunday service was so enjoyable that we are having it again! Come sing, clap along, and dance with joy in a service filled with extra music and explore the personal connection music has to our spirituality. We’ll also hear an update from Dr. Susan on the 2018 GA meeting.

July 22, 2018: What Do A Billion Muslims Have to Teach Us About Unitarianism
Alessandro Gagliardi, Guest Worship Leader
Islam and Unitarianism have an unlikely bond with respect to their shared heritage in the Judeo-Christian tradition; but there are also vast differences between them: one developing among 7th-century Arabian Bedouins and the other among 19th-century “Boston Brahmins”. Today, Unitarian Universalists are among the most vocal allies of Muslims in the United States, yet we know so little about their tradition. Let us explore and see what it can teach us about our own faith.
Alessandro Gagliardi is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate and student at Starr King School for the Ministry. Prior to that, he pursued a PhD in Behavioral and Neural Science at Rutgers University. In his personal and ministerial practice, he works to combine the rational with the mystical and considers himself a student of the world’s religions.
 

July 15, 2018: The Immigrant
Clovice A. Lewis Jr., Guest Worship Leader
“The Immigrant” is part of a 5-part sermon series that Clovice Lewis wrote for a Starr King course entitled “Promised Lands and Immigrants” in the Spring 2018 semester. Lewis describes “The Immigrant” as an “indictment against the insanity of the cycle of American immigration policies based on race and ethnicity”. This sermon, written during the recent administration policy of “zero tolerance” towards immigrants coming from Latin America, provides a spiritual lens with which to view the current controversy.

Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., who has composed numerous musical works ranging from ensemble to electronic and orchestral pieces, graduated from the prestigious College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He began teaching as a freshman at the school, and upon completion of his studies, accepted a position as an Associate Professor there and taught until 1985. He was, at the time, one of the youngest professors in the UC system (at 22 years old) to hold such a position. In addition to his experience as a composer and cellist, Clovice has also enjoyed a dual, and extensive career as a technologist and serial entrepreneur. Based in the Silicon Valley, Technology Media Enterprises, has been at the forefront of desktop publishing, computer graphics, 3D modeling and animation, digital audio, computer based training, high level object oriented programming, and multimedia productions. Since 1984, Clovice has created multiple businesses. He is presently at the beginning a new career, studying at the Starr King School of Ministry to become a Unitarian Minister.
 

July 8, 2018: Humanism audio

7/8/18 Joanna Foley’s Message text
an adaptation by Joanna Foley of Essentials of Humanism by Kendyl Gibbons

Joanna Foley, Lay Worship Leader
Joanna delivered a message derived from Kendyl R. Gibbons service,“Essentials of Humanism”within a service created to celebrate empowerment and connection within the UU community.

July 1, 2018: Flower Communion
Doug Chambers, Lay Worship Leader
The Flower Communion was created almost 100 years ago by Rev. Norbert Capek to symbolize unity in his very diverse Czech congregation of people from Protestant, Catholic and Jewish backgrounds. Board of Trustees member Doug Chambers and his family will lead BFUU's flower ceremony. Please bring a flower and let yourself blossom together with all the other beautiful souls.

June 24, 2018: Freedom and Pride
Today’s Pride Movement reminds us that concepts of gender expression and orientation have changed over time. Were all societies binary? Certainly not! In ancient Babylon, the priests of Inanna-Ishtar wore women’s clothing to honor the goddess.

June 17, 2018: Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
BFUU Lay Worship Leaders
Missed the original Poor People’s Campaign organized by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968? Now you have a chance to get involved in the new Poor People’s Campaign. It targets poverty, systemic racism and environmental devastation. Led by Dr. William Barber, the eloquent organizer of Moral Mondays, the campaign calls for 40 days of direct action. UUs from our national president Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray to local BFUU members are taking an active role. Get an update on what’s happening now and how you can lend your support.

June 10, 2018: To Write Poems is to Find the Right Word
Leigh Harwood and Marianne Robinson, Lay Worship Leaders
00:00 Introduction of 1st group of poets by Leigh Harwood (includes nod to Gene Herman)
00:41  Poems by Wattie Taylor
05:22  Poem by Margaret Hamilton (read by Leigh Harwood)
06:19  Introduction of 2nd group of poets by Leigh Harwood
06:55  Poems by Francis Hillyard
08:34  Poem by Leigh Harwood
09:12  Poems by Marianne Robinson

From joy to sorrow and all points in between, BFUU poets find just the right words to express feelings–theirs and yours as well. Elegies, nature poems, shouts of jubilation. All will find a place on BFUU's beloved Annual Poetry Service. Come to enjoy a special reading by our current Poet Laureate Marianne Robinson. Gain inspiration for writing your own poems!

