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Welcoming LGBTQ

Some Past Services at
Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Explore this archive of homilies, reflections, stories, and/or music from past worship services at Live Oak UU. You can stream the audio by just clicking on a link. Or right-click a link to download the audio as an mp3. Written files are PDFs.


Sunday, October 15, 4:00 p.m. -- Being Human

*Mary Lou's Apartment jazz band (pictured) features the compositions and arrangements of the African American musical geniuses Mary Lou Williams and Melba Liston. A compact-yet-mighty big band, Mary Lou’s Apartment is dedicated to performing great American music in an atmosphere of kindness, joy, support and political action.


Sunday, October 1, 2017 -- Social Justice: What Are We Called to Do Now?


Sunday, September 17, 2017 -- Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World.


Sunday, September 3, 2017 -- Thread of Hope – or – Make Grace Happen.


Sunday, August 20, 2017 -- Finding the Hero Within: Exploring the Sacred Aspects of the Hero's Journey, with guest speaker Kai Marks


Sunday, August 6, 2017 -- What's Justice Got to Do With It? (with apologies to Tina Turner)


Sunday, July 16, 2017 -- Love and Happiness


Sunday, June 18, 2017 -- We're Off to See the Wizard!

This homily was written several years ago by Live Oak member Tom Wilson, who died in April-2016. Tom explored one of the central paradoxes of organized religion as seen through the lens of one of the most beloved films of all time.


Sunday, June 4, 2017 -- Life, the Universe, and Everything.

In addition to the spoken words in this service, we are happy to share with you very special music. The pieces were played by Avery Roth-Hawthorne, French horn; William Klingelhoffer, French horn; and Karen Hutchinson, piano.


Sunday, May 7, 2017 -- Embracing Sorrow.


Sunday, April 16, 2017 -- Now More Than Ever.


Sunday, March 19, 2017 -- Truth. Now You See It, Now You Don't ...


Sunday, March 5, 2017 -- Grace Happens. This service was based on a sermon by UU minister Peter Friedrichs (courtesy of the UU's Church of the Larger Fellowship).


Sunday, February 19, 2017 -- Black Lives Matter: More Than Just a Slogan. Guest Preacher UU Minister Ben Meyers.

We are including more elements than usual. We hope you'll enjoy them.


Sunday, February 5, 2017 -- Limits, Personal and Political. Guest Preacher UU Minister Zsuzsanna Bartha from Transylvania.


Sunday, January 15, 2017 -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- What He Means to Us.

In this excellent service, several members of Live Oak UU shared personal experiences relative to MLK and/or learning about or dealing with prejudice. Each of these is quite short (3:00-4:00 minutes), but quite worth your time.


Sunday, January 1, 2017 -- Give Yourself to Love.


Sunday, December 18, 2016 -- Inseparable. (Celebrating the Winter Solstice, dark and light)


Sunday, December 4, 2016 -- Tending to Our Spirits in Challenging Times.


Sunday, November 20, 2016 -- Tuning Your Moral Compass.


Sunday, October 16, 2016 -- Walking as Wounded Healers.


Sunday, October 2, 2016 -- On the Value of Tradition and Other Spiritual Lessons from Fiddler on the Roof: A Service in Honor of the Jewish High Holy Days. (There is no audio from this service unfortunately)


Sunday, September 18, 2016 -- Breaking Bad, Breaking Bread. Guest minister Tet Gallardo from the Phillipines.


Sunday, September 4, 2016 -- To Pray or Not to Pray. Like many religious words -- God, worship, creed, and heaven -- many UUs find ourselves in a bind when the topic turns to "prayer." Together we'll consider some alternatives which might work within the context of our tradition. 


Sunday, August 21, 2016 -- Stop the World -- I Want to Get Off. We all find ourselves hurrying ourselves and our loved ones -- and we believe it's a recent phenomenon. But wait! We are part of a long history of hurriers.


Sunday, August 7, 2016 -- To Be: Gratitude for All Unearned.


Sunday, July 24, 2016 -- Travel and Transformation.


Sunday, July 17, 2016 -- Embracing the Mystery.


