Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön calls the place where the upliftedness of our ideas meets the rawness of life – the big squeeze. How and where do we experience the big squeeze in the work of building beloved community? How might we use the lens … read more.

Composing Our Lives

In the words of M.C. Richards, “All the arts we practice are apprenticeships. The big art is our life.” We are all composing projects and pieces with our relationships, parenting, activism and jobs. Creation is something we do with our very living.

Beautiful Complexity

Emergence is the philosophical and religious approach that any system, any whole, is greater than the sum of its parts. However, the beauty of any system is dependent upon the interconnections of each part. In a world where we choose our interactions, what does emergence … read more.

A Monkey’s Uncle

We believe that all things are related, and that everything that is came from what was before. If new species emerge from existing ones, then maybe we really are a monkey’s uncle. What does it mean to be a church where we believe that evolution, … read more.

More Than the Sum of the Parts

It’s often thought that if we can just understand the parts, we can understand what they make. But some things are only visible if you stand far enough back to see something new. What else could we learn, if we cast our view-field wider still?

Roll Away the Stone

9 & 11 a.m.: Scripture says that after Jesus died, he was placed in a tomb. Days later, the tomb was found empty. Christian doctrine proclaims life after death and redemption of humankind. Is there anything in this story for us?

The Elders Among Us

What makes someone an elder? It’s a word distinct from “senior” and even distant in meaning from “elderly.” To speak of “elders” carries a recognition of strength and wisdom. In an age of information, a moment of much upheaval, a time of much uncertainty, what … read more.

Perfectly Human

Our annual Children’s Music Service, explores the stories of children living in the land of “Perfectville.” They discover that being perfect is not as important as they once believed and learn to balance their desires for achievement with their need to have fun, and play, … read more.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

Our lives are filled with moments when we choose to stay in the game, stay at the table or stay in the conversation. These choices can be wise or risky, calculated or foolish. Using lessons learned from playing roller derby, ministerial intern Kim Mason will … read more.

Champions by Choice

We are enamored of champions because they seem to have something we don’t have. But that impression is false. As individuals, each of us has the capacity to be a champion. As a religious institution we have the same capacity.

In Tension

EB White spoke of being torn between the desire to save or savor the world. Life is full of moments that ask us to choose, but sometimes the greatest calling is to live in the tension, instead of resolving it too soon.

The Challenge of the Build

In one of our hymns, we sing “We are building a new way.” The song fits with our tradition’s sensibility that we are capable of building the world of which we dream. It is worth examining some of the challenges to the build.

What We Don’t Intend

Often we hear and offer apologies that contain words like “I didn’t intend to hurt you.” Still, the hurt remains. How do we live knowing that as humans we hurt each other even when we don’t mean to do so?

Made New

At our New Member Welcome ceremony, we always say that as people join our church is made new. The turning of the year can also invite that sense of being made new. How might the theme of intention aid us in that endeavor in ways … read more.

Storied Selves

As the saying goes, we are where we are because of where we’ve been. Stories are at work within each of us that define our religious pasts. Some of us bring angry and unresolved feelings about experiences in other religious institutions, others have warm memories. … read more.

Let’s Change the World

Rev. Nathan Hollister, UUSC Staff Member, will talk about how religious communities may be key to major social change in the years ahead and what Unitarian Universalists in particular can do to make that so.

River of Change

John O’Donohue died before completing a poem with this powerful image: I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” As we ponder change this month, what might it mean for us consider that the constancy of … read more.

Saving What We Love

If Theodore Parker pointed to the permanent and the transient in religion, then he also pointed to something else. Sometimes we hold on tight to what we love, and strangle it in the process. Sometimes saving what we love means remembering what is essential, what … read more.

Courageous Democracy

In these odd numbered years, it can be easy to imagine nothing important is happening at the ballot. But a tradition that grounds itself in democracy in our congregations and society at large is called to show up and engage in elections whenever they are … read more.

Becoming Ourselves

Paraphrasing May Sarton’s beautiful poem, now I become myself after years of being dissolved and shaken, wearing other people’s faces. This is a reminder and an invitation to the courage it takes to become one’s true self.

95 Theses

It was 500 years ago this month that Martin Luther nailed his list of disputes with the church he served to the door. As religious descendents of that act of independence and free thought, what might we learn from the courage it took to take … read more.

The Book of Welcome

Writer Anne LaMott says that the Book of Welcome absence from the Bible says something about why we are the way we are. How might we be called to write our story going forward where welcome is included?

Be Our Guest

As we enter the heart of our church year, we launch our new annual theme: hospitality. Bigger than welcome, hospitality invites us to look at culture, power, and the reality of our interdependence.

Humanist Ethics

Far too many people believe that the only thing that keeps us good is fear of punishment. But a positive ethics doesn’t depend on eternal punishment, so much as an ethic of love and justice for all.

What Do We Want?

Almost 100 years ago a new religious movement was clearly emerging in this country, and Unitarians were in the middle of it. While humanists are often identified by what they aren’t, from very early on humanists have been sharing a positive view of the world, … read more.

Natural Religion

As we spend the month unpacking what it means that we’re a church deeply rooted in humanism, the first question we have to ask is where does knowledge come from. And the answer to that question brings our tradition right to the doors of natural … read more.

Linked Hands

A fair while ago, we accepted into our public lexicon the proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Many of us want to believe that irrespective of a child’s biological parentage, the upbringing of children is the responsibility of the community. We can … read more.


