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Sunday, December 30, 10:30 A.M.
The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything
Rev. Michael Brown
What is it all about? Everything, all of it. The one huge question. Can a super smart computer figure it out? Did the prophets know? What is the question?

Sunday, December 23, 10:30 A.M.
The Story of Multiple Stories
Rev. Michael Brown
We are story telling creatures. Our ancestors dressed up in costumes and acted out their ancient myths. At this time of the year we often do the same thing. Why are we humans so charmed and enchanted by certain stories? Why are stories a deep dimension of our human psyche?

Sunday, December 9, 10:30 A.M.
Religion: What Is It Good For?
Rev. Michael Brown
As the angels, the star, the magic oil and the myriad of other images of religious holidays surround us, religion itself is being profoundly questioned. What should a person believe? Do we have to decide? Maybe not.

Sunday, December 2, 10:30 A.M.
And May All Your Holidays Be Green
Rev. Michael Brown
As we move into the sacred time of year when we celebrate the legends of Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwaanza, and the New Year, let us ponder the challenges of living on planet Earth. What will the holidays look like in 25 years? Will there be tidings of comfort and joy? What can we do to help that happen?

Sunday, November 25, 10:30 A.M.
Who Is Human and How Can You Tell?
Rev. Lynnda White
How can we celebrate the quest for justice, equality, and human rights without determining what we mean by human and deciding if some people are more human than others or are more entitled to more rights than others? Apparently the answers aren't as simple as we think they are.

Sunday, November 18, 10:30 A.M.
What it Means to Work Together as Human Beings Toward Cultural, Social, and Environmental Equity
Johnnie A.
Our guest speaker is an internationally-known Native American environmental activist who is continuing the conversation and discovery process around what it means to be a Human Being and how to work together for Cultural, Social and Environmental Equity. His actual topic will arise as the spirit moves him. Come and engage in this prophetic witness.

Sunday, November 11, 10:30 A.M.
Report from the World
Rev. Michael Brown
Today, twenty-three of our members will have just returned from the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto. What are the religious and non-religious leaders of the world saying about our planet’s future? What are the messages of concern and of hope? And how do we as UUs fit into the picture? What can we do? Come and hear what we found out.

Sunday, November 4, 10:30 A.M.
I Hear You
Rev. Jackie Clement
More and more I hear the question of how we can talk to others who do not share our points of view, people with whom we have serious disagreements. This morning I want to explore what one wisdom story might tell us about how to approach those difficult conversations in a way that might bring more understanding, justice and compassion into the world.

Sunday, October 21, 10:30 A.M.
Autumn, Melancholy & Depths
Dr. Robert (Bob) Fuller Dr. Fuller, Professor of Religious Studies
at Bradley University, will be today’s guest speaker. Dr. Fuller is one of this congregation’s favorite presenters. We welcome him back to the pulpit for another opportunity to enjoy his wit and wisdom.

Sunday, October 14, 10:30 A.M.
A Description of Your Next Minister
Rev. Michael Brown
New religious leadership in this church is an exciting and creative opportunity. I think I may know certain characteristics about your new interim minister, even though I have no idea who it may be or even who the candidates are. I will share some of my ideas with you today.

Sunday, September 30, 10:30 A.M.
Where Do We Go from Here, Baby Boomers and Millennials
Rev. Lynnda White
We live in a time when life is both more grand and more ferocious. At one time, our children were expected to be more prosperous than their parents’ generation. Baby boomers are blamed for most of the things that are not going right in the world. Each generation has its downfalls and its victories. Can’t we all just get along?

Sunday, September 23, 10:30 A.M.
Everyone Has a Birthday – The Power of Inclusion
Rev. Michael Brown
How can we live out our mission to love inclusively? Is there anyone we should exclude? Today we will celebrate an intergenerational birthday party after church. We will celebrate everyone’s birthday! Be sure to be there for your own party. We will also have a (brief!) congregational meeting right after the service. Hopefully it will only take a few minutes. See you at the party.

Sunday, September 16, 10:30 A.M.
Start with Experience
Rev. Michael Brown
In the world of religion, we often talk about what people believe. Do we believe in God or angels or an afterlife? Often this discussion gets argumentative pretty quickly. What if we started with experiences instead? What if we look at religions as beginning with experiences rather than beliefs? Let’s explore whether that path leads to some new insights.

Sunday, September 9, 10:30 A.M.
Drop by Drop
Rev. Michael Brown, Rev. Lynnda White, Amy Popp, CRE
Join us today for our annual Water Service as we reconnect for a new church year. You are invited to bring water from any experience that was meaningful to you this summer. We will also have water available that can represent any place or experience you wish. Today we will explore how sometimes change occurs slowly, drop by drop. It may not seem like change is happening, but it is!

Sunday, September 2, 10:30 A.M.
It's Not What You Think: Exploring a Native Message
Rev. Lynnda White
I had the opportunity to reunite with North Dakota Water Protectors in August, and I wondered how their message and methods would be accepted here by we highly-organized, goal-oriented “two-leggeds.” Are we able to live into the concept that “it is how you think, not what you think” and understand the prophetic witness that speaks to so many of our societal woes?

Sunday, August 26, 10:30 A.M.
Rev. Michael Brown
Embeddedness is the idea that in order to understand the actions of individuals and groups, we need to look at the social contexts in which they exist. In a world where different social groups are often at odds with each other, might it be useful for us to understand better why different individuals and groups act the way they do? Would it give us a better chance to solve some of our deepest problems? The idea is worth exploring.

Sunday, May 13, 10:30 A.M.
Is Every Day Mother’s Day?
Rev. Lynnda White
Mother’s Day is one of those holidays to which some of us look forward, while others are saddened for any number of reasons. Let's explore the mystery, the majesty, and the malaise associated with the day.

Sunday, May 6, 10:30 A.M.
What Is Our Next Move?
Rev. Michael Brown
On the first day of our next 175 years,
where should we be headed? What role should we play? What goals should we reach for? Let’s reflect on where we have come from and where we might be going. What is our mission in this community of opportunities and challenges?

Sunday, April 29, 10:30 A.M.
Circle of the Sun
Guest Speaker: Rev. Kendyl Gibbons
Rev. Gibbons will be in town this weekend for the ordination service for Erin Dajka Holley on Saturday the 28th. Former President of the UU Humanist Association and also of the UU Ministers Association, Kendyl also has the rare distinction of being an internship supervisor for both Erin Dajka Holley and Rev. Michael Brown.

Sunday, April 8, 10:30 A.M.
Recreating the Community
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is Fellowship Sunday. Everyone is invited to a special Fellowship Lunch after the service. Each spring we plan for a new church year and then come together to make our plan become reality. How does this special kind of creativity happen? Our fellow church members will share their insights and we will ponder together the miracle of recreating the church each year for 175 years and moving into the future.

Sunday, April 1, 10:30 A.M.
Celebrate in Joyful Song: Spring and the Rebirth of Hope
Rev. Lynnda White
We have seen so much trouble and upset in the world that we often forget how important celebration is as a healthy, vital part of a balanced life. There is much to celebrate as we move through the festival of Spring and the rebirth of hope. On April 1, we will celebrate through familiar, joyful hymns. Instead of a sermon, there will be some narration as a guide, and the congregation will reply with some of our most beloved hymns

Sunday, March 18, 10:30 A.M.
The Gathering Wave
Rev. Michael Brown
This service is about the gathering wave of women entering politics and other forms of public life. According to all reports the numbers are significant. What does this shift mean for our society? An ally offers some reflections.

Sunday, March 11, 10:30 A.M.
Hope Springs Eternal
Rev. Michael Brown
What is the role of hope in our lives? Is it a kind of necessary illusion or maybe something we eventually outgrow? Springtime is often experienced as a time of hope. In these times of stress and division, what can we hope for?

Sunday, March 4, 10:30 A.M.
...And a Little Child Shall Lead Them
Rev. Lynnda White
In this topsy-turvy world where some people are having trouble telling right from wrong, truth from fiction, it seems that children are coming to the front lines battling for justice. This time it was a tragedy in Florida that brought them to the forefront, but there have been other moments in history when children have been the wise ones and led their elders with their wisdom, courage, and perseverance. What can we learn from our children?

Sunday, February 25, 10:30 A.M.
W.E.B. DuBois and Unitarian Universalism
Rev. Michael Brown
W.E.B. DuBois was a prominent sociologist, activist, and writer who was born just after the civil war ended and who died one year before the Voting Rights Act was signed. Among his most well-known books is "The Souls of Black Folk." He was one of the founders of the NAACP. W.E.B. DuBois was a guest speaker at our church's Sunday Evening Lecture Series on February 16, 1936. How did his cutting-edge thinking compare with Unitarian Universalism at that time and even now?

Sunday, February 18, 10:30 A.M.
Will Democracy Survive in America?
Rev. Michael Brown
A number of contemporary thinkers believe that the United States is on a slippery slope toward losing our standing as democratic form of government. Could this possibly be true? Our UU Principles and Purposes affirm democratic process as one of our most important principles. What could we do that would strenghten democracy in our country and save it from possible collapse?

Sunday, February 11, 10:30 A.M.
Community as Transcendence
Rev. Michael Brown
What is the effect of being connected in community? Does it change our life in any important ways? What happens when we commit ourselves to being an inclusive community? These are questions that may help us understand the struggles going on in our world.

Sunday, February 4, 10:30 A.M.
Good versus Evil: How Do We Take Sides
Rev. Lynnda White
That onerous old hymn Once to Every Soul* and Nation tells us that a moment will come when we must each decide our fate, that we must take the side of good or evil. Perhaps it isn’t as easy as we think to make those determinations. How does Unitarian Universalism help us decide?

Sunday, January 21, 10:30 A.M.
Legacy Sunday
Rev. Michael Brown
As part of our 175th anniversary celebration, today we will honor those who have been members of our church for 35 years or more. They are quite a group. Please come and meet these pillars of the church and appreciate their contriutions to our community. I hope those of you who have joined more recently will find this an opportunity to know your church home with more depth.

Sunday, January 14, 10:30 A.M.
Beloved Conversations
Rev. Kierstin Homblette Allen
Rev. Rhonda Brown (from Florida) will also participate in this service. They are both facilitators for the Beloved Conversations retreat Friday and Saturday prior to the service. Rev. Homblette wrote, “When I have preached before on a Sunday following a BC retreat, I’ve talked generally about the work of racial justice and against white supremacy and how our religious communities are suited to do that work together.” We look forward to having them as part of our worship.

Sunday, January 7, 10:30 A.M.
A Reason to Hope
Rev. Lynnda White
We have come out of a year that has held more than its share of difficulties. We dream of change in ourselves and in the wider community. What makes us hopeful that we will embrace a new year with renewed energy and a reason to hope?

Sunday, December 31, 10:30 A.M.
The Gift of a Year
Rev. Michael Brown
What shall we do with the gift of a year, the most precious of holiday gifts? We may have personal goals that call to us, perhaps things that we have wanted to do for many years. At the same time trends in our broader world also challenge us to be healers of unhealthy patterns that seem to be all around us. What shall we do with this year? What is the best use of our time?

Sunday, December 3, 10:30 A.M.
Creativity as a Source of Meaning
Rev. Michael Brown
Where does creativity come from and what role does it play in our search for meaning? In a season full of elves, angels, guiding stars, magic candle oil and a flying saint who gives gifts to children we decorate our houses inside and out. What is all this creative display about and why do we do it every year? What does it mean to us?

Sunday, November 26, 10:30 A.M.
The Meaning of Life, If Any
Rev. Michael Brown
Our recent Clarence Darrow vs George Foster debate opened up the question of whether life has a meaning or not. It wasn’t exactly their topic, but it’s definitely related. So is there meaning in life, and if so, where does it live?

Sunday, November 19, 10:30 A.M.
Living Abundantly in a Hurting World
Rev. Lynnda White
We are living in troubling times, and it seems harder and harder to have an “attitude of gratitude.” Shall we cancel Thanksgiving this year and just move into the Christmas holiday; or is it time to determine new ways to be thankful?

Sunday, November 12, 10:30 A.M.
White Supremacy, Obvious and Subtle
Rev. Michael Brown, Rev. Lynnda White, Rev. Marcus Fogliano
White supremacy is all over the news, raising its head in both blatant and subtle ways. What is our response to this unjust way of looking at the human family? And what can we do about it?

