Worship Services: 2020
SABBATICAL: ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS
The sabbatical committee invites you to bring your reflections on what has been gratifying and challenging about the sabbatical, as well as to celebrate the sabbatical ending and a new beginning with Rev. Bryan returning in January. The service is led by the Sabbatical Committee, Worship Associate Angela Risdon, Mary Collins Music Director, Courtney Singer Zoom Host.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
We joined the North Bay Coalition of UU churches this Christmas Eve for a very special service of readings and carols. Have your chalice and a taper for each member of the family ready to light together as we zoom into households across California and beyond. Special music featuring gorgeous voices and instruments from across Unitarian Universalism will bring old favorites as well as new arrangements, including Elizabeth Alexander’s rendition of Howard Thurman’s poem “When the Song of the Angels is Stilled.” Celebrants: Revs. Chris Bell, UU Santa Rosa, Marcus Liefert, UU Marin. Sonya Sukalski, UU Fellowship in Chico, Dara Olandt, UU Petaluma, Leisa Huyck, Napa Valley UU, Sharon McCarty, Worship Associate from UUCSR
LIGHT AND DARK TOGETHER
In the past month we have had both a lunar eclipse (Nov.29/30th) and a solar eclipse (Dec. 14th), so this solstice, we reach into our tradition for stories from Transylvania to inform us about balancing the dark and the light. Transylvanian Unitarians have kept the flame of this tradition burning since 1568 through many eras of challenge and difficulty. Light and dark both bring unique qualities, just like each person brings a little something to the community to make us stronger together, more able to see all the angles, and find ways to nurture the truth and love each of us is capable of sharing. The service is led by Rev. Sonya Sukalski, Worship Associate T.W. Theodore, Zoom Host Bob Crowe, with music from Mary Collins and Nick Arteaga, as well as UUs from Mt. Diablo and Minnesota.
THE FAITH THAT SUSTAINS ME
Rev. Asya Lesly will speak of the faith that has sustained her and living through these hard times. Angela Risdon Worship Associate, Mary Collins, Music Director, Nicholas Arteaga Pianist, Dave Keller, Zoom Host
SPIRITUALITY FOR UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS
Since the Unitarians and Universalists merged in 1961, the UUA has developed into a society of local congregations that focus primarily on liberal social, political, environmental, and gender-related issues. The influence of secular humanism, while still strong, has diminished somewhat with the rise of postmodernism. This sermon will address what many UU’s now recognize as a critical lack of spirituality in the denomination. Clovice Lewis-Guest Speaker, Dave Keller-Worship Associate, Margaret Aumann and Pam Sachs-Music Leaders, Pam Sachs-Zoom Host.
ANSWERING THE CALL TO SIDE WITH LOVE
In this season of Thanksgiving, let’s celebrate with love for one another, for whomever we call “family”, and for the global family of people, flora and fauna who live on our beloved Earth. As our days grow shorter, we wait for the Light. We wait for healing from COVID, we hope for reconciliation and for time to breathe in the face of so many challenges. In times of darkness, we can choose Love. Love can shed light on what is needed in each moment.
The Unitarian Universalist Association has called ALL people, not just UU’s, to be part of their public advocacy campaign: Side With Love. Side with Love, seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression based on race, class, gender preference or sexual identity. This campaign pursues social change through advocacy, public witness, and speaking out in solidarity with those whose lives are publicly demeaned. Every day we have a chance to choose to love others, even if, and maybe especially because, their color, race, beliefs, challenges, triumphs, politics or sexual preference are different than ours.
Come celebrate with us, the Call of Love. Worship Leaders: Mary Elizabeth Collins and David Strohmeyer. Musicians: Nick Arteaga, Mary Collins
THE WONDERING UNIVERSE
More and more these days we read articles that say “the human race is ‘hard wired’ for religion.” We’ve come to believe that humanity has an inbred tendency – a yearning – for religious experience. The human brain seeks patterns to make sense out of the world. Without patterns and structure our world would be a jumble of senseless input – light, sound, taste, smell, touch without meaning, sensory overload without order. So we seek and create patterns. We give order and meaning to our surroundings. We create stories that tell us who we are, and define our place in the Universe. We create structures that tell us how to behave and give purpose in our lives. This week we will explore some of those structures which bring us moments of awe and wonder and tell us who we are. Susan Bachlor, Worship Associate. Mary Collins, Music Director, and Nicholas Arteaga, Pianist. Rev. Dr. Sydney Wilde
Here we are, mostly post election, having met lots of good folks along the way to here, and now, but still seeing so much that needs change in our lives and society. For Rev. Sonya Sukalski, taking stock, letting all the mixed up emotions that have accumulated deliver their wisdom, and allowing ourselves to become grounded in a new way is what comes now. We have been in such tumultuous times, a moment to let the dust settle can be deeply rejuvenating. Perhaps you have a different way to move into what is next, as we look at life half way through Rev. Bryan’s sabbatical, most of the way through the turbulent times of 2020, and deep into COVID times. Megan Johnson-Worship Associate, Mary Collins-Music Director. Music by UUFC Choir, Guitar duet Margaret Aumann and Pam Sachs, Nicholas Arteaga Pianist,
Just two years ago this Sunday our skies were darkened by smoke and destruction as the Camp Fire sent 20,000 people streaming down the hill in terror for their lives.14,000 buildings were destroyed. 85 people died. This week we will look back and then Move-On. Four years ago this week we were shocked as Donald Trump was elected President of the USA. This week we face a new election, at this writing we do not know the outcome; will Donald Trump continue, or will Joe Biden become our next President. Whatever the outcome we must take stock and Move-On. This dual service will explore of who we are and where we are, and how we can best Move-On. The Revs Sydney Wilde and Dennis Daniel (UUFC Ministers Emeriti) will be leading the service along with Merrily Stover, Worship Associate; Mary Collins, Music Director; Pam Sachs and Margaet Aumann, Musicians.
