Click the "Read More" link below to read descriptions of 2011 LCUUC services.
December 25: "Christmas Celebration", LCUUC Worship Committee
Merry Christmas! This morning we will have a simple, abbreviated service to celebrate the day with music, readings and meditation. Please note that the service will be intergenerational, as there is no religious education. Also, the nursery room will be open for use, but without our usual caretakers present.
December 24: "Christmas Eve Candlelight Celebration", Rev. James A. Hobart
(Note: the service will be at 4 p.m. Childcare will not be available.)
A simple but meaningful service, with readings, music and singing, designed for broad congregational participation.
December 18: " John Coltrane and the Truly Religious Life”, James Galasinski
The great jazz saxophonist John Coltrane said, “My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music.” James Galasinski, a local jazz musician and Unitarian Universalist, will explore the inspiration for Coltrane's lifelong inner creative quest, his inspirational music, and what exactly the "truly religious life" is.
December 11: “Seeking Seasonal Sanity”, Rev. James A. Hobart
Are we ready? Are we ever ready? It is not easy to negotiate the weeks leading up to Christmas.
December 4: “Six Toes, Frozen Communion Wine, and the Story of the Flaming Chalice”, Rev. Drew Kennedy
Arguably, all good Unitarian Universalists should know the story behind our so-called ‘Flaming Chalice.’ It is the central symbol of our faith. It’s sort of like a Christian knowing the story behind the cross. Also, there is a fascinating story within a story that is richer yet. Once you know these stories, you’ll never look at the flaming chalice again in quite the same way.
November 27: “ The World’s Gravity and Grace”, Rev. James A. Hobart
William Blake’s poem states, “Joy and woe are woven fine.” This is an important theme for the Advent season.
November 20: "The Spirit of Thanksgiving", Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth
Thanksgiving isn't just 'Oh-Yum' and "Ho-hum'"! Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth will preach on the history of Thanksgiving, from prehistoric times to the present, its celebration from Japan to the USA, and talk about the spiritual discipline of an "attitude of gratitude" that makes life fulfilling.
Short bio: Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth is a UU community minister who has served the Milwaukee area for over 20 years in the areas of victims of violence, social justice, and interfaith relations. She is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Alverno College and this year published a book on Unitarian abolitionists before the Civil War.
November 13: “Universalism: Past, Present and Powerful”, Rev. Kalen Fristad
Rev. Fristad will share the history and significance of universalism in our faith, and how the teaching of universalism leads to equality, respect, love and dignity for all.
November 6: “So What’s Your Story?”, Rev. James A. Hobart
Everyone has stories about important events in their personal and shared lives. They can be equally “true,” differing from one another without contradicting one another.
October 30: “We Lose All We Love; Our Love Lives On", Rev. Scott Prinster
One of the greatest tests of a faith identity is whether it can help us find genuine meaning in the midst of loss -- not by making grandiose promises or by numbing us to the reality of grief, but by acknowledging our needs and helping us to live with both love and loss. This morning we'll explore together what our religious tradition has to offer us in times of grief.
October 23: “In Your Dreams”, Gus Santo, LCUUC Member (replacing CANCELED sermon topic)
This service will focus on the importance of our dreams and how dreaming opens a door to previously un-thought-of possibilities. Dreams offer an escape from the dull throb of existence and the weight of the world. Our Unitarian Universalist Principles are an expression of our dreamed of goals just as much as they are maxims that we want to live by. Bring your dreams with you to church.
October 16: “Where We'll Meet Our Neighbors" (Social Justice Sunday), Rev. James A. Hobart with Our Teen-age Appalachian Travelers
We live our lives in many "ghettos" of sameness based on race, class, and other criteria. How do we break out to meet our neighbors nearby and far away?