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.

Sunday, December 11, 10:30 A.M.
Non-Judgment Day Is Coming!
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is a New Member Sunday. It’s a joy to have new members join our community. Our liberal religious tradition has a particular perspective to offer about judgment and also about being judgmental. This message has real value in times that are turbulent, confusing and dangerous.

Sunday, December 4, 10:30 A.M.
Why Some Myths Work and Others Don’t
Rev. Michael Brown
We are in the season of ancient stories, myths and legends. All around us are various kinds of elves, flying reindeer, special babies, angels, candles that don’t burn out and stars that guide travelers. Why do we continue to retell and reenact these stories? What strange power do they have? Global Village will be here today after the service.

Sunday, November 20, 10:30 A.M.
Gratitude Anyway
Rev. Michael Brown
We are in the season for gratitude. Gratitude is always in season, but what if life is tough and things don't go our way? What happens to gratitude then? We all have a stake in answering this question..

Sunday, November 13, 10:30 A.M.
Who is Wounded, Who Can be Healed?
Rev. Michael Brown
Let us ponder today some of the wounds that divide us as a people and what the prospects are for healing. What resources do we have, religious and secular, to heal the wounds? How can people who see the world very differently find a way to live in peace together?

Sunday, November 6, 10:30 A.M.
Confronting the Frightening Jabberwock
Rev. Michael Brown
This week our country chooses a new President and votes to fill many other important and powerful positions. It has been a surrealistic election season. Maybe Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem, sung today by our by choir, says it best, "Beware the Jabberwock, ...the Jubjub bird, ...and the Frumious Bandersnatch!" Let's hope we all survive this exercise in something that aspires to be democracy.

Sunday, October 30, 10:30 A.M.
Healing Our World
Rev. Michael Brown
In our mission statement we affirm that "Healing Our World" is part of what we are about. Is it really possible to heal our world? How do we go about doing that? Let us ponder that question and then make good decisions.

Sunday, October 16, 10:30 A.M.
The Cure for Democracy
Rev. Michael Brown
Did you know that democratic process is one of our seven UU principles? Our UU churches came out of the town hall traditions of the New England colonists. We've become a tradition that believes that democracy is the best way for humans to live. How is democracy doing these days? Can a cure be found?

Sunday, October 9, 10:30 A.M.
Destination or Journey?
Rev. Dr. Ruth Gnagey
Does it matter if you perceive your spiritual life as a journey or a destination? We will explore the ramifications and the geometry of these two constructs. Rev. Dr. Ruth Gnagey, Affiliated Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington Normal will deliver the sermon and her husband, Dr. William Gnagey will share a parable.

Sunday, October 2, 10:30 A.M.
What Would a Healthy Religion Look and Feel Like?
Rev. Michael Brown
Religion in general is not doing great in public opinion these days. So many questionable and downright mean things have been done in the name of religion that it's no wonder that so many people are suspicious of all religion. What would a healthy religion look and feel like? What would be its practices, its ethics, its boundaries? Is healthy religion possible at all? Let's explore that possibility.

Sunday, September 25, 10:30 A.M.
Welcoming the Stranger
Rev. Michael Brown
We are a welcoming congregation but what does that mean? Do we welcome everyone or just some? Do we welcome everyone equally? And how do we welcome? What customs and practices do we have for welcoming? Our nation and other nations are also struggling with the questions about welcoming. Welcoming the stranger is an ancient human and sometimes religious practice but it's not always easy to follow that advice.

Sunday, September 18, 10:30 A.M.
No Hell Unless You Really, Really Want It
Rev. Michael Brown
Our Universalist roots began 250 years ago with an affirmation that there is no hell. Today the doctrine of hell is losing ground all the time but some folks still believe in it. We will look at some of the ways theologians seek to save hell, and why our UU tradition doesn't think that's a good idea.

Sunday, August 21, 10:30 A.M.
Unconscious Politics: How Strange Tactics May Surprisingly Work
Rev. Michael Brown
This election cycle is truly different. All kinds of strange things are happening. I will offer some reflections on the weirdness of our politics using the insights of George Lakoff, a linguistics professor who brings his expertise to the world of politics. Why do politicians do the things they do? Maybe on some level it all makes sense.

Sunday, August 14, 10:30 A.M.
Geek Church
Brad Keefauver
In a secular world, where do we turn for values, meaning, and defining stories that shape our worldview? For more and more people, the answers are things like Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Avengers, The Walking Dead, and so many others. Join Brad Keefauver and your fellow geeks for a Sunday service built around modern fan culture.

Sunday, July 24, 10:30 A.M.
El Camino de Santiago, A Pilgrimage
Terry Matthews
Pilgrims have followed "the Way of St. James" since the 10th century. Join Terry Matthews, her niece, and fellow pilgrims on a 150-mile walk and 150-mile bike trek from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain and also explore Fatima, Tomar, and Oporto. Get an overview of the area’s history, religion, culture, and people.

Sunday, July 17, 10:30 A.M.
Killing the Buddha
Jean Sloan
"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" This famous saying from Zen Buddhism speaks to how we venerate our view of spiritual truth. When, why and how should one "kill" the Buddha?

Sunday, June 19, 10:30 A.M.
Liberation Theology
Jack Ryan
"If it doesn't liberate, it isn't theology." Liberation Theology, what's it all about? What happened to it? Why did the Ronald Reagan administration and the Vatican under Pope John Paul II conspire to destroy it?

Sunday, June 5, 10:30 A.M.
What I Have Learned in 25 Years
Rev. Michael Brown
When I came to this church 25 years ago, it was much smaller, less confident, not so complex, and ready for expansion. Much has changed over these 25 years, but we still maintain our character as an open, loving, and activist community. Today I will share some of what I have learned from these fruitful years.

Sunday, May 29, 10:30 A.M.
Islamophobia and the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Senior High Youth Group
At our last youth con in St. Louis, the youth group learned about the crisis faced by refugees from Syria, prepared care packages for a group that had recently arrived in the area, and protested against fear. We would like to take this time to share what we learned with the broader congregation and to encourage action to meet this humanitarian crisis.

Sunday, May 22, 10:30 A.M.
How to Build a Genuine Community
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is New Member Sunday when we have the joy of welcoming new members into our community. How do we build genuine community? What is the formula? We will take a look a certain core elements that make for real community, something that is precious in our individualistic and materialistic world.

Sunday, May 8, 10:30 A.M.
Mothers and Babies: a Mothers' Day Celebration
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we honor the mothers of our lives and take the opportunity of this special day to dedicate new babies from several church families. What could be more important than a mother? And what could be more joyful than new life? Come and celebrate.

Sunday, May 1, 10:30 A.M.
Having a Mind of Our Own: Psychological Characteristics of Being Liberal or Conservative
Dr. Robert Fuller
In an election year when we are already very conscious of differences between red/blue and conservative/religious, what light can psychologists shed on what makes some of us religious seekers/liberals and others of us religious knowers/conservatives? Dr. Fuller is a professor of religion at Bradley and one of our favorite recurring guest preachers.

Sunday, April 17, 10:30 A.M.
The Theology of John Shelby Spong
Rev. Michael Brown
This past week we had the great pleasure to host a lecture with questions and answers by John Shelby Spong. Jack, as he likes to be called, is a retired Bishop in the Episcopal Church and author of 25 books on religion. He gave a powerful presentation which was attended by over 250 people. Today, both for those who attended and those who couldn't, I will highlight some of his vision of religion, which is a cutting edge worldview built on non-literalism and inclusion.

Sunday, April 10, 10:30 A.M.
Selling Elephant Parts: Is Everyone Equally Right?
Rev. Michael Brown
The old fable of the blind villagers and the elephant exists in many traditions and asks a basic question about human experience. Are we all equally right? Can we be tolerant and still have strong convictions? Our culture seems to really be struggling with this issue.

Sunday, March 27, 10:30 A.M.
The Earth Awakes Again
Rev. Michael Brown
As we enjoy the explosion of life that happens every spring, what is our human role in this great creative process? The Easter story says that rebirth is deeply imbedded in the nature of reality, so what are the chances for ecological and social rebirth for Earth's people?

Sunday, March 20, 10:30 A.M.
The Creative Search Church
Rev. Michael Brown
How do we define our community without a firm creed to answer all the big questions? How can a creative and essentially improvisational community sustain itself over years and decades? How can we be both institution and free, irreverent and spiritual? Welcome to our liberal faith.

Sunday, March 6, 10:30 A.M.
Are Muslims Our Neighbors?
Rev. Michael Brown
On March 7, the Islamic Foundation of Peoria has invited the Peoria community to an Open House at their mosque. They are extending the hand of friendship. Are we ready to see Muslims as our friends and neighbors? How can we process the various emotions that come up for us, sometimes even unconsciously, when we see certain styles of dress or speech? Sometimes friendship requires a conscious intention.

Sunday, February 28, 10:30 A.M.
Five Smooth Stones of Religious Liberalism
Rev. Michael Brown
What does it mean to be a religious liberal? Perhaps this is another way to ask what does it mean to be a UU. Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams proposed an answer based on the metaphor of five smooth stones. Come and find out what these five stones mean and the story behind them.

Sunday, February 21, 10:30 A.M.
Finding Happiness and Contentment
Bhanti Sujatha
"The pursuit of happiness" is a common bond that unites so many of us -- regardless of our economic or social position, regardless of what we've acquired along the way, nearly everyone on the planet is actively engaged in finding sustainable happiness. It's this mysterious wind that seems to come in, fill us with joy, then leave as unpredictably as it arrived. We search for ways to capture it -- to keep it around and within us long term, but inevitably it escapes and we find ourselves searching again. We can't buy it, we can't build it -- but we can cultivate a simple mindfulness practice that leads to sustainable happiness that will permeate every aspect of our lives. Mindfulness in everyday life is easy to learn, simple to practice and an essential element in creating a happy life.

Sunday, February 14, 10:30 A.M.
The Alchemy of Love
Rev. Michael Brown
One hundred years ago, psychoanalyst Carl Jung proposed a relationship between the symbolism of the ancient alchemists and the stages of romantic love. That may not seem immediately obvious but you may be surprised. This theory gives new meaning to the experience of "chemistry" between two people.

Sunday, February 7, 10:30 A.M.
Evolution and the Mystery of Life
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we celebrate Evolution Sunday, a widespread movement that seeks to emphasize the positive relationship possible between evolution and religion. As early as 1882 an article in our church newsletter speaks positively about evolution and Universalism. Let us support the movement to drop the harmful war between evolution and religion and instead move forward together to address the more serious challenges of our age.

Sunday, January 31, 10:30 A.M.
The Space Between Fundamentalist and No Religion
Rev. Michael Brown
Are fundamentalist and no religion the only two religious choices available to us? Although these two alternatives may suffice for some, it is worthwhile to be aware of the wide range of spiritual and religious paths in human culture. In our tradition we look freely at the many choices and then go where our conscience leads us.

Sunday, January 17, 10:30 A.M.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Elusive Quest for Justice
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we join with people all over the world in celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One can not help but wonder how King would respond to events today. Or perhaps a better questions is, how might we respond in light of King's vision?

Sunday, January 10, 10:30 A.M.
Do Religions Cause Wars?
Rev. Michael Brown
Just before the Parliament of the World's Religions in October, I began reading Karen Armstrong's new book, Fields of Blood. During the Parliament, I heard her speak twice and I just finished her brilliant book. The question is: "Do religions cause wars?" I will tell you what she says.

Sunday, January 3, 10:30 A.M.
Hopes for a New Year
Rev. Michael Brown
Can you believe it will be 2016 when this service happens? How can this be possible? This is the time for new possibilities, new ideas, new hopes. What do we hope for the new year? What can we do to make these things happen? Our choir will sing today to start the new year.

Sunday, December 13, 10:30 A.M.
Scrooge, Potter & the Grinch: Greed and Christmas Hearts
Rev. Michael Brown
Many of the classic Christmas stories are about greed versus generosity. Guess who wins? Join us for a meditation on how the Christmas stories can enlarge our hearts.

Sunday, December 6, 10:30 A.M.
Hanukkah: A Myth of Returning Light
Rev. Michael Brown
Tis the season of myths of light: Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas. The story of Hanukkah is part of a family of stories that draw on the theme of light disappearing and then reappearing. What do these stories tell us about our world and our human challenges? Tis the season of light, hope, and renewal.