OUR PRINCIPLE FOR DEMOCRACY
Rev. Ranwa Hammamy is the executive director of UU Justice Ministry of California. As we take action during this election cycle we are reminded of our principle for democracy and our ability to create truly transformative change though our actions.
MEYER’S LAW, OR WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO
Our Worship Leader, Dennis Daniel reveals that he and his wife Sydney have a guilty secret. They like to binge-watch good murder mysteries. Those among you who share this weakness for controlled mayhem will recognize what has become almost a trite scene from the concluding moments of a program. The murderer has finally confessed but has attempted to rationalize the murder by saying, “She left me no choice,” to which the detective responds, “You did have a choice.” Nothing more is said, just “You did have a choice.” While not getting into the complexities of homicidal decision making, today’s service will examine the choices available to us and why it is often so difficult to follow that path. With Worship Associate T.W. Theodore.
Rev. Daniel and his wife Sydney Wilde were co-ministers of this congregation from 2009 to 2015. Between them they have some 70 years of active UU ministry.
BEING HERE – GEOGRAPHY, BIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY, BIOGRAPHY
As we mature, heal, struggle, and meet new situations, the quality of our being is impacted by where we live, the stories we live into, and equally but perhaps more subtly our physical being and emotional worlds. Each human shapes and is shaped by their geography and biology Each family and community holds and feels the effects of our stories and emotions. And, much of each of these parts of our lives is changing this year – so what does “being here” really boil down to? Rev. Sonya Sukalski will share her understandings, and we will aim to engage those willing to try some new ways of being together virtually to flesh out a communal understanding of what “being here” means today. With contributions from Music Director, Mary Collins, Pianist Nicholas Arteaga and Worship Associate Angela Risdon.
TEACHING IN 2020
There is so much pain, discomfort, and uncertainty in these current times. In reflection, Courtney Boyden Singer, looks at this 2020 school year with it’s reality and it’s silver linings. Music Director, Mary Collins and Worship Associate Megan Johnson.
Listening to the Cries of the Heart and the Cries of the World
We join with three other UU congregations—Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Napa to revive the tradition of a North Bay UU Revival. Let’s feel ourselves part of a larger whole as we celebrate our faith with sister congregations through story and song, knowing we will make our way through these challenging times together. Bring a chalice or a candle with you so we can all light our faithful symbol in hundreds of homes together as we join together for a worship extravaganza
RACIAL JUSTICE: NOT SO FAST
Martin Luther King warned us that “the long arc of the moral universe bends toward justice”. However he did not tell us it would be THIS long. The end of the Jim Crowe murders and intimidations slowly disappeared with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s resulting in landmark legislation and historical Supreme Court decisions. Until this year with the homicide of George Floyd (and many other black men) and the birth of Black Lives Matter, the progress of racial justice had been slowed if not stymied. In our society, expression of white systemic prejudice leads to violence toward African Americans. However, it appears that something has awakened in white people to demand that changes MUST be made in police training, educational opportunities, housing policies and many other public programs that discriminate against African Americans. However, I am not so sure. There is one important action that is below the radar that is needed to build sustainable Racial Justice in our society. What is that missing piece? Join Worship Leader Tom Lewis to find out. Mary Collins, Songleader and Nick Arteaga, Pianist.
WHEN I WAS SAVED
How is it that we are saved, or redeemed? Worship Leader Megan Johnson will give her thoughts on this subject, as developed in the Sermon Seminar with Rev. Bryan in the fall of 2019. Worship Associate Dave Keller, music, Mary Collins.
Worship Associate Angela Risdon, Discussion Leader Mary Collins.