Leigh Harwood is a lifelong peace activist. She earned a BA in Activism and Social Change at New College of California. Leigh is a former BFUU poet laureate and currently the Chair of the Poetry Committee.
Marianne Robinson is the current BFUU Poet Laureate.
 

June 3, 2018: Of Pilgrims and Pillars
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
It’s Ramadan! Let’s join together to learn about its beautiful traditions and the history of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. What can the Hajj teach us as we move on our own pilgrim journeys through the world? How can we support and celebrate our Muslim neighbors in this sacred time of year? Come, come, whoever you are!

May 27, 2018: Decoration Day, Memorial Day and How Black Lives Began to Matter to White People
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles, Guest Worship Leader
Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles looks back at the history of the Civil War when African Americans volunteered for military service and began the struggle for equal rights as citizens of the United States of America.

Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles describes herself as a recovering psychologist and recovering attorney, who graduated from Starr King in 2011 and was ordained to UU ministry in 2013. Along with preaching at Bay Area churches as a guest speaker, she is active with the Rossmoor Interfaith Council and also writes poetry and short stories.

May 20, 2018: The Fellowship’s Hidden Heroes
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
How does the Fellowship run? How does it keep going? Who are the groups, the people whose clandestine work maintains us? Today we will not only reveal the teams that take care of us quietly, in the background, day by day and year after year – we will embrace this opportunity to honor them.

May 13, 2018: Lead with Love: A Mother’s Day Service
Melanie DeMore, Guest Worship Leader
Please join our worship leader, Vocal Activist Melanie DeMore, and our worship associate BFUU Board Member and Activist Nanci Armstrong-Temple, to sing about love, power, and how we can inspire one another through song to create a chorus of justice and liberation to rain down all over this world. We will talk about the Activist origins of Mother’s Day, give a shout out to all who nurture: mothers, mamas, babas, aunties, grandparents, friends, and more, and sing our way through the murk of the world to shine on, shine on.

Melanie DeMore bio: She’s traveled the world, was a founding member of the Grammy nominated vocal ensemble Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, and is constantly amazed by her life. But nothing is closer to her heart than bringing people together wherever she is to experience the healing power of music. Whether she’s performing solo, leading stick pounding workshops , doing residencies with choirs all over the country or teaching Sound Awareness to sixth graders, baby boomers, or senior citizens, one thing is certain: her mission is to make sure you unlock the key to experiencing yourself in all your Glory and return home with the very same excitement and passion for living that she herself has. When she comes your way, her energy will charge the very air you breathe like a meteor shower, so get ready to rise up!

May 6, 2018: When We Were Mexico
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
Many borders and flags have moved across the land where we now live and celebrate together--and, for many years, it was part of Mexico. This Cinco de Mayo, we will be exploring the rich and exciting Latinx history and heritage of Berkeley and greater Alta California – and the incredible Latinx present and future! As we share stories of our neighbors’ triumphs and challenges from yesterday and today, we can learn so much about how to continue in beautiful solidarity during these precarious times.

April 29, 2018: Addiction: A Path to Recovery for the Whole USA
Rev. Tom McAninley, Guest Worship Leader
Rev. Tom will debunk the major, and still pervasive, myths about addiction. Then drawing on the work of Dr. Gabor Maté, and Rev. Tom’s personal and professional experience, he will address a humane analysis and plan for systemic remedy for both individuals and our addictive society.

Rev. Tom, a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry, was ordained at BFUU in the fall and serves as its newest Community Minister.
Rev. Tom has been affected by addiction his whole life. He has worked with substance abuse and addiction in various settings, a dual-diagnosis hospital, a methadone center, and out-patient settings.

April 22, 2018: Earth Day 2018 and Bike East Bay
Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director of Bike East Bay, Guest Worship Leader
Earth Day 2018 is April 22! Dave Campbell will tell us about efforts to increase access to safe biking and bikeways, and how biking could dramatically reduce our carbon footprint, improve health, support local businesses, and increase traffic safety. Whether you’re a cyclist, cyclist at heart, and even a driver, you’ll learn about programs to protect our planet and promote equal rights to a healthy environment.

