We come home to unwind, to eat, to sleep, to bathe our bodies. What if our home also has the ability to help teach us how to replenish and re-energize ourselves? What if we discovered there is wisdom to be gained right here within the very rooms of our own home? Let’s take a tour to learn what each room in our home has to say about our spirituality.
Normally, this final Sunday in August would be our “Ingathering Sunday” – one of our Heritage Church “high holy days,” when we gather together in our sanctuary as a large, multi-generational family of faith to celebrate a return from summer vacations, and the beginning of school and a new “church year.” Needless to say, things are a bit different this year, but that won’t stop us from holding our annual Water Ceremony! This morning, you are invited to bring with you, as you gather in front of your screen of choice, some water from a place that is special to you. (That place might be very different, this year, from previous years – that’s okay!). We will have a Virtual Water Ceremony, and celebrate the connections that we still share, across the miles.
Pandemic. Politics. Polarization. Face masks and funerals. To school or not to school? The times we live in are troubled indeed. This morning our Senior Minister will reflect on what’s been happening over the past few months, and what might lie ahead in the next few months, here on the cusp of Fall 2020.
Worship Associate: Kathy Wade.
What things do you experience that seem to be hanging on by a thread: democracy; human dignity; civility; public health; sanity? Certainly, these are strained in our current environment. What holds us together through it, though? What threads can we rely on? What ties support us? What fabric are we weaving that may, yet, adorn a brighter future on the other side of our current crises?
Worship Associate: Steph Tacy.
Six years ago today, an unarmed young black man named Michael Brown was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown’s body was left for hours, in the middle of the street where he died, as horrified onlookers gathered around. The next several days and nights saw both peaceful protests and riots – and, eventually, a militarized police response. So much has changed in the past six years – and yet, so little has changed. But it does seem that, though long overdue, America is now in the midst of a racial reckoning. How far have we come? How much further have we yet to go, to reach the beloved community envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others?
Worship Associate: Lisa Prantl.
Every few years, our Senior Minister revisits a sermon he’s been tossing around for a long time, in his mind (and aloud), titled “My God.” The funny thing is, the sermon always seems to be changing. Maybe that’s because Rev. Bill’s ideas about God are ever-changing. Evolving. Morphing, to accommodate new experiences and new information. And isn’t that the way it should be? As the Unitarian Universalist saying goes, “Revelation is not sealed.” Today, we will learn what God looks and feels like to Rev. Bill, here in the middle of the year commonly known to us in the West as 2020.
Worship Associate: Bill Lyon.
Did you know Jesus made up stories, spun yarns, and performed spoken fiction? In fact, these fictional stories, the parables of Jesus, fill most of the pages in all four Gospels.
“The Shrewd Manager” is arguably Jesus’s least popular parable. Here Jesus appears to justify embezzling thy employer’s goods. No wonder that’s not popular! Whether, for you, Jesus is the Son of God, another son of two humans, or perhaps a fictional character himself, I hope you will join me in contemplating this parable. It offers at least one way to imagine choosing justice, even in a situation where much has already gone wrong. Hope survives, even where claims of innocence or ignorance offer little help to anyone.
Sky Stewart is a white, nonbinary, trans-masculine person. Sky graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School on May 17, 2020. Sky is 35 and grew up on a farm in Franklin, Ohio. Before and while going to seminary, Sky worked in construction and restaurants. Next, for the past two years, Sky cared for their grandparents, during their grandmother’s final illness. In their free time, Sky enjoys spending as much time as possible out of doors: hiking, gardening, and camping. These activities are even better with their partner, Theresa.
Worship Associate: Bob Drake.
Our guest speaker shares her thoughts on the U.S. culture’s messed-up attitude toward work and play in this prerecorded reflection. Plus, we’ll come together (via Zoom) for all our usual worship elements of church covenant, candles of community, music, and much more. The Zoom link will be on the church homepage Sunday morning.
The Rev. Dr. Lynn Ungar is minister for lifespan learning and editor of Quest for the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Larger Fellowship. She is also a poet, and wrote the poem “Pandemic,” which was shared and re-shared among many Heritage members recently. (“What if you thought of it / as the Jews consider the Sabbath— / the most sacred of times? ….”)
Worship Associate: Kathy Wade and Steph Tacy.
Join us this morning as we explore how the difficult history of racial violence and the good news of Universalism intersected in the past and today.
Joetta Prost is a retired psychologist who joined St. John’s UU Church shortly after she and her wife Kathy moved from Atlanta to Northern Kentucky in 2015. A former Catholic and a UU for 35 years, Joetta has been active with congregations in Wichita, Toledo, and Atlanta. For the past five years, Dr. Prost has been one of the psychologists serving on the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee (known as the MFC); this is the Board-appointed body responsible for credentialing new UU ministers and responding to complaints about UU ministers. The work of the MFC has enriched her perspective about our wider UU faith and fostered her engagement with antiracist, anti-oppressive and multi-cultural justice work.
Worship Associate: Regina Pugh.
Rev. Bill Gupton.
For the past several years, our nation had grown more divided, and our government increasingly dysfunctional. Then came a pandemic that might have united us – but it seems the schisms that have been sown among us run very deep indeed. Yet is there something even deeper that connects us? This Fourth of July weekend, we once again seek to find those “better angels of our nature” that Abraham Lincoln passionately urged an earlier generation to heed.
Worship Associate: Steph Tacy.