Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of the South Jersey Shore
Our Sunday Services are held at our beautiful new UU Center,
at the corner of Pomona Road and Liebig Stree in Galloway,
near the North entrance to Richard Stockton College.

Sunday Services start at 10:00 am and last till about 11:00 am.

Child care and a children's program is available.
A coffee hour for socializing follows the service.

2014 --  2013 --  2012 --  2011 --  2010 --  2009 --  2008 --  2007 --  2006 --  2005 --  2004


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January 5

The Fire of Commitment
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

Amidst "Happy New Year" wishes do we wonder what 2014 will bring? Or do we ask, as a community, what we will aspire to and work toward?
I have taken the sermon title from our hymnal... a song that teaches us to demand a deeper Justice! But how?

January 12

The Gifts of Jewish Prophecy
Guest Speaker David Chapman

What did it mean to our ancient Hebrew forebears to be a "prophet?" As Dave will discuss in this week’s sermon, it did not refer to someone who predicted future events. What did these remarkable prophets tell us? They shared with us a message that changed everyone forever. This gift constituted one of the Jews’ greatest gifts to humankind – the belief that we hold our destinies within our own hands and, with help from the God they believed had spoken to them, we have the ability to forge a better future for ourselves and our children.

January 19

Speaking Engagement
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

This is Rev. Martin Luther King Day weekend. Let us honor his memory by doing the work of beloved community. Today we will consider how our perspectives affect our effectiveness.

January 26

We are Covenanted Community
Lay speaker Jim Gentile

Recently our community entered into our Covenant of Right Relations. In it, we challenged ourselves to "walk together toward a vision of beloved community" hoping to be shaped into a "congregation of kindness, humility and generosity." Now that some time has passed since we have made this profound pronouncement, it now is timely to consider how we are responding to the challenge we have laid out for ourselves, and consider where our community goes from here.

February 2

Wake Now Compassion: Praying and Striving
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

We often hear of someone being a "Passionate Advocate" for some cause. As Rumi wrote, "Passion is the elixir that renews."
Is there such a thing as a Passionate Unitarian Universalist?

February 9

Learning To Love
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

Sellon and Smith suggest wearing "glasses fitted with lenses of understanding" as a right-relationship practice.
Love yourself, love your neighbor, love your enemy.

February 16

Harnessing Our Collective Passion
Lay speaker Joe Terrazzini

Imagine what we could do if we joined together in unified purpose.

February 23

The Ministry of Prisoner Visitation and Support
Guest speaker Eileen Gilkenson

Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS) is a nationwide interfaith ministry of volunteers who visit in all federal and military prisons in the U.S.
Visitors have unique access to those in most need of support (those serving long sentences, those in solitary confinement, those who do not get visits from family).
Eileen will speak about her experiences as a visitor for more than 20 years and share how it has deepened her faith and commitment to social justice.

March 2

Kennen und Wissen: A Language Lesson
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

These are two German words that mean "to know" -- but they are not synonyms.
Let us begin "People of Knowing" month by defining some terms and then considering Georgia O'Keefe's statement that for an artist:
"Making your unknown known is the important thing."

March 9

The Reality-Driven Life: Doubt as a Mindfulness Tool
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

In the spirit of this month's topic about "knowing," Michael will discuss the role of doubt as a tool in the search for truth and meaning,
and explore the reasons for its bad reputation.

March 16

I Know This Rose
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

It's time again for spring rituals. Might we savor them as lovingly as an opening rose?
"We shall not cease from exploration /
And the end of all our exploring /
Will be to arrive where we started /
And know the place for the first time."
(T. S. Eliot)

March 23

Commitment Sunday
Lay speaker Paul Utts

As spring begins so does our consideration of our congregation-- where we are, where we want to be.
Come and share in the conversation. Come and share in the vision.

March 30

The Poetry of the Tao Te Ching
Lay speaker Debbi Dagavarian

Does the Tao Te Ching’s beauty and wisdom come from the 6th BCE’s Lao Tzu, or from the scholars who translated it?
The translation by Witter Bynner, in particular, is poetry itself. What does the Tao offer us in the present?

April 6

The Works of Pete Seeger
Guest speaker Spook Handy

This service will focus on Pete's work and his reflection and promotion of universal values. It will include songs and some stories behind the songs. As many people have found, Pete lived a conscientious, humanitarian, spiritual life and espoused the ideas of diversity, dignity, community, justice, equality and so many other values associated with Unitarian Universalism.


"Love" – A Service on Disability
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

Two members of the congregation, Richard and Nancy Brail, won the "sermon title" auction item. They selected the subject of disability for our Palm Sunday service. I will be collecting thoughts to share, as we consider how our congregation, individually and collectively, stands on the side of love.

April 20

A Chicken When It's Pippin'
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

The ancient "riddle song" describes an impossible situation: I gave my love a chicken that had no bone. Not so! The chick making its first hole in the egg is said to be "pipping." Its bones are not yet hardened-- it is a chicken that has no bones. Of course PEEPS don't have bones either.

April 27

Radical Acceptance: A Path to Equanimity
Lay speaker Alan Oliver

We all want to live a calm, stress free life. One path to this state of being is to accept what has happened in our lives; to accept that to be human is to suffer. This state of acceptance can lead to transformation and a full life.