We joined the Unitarian Universalists in Grass Valley, CA.
Worship Associate Dave Keller, Discussion Leader Ali.
Worship Associate Susan Bachlor, Discussion Leader T.W. Theodore.
August 9 The Premise and the Promise
Liberal religion, with openness to new wisdom and affirmation of diversity baked into our theology, has been called “the religion for our time.” We struggle to live out the promise, but the heart of our faith continues to hold us and to hold our feet to the fire. This will be a service for seekers, both those new to our faith and those long-time members who continue their journey of faith. Rev. Bill Sinkford, First Unitarian Portland
Worship Associate Courtney Boyden Singer, Discussion Leader Bonnie Bennett.
Worship Associate Angela Risdon, Discussion Leader Courtney Boyden Singer.
The service joins the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada.
Worship Associate, T.W. Theodore, Discussion Leader, Dave Keller.
WHAT I LEARNED AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Discussion Leader, Bonnie Bennett, Worship Associate, Angela Risdon..
GENERAL ASSEMBLY WORSHIP
Join us for the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship. This powerful, communal worship experience will stream on uua.org/ga Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. At 11:30 join us by Zoom for our UUFC coffee hour.
CAN WE BUILD COMMUNITY WITH OTHERS WHO DON’T SHARE ALL OUR VALUES?
The coronavirus, as tragic as it has been, was supposed to be a unifying force in the US. Our country would finally come together to defeat a common enemy. Unfortunately we’ve seen the urban-rural divide split even wider open due to differences in opinions about quarantine, face masks, and shelter-in-place. We Chicoans are in a fairly unique location in that we’re evenly split red and blue. Many of us have friends whose political leanings lean away from ours. What strategies do you use to build community with these friends? Worship Associate – Dave Keller
Brief worship service – Discussion on racism. Worship Associate Susan Bachlor
WHY BLACK LIVES MATTER
Why must we specify black lives, when clearly all lives matter? We look at this common response from those who speak from a place of privilege, those whose lives are not on the line every time they have an encounter with police. Worship Leader-Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Dave Keller; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins; UUFC Virtual Choir
JUSTICE, EQUITY AND COMPASSION IN HUMAN RELATIONS
Guest preacher Clovice Lewis recounts how a supreme act of kindness towards his family in the Jim Crow South taught him about compassion when he was a child. His discussion ranges from engaging others in the work of social justice to finding self-compassion in this time of pandemic and fear. Worship Leader-Clovice Lewis; Worship Associate-Courtney Singer; Pianist-Avery Campbell; Song Leader-Mary Collins; Guest Musician-Clovice Lewis.
Clovice Lewis is a professional cellist and composer who composed his first symphony at the age of 17 and was a professor of computer music at UC Santa Barbara from 1978-1986. He has also been a serial entrepreneur, software designer, and private pilot for the past 30 years. Clovice is a studying to become a UU minister at Starr King School for Ministry. He plans to work on breaking down racial, class, and ethnic barriers and preaching the gospel of the madness of human self-extinction.
First it was the flood, then the fire, now pestilence. Butte County has taken an incredible emotional and physical hit, and this lives in our bodies. Where do we find strength and healing in our UU theology and Sources? Worship Leader-Rev. Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Susan Bachlor; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins.
CREATIVITY NEEDS QUIET
James Taylor, one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, talks about the need for quiet to allow space for creativity. We look at how we may be able to tap into creativity we didn’t know we had, as individuals and as a culture. Worship Leader-Rev. Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-David Strohmeyer; Guitar Ensemble
DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, BUT DON’T REST
Many of the world’s various spiritual traditions speak about keeping the Sabbath. What is Sabbath? How can we treat this enforced downtime as Sabbath? What may that mean for our future and the future of Earth? Worship Leader-Rev. Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-T.W. Theodore; Pianist-Avery Campbell; Song Leader-Mary Collins.
Sometimes we choose time away for renewal, like a relaxing vacation or an educational adventure. But sometimes those times are thrust upon us, like in a pandemic with necessary social distancing. Rev. Schurr will kick off our month’s theme of Sabbath to reflect on how we can learn from a Time Away, chosen or not. Worship Leader-Rev. Sarah Schurr; Worship Associate-TBD; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins.
About the Rev. Sarah Movius Schurr: Rev. Schurr is our primary contact from the Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association and is the region specialist in small congregations. Prior to joining UUA staff, Sarah was a parish minister in Oregon and in Alaska. Her mid-life ordination followed a career in Social Work. She currently lives in Portland Oregon with her husband and their cat.
KNOWN BY MANY NAMES
Our ideas about the Divine, known by many names, are a mishmash of our life experiences, including the church we were raised in, or not raised in. Whatever ideas we have, they can only begin to approach what the Divine may be. Worship Leader-Rev. Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-TBD. Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins.