Sunday, November 29, 10:30 A.M.
A Rare Moment of Consensus
Rev. Michael Brown
Amazingly enough, religious leaders from almost every faith are agreeing that our country should say Yes to refugees from Syria. This includes conservative leaders who we might expect to support the conservative political line. Isn't this a remarkable alignment of diverse voices? Maybe it's the season or maybe it's just the right thing to do.

Sunday, November 22, 10:30 A.M.
Practicing Gratitude: For Health and Spiritual Growth
Rev. Michael Brown
A growing consensus of evidence confirms that practicing gratitude has real and positive effects on our lives. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, how can we practice gratitude in ways that are not superficial, but become meaningful parts of our daily lives?

Sunday, November 15, 10:30 A.M.
Could Religion Make a Difference on Climate Change?
Rev. Michael Brown
There is virtually no doubt that we Earth creatures are living through a period of climate change largely created by humans. We know that it will go on for many years, and we know that we humans could take some actions to help soften the serious effects. Could religion play a role in moving the human community toward taking action? The Parliament of the World's Religions made this a central question of their meeting.

Sunday, November 8, 10:30 A.M.
Nurture Nature
Rev. Dr. LoraKim Joyner
Today's guest speaker is a Unitarian Universalist minister, having served in parish ministry for 10 years in North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, and Florida. Currently she serves as a community minister in Multispecies Ministry and Compassionate Communication, affiliated with the Community Unitarian Church at White Plains. In addition she is the Director of One Earth Conservation and Ministry, where she works as a wildlife veterinarian and human dimension consultant in Latin American avian conservation. Currently she has projects in Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay.

Sunday, October 18, 10:30 A.M.
Imagine a Diverse Utopia
Rev. Dr. Ruth Gnagey
For many people, a Utopia is comprised for like-minded folks whose values and goals make it pleasant to live in community. What would it take for you to imagine a Utopia peopled with those who not only look differently, but speak differently and have a life style different from yours?

Sunday, October 11, 10:30 A.M.
If It Works, It Might be True
Rev. Michael Brown
Throughout history there have been many religious viewpoints. People have believed in Thor, Mithras and Athena, literally thousands of gods and goddesses. Were these all complete illusions or did they somehow contribute to the well-being of their believers? How do we measure the value of a religious viewpoint anyway? Come and help us investigate.

Sunday, October 4, 10:30 A.M.
Life as a Song
Rev. Michael Brown
Music is one of the most consistently enjoyable experiences in life. That doesn't mean we love every piece of music. But we sure love a lot of them. Can life be understood as a piece of music, perhaps even a song? The choir will sing "We Wish You Music."

Sunday, September 27, 10:30 A.M.
Talking to People Who Believe Something Different
Rev. Michael Brown
In several weeks, about 35 of us will begin a journey to Salt Lake City Utah for the Parliament of the World's Religions. This global conference will include not only Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, UUs, Sikhs, pagans, humanists, and other religious groups, but also many fine gradations of each of these groups who don't even agree with others in their own tradition. Is there any point in trying to have a meaningful discussion with all these diverse people about the problems of the world? I sure hope so.

Sunday, September 20, 10:30 A.M.
Good Fortune - Creative Response
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we are celebrating 10 years of being in our new church home. We began services in this beautiful building in September of 2005. How did we come to be here? Was it just luck? Was it divine intervention? Come and help us celebrate and help us ponder the meaning of the past and the possibilities for the future.

Sunday, August 16, 10:30 A.M.
Human Trafficking, Social Impact
Valerie Carr
Salvation Army Human trafficking is a hidden problem among our very own communities. It is the act of selling and purchasing human beings that affects nearly 30 million men, women, and children worldwide. Join us as we learn what, exactly, traf- ficking is, how it's hiding in plain sight in our local communities, and what we can do to help.

Sunday, September 13, 10:30 A.M.
Water Is Life
Rev. Michael Brown and Amy Popp, CRE
Welcome back to a new church year! Today, during this multi-generational service, we celebrate the new year with water from our many experiences of summer. If you have brought water to share we will invite you to do so. We will also have water available that can represent water from anywhere in the world. Water is the source of life. Let us renew our community by sharing the common kinship of this deep source.

Sunday, July 12, 10:30 A.M.
What's with All These Zombies?
Brad Keefauver
With TV shows like "The Walking Dead" bringing more and more of the returned dead lurching across our TV screens, what does the popularity of zombies tell us about ourselves and our world? Are there positive messages we can pull from something so gruesome? Join Brad Keefauver for a consideration of the monsters that have taken over the top spot in horror.

Sunday, June 28, 10:30 A.M.
Hugs!!sguH: The Gospel According to Peg
Peg Phillips
Come explore the who, what, where, when, and how of hugging, as well as the scientific and spiritual whys. Can the act of hugging improve the quality of your experiences? How many essential hugs of life can you name? Have you ever considered becoming a disciple of the Hug, or are you already a devotee?

Sunday, May 31, 10:30 A.M.
What We Used to Call God
Rev. Michael Brown
What is it that people used to call God, and many people still do? Could it be a) the creator of the universe, b) nothing at all, c) the product of human imagination, d) the universe itself, or e) something else? Neil deGrasse Tyson got me thinking about this and now it seems like it could be a sermon.

Sunday, May 10, 10:30 A.M.
The Love of a Mother
Rev. Michael Brown
Our individual experiences of having a mother are diverse and unique. But there is something about a mother's love that is universal. What kind of love is the love a mother? What is different about a mother's love? And how does it affect our lives?

Sunday, May 3, 10:30 A.M.
Easy to Say, Hard to Do
Rev. Michael Brown
In view of the news from Baltimore in the past week, much of it upsetting and some of it encouraging as well, what can we do to be part of a healing process? We each play a role in this historic unfolding of events. What will our role be?

Sunday, April 26, 10:30 A.M.
What Is Religion All About?
Rev. Michael Brown
Religion is under intense scrutiny these days. Is religion the cause of all the world's problems or is it our only hope? Or perhaps it is neither of these but something else entirely. How might we bring some healing insight to the harsh war of words and sometimes of violence?

Sunday, April 19, 10:30 A.M.
The Prospects for Justice in the 21st Century
Rev. Michael Brown
How likely is it that we arrest, try and convict the right people in our criminal justice systems? What would have happened if no one had taped the Walter Scott shooting? Is the New Jim Crow still in operation? And what of an American young woman who was twice convicted of murder in Italy before being completely exonerated by the Italian Supreme Court? How likely is justice?

Sunday, April 5, 10:30 A.M.
The Multiple Meanings of Easter
Rev. Michael Brown
Easter is a major holiday in our part of the world, a celebration that represents a variety of ideas. With pagan roots, Christian significance, and obvious symbols of spring, Easter proclaims a spectrum of messages. From almost every point of view, life is being reborn.

Sunday, March 29, 10:30 A.M.
The Power of the Potluck
Rev. Michael Brown
Nothing symbolizes what we do here better than the potluck feast. Let us look at some of the great feast-sharing myths and see if we can discern their wisdom.

Sunday, March 15, 10:30 A.M.
Ethics for the Whole Planet
Rev. Michael Brown
Could there be a way of looking at ethics that would work for the whole planet? With all our religious and cultural diversity, could we ever agree on any one set of principles? Come and hear about the possibilities that have been proposed by Hans Kung, Karen Armstrong, and the Dalai Lama.

Sunday, March 8, 10:30 A.M.
UUs at Selma: 50 Years Ago and Today
Rev. Michael Brown
This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery. I will tell you the stories of three UUs who were there 50 years ago, and two members of our church who are there this weekend. Come and hear how we are part of this long line of marchers on the road to freedom.

Sunday, March 1, 10:30 A.M.
Religion for the Next 500 Years
Rev. Michael Brown
Our Unitarian Universalist tradition traces its beginning back to events well over 500 years ago. (We could go farther back than that too.) We have changed significantly during that time, but some of the same principles remain central to our faith. Where might we be going in the next 500 years? Will we still exist? What contributions could we make to an emerging future for humanity?

Sunday, February 15, 10:30 A.M.
Evolution Sunday: The Issue That Still Hangs On
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is Evolution Sunday in houses of worship all over the United States. Contrary to popular images, many religious organizations view evolution as scientific fact and support teaching it in their religious institutions and in schools. Evolution Sunday is a way to celebrate this positive relationship and to honor Charles Darwin, who grew up in a Unitarian family and changed the world.

Sunday, February 8, 10:30 A.M.
Which Is More Important, Justice or Theology?
Rev. Michael Brown
In our complex world, we sometimes find ourselves agreeing with another group on a social position while disagreeing with that same group on religious issues. So which is more important to us, the agreement on the issue or the disagreement on religion? Are we allies or competitors?

Sunday, February 1, 10:30 A.M.
Old Time Universalism
Rev. Michael Brown
What did the old time Universalists believe? UU historian Ron Cordes says that Universalism reached its peak in numbers just before the Civil War. Let's look at these old arguments and ponder the significance of Universalism in 2015. I think Universalism is one of the great myths of inclusiveness.

Sunday, January 25, 10:30 A.M.
Gratitude for Health and Happiness
Rev. Michael Brown
Research on gratitude continues to support its value for increasing health and happiness. Why should that be? And if it is true, how can we use this knowledge in practical ways to improve our lives? What are you grateful for?

Sunday, January 18, 10:30 A.M.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday
Rev. Michael Brown
As we celebrate the annual King Holiday, we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery that changed American culture forever. In this event we see how King's philosophy of non-violence was put to the test, and proved its power.

Sunday, January 11, 10:30 A.M.
Circuit Riding into the Future
Rev. Lynnda White
Modern day Unitarian Universalism owes much to old-fashioned evangelism and the dogged determination of circuit riding preachers like Jenkin Lloyd Jones. How can the contributions of Jones and other pioneering spirits inform our movement?

Sunday, January 4, 10:30 A.M.
Creativity and the New Year
Rev. Michael Brown
When we gather for this service, it will be 2015! How could that be? Each new year is a kind of gift. What will we do with the gift of time? So many possibilities. Let us ponder how we might respond to this great gift.

Sunday, December 28, 10:30 A.M.
Kwanzaa and UUs: An Unlikely History
Rev. Michael Brown
This Sunday is the third day of Kwanzaa, an African American Harvest celebration. Today we will hear a story about a historical connection between Kwanzaa and our UU movement, one more story that shows us how we are all connected to each other in both obvious and not so obvious ways.

Sunday, December 21, 10:30 A.M.
Holiday Solstice Service
Amy Popp, CRE, and the UU Kids
For this year"s traditional children"s winter holiday service, we will present a special multi-generational service for the whole congregation. Since our pageant falls on the exact date of Solstice this holiday season, our service will focus on the celebration of the Winter Solstice and the traditions that have evolved from that celebration.

Sunday, December 14, 10:30 A.M.
Praising Untrue Stories
Rev. Michael Brown
We are in the season of elves, flying reindeer, angel choirs and an old, but immortal guy who brings presents to the kids. Our world is overflowing with mythological creatures whose existence seems very unlikely. Why do we tolerate all this untrue fancy? There must be something in human nature that really loves such stories. What could it be?

Sunday, December 7, 10:30 A.M.
The Role of a Liberal Faith in a Confusing World
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is New Member Sunday. As we welcome these wonderful people into our community, what kind of path do we offer? In a world that is so confused and has such enormous challenges, do we have something specific to contribute?

Sunday, November 30, 10:30 A.M.
Peace on Earth
Rev. Michael Brown
One of the most repeated themes of the holiday season is peace on earth. We earth people have a deep longing for peace and yet we still live with wars and violence on our electronic screens every day. What would it take to really get to peace on earth?

Sunday, November 23, 10:30 A.M.
Love It or Change It
Rev. Michael Brown
It is the season for giving thanks, however so much of our world seems broken. How can we give thanks wholeheartedly and still be involved in the work of healing the wounds?

Sunday, November 16, 10:30 A.M.
This I Believe
Dr. Robert Fuller
Author and professor, Dr. Robert Fuller of Bradley University returns to our pulpit, this time to share some of his own religious views. He will take a look at what it might mean to be a people of faith, for him personally and for UUs.

Sunday, November 9, 10:30 A.M.
Torah, God, Israel: Theology of LIberal Judaism
Rabbi Daniel Bogard
Rabbi Daniel Bogard of Temple Anshai Emeth will be exploring a new theology of liberal Judaism using the three classical pillars of Judaism.