May 4

Flower Communion
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

The word "Bouquet" comes to mind when talking about diversity. The Flower Communion acknowledges the diversity of gifts we bring to this world, and the way each of us receives unexpected gifts, never knowing the source. Let us celebrate Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth") by each bringing a flower from our life (back yard, roadside, favorite florist) to create the "UUCSJS Bouquet." Appropriately, "Bud" Smith will be lay leader.

May 11

Building A Multicultural World
Led by participants of the Building A Multicultural World Workshop

Over the last several months some members of UUCSJS have been exploring our multicultural world in a series of workshops led by Shelee McIlvaine and Prim Reeves. We will share some of what we have learned, and hopefully get you thinking about the invisible assumptions we are all prone to even in this modern age.

May 18

The Midwife and the Birdfeeder
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

They say, put eight UUs in a conversation about social justice and you'll get nine plans of action. Framing determines outcome. With Charlie Roberts as lay leader.

May 25

Memories of the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Guest speaker Ralph E. Hunter, Sr.

Our guest speaker is the founder and director of the African American Heritage Museum in Atlantic City.
He will reflect on the 1963 March on Washington with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

June 1

A People of Covenant
Led by the UUCSJS Worship Committee

The Worship Committee will preview our 2014-15 theme – the UUCSJS Covenant.

June 8

Religious Education (RE) Sunday
Led by RE Committee and volunteers

Join us for RE Sunday, and see our Children's Religious Education students shine at this intergenerational service for the young and the young at heart! As the conclusion of the church-school year, this service will include a short play highlighting the democratic process (our fifth principle), a recognition of our RE volunteers, and readings and music presented by our youth.

June 15

The Bear Went Over the Mountain
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." -- Mark Twain.

June 22

Led by members of Interweave

Our Interweave group provides outreach and support to the GLBTQ community.

June 29

All Are Architects
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

"Build today then, strong and sure,
with a firm and ample base,
And ascending and secure,
Shall tomorrow find its place." -- H. W. Longfellow.

July 6

The Curse of the Whipporwill
Guest speaker Dave Chapman

Life is not just full of challenges, it is also full of frustrations. The beauty of the whippoorwill can be tempered by its middle-of-the-night harsh and sleep-depriving call. How do we deal with life’s challenges, and what compensation does life offer us when our hopes and ambitions are challenged or frustrated altogether? Dave shares some thoughts on his experiences with the call of the whippoorwill and the perspectives we need to keep moving along when life doesn’t work out the way we’d hoped.

July 13

Living in a World of Kindness
Guest speakers Joseph and John DeMasi

Join fellow UU musicians/singer/songwriters/storytellers/humorists the DeMasi Brothers as they present an intergenerational service that highlights the many different type of peoples and their abilities that make up the mosaic of our community and world. Through music, story and song they will talk and sing about ability awareness and their work with the famous actor with Down Syndrome Chris Burke who starred as "Corky" on the hit ABC TV show "Life Goes On". This presentation is sure to put a smile on your face and a song in your heart!

July 20

In the UU Shark Tank
Lay speakers Bud Smith, Lauren Porr, Michael Cluff, Charlie Roberts

Can an App for your e-device really make a difference in your life? These tech savvy innovators will pitch their ideas. And you will get to decide.

July 27

Not Okay to be Gay in Uganda!
Guest minister Rev. Mark Kiyimba

Rev. Kiyimba is visiting UU churches in the US to spread awareness about homophobia in his country of 32 million people, where it is estimated that nine out of 10 Ugandans is anti-gay. Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill was signed into law in February 2014, after the death penalty provision was changed to life in prison.

August 3

UUCSJS Hit Parade
Lay speaker Barbara Miller, UUCSJS Music Director

Let's do some singing! We will do a countdown of our top ten favorite hymns from Singing the Living Tradition. And the winner is ...

August 10

Guest speaker Sam Gugino

Nelson Mandela had many commendable qualities, not least was the courage to maintain his principles despite 27 years in prison. But his most admirable quality was his ability to forgive. Instead of retribution, he chose forgiveness. And in doing so, South Africa changed from the brutality of apartheid to the freedom of democracy, without a civil war. How can we learn from Mandela's example, that forgiveness is strength, not weakness? And that forgiveness heals the forgiver as well as the forgiven.

August 17

How Can We Live on the Side of Love?
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Love is perhaps the most misunderstood and confusing word we have. Still, as UUs, we strive to embody love and to "stand on the side of love." Can we do it, collectively and individually?

August 24

Religious But Not Spiritual?
Rev. Cynthia Cain

We've been hearing about the new generation of SNR (spiritual but not religious) folk out there lately. Still, many liberal religious folk quail at the notion of "spirituality." Today I'll endeavor to spark a discussion about what a spirituality for UUs might look like, including a brief look at Spiritual Direction.

August 31

Reflections on General Assembly 2014: Reaching Out With Love
Lay speakers Marcia and Dan Wolfe

More than 4700 Unitarian Universalists gathered this past June in Providence, RI for General Assembly. Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. UUCSJS delegates Marcia and Dan Wolfe share their reflections and inspiration.

September 7

Water Communion
Led by Worship Committee

To celebrate the beginning of our program year, we come together and mingle water symbolic of the places where we learned and grew over the summer. Water will be available just in case you left yours at home or on the beach or in the swimming pool. The children will remain in the sanctuary for this intergenerational service.