At the heart of democracy is the notion that it allows for a government created by, for, and of the people. Yet, apathy runs rampant in our country and many of us are disheartened by polarized vitriol and big money special interests. How do we … read more.

The Long View

With elections every two years, it is easy to believe we know who or what is winning or losing. Yet, when we are constantly making such assessments, we miss the opportunity to acknowledge there is always a gap between our (and everyone else’s) aspirations and … read more.

We The People

It’s no secret that our forebears had a limited understanding of “We the People.” Still, they had an inkling that democracy is created by and responsible to all of us. Rather than trying to make us exactly the same, these three words invite us to … read more.


In this kick off to a sermon series called Healing Our Hearts for Democracy, we root ourselves anew in the understanding that we are all in this together. That democracy is not so much about winning and losing as it is about accepting our fundamental … read more.

Ways We Find Joy

We all have different ideas about what brings joy and spice into our lives. JUC’s Worship Associate team will share what opens their hearts and grounds them in joy, and maybe help you to touch the ground of your own joy.

Father’s Day

If Mother’s Day is a high holy day in many churches, and many homes, Father’s Day can feel like something of an afterthought. And truthfully, a lot of us struggle with what it means to be a father, when the 1950’s nuclear family model doesn’t … read more.

Roots in Joy

Our worship theme this month is joy. Often conflated with happiness, how might we understand it differently including our resistance to it? Might it be something to which we are asked to surrender?

Sacred Journeys

What can we learn from engaging our whole bodies on this journey through life? When we fully live into an experience, we might just gain a deeper sense of empathy and understanding. This will be Emily’s last service as intern minister at Jefferson Unitarian Church.


The purpose of life is not to transcend the body, but to embody the transcendent. Living into interconnectedness, inclusion, and hospitality requires our bodies, as well as minds and hearts. We must be open to stories that reveal impact has more to teach us right … read more.

What’s Going On?

More than 600 Unitarian Universalist congregations have changed their worship topics at this time to address critical issues around race in our denomination and our country. We join in this deep reflection through story and song and invite you to join us.

Yes, and . . .

On this Sunday when we welcome Rev. Wendy Williams back from sabbatical time, we begin April’s exploration of what it means to be a people open to Transformation. This service will include artwork from “Maybe Something Beautiful,” a book co-authored by JUC’s own Theresa Howell, … read more.

Managing Risk

We have all heard people encourage us to take risks, to dream big, to go beyond our comfort zone and achieve what might otherwise seem unattainable. Good advice as far as it goes, but isn’t there a reason we reach for safety? Isn’t there a … read more.

Risks Worth Taking

Theologian Sharon Welch wrote a book years ago titled, “A Feminist Ethic of Risk.” In it, she suggests that we avoid risk because we’ve been taught that failure or unintended consequences are to be avoid, almost above all else. But much of how the world will turn … read more.

Ally is a Verb

Being a Unitarian Universalist calls us to not just claim a label, but to act, reflect, and grow. Allyship is similar. To be an ally, one must move beyond the title and live into what it means to take risks, keep learning, and showing up.


Years ago I came across a powerful set of interviews with people about the connection between what they carried in their lunchboxes and how the world saw them. Lunchbox moments were when the lines were clearly drawn of insiders and outsiders. Our identity is not … read more.


King is quoted often. His “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most iconic speeches in history. Not all of his language lifted us into a vision of what yet may be. Some of his words reminded us of just how hard the … read more.

To Be Real

This month we look at the meaning of prophecy. At their core, prophets see the world not just as it is, but how they wish it to be. They see with both eyes and speak in paradigm-shifting ways that bring us to our knees. They … read more.

The Other Letter

What if children didn’t write letters to Santa? Who would they write and what would they ask for? What letters would we send as adults? Join us as we tell stories of our common desire for presence?

Find a Stillness

If you have ever wished your life resembled the peaceful scenes on holiday cards, this service is for you. Together we will breathe through the hectic and unhinged fury of the season and invite ourselves into stillness–gifting ourselves with presence.

Called In

In the shadow of the election, we know little was resolved other than the identity of our next president. That our country is deeply divided is painfully obvious. There are no quick fixes. Many of us need to heal and healing is a communal event. … read more.


Grief is a process. We will take the opportunity to pause and remember loved ones who have died. Please bring a small picture or object that reminds you of them.

Courting the Chaos

Anything that needs healing has been brought about by some friction or disruption. Our human tendency is to want to get past whatever is causing the disruption: illness, grief, divorce, or disappointment. Yet, what happens when we turn toward the friction, when we court the … read more.

Belly Buttons and Other Scars

We literally come into the world bearing the scar of separation. For most of us it’s just the first scar we’ll bear in our lifetime. Healing doesn’t mean the scar disappears, it means living with the truth the scar leaves behindRev.

Built on Brokenness

Presidential election cycles return us to the rhetoric that this country was built on, by and for greatness. Yet, this year, conventions and rallies have been marked by those who would remind us of those who were not included in the American Dream. What is … read more.


At sundown Rosh Hashanah begins. On the highest of holy days, Jews wish each other Shanah Tovah or Happy New Year. Yet, the longer version of the greeting is L’shanah tovah tikatevu, May you be inscribed for a good year (in the book of life). … read more.

Better Together

A week from this Sunday our congregation will hold a special congregational meeting on whether to make me a called minister of our church. Why call a minister, and what might we do to build on our shared success of the past two years?