Sunday, November 2, 10:30 A.M.
Can Democracy Survive?
Rev. Michael Brown
Democracy is one of the founding principles of our nation, a way of life for which many Americans have given their lives. What are the prospects for democracy? Are we really a democracy? What are the chances that democracy wil survive another 50 years in America? Today the choir will sing a beautiful arrangement of "Autumn Leaves."

Sunday, October 26, 10:30 A.M.
Dia de los Muertos
Rev. Michael Brown and Amy Popp, CRE
Today's service will draw on the centuries old tradition of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead as practiced in Mexico and other Latin American countries. We will welcome Mariachi Campiranos, a trditional mariachi band whose music contains both joyful and mournful elements. Dia de los Muertos has a playful aspect, including special bread, sugar treats, and artistic expressions around the theme of death. You are invited, if you wish, to bring a photo or some other item that reminds you of your loved one, to be placed on our ofrenda during the service.

Sunday, October 19, 10:30 A.M.
Will Religion Survive and Do We Care?
Rev. Michael Brown
Many voices in our culture are questioning whether religion has a valid place in human life. How we might answer these questions will depend on our own background and personal experience as well as our analytical skills. Our answers may also depend on what we think religion is. How does our church fit into the broader picture? That's an enticing question.

Sunday, October 5, 10:30 A.M.
Food for Thought
Rev. Michael Brown
Everyone likes food, although not everyone likes the same foods. Everyone needs food, although not everyone has enough to eat. Food is big business, although not everyone has access to healthy food. Join us as we look at some of the many issues connected to the food we eat (or don't eat).

Sunday, September 28, 10:30 A.M.
It's a Dry Heat
Rev. Michael Brown
Our Universalists’ ancestors took a stand against the doctrine of hell, proclaiming that no loving God could possibly send his (it was a male God) children to an eternal punishment. In our times the idea of hell is losing ground as a credible way of doing religion. We also see various attempts to make hell seem not so bad after all. What do these trends mean for us as contemporary UUs?

Sunday, September 21, 10:30 A.M.
The Power of Connection
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is our Connections Fair after church where you can check out all kinds of interesting and exciting activities. What makes the act of connection so powerful? And how can we guide this power for our own fulfillment and for the benefit of others? What happens as connection becomes a higher priority for us? Perhaps some very amazing things.

Sunday, September 14, 10:30 A.M.
Racism as a Spiritual Challenge
Rev. Michael Brown
Fortunately for me, I made it safely through the summer. But of course, another Michael Brown did not. His death brings up a host of feelings, issues, upsets, and possibly, opportunities. Is there any way to unlock the doors that divide us? Our liberal religious tradition affirms that there must be such a way. Let's find it.

Sunday, June 1, 10:30 A.M.
Pete, the Pope, and Piketty
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is New Member Sunday and we also have a congregational meeting after church. This is UUism in action. In our service we will sing some of the songs of Pete Seeger, UU troubadour, and see how his ideas about inequality fit with those of the new pope and the new hot selling economics author, Thomas Piketty. The meeting after church will include lunch, child care, and important decisions to make. Join us for the last "regular" service of the year.

Sunday, May 11, 10:30 A.M.
Mothers Are Our Source
Rev. Michael Brown
Mothers are the source of life. Today we honor our mothers and the many interwoven levels of what they do and mean for us. Everyone has a mother to honor, for mothers are our source of life.

Sunday, May 4, 10:30 A.M.
Celebration Sunday - Join the Team!
Amy Popp, CRE and Rev. Michael Brown
Join our UU team as we celebrate our church history and the "Join the Team of Generous Hearts" campaign. This will be a service for all ages intertwining church legends with legends of baseball. Join us for music, history, fun stories; and if you haven't turned in your pledge yet, today would be a great day to do so!

Sunday, April 27, 10:30 A.M.
Never Give Up on Anyone
Rev. Michael Brown
Congressman John Lewis came to Peoria and Bradley University to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Bill. He made a plea for unity, proclaiming "never give up on anyone." As a person who was beaten nearly to death on Bloody Sunday, what could he possible mean? Today we will also recognize our RE teachers and share our appreciation of them.

Sunday, April 20, 10:30 A.M.
Rebirth and Long Term Prospects
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is Easter, a major Christian holiday with deep pagan roots. Another spring is bursting forth with new life all around us. There is a wonderful feeling of rebirth in the air. Earth is gorgeous, but what are her long term prospects? We need a short term celebration and a long term plan.

Sunday, March 16, 10:30 A.M.
The Lady with the Lamp
Rev. Michael Brown
160 years ago Crimea was engulfed in war and today the same part of the world is a source of deep tension and concern. Florence Nightingale was a woman of Unitarian leanings and Universalist theology who pioneered the modern concept of nursing on this bloody battlefield. What can we learn from her example of how to change the world?

Sunday, March 9, 10:30 A.M.
The Tiger and the Truth
Rev. Michael Brown
Is religion a force for good in the world or does it cause more problems than solutions? Looking deeply into human history and the role of religion yields a complex and fascinating picture.

Sunday, March 2, 10:30 A.M.
My Spiritual Odyssey
Dr. Wally Mead
Dr. Wally Mead is a regular visitor to our church, often seen in the company of church member, Norma Rossi. He is also an ordained Methodist minister, a retired professor of Political Science and Philosophy, and an expert on the work of Michael Polanyi, who did groundbreaking studies on science and religion. We welcome him to our pulpit today.

Sunday, February 23, 10:30 A.M.
The New Jim Crow Breaks into Cultural Consciousness
Rev. Michael Brown
Six months ago we offered an Adult RE course on The New Jim Crow and it was new ground for many of us. Now these ideas are in the news almost every day. How do the war on drugs, mass incarceration, racial profiling and other factors fit together to create this phenomenon called The New Jim Crow and how did our culture suddenly wake up to these issues?

Sunday, February 16, 10:30 A.M.
Competition and Cooperation
Rev. Michael Brown
The Olympic Games are simultaneously the most competitive and the most cooperative of human institutions. How is it that these two tendencies coexist in one cultural event? In this paradox lies some real wisdom about our human life. Why do we love these games and the beautiful pageantry that frames this planetary festival of super intense experiences?

Sunday, February 2, 10:30 A.M.
Evolution Sunday
Rev. Michael Brown
This month many houses of worship will celebrate Evolution Sunday. Can there be a reconciliation between religion and evolution? There is a creative edge of thought in the world right now around this question. Let's explore some of these new ideas and see where they might lead.

Sunday, January 26, 10:30 A.M.
After the Tributes
Rev. Michael Brown
King Luncheon keynote speaker Michael Eric Dyson urges us to look beyond the King of the past to how Martin Luther King would respond to the challenges of the present. His roof shaking speech was a call to reevaluate, to get real and get active. We will try to share a taste of his message and what we can do, now that the tributes are over for another year.

Sunday, January 19, 10:30 A.M.
The Future of Love
Rev. Michael Brown
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that love is a force that can transform oppressors into neighbors. Does it look like that faith statement has a future? How is his legacy doing after 50 years? The choir will sing "MLK" by U2 as we celebrate the birthday of an American hero.

Sunday, January 5, 10:30 A.M.
Theological Options for UUs
Rev. Michael Brown
In a church that has no creed, is there anything we believe in? Actually there is a wide spectrum of possibilities each of which has been meaningful to UUs and other religious liberals. Today we will explore this spectrum and get a sense of the paths that many UUs find inspiring.

Sunday, January 12, 10:30 A.M.
Boundlessness: One Size Fits All
Rev. Michael Brown
Mystical experience is a form of human consciousness that occurs in virtually all cultures, all religions, and to those with no religion at all. What can we learn from this universal human experience?
Special Music: Mark Filip, clarinet

Sunday, December 29, 10:30 A.M.
Kwanzaa and the Struggle for Wholeness
Rev. Michael Brown
Kwanzaa celebrates the African cultural wisdom that is available to all people, but especially meaningful for African Americans. Can we see clearly enough to realize that our struggles to live complete and whole lives are all interconnected?

Tuesday, December 24, 10:30 A.M.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Rev. Michael Brown
Bring your whole family (kids and adults) and your out of town guests to our traditional Christmas Eve service with candles, carols, stories, and treats. Our choir will sing and we are delighted that Emmy Holmes-Hicks will play for us. Bring your grandparents, aunts, uncles, children and grandchildren as we celebrate a night full of hope, light and joy. Bring cookies if you like, but just come!
Special Music: Emmy Holmes-Hicks, violin and the choir will sing.

Sunday, December 15, 10:30 A.M.
A Multidimensional Holiday
Rev. Michael Brown
What we call the holiday season is a glorious mixture of solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve, socializing, feasting and economic frenzy. Is there anything that unifies the season into something coherent? And why do most of us find at least some parts of it meaningful? Perhaps we are creatures who have a taste for tradition and ritual.

Sunday, December 8, 10:30 A.M.
Mr. Potter Meets the Pope
Rev. Michael Brown
About two weeks ago the new Pope shocked the world again by declaring that capitalism is becoming a new form of tyranny. Some of our favortie Christmas stories fit well with this theme. What does Christmas say about the rich and the poor? And which way is our American story going? 'Tis the season to take such questions seriously.

Sunday, December 1, 10:30 A.M.
Sexuality and Religious Communities
Rev. Michael Brown
Sex and religion; what a combination! These two have always had a tense relationship; no less so in our contemporary world. How does a liberal faith envision the role of sexuality within a healthy community? Our UU faith has been seeking a good answer to that question and has some ideas to offer.

Sunday, November 24, 10:30 A.M.
Gratitude after a Storm
Rev. Michael Brown
We are entering the holiday season, which in this part of the world traditionally begins with giving thanks. This year that tradition is complicated by the losses caused by the recent tornadoes. But perhaps giving thanks always has its own inherent complications. Today we are grateful for new members who have chosen to make this their community.

Sunday, November 17, 10:30 A.M.
The Digital Self
Rev. Michael Brown
We all know that the internet is changing the way we look at the world, but could it actually be changing the way we define ourselves as human beings?

Sunday, November 10, 10:30 A.M.
Why We Continue to Believe Nonsense
Dr. Robert Fuller, Bradley University
Why do people believe the strange things they believe? What can religious scholars say that might shed light on this fascinating tendency to compartmentalize human thought processes? Dr. Fuller is an ever popular speaker at our church and we look forward to his latest insights.

Sunday, November 3, 10:30 A.M.
Can We Change the World?
Rev. Michael Brown
Our society seems to be disjointed and lacking in common purpose. Much of what our leaders do seems lacking in wisdom. To what extent can we change the world? And what does it mean to try to do so? What chances do we have? Following today’s service, we will have a congregational meeting to select our social impact projects for the year. A light lunch will be provided as well as child care. Please come and hear what is happening and help us make thoughtful decisions.

Sunday, October 27, 10:30 A.M.
Dia de los Muertos - A Service for All Ages
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we celebrate the holiday called Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, Dia de los Muertos is a day to remember loved ones who have died. There is sadness but also celebration, music, special foods, stories and family gatherings. We are delighted to have the mariachi band, Mariachi Campiranos, join us. You are invited to bring a photo or other object of remembrance to place on the ofrenda during the service. Dia de los Muertos has become a wonderful tradition for us.

Sunday, October 20, 10:30 A.M.
The Long March Toward Equality
Rev. Michael Brown
Our UU principles affirm "the worth and dignity of every person," and "justice, equity and compassion in human relations." As the Illinois legislature moves closer to a vote on Marriage Equality, these principles will be sorely tested. Our UU tradition has a clear message to speak on this crucial issue.

Sunday, October 13, 10:30 A.M.
The Pope, The Bishop, and the Candlesticks
Rev. Michael Brown
In recent weeks Pope Francis has made a series of surprising statements about social issues that have gotten the whole world's attention. There is a wonderful scene in Les Miserables that seems to echo a similar action by a church leader. Is the world's largest church heading in a new direction? Pete Driscoll will play selections from the musical.
Special Music: Pete Driscoll, piano
Share the Plate: Children’s Home

Sunday, October 6, 10:30 A.M.
Searching for Home
Rev. Michael Brown
Searching for home is one of the great universal story lines of humanity. From the Odyssey to the children of Israel to Dorothy in the Land of Oz, the world’s great stories remind us that we all are searching for home, a place that feels right.