October 9: “Interruption: Life as Seen Through the Eyes of the Soul”, Elizabeth Lewis
The most powerful and meaningful lessons we learn in life often come to us through experiences of loss and pain. If we allow, such experiences help us see all of life through the eyes of the soul - through what has been given to us, rather than what has been taken away. Come discover how painful events that interrupt the flow of everyday life can serve to illuminate a path to greater creativity, inner peace and the God of our hearts.
October 2: “Wanted: Ministers Alive!” (Association Sunday), James A. Hobart, Preaching
During the 1830s, Theodore Parker was considering the Unitarian ministry as his vocation. He was warned, “the ministry is a narrow place.” His experience proved otherwise. Today we expect ministers wide in outlook, broad in concern, and deep in commitment. Our special offering on Association Sunday supports this excellence in ministry.
Sept. 25: “Embracing Imperfection” by James A. Hobart, minister
Wallace Stevens wrote, “the imperfect is our paradise.” This 50th anniversary year of the founding of the Unitarian Universalist Association is an opportunity to remember that liberal religion offers no promises of success, or happiness or perfection. What do we seek as our means and our ends, our goals?
Sept. 18: “The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness” by LCUUC member Mark Brewer
We are witnessing a revolution in the scientific understanding of human nature. Where once science painted humans as self-seeking and warlike, simplified notions of killer apes and selfish genes that still permeate popular culture, today scientists of many disciplines are uncovering the deep roots of human goodness. This research challenges some long-held notions about human nature, revealing that the good in us is just as intrinsic to our species as the bad. Empathy, gratitude, compassion, altruism, fairness, trust, and cooperation, once thought to be aberrations from the tooth and claw natural order of things, are actually core features of primate evolution. Come learn more about this fascinating subject, and how you can incorporate the findings into your everyday life, from guest speaker Mark Brewer, as suggested by Kim Suhr, who won this sermon in the silent auction.
Sept. 11: “Our Great Universalist Vision: Meeting the Worst and the Best of Times” by James A. Hobart, minister
The coincidence of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and the annual Gathering of the Waters Service is a time to reflect on the simultaneous presence of the best and the worst in human affairs. Both must be addressed by a universalist faith.
Sept. 4: “Giving Thanks to Mother Earth” by Rev. Chief Tim Dancing Red Hawk
Join us on September 4th, 2011 as Rev. Chief Tim Dancing Red Hawk, Vice Principal Chief of the United Cherokee Nation leads us in a day of giving thanks to Mother Earth and the Creator of us all. We will be offering our prayers and gifts for the healing of our Mother, the Earth. Stories, Teachings, and Drumming will be shared with all in attendance as our Creator is lifted up in prayer and spirit. Services will be held outdoors, weather permitting. People should feel free to bring blankets or lawn chairs.
August 21: “Fellowship and Food” by LCUUC Worship Committee
Come join us to help celebrate our community and the abundance of food we enjoy! We will have a brief service in the sanctuary, and then adjourn to the social hall to enjoy a summer potluck brunch and conversation.
Aug 7: "Liberal Patriots" by Rev. Nan Hobart
In these days of national crisis and political conflict, how can we live our liberal religious values of generosity, open-mindedness, tolerance, and concern for the common good?
July 24: “What Does It Mean to be Welcoming to all Religious and Political Viewpoints?” facilitated by Tim Fuller and Barb Adams
Our congregation desires to be open and welcoming to all, but we are not always successful. How do we become more welcoming to those people who don’t conform to LCUUC’s mainstream viewpoint, without compromising our own individuality? This will be another summer service in a discussion format, and outdoors if weather permits. Come join us and bring your thoughts to share!
July 10: “Sharing Through the Hope Center” by Ralph Zick
Ralph Zick, executive director of the Hope Center will describe his vision of preventing homelessness, and the work of his organization. He will share inspiring success stories, and the joy of our gifts and talents that make our local community a better place.
June 19: “Sharing Our Beliefs” facilitated by John Kuhn and Phil Smith
Come join us for a time of discussion and reflection on a topic of the congregation’s choice. We will meet outdoors if weather permits, and share our thoughts on a spiritual or philosophical question, similar to what has been done at the “Socrates Café” gatherings. Bring your open minds and thinking caps!
