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Sunday, November 5, 10:30 A.M.
Reformation - 500 Years Ago and Right Now Too
Rev. Michael Brown
October 31, 1517 is traditionally known as the day Martin Luther tacked his protest on the church door, launching the Reformation 500 years ago. That simple action changed the course of history and created the context for the emergence of our faith tradition as well. Is there a reformation taking place now, 500 years later? I sure hope so. What is this new reformation all about?

Sunday, October 29, 10:30 A.M.
How Small Things Make Big Differences
Rev. Michael Brown
Many of us have had the experience that something we did that seemed small at the time had a greater effect than we could have forseen. The scientific version of this principle is called the Butterfly Effect. If the small things that we do really make large differences, then how might that affect the way we view our own actions?

Sunday, October 15, 10:30 A.M.
Forgiveness and Wisdom: Do They Go Hand in Hand?
Rev. Lynnda White
We are in the midst of crises that we believe are not of our own making, and we want answers. Would we be able to forgive if we knew the truth; would we be any more wise? What do we mean by forgiveness? Is it a one way street of removing blame, or is it a path of reciprocal exchange? You be the judge.

Sunday, October 8, 10:30 A.M.
Can We Talk About This?
Rev. Michael Brown
Our country has been shocked by gun violence once again, this time the largest mass shooting in our history. Attitudes about guns are divisive and very sensitive. Is there any way for us to have a real dialogue about gun violence, or have we given up and normalized these events? There must be a way forward and we have to find it.

Sunday, October 1, 10:30 A.M.
Self Examination and Atonement for UUs
Rev. Michael Brown
The Jewish people will have just completed the high holy day of Yom Kippur on this Sunday. This is a time in the Jewish calendar for “repentance and atonement.” Do we have any such thing in our yearly cycle or even in our worldview? How can we engage in healthy self-examination without excessive guilt or shame? I will look at this question in light of our recent UU struggles with racial justice.

Sunday, September 24, 10:30 A.M.
Where We Belong
Rev. Lynnda White
A sense of belonging is one of our most basic needs. Unfortunately, at different times in our lives, many of us have felt as if we did not fit in, that we were outcasts, or just “different.” We live in a time when it is easy to feel alienated and alone. Some of us have asked the question, “Where do I belong?”

Sunday, September 17, 10:30 A.M.
The Role of Community When times Are Hard
Rev. Michael Brown
How can communities respond when times are difficult? This is not a hypothetical question. Between Charlottesville, DACA, Harvey, North Korea and assorted other challenges, our liberal religious tradition is challenged to proclaim a positive way forward. Let us try to describe that path and set a course to follow it.

Sunday, September 10, 10:30 A.M.
Filling Our Cups, thirsting for Justice
Rev. Michael Brown, Rev. Lynnda White, Amy Popp, CRE
Today is the first Sunday of our 175th celebration year. We are going to use water as a symbol, as is our tradition, but in a different way from past years. We are going to celebrate water as a symbol of community and also as a symbol of justice. So if you brought water from the summer to share, please bring it Sunday, and if not, that’s fine, come anyway. Community and justice will be our themes as we begin a historic year for our church.

Sunday, August 27, 10:30 A.M.
Don Quijote Challenges the Internet
Rev. Michael Brown
A meditation on the wise use of technology.

Sunday, August 20, 10:30 A.M.
174.3 Years and Counting
Kathy Carter
As our church approaches its 175th anniversary, what can we learn from the past? Kathy Carter will share stories about the history of our congregation, some of which may surprise you.

Sunday, August 13, 10:30 A.M.
Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones, and Words Can Forever Hurt Me
Rev. Lynnda White
There is a part of us that knows the untruth in the phrase, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We know that words can cause immeasurable harm, yet for various reasons, we find it difficult to change our means of expression. Ableism (discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities) and some other ways we use words have come under scrutiny in our denomination and in the wider community. Let’s talk.

Sunday, August 6, 10:30 A.M.
Space Pirates and Bootleg Gangsters
Brad Keefauver
Our mythology of those living outside the law is far different from the reality of it. Why do we romanticize the law-breaker and what does it give us? Join us for a Sunday of rebels, hooligans, and schemers presented in a thoughtful UU fashion.

Sunday, July 23, 10:30 A.M.
Buddhism and Change
Jean Sloan
We're living in times of change -- with the prospect of more to come. Look at it closely and you'll be on the road to enlightenment.

Sunday, July 9, 10:30 A.M.
The Bible, Your Bedroom, and the Law
Rev. Lynnda White
Citizens of the United States are viewed around the world as uptight, square, and unsophisticated when it comes to sex and sexuality. Some American political figures and their constituents believe their job is to legislate what women can do with their own bodies, what men can do with women's bodies, and what consenting adults can do in their bedrooms. How are ancient biblical texts still affecting modern day private lives?

Sunday, July 2, 10:30 A.M.
May You Live in Interesting Times: The Life of a UU
Rev. Jim Parrish
May you live in interesting times? Is carrying the burden of being a UU worth it?

Sunday, June 18, 10:30 A.M.
Fatherhood: Revisiting Our Great Expectations
Rev. Lynnda White
Father's Day isn't celebrated in the same way as Mother's Day. What does that say about our expectations of traditional male roles?

Sunday, June 4, 10:30 A.M.
Universalism: A Myth That Still Works
Rev. Michael Brown
What is a myth and what could it mean to say that a myth "works"? Isn't any story just true or false? The Universalist story is a myth that still has power. As we celebrate 175 years of Universalism in this community, what do we think of our own myth? Today is our congregational meeting after church. Come and join us for lunch, fellowship, and some healthy decision making.