September 14

The Beauty and Difficulty of Humility
Rev. Cynthia Cain

There was once a group of Universalist ministers who named themselves the humiliati. Legend has it they were anything but! I was excited and challenged to see humility, not a trait often ascribed to UUs, in the UUCSJS Covenant, so I thought we'd look at its historic import and current applications today.

September 21

What are Words For? Language, Intent, and Right Relations
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

UUs love language and are aware of the power of words. We analyze them, scrutinize them, borrow them from other faiths. This helps us bend and redefine those words to suit our unique paths. Though we strive for our words to be inclusive, reverent, and respectful, sometimes these goals are contradictory. How does language help us and how does it hurt us as we maintain our community?

September 28

Covenant of Forgiveness in a Time of Fragility
Rev. Cynthia Cain

With the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah as a background, we will look at how a covenantal people try to honor a vow of forgiveness and go on as people of faith. What can we learn for our lives and our collective community?

October 5

Mythology and Life of St. Francis of Assisi
Lay speaker Jim Gentile

In October, the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi is commemorated in a number of faith traditions, including Unitarian Universalists with a “blessing of the animals.” However, there is so much more that is radical, revolutionary and Universalist in the myth and life of this 13th Century saint; traits, which speak to us today in a timeless message of humility, charity, and awe-filled wonder.

October 12

The Universal Ethic of Hospitality
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Who is the "other?" ... and how can we be more welcoming, not only to those among us who may be different in thought, belief, or action, but to the 'otherness' within? We'll look at the universality of the idea of hospitality, and why it is central to the notion of a religious community.

October 19

True Hospitality
Guest speaker Robin Reichert

Typically, “hospitality” is understood as generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests or the activity of providing food, drinks, etc. for people who are the guests. Can hospitality be more? Through the art of storytelling, learn about an expanded view of hospitality that goes beyond standard definition.

October 26

The Haunting Church
Rev. Cynthia Cain

So many of us are still caught in the web of past ideologies that were imprinted upon us at a very young age. We vowed to leave past associations behind, but find ourselves haunted by old notions that we'd like to leave behind. What can we do about the haunting church/temple/synagogue that won't let us go, even if we left it eons ago?

November 2

I’ve Got a Secret
Lay speaker Bud Smith

In an era of massive government meta-data collection, online trolling and drones that can peek in windows, it seems our private lives are under attack. Yet openness in communication is a requisite for health and wholeness. Should we trust one another with the "secrets" of our lives? What steps should we take to build a culture of respect where there is safety in self-disclosure?

November 9

ON THE EDGE – Natural Disasters
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Since we have just passed the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, let’s look at the intersection of "natural" disasters and spirituality. I will also introduce the concept of Appreciative Inquiry.

November 16

The Miracle of Love
Lay speaker John Walther

John Walther has been leading a group of us through the lessons in the book A Course in Miracles. This is not a study of supernatural phenomena, but rather the realization that a change in perspective can free one from the bonds of fear and self-deception and lead to a life of love and actuality.

November 23

Vocabularies of Hope and the Power of Appreciation: How to Get Through the Thanksgiving Meal
Rev. Cynthia Cain

We all know how it feels to face the ultra-conservative, negative, or just plain boorish relative at holiday times or family gatherings. What better time that this time of gratitude to learn and practice a new way of interacting, with appreciation and wonder? If nothing else, It will leave them scratching their heads!

November 30

A Song of Thanks
Lay speaker Roger Gardella

Newish UUCSJS member Roger Gardella will share a holiday message based on his original songs.

December 7

DREAMING OF A BLACK (and brown and white and rainbow) Christmas: Reflections on Ferguson
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Where do we go from here? What can white allies do? How can we better understand white privilege and the rage that surrounds Ferguson?

December 14

HANUKKAH: Let's talk about the light
Rev. Cynthia Cain

As Universalists, we acknowledge and celebrate the darkness of winter. Today we will consider Hannukkah and the other winter festivals that bring light in a dark time.

December 21, 10 am

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Lay speaker Jim Gentile

The tale has become a clarion call to make this time of year one of generosity and compassion toward those in need. It calls us to be acutely aware of the lives of those who surround us, and of those from whose suffering we turn away. It is a tale of the reclamation of one’s humanity from the constructs we have created to shield ourselves not only from this suffering, but from our own suffering. Therefore at this festive time of the year, which anticipates the year’s end, “it is more than usually desirable” to contemplate the genius of this 19th Century tale.

December 21, 4:30 pm

Winter Solstice Singing Ritual

"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light…"
This alternative holiday celebration welcomes the sun back with music, poetry, readings, and candlelight. The service is intergenerational and all are welcome!

December 28

The Geography of Spiritual Practice
Lay speaker Alan Oliver

Geography at its most basic is the science of "place"- an integration of all factors at a certain location on the map and on the earth. This can be descriptive or it can be transformative as we explore, even to the spiritual level, our particular experience of "place" in our universe.


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January 6

Prayers of the Magi
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

One chapter in Matthew deals with astrology and slaughter, rich and poor, power and escape. It is oddly relevant today. This week we will also begin the UU Service Committee's "Guest At Your Table" campaign.

