Current and upcoming sermons

Service begins at 10:30am

Sermons available as pdf downloads when sermon title is clickable.

 

December 3, 2017 Holiday Blues  Rev. Edmund Robinson

All around us we see images of relentless gaiety, but for many of us the holidays conjure up reminders of our losses, our separations, our loneliness. How do we cope with this.

 

December 10, 2017 The Gift of Outrage  Rev. Edmund Robinson

Outrage has become all the rage. Some people are outraged at the disappearance of traditional patterns and symbols from our common life. Others are outraged at patterns of oppression and privilege which are age old, but frustratingly persist after they are called out. Does any kind fo outrage have any part to play in this season when we are giving gifts to each other?

 

December 17, 2017 The Miraculously Ordinary Story of a Baby  Rev. Edmund Robinson

The Sunday School will present an offbeat pageant with parts for many players.

 

December 24, 2017 Festival of Lessons and Carols 5 PM  Rev. Edmund Robinson

There will be no service Sunday morning, Dec. 24, but at 5 PM we will have the traditional service of Lessons and Carols and candlelight.
 

December 31, 2017 Sharing service  Rev. Edmund Robinson

New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday, so the morning service will be at the usual time, but will be informal, with all invited to bring a poem, song, tune, story or New Year’s Wish to share.

November 5, 2017 Crossing the Styx  Rev. Edmund Robinson

Is it possible to communicate with departed loved ones? A whole movement grew up in the nineteenth century claiming that it was, and there are spiritualists and seance leaders today who claim it is. Whether we think it is possible or not, the congregation will observe a Day of the Dead, or All Souls’s Day in which each attendee is invited to bring a photograph or other memento of someone who has died and speak his or her name out loud while depositing it on a temporary altar.

 

November 12, 2017 Is There Such a Thing As a Good War?  Rev. Edmund Robinson

In the wake of the documentary on the US War in Vietnam, which seemed wrong to many of us from beginning to end, it is easy to think about World War II as the good war, a war with a noble and moral purpose which succeeded. But given the scale, was it really?


November 19, 2017 Memorials and Massacres  Rev. Edmund Robinson

We are slowly confronting painful truths about our past. Should we tear down the traditional story of Thanksgiving the way that many cities and towns are tearing down their monuments to Confederate soldiers and leaders? Can we embrace the holiday both as a moment to give thanks and as a national day of mourning for the loss of the land of the original inhabitants? We will have a cornbread and cider communion.
 

November 26, 2017  On Truth And Lies In Our Public and Private Lives  Rev. Dick Fewkes

My Sermon Title for Nov. 26 (On Truth And Lies In Our Public and Private Lives) is based on a book by Harvard Philosopher, Sissela Bok, published in 1978, entitled Lying: Moral Choice in Public And Private Life. What she said then is even more relevant in today's political and social world of fake news and alternate facts.

October 1 The Evil Empire    Rev. Edmund Robinson    
100 years ago, the October Revolution in Russia brought about the first Communist state in history.  After the defeat of the Axis powers in Wiorld War II, the struggle with global Communism defined politics in the US and much of the West for the next 40 years.   With the fall of the Soviet Union, Communism has largely collapsed of its own weight.  What was all the fuss about?

 

October 8 Truth and Reconciliation.    Rev. Edmund Robinson    
Rev. Mark Morrison-Read points out in his Minns Lectures that both Unitarians and Universalists historically discouraged participation by African Americans and it has only been in the recent past that this has begun to be improved.  Is this parochialism, racism, white supremacy, and more importantly, what ought we to do about it now?  Today we welcome our new members!

 

October 15 Sovereignty and Empire.    Rev. Edmund Robinson    
It was jarring for the US President to lecture the United Nations on sovereignty, for the cry of sovereignty is usually the cry of the weaker nations against the stronger.  The economic, military and political strength of the United States ensures that its sovereignty is not threatened; if the United Nations or any international body is to be effective in mediating between the interests of states, some sovereignty must be ceded.

 

October 22 If I Had a Hammer.    Rev. Edmund Robinson    
Five hundred years ago on Halloween, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenburg, starting the process we know as the Protestant Reformation, which led to, among other movements,  Unitarianism and Universalism.  What do we owe to Luther’s act?
    
October 29 Rev. The Thinning of the Veil  Tracy Johnson.  

September 3 Guilt in Three Flavors Rev. Edmund Robinson

The sense of guilt is important to our sense of morality, but it can work overtime and rob us of peace of mind. My hunch is that guilt is often engendered by one’s religious traditions, even if one was not brought up in a particular faith, so that there is distinctively Calvinist guilt, Catholic guilt and Jewish guilt. Is this true, and does it matter?