Sunday, July 3, 2016 -- Dancing in the Streets (exploring the spiritual dimension of happiness and both private and collective joy).


Sunday, June 19, 2016 -- On Spiritual Yearning. Despite moments of fullness, awe, wonder and peace, most of us feel a yearning for something beyond our common experience of life. Can we lean into our yearning, and if we do, what will we learn, and what can we gain?


Sunday, June 5, 2016 -- The Power of Kindness.


Sunday, May 22, 2016 -- Truth and Meaning.


Sunday, May 15, 2016 -- The Answer I Wished I'd Given, a sermon by UU minister Erika Hewitt, presented as part of our service.


Sunday, May 1, 2016 -- Community Love.


Sunday, April 24, 2016 -- Wholeness, Excellence, and Perfection.


Sunday, April 17, 2016 -- Aiming at Heaven -- or -- In Praise of Recess.


Sunday, April 3, 2016 -- Another Kind: Journey.


Sunday, March 27, 2016 -- The Ostara Bunny: A Service for All Ages. Did you ever wonder why a bunny brings eggs and egg-shaped gifts on Easter Sunday? And what does that have to do with Easter, the
holiday Bunny and Easter eggsChristians celebrate this day?


Sunday, March 20, 2016 -- Behaving, Believing, Belonging. Sermon written by UU minister Stefan Jonasson.


Sunday, March 6, 2016 -- In Search of Refuge.


Sunday, February 28, 2016 -- Learning to Walk by Learning to Fall ... or ... Don't Waste a Good Mistake.


Sunday, February 21, 2016 -- Living Islam.


Sunday, February 7, 2016 -- Unitarian Universalists, Cats, and Dogs. A sermon by UU minister Chris Buice, made available to us through our membership in the Church of the Larger Fellowship.


Sunday, January 24, 2016 -- Martin, Malcolm, and America.


Sunday, January 17, 2016 -- Some Struggle Required.


Sunday, January 3, 2016 -- The Sacred Stories of Our Lives.


Sunday, December 27, 2015 -- Gifts of the Shadow.


Sunday, December 20, 2015 -- Embracing the Dark.


Sunday, December 6, 2015 -- Good & Evil: Part 2, Evil -- Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall ....


Sunday, November 22, 2015 -- Presence and Presents: Thoughts about Giving and Receiving.


Sunday, November 15, 2015 -- Paths of Freedom. Rev. László Major (2015 Balázs Scholar) was our guest preacher.


Sunday, October 25, 2015 -- In the Valley of the Shadow: Reflections on Sadness.


Sunday, October 18, 2015 -- Good and Evil: Part 1, Good: The Baby and the Bath Water. (Part 2 will come in December.)


Sunday, October 5, 2015 -- Seeking Live Oak's Sweet Spot.


Sunday, September 27, 2015 -- Work-Life Balance.


Sunday, September 20, 2015 -- Holding On and Letting Go was the topic as we also honored the Jewish Holy Days, including our annual ritual of letting go.


Sunday, September 6, 2015 -- Old Age Is Not for Sissies.


Sunday, August 23, 2015 -- Pilgrimage to Manzanar.


Sunday, August 16, 2015 -- Who Leads, Who Follows, What Kind of Crazy Dance Is This Anyway? The Leadership of Live Oak Fellowship is all of us, members and friends. What does it mean to be a Lay Leader and how does it reflect on our individual and collective spiritual growth?


Sunday, August 2, 2015 -- Treasured Dishes, Fragile Cups (based on a sermon written by UU minister Patrick T. O'Neill)


Sunday, July 26, 2015 -- Sympathy for the Devil.


Sunday, July 19, 2015 -- Guide My Feet: Spiritual Practice for the Journey.


Pam Gehrke, UU ministerSunday, July 5, 2015 -- Praying with Legs. Frederick Douglass spoke in 1852 on "The Meaning of
July Fourth for the Negro." How does his legacy inform our contemporary commitment to struggle for "justice, equity, and compassion in human relations"?