January 13

Permutations of Prayer
Lay speaker Lauren Porr

What do the rosary, spells, meditation, singing, and martial arts all have in common? Spiritual adventurer Lauren Porr examines the universality of prayer and its many names in different traditions.

January 20

Prayers of Martin Luther King
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

We tend to think of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a speech making leader. What can we learn from his prayers? How did he see the power of prayer? Was prayer political or personal? What prayer would you pray after receiving death threats?

January 27

Singing Meditation
Lay speaker Barbara Miller, Music Director

Singing Meditation is an interfaith spiritual practice that combines singing – of many types – with group observation of silence. Combining the two practices, which are often engaged in separately, results in a synergy that enhances each component. Music Director Barbara Miller and the UUCSJS choir will lead us in this celebration of Song and Silence.

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February 3

Mardi Gras Mindset
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

What would life be like if everyone was getting ready for a party all the time? What do you spend your time preparing for?

February 10

The Little Seed
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

In his classic essay "All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," Robert Fulghum asked us to remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup. That seems an appropriate focus for a late winter service on Expectation, doesn't it? Put down those heirloom vegetable catalogs and come to the service!

February 17

From Baptist to Unitarian Universalist
Lay Speaker Stephanie Garrett

Stephanie will share her cultural, religious and racial journey to spiritual freedom.

February 24

"As Time Goes By": Expectations and Insights
Lay speaker Alan Oliver

Time is the ever present companion of our human existence. To paraphrase the book The Hobbit, it is the “one gold ring that controls us all”. We experience our versions of time, but rarely examine it mindfully and consciously seek balance within it. Let's begin to do that.

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March 3

How Have I Sinned? Universalism.
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

What made Universalism different, and caused the movement to leave Christianity behind, is the concept of “Original Blessing,” evolving into “Inherent Worth and Dignity.” We welcome new members and affirm one thread of our denomination's heritage and how that changes everything.

March 10

What Floor, Please?--The Elevator Speech Game
Lay speaker Bob Baum

Come on down to door number one, two, or three, or face double jeopardy in the showcase showdown. We will be certain to mix all the game-show metaphors as a cast of tens spins the wheel to deliver their versions of what UU means to them. These individual spins on UUism were developed at our January workshop -- copies will be available.

March 17

The Serenity Prayer (For Those Who Pray and Those Who Don’t)
Lay Speaker Helene Gentile and Michael Cluff

“God grant me the serenity....” begins one of the most enduring of prayers. Michael Cluff and Helene Gentile will present a history of the prayer and how it may assist along one's spiritual journey, whatever that may be.

March 24

Amazing Gratitude
Reverend Charlie Dieterich and Paul Utts

We are here! We are thankful to those who have nurtured this congregation -- deeply believing in the need for our voice at the South Jersey Shore. How do we show gratitude? With dancing and tambourine, and by looking to the future and renewing our commitments. Come celebrate our community and plan to stay afterwards to share in small groups your gratitude and vision of how we can best move forward.

March 31

Art of the Covenant
Lay leaders Debbi Dagavarian, Dina DeSalvo, Heidi Jannsch, Jack Miller, Judy Pereira

In January, the Reverend Libby Smith led one-third of our congregation in a workshop discussing what we wanted to include in a covenant of right relations. Those assembled charged five of our members to take the draft covenant pieces agreed upon in the workshop and shape them into a cohesive whole. This service will present the covenant and examine its role in our UUSCJS community.

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April 7

An Atheist UU: From “Born-Into” Religion to Unitarian-Universalism
Lay Speaker Carl Benner

With some 90% of our members born into a religion other than UU, Carl's personal story should resonate. As he indicates some of his current religious ideas/beliefs, the all-inclusive nature of our group should become quite evident.

April 14

Peace is Soooo Passive!
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

The quote in the title came from my discussion with Colby Tippins and Doug Dickinson regarding the "Win a sermon title of your choice" auction item. Colby wanted a sermon on Peace, but not the type of peace that calls for passiveness! You mean like some sort of peace march? Come see what it means.

April 21

Burn On: Earth Day’s Light of Truth and Fire of Commitment
Lay Speaker Ron Hutchison

On a Sunday morning in 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. This event, little-publicized at the time, went on to serve as a symbol for the nascent environmental movement, contributing to the passage of the federal Clean Water Act. In the early 1970’s, I grew up near the banks of the Cuyahoga River, and this experience had a profound effect on my journey to environmental action. This sermon will explore the roles that individuals play in the health of our biosphere.

April 28

Becoming UU
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

A noted Universalist minister was once asked "What do Universalists stand for?" He replied: "We don't stand, we move!" Indeed, being Unitarian Universalist is not an end point, but a journey. Where are we going? What are we?

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May 5

The Hundred Acre Wood
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

In the Winnie the Pooh books, Owl lived in the hundred acre wood. One hundred acres!!
When you were Christopher Robin's age, that would have been a huge area to explore!

May 12

Curiosity As a Way of Life Lay speaker Joe Terrazzini

They say curiosity killed the cat but it has propelled the human race into the 21st century. An examination into this most basic human trait.

May 19

Flower Communion
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

Yes, let's embrace the word communion in its original meaning of "shared gifts."
We ask you to bring a flower from your life; we will arrange it into a congregational bouquet.
Then we will each take a flower from the bouquet, symbolizing the gifts we receive from community.

