Past Services and Sermons
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Sunday, June 4, 10 a.m., “Beauty Calls Us Together,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr and Julie Keefer, Director of Music Ministries: Today we will join in the annual tradition of the Flower Ceremony. This year we will draw upon a song cycle created by Kathryn Canan, Rev. Suzelle Lynch, and Ruben Piirainen, composed in 2023 to honor the 100-year anniversary of the Flower Ceremony. The Flower Ceremony originated in 1923 by the Rev. Dr. Norbert Čapek, of the Congregation of Liberal Religious Fellowship in Prague, Czechoslovakia. This tradition continues to this day to give us a communal way to celebrate beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. Please bring a flower or a small bouquet to add to our collective table.
Sunday, May 28, 10 a.m., “War and Pieces,” UUSD Lay Leaders Rick Welk and Jean Charles: In honor of Memorial Day, join members Rick Welk and Jean Charles and consider why there is a need for war memorials and how long they have been necessary. We honor our soldiers and the sacrifice they make for their country. But we have been doing so for many years. Is our future filled with a continued need? Let us look deeper into the reasons for the losses and the countless lives that are affected by a history of human suffering. We strive to live in peace. May we find it together.
Sunday, May 21, 10 a.m., “The Work of the World,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Community is not a solo project. Today, we will do our best to celebrate those who work together to sustain our communities. Transition, change, and leadership turnover are also constant cyclical parts of communal life. Join us in acknowledging all this and more.
Sunday, May 14, 10 a.m., “Know the Wells,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: “We drink from wells we did not dig,” it is written in the Hebrew Scriptures in the Old Testament. On this Mother’s Day, we will reflect upon the impact of three inspirational, incredibly-persevering, and under-recognized mothers. Drawing upon Anna Malaika Tubbs’ book, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation, we will consider the ways we and our country are all shaped by those who came before us. On this spring day, we will also celebrate new members through our bi-annual New Member Ceremony.
Sunday, May 7, 10 a.m., “What We Create,” UUSD Lay Leader Marj Shannon: We have an abundance of creative people among us: Artists, musicians, designers, performers, crafters, and more. But those people are not always creating what we think they are. And those of us who would call ourselves mere admirers or supporters of the arts are more creative than we might think. Join us as we explore some of those nuances.
Sunday, April 30, 10 a.m., “Celebrating Trans Identity,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: We are in a time of increasing (again) attacks across the country on transgender people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Today we will reflect upon and celebrate transgender identity and ways that more of us can be stronger allies for our beloveds in the continual struggle for dignity and respect for all people.
Sunday, April 23, 10 a.m., “Appreciating our Interdependent Web of Existence,” John Sykes and the UUSD Earth Cares Team of Maggie McLaughlin and Margaret Keefe: What if climate change meant not doom, but abundance? In this reflection taken from author Rebecca Solnit, we will consider giving up things we are well rid of, from deadly emissions to nagging feelings of doom and complicity in destruction.
Sunday, April 16, 10 a.m., “Road Conditions and Traffic Patterns,” Guest Speaker Rev. Kimberley Debus: The journey, whatever it may be, and whomever we may be journeying with, isn’t always easy. How we experience it depends on how we handle changing conditions, detours, and rough terrain. We’ll explore what that means for our spiritual journeys as well as those we make collectively in our congregations.
Rev. Kimberley Debus is a community minister based in Takoma Park, Maryland. Her ministry inspires artful and art-filled faith. She consults with congregations and religious professionals throughout the denomination. She is joyfully affiliated with the Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Nebraska, and has previously served at the Church of the Larger Fellowship as well as congregations on Long Island and Key West.
Sunday, April 9, 10 a.m., “I’m Still Standing,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: The tendency to reject religious language from our past can eliminate words and concepts that are actually still quite meaningful and resonant in our larger culture. For example: Salvation. What can it mean to a 21st century Unitarian Universalist to be “saved”? Come join us this Easter Sunday to find out! All are welcome who are committed to respecting others of diverse beliefs, and there’ll be an Easter Egg Hunt to follow the service.