Portrait Lynice PinkardSunday, June 28, 2015 -- The Cost of Community. Lynice Pinkard believes love that transcends traditional divides and enables communities of solidarity will seed mass movements that can transform our failed economic, environmental, social and political systems.


Sunday, June 21, 2015 -- Can't Judge a Book by Lookin' at the Cover ... A gentle exploration of gender identity and a personal journey down "Clueless Lane."


Carolyn West, guest preacherSunday, June 7, 2015 -- Duality: How is This Still a Thing? Duality -- the notion that the body and the soul are distinct and separate -- has been part of human religious thinking for millennia. Is it time to jettison this old concept?


Sunday, May 24, 2015 -- Juust Food. Looking at food justice.


Sunday, May 17, 2015 -- Postcards from the Journey. For this service, Worship Leaders Kate & Peter Hand invited a few participants of the "Finding Your Spiritual Voice," class to share short reflections they had written. Those are posted below. In addition, we were treated to several musical pieces performed by Avery Roth-Hawthorne (Live Oak'er freshly home after his first year at Juilliard) on French horn and Mark Daniel on piano. We proudly share two of those, too.


Sunday,May 3, 2015 -- Breath, Body, and Spirit.

  • Listen to UU minister Pam Gehrke's sermon.
    • Because of a problem with our recorder, the first few sentences of Pam's sermon were missed. Read the following and then listen: Just a couple of weeks after my father died in January of 1999, I was reaching for something and felt a strikingly unfamiliar pain in my shoulder. As I was to learn, this was the beginning of what is known as a "frozen shoulder," one of those ailments about which little is known and for which little can be done. As it was starting to resolve, ... sermon.

Sunday, April 26, 2015 -- The Garden of Eden. This service was based on a sermon by Rev. Charles Ortman and available to Live Oak UU through the Church of the Larger Fellowship.


Sunday, April 19, 2015 -- Slow Violence: Environmental Justice.


Sunday, April 5, 2015 -- Matzo, Michelangelo, and the Power of Love. A service about Passover and Easter.


Sunday, March 22, 2015 -- Compassionate Conversations.


Sunday, March 15, 2015 -- Religion Beyond Belief. This sermon was written and originally delivered by Peter Morales (currently the President of the UUA). It was available to us to use through our membership in the Church of the Larger Fellowship.


Sunday, March 1, 2015 -- Babies on Board.


Sunday, February 22, 2015 -- The Fabric of Community.


Bruce SilvermanSunday, February 15, 2015 -- Some Things Are Just Too Hard to Know.


Sunday, February 1, 2015 -- Images of God.


Sunday, January 25, 2015 -- Love and Imagination, a look at the saving power of empathy.


Sunday, January 18, 2015 -- How Long? A Service in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.


Sunday, January 4, 2015 -- Resolutions for a Happy New Year; guest preacher Carrie Knowles.


Sunday, December 28, 2014 -- Creativity: A Nice Concept or a Vital Necessity?


Sunday, December 21, 2014 -- Welcome Yule. Celebrating the Winter Solstice (and Hanukkah and Christmas).


Sunday, December 7, 2014 -- The Power of One Life. The life of any one of us may guide, heal, and transform the living of others.


California QuailSunday, November 23, 2014 -- Stranger and Stranger. Storyteller Carolyn West
shared a story for the children (Quail Song) which was a good introduction to the homily for the adults.

  • Listen to the children's story.
  • And don't miss Carolyn West's homily. She reminds us of an earlier story where
    we learned a chance encounter with a stranger can be a doorway into the divine. This Sunday, she asked us to think about "us" as the stranger, the doorway for others.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 -- Celebrating Our Dear Departed, honoriing Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

  • Listen to Worship Leader Richard Stromer's reflection on "Let It Be," and his introduction to our annual "Tolling of the Bells" ritual. (Live Oak Music Director, Mark Daniel, voice & piano)

Sunday, October 26, 2014 -- The Joy of Text. On this day, we delighted in the power and joy of words well spoken. Several people wanted information on one or more of the readings used in the service. Here is a list of all the readings and, where possible, a link to the content found on the web. And there are audio recordings of three of the readings below. Note: the sound level is a bit low.