June 5: “Smell the Flowers” by Rev. Lori Hlaban
LCUUC will celebrate its annual flower communion service, a Unitarian Universalist tradition, symbolizing the richness and necessity of community in our lives. Using stories, we will reflect on how we can build a better life – and world – with grace and beauty. Bring a flower and join us for this fun, multigenerational service!
May 29: Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth will speak about the "story behind the story" of her recent book published by Skinner House Books: The Incredible Story of Ephraim Nute: Scandal, Bloodshed, and Unitarianism on the American Frontier. (Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth is a UU Community Minister who has served victims of violence and other justice issues in the Milwaukee area for more than twenty years. She is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Alverno College in Milwaukee.)
May 22: RE Sunday –The Spiritual Practice of Religious Education
Part of our mission at LCUUC is to encourage spiritual growth in compassion, wisdom and understanding. In this service, we will consider the spiritual practice of religious education. We will also enjoy the creative talents of our children and youth as they share some highlights of their RE year.
May 15: "In Case of Rapture" by Rev. Ray Gurney
We have all seen car bumper stickers that begin "In case of Rapture...". What is this all about? We will learn about how the mythology of a new heaven and a new earth emerged from marginal parts of the Jewish tradition, and how this apocalyptic thread was picked up by early Christians (but not by Jesus) and was carried along in a variety of forms over the centuries including the recent "Left Behind" series. We will look at a few of the more well-known Bible verses that are usually quoted about the Rapture and Armageddon, etc., and will also put Harold Camping's May 22, 2011 prediction in its proper perspective. (CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
May 8: “LCUUC's High School Senior Transition Service”
Join together to celebrate our High School Seniors, as they transition into young adulthood. Their reflections and music will certainly inspire us!
May 1: “Being Human(ist)” by Rev. Lori Hlaban
Beginning in the late 19th Century, the theological position of humanism has had great influence in our faith. This Sunday we will explore and critique the fifth ‘Source of inspiration’ for Unitarian Universalism: “Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.” This service will include a new member welcome and a child re-dedication.
April 24: "Exploring Passover and Easter with New Eyes" by Rev. Bret Myers
As UU's, many of us come from the Judeo-Christian heritage but often have issues with some of the holy days such as Passover and Easter. Do we ignore them because certain interpretations of them no longer resonate with us, or can our own spirituality and worldview be enhanced when we look at these events with new eyes? Are there universal meanings to these events that transcend cultures and faiths?
April 17: "Menu For The Future" presented by the LCUUC Green Sanctuary Committee
We will again be offering our Earth Day service, which will be led by participants in the North West Earth Institute “Menu for the Future” discussion course, which explored the connection between food and sustainability. There will be an organic/local/sustainable food pot luck lunch after the service. Please bring a dish to pass which includes local / organic / sustainably-produced food items if possible.
April 10: "Justice Sunday" presented by the Social Action Committee
UU Congregations nationwide focus on ways to advance human rights around the world. Our service will be based on the global human rights violations against women and girls as outlined in the book "Half the Sky" by Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Please join us to hear the stories of some of these women while discovering pragmatic, inspirational grass roots ways to make a difference.
April 3: "Friendship" by Rev. Jane Esbensen
This will be Jane's last time leading the service for us. A "thank you" reception will follow the service. (CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
March 27 (updated): “If You’re Only Looking For Happiness” by Rev Tony Larsen, presented by the LCUUC Worship Committee
Striving for happiness is a common goal among people, but sometimes the harder we try for it, the more difficult it is to achieve. In this service from the Church of the Larger Fellowship, Rev. Larsen looks at the difference between happiness and joy. Knowing the difference can add meaning to our lives.
