The Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring
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December 25, 2011
Christmas Eve Services
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Rev. Karen Rasmussen, Sarah Gonzalez, DRE, and Michael Holmes, Music DirectorHeld December 24, 2011:
7 pm - Family Service Especially oriented towards children andfamilies, this celebration will be different this year, but still full of theChristmas story and spirit! Come join us for old and new joys,including the performance of our children's choir.9 pm - Adult Service This atmospheric service traces the nativity storyand the Christmas journey from a world of yearning and hardship to oneof hope and promise, a blazing star lighting the darkest time of the year.Bring your friends to this service rich in music, tradition and spirit.
December 18, 2011
Holiday Intergenerational Service
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Rev. Karen Rasmussen, Sarah Gonzalez, DRE, and Michael Holmes, Music DirectorBack by popular demand, it's the 2nd annual celebration of Solstice,Hannukah and Kwanzaa. Though these holidays are very different, theyall fall around the same time of year and they are important sources ofwisdom and inspiration for us in many ways. We will spend themorning exploring each holiday through a different lens: a story, songor craft. This 'mobile' worship moves through our buildings as well asthrough these holidays - we look forward to having you with us for thismoving experience. (Yes, pun intended.)
December 11, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay and Karen RasmussenPeace is our ministry theme this month and it's sure a word, a goal, abelief, a hope we expect to hear a lot about in December. It figuresprominently in many of the major holidays this season. We see iteverywhere as part of holiday cards, commercial marketing, and yes, inworship. Godfrey Reggio, a filmmaker and environmentalist said ofpeace, "I think it's naive to pray for world peace if we're not going tochange the form in which we live." If he's right, then it's a good time tolook at ourselves, our psyches, at the style and pace of our lives andtake an inventory to see if we are, in fact, living to further peace.
December 4, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay and Karen RasmussenPeace is one of those words, even concepts, which convey a sense of inherent wholeness. Peace - it's got an expanse, inclusive feel to it. But in fact, when we really look at peace, the reality is often a lot more fragmented - pieces of peace. Is the true nature of peace mathematical - can it be added to, subtracted from, multiplied or divided? Are these all really linked, as some wisdom, including Taoism, tells us? Join us for a look at the theology of peace as we enter December, when peace will be our month's ministry theme.
November 27, 2011
Leaving a Legacy
Mike HarrisIt's been said that the only certainties in life are death andtaxes. This service offers some perspectives on death and dyingalong with some ideas on what we might want to leave behind whenwe go.
About Mike Harris:
Mr. Harris is a frequent visitor at UUCSS and a member of Cedar Lane UU Church since 1976 where he has served as board chair, personnel chair, and pledge drive chair among other leadership roles. He has been active with the Joseph Priestley District since 1995 and is currently in his second 2-year term as president.
Mike initially worked in public broadcasting as director of planning & administration at NPR, retired five years ago from merger-acquisition work, and now conducts mediations for the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County, the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, and the Maryland and DC courts.
November 20, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay and Karen RasmussenThe Sunday before Thanksgiving we know what's coming, right? Some old take on gratitude, giving thanks, being grateful for our blessings - well, no. Actually what's coming is a new take on those themes - come renew your spirit and your sense of the season as we find new ways to consider and experience Thanksgiving in the midst of autumn harvests and family gatherings.
November 13, 2011
Rev. Dr. Morrison-Reed and Rev. Liz Lerner-MaclayEarly in the 19th century Universalism swept across our young nation finding popularity it never again achieved. It proclaimed a truly radical message. Is it time for us to return to the message that God's love brooks no resistance? Universalism re-articulated for the 21st century.
November 6, 2011
Contending With An Inner Grinch: How Grateful Are We. Really?
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayAs we enter November and a month where our ministry theme isgratitude, moving towards our national holiday of Thanksgiving, maybe we need to start by acknowledging that we're not always thankful. Sometimes we take things for granted, and there's plenty in our lives we don't want there. Sometimes what we're feeling is ingratitude, thanklessness, resentment -what some would call Grinchiness. Before we embark on gratitude and thanksgiving, let's clear some clutter out of the way. Come join us for this service of honesty, challenge and some pre-holiday clearing up.
October 30, 2011
Celebration of the Dead
John Robinette and Robin MooreAs is the custom in many faiths and cultures, we will remember and honor those who have passed before us.