PRELUDE in WORDS

Small  --  Rita Moe

WORDS for ALL AGES

Eletelephony -- Laura Richards
Writer Waiting -- Shel Silverstein

READINGS I:  WORDS on WORDS

I Like Words -- Robert Pirosh
On Gutenberg -- quoting liberally from Wikipedia and The Economist (Audio)
Moments Without Thought -- Steve Taylor

READINGS II:  WORDS on LOVE

Aimless Love – Billy Collins
Excerpt from Bad Mother -- Ayelet Waldman (Soulmate or Beshert: Audio)
Excerpt from Romeo and Juliet -- William Shakespeare

READINGS III:  WORDS on TRANSFORMATION

Dinosaur -- Bruce Holland Rogers (Audio)
Act your Age -- Joanna Macy
Great Things Have Happened -- Alden Nowlan
The Sleepless Ones -- Lawrence Tirnauer
To the Doe Last Seen Running Up the South Exit Ramp Toward Wal*Mart Plaza -- Pamela Gemin

BENEDICTION

Excerpt from Wherever You Go There You Are -- Jon Kabat-Zinn


Sunday, October 19, 2014 -- A Seat at the Feast: Creating Beloved Community. Community (this community) and service to others. We also welcomed six new members.


Sunday, September 28, 2014 -- Living With a Wild God.


Sunday, September 21, 2014 -- The High Holy Days and the Cosmos.


Sunday, September 7, 2014 -- Life As a Spiritual Quest.


Sunday, August 24, 2014 -- Faith and Doubt: The Practice of Knowing Without Knowing. Unfortunately our recording device malfunctioned, but we do have the text of Mary Foran's sermon and Worship Leader Jay Roller's reflection.


Sunday, August 17, 2014 -- The Secret of Joy, or the link between "service" and "joy." Avery Roth-Hawthorn who is off to study at Julliard, played two pieces for this service (below).


Sunday, August 3, 2014 -- I Could Be a UU: The 7 Principles from a Pagan's Perspective. Michelle Mueller, who is working on her Ph.D, from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, spoke about serving UU congregations as a Pagan.


Sunday, July 27, 2014 -- Becoming Whom We Wish to Be, a service of songs and readings celebrating our colectively discerned Mission.


Sunday, July 20, 2014 -- Reading as a Spiritual Practice.


Sunday, July 6, 2014 -- Forgiveness and Letting Go.


Sunday, June 15, 2014 -- Gay Soul, It Doesn't Come Easy.


Sunday, June 1, 2014 -- Standing on Common Ground. This year's Balasz Scholar, Reverend Károly Vass, preached on the common ground of UUs here in California and those in Transylvania.


Sunday, May 25, 2014 -- A Vision of Fire.


Sunday, May 18, 2014 --The Power of Our Words, The Testament of Our Lives.


Sunday, May 4, 2014 -- Managing Chaos.


Sunday, April 27, 2014 -- Ordinarily Sacred. A service of readings and music on the holiness of everyday life.


Sunday, April 20, 2014 -- Jesus, Giant Rabbits, and the Power of Love. Worship Leaders Mary MacKay and Kate Hand led our Easter Service.


Sunday, April 6, 2014 -- In Emmaus. Storyteller Carolyn West from Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley.


Sunday, March 23, 2014 -- Forgiveness. Dr. Rosemary Chinnici, a Roman Catholic nun who taught pastoral care at Starr King School for the Ministry for many years, and now works as a Defense Initiated Victim's Advocate, was the guest preacher.


Sunday, March 16, 2014 -- Be Ye Lamps Unto Yourselves: Seeking the Truth Within. How might a deeper exploration of this ancient teaching enhance our commitment to the process of spiritual inquiry today?


Sunday, March 2, 2014 -- Invitation to Dance. Adam Dyer, a candidate for the Unitarian Universalist ministry asked, "... how do we dance -- with ourselves and with each other -- both physically and metaphorically?"


Sunday, February 23, 2014 -- The Joy of Life Tour. PCD Executive Director Josh Searle-White explored joy in both its transcendent and down-to-earth varieties. And Live Oak UU celebrated its 5th anniversary as a congregation.