Sunday, September 29, 10:30 A.M.
Different Paths
Rev. Michael Brown
When we seek out a church or any other religious community, we come for different reasons and often with different goals in mind. If we can develop a sense of what paths our friends and neighbors may be following, we can become a more accepting and more effective spiritual community.

Sunday, September 22, 10:30 A.M.
Never Give Up On the Glimmers of Grace
Rev. Jim Eller
Human rights work is hard, challenging and essential. By engaging in this soulful work we maintain our own humanity, while saving lives and insisting on the humanity of both the victims and violators. Our Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is dedicated to humanitarian relief work, environmental and economic justice, but their human rights work will be the focus of this Sunday’s service.

Sunday, September 15, 10:30 A.M.
The Case for Optimism
Rev. Michael Brown
Is optimism a kind of shallow lack of knowledge or is it a genuine tool for strength in the face of adversity? Can we trust God, or evolution, or the moral arc of the universe to lead us on a positive path? Our liberal religious heritage offers a possible answer that is neither shallow nor hopeless.
Special Music: Traveler’s Dream Vocal Duet
Share the Plate: Central Illinois Friends of People with AIDS

Sunday, June 2, 10:30 A.M.
With Each New Dawn
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
There is a gift with each new day, each new opportunity, each inkling of possibility. What pulls us forward into the newness? Please join us for Erin’s final sermon of her internship. We will also celebrate with the high school seniors their “bridging” into young adulthood.
Special Music: Craig Curtis, guitar
Share the Plate: Interfaith Alliance

Sunday, May 19, 10:30 A.M.
On Becoming a Grown Up
Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church Kansas City, Missouri
Rev. Kendyl Gibbons has the unusual distinction of having been an internship supervisor for both Erin Dajka (1 year ago) and Michael Brown (23 years ago). And she is someone that Erin and Michael both respect and admire. She will preach on spiritual maturity as the center of what any religious community is, or ought to be, about, and a consideration of what that might mean for our conglomeration of theological diversity. Kendyl has been a seminary professor, a leader in UU humanism, and served as national President of the UU Ministers Association. This is a great opportunity to meet her and hear her thoughts.
Special Music: Main Street, USA
Share the Plate: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Peoria County

Sunday, May 5, 10:30 A.M.
Celebration Sunday
The UU Players
Today is the 170th anniversary of the founding of our church. Please come and join the celebration! We will have a working time machine with visitors from the past and maybe the future too! There will be cake! The choir is singing “You Are the New Day”, and it’s true, we are the new day. Don’t miss this once every 170 years celebration! If you haven’t yet turned in your pledge, please bring it to church this Sunday. This is a service for all ages and for the ages. See you on May 5!
The Choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Peoria County

Sunday, April 28, 10:30 A.M.
Peace Is a Marathon
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is New Member Sunday. We have the pleasure of welcoming our new members and of celebrating the joy of belonging. With the very real difficulties in our world, it is good to remember that our ideals may take a long time to achieve, but the moral arc does bend toward justice.
Special Music: Peoria Recorder Consort
Share the Plate: Look! It’s My Book!

Sunday, April 21, 10:30 A.M.
A World of Awe
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
The morning before the world officially celebrates Earth Day, let us focus upon our relationship to the world around us. In what ways do we notice what is happening in nature? How does it affect our lives and our hearts? These will be questions we explore as we consider how the virtue of reverence may come into play.
The Choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Look! It’s My Book!

Sunday, April 7, 10:30 A.M.
The Chimps and the Bees
Rev. Michael Brown
In his book, The Righteous Mind, Jonathon Haidt talks about the chimps and the bees as two different dimensions of human nature. He says that we are 90% chimps and 10% bees, but that 10% makes a huge difference. Come and discover what the difference is, why it matters in our lives, and how it might offer new insight into the meaning of community and stewardship.
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Planned Parenthood of Illinois

Sunday, March 31, 10:30 A.M.
The Plagues and the Flowers
Rev. Michael Brown
Hopefully if it stops snowing it will soon be spring, when flowers return and our spirits experience a lift. Two of our most celebrated holidays, Passover and Easter, offer insight into how we can overcome the difficult challenges of life. The flowers show it by example.
The Choir will sing and Pete Driscoll will be performing a piano solo.
Share the Plate: Planned Parenthood of Illinois

Sunday, March 24, 10:30 A.M.
Acknowledging the Peoria Nation
Dave Weiman
Dr. Michael Wiant, Director of the Dickson Mounds Museum, will speak on the Peoria, an important nation of the Illini Confederacy, who lived on this land when French explorers, traders, and missionaries began travelling in the area during the mid-1600s. This multi-generational service will include Native American drums, singers, flutes, stories, and a pipe ceremony. (The Sermon audio is an Introduction, Story for All Ages, and Pipe Ceremony)
Special Music: Rainbow Drum Circle
Share the Plate: Planned Parenthood of Illinois

Sunday, March 17, 10:30 A.M.
Out of the Land Itself
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
The seventh principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association states that we affirm and promote “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Let us explore how that interdependent web connects us, the earth itself, and the indigenous people of Chiapas, Mexico. How can our interconnections with the land and to one another bring about global economic justice?
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Culture Change Coalition of Peoria

Sunday, March 10, 10:30 A.M.
Living With Compassion
Rev. Michael Brown
What do Karen Armstrong, Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have in common? They all affirm that compassion is a universal ethical principle that can work across boundaries of nationality, religion and culture to guide human life. But to make compassion work we need to practice it like we might practice an art form or an exercise plan. Karen Armstrong provides us a valuable roadmap for this journey.
Special Music: Zephyr Recorder Ensemble
Share the Plate: Culture Change Coalition of Peoria

Sunday, March 3, 10:30 A.M.
Creativity at the Heart
Rev. Michael Brown
We are very close to the opening act of the greatest display of creativity on earth, the annual production called spring. Many people experience creativity as a spiritual path. Where does creativity come from and how does it express itself, in nature and in us?
The choir will sing Dirait-on, a musical interpretation of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. Rilke is a shining example of one whose path was creativity.
Share the Plate: Culture Change Coalition of Peoria

Sunday, February 24 10:30 A.M.
Growing in Love
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
Valentine’s Day has passed, but the importance of love in our lives and the world shall never fade. What is love? From the sciences to theology, we will consider this question and reflect on the presence of love in our lives.
Special Music: East Peoria Community High School Chorale, Director Pete Driscoll
Share the Plate: Mental Health America of Illinois Valley

Sunday, February 17 10:30 A.M.
Would You Rather Have Order or Freedom?
Rev. Michael Brown
As the Catholic Church prepares to name a new pope, it relies on traditions that go back hundreds of years. As religious liberals we are much more free about what we do, and also considerably smaller and less organized. Why would different people want contrasting styles of religion? Could it be due to genetics, climate, politics, or personality type? Or is it something in human nature? Wouldn’t it be great if we could understand these differences better?
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Mental Health America of Illinois Valley

Sunday, February 10, 10:30 A.M.
Deep Gladness, Deep Need
Rev. Barbara H. Gadon
How do you know what you're meant to do in life? Where do you find a sense of purpose? Fredrich Buechner offers some helpful words: Look for "where your deep gladness meets the world's deep needs." Our guest preacher, Rev. Barbara Gadon will explore the meaning of personal mission for Unitarian Universalists. Rev. Barbara H. Gadon is the interim senior minister for the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. Over her 15 years in ministry, she has served congregations in Michigan, Delaware, Virginia, and Maryland. She is joyfully married to Robert Gadon, and is a collage artist and line dancer.
Special Music: Wes Sedrel, guitar
Share the Plate: Mental Health Association of Illinois

Sunday, February 3, 10:30 A.M.
The Thread
Denny Davidoff
“Something is very gently, invisibly, silently, pulling at me – a thread or net of threads.” The poet, Denise Levertov, captures my attention and imagination. What are the sources that have guided my life work, past and present? On her remarkable UU path, Denny Davidoff has served as President of the UU Women’s Federation, Chair of the GA Planning Committee, UUA Moderator (leader of the UUA Bd. and the GA), and founder (with other religious leaders) of the Interfaith Alliance. She is currently a Senior Consultant at Meadville/Lombard Theological School. Even if you don’t know all these acronyms, don’t miss this chance to meet and hear a genuine leader of our faith tradition. Denny will also host a discussion after the service to talk about how we educate ministers and other matters.
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Center for the Prevention of Abuse

Sunday, January 27 10:30 A.M.
Non-violence and Guns
Rev. Michael Brown
Now that we have celebrated the birthday of Dr. King, and praised non-violence as a way of life, how do we reconcile this ideal with the gun control debate storming in our society? This is one of those times when decisions are being made that will determine the character of our nation.
Special Music: Harvey Thomas, tenor solo
Share the Plate: Center for the Prevention of Abuse

Sunday, January 20 10:30 A.M.
Justice Seeking
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
This week is a time for a focus on justice. We celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, and Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. What can we learn from the efforts toward justice of the past? What work have we yet to do to continue seeking justice?
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Center for the Prevention of Abuse

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Atheist Spirituality
Rev. Michael Brown
Is atheist spirituality an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp? Or could it work in some paradoxical way? Let’s explore how one might live a spiritual life, or something very similar, without any deities. Many Unitarian Universalists seem to be on this path. Why not?
Special Music: Eli Hosbrough, trumpet solo
Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity

Sunday, January 6, 2013
Six Ways of Looking at an Elephant
Rev. Michael Brown
Is it possible that different people look at the same thing and actually see different realities? That seems to be how things work in our American culture. Where are the opportunities for cooperation in such a world? Can we find a way to all get along?
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity

Sunday, December 30, 2012
The Beginning is Near
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister

This is a time to reflect and to look forward, to recognize within our lives and our calendars that something new is about to begin. Every ending is a beginning, and this morning let us look forward to what may be. With Christmas past and the New Year just before us, we will mark the passage of time this Sunday through a ritual of letting go of the old and preparing for the new.
Special music: Jay Parker, Vocal Solo
Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity

Monday, December 24, 2012
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Rev. Michael Brown
Join us for music, candles, carols, and legends as we celebrate the night before Christmas. Bring your out-of-town guests, bring the kids, bring grandma and grandpa, bring your neighbor. Goodies will be served after the service. Come and celebrate the enduring, hopeful message of Christmas.
The choir will sing.
Special music: Erin Dajka, Cello Solo

Sunday, December 23, 2012
Peace on Earth, Peace in Connecticut
Rev. Michael Brown

How can we learn from the tragedy in Connecticut so that our society becomes less violent and peace on earth becomes more than just a seasonal wish.
Special music: Ethan Hosbrough, French Horn Solo
Share the Plate: UU Service Committee

Sunday, December 16, 2012
Our “Journey to Christmas”
Amy Popp, CRE
For this year's winter holiday service, we are planning a “Journey to Christmas” Children's Pageant as part of our annual multi-generational service. This year, our pageant will include the holidays of Solstice, Hanukkah, and the first Christmas as we trace the traditions that led us to our modern-day Christmas experience. The congregation will be participating in our service in some small, but significant, ways as we make our “Journey to Christmas.” The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: UU Service Committee

Sunday, December 9, 2012
How Much Light Do We Have?
Rev. Michael Brown
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is often portrayed as similar to Christmas, but it’s a completely different story. It asks us to consider how much strength we really have and how we can recover from disaster. It also has historical meaning that bears on our very existence as a religious tradition. Come and experience the season of light through a new lens.
Special music: Peoria Area Accordian Club
Share the Plate: UU Service Committee

Sunday, December 2, 2012
An Altered State of Mind
Rev. Michael Brown
We are now in the holiday season, a truly different state of consciousness. What in the world is going on? What elements are behind our annual plunge into an altered set of behaviors, attitudes, and customs? Today we recognize church volunteers and Global Village provides fair-trade gifts for your holiday shopping. Welcome to the season!
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: UU Service Committee