March 20: "The Ground of Being" by Rev. Jane Esbensen
Who are we as a UU congregation, why do we exist, what is our vision, and how do we get there? As we look to the future of LCUUC, it is with a broad eye cast to the future. But what about now? What about here? What about us? Today's service will be a reflection piece on identity. (CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
March 13: "Froglessness" by Paul Norton
So often, we want to make a great leap forward, instead of reflecting and being in the moment. Paul Norton discusses Thich Nhat Hanh's principle of froglessness. Dr. Norton is the Guiding Instructor for the Milwaukee Mindfulness Practice Center, and leads the Mindfulness group at LCUUC.
March 6: "Whatever Happened to the 60's?" by Rev. Jane Esbensen
Looking up through the wild days of the 1960s from the vantage point of being just a young child, today's service will be one of remembrance: of hope and of passion and of endless possibilities. (CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
February 27: “Forgiveness” by Rev. Jane Esbensen
It is a well known fact that a great troubling force in the hearts and minds of many is the lack of being able to forgive, or of not being forgiven. As UUs we are not shielded from this angst even though, as a rule, we do not often focus on words like forgiveness or sin or evil. In our service today we will talk about forgiveness; its importance in our lives and the health of the world we can affect, by starting with ourselves. (CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
February 20: “A Celebration of Transitions,” presented by LCUUC 5th & 6th Graders with Sue Lewis
This service will be a presentation of poems, stories and music in celebration of completing the first part of LCUUC’s “coming of age” curriculum. “Transitions Part 1: Identity” focuses on the transition from childhood to adolescence. During this special service you will hear what our young people have to say about themselves and their place in our religious community.
February 13: “Intention and Reality” by Bruce Forciea
This service (rescheduled after the December 12 snow-out) will explore the link between intention and reality. Can intention really produce effects in the physical world? How can our thoughts affect physical reality?
February 6: “Standing On The Side of Love” by Rev. Jane Esbensen
This year marks the second anniversary of this Service on Love, and at LCUUC we will mark the anniversary with a focus on the rights and freedoms which must be granted to those in the LGBT communities. Standing on the Side of Love is deeply committed to achieving full and equal protection under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We want to be able to say to lawmakers that we know, with certainty, that thousands of Americans share our passion for full equality. So, as a part of our service on love, we will be asking everyone in attendance to sign a petition focusing on those rights. Come and listen, and then raise your pens and write. (CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
January 30: "Winter, Freedom, Religion" by Andrew Kerr
Winter, a time of slowness, grayness, and coldness, is a time to slow down, cool down, and see your own religion. Andrew is Speaker at the Free Congregation of Sauk County, which was founded as a Humanist society in Sauk City in 1852 and is now a UU Fellowship.
January 23: In a Blanket of Ice: Death” by Rev. Jane Esbensen
Many cultures have different ways of looking at death, considering death, responding to death, preparing for death. Today, in the depths of winter’s chill, death will be our visitor and our guide – how to embrace it and how to be reminded of life in the midst of it. (CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
January 16: “What Does It Matter That We’re Here? UUs and Interfaith Relations” by Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth
Rev. Groth will talk about the general issue of interfaith relations, profile the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, and talk about UU's importance in the current interfaith struggles in this country. Bobbie has been a frequent guest speaker at LCUUC over the last several years, and serves as the Secretary of the ICGM Cabinet (board of directors) and Executive Committee.
January 9: “Words, Words, Words!” by Rev. Jane Esbensen
One of the things that can be said without dispute about UUs is that we talk a lot! One of the other things that can be said about UUs is that we are very particular about the words that we use, especially in our Sunday morning services. This Sunday will be a service about the power of words, and how they can open hearts and minds, or turn us away from the greater causes that lie before us.
(CLICK here to listen to the sermon)
January 2: “Bellwether” by Rev. Lori Hlaban
“Bellwether” – One source of wisdom and inspiration for Unitarian Universalists is “words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.” These men and women could be termed bellwethers – individuals pointing, or leading, the way. Looking toward a new year, let’s consider what it means to be prophetic, and people who may be inspirational bellwethers today.