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Sermons from The Unitarian Universalist Church-Rockford, Illinois.

Sermons from The Unitarian Universalist Church-Rockford, Illinois.
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Sermons from The Unitarian Universalist Church-Rockford, Illinois.




10/13/2019 "Engaging Our Neighbors: Building Democracy in Practice"

Engaging Our Neighbors: Building Democracy in Practice October 13, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Scott Aaseng Crises like the ones we’re facing call for radical action. Not necessarily more extreme action, but radical in the sense of addressing the roots of these crises. One of the most radical actions we can take is to talk – and listen – to our neighbors.


10/06/2019 "394 Days To Go"

394 Days To Go October 6, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson On Nov. 2nd, 2020 – in 394 days – many Americans will vote for a new President, as well as for other federal and local offices. (Some, because of disenfranchisement, can not.) How might we navigate the time between now and then? How do we hold to our values – and not get lost in the fight of the day? As we begin our month on the theme of “democracy,” thoughts about the 394 days to come.


September 22, 2019 "Maw-waidge"

Maw-waidge. (Marriage). September 22, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson One of the archetypal examples of covenant is the covenant of marriage. Marriage – whether we’re in one or not at the moment – shapes all of our lives and our society. What is this covenant about? When is it worthy of tending and when not, and how do you know? What can all of us learn about healthy marriages that might make our lives, regardless of our status, richer and more full?


9/1/2019 "To Meet and Enrich Each Other"

To Meet and Enrich Each Other September 1, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Linda Lawrence Rev. Linda is a longtime member of this congregation who has returned as a "snowbird" after retiring from ministries in Arizona. She will be introducing our September worship theme: Covenant. What is a covenant, why are covenants important, and how are they related to Unitarian Universalist theology?


August 25, 2019 "Healing Harm through Bylaws. No, really."

Sunday, August 25 at 10 a.m. Healing Harm through Bylaws. No, really. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson The second in a two-sermon series about my “extra-curricular” work as your minister. My other major project has been re-writing the accountability procedures of the professional minister’s body. This seems like technical work, but it’s actually profoundly spiritual work about how we heal harm, promote accountability, and serve justice. I’ll share what I’ve been doing, the controversy it has...


5/5/19 "The Mystery of the Mind"

The Mystery of the Mind May 5, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson The Human Mind remains one of the great mysteries of science and biology. The more we learn, the more questions we have. How does memory work? How does intuition and creativity happen? How are our minds connected to each other? We’re also learning a lot more about neuro-diversity, and turning away from the assumption that our minds all work the same way. We’ll learn about that diversity, celebrate the many ways of...


4/28/19 "A Wonderous Love, a Saving Love"

A Wonderous Love, a Saving Love April 28, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Karen Armina Salvation is a term that may – or may not – be useful to Unitarian Universalists. This morning we’ll talk about some traditional concepts of salvation, and consider the roles of wonder and love in what saves us.


4/7/19 "Salvation by Faith"

Salvation by Faith April 7, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson “Salvation” and “Faith” are complicated words for Unitarian Universalists. More than 200 years ago, we diverged from our protestant colleagues by arguing that we didn’t need to be saved, and that faith wasn’t sufficient anyway — it was deeds that mattered. But what would it mean to reclaim “salvation” and “faith” in new ways - and to think about how we might be “made whole through hope.”? What does “wholeness through...


3/31/19 "The Truth About Trust"

The Truth About Trust March 31, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Misha Sanders Trust is easier lost than gained, easier broken than repaired. Who do we trust? Is it possible to trust after we've been betrayed? Why even bother? Let's take the risk of trusting each other just enough to explore the question a little bit this Sunday.


3/24/19 "The Truth About Stories"

The Truth About Stories March 24, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Intern Minister Christe Lunsford Are all stories “fake news” or are stories carefully crafted as a way of survival? How do the stories we tell shape our lives, our identities and our communities? How do we speak the truth and acknowledge that there can be a multitude of truths all in one story? What stories do we want others to know and tell about us when you’re gone? Are we able to craft stories that capture the fullness and richness...


3/17/19 "The Truth About Stuff"

The Truth About Stuff March 17, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson Science! The Cosmos! Quarks! Climate? Vaccines? Neurology? Evolution! Faith? We’ll talk about the relationship between science, faith, and truth.


3/10/19 "The Truth About Doubt"

The Truth About Doubt March 10, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson Unitarian Universalists have long embraced doubt as necessary for the religious quest. We “quest” – which is to say, we question. But there’s a fine line between doubt and critique, and between wonder and cynicism. We’ll celebrate doubt, explore what it means, and how it can be helpful to us today.


3/3/19 "The Truth About Healing Racial Trauma"

The Truth About Healing Racial Trauma March 3, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Pastor Danny Givens Many have been steeped in the seemingly non-stop tweets, posts, articles, and media headlines of injustice in the world we live in today. The trauma endured, embodied, and experienced in justice work impacts our growth and faith formation as we commune to seek justice and facilitate healing in our world. How do we, in this time, access the healing we seek? Join us Sunday as Pastor Danny Givens speaks to...


2/24/19 "Surrender: Paganism"

Surrender: Paganism February 24, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Intern Minister Christe Lunsford Recognizing that paganism is an umbrella identity for a lot of complex faith practices, it is the wheel of the year ever turning that informs pagans and provides the opportunity to surrender again and again. It's the circle of life, in constant motion where pagans search for truth and meaning. Where is your place on the path unwinding?


2/10/19 "Buddhism"

Buddhism February 10, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson The Buddha famously taught about the dangers of attachment, and the spiritual necessity of letting go. But what exactly did him mean by non-attachment? What would it mean to move past the clichés about the Buddha’s teachings and actually look at this idea closely? It isn’t quite what you might think.


1/27/19 "Bright Shining as the Sun"

Bright Shining as the Sun January 27, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson A celebration of hope, beauty, and the grace of beginning again. Our journey through grace has travelled from intention, to pain, to justice, and will conclude with joy. Appropriately, we’ll also celebrate some of the poetry of Mary Oliver. Don’t miss it.


1/20/19 "Lead Me Home"

Lead Me Home January 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson Reflections on the connection between grace, justice and freedom. How might we move together to the world we dream of.



Wretch Like Me January 13, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson We continue our month of “amazing grace” by reflecting on that state of “needing grace.” What do Unitarian Universalists think of “sin” anyway, if we think of it at all? When we are down for the count, and feeling wretched, how do we find a way forward? How might these moments be invitations to spiritual growth?


12/2/18 "Dream of Peace"

Dream of Peace December 2, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson We sing of peace in this season, but violence rages – in Yemen, in Honduras, and in the neighborhoods of our very city. How can our dream of peace become real? How, as Dr. King said, can we make peace “not the destination, but the way”?