Sunday, November 25, 2012
Bringing Back Hell
Rev. Michael Brown
A number of UUs, including our church treasurer, have suggested that we need to resurrect the threat of hell. Let’s ponder carefully the advantages and disadvantages of such a move. There are no bad ideas in brainstorming!
Special music: David Woessner, saxophone
Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, November 18, 2012
Boxes Upon Boxes
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
Each of our lives is shaped by metaphorical boxes of various sizes and shapes, those we create for ourselves, those created by others for us, and those in which we put people we know and meet. These boxes are necessary to make sense of the world, but we must take care with how we use them, as well. In this service, we will consider all of our boxes and our relationships to them.
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, November 11, 2012
The Future of Our Faith
Rev. Michael Brown
By today’s service the election will be over, and there will be both joy and sorrow in our land. We don’t yet know who will have the joy and who will have the sorrow. But our lives continue and our church is a place of hope, no matter who wins or loses. Today, we have the pleasure to welcome new members and reflect on the emerging role of our liberal religion in the community and in our world.
Special music: LuAnn Stoskopf, flute
Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, November 4, 2012
The Cure for Democracy
Rev. Michael Brown
Is our democratic form of government healthy? Do we feel our process is fair, open, and honest? Do we feel confident that our government is working diligently to do the people’s business? In our UU principles, we say we believe that democracy is the best way to organize human affairs. Is that our experience? Francis Moore Lappe says she has “the cure” for democracy. On Sunday I’ll tell you her prescription. The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Prairie State Legal Services

Sunday, October 28, 2012
Dia de los Muertos- A Service for All Ages
Rev. Michael Brown
Today, we celebrate the traditional holiday of Dias de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. We will honor our loved ones with traditional Dia de los Muertos customs, including an ofrenda. During the service, you will be invited to place a picture or another object on the ofrenda to remember your special loved one. We will hear traditional Mariachi music and enjoy special Dia de los Muertos treats. It is always sad to lose those we love, but this special holiday mixes the sadness with playfulness and celebration.
Special music: Mariachi Campiranos
Share the Plate: Prairie State Legal Services

Sunday, October 21, 2012
Religion and Capitalism
Rev. Michael Brown
Have you ever wondered why in our country conservative religion is allied with the interests of wealthy capitalists? It turns out there are some historical and theological reasons why this is so. Come and find out how these strange bedfellows met and then became more than friends.

Sunday, October 14, 2012
It Only Works with Love
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
At the recent congregational meeting, the members of our church voted to support our involvement in Don’t Shoot, the City of Peoria’s efforts to end gun violence in the city. What does this mean for us? What effect can I, or our congregation, have on such an issue? In this service, we will explore how our Universalist faith in love connects us to Don’t Shoot Peoria, gun violence, and the work of justice.

Sunday, October 7, 2012
Discovering America
Rev. Michael Brown
October 8 is Columbus Day, a holiday that has very different meanings to different people. In addition to reflecting on some of those diverse messages, let us see if we can discover the America of today. What kind of land is this? What kind of people live here? Are they friendly? Where is this huge, creative nation headed in the next few years?

Sunday, September 23, 2012
This Is the Time
Erin Margit Dajka, Intern Minister
As I begin my work with this congregation this year, it is evident that one church year is a short period of time. It begs the question of what we shall do with the brief, blessed moments that we have.

Sunday, September 16, 2012
An Inclusive Way of Life
Rev. Michael Brown
As we celebrate the beginning of our 170th year, it’s an auspicious time to reflect on what have been the threads running through all these years.

Sunday, September 9, 2012
Water Is Life
Rev. Michael Brown; Amy Popp, CRE; Erin Dajka, Intern Minister
Today is the annual Water Ceremony that begins our new church year.

Sunday, May 27, 2012
Gay Marriage, the Bible, and Civil Rights
Rev. Michael Brown
The issue of gay marriage has dominated our cultural dialogue as never before with the endorsement of both the President and Vice President. Pundits and religious leaders are weighing in. The African American community is particularly divided. What does our Unitarian Universalist tradition have to say about this hot button issue of our time?
Special Music: Ballet — The faculty of the Cornerstone Academy for Performing Arts perform: Rebekah von Rathonyi, Artistic Director; Jennifer Reiter, Academy Director; and Rhea Keller, Instructor; accompanied by Pete Driscoll
Share the Plate: Interfaith Alliance

Sunday, May 13, 2012
A Celebration of Mothers
Rev. Michael Brown
On this Mother’s Day let us celebrate our mothers and all they have done for us. Let us also remember the first Mother’s Day — an anti-war demonstration organized by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe. From heroines to goddesses to our moms, we honor the mothers of our lives.
Special music: Peoria Recorder Consort
Share the Plate: Look! It’s My Book!

Sunday, May 6, 2012
Youth Group Sunday
Youth Group
Today our dynamic Youth Group will present a multigenerational Sunday service on the topic of homelessness. Come and enjoy their choices of music, readings and message. The youth will be spending the night before the service here at the church in their Cardboard City to raise awareness and funds to help the homeless. Be sure to offer them your support. Our annual Salad Lunch will take place after the service.
The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Look! It’s My Book!

Sunday, April 29, 2012
What Kind of Church Is This?
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we welcome new members into our church. How fortunate we are to have friends who want to share this journey with us. But what kind of church is this? Is church the right word for what we do here? What do we do here? These questions may have some interesting answers. The choir also sings today. Share the Plate: Look! It’s My Book!

Sunday, April 8, 2012
Life + Death = Life
Rev. Michael Brown
Easter is one of the great celebrations of Spring. Easter is a particular story that has meaning within a tradition but it is also a universal story that shares a common message with countless other legends and myths. What are these stories trying to tell us? Something very uplifting, I think.

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Making It Happen
Rev. Michael Brown
Our church has a new set of goals. If we did the things we have named as goals, our already lively church would be unbelievably energized. Join us today as we consider what we could become and how we can get there. The choir will sing a beautiful Paul McCartney song. Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, March 25, 2012
Respecting the American Indian
Dave Weiman
This multi-generational service will include Native American drums, singers, flutes, stories, and a pipe ceremony. A full explanation of the ceremonies, instruments, and regalia will enrich the experience of the service. A short talk will clarify how the American Indian culture can be honored, respected and appreciated.
Special music: Spirit of the Rainbow Singers.
Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, March 18, 2012
Muhammad and the Three Goddesses
Rev. Michael Brown
Most of us do not know much about Islam and how it developed. And yet Islam is a huge factor in our 21st-century world and in American society as well. Today we will learn something about the prophet Muhammad—where he came from, what he taught, and his relationship to three goddesses. The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, March 11, 2012
Myths of America: The Land of Freedom
Rev. Michael Brown
America is the place to come and be free. America defends freedom. This is the freedom land. Live free or die. Since our earliest days, our country has been entwined with the ideal of freedom. How does this myth continue to shape our lives? Is it true? Special Music: The L R Band with Craig Curtis, Mat Timm, and Steve Tippett will play some freedom songs for us.
Share the Plate: Carroll County Haiti Mission Project

Sunday, March 4, 2012, 10:30 A.M.
Myths of America: The Titanic
Rev. Michael Brown
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. What does this sad story tell us about our cultural identity? What does it show us about our blind spots? And what is the good news, the positive side of the story? It does have one. The choir will sing.
Share the Plate: Carroll County Haiti Mission Project

Sunday, February 26, 2012, 10:30 A.M.
Myths of America: The Promised Land
Rev. Michael Brown
Every culture has its myths and we have them as well. To say a story is a myth is not a criticism. Myths are stories that shape the way we look at the world. Is America the promised land? In many ways that is our story, our myth. Join us for an exploration of how this story shapes our world. Special Music: East Peoria Community High School Chorale, Pete Driscoll, Director
Share the Plate: Carroll County Haiti Mission Project

Sunday, February 19, 2012
Evolution Sunday
Rev. Michael Brown
Each year houses of worship all over the United States celebrate an Evolution Sunday to demonstrate that evolution and religion do not need to be enemies but can coexist and perhaps even have healthy dialogue. Today we join in that movement as we honor the wisdom of science and ask ourselves what it might mean to be religious in the age of evolution. The choir will sing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012
Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom
Rev. Michael Brown
Sophia, the goddess of wisdom, appears not only in the Bible but in countless other legends as well. What does it mean to be wise, and what does Sophia have to teach us about wisdom? If wisdom is knowing what to do in life, then that is what we all need. The choir will sing.

Sunday, January 29, 2012
Theodore Parker, Transcendentalist Activist
Rev. Michael Brown
Theodore Parker is one of the most fascinating characters in Unitarian Universalist history. Transcendental, scholar, abolitionist, minister, and author of some of the most famous words ever written. Called a Unitarian heretic by some, he remains an inspiring figure. After the service we will have a birthday celebration for Jane Ising who turns 110 this week! The choir will sing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Stone Soup
Rev. Michael Brown
The old story of the stone soup provides us a window on religion. Can you make a soup out of nothing but a stone and water and still have a tasty treat? It sounds unlikely but it just might work!
Special music: Zephyr Ensemble and Friends

Sunday, January 8, 2012
It’s What’s In Between That Counts
Annie Gonzalez
We do not exist outside our relationships. So say some Buddhist philosophers and process theologians. Our UU 7th principle holds a similar message about the interdependent web of existence. What do these ideas mean for us today in our individualistic and self-centered culture? Annie Gonzalez, a Union Theological Seminary student in New York, grew up in our RE program. We welcome her back in a new role. The choir will sing.

Sunday, December 11, 10:30 A.M.
Ancient Wisdom in the Turning Year
Rev. Michael Brown
The solstice holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, and Kwanzaa all speak of returning light and renewed hope. There is something about this time of year that invites a special kind of consciousness. The Peoria Accordion Club will play today to lift your holiday spirits.

Sunday, December 4, 10:30 A.M.
Scrooge or Marley, Bailey or Potter. Take Your Choice
Rev. Michael Brown
As we enter full steam into the holiday season, two classic Christmas stories speak to the ever-present tension between the haves and the have-nots. According to these two stories, Christmas has something to say about how this tension can be resolved. The choir sings today and Global Village will be here to assist your holiday shopping.
Share the Plate: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Sunday, November 27, 10:30 A.M.
Counting Our Blessings
Rev. Michael Brown
We are in the holiday consciousness once again. What a vast explosion of interconnected cultural messages—some more profound than others. Among these is the message of gratitude which has stood the test of time and has real benefits when practiced faithfully. Research even supports this claim. Welcome to this special time of year. Special music: Pete Driscoll, piano.

Sunday, November 20, 10:30 A.M.
Standing on the Side of Love – Unity in Diversity
Rev. Mark Kiyimba
Rev. Mark Kiyimba is the founder of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda. In addition he has founded both an orphanage and a school for children who have lost parents through HIV/AIDS. He is a leading advocate for GLBT rights in Uganda; the current UU World has an article on his excellent work. Mark will also give a public lecture tonight at 7:00 p.m. at our church. The choir will sing.

Sunday, November 13, 10:30 A.M.
Where Does Our Path Lead?
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is New Member Sunday. What is the nature of the community that our new members have joined? Where are we headed? How do our skills and the world’s needs intersect? These are good questions for all of us as we look to the coming years. Should we try to set a direction or just let it flow? Special music: LuAnn Stoskopf on flute.

Sunday, November 6, 10:30 A.M.
How My Journey Brought Me Here with You
Rev. Ellen Culpepper
Our guest today is a Disciples of Christ minister from Bloomington-Normal who is in transition to becoming Unitarian Universalist. After serving 39 years as a Disciples of Christ (mainline Protestant) senior minister, Ellen reflects on what it means to find a settled home now with Unitarian Universalists. The choir will sing.

Sunday, October 30, 10:30 A.M.
Dia de los Muertos
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we celebrate the traditional holiday of Mexico and other countries called Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. We will make an ofrenda, or altar, to honor those who have died, and you are invited to bring a photo or other momento of a loved one to place on the ofrenda. Dia de los Muertos is both mournful and celebratory in its mood. Our choir will sing and we have a mariachi band as our special guests. This is a service for all ages. Today’s music: Enjoy traditional Mexican mariachi music as well as our own choir.

Sunday, October 23, 10:30 A.M.
Occupy the World
Rev. Michael Brown
The widespread demonstrations of the last month have focused our attention on issues of economic justice. What is fair and just when it comes to taxes, bonuses, bailouts, public employees, campaign fundraising, entitlements, PACS, and wealth distribution? People are really taking these questions to heart. Is there such a thing as economic justice, and if so, what is it? Special Music: Musical trio: Sydney Campen and Darren and Sarah Seymore

Sunday, October 16, 10:30 A.M.
The Ins and Outs of Immigration
Rev. Michael Brown
Immigration is a painful issue in our society right now and our Thursday night course has made it clear how complex this issue is. Without grabbing at simple answers too quickly, we will seek an approach that genuinely addresses the diverse needs involved and also the ever-present obligation to treat people of all backgrounds with respect and dignity. The choir will sing today and we will learn the Spanish version of Spirit of Life.