Sunday, April 2, 10 a.m., “The Right Way to Right Speech,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Drawing upon a Jewish folktale retold by Simms Taback, we will, all ages together, enact a memorable experience of Motke, the Fish Peddler. Along the way we will celebrate the joys and humanness of being a congregation of more than four generations, sharing in co-creating this community and this multigenerational service today.
Sunday, March 26, 10 a.m., “Deeds Survive the Doer,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr and… Dorothea Dix! Guest speaker, accomplished actor, operatic singer and historian, Pat Jordan, of the American Historical Theatre, will participate in this service by providing a first-person presentation as humanitarian reformer and Unitarian, Dorothea Dix. Join us for this special service celebrating Unitarianism’s longtime commitment to care for all people, and Universalism’s core value of universal love.
Sunday, March 19, 10 a.m., “Blooming into Your Spring,” Julie Keefer, Director of Music Ministries: Winter is hard for so many. It consists of short days and long, cold, dark nights. By the end of February, many people are feeling vulnerable to the barrenness of winter. Our own lives, too, have our seasons, and our own winter, but Spring will be here soon. On this first Sunday of Spring, we will consider our own season of Spring and all the beauty that it offers to ourselves, our community, and the world. What new and fresh ways will you Bloom into Your Spring?
Sunday, March 12, 10 a.m., “Ode to Sleep,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: On this day when we all “lose an hour,” Rev. Heather will delve into the trending current literature on sleep, “sleep hygiene,” parenting, grandparenting, and the correlating loss of sleep. She will review the practice of studying dreams and other things that…keep her up at night. (Don’t forget to spring your clocks forward on Saturday night.) Rise and shine with us!
Sunday, March 5, 10 a.m., “What They Dreamed Be Ours to Do…?” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Twenty-five years ago now, there were more than four dozen Unitarian Universalists in southern Delaware working towards a common dream. What would they have thought upon being told of a 2020 global pandemic? What about our congregational priorities today of livestreaming, Zooming, and Google Meeting? How do our visions and goals need to evolve and adapt in order to keep on realizing the bigger, more timeless dream?
Sunday, February 26, 10 a.m., “Secret Thoughts Made Visible,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Fifty percent of gun deaths in Delaware are caused by suicide. While this is obviously a difficult topic to talk about, we must make the effort. Join us for this heartfelt, proactive sharing about the effects of suicide in our lives, families, and communities, and how we can do more to address it directly.
Sunday, February 19, 10 a.m., “We Begin Again in Love,” Guest Minister Rev. John Wright, (UU Minister in Salisbury MD): How much time do any of us have, and what will we do with it? At the end of our days, will there be grudges, regrets, old hurts, and angers that we’ve held on to? Or can we find a way to remind ourselves to let go of those things? In this service, based in part on a Church of the Larger Fellowship interview with Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs, Rev. John Wright will think about forgiveness and, as Eller-Isaacs has so beautifully put it, how we can “begin again in love.”
Sunday, February 12, 10 a.m., “Sharing More of…Us,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: We rely on those right around us. Yet, how well do we really know one another, and how well have we let others know us?
Sunday, February 5, 10 a.m., “Getting Along with…Others,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: During Unitarian Universalism’s annual “Thirty Days of Love” (from MLK Day through Valentine’s Day), we have an opportunity to consider more of the ways we can improve the quality of our relationships. None of us can get our way all the time. How can we practice seeing tension as opportunity?
Sunday, January 29, 10 a.m., “Jean Charles Service Sunday,” Paul Barnette and the Board of Trustees: Paul Barnette, Board President, will explain why he looks at service to the congregation as a spiritual practice. The Jean Charles Service Sunday was created several years ago by the Board of Trustees to honor Jean’s exemplary service to the congregation. The Board felt Jean’s unwavering dedication to service was a model for the congregation and deserved to be recognized in a special way. As a result, the Jean Charles Service Sunday was created to recognize each year the importance of leadership and service to UUSD.