Dave Campbell coordinates the advocacy and policy work of Bike East Bay in 33 cities/towns/jurisdictions in the East Bay. This involves advocating for bike lanes on city streets and better bike access on transit, to encourage more people to try bicycling for some of their trips. In the past ten years, bicycling has increased 75% in the East Bay. Dave started Bike East Bay’s bike education program in 2002 and previously coordinated Bike to Work Day in the East Bay for 7 years. From 2000-2009, Dave served as the Chair of the Bike East Bay Board of Directors, and served as Vice-Chair from 1998-2000. Contact Dave by emailing Dave (at) BikeEastBay (dot) org.

April 15, 2018: The Law of Correspondence
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
…is an ancient proposal, by Hermes Tristmegistus, that states that what is true for the large is vis-a-vis true for the small. This is the very thought that confounds modern physics in its quest for a Unified Theory; an idea that some think may connect science and spirit!
Yet, in its simplest form we can use this paradigm toward greater effectiveness and advantage in life. Hmmm – let’s see how that works.

April 8, 2018: Rahula, the Lucky: Original Monologue from the Point of View of the Buddha’s Son
Alessandro Gagliardi, Guest Worship Leader
When Siddhartha left his home in search of enlightenment, he left behind his wife and his newborn son, Rahula. Seven years later, he initiated his son into the Noble Eightfold Path, making Rahula the first novice monk. These are the thoughts of Rahula, ten years after he met his father for the first time, one year before he is said to have attained enlightenment, on his dad’s 37th birthday.

Alessandro Gagliardi is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate and student at Starr King School for the Ministry. Prior to that, he pursued a PhD in Behavioral and Neural Science at Rutgers University. In his personal and ministerial practice, he works to combine the rational with the mystical and considers himself a student of the world’s religions.

April 1, 2018: In Hope of Resurrection
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
What is the difference between rebirth and resurrection? In commemoration of Easter Sunday, join Rev. Elena Vera for a service about how we can find our way through grief, loss, and failure to fresh hope. How can we renew and resurrect ourselves and our world? How can we get back up once again to make it to a new way of being? Once we’ve made it together through the night, how do we learn to recognize the morning and embrace it? Let’s rise up and find out.

March 25, 2018: Another Train (sorry - sermon audio unavailable)
Amanda Weatherspoon, MDiv, Worship Leader
The impulse to control life’s circumstances is possibly one of humanity’s greatest growing edges. However, there is a overwhelming reality to consider in regards to livelihood, relationships, basic needs, and the like. How do we persevere in the face of great uncertainty - in our day-to-day lives, and in the big picture? How can we “Let Go and Let God” in the face of disappointment and uncertainty?

March 11, 2018: The Power of Presence
John Hankey, Guest Worship Leader
There is a way to activate mindful, present moment awareness.
It’s simple and profound. Once you truly understand how to “be present,” your life will never be the same.

John Hankey is a mindfulness-based performance coach for academic students and adults with stress and anxiety.He draws principles from meditation, yoga, hypnosis, Buddhism, Daoism and neuro-linguistic programming to help people unleash their full potential.

March 4, 2018: March Forth for International Women's Day (also see TFAA below)
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader

As we move into a special week that begins with International Women’s Day and ends with Harriet Tubman Day, join Rev. Elena Vera in remembering some of the many heroes who have helped their communities run toward freedom. Inspired by the hardworking leaders who helped liberate many of our own ancestors, we too can be builders and beacons for those around us--and for our descendants yet to come. What can we learn from their achievements? What can we achieve together today? How can we join in their legacy and shape tomorrow?

TFAA (Time for All Ages): “Malala Yousafzai,” an essay by Safiya O'Brien, read by Paikea Melcher (text available here)
This essay is about the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who continues to fight for the rights of girls to education. It was written by a twelve-year-old girl, Safiya O'Brien. Dr. Susan was tutoring Safiya in writing at the time and helped her with the grammar and refining the writing, but the student came up with the idea for the subject, did the research on it, and is the story in her own words. The reader is thirteen-year-old Paikea Melcher who attends BFUU.