Sunday, February 2, 2014 -- The Secret 'O Life. Bonnie Dlott addressed the question: Is it possible to enjoy life as we age, given the series of losses that are inevitable?


Sunday, January 19, 2014 -- Come Around Once More. The practice of closely-spaced repetition grounds habit, success and ritual -- and helps us on our path to community building, modeling values in the world and personal spiritual deepening. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014 -- The Interconnected Web of Injustice. Earl Koteen, environmental justice minister, UU Legislative Ministry California, looked into the nature of injustice -- and found joy and community addressing the greatest moral challenge of our times.


Sunday, December 22, 2013 -- Why I Love Christmas: Confessions of a Unitarian Universalist Christian Buddhist Mystic Scientist Poet...


Sunday, December 15, 2013 -- Returning to the Light. Winter Solstice service.


Sunday, December 1, 2013 -- A Great Miracle Happened Here.


Sunday, November 24, 2013 -- Tell a New Story.


Sunday, November 17, 2013 -- To Be a Blessing


Sunday, November 3, 2013 -- Our Beloved Dead.


Sunday, October 27, 2013 -- A Joyful Day (Our first worship on a 4th Sunday)


Sunday, October 20, 2013 -- Economic Justice, Music, and Revolution.


Sunday, October 6, 2013 -- Conversations with God.


Sunday, September 15, 2013 -- Transcending Mystery & Wonder. What is transcendence? And how might we cultivate the experience of transcendence in our daily lives?


Sunday, September 1, 2013 -- Nice Work, If You Can Get It. A service honoring labor and labor day.


Sunday, August 18, 2013 -- Growing Up UU.


Sunday, August 4, 2013 -- Dreaming Religious Education for Us All.


Sunday, July 21, 2013 -- Faith in the Journey.


Sunday, July 7, 2013 -- We Create Loving Community through Worship and Service to Others.


June 16, 2013 -- Fathers and the Art of Imperfection.


June 2, 2013 -- Living on the Leading Edge: The Role of Liberal Religion Now. Guest Minister, Cat Cox.


May 19, 2013 -- What Does It Mean to be a Unitarian Universalist? What is our religious calling and how do we meet it?


May 5, 2013 -- The Practice of Reverence. How deepening our sense of reverence might enhance our experience of being alive and our relationship to our most cherished values and concerns.


April 21, 2013 --The Art of Being Wrong. The spiritual practice of cultivating “beginner's mind” in all relationships, be they casual or intimate.


April 7, 2013 --The Language of Religion: What Is in Our UU Vocabulary? How do we speak about our spiritual development and our moral, ethical and religious selves? Religious vocabulary helps.


March 17, 2013 -- Marriage Rites, Equal Rights, and the Religious Rights’ ‘Wrongs'. Guest minister, Ben Meyers, Berkeley Fellowship of UUs, offered a critical eye and spiritual interpretation of biblical passages often used to deny the rights of all people to marry.


February 17, 2013 -- In the Image of an Imageless God. Exploring the paradox: The Divine is said to be imageless, beyond any name or form we might ascribe to it. Yet we are told we are made in the image of God.


February 3, 2013 -- Lemonade 101. Exploring trouble and spiritual practices that might help turn life's lemons into something less sour.


January 6, 2013 -- Likeness to God.UUism, like other religions, offers a model of how to be our best self, a set of practices to become that self, and usually a cosmology that makes it all fit together.


December 16, 2012 -- Just a Tiny Spark: A Service in Honor of the Winter Solstice. A mesage about keeping light alive in the dark was particularly poignant this week following the tragic shootings in Connecticut.


December 2, 2012 -- Chasing Joy. Sometimes we fall headfirst into pleasure, but more often, in some way, we create the opportunity. Noticing joy is a genuine practice.


November 18, 2012 -- Grateful Like Your Life Depended On It. Gratitude can change the way our brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns; developing a spiritual practice of gratitude.


November 4, 2012 -- Day of the Dead, Tolling of the Bells. Celebrating those who have passed through our lives.