 

September 10 Justice Shall Roll Down Like Waters Rev. Edmund Robinson

We start our congregational year with a ritual closing of summer and blending of its waters. Please bring a sample of water you have collected to this annual ritual.

 

September 17 The Child Is Father Of the Man Rev. Edmund Robinson

One of the tenets of Emerson’s world-view was that the flower is present in the seed and vice versa. This goes beyond saying that all things are interconnected; it seems to smack of a claim that everything is everything else. Does this make sense?

 

September 24 Encountering the Sacred Rev. Edmund Robinson

In our religious language, we often substitute “the sacred” where the word “God” would appear in a more orthodox denomination. Does this actually shed any light on the subject? Is a sacred realm any more definable than “God”? These reflections are stirred by my recent witness of the death of my father-in-law.

August 6 The Tide Is Rising and So Are We  Rev. Edmund Robinson

Climate change and the Star Island conference.

August 13 Thoreau at 200: Is There Any Nature Left?  Rev. Edmund Robinson

Henry David Thoreau has had a huge impact on our conception of nature, and that affects how we think of religion as well as how we tackle pollution and climate change.

 

August 20 Good News  Rev. Edmund

RobinsonGospel merely means “good news,” and thus gospel music can be sung with enthusiasm by humanists, atheists, Christians and any other theological stripe. Members of the All Worn Out Jug Band and a few others combine to bring us all into a good news mode.

 

August 27 Tear It All Down!  Rev. Edmund Robinson

The present age echoes many past ages in which some of the most vehement political opinions, from the right and the left, are that the system is so corrupt that we need to take it all down and start over from scratch. I find myself very resistant to this rhetoric, but wonder whether that is a failure of nerve on my part, the fact that I am invested in the present system and am doing relatively well in it, or a lack of sufficient empathy with those for whom the system doesn’t work so well.

 

July 2, 2017  Unitarian Universalism at the Crossroads   Rev. Edmund Robinson    
Big changes for our movement were on display at General Assembly     in New Orleans.  What does this mean for the Meeting House and for the nation?
 

July 9, 2017   You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Awesome   Rev. Edmund Robinson    
One of my favorite Peter Fleck essays is “The blessings of     imperfection.”  In our tradition, we are not fallen from an initial state of perfection and innocence, as in the Garden of Eden, but are     perpetually moving by fits and starts toward new ways of being born out of the old.
 

July 16, 2017   A People So Bold   Rev. Paul Sprecher     
Calling a nation (or a ruler) to account is no easy task. Direct confrontation doesn't always work. Sometimes stories or humor can cut through resistance.
 

July 23, 2017   Life is A Pre-existing Condition   Rev. Edmund Robinson    
If we want a just system of health care or public welfare generally, we must take everyone as we find them, with all their abilities and disabilities.  For the music for this service, we welcome the Chatham     Fiddle Orchestra.

June 4   Coming Alive: How To Do It      Rev. Edmund Robinson
The late theologian Howard Thurman was once asked by people  deciding what to do with their lives what the world needs most and  he replied “Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself  what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world  needs is people who have come alive.” We might bear this in mind  as we look at the social justice effort of the Meeting House, but how  can we forge an effective program out of the individual passions of  the members?      

                 
June 11   Childrens’ Service  

                         
June 18   Flower Communion and Annual Meeting    Rev. Edmund Robinson  

We remember Norbert Capek, the most recent Unitarian martyr, in  reenacting the flower communion he designed. Please bring flowers  to contribute.The service will be followed by the UUMH Annual Meeting. This  will be followed by a talk on Climate Change in the Facts Matter  Forum series at 1:30.    

                            
June 25   The Sacrament of Dialogue        Dick Eccles

In previous pulpit experiences, Dick has shared the philosophy of  Jacob Trapp, and how that relates to creative interchange, the  process theology of Henry Nelson Wieman. We recall in today’s  sermon some of the words of David Brooks, and extend our remarks  on Dr. Trapp’s philosophy as it relates to Martin Buber, author of I  and Thou. All this we bring back to the context of how we  communicate with each other, and the profound worth, indeed  sanctity, of our dialogue together.    

 

May 7    Can Science Account For the Soul?       Rev. Edmund Robinson    
What is the soul? Do all humans have one? Do non-human animals have them? Can a computer or a corporation have one? A recent profile of philosopher Daniel Dennett in the New Yorker raises these eternal questions.

May 14   My Mother, Myself     Rev. Edmund Robinson    
When you are talking, do you sometimes hear your mother or father’s voice coming out of your own mouth? When you look in the mirror, do you see your mother’s or father’s eyes looking back at you? Can you see yourself in your children or grandchildren? Is there a self that persists across generations?