Sunday, October 9, 10:30 A.M.
Making Amends
Rev. Michael Brown
Twelve Step groups talk about making amends as a necessary part of a healing process and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur sets aside this time of year to make amends and seek reconciliation. Can we affirm our UU aversion to using guilt as a motivator and still earnestly seek to do the right thing about some aspect of our life that is broken? Special Music: Erica Graves The Involvement Fair follows the service.

Sunday, October 2, 10:30 A.M.
The Arrow of Evolution
Rev. Michael Brown
Does evolution go in any particular direction? It's a question that could make a big difference in how we see the world and our role in it. Drawing on thinkers like Charles Darwin, Michael Dowd, and Robert Wright we'll follow the arrow and try to see where it lands, if possible. The choir will sing.

Sunday, September 25, 10:30 A.M.
What Does It Mean to Be Fair?
Rev. Michael Brown
Our lives are permeated with issues regarding fairness. If one child gets a strawberry cone and the other gets vanilla, is that fair? How do we decide who gets what? If the issue is immigration or taxes, what is fair? Following the service we will meet in Fellowship Hall to select our social outreach projects for the year. The choir will sing.

Sunday, September 18, 10:30 A.M.
The Need of Our Time
Rev. Michael Brown
As we begin a new church year and see our world full of strife and our nation with a deep cultural divide, can we discern what kind of direction would be helpful for humanity? Can our religious path offer such a direction? Let's explore that possibility.

Sunday, August 21, 10:30 A.M.
The Stories We Don't Know
Jim Parrish
The stories we know and are comfortable with become who we are. How can we become a more diverse denomination capable of working good in this world if we don't know the story?

Sunday, June 5, 10:30 A.M.
Twenty Years of Life
Rev. Michael Brown
Today I will offer some reflections on the last twenty years. What are some of the events that stand out and define us as a community? What do we have to celebrate? What might the future look like? Special music: Mat Timm and Craig Curtis. Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity. Our annual Salad Lunch follows the service.

Sunday, May 29, 10:30 A.M.
Evil and the Reptilian Brain
Rev. Michael Brown
In theology the problem of evil is considered one of the most difficult things to explain. What do we mean by evil and where does it come from? Maybe it has to do with the dinosaurs. Today we will hear from several graduating high school seniors who have grown up in our church. Special Music: Eli Hosbrough; Alex, Cindy, and Courtney Silver. Share the Plate: Prairie State Legal

Sunday, May 22, 10:30 A.M.
How the Unitarians and the Universalists Got Together and Created Something That Works
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we welcome new members into our church. Each new member will bring new gifts into our common life, gifts that will enrich our community. We also celebrate the union of the Unitarians and the Universalists that took place 50 years ago this month. Main Street, USA, a great vocal quartet led by our own Jinny Gunnar, will share special music. Share the Plate: Prairie State Legal

Sunday, May 8, 10:30 A.M.
Universalism Behind Three Doors
Rev. Michael Brown
Last week Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed had some inspiring remarks about the message of Universalism and its timeliness in our ever-challenging world. Today we offer several ways this timeless message can be framed; ways that fit a variety of theological stances. Which will you take—door number one, number two, or number three? Special music: Peoria Recorder Consort Share the Plate: Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley

Sunday, May 1, 10:30 A.M.
Dragged Kicking and Screaming Into Heaven
Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed
Early in the 19th century Universalism swept across our young nation finding a 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 that Universalism re-articulated for the 21st century? The choir will sing Annie Laurie. Our guest is a Meadville/Lombard faculty member and keynote speaker at our district assembly. He preached his first sermon outside of seminary in our church many years ago. Let us welcome him back to Peoria. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Mental Health Alliance

Sunday, April 24, 10:30 A.M.
The New Wave of Universalists
Rev. Michael Brown
Universalism is on the move in the 21st century. It’s the cover story in this week’s Time magazine. What do these new Universalists tell us about what’s happening in our world? Amid a lot of chaos, a hopeful twist on an old message is changing religion in America. Special Music: Jay Parker will sing and Marcia Henry Liebenow, Concertmaster of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra will play violin. Share the Plate: Mental Health Alliance

Sunday, April 17, 10:30 A.M.
The Tolerance Paradox
Rev. Michael Brown
Tolerance is a word we use in a positive way, but are there limits to tolerance? How can one honor the spirit of tolerance and yet respond in healthful ways to those who are not tolerant? Where is the balance point between tolerance and foolishness? The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Look, It’s My Book

Sunday, April 10, 10:30 A.M.
A Vision for the No Hell Church
Rev. Michael Brown
This Sunday we will unveil the new Vision Statement that we will be voting on in May. What kind of vision of the future would be worthy of such a creative, dynamic, and historic community? And how might we go about realizing such a vision? Come and find out. Special music: Mark Filip, clarinet. Share the Plate: Look, It’s My Book

Sunday, March 6, 10:30 A.M.
The Path of Polydoxy
Rev. Michael Brown
Polydoxy is a word used by Jewish philosopher Alvin Reines to describe an approach to religion built on freedom of belief. What would it mean to take this path seriously, to embrace freedom? I was introduced to this idea by a high school friend of mine who became a rabbi and studied under Alvin Reines. Could polydoxy be another way to describe Unitarian Universalism? The choir will sing. Share the Plate: The Center for Prevention of Abuse

Sunday, February 20, 10:30 A.M.
The Critical Mind and the Open Heart
Rev. Michael Brown
Sometimes it seems as if the light of critical thought, shined on religion, causes faith to just shrivel up and die. But perhaps faith is not dead after all. This stage of growth and its questions are very much alive within Unitarian Universalism. This exploration will use some of the ideas of James Fowler’s Stages of Faith. The choir sings today as well. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: The Center for Prevention of Abuse

Sunday, February 13, 10:30 A.M.
Turn the Principles Upside Down
Rev. Gail Lindsay Marriner
Creativity consists of looking at the familiar with new eyes. This sermon reflects what might happen if we were to look at our UU principles in a new way and read them starting with the seventh and ending with the first. Rev. Gail Lindsay Marriner has served congregations in Massachusetts and Texas and is currently serving the UU Congregation of Duluth, Minnesota. While getting her M. Div. from Harvard she won the Billings Prize for preaching. Special Music: East Peoria Community High School Chorale under the direction of Pete Driscoll. Share the Plate: Friends of People with Aids

Sunday, February 6, 10:30 A.M.
Stages of Faith Development
Rev. Michael Brown
Are There patterns in the way that we human beings grow spiritually? Using work by James Fowler, Lawrence Kohlberg, and others, let's examing the possibility that there are such patterns. Of course, we as UUs might not follow the pattern, but then again, maybe we do after all. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Friends of People with Aids

Sunday, January 30, 10:30 A.M.
A House Divided
Rev. Michael Brown
Are there creative ways to understand the deep divisions which seem to plague our society? Are there any paths to finding a sense of unity that can include all the differences? Religion plays a surprisingly large role in this cultural drama. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Friends of People with Aids

Sunday, January 23, 10:30 A.M.
A Chance for a Stance
Dave Weiman
It isn’t often that we, as individuals or as a community, have the opportunity to address a core cause of a social and civil injustice. Today we look at just such an issue that has negatively affected Native Americans for over 400 years. Special music: Pam Greenslate, Native American flute and Spirit of the Rainbow, Native American drums. Share the Plate: Families Against Toxic Waste

Sunday, January 9, 10:30 A.M.
Religion and the Placebo Effect
Rev. Michael Brown
A new study shows that placebo drugs can work even when the patient is told that they are placebos! This is just too amazing to not pay attention to. Are there any parallels with religion? You betcha! Special music: Jay Parker, vocal solo. Share the Plate: Families Against Toxic Waste

Sunday, January 2, 10:30 A.M.
Breaking Through
Rev. Michael Brown
It’s a new year, believe it or not! What can we do with the gift of one more year? Our congregation has been designated a Breakthrough Congregation, but what does that mean? How can we as individuals and as a community break through the boundaries that hold us back? The choir begins a new year of music today too. Share the Plate: Interfaith Alliance

Sunday, December 5, 10:30 A.M.
The Light of Freedom
Rev. Michael Brown and Norma Rossi
As we continue our journey through the holiday season we will explore the symbolism of Hanukkah, one of the winter celebrations focusing on light. As the light returns at the time of winter solstice so in the story of Hanukkah a people return to their sacred place. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Guest at Your Table

Sunday, November 28, 10:30 A.M.
The Biology of Belief
Dr. Robert Fuller
Professor Fuller of Bradley is known to many of us and is always a welcome and interesting speaker. Today he addresses the connections between religion and biology, how our bodies affect what and how we believe. We look forward to his insights. Special music: Pete Driscoll. Share the Plate: Guest at Your Table

Sunday, November 21, 10:30 A.M.
Giving Thanks in Anxious Times
Rev. Michael Brown
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday with food, friends, and family. But times are not great, and problems abound in our public and private worlds. How do we find an attitude of gratitude in difficult times? The choir will sing today. Share the Plate: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Peoria County

Sunday, November 14, 10:30 A.M.
Jenkin Lloyd Jones and How Unitarianism Got to Illinois
Rev. Michael Brown
Today on this New Member Sunday we look at one of the heroes of 19th century Unitarianism, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, who among other things, helped create the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He also founded Unitarian churches all over the Midwest and probably preached in Peoria as well. Join us as we welcome our newest UUs. Special music: LuAnn Stoskopf, flute and Jacqueline Schwab, piano. Share the Plate: CASA of Peoria County

Sunday, November 7, 10:30 A.M.
Dream Big
Rev. Michael Brown
This past summer I worked with ministerial colleagues from Appleton, Wisconsin to present a workshop at the UUA General Assembly on growth. We each contributed ideas that we brought from our own experience. One of the Appleton ideas that impressed me was “Dream Big.” I’ll try to convey what that might mean. Today is also our potluck lunch after church to launch a mini pledge drive, and I hope you can join us. Our choir will sing as well. Share the Plate: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Peoria County

Sunday, October 17, 10:30 A.M.
The Future of Unitarian Universalism
Rev. Michael Brown
Where is Unitarian Universalism headed? Do we have a future as a religious movement in America or in other parts of the world? What contributions can we make? Where is UU theology going? We can take a peek into the past and then see if we can discern where the road could lead for UUs. Today is Association Sunday and our Share the Plate recipient will be the Unitarian Universalist Association. The choir will sing.

Sunday, October 10, 10:30 A.M.
Reading the Crystal Ball
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we look into the future of our church community. Did you know that just five years ago we were moving into this building? These have been pretty fascinating years. What will the next five years bring? That is our challenge to envision. Special music: Mary Greenhood, vocal solo. Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, October 3, 10:30 A.M.
Evolution Toward What?
Rev. Michael Brown
Now that many of us have heard the thoughts of Michael Dowd, either through his book, DVDs, or in person, and we can think about evolution as having spiritual significance, where do we think this great creative process is going? Where are we going? What hints do we have? Today you will get to meet our new choir director, Dave Breeden. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, September 26, 10:30 A.M.
A Welcoming and Caring Community
Rev. Michael Brown
Is our church welcoming to those who come through our door? Certainly it is in many ways. But what does it mean to be truly welcoming and caring? What does it mean to love inclusively as we say in our mission statement? It’s not a trivial thing to do. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Planned Parenthood

Sunday, September 19, 10:30 A.M.
Embracing Freedom
Rev. Michael Brown
Freedom is one of the core values of our faith. But freedom is not an easy road to travel. We human beings seem to be constantly tempted to curtail someone else's freedom whether it be in some distant land or New York City. How can we truly affirm freedom and why does it matter? Special music: Kathy Carter, flute solo, Share the Plate: Planned Parenthood

Tuesday, September 7, 7:00 PM
"Thank God For Evolution"
Rev. Michael Dowd
Come hear Rev. Michael Dowd share a gospel that's billions of years old. Michael's bold new book builds bridges, provides guidance, and restores realistic hope for people of any religion or belief system. Click here for a flyer of the event. At the end of his presentation Michael Dowd played a trailer for his book.