SOME REFLECTIONS ON GOD
There are so many great quotes about God, some serious, some humorous. I will reflect on a number of them and what they say about us, and what they may or may not say about God. Worship Leader-Rev. Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Rev. Tom Lewis; Guitar Ensemble.
OUT OF DISASTER, HOPE
On this Easter, how might we see a new and hopeful beginning out of the world crisis we are now in? Worship Leader-Rev. Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Dave Keller, Pianist-Heather Thams; Choir Ensemble.
FORGIVENESS IS A RADICAL ACT
Forgiveness ultimately frees us, but that doesn’t mean it’s a breeze to do in our lives. Jesus says some pretty interesting things about forgiveness, including in the prayer (commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer”): “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” We’ll explore what it means to forgive others so that we can EXPERIENCE forgiveness. Sometimes, we have to forgive lots of times before it takes root in us — and that’s OK. Worship Leader-Rev. Dr. Katy Valentine; Worship Associate-Angela Risdon; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins
THE POWER OF BEING FORGIVEN
Have you ever had someone forgive you for something you know you had done wrong, some transgression that had been weighing heavily on your mind? It’s powerful, isn’t it? Knowing its power, why do we not give this gift more often? Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Susan Bachlor; Guitar Ensemble
LIVING POWERFULLY IN AN AGE OF FEAR
There are good reasons to be afraid; coronavirus and climate change are just two of them. Living with purpose can help to relieve our fear. Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Courtney Singer; Choir Ensemble.
This Sunday service was cancelled due to the threat posed by Covid-19
WHAT IF POLITICIANS FORGAVE
Our political climate is increasingly vengeful. Much worse conflicts in other parts of the world have been resolved through forgiveness. Are there lessons for us? What role can we play? Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Gary Collier; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins.
WHAT DOES LOVE REQUIRE?
Love is the doctrine of our liberal faith. What does love require in the way of forgiveness, our theme for this month? Of ourselves? Of others? Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-TW Theodore; Pianist-Heather Thams; Song Leader-Mary Collins
THINGS THAT WE BELIEVE
Unitarian Universalists have a legacy of “deeds not creeds.” Our work for a better world calls us to unexpected places as we harness love’s power to stop oppression and advocate for justice. From grassroots community organizing to interfaith state, national, and corporate advocacy; in protest marches, prayer vigils, and press conferences; in homeless shelters and in prisons, Unitarian Universalists put our faith into action. We will present on several topics related to our UU values that are the core of our UU Side with Love, Welcoming Congregation and Love Resists campaigns. Worship Leader-David Strohmeyer; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Choir Ensemble.
THE VANISHING ART OF GENEROUS CONVERSATION
There are many types of questions. Simplistic questions invite simplistic answers. Combative questions invite the same. Krista Tippet writes that we all have within us the ability to formulate questions that invite honesty, dignity and revelation. Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Megan Johnson; Guitar Ensemble
MYSTERY THROUGH OTHER EYES
Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopalian priest, taught an introductory college course in world religions for 20 years. In her book, Holy Envy, she explores what we can learn from the world’s great religions. How are they similar? How are they different? Why is it important to view the Mystery through other eyes? Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Angela Risdon; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins.
GENEROSITY AND THE LIMITS OF WEALTH
It is well documented that people with less are more generous with what they have. Are the wealthy happier? Again, the evidence shows otherwise. Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Susan Bachlor; Pianist-Heather Thams; Song Leader-Mary Collins
GOD IS WEEPING
Rather than the all-powerful God of most religions, process theology posits a God that is not in control, but who suffers with us, a God whose love urges us always to work for justice and goodness. We look at a process theological understanding of climate change. Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Dave Keller; Guitar Ensemble
A CALL TO NONVIOLENCE
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. On December 5, the 26-year old Martin Luther King was thrust into leadership of the nonviolent bus boycott that would last 381 days. On January 30, 1956, King’s house was bombed; his wife and children were at home. King did not waver from nonviolence as he calmed the angry crowd that had gathered. Why and how did King become a leader committed to nonviolence? Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Ruthie Wallace; Pianist-Nick Arteaga; Song Leader-Mary Collins
THE FAITH THAT SUSTAINS ME
We come to Unitarian Universalism by many paths. Guest minister and member Asya Lesly explores her spiritual journey, as influenced by nature, science and human connection. Worship Leader-Reverend Asya Lesly; Worship Associate-Courtney Singer; Pianist-Heather Thams; Song Leader-Mary Collins
LET IT BE A DANCE
In our Unitarian Universalist governance, leadership of the church rests in both the laity and the minister. When this is done well, there is leadership and followership on both sides. Good followers make a leader better and good leaders help their followers attain new levels. Worship Leader-Reverend Bryan Plude; Worship Associate-Dave Keller