February 25, 2018: Science for All  National Science Day is Feb. 28*
Joanna Foley, Lay Worship Leader 

*This service has three audio elements (click on titles below to hear audio):

Opening Words by Joanna Foley

Reflection by Dr. Susan T. Mashiyama (text available here)

Sermon by Joanna Foley

When the movie “Hidden Figures” came out, many viewers were amazed  that the contributions of female African American mathematicians and engineers had been so vital to the American space program. “Hidden Figures” highlights the individual contributions of the three central women but also their strong support of each other and other African American workers at NASA. In a month when BFUU explores the meaning of covenant, this movie shows an implicit covenant in action. May their example join with all who are Celebrating Black History and Building Black Futures.

February 18, 2018: Our Covenant
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
The two most important and deeply rooted statements of purpose for any UU congregation are the MISSION and the COVENANT. We Talk our covenant each Sunday as a repeated (perhaps on auto-pilot) piece of liturgy (can you recite the covenant alone, from memory?). Yet, we do not always Walk our talk. This is a seemingly small thing that will guide the course of our voyage together – either to cross a great water, or to rocky shores.
It’s time we choose again.

February 11, 2018: Covenants: Holy Promises We Make to Each Other*
Claire Eustace, Guest Worship Leader

*This service has four audio elements (click on titles below to hear audio):

Opening Words by Joanna Foley

Time for All Ages: The Roots of Ragtime Music by Brett Torres (Introduction by Dr. Susan T. Mashiyama, Music Director)

Reflection: Covenant in Black Churches by Joanna Foley

Sermon: Covenants: Holy Promises We Make to Each Other by Claire Eustace

Unitarian Universalism is a religious movement based on covenant--holy promises we make to each other. Our covenants are based upon our history and influenced by covenants created in other powerful religious movements including African American churches. Each member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations covenants to affirm and promote the seven principles and to provide mutual trust and support to other member congregations. Many congregations create internal covenants to clarify how individuals would prefer to be together in community for mutual support. These holy promises help guide congregations in their work of building Beloved Community within and beyond themselves. This service will explore what it means to hold certain promises sacred.

February 4, 2018: Installation of the New Poet Laureate*
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader

*This service has three audio elements (click on titles below to hear audio):

Join us for a special BFUU tradition as we honor our new Poet Laureate! Community members will come together for a vibrant service full of poetry and song. Rev. Elena Vera, presiding, will share reflections celebrating the legacy of the poetic word, in its enduring beauty and its continuing power to refresh and sustain movements from Black liberation to immigrant civil rights. All are welcome--bring your own favorite verses to share at Fellowship Hour!

January 28, 2018: Many Paths to the Goal: Wisdom from the Hindu classic, the Bhagavad Gita
Alessandro Gagliardi, Guest Worship Leader
When the warrior, Arjuna, faced his enemies in battle, he saw on both sides his own friends and family. Unsure of what to do, he asked his childhood friend and chariot driver, Krishna. In the dialogue that follows, we learn how to align ourselves with greater purpose and that there are many ways to do this but that they all lead to the same end which is freedom.

Alessandro Gagliardi is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate and student at Starr King School for the Ministry. Prior to that, he pursued a PhD in Behavioral and Neural Science at Rutgers University. In his personal and ministerial practice, he works to combine the rational with the mystical and considers himself a student of the world’s religions.

January 21, 2018: Let's Predict the Future
Rev. Marsh Agobert, Worship Leader
Though this sounds pretty woo-woo and some would call it heresy (not UUs!) Predicting future events is not only possible with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy – but is, in fact, a necessary and fundamental human trait. It’s not a matter of whether or not we can do it but whether or not we get better at it. Getting better can not only improve your results – it can make change less irritating.

January 14, 2018: Through the Looking Glass
Andy Chirch, Guest Worship Leader
Sometimes when we’re fearful, discouraged, or upset by others’ actions, we wear these emotions like a cloak. They inform everything we do. What if we were able to take off that cloak – recognize those emotions, and go through the looking glass to learn what’s really going on? We’ll ask for guidance from religion, nature, spirit, and humanity. Come along! Who knows what we’ll find.

Andy Chirch is a Candidate for UU Ministry and third year Master of Divinity student at Starr King. Andy, his wife Meredith, and 11 year-old daughter Xela live in Eugene, Oregon where Andy recently finished a year-long internship at UU Eugene.

January 7, 2018: Keeping the Chalice Lit
Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Worship Leader
The new year is a chance to renew and refresh our commitments to ourselves and our communities. Have we held up to who we hoped to be? What are the principles and values we hold dear? How can we keep the beacon fires of our best selves lit, even in hard times? Join Rev. Elena Vera as we greet the year to come together.