October 21, 2012 -- The Politics of Grace: From the Heart. Exploring how the personal is political.


September 16, 2012 -- To Be Mentored by the Sun. Abundance & gratitude as exemplified by the sun.


September 2, 2012 -- Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. How we get through -- and help our loved ones -- get through difficult times.


August 19, 2012 -- Lemons, Lemonade, & Loss.


August 5, 2012 -- Families We Choose.


July 1, 2012 -- Forgiveness: Moving Forward, Taking Stock, & Letting Go.


June 18, 2012 -- Eat Flies, Date a Pig, Live Your Dreams


June 3, 2012 -- Rat Race or Sacred Journey?


May 6, 2012 -- The Theology Behind Our Social Action. Are we just do-gooders? Or is there more to it?


April 15, 2012 -- What I Do Touches You. Celebrating Earth Day and the interconnected web, an intergenerational service. And our first Child Dedication ritual.


March 18, 2012 -- A Mission Born of Mystery: Why UUs Exist. Guest preacher Robert Latham looking at the purpose of religion.


March 4, 2012 -- Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost: The Practice of Spiritual Seeking. Considering what it means to be engaged in a lifelong search for spiritual meaning.


February 19, 2012 -- Faith in the Conversation. In what, or whom, do we place our faith -- and when, and why, do we withhold our faith?


February 5, 2012 -- Where Do We Come From? Guest minister Ben Meyers on UU history. (Note: Live Oak's audio did not come out, but Ben gave us permission to use the audio of the sermon as he presented it at the Berkeley Fellowship of UUs.)


January 1, 2012 -- New Beginnings: Does Nature Suffice? A service looking directly at the world of nature and asking, "isn't this enough?"


December 18, 2011 -- Scrooge's Transformation: A Unitarian Story of Rebirth and Redemption. Charles Dickens was an active member of a Unitarian congregation at the time he wrote A Christmas Carol, a holiday classic -- and a wonderful expression of UU values and concerns.


December 4, 2011 -- Hunter-Gatherers Lost in the 21st Century. Looking at the increase in crime: Why do humans behave this way? What happened to conscience? And what can we do? Worship Leader Chris Celata recommends you listen to/read the Dunbar Number reading before the sermon since it is referenced.


November 20, 2011 -- No Guarantees. A fresh look at Thanksgiving, gratitude, and the importance of food.


November 6, 2011 -- Day of the Dead. Celebrating the Day of the Dead and a UU ritual, Tolling of the Bells.


October 2, 2011 -- To Stand in Awe. Reflecting on the role of awe in religious life and how we might open ourselves more fully to it. We also welcomed new members into our congregation and celebrated our annual Ritual of Letting Go.


September 18, 2011 -- Desire & Creativity. Exploring ways we humans transform longing into the stuff of life through metaphor, humor, and personal power.


September 4, 2011 -- In These Uncertain Times. Looking at Labor Day, what is the role of our religious community in these times when so many are without work? We are reminded how the tough little flower of Spirit can take root and grow in the stoniest of soils.


August 21, 2011 -- Heretics, Clients and Other Agents of Change with guest Minister Julia Kocs.


August 7, 2011 -- Happily Ever .....Fuhgettaboutit. How can we use the bumps in the road to deepen our connection to each other.


July 17, 2011 -- Sharing Our Sacred Stories. We tell stories for many reasons, but perhaps the most ancient and powerful one is to help us relate to the sacred dimension of existence.


July 3, 2011 -- Theists and Atheists: Can't We All Just Get Along? How mutual respect, and our intentionality about the use of "God talk," can help us understand how much we have in common.


June 19, 2011 -- Practicing Love. UUs often proclaim "love is the doctrine of our church." This service looked at what that means and how we live it. The service also recognized and honored both the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members of our community -- and the straight people who love and support them.


June 5, 2011 -- It's In Every One of Us to Be Wise. Exploring wisdom from Jesus' parable, The Good Samaritan.


May 15, 2011 -- In Praise of Music. A reflection on the relationship between spirituality and music.
  • Listen to Worship Leader Kim Rankin's reflection.
  • Listen to In Praise of Music, a lovely, neo-Romantic work by American composer David Conte and performed by members of the Live Oak UU choir and members of the First UU Society of San Francisco. (With thanks to the San Francisco church for this recording.)