May 21   White Supremacy      Rev. Edmund Robinson    
Many of us are familiar, if not comfortable, with the notion of institutional racism, covert racism, and white privilege. Lately in conversations about race in our denomination, some voices, both black and white, have insisted on using the phrase “white supremacy,” not just to refer to far-right ideologies but to stubborn patterns in the culture at large and our movement in particular that keep whiteness at the center or keep whiteness as the norm despite attempts to be more inclusive and diverse. I am resistant to this usage, but I wonder whether my own resistance is my own white fragility or denial, or because the terminology really is confusing.

 

May 28   Worth Re-Membering      Rev. Shari Halliday-Quan    
Memorial Day calls us to look back into our collective histories and find value in the past. With ritual acts and stories, this day of commemoration helps us understand our lives as part of an ongoing thread of experience that connects us to other people. So much depends upon the narratives of memory that we choose. When our future is shaped by the stories we tell, which are worth remembering? Who belongs in these stories? Who belongs at the center?

 

April 2  Mud Room Messiness  Rev. Edmund Robinson

 

Nature is not neat, which is why we have mudrooms. But we are not neat either, which is why we also have garages and basements and overflowing desks and file cabinets.  Spring cleaning is upon us, time to clear our souls of the spiritual clutter which has accumulated over the winter months. 

 

April 9 What UUs bring to the Resistance Party Rev. Tom Schade

 

April 16  Love Conquers Death! Rev. Edmund Robinson

 

The widest view of the Easter story, which is also the spring story, is that life goes on.  Not individual life, but the life of species.  And the engine of life is love. 

 

April 23 Terror Firma: Earth Day Alarm  Rev. Edmund Robinson

 

According to a new poll, 70% of Americans now believe that climate change is real and carbon dioxide is the principal cause.  Yet people do not connect this knowledge with specific phenomena like wildfires in Kansas.  What will it take to wake us all up?

 

April 30 Poetry Sunday   Rev. Edmund Robinson

A celebration in honor of National Poetry Month.  Attendees are invited to bring well-loved poems under 3 minutes in length and read or recite them in the service. 


 

March 5 Facts Matter, As a Matter of Fact   Rev. Edmund Robinson

 

Sermon originally scheduled for January; how can we manage any enterprise, large or small, if we don’t know the basic facts about the subject of our actions?

 

 

March 12     Beauty in Numbers   Rev. Edmund Robinson

 

Emerson wrote, “no number tallies nature up,” but in the digital age we have numbers essentially capturing most of the ephemeral

phenomena of life.  Can numbers hold life itself?

 

March 19     Hope Does Not Trickle Down, But Springs Up   Rev. Edmund Robinson

 

In times when our spirits are being tested, what is the source of our resiliency?  At the outset of spring, do we feel life returning?

 

March 26     A Second Reconstruction    Rev. Edmund Robinson
 

Further reflections on Dr. Barber’s book, which is the common read at UUMH and First Parish Brewster.

 

February 5         Peace Pilgrim: A Heroine for All Ages    Rev. Ann Fox

In the 1960's and ‘70's, at a time when the US was in the midst of a war, Peace Pilgrim (as her first and last names), walked throughout the U.S. and Canada talking about peace with anyone who would listen (and at many UU congregations). She still inspires people all over the world to walk and work for peace.   How can we do this in the context of our lives and the current political situation? Let us hear her story and ponder our own.

    

February 12       When We Assume . .      Rev. Tracy Johnson

 

You know the old adage!  None of us likes to be the subject of someone else's assumptions, but aren't they inevitable? How do they affect us?  What is our task in light of the present day?

February  19      Love Minus Zero: No Limit  Rev.  Edmund Robinson

 

The quest for truth in a regime of climate change denial and “fake news.”  This replaces a January sermon which was snowed out.

 

February  26      Let Freedom Ring      Rev. Edmund Robinson

What are the freedoms which we have as citizens under the US Constitution?  Are they under attack?  This service will introduce a series of discussions on our freedoms which I will be coordinating as a Learning for Life class.  See page 4 for more details.

January 8 (snow day, service cancelled)

 

January 15      Forgiveness  Rev. Denis Meacham

 

January 22        Is Imitation the Root of Evil?   Rev. Edmund Robinson

            

Rene Girard thought that human violence originates in  mimetic desire, that we want things because other people want them.  Does this help us understand today’s politics and social media? 

 

January 29       Is the Public Interested in the Public Interest?  Rev. Edmund Robinson

 

Whatever happened to the public interest as a factor in deciding policy? Have we gotten so fractured and fragmented that it has disappeared?  Is there any truly disinterested point of view from which to judge among competing claims for society’s resources

Chalice

​Sunday Service 10:30 AM

Unitarian Universalist

Meeting House of Chatham

Open Minds — Loving Hearts — Helping Hands

Rev. Edmund Robinson                

© 2015 UUMH of Chatham