October 23, 2011
Phyllis RyderOffered by Phyllis Ryder, who has served as volunteer coordinator at UUCSS for several years, this sermon considers a question her son posed as she dragged him to yet another church-related duty: is it OK to put other people’s need ahead of your own? Drawing on the great wisdom of this beloved congregation, Phyllis reflects on how to give your time and talents without burning out, and how to embrace volunteering as a spiritual practice, with all the reflection, discipline, and care that implies. (With a promise of uplifting music from the choir, a rousing performance by the House Band, and an opportunity to learn how you can practice your faith in volunteering at a showcase of activities between the services.)
October 16, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayWhat do we do when we're handed a miracle, when an impossible prayer is answered? Surprisingly, receiving a miracle or having a prayer answered isn't as easy as we might think - sometimes not easy at all. Reflecting on her own recent experience of having a terminal cancer diagnosis for her father suddenly withdrawn, Rev. Liz will explore the soul and psyche's surprising challenges and opportunities when we are dug in for disaster and then we get a reprieve.
October 9, 2011
Musical Healing for the Spirit
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Music Directors David Smith and Michael HolmesYes, our friend David Smith is back with us from Tulsa's All Souls Unitarian Church for a remarkable worship experience of music and words, reflection and uplift. Our service this morning will focus on sources and experiences of healing, especially as conveyed through music. This was one of the highlights of our worship last year, don't miss it! Also, it's a great Sunday to bring friends and family to come and partake of this rich experience for the mind, soul and heart.
October 2, 2011
The "Dis" in "Discernment"
Rev. Karen RasmussenRev. Rasmussen will be exploring the process of discernment, in both her own experience of coming into ministry, and ours in terms of the opportunities - and requirements - for discernment we all have in each of our lives. (Rev. Lerner Maclay will be leading worship at Catoctin.)
September 18, 2011
Water Communion/Ingathering Service
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Sarah Gonzalez, DRE, and Michael Holmes, Music DirectorJoin in this joyful celebration as we reunite and welcome new friends andvisitors. This service will include a revised version of the water ceremony aswe gather the waters as well as ourselves, and dedicate those waters andourselves to the life and work of this beloved community.
September 11, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayOn this 10th anniversary of September 11, we will devote our morningservices to remembrances and reflections, casting our minds back to what was,and forward to what we believe should come from all that has happened in thewake of that tragic morning. This service will feature special music from theGreat Noise Ensemble and special readings, including healing wisdom fromthe Qu'ran. We encourage you to attend this service and feel free to bringfriends and neighbors along.
We expect that many of us may feel moved to share during joys and sorrows.In order to give everyone an opportunity to participate we are asking that,instead of speaking your words, you write down what you wish to express in aphrase or sentence. Please keep your joy or sorrow brief, no more than 100words. Your words will be read as part of the service.
August 28, 2011
The Parameters of Guilt and Innocence
Richard WeinerAs a child survivor of the Holocaust, Richard Weiner has been on a journeyto forgiveness and reconciliation. He will relate that to the larger issue ofinternational reconciliation, and to the part our own actions play in turningothers against us. Last October Mr Weiner became an honorary citizen ofhis German hometown of Wittenberg, largely because of his work onreconciliation. This is his second visit to our pulpit.
August 21, 2011
The Universal Call To Unity and Compassion Across Religions
Crystal LewisMs. Lewis will talk about how fundamentalism has masked the coremessages of Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. She will discuss whatis being done within each religion to remedy those problems. The goal ofthe sermon is to present an optimistic perspective on religion's progress inthe current world.
August 14, 2011
Larry McAneny"Ten" is a year: 10 A.D. That year is, as far as I know, the only year in thelast two millenia during which the world was actually at peace,everywhere. There may have been other years, but that is the only year Iknow about. So this sermon will be on the subject of "peace.
August 7, 2011
Carol Thomas Cissel, Deb Ferenz, Kathryn LeeteThough we all strive towards relationships filled with love, compassion, joyand forgiveness – sometimes anger gets in the way. It may develop fromunresolved fear or sadness. Or, its roots may be deeply planted in frustrationor resentment. Whatever the cause anger is a reality, and we dare not ignorethis dimension of our lives. Join us as we share our ideas, attitudes andperspectives on the “monster under the bed”.
July 31, 2011
Where Have You Encountered God?
Madelyn CampbellSummer is a time for traveling. Madelyn Campbell, a M.Div. student at WesleyTheological Seminary, and a member at the UU Church of Arlington, VA willtravel across the Potomac, and we will explore Jacob's biblical journey to hisencounter with God. Where have you encountered God?
July 24, 2011
Katherine Howell, Lecturer in Writing, George Washington UniversityMetaphor is vital to our daily lives; it is instrumental to our language. Takingone thing and having it symbolize another makes hope, love, fear, suffering, andrenewal tangible; we understand the concrete and act upon it. Poets (andprophets) use metaphor to convey our visions for the future. Using Isaiah chapter53, and DC poetry, we will explore the urgent metaphors that move us to justice.