May 1, 2011 -- Thinking Outside the Boat. A fanciful trip to the Barbary Coast, discussing the Pirate Code and how it limited the power of captains, assuring the crew had a say in decisions. Is the UU system of congregationalism similar to the Pirate Code?


April 17, 2011 -- Liberation & Renewal. Honoring the spiritual energies Passover (liberation -- the release from oppression) and Easter (renewal -- the regeneration of life), we seek to deepen our experience of the spiritual promise of springtime.


April 3, 2011 -- Get Your Game On: Cultivating Play as a Spiritual Practice. How can we reclaim the joy of play in our every day existence?


March 20, 2011 -- The Wind, One Brilliant Day: Cultivating the Garden That is This Congregation. How Live Oak has sculpted itself and how we can build an enduring community. (Please note: turn your sound up; we had audio problems this day.)


March 3, 2011 -- Being Blessed. Guest UU minister Jamie McReynolds explored the nature of blessing.


February 20, 2011 -- Embracing Mystery. We explore the nature of spiritual mystery and its relationship to our experience of the sacred.


February 6, 2011 -- Walking Through a Wall. Exploring walls, both literal and metaphorical, in the experience of real people through spoken word, poetry, and music.


Sunday, January 2, 2011 -- The Neurobiology of Enlightenment, or, The Hero's Journey through the Chicago Transit Authority. Traveling from Carl Sagan to Joseph Campbell, from the reptile brain to the primate brain, we explore the quest for enlightenment.


Sunday, December 19, 2010 -- The Gift of Love. With this season's focus on the giving and receiving of things, this service explores the greatest gift we can ever know is to love and be loved by others.


Sunday, December 5, 2010 -- Am I Good Enough? Exploring the spiritual dimensions of questions of self-doubt and inadequacy. Readings, a reflection, and the sermon are all available to read:


Sunday, November 24, 2010 -- Thanksgiving. Exploring harvest festivals and gratitude for bounty as practiced here -- and around the world. We welcomed the Levente Lazar, the current Balazs Scholar, and his wife, the Erika Demeter, as well as Paprika, a local group performing Hungarian folk music. We share several aspects of the service below:


Sunday, November 7, 2010 -- Life & Death Are Woven Fine. Celebrating Dia de la Muertos (the Day of the Dead) and looking at death as a necessary and meaningful process that is intertwined with life.


Sunday, October 17, 2010 -- Take a Little Breath: Confessions of a Mediocre Meditator. Exploring the rocky road to immortal Bliss, and introducing some practices that may help smooth the path.

Listen to Worship Leader Kate Hand's homily.


Sunday, October 3, 2010 -- Tevye's Daughters: Reflections on Tradition. Looking at how we wrestle with our traditions at least as much as we embrace them.

Photo (right): Kim Rankin guiding several of our youngsters in playing "Go Now in Peace" on Orff instruments as the congregation sang.


Sunday, September 19, 2010 -- Consider the Lilies (Or Maybe the Mums), celebrating the UU ritual, Flower Communion.


Sunday, September 5, 2010 -- We Begin Again in Love, celebrating the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

Please listen to Worship Leader Richard Stomer's homily.


Sunday, August 15, 2010 -- While Standing on One Foot: A Unitarian Universalist Catechism ( Ben Meyers, guest minister asks, "What do Unitarian Universalists believe?" What is the essence of our liberal faith and how do we articulate all this ... succinctly?)

Listen to Ben Meyers' sermon.


Sunday, August 1, 2010 -- Living With Joy (What brings you joy? What stops you from doing those things that bring you joy? What can you do starting today to live more joyfully?)

Read Worship Leader Kate Hand's homily.


Sunday, July 18, 2010 -- Make A Joyful Noise (Why do we sing? Why in church?)

Listen to Worship Leader Kim Rankin's homily on music.