Sunday, June 6, 10:30 A.M.
Who Would Have Imagined!
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
It's been a good year to be an intern at UU Peoria! We will reflect on some of the themes shared along our journey together, and explore the use of imagination in religious thought. Special music: Pete Driscoll, vocal. Share the Plate: Prairie State Legal Services

Sunday, May 30, 10:30 A.M.
Clara Barton, A Compassionate Response to War
Rev. Michael Brown
On this Memorial Day weekend, we reflect on the life of Clara Barton, part of our Universalist tradition and founder of the American Red Cross. Her response to war and human summering provides us with a powerful example of the best side of human nature. Special music: David Woessner, Saxophone. Share the Plate: Prairie State Legal Services

Sunday, May 23, 10:30 A.M.
The End of Religion
Rev. Michael Brown
Is humanity outgrowing religion? Will science eventually make religion unnecessary? Is there a role for religion as we move into the Star Trek Age? These are a few of the questions we might ponder as we prepare to vote on a new mission statement at our congregational meeting after church. Come to church now while there’s still time! Special music: Flute trio: Kathy Carter, Martha Herm, and LuAnn Stoskopf. Share the Plate: Carroll County Haiti Mission Project

Sunday, May 9, 10:30 A.M.
Flower Communion – Celebrating the Values of Belonging
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
Our culture tells the story of nurturing as belonging to “weaker” members of our society. That strength is inherent only in those who are willing to compete. But the truth is the values of Belonging are stronger and more inherent to our souls than competition. And when we practice Belonging, we “win” on many, many levels. We’ll share flowers during this multigenerational service in the spirit of Belonging. (Please bring a cut flower per person in your family to share!) Special Music: Peoria Recorder Consort Share the Plate: Carroll County Haiti Mission Project

Sunday, May 2, 10:30 A.M.
How to Light a Candle Without Burning Down the Church
Rev. Michael Brown
Today is New Member Sunday when we have the pleasure of welcoming new members into our congregation. How do we balance the sometimes competing ideals of freedom, caring, tolerance, and social commitment? This question doesn’t have a simple answer, yet it is at the core of our tradition. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Carroll County Haiti Mission Project

Sunday, April 18, 10:30 A.M.
The Miracles That Surround Us
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
What do you think of when you hear “miracle” used? Are miracles only odd stories in religious texts and fantasy novels, or an apparent healing or survival of danger? Does modern life have miracles? If so, where do we find them? Is a miracle the point or just a sign something important happened? We’ll look at how Unitarian Universalism has treated miracles and what religious people might consider a miracle to be today. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Children’s Home

Sunday, April 11, 10:30 A.M.
What Do You Do When the Baby Cries at Night?
Rev. Michael Brown
We live in a divided culture as is evident every day. Linguistics expert George Lakoff contends that there are two different ways of defining a family in our culture and based on these two models, all the deep cultural and political differences make sense. What do you do, pick the baby up or let the child cry? Special Music: Mark Filip, clarinet soloist Share the Plate: Children’s Home

Sunday, April 4, 10:30 A.M.
An Evolutionary Easter
Rev. Michael Brown
Come celebrate this traditional holiday and explore a new way of looking at an old and very widespread story. Evolution provides a surprising lens for viewing one of our most universal myths. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Children’s Home

Sunday, March 28, 10:30 A.M.
The Country That Changed Its Mind
Rev. Michael Brown
American society is not the same as it was a week ago. Something has changed. Part of the change is about politics but some of it goes beyond politics and touches the spirit. Come and find out how. Special music: Zephyr recorder trio: Roger and Shirley Cunningham, Eleonore Hansen Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity

Sunday, March 21, 10:30 A.M.
How To Be a Christian without Killing Anyone
Brooks McDaniel
Ramakrishna, a Hindu mystic, is credited with saying, “God has made different religions to suit different aspirations, times, and countries...one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with wholehearted devotion.” Brooks McDaniel will explore the idea of many religions reaching an ultimate understanding, and the difficulty of the different paths understanding each other. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity

Sunday, March 14, 10:30 A.M.
Diverse to What End … or Beginning?
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
Our version of Unitarianism and Universalism grew up in colonial United States. A very Eurocentric culture at its base, we inherited a polyglot of liberal religious ideas and ideals. Today we face the challenge of understanding our heritage in order to articulate a clear meaning for our present and to share it with the future of our nation and world—a world that is less and less Eurocentric/North American in culture, but needs our message none the less. Special music: Zach Richerson, violin Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity

Sunday, March 7, 10:30 A.M.
What Does Our Church Stand For?
Rev. Michael Brown
Can you state clearly and concisely what our church stands for? See if you can. Our Long Range Planning Committee has proposed a nine word mission statement for our consideration. Come and help us ponder what we stand for and how to say it. Whether we can do this or not makes a huge difference. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Habitat for Humanity

Sunday, February 14, 10:30 A.M.
The Politics of Love
Rev. Michael Brown
As Valentine’s Day previews the birth of spring, our nation ponders “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and the question of whose love can be shared in a legal marriage. How did politics become part of love? Do we have so much love in the world that we need to make some of it illegal? If you ask, I’ll tell what our UU tradition says about these questions. Special music: East Peoria High School Chorale Share the Plate: Central Illinois FRIENDS of People with AIDS

Sunday, February 7, 10:30 A.M.
Beauty: Moving from Chaos, Imagination, and Perfection to Hope
UU Minister, Kent McKusick
Is beauty only in the eye of the beholder? The poet Frederick Turner writes “Beauty… is the highest integrative level of understanding and the most comprehensive capacity for effective action. It enables us to go with, rather than against…” How can beauty emerge from chaos or escape the medieval understanding of it as perfection to inspire a journey of discovery, action, and hope?
Kent McKusick, is a UU minister who served as intern minister at All Souls in Kansas City, as chaplain at Ferry Beach (Conference Center in Maine), and at the Samaritan House in Fort Worth. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Central Illinois FRIENDS of People with AIDS

Sunday, January 31, 10:30 A.M.
In the River
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
We will use the lens of a song by Peter Mayer, “God Is a River,” to reflect on a traditional aspect of being Unitarian Universalist—the ability to let go. The song is startling in its simple but powerful message of being able to change one’s religious perspective. We will explore how that message is reflected in stories of spiritual change in religious history, and how it calls to us today. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: The Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley

Sunday, January 24, 10:30 A.M.
The Subject That Cannot Be Discussed
Rev. Michael Brown
Too hot to handle! Today we will talk about that which we have the most difficulty talking about. Is it sex? No. Politics? No. But it is something we all care about and most of us want more of it. I'll give you a hint: It's the root of all evil! Share the Plate: The Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley

Sunday, January 17, 10:30 A.M.
The Universalism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and pay special attention to the ways that his path intersected with Unitarian Universalist thoughts and ideas. Was King a Universalist? I will present a possible answer to this question and the UU Bluuegrass band will play some of the songs of the era. Special music: UU Bluuegrass Band and the choir will sing. Share the Plate: The Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley

Sunday, January 3, 10:30 A.M.
Our Humanist Roots
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
Humanism took root with Greek philosophers rejecting the supernatural and looking for human explanations for our being and relationship to the world around us. It was revived in the Italian Renaissance and the philosophies of the Enlightenment and given modern words and religious meaning in the first Humanist Manifesto, signed by our own Universalist Minister Clinton Lee Scott. We will explore Modern Humanism and what it can mean to religious people today. Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, December 27, 10:30 A.M.
Religion, Conflict, and Peacemaking
Rev. Michael Brown
Many of the conflicts in the world have a religious dimension. Often it seems like religion is the cause of our problems. How can religious people create peace and not more war? As we enter a new decade, this is a crucial question for our planetary future. Share the Plate: Common Place

Thursday, December 24, 7:00 P.M.
Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
Rev. Michael Brown
Join us for a traditional Christmas Eve service with candles, stories, songs, and goodies after the service. Bring grandma and grandpa, your out-of-town guests, and the kids! We will listen to the ancient stories once again and discover what new messages we may hear.

Sunday, December 20, 10:30 A.M.
The New Good News
Rev. Michael Brown
People in many parts of the world are celebrating the coming of Christmas, an ancient story that still carries important truths. Others celebrate solstice and other winter holidays. Are there any truths that speak to us as a planetary people? Today we will hear the news from a global gathering of religious leaders who have asked themselves that question. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Common Place

Sunday, December 6, 10:30 A.M.
A Season for UUs, a Season for All
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
The end of the year brings a confluence of religious holidays—Hanukkah (Jewish), Christmas (Christian), Ashira (Islam), and Yule (Pagan). No matter the religious holiday, our culture has imposed a veneer of commercialism on top of the season. How do we choose what has religious meaning to us? What rituals do we hold onto and why? How do we navigate this “holiday” season as Unitarian Universalists? The choir will sing. Share the Plate: UU Service Committee

Sunday, November 29, 10:30 A.M.
Why Should We Talk to People of Other Faiths?
Rev. Michael Brown
As eight members of our community prepare to leave to participate in the Parliament of the World’s Religions, let us consider what is to be gained by talking to people of other faiths. Is such dialogue just to make us feel good, or could it really make a difference? The choir sings today. Share the Plate: UU Service Committee

Sunday, November 22, 10:30 A.M.
Living For Real
Rev. Michael Brown
Today we welcome new members into our community and reflect on some of the foundational values of our UU faith. How can we explain our way of being religious to others? How can we better understand it for ourselves? These are questions that deserve an answer. We will try to do them justice. Special music: LuAnn Stoskopf, flute. Share the Plate: UU Service Committee

Sunday, November 8, 10:30 A.M.
The Dance of Being: The Individual, Community, and Ideals in Covenant
Jim Parrish, Intern Minister
The definition and how we use a covenant in Unitarian Universalist Polity is derived from early Congregationalist structure brought by the Pilgrims and Puritans to the colonies. To join a church one entered into covenant—the individual covenanting with the community and both covenanting with the “higher ideal” that they agreed upon: a sacred triangle, if you will. We’ll explore the relationship of the individual and community and that “higher ideal.” Special music: Zephyr Recorder Ensemble: Shirley and Roger Cunningham and Eleonore Hansen. Share the Plate: The Center for Prevention of Abuse.

Sunday, October 25, 10:30 A.M.
Theology of Possibilities
Rev. Michael Brown
The philosopher John Dewey would have liked the theme of our pledge campaign—Possibilities. He built a way of looking at religion based on the idea of possibilities and our yearning to explore them. The jazz music of Dave and Sherry Woessner will remind us that there is more than one way to interpret a melody and that we human beings love to explore the possibilities. Special music: Woodwind Duet, David and Sherry Woessner. Share the Plate: The Center for Prevention of Abuse

Sunday, October 18, 10:30 A.M.
Standing on the Side of Love
Rev. Linda Berez
Standing on the Side of Love is a program of the Unitarian Universalist Association that grew out of the tragic shooting that took place in one of our UU churches last year. Rev. Linda Berez is traveling around our district to spread the message of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. She is also an Affiliated Community Minister of our church. The choir will sing.

Sunday, October 11, 10:30 A.M.
Beyond Theism and Atheism: A Spectrum, Not a Chasm
Rev. Michael Brown
We often hear that there are three religious possibilities: theist, atheist, and agnostic, but actually there are many, many more. We will try to explore at least some of the major alternatives and get a sense of what they say. Special music: Pete Driscoll, piano solo.

Sunday, October 4, 10:30 A.M.
The Engineer and the Ocean: The Reason of a Religious Life
Intern Minister Jim Parrish
Unitarian Universalists tend to be people who understand religion in a different way from much (but not all) of the mainstream culture. I believe our understanding is closer to fulfilling the popular etymology of the word as related to religare or “to bind fast.” This “binding” for us tends to include as much of humanity and our ecology (what we live in) as we can get our arms around and understand. I will explore what pushed me onto the path of ministry, what that path looks like, and begin our theological conversation. The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Central Illinois FRIENDS of People with AIDS

Sunday, September 20, 10:30 A.M.
Searching for Community in a Divided World
Rev. Michael Brown
The present national debate over healthcare is historic, difficult, and far from over. The outcome is still unknown. Are there any compelling reasons why we should care whether other people have health care? The choir will sing. Share the Plate: Central Illinois FRIENDS of People with AIDS