Rev. Eric Banner - Associate Minister

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 on the largest religious institution in the world?

Beside the Golden Door

Emma Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus” which marks the base of the Statue of LIberty, in which she writes “send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” Nearly 150 years later, we continue to ask of ourselves as a nation, what does it mean to welcome new Americans to the golden door?

Why Do Atheists Come to Church?

The words atheist and humanist aren’t synonymous. However, most humanists are atheists and many come to our church. This week we answer that vexing question of why do atheists come to church?

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, too. The Humanist Manifesto was one of those efforts, and … Continued

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 religion.

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 always look like our lives, or the lives of our … Continued

Ending the Mommy Wars

On this Mother’s Day, we take time to recognize the ways in which moms are judged rather than supported. So if you worry you’re a good enough mom, or wonder what messages make this already challenging job harder than it needs be, join us as we call for an end to the mommy wars.

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 reason we pay lots of money to avoid risk of … Continued

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 out is unknowable. Choosing to avoid risk means not avoiding … Continued


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 merely who we are, it’s what was given to us, … Continued

Who Do You Think You Are?

We’ve all been asked the question at times in our lives “Who do you think you are?” But usually it’s not meant in a kind or caring way. It’s a kind of verbal attack that implies you’ve gone way astray from your lane. But the question itself is a powerful one. Who DO you think … Continued

Cleaning Out the Closet

At the beginning of the year it’s customary to ask what it’s time to get rid of. What would it take for you to clean the closets of your life?

Christmas Eve Contemplative Service

This is a quieter service in our chapel for those who welcome the chance to slow down through readings, silence, and music.

Christmas Eve Traditional Service

Our Christmas message in lessons and carols featuring our JUC Choir. Service will begin with 15 minutes of Christmastide music.

Christmas Eve Traditional Service

Our Christmas message in lessons and carols featuring our JUC Choir. Service will begin with 15 minutes of Christmastide music.

When You Can’t Be Present

It’s a time of travel and connection for many, but for others the holiday season carries a different feel. Sometimes because of our choices, sometimes because of others choices, sometimes because of things that just happened. What do you do when it seems like everyone’s got somewhere to go, but you?