July 17, 2011
Carol Thomas CisselA few weeks ago, President Obama announced plans to withdraw nearly 33,000troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012. Over 30,000 service men andwomen will return to the United States by the end of 2012. Many UU’s aretrapped in a conflict between our appreciation for duty, honor and militaryservice – and our deep feelings against war and the multitude of social, politicaland economic injustices that surround it. We will acknowledge our complicatedbeliefs, consider ways to support the troops and honor those who have made theultimate sacrifice serving our country.
July 10, 2011
Consider the Lilies
Nancy Bird PellegriniWhat are the ramifications of anxiety and excessive need for control that plaguemany of us in our frenetic Washington DC Beltway lives? This sermon byWesley Seminarian Nancy Bird Pellegrini invites us to “Consider the lilies” asexpressed in Matthew 6 and explores the admonishment not to worry about thefuture.
May 1, 2011
UUCSS Youth Led Service
YRUU TeensCome hear our YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists) teen group share their voices with the congregation. Talking about a theme they personally find meaningful and important, this service is planned and led exclusively byUUCSS's own wonderful teens.
April 24, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayFrom national to personal levels, Easter is important for us all in looking at the right of a people, or a person, to define who we are and how our lives will speak for us, whatever our circumstances. Unitarian Universalists have alwaysfound our inspiration in Jesus' living and his message, rather than his death. Nonetheless, the Easter story is also important for us as because it puts the seal on a lesson about walking on in dark times. Come explore and celebrate thecourage and support this pivotal narrative offers us all.
April 17, 2011
Bob Geiger, Co-Chair, Green Sanctuary CommitteeWe live at the intersection of peril and possibility. The daunting challengesconfronting our civilization -- including population growth, climate change, andpeak oil -- place our lives in a new context and can give them new meaning. If wecan build a bridge to carry our civilization to the end of this century, we can help humanity reach a wondrous place. To succeed, we will need courage, inspiration, and a narrative of hope. Our congregation is engaged in a Green Sanctuary initiative, and this sermon is being produced by the UUCSS Green Sanctuary Committee.
April 10, 2011
Revs. Liz Lerner Maclay and John CrestwellOn this day we celebrate our church, who we are and who we are becoming, andthe generosity of our members. Financial gifts to the church, time spent inprograms and service to our beliefs, our values and each other, all these are critical to our experience of transformation. There's 'Little t" transformation, and 'Big T' transformation. Both are critical to any congregation's life, and both are happening in our own community. Don't miss this special service of music and reflection.
April 3, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayOur church will be starting our second process of Appreciative Inquiry andStrategic Planning early next fall and it's time to start giving serious consideration to the next phase of our life as a congregation. Your senior minister will be sharing her own hopes and vision for who we are and where we need to go together, and as part of that, revisiting the suggestion of a new name that describes us better.
"UUCSS" means a lot to those of us who are already here, but nothing at all tovisitors and those outside our community. The geographic area our people comefrom is certainly much larger than Silver Spring. And the heart and soul of thischurch - our energy, our vision, our hopes, our particular identity - are nowhere to be found in our name. Mightn't it be time to look at a new name that is a better messenger of who we are as a congregation? Jim Scott, renowned UU musicianand friend of our community, will join us with music on this theme.
March 6, 2011
Don Berkenmeyer, UUCSS MemberI will be exploring the profound effect of how what we say about ourselves and others changes the world we observe, and the course of life. Are we actually aware of where our "sayings" come from and even what they are? Did we create them or are we just repeating them? Do we know just how much they define and generate our world? Introducing the practice of attending to the word.
February 6, 2011
Blessing of the Animals
Rev. Ellen JenningsThis year our annual intergenerational Blessing of the Animals Service willhighlight St. Francis, Hildegaard von Bingen, Annie Dillard, Rabbi Nachman ofBratslav, the Genesis Story of Creation, and other wise and earth-celebratingJewish and Christian Sources of our Unitarian Universalist tradition. We inviteyou to bring your pet in a container or on a leash for a very special blessing. Wealso welcome (and will bless!) pictures of pets. And, as always, we'll have amemorial table for photos and mementos of departed pets.
January 16, 2011
Rev. Liz Lerner MaclayOur annual service commemorating the life and justice ministry of Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 2, 2011
Annual Jazz Service
Eli Briggs, co-chair UUCSS Worship Committee and Musical GuestsAfter the busy holidays, we will take time to nurture our souls with spectacular jazz music. We will offer thoughts about hopes for justice and starting anew, as we move into the New Year.