Sunday, May 14, 10:30 A.M.
Mothers Universal and Particular
Rev. Michael Brown
Mothers are the source of life for us as individuals and also in universal symbolism as well. Join us to celebrate mothers, both our own mothers and Mother Earth as well. After the service we will gather in the playground for a dedicaton of our new solar energy system which moves us in a more Earth friendly direction.

Sunday, May 7, 10:30 A.M.
Building a Better Way to Beloved Community
Reverends Michael Brown, Lynnda White, and Marcus Fogliano
What are the lessons we need to take away from the recent troubles facing our denomination regarding racial and multicultural upset, and how do we build on them? We know that we are in need of healing at all levels: denominational, congregational, and personal. Please join us and be part of a national Teach-In dealing with systemic racism and how, unfortunately, it has manifested in our denomination. Reverends Michael Brown, Lynnda White, and Marcus Fogliano will be in the pulpit.

Sunday, April 30, 10:30 A.M.
Women Make History in Our Denomination
Rev. Lynnda White
If we look into our Unitarian Universalist history, we find stories of women who have kept our movement growing and who have made marvelous contributions to society. Soon our denomination will make history by electing our first woman president. What can we expect as a result of this historic, long-awaited change?

Sunday, April 16, 10:30 A.M.
What the Flowers Know
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is Easter Sunday and the earth is bursting forth in color and new life. Resurrection is all around. What is the secret that the flowers know? And how can we blossom into a fuller and more creative life even in difficult times? That is one of the great Easter questions. Come and join our Easter celebration.

Sunday, April 9, 10:30 A.M.
Spring Without Winter
Rev. Michael Brown
Spring is almost always a time of celebration. Nature itself leads the parade. New life everywhere explodes into colorful growth. Usually part of our joy comes from having survived a long, harsh winter, but that didn't happen this year. Spring is still a delight though the cycle feels different.

Sunday, April 2, 10:30 A.M.
New to Each Other Again
Rev. Lynnda White
As of April 1, Lynnda White, whom some of us have known for nearly twenty years, continues her journey with this congregation, but in a different capacity. As the new Assistant Minister, Reverend White's covenant with the church has changed and she has some resolutions to share with the congregation. Join us as we welcome her into her new role in our church.

Sunday, March 19, 10:30 A.M.
How Religion Shapes the Health Care Divide
Rev. Michael Brown
Is religion for universal health care or against it? That question probably won’t get us the answers we need. But both religious and secular traditions have views to contribute to our culture shaking national debate. What do the religions say? Do they all say the same thing? Their voices are surprisingly powerful.

Sunday, March 12, 10:30 A.M.
Flowering After Fire: Resilience and Renewal
Rev. Florence Caplow
The great native prairies of the Midwest were intimately dependent on fire, and even now fires are set to renew and nourish prairie preserves. In the spring after a fire, wildflowers blaze bigger and brighter than before. What can we learn from this about our own capacities for resilience and renewal when the fires of change sweep through us – personal, societal, or national? Rev. Florence Caplow is a UU minister, Zen priest, writer and editor.

Sunday, March 5, 10:30 A.M.
Seeking Justice – Seeking Community
Rev. Michael Brown
In times of division, many of us are seeking justice. That is a natural thing to do. But many of us also want to build bridges with those who disagree. These others may be our friends, our family or even our partners. How do we balance the needs for justice and for community, needs which may sometimes seem at odds?

Sunday, February 19, 10:30 A.M.
A Fusion Solution
Rev. Michael Brown
As our country goes through a difficult transition mixed with chaos, disappointment and many forms of resistance, people everywhere are joining together in novel and previously unimagined ways. Rev. William Barber calls these groups fusion coalitions and they are popping up everywhere. What makes this technique of fusion so powerful and how can we find new energy and hope in unexpected alliances for justice?

Sunday, February 12, 10:30 A.M.
Evolution Is Not a Bowl of Cherries or Maybe It Is
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin who changed the world with his theories about how life works. While some few still want to go back to a pre-Darwinian view of things, our UU tradition has taken the path of incorporating his insights into a liberal religious world view. Can religion coexist with Darwin? Our culture still struggles with this idea.

Sunday, February 5, 10:30 A.M.
How to Be Safe, How to Be Unsafe
Rev. Michael Brown
As our world is undergoing a troubling movement toward more tension and less safety, what is it that would actually make us more safe? How can we be agents for true safety in the world? Lunch with the Minister will be offered after church for all who want to know more about our community.

Sunday, January 29, 10:30 A.M.
No Joke
Rev. Jim Powell
Our guest today, Rev. Jim Powell, is the minister of the Richwoods Community Church. Along with Rabbi Daniel Bogard and Iman Kamil Mufti, he is the third religious leader in the No Joke film and book that you may have heard about. These three religious leaders entered into dialogue over a period of several years and found new ways of being able to talk together across the boundaries of religion. Rev. Powell shares some of this insights with us today.

Sunday, January 22, 10:30 A.M.
Women Marching
Rev. Michael Brown
As women (and men) in Washington and all over the United States (including Peoria) are marching this weekend, including many from our church, it makes sense to try to hear what all these women (and men) are saying. And why is it especially women who feel there is something crucial to proclaim at this moment in history? We need to know.

Sunday, January 15, 10:30 A.M.
How Long Will It Take?
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we join with millions of others all over the world to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. We are a people urgently in need of Dr. King's insight and his determination.

Sunday, January 8, 10:30 A.M.
Shifting Into a New Gear
Rev. Michael Brown
Every new year brings changes but sometimes the shift is major. Today we honor what has been accomplished and reflect on how to meet the challenges with courage and hope.

2016 sermons

2015 and earlier sermons