Sunday, July 4, 2010 -- The Pursuit of Happiness (Where happiness -- genuine lasting happiness -- comes from and what it might mean to say we have an inalienable right to the pursuit of it)

Read Worship Leader Richard Stromer's homily or you might prefer to listen to Richard's homily here.


Sunday, June 20, 2010 -- Everything Possible (UUism -- and other liberal faiths -- and their support of LGBTIQQ people and issues)

Listen to Kim Rankin's homily.


Sunday, June 6, 2010 -- Heartbreak Hotel (The place we inhabit when heartbreak comes ... and where it leads us)

Listen to Ruth Levitan's very personal reflection on heartbreak. And don't miss Jay Roller's homily which includes some shared personal stories of heartbreak.


Sunday, May 16, 2010 -- Growing Up: It's a Lifetime Job (How do we become whole? How do we help our children discover their own wholeness? Can one lead to the other?)

Read Worship Leader Kate Hand's story, The Wise Monk Masquerading as a Toy Parrot, or listen to Kate telling this personal story. And be sure to listen to Nanci Armstrong-Temple's homily.


Sunday, May 2, 2010 -- Behind the Screen (Guest minister Jeffrey Melcher linked a Babylonian creation story to International Worker's day and our on-going struggle to work for the betterment of all.) Unfortunately, our audio recording did not work this Sunday. But you can read Jay Roller's reflection here.


Sunday, April 18, 2010 -- Speak, Memory (Honoring Earth Day and exploring personal and cultural memories of nature) Listen to Worship Leader Carol Thornton's homily.

And listen to our choir (led by new choir director Susan Sonnemaker) singing Kae'na Laemuna (from South Africa).


Sunday, April 4, 2010 -- Being Redeemed (Examining the spiritual concept of redemption, a theme connected to both the Jewish celebration of Passover and the Christian feast of Easter, which coincide on this date.)

Read Susan Mayer's reflection. And either read Worship Leader Richard Stromer's homily or listen to it.


Sunday, March 21, 2010 -- To Err Is Human, To Forgive ...? (Of all the virtues religion promises to cultivate in us, perhaps none is more tantalizing, or more elusive, than forgiveness.)

Listen to Worship Leader Kim Rankin's homily.


March 7, 2010 -- Compassion for Our Red State Family Members (The lesson of compassion is one of a certain amount of letting go of our opinions, stubbornness, rebellious urges and accepting that we may be more like "those people" than we care to admit.)

Listen to Worship Leader Jay Roller's homily.


February 21, 2010-- Before You Yell at the Blind Man: Cultivating a Compassionate Heart

You may read the Story for All Ages and Kate Hand's homily. Or even better, listen to Kate's homily.

And do listen to our Special Music (begins quietly, grows in volume): This is the Live Oak UU Choir singing a newly written adaptation of the song Come, Come Whoever You Are. The words are by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi. The music is by Dale Zola (posted here with her generous permission).


Sunday, November 15, 2009 -- A Tale of Two Rocks (One rock is Plymouth Rock, a symbol from traditional American Thanksgivings. The other is the rock in Kolozsvár [Transylvania] from which Francis David spoke and "converted the whole town’s population to Unitarianism."

  • Read Susan Mayer's reflection.
  • And listen to Jay's homily. (You might need to turn up the volume on your speakers.) The audio begins with a brief piano interlude. You'll enjoy this homily (as the congregation did -- note the laughter).

Sunday, November 1, 2009 -- Halleluia All the Way!
Worship Leaders: Kate Hand and Susan Mayer


Sunday, October 18, 2009 - How Inherent Is Worth?
Worship Leaders: Christine Celata & Bonnie Richman


September 6, 2009 - Roll Right Up to the Welcome Table!
Worship Leaders: Jody Savage & Richard Stromer


Sunday, June 14, 2009 - A Blessed Community on Holy Ground

Listen to Jay Roller's welcome & chalice lighting, followed by one song and a story told by Bob Hood. And here you can listen to Bob Hood's homily.


Sunday, May 10, 2009 (Mothers' Day)

On this recording, you'll hear Worship Leader Kate Hand reading an Emily Dickinson poem, followed by Kim Rankin's homily.

 

 

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