Sunday, January 22, 10 a.m., “Walk the Maze with this Faith,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Today’s service is inspired by the 2019 Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, edited by UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, who is now in the final six months of her five-year UUA Presidency. As we move towards a new UUA President, consider new proposed language for our UUA Bylaws (which include Unitarian Universalism’s Purposes and Principles), what is “transient,” and what is “permanent” about this ever-evolving UU faith? Following today’s service, there will be a workshop open to all, led by Susan and Mac Goekler of UUSD’s Denominational Affairs Committee, presenting the latest proposed bylaw changes at the denominational level. They will discuss how you can be involved in the ongoing development of the bylaws.
Sunday, January 15, 10 a.m., “I Come Not to Praise King,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Challenged by the prophetic words of Rev. Bill Jones, we will stretch ourselves to think beyond honoring the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., this morning and this weekend, and consider what it really means to live into calls for civil rights in today’s 21 st century world.
Sunday, January 8, 10 a.m., “Why Bother?” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Drawing upon Elizabeth Andrew’s lovely book, Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir, we’ll consider “why bother?” Why bother remembering, sharing, telling, and perhaps even getting our own life stories down on paper? How is telling the story of something that happened, perhaps decades ago, a spiritual practice? (And, really, is it?)
Sunday, January 1, 10 a.m., “A Service of Remembrance,” Lay Leaders: Mac and Susan Goekler, Peter Schott, Micah Jung, and Marta Dominguez: We take time at the beginning of a new year to celebrate the lives of people who affected our lives directly or indirectly and to remember those who died this past year. During this service we acknowledge their contributions, which help make us who we are today. We will celebrate through words, images, and music. This is a celebration of life. Those that are remembered are with us. Incense will be burned in the front of the sanctuary during the meditation time. If this will be a problem for you, pleased feel free to sit in the back or go to the gathering area during the meditation.
Sunday, December 25, 10 a.m. and at your leisure, “A New Day,” a prerecorded service led by the Rev. Dr. Laura Solomon of the UU Church of Reading (Massachusetts) and the Rev. Heather Janules of the Winchester (Massachusetts) Unitarian Society. The Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, an inclusive religious community, will share a pre-recorded service on Sunday, December 25, 10 a.m. and at your leisure. Celebrate December 25th—Christmas morning and the last day of Hanukkah—with something for everyone: The kindling of many lights, a Time for All Ages, hymns, carols, and two short reflections exploring what Christmas and Hanukkah offer us as we approach the new day. The link is here:
Saturday, December 24, 4:30 p.m., “Bring the Sparkle,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: The Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, an inclusive religious community, will hold an online and in person service on Saturday, December 24, 4:30 p.m. Join us on Christmas Eve to share in song, story, candlelight, and reflect upon and celebrate the great teachers and sources of guidance and wisdom in our lives. Caroling will commence outside, in front of the Sanctuary, at around 4:00 p.m. The service will be in-person and livestreamed. For the livestreamed service, go to uussd.org
Thursday, December 22, 6 to 7:30 p.m., “Winter Solstice: A Time of Pause and Reflection,” Rev. Sue Greer, UUSD Friend and Ordained Spiritual Life Minister: The Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, an inclusive religious community, will hold an in person Winter Solstice on Thursday, December 22, 6 p.m. Winter Solstice is a time of the year when the earth pauses on its axis beforeturning back to the light of the sun, marking it the longest night of the year. Let’s join in the earth’s “Pause” to deepen our own inner reflection and review through the darkness and celebrate the return of light. Bring a drum or rattle if you have one. (Instruments available). The ceremony will be indoors, but we may have an outdoor fire, weather permitting, so bring appropriate clothes for the outdoors. For more information, go to uussd.org.
Sunday, December 18, 10 a.m., “Be a Blessing,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: The Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, an inclusive religious community, will hold an in-person service on Sunday, December 18, 10 a.m.. Inspired by the book, Oskar and the Eight Blessings, we will celebrate and remember during this service that each and all of us hold within us the possibility of bringing blessing. Each of us can bring some magic to others, and each of us can offer something meaningful to our world. We can all be a blessing.
Sunday, December 11, 10 a.m., “A Light That Soothes, But Doesn’t Dazzle,” Guest Minister Om Prakash (also known as Rev. Dr. John Gilmore): We enter into the season of lights. The northern hemisphere gets darker and colder. Leaves fall from the trees. Evergreen branches get weighed down with snow as insect and animal, and even human beings, burrow themselves in warm places to survive the freezing winter. Still, there is a light in the hearth and the heart of the human family that shines the way and provides warmth for the weary traveler and a sigh for the ever burdens of life. In our world today, a wintry world, we need to raise the fire of love and compassion. Let us raise our individual lights to create a flame that will set the world ablaze in the light of love and compassion.
Om Prakash (Rev. Dr. John Gilmore) is a Massage Therapist, a Reiki Master Teacher, a Tai-chi and Quigong instructor, a Workshop Leader, and a Certified Life Coach specializing in Reinventing Work and Spirituality. He has written several books and articles on Practical Spirituality and how we can use our belief systems in creative out-of-the-box ways to not only enhance our lives, but to build communities that will enhance the lives of others. Rev. Dr. John Gilmore (Om Prakash) was a Unitarian Universalist Minister for more than fifteen years starting as a Parish Minister and Extension Minister and moving toward Community Ministry. He is now a retired UU Minister working to promote Health, Wellness, and Healing on the levels of mind, body, and spirit.
Sunday, December 4, 10 a.m., “Mindful Joy,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Our human nature is to find the greatest comfort with those we’ve gotten to know well. How do we also keep widening our circle and extending ourselves during this season of invitation? We will hold our fall New Member Ceremony during the service today.”
Sunday, November 27, 10 a.m., “Reflection, Dancing the People’s Prayers,” Nakakakena Boe Smith Harris: Indigenous people have endured many challenges since first contact took place. They have survived by continuing to honor the Creator, and their traditions of ceremonies, stories, music, and dance. In 1883 when the U.S. government banned our ceremonies, dances, and allowing our medicine people to heal their own people, the indigenous people continued to pass on our traditions for they knew our survival and strength as a people relied on them doing so. In our traditional dances, each dance style and dancer tell a story. Each dance style is done to the beat of our sacred drum, and the songs the singers sing out. Each dance step upon Mother Earth is a prayer. It is an honor to be a dancer, and in this time when we gather together, I would like to share the jingle dance, also known as a prayer dance and healing dance. It is a dance that dances the prayers of the people.
Boe is an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She is of both Chippewa and Dakota ancestry. Boe is a Northern Traditional and Jingle dress dancer and plays the Native American traditional flute. She has shared her music, dance, and cultural awareness to many schools, groups, and events. Boe has danced at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and traveled to Europe with Armed Forces Entertainment. She has dedicated her life to education and increasing public awareness of and appreciation for the indigenous people of this land and their culture. “As a granddaughter of strong indigenous women, my heart and spirit know no other journey than to follow the traditions that flowed within the souls, spirits, and lives of those women who walked before me. Those women were called by their mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and the Creator to prepare the path for the generations to come. Through their blood, heartache, tears, pain, and determination, they honored their call. With pride, respect, honor, and privilege, I walk this same path.”
Sunday, November 20, 10 a.m., “What Caring Deeply Can Lead To,” Mark Ewert and Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Nothing we can do, achieve, build, or acquire is done in isolation from one another. What is possible when we presume that, alongside each other, we already have more than enough of what we truly need?
Mark Ewert is a stewardship consultant, a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®), and a professional leadership and philanthropy coach (PCC) certified with the International Coaching Federation. His experience includes founding a nonprofit, working as a fundraiser, and leading a national organization. (https://stewardshipforus.com/author/markewert/)
Sunday, November 13, 10 a.m., “Good Change,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Can there be such a thing as change for the better? Is it ever possible for change to happen quickly? We will sit with these questions and the whole concept of change (this month’s Soul Matters theme) during our service this morning.
Sunday, November 6, 10:00 a.m., “Draw the Line,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: News of our country’s dissolving democracy is coming in from many directions. As a concerned people, committed to not completely tuning out the world and worries around us, what is there for us to do? Remember to set your clocks back an hour on Saturday night!
Sunday, October 30, 10:00 a.m., “Remembering Well,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: At this liminal time in our northern hemisphere, this season of Samhain, All Souls Day, and similar rituals throughout human history, we, too, will honor our ancestors. You are invited to bring a photograph, talisman, memento, or special object, or e-mail us a digital photograph and caption, for sharing with one another during this service.
Sunday, October 23, 10:00 a.m., “Preemptive Radical Inclusion,” CB Beal: CB will share reflections on the framework of Preemptive Radical Inclusion (PRI). PRI can be understood as an entryway to increase equity and justice among ourselves and in the world and as a way to embody beloved community. When we increase our knowledge, decrease preconceptions, and always act from the assumption that everyone is always and already in the room, we are positioned to successfully manage conflict and pave a way forward. CB will lead a workshop to follow this service (workshop from 12:30-3:30 p.m.). Please see the details for that workshop in this newsletter, the eNews, or other updates.
Workshop, Sunday, October 23, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.,” Preemptive Radical Inclusion: Everyone Is Always Already in the Room.” CB Beal will facilitate a three-hour workshop exploring Preemptive Radical Inclusion as framework for exploring covenantal community life, engaging conflict, and increasing inclusion in meaningful ways, beginning with ourselves. This in-person introductory workshop is an engaging and hands-on opportunity to share together, bear witness, laugh, learn, and grow. Please register for this workshop by October 16 at https://rsvp.church/r/TZVfBJDV.
Preemptive Radical Inclusion (PRI) involves an adaptive set of perspectives and practices that people use to manage conflict in healthy ways. People use PRI to increase equity and justice in their lives and organizations. We will practice some of these PRI principles together. In order for this in-person experience to be preemptively inclusive of those still vulnerable to COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses, N95 quality masks will be worn by all.
Sunday, October 16, 10:00 a.m., “What Peace May Come,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: If we are giving the world our attention, we witness to so much pain and heartbreak. There are the sudden tragedies that jar us all, and then there is also the anguish that occurs over accumulated years. By incorporating the Soul Matters theme of Courage and ideas of framing and reframing the narratives we live with, we will contemplate together how we can invite a more active peace into our lives, relationships, and communities.
Sunday, October 9, 10:00 a.m., “Bear Witness, Save Lives,” CB Beal: As we build Beloved Community, it is vital that we are able to share our stories and trust that people will be still and bear witness to us, acknowledge us, and accept what we share. We must be present with one another with an empathy that honors our different life experiences. CB will share about the spiritual practice of bearing witness, and trusting others to bear witness to us, with a particular focus on gender.
Because of copyright restrictions, we will be unable to live stream a small portion of the service after Joys and Sorrows. Please use the link (https://youtu.be/XLFEvHWD_NE?t=58) to view privately. We suggest using a device other than the one from which you are watching the live streamed service This will allow you to view it ahead of time as well as avoid interrupting your live stream.
CB Beal (they/them) is a popular storyteller, preacher, speaker, and facilitator in congregations and schools. CB’s special focus is Preemptive Radical Inclusion, and they also teach and consult about safer communities and congregations. CB also speaks on how to support gender creative, transgender, and non-binary children and youth in schools and youth-serving organizations. CB is an Our Whole Lives trainer and trainer of trainers and teaches Awesomely Awkward sexuality and consent education to elementary and middle schoolers around Massachusetts. Previously they were the Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence for 16 years after holding several different educational and training positions in other fields. CB received a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1991 and is the Unitarian Universalist Association’s 2019 Angus H. MacLean Award for Excellence in Religious Education. CB is a white, queer, non-binary, mostly able-bodied fat person.
For a taste of what CB is like speaking in person, you can view their acceptance of the Angus H. MacLean Award here: https://tinyurl.com/uyr4o4k. It begins at about the 6-minute mark.
Sunday, October 2, 10:00 a.m., “The Miracle is You,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr, Julie Keefer, and Dar Sellers: Inspired by the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon (UU Minister in Columbia, Missouri), we will be presenting (and involving you in!) a multigenerational service lifting up the lessons of the hit Disney animated film, Encanto. In Rev. Molly’s words: “This generation doesn’t need a hero. It needs community. The miracle isn’t magic. The miracle is you—all of you together—joining hands and hearts.”
Thursday, September 22 (Rain date is Sunday, September 26), 6:00 p.m., Fall Equinox Celebration. UUSD Lay Leaders Sue Greer and Tony Codella: The Drum Circle will offer a Fall Equinox Celebration at UUSD that will let you find balance within yourselves. Light and Darkness, and night and day are in harmony on this first day of Fall. We will gather to celebrate our gratitude to our home the earth, and its bounty. We will drum and have a clearing fire ceremony. Please bring a chair, drum if you have one (drums and instruments will be offered for use), and a donation of non-perishable food or a cash donation to support others with our generosity. Contact DrummingCircle@uussd.org if you have any questions. All are welcome.
Sunday, September 25, 10:00 a.m., “On Surrender,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: The very notion of surrender is intertwined with awe, with the deep experience of something overwhelming, overcoming, something greater than oneself. It is this weekend that marks the beginning of the High Holy Days in Judaism, also known as the Ten Days of Awe. These are ten days of reflection and self-analysis and the assignment to assess one’s relationships and do the best one can to acknowledge and heal any interpersonal brokenness. It is also a time to search one’s soul and see what new commitments one should make.
Sunday, September 18, 10:00 a.m., “In the Water,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: What are the messages to be found in the water that sustains and surrounds us? The water is powerful—and limited. Much of the time the water in our lives is silent—and yet it can also clamor for our attention. How do we receive and respond to the energy of the water? For those of you who will be joining us in-person, you may bring a small container or vial of water to pour into our common bowl if you wish. Those of you online will be encouraged to engage in your own water ceremony at home, along with us in the Sanctuary.
Sunday, September 11, 10:00 a.m., “Choose Your Own Adventure,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: What if everything we do with intention, with our full attention, is a form of prayer? As we move into the fall, how do you choose to proceed in your actions if you think of each thing you do as a sacred and holy choice?
Sunday, September 4, 10:00 a.m., “Perfectly Imperfect,” Julie Keefer, UUSD Director of Music Ministries: Brené Brown, PhD, MSW, said, “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” For us to do that, we must be able to embrace our imperfections so that we can allow ourselves to live as our true authentic selves. Julie Keefer, UUSD’s Director of Music Ministries, will share how embracing our imperfections helps us to truly belong rather than just “fitting in.” Julie is currently obtaining a Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Sunday, August 28, 10:00 a.m., “What It Is We’re Doing Here,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Something or someone (or both) brought each of us here to this faith community. And every Sunday there are visitors and newcomers also seeking…something. How do we approach the ideas of growth while hanging on to the essence of this caring congregation?
Sunday, August 21, 10:00 a.m., “Express Yourself: T-Shirt Sunday,” Lay leaders Don Peterson and Rick Welk: Welcome to UUSD’s first T-Shirt Sunday! UUs love to express their feelings, their passions, their commitments and especially their opinions. And what better way to do that than with a bumper sticker for the body! So, dig through those closets and drawers. Find a T-shirt that’s meaningful to you and wear it to Sunday Service. Join Rick Welk, Don Peterson, and some of your fellow UUSDers as they tell the stories behind their own T-shirts. What does yours tell us about you?
Sunday, August 14, 10:00 a.m., “What’s the Difference?” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: In the New Member Ceremonies we shared in together last year, we said that we strive to “regard difference as a part of the richness that a diverse community must contain to learn and grow.” Who says so? Isn’t it just easier if we agree or align with those with whom we share the same perspective?
Sunday, August 7, 10:00 a.m., “Stand for Love Without Losing your Heart,” Lay Leader and Speaker, Rev. Sue Greer, Ordained Minister of the Gaia and Tibetan Traditions: We are living in a time of war, a war on human rights, democracy, and basic human kindness. How are you surviving the growing hatred and suffering we see every day? Can you keep standing up for love? Is your heart weighed down, shut down, or overwhelmed by the daily news of suffering? We can only take so much without closing our hearts and losing ourselves. We are people who live by the principles of justice and care for others. We can’t turn away! We are needed! It’s essential we continue to “stand up.” What can we do when our hearts become overwhelmed and weary? An answer: Compassion. We invite compassion to be our protection and our strength. Compassion first for ourselves, second for the victim, and third for the aggressor. This is a radical stance. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, offers this wise and relevant quote: “Compassion is the Radicalism of our times.”
Sunday, July 31, 10:00 a.m. “Museum Quality Reproduction (MQR),” Rev. Dr. Ron Parks, UUSD member and Minister ordained by the United Methodist Church: Tucked away in an unpretentious corner of the Queens Museum is a modest collection of works from the hand and studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany’s name is synonymous with unparalleled stained-glass artistry, a true American original. My pilgrimage to the exhibit several months ago coincided with the completion of an MQR of his 22″ dragonfly lamp design, a project I had worked on over the last eleven years. Tiffany’s lamp is the real deal. Mine is a copy, faithful to the original in every way, but a copy, nonetheless. Each of us aspires to replicate and embody the artistry, wisdom, and/or passion of those who capture our imagination and lift our vision of what we can become. But is that all we are? Come and see the light – and the lamp too!
Ron Parks is a retired ordained elder of the United Methodist Church and an adjunct college professor who holds a PhD in Ethics. He and his wife Ellen live in Rehoboth Beach.
Sunday, July 24, 10:00 a.m., “Covenant, Democracy, and Other Endangered Species,” Guest Minister Rev. John Wright (UU Minister in Salisbury, MD): According to former Unitarian Universalist Association Moderator Ginny Courter, “If there is a candidate for the Great American Religion, it is us (Unitarian Universalism).” Indeed, the history of our nation and our faith are inextricably intertwined, for good or ill. But democracy and faith are both tenacious and fragile. Both must be carefully tended if they are to thrive. Each has their strengths and their limits. In this service, Rev. John Wright will spend some time thinking about how our faith both nurtures and challenges our ideas about democracy.
Rev. John Wright (he, him) has served as part-time Minister to the UU Fellowship at Salisbury since 2010. John is a 2007 graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry in northern California. Prior to entering seminary, he was the Member Services Supervisor for SECU, Maryland’s largest Credit Union. John and his wife, fabric artist Kit, have been married for over 50 years. (She is the first UU being considered for canonization by the Catholic Church for putting up with him for that long!)
Sunday, July 17, 10:00 a.m., “Listening to Others, Listening to Ourselves,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: It’s likely that there is some driving involved in your summer itinerary. As you are on the move, in whatever form, what are you listening to, or for? What is humming just underneath your breath? What is the song in your head? Whose voice, what conversation is taking place within you as you toodle around?
Sunday, July 10, 10:00 a.m., “Personal Reflections on a Civil Rights Tour,” Don Peterson and UUSD Lay Leaders – Speakers: Eight UUSD members and friends were fortunate to travel together in April for a Civil Rights Tour. They visited Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham, touring such important sites as the Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and the 16th Street Baptist Church, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the Civil Rights Institute, and so much more. The group will share their experiences and personal reflections about the trip and its meaning in today’s troubled times.
Sunday, July 3, 10:00 a.m., “A God Most Social,” Guest Minister Rev. Keith Goheen (Beebe Hospital Chaplain):
A hospital chaplain reflects on the process of living life religiously.
The Rev. Keith Goheen (he/him) has been serving as the lead chaplain at Beebe Healthcare for 17 years. Ordained in 1999 by the First Universalist Church of Orange in Massachusetts, Keith is also in Ministerial Fellowship with the UUA, and is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. He was the organizing minister for UUSD and lives in Midway with his spouse, Margaret. They are members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek. Keith is a Christian mystic and theologian who relishes the challenges of providing spiritual care in the hospital, interspersed with Thoreau-like times of solitude amid the trees and on the beaches of southern Delaware. He is currently enjoying Brene Brown’s book, “Atlas of the Heart,” and savors the occasional, well-crafted Porter.
Sunday, June 26, 12:30 p.m. EDT, the UU Association’s General Assembly Sunday! Join us virtually at 12:30 p.m. EDT for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly Sunday Service. This is the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship. The link is https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2022. There will not be an in-person service at UUSD on June 26.
Tuesday, June 21, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Summer Solstice Service, UUSD Lay Leaders Rev. Sue Greer and Tony Codella: Tuesday, June 21 will be the longest day of the year and a time to celebrate our earth and our connection to one another through drumming and ceremony. The Drum Circle will offer a Summer Solstice Celebration with a Drumming and Fire Ceremony. Come put into the fire your concerns, sorrows, and desires for change. We will let go of our burdens into the circle of community and lift each other with our drumming. Please bring a chair, drum if you have one (drums and instruments will be offered for use), and a donation of non-perishable food or a cash donation. All are welcome. Contact DrumCircle@uussd.org if you have any questions.
Sunday, June 19, 10:00 a.m., “Large Enough Thanks,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Gratitude is a spiritual practice. As I wrap up my first year with you-all, I invite us to join, together, in celebrating all that we have to be grateful for. It is also Father’s Day, Juneteenth, the Summer Solstice, GLBTQIA+ Pride Month, and there will be a celebratory Gratitude Picnic to follow the service today!
Sunday Worship from UUSD on Vimeo.
Sunday, June 12, 10:00 a.m., “The UUSD Choir, LIVE!” Julie Keefer, Director of Music Ministries and the UUSD Choir: Since September of 2020, you have heard several of our members sing together as a virtual choir. Any one of our choir members will tell you, although you may have enjoyed hearing them sing, it was not the same as singing in-person, together. So, for Music Sunday, the UUSD choir would like to present to you many of the songs we did as a virtual choir, but this time LIVE! And in person!
Sunday, June 5, 10:00 a.m., “Flower Communion Sunday,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: The Flower Communion service was created by Rev. Norbert Capek (1870-1942), who founded the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia. He introduced the Flower Communion to the congregation there on June 4, 1923. For this service, each person is asked to bring a flower or small bouquet of your choice and place it in a vase during the service. For those of you who will be participating online, please send a photo of yourself, holding up a flower, to our AV Team at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than June 3. Just as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Join us in celebrating Flower Communion!
Sunday, May 29, 10:00 a.m., “Remembrance and Mourning,” Rev. Chris Antal, Guest Minister-Speaker: Moving beyond selective remembering, towards an honest moral reckoning with the cost of our wars, is work that is ours to do in order to live into our UUA “Creating Peace” Statement of Conscience.
Sunday, May 22, 10:00 a.m., “Each Day, One More,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Each additional person in a family, a conversation, a meeting, or a congregation changes and expands the group’s dynamics and the possibilities. Every one of us brings something unique into the room (be it an actual room or a Zoom Room). What does this mean for how we orient to one another? On this spring day, we will celebrate new members through our bi-annual New Member Ceremony.
Sunday, May 15, 10:00 a.m., “While Still There Is Light,” Rev. Heather Rion Starr: Before this congregational year careens to a close, I want to be sure to touch base with you all about…the inevitable. We are all mortal. Life itself is a terminal condition. None of us know precisely how much time we have left. How do we embrace that universal truth and allow it to energize, not dishearten us?
For the May 15, Sunday service, the Thoughtful Endings Planning Document that is referenced by Rev. Heather is available here:
- Thoughtful Endings Planning Document, Word Document download
- Thoughtful Endings Planning Document, PDF.
UUSD’s First Outdoor Service, Oct. 18, 2020
In Rev. Paula’s words, “Wow! We did it!” On a cool, crisp, sunny fall day, UUSD held its first socially distanced, outdoor, and virtual Sunday service to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the dedication of our new building. This service offered a vision for the future of UUSD as it celebrated the journey from dreamers under a beach umbrella to its present site held sacred by the community of members and friends. Relive, or view for the first time, the excitement of the day, the warmth of the members and friends, and the beautiful singing of “This Sacred House,” written by Dianne Conine for the dedication in 2015.
October 25—Listening for What’s Not Been Said, Rev. Paula Maiorano: Sometimes what is not said is as important as what has been shared. This service offers a reflection on ways of deepening our ability to expand our own spiritual and emotional awareness through learning how to listen for what’s not been said.