Yearly Archives: 2015

Sermon: Great Expectations (text & audio)

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
It’s not long after a child is old enough to be up on her or his feet and running around that we adults discover that we possess the most powerful curative known to humankind. We call it, “the boo-boo kiss.” Right? You know how it is: up the child walks with big tears and loud cries after a hard fall, and you gather them and make sympathetic noises. “Where does it hurt?” you ask. He or she points to the spot, and you kiss it. “Is that better?” you ask, and the child gives you a solemn nod. Click on the title to continue reading and/or to listen…

Sermon: While We Were Making Other Plans

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
Some years ago, the story goes, there was worrying among members of the council of New College, of Oxford, England about the state of their buildings. It seems that an inspector had been poking around the ancient oak beams of the roof of the dining hall and discovered that they were full of beetles. Despite its name, New College was actually one of the oldest colleges of Oxford, founded in 1379, and truly an architectural marvel. But as with all things it had deteriorated with time. And now that they looked at the massive roof beams council members were dismayed: Where on earth would they find beams of that caliber in today’s marketplace? Click on the sermon title to continue reading…

The Scoop: Give a Little – Give a Gobble

UUCA’s ThanksGIVING dinner and gathering was a beautiful event filled with kindness, compassion, and warmth. Dinner was shared by 75 individuals including some folks from Helpmate and AHOPE Day Center. Turkey, side dishes, salads, and desserts were enjoyed by all. So many thanks to those who volunteered to help with the various tasks leading up
Read More


Pray for our expectations to be turned on their heads? Give us tears when we expect to be fed? Give us wild obligations when we expect congratulations? Turn us sideways? You want us to pray for this? Hope for this? That’s a bit nuts! And a bit UU. Click on the title (EXPECTATION) to continue reading…

Sermon: Tales from the Borderlands

Rev. Sally Beth Shore, Guest Minister
Sally Beth recently led a UU College of Social Justice delegation that included UUCA members Tom Blanford and Cindy Threlkeld to the US-Mexican border in Arizona to witness how US Immigration policy plays out there. Today they share some of what they encountered there, as well as a glimpse of the situation concerning illegal immigrants in our own back yard. Can we make a difference for those facing the struggle to survive as they flee poverty, terror, and war? Click on the sermon title to listen…

Sermon: A Useable Jesus (part 1)

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
The teachings of Jesus are an important part of our heritage as Unitarians and Universalists, but are they relevant to our religious explorations today? In a month when we are working with the theme of Ancestry, we’ll consider possible answers to that question. Click on the title to listen…


Our faith agrees with Ellison: there is a difference between relatives and ancestors. Relatives give us our brown eyes and bowed legs; ancestors bless and burden us with a legacy. Relatives are those we tell stories about; ancestors call us to carry the story forward. Our relatives allowed us to be here; our ancestors tell us why we are here and why being here right now matters. Click on the title (ANCESTRY) to continue reading…

Sermon: Our Faith in the Vote

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
Seven months ago I recounted to you an amazing moment in my life and ministry that embodied in the photo you see on the cover of your order of service. Having come for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Civil Rights marches in Selma, Alabama I found myself crowded together with hundreds of others along the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the Bloody Sunday beatings a half century before, in one of the most diverse assemblies of people I’ve ever been a part of. Despite being pressed together, though, there was an easiness among us communicated in smiles and casual banter amid the singing of freedom songs and the laughing of children that gave me a glimpse of what racial peace and racial justice might look like in this country. Click on the title to continue reading…

Sermon: Opening a Way to Reverence (text & audio)

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
It’s funny how some words can ignite great controversies. Some years ago, just as I was ending my training in seminary, reverence turned out to be one of those words for us Unitarian Universalists.
The controversy was prompted by a 2003 newspaper report that in a sermon the then-president of the UUA, William Sinkford, had called for adding the word “God” to the Unitarian Universalist purposes and principles. (Actually, in a sense it was already there, though technically not in the principles themselves but in the list that often accompanies them of six sources of our “living tradition.” Among those named sources are “Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.”) Click on the title to continue reading and/or to listen…