May 26

Blood Brothers: a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel
Lay speaker Margaret Rea

What was it like to be removed from your homeland when the State of Israel was created? Can bitter enemies ever be reconciled?
Margaret will talk about a book by one of the peacemakers.

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June 2

Who Are Our Neighbors?
Guest speaker Donna Renfro

Working against racism is a spiritual practice with the power to change us as much as we seek change. We are in a transition of our denominational work on racism, continuing the journey to transformation and wholeness, with stops of cultural humility and competence along the way. Cherry Hill ministerial Intern Donna Renfro will share this new program for ministers, share her own stories and invite yours. This service will include a time for reflections and comments.

June 9

Religious Education / Bridging Sunday
Religious Education members

By our bridgers: Nick Bonar and Casey Sturts, with Melissa Hutchison, Rev. Charlie, Heidi Jannsch, and UUCSJS Youth. So many transitions, so much to celebrate! Teacher recognition -- and cake! And the annual meeting afterward! (All good reasons to use exclamation points.)
* Intergenerational - no RE classes

June 16

Building a New Way
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

The title comes from a song in Singing the Journey. What does it feel like when change happens? Physical transitions, relational transitions, emotional transitions, even perceptual transitions, what can we control, and what is not under our control?

June 23

A Solstice Story
Lay speakers Colleen and Ian Johnston

Colleen and Ian reflect on changes of seasons and in our lives.
* Intergenerational - no RE classes

June 30

Sacred Playfulness
Guest Minister Michelle Collins

What are some of the ways that play shows up in your life? Infusing our lives with play is more than just fun. Today we'll explore ways that play is both sacred and transformative.

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July 7

Faith During the Armenian Genocide
Lay speaker Debi Dagavarian

In 1915, a million and a half Armenians in Turkey were systematically deported and tortured or killed by the Ottomans. Debbi’s great uncle and paternal grandmother were survivors of this genocide, and she will tell their stories, speaking of the role that faith played in this human tragedy.

July 14

Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

C-H-U-R-C-H. Do you see a word or letters? What does it or could it mean to you? What has it meant to you in the past? What assumptions come to mind? Can you come up with a working definition? Experience an individual journey with group participation.

July 21

Why We Are Universalists
Reverend Carol Haag

On October 31st, 2009, I attended a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the decision in Syracuse, NY, to establish a union between the Universalists and the Unitarians. A year and a half later, the Unitarian Universalist Association was officially born. The word order of the resulting denomination, Unitarian Universalism, gave Universalists the noun; the Unitarians were relegated to adjective. Why, then, do we so often refer to ourselves as Unitarians? My thesis for this morning will be that we are truly Universalists and that Universalism is central to what we have to offer to the 21st century. Let us claim our heritage!

July 28

What is the Story of Your Life?
Guest speaker Jo VonRue

We have each lived through crazy, horrible, amazing, and wonderful things. Each trial leads us to a new beginning and a new outlook on our life. No matter our trials, we must find "God" in those around us, and find the faith that we need to get through life in our community.

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August 4

How To Make a Miracle
Guest speaker Greg Pelley, Ministerial Intern, Wellsprings UU

Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan refers to miracles not as changes in the physical order, but rather as changes in the social order. So let us take a thoughtful and curious look at a couple of miracle stories - one ancient and one new. Within these stories, perhaps we might find a way to do our own miracle-making.

August 11

Protecting Our Water Supply
Lay speakers Steve Fiedler and the Water Shield Team

Yoko Ono said, “You are water. I'm water. We're all water in different containers.” Water is the basis of life. UUCSJS’s Water Shield team will discuss the water conservation program of the interfaith group, Green Faith.

August 18

The March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom – A 50th Anniversary Celebration
Lay speakers Carl Benner and Barbara Miller

Carl Benner, who participated in the original march, and Barbara Miller, who participated in the 20 anniversary "We Still Have a Dream for Jobs, Peace and Freedom," will describe their impressions of the days, their reasons for participating, and the impact the marches made on our country.

August 25

UU and Buddhism: Exploring the Possibilities
Lay speaker Alan Oliver

Over 100 Buddhist groups of various sizes and traditions currently function within UU Congregations. There is a national UU Buddhist Fellowship that meets every other year and a Sangha Newsletter. What is the attraction and how are they compatible? Let's explore the significance of this relationship and its future at UUCSJS.

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September 1

Promising Prosperity: Real Solutions for Finding Connectedness in an Age of Materialism
Lay speaker Alison Maxfield

Affluence vs. Prosperity. This sermon will discuss the current American Dream of happiness via materialism and ways to seek connectedness to bring true happiness and soul fulfillment.

September 8

Tears of Joy
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

This Sunday we begin our congregation's "Church Year" with an intergenerational service. Bring water from your summer travels, just a few drops for our common bowl. While we are all gathered together we will honor our teachers before the start of the Religious Education year. Stay after service for Fall Family BBQ!

September 15

Forgive Us Our Disconnection
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

Saturday was the "Day of Atonement" in the Jewish Calendar. As we begin a new year here at UUCSJS, can we learn from the rituals of atonement, the teachings of Jesus and the reality of 21st Century America?

September 22

Connection Communication
Lay speaker Tracey Staab

Our theme for the month of September is "We are a people of connection." Who better than a school principal to tell us about the state of “connection”?

September 29

Malvina Reynolds: UU Musician and Political Activist
Guest speaker Pat LaManna

Perhaps best known for penning “Little Boxes” and “Turn Around,” Malvina Reynolds was a Unitarian songwriter whose topical songs, written mostly in the 1960s, were startlingly prescient, as well as clever and insightful. Pat shares the songs and writings of this amazing woman. She may bring a few friends to help tell the story and harmonize on the songs.

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October 6

The Voice Inside
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

Developing self-awareness is one of the four skills needed for right relationship, say Mary K. Sellon and Daniel P. Smith. Perhaps you are already making your Christmas list, but let's pause and think about how to make a life list.
This Sunday we welcome new members and also provide a time for each of us to volunteer for projects in the coming year.

October 13

Interfaith Hospitality- Promise for Families
The Family Promise Team

What does social justice look like on a personal level? Could we go beyond donations and into experience? The Family Promise program presents one possible solution for Atlantic County. How can our congregation help?

October 20

In Conversation
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

Why do some conversations leave you refreshed and others, exhausted? Is it you? Is it them? Is it luck? Let's talk.

October 27

A Journey
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

A special service with music by Peter Mayer, folksinger and songwriter. This is the first anniversary of Sandy-- the great storm that passed over our area, changing its future. We gather as a community of memory and faith.

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November 3

"Help, Thanks, Wow!" - The Three Essential Prayers in Song
Lay speaker Barbara Miller

The title of the book by Anne Lamott inspired music director Barbara Miller to think about how our UU hymns express the 3 kinds of prayer: petition, gratitude, and praise.

November 10

The Real War Will Never Get in the Books
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

In his book Specimen Days, Walt Whitman wrote: "Such was the war. It was not a quadrille in a ball-room. Its interior history will not only never be written—its practicality, minutiae of deeds and passions, will never be even suggested."

November 17

The Heart of Democracy
Rev. Craig Hirshberg

The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of NJ is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide the comprehensive structure for New Jersey UU’s non-partisan activism. Charitable activity has traditionally been important in UU congregations. However, when poverty, environmental degradation, inequitable access to health care, and deficiencies in education are part of the structures of society rather than unforeseen exceptions, charity is not enough. Our faith calls us to challenge and change policies and structures that inhibit human development, harm the environment, and destroy communities.
As Executive Director, Rev. Hirshberg will talk about recent UU initiatives in healing our world.

November 24

Abundant Love
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

We are going to sit at the welcome table! Is Thanksgiving a founding legend of American Democracy (and Unitarianism), or is it a ritual of the present moment?

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December 1

Waiting for the Child
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Rev. Theresa will talk about the aliveness in the waiting for the gifts.

December 8

Freedom From...
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

In 1943 Norman Rockwell created four paintings which celebrated Traditional American Freedoms. Were you there?

December 15

Tradition or Superstition?
Lay speaker Doug Dickinson

Doug will muse on normal traditions and some not so normal traditions, and bring superstition into the mix.

December 22

A Shepherd’s Tale
Rev. Charlie Dieterich

This Sunday before Christmas we gather as a community to consider the traditional story in the Gospel of Luke from the perspective of the shepherds!

December 29

Book of Questions
Lay leaders Melissa Hutchison and Mariann Maene

We return to our tradition of an informal end of year service, where we consider questions – some light-hearted, and some reaching deep inside us -- and share our answers.


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January 1

Resolutions: A Sharing Service
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

The old year is past, let us leave behind that which does not serve us, and take time to formulate a new song for a new year. Wear your Christmas sweater, or other comfortable clothing, we will be informal, and intergenerational (No RE Classes)

January 8

Bard in the UUSA Part Deux - The Muse of Fire Strikes Back
Lay speaker Michelle Tomko

We will continue the review of our principles via Shakespeare's characters. In this, the second installment, the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large (Julius Caesar) and the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all (Richard III) will be considered. To set the mood for our monthly theme, which in January is "Welcome," our Core of Fire dancers will perform the Trenchmore dance, popular in the 16th century, during the prelude.

January 15

Always Use Your Best China
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

The words of the prophet are written on the subway walls! But what does it mean? Pastor Charlie gives one answer... maybe you have another?

January 22

Getting to Know You
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

This well-known song from “The King and I” contains the following lyrics “…Suddenly I'm bright and breezy, Because of all the beautiful and new things I'm learning about you.” How much do we miss out of life by not being receptive to learning about others, particularly strangers; their life stories, joys and tragedies. Is it possible to truly know ourselves without knowing others? Is the Buddhist practice of “deep listening to others” a key to understanding and compassion? From Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism: “Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”

January 29

Come Into This Place
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Many of us experience our congregation as a place of peace, of memory and prophecy. It may be time to consider whether our Sunday meeting really is a safe space, and also to ask: How will we know?

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February 5

Our Love Affair With Football
Lay speaker Jack Miller

For decades, Sunday church attendance has been dropping, and on any given Sunday, the chance of having more men in attendance than women is about as likely as an Eagles Superbowl appearance. Meanwhile, interest in spectator sports continues to rise. What makes the NFL such an attractive religion?

February 12

Throw Me Something, Mister
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

This could easily be a sort of critique on how society forces excluded groups to beg... but it won't be. It is Mardi Gras season, when we can all be princes or paupers, or even both at once. “Love baby, love. That's the secret, yeah.”

February 19

Bard in UUSA Part III - Revenge of the Myth
Lay speaker Michelle Tomko

This final installment of Michelle Tomko's series is taking place during love month. To capture the mood, scenes selected to dramatize the final three principles will all include famous Shakespearean couples: Macbeth and his lady, Oberon and Titania, and of course Romeo and Juliet. Iambic pentameter will be explained using the balcony scene from R&J! And rounding out this festival of sight and sound will be UUCSJS's talented musicians and singers corralled by the venerable Barbara Miller.

February 26

Robert's Rules of Love -- Newly Revisioned
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Dread? Ennui? Or do you approach congregational meetings with an evil grin? What if we saw them as acts of love? What if we saw the use of the democratic process as a sacrament? Would that make Robert's Rules of Order a love manual?

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March 4

Social Justice From the Underside
Lay Speaker Stephanie Garrett

In recognition of Women's history Month, we will take a Look at "Social Justice from the Underside", women in general and women of color. Historically, with few exceptions, women have been viewed as a second tier under male superiority and domination. Women of color, at least in the United States, were considered the 4th tier with the minority male as the third. At an early point in history we had power. Religion, dogma and theology, including our own Unitarian Universalists, defined social justice and the role of the woman. They still do.

March 11

Were You There?
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

This title comes from an old hymn about the crucifixion of Jesus... The Bible teaches us that none of the disciples were there to see it. I'm not going to concentrate on the biblical story, but instead investigate why Mahatma Gandhi loved this hymn so much. What terrifies you about today's Social Justice work?

March 18

Salvation and Social Justice
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Is dedication to Social Justice only based upon our reasoned personal ideologies, guided by philosophical principles or religious dogmas, or does it flow more easily and simply from somewhere else - deep within us? Is altruism a forced behavior?…or a learned one?…or is it intrinsic to humanity? Do the admonitions of Judeo-Christian, Islamic and Hindu teachers to serve the cause of justice only reinforce what our conscience has already told us is true and correct, but which our ego denies? Acting for social justice might be the only path to human self-realization, that is, our salvation. Amen!

March 25

Putting Our Principles To Work
Pastor Charlie Dieterich and Former UUCSJS President Paul Utts

With very special music, we will celebrate our home and perhaps see it with new eyes. Please plan to stay after the service for small group stewardship discussions.

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April 1

Practically Speaking
Pastor Charlie Dieterich, and Michelle Tomko

This is both April Fools Day and Palm Sunday, the day Jesus and his friends entered into Jerusalem. Adults and children are invited to bring a toga... or a beach towel... this morning and take part in our "Instant Theater" lesson about Welcoming from one Unitarian perspective.

April 8

A Stranger In Egypt
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

"You shall not oppress the stranger, for you know the soul of the stranger, having been strangers in the land of Egypt." Exodus 23:9.

April 15

Honoring Our Ancestors
Guest speaker Donna Renfro

How do our ancestors affect us, in their living and their dying, in their music, in dance, and in their legacies? We will spiritually reflect on the question of how we honor those who have preceded us, and how we can live now to become honored ancestors.

April 22

Baseball As Religion
Lay speakers Debbi Dagavarian, Steve Fiedler, and Jack Miller

Like any other religion, baseball is rich in tradition, ritual, superstition, myth, memories, and the sacred. We offer this service to honor this rite of spring.

April 29

When Logic Fails
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Paradoxically, mathematicians can prove that there are some things which mathematicians cannot prove. Do we know what we know we can't know? Make a casserole and come to the shared meal that follows... we know that will be good.

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May 6

Healthy Congregations
Lay Leaders Jack Miller, Michelle Tomko, Lauren Porr, Barbara Miller, and Karen York

As we live and breathe! Time for our organizational check-up with our Healthy Congregations workshop team to reflect on the pulse of our organizational "body". Let's get to the heart of the matter and get a grip on our shared vision. Our team will introduce some of the concepts learned at the workshop and open the door to further discussion.

May 13

Mother Day -- Like No Other Day
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Yes, it's the Hallmark™ Holiday, but we can take the opportunity to go beyond sentimentality. It is, of course, everyone's day, but today we turn our attention to the voices of mothers.

May 20

Flower Communion -- The UU Celebration of Community
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Most of the year is filled with holidays from Jewish and Christian sources, but this ritual comes from Unitarian roots and is uniquely Unitarian Universalist. HOMEWORK: Look at your world and find a flower within it, it may be growing in your yard, come from a friend or be found along the road. Bring that beauty on Sunday Morning as your contribution to our bouquet. If the word "Communion" is scary, let this be an opportunity to redefine the term.

May 27

Let It Be
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Is there something you are holding onto that no longer serves you? Theresa will reflect on the wisdom of the saying, "Let It Be."

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June 3

John Muir
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

The subject for today's sermon is the late-19th century explorer and naturalist and preservation advocate John Muir. The topic was suggested by Bud Smith as the high bidder in this year's "Sermon Title Auction." The service will reflect on how we are driven to acts of kindness based on our own life experiences.

June 10

Lost in the Unitarian Jungle
Lay speakers Melissa Hutchison and RE students

Ever feel lost when you come to church? Today we explore the feelings of our children (and those who still may feel like a lost child at times), how we learn to find our way, and the people who help make us feel at home. It is led by the RE COA/Teen group, and includes a RE Teachers recognition.

June 17

In an Infinite and Timeless Universe, Do WE Really Matter?
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Our UU faith is very much a product of the power of human reason and the revelations of science. But science is now uncovering a universe infinitely larger and far more complex than our predecessors could have ever imagined. Will you conclude that our place in the universe grows correspondingly smaller and of lesser consequence? How will this affect your beliefs and, most importantly, your view of the significance of human life? “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”

June 24

Solstice With Seuss: We Are The Lorax and We Dance With The Trees
Lay speakers Colleen and Ian Johnston

Come out and support new friends of the congregation Ian and Colleen Johnston as they explore the beginning of summer, ecology and Dr. Seuss' timeless tale The Lorax. This will be an entertaining inter-generational service including music performed by the venerable Wayne Andress. Spend some quality time before Sunday with your kids and reread this lovely story.

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July 1

To Boldly Go
Lay speaker Lauren Porr

When you're a UU, you see your principles everywhere. When you're a space cadet, you look to the stars. Logically, our lay speaker this week sees UU principles in the stars. Join Lauren Porr and the Enterprise crew (Ronda Cluff, Steve Hall, Wayne Andress, and Jeff Taylor) as they explore the universe with eyes to the telescopes and one hand on the warp drive!

Cancelled due to power outage from the derecho storm! Rescheduled August 12.

July 8

The Art of Happy
Guest speaker Catherine Wieczorek

Our souls long for it, our lives are spent pursuing it, yet how many of us describe ourselves as "happy"? This elusive state called "joy" is not simply a by-product of our consumer culture, attaining a certain status, or achieving a certain goal. "Joy" has spiritual connotations that go far beyond a goal we are chasing. But how do we get there? How do we become masters of the "art of happy"?

July 15

College Reflections
Lay speakers Colin Hutchison, Nick Staab, Julia Utts, Brian York

Graduates of our own RE program share how their religious education and experience at UUCSJS has carried into their young adult lives.

July 22

Speaking in Tongues
Lay speaker Bud Smith

From a small interracial group of earnest seekers in Los Angeles 1906, to over a half billion today, the Pentecostal movement has spread worldwide. But how can we make sense of the strange phenomenon of “speaking in tongues?” Is it mass delusion? Psychotic influence? Or something more? We’ll consider the practice in terms of primal spirituality and see how it may inform our own search for truth and meaning.

July 29

Beyond Light Bulbs: Covenant and Collective Action
Guest speaker Matt Meyer

Ours is a faith guided by covenant. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe that some things are better accomplished in community. A spiritual life is one of those; social justice work is another. Join us for a service of rhythm, music, covenantal community and collective action.

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August 5

Lies My Cortex Told Me
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Our senses fail us, our brains store memories imperfectly, and we are blissfully unaware of our own biases. So how should we find truth and meaning with the brain we have, not the brain we wish to have? (WARNING: be on the lookout for invisible gorillas and dragons. As a bonus, we may meet a Straw Vulcan just in time for Lauren's talk.)

August 12

To Boldly Go
Lay speaker Lauren Porr

When you're a UU, you see your principles everywhere. When you're a space cadet, you look to the stars. Logically, our lay speaker this week sees UU principles in the stars. Join Lauren Porr and the Enterprise crew (Ronda Cluff, Steve Hall, Wayne Andress, and Jeff Taylor) as they explore the universe with eyes to the telescopes and one hand on the warp drive!

August 19

Guest Talk
Guest speaker Donna Renfro

Donna Renfro, ministerial intern at The Unitarian Universalist Church of Cherry Hill will lead our service.

August 26

Justice General Assembly 2012
GA Delegates Richard Grzywinski, Charlie Robert, and Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Our three delegates to June's Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona will present a capsule version in song, poetry and lecture. Join us as Richard Grzywinski, Charlie Roberts and Pastor Charlie Dieterich bring the experience home to South Jersey.

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September 2

Reports from the Freedom Road
Lay speakers Casey and Ryan Sturts and Deanna Terrazzini

Our high-school Civil Rights sojourners Casey and Ryan Sturts and Deanna Terrazzini are back from their adventures. Selma, Montgomery, Atlanta -- the places, people, and events are etched into our collective consciousness of that turbulent and nation-changing time. They will give us their impressions from the road almost a half century later and the challenges we still face. Arlene Yacka and Bob Baum will assist with some personal commentary.

September 9

Ourselves, We Find -- a Water Ceremony
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Summer is over, what did you find? We begin a year of activities with an inter-generational service celebrating our return, and our expectation of new learnings. Bring water from a summer activity. We will bless our teachers' hands as they begin the work of Religious Education.

September 16

Peace Pilgrim Interfaith Community Service
Guest speaker Marcello Spinella

This service will celebrate the life, work and teachings of Peace Pilgrim, an American woman who dedicated her life to the cause of peace in a unique and powerful way. Drawing inspiration from this remarkable person who truly “walked her talk” for a peaceful world, we will be looking at the interconnections between inner and outer peace and how these manifest in our lives and in the world.
(Read more about Peace Pilgram)

September 23

Coming Home: Becoming the Pulse of the Universe
Lay speaker Alan Oliver

“Coming Home” is about becoming your true self and returning to what is safe, caring and comfortable. Our true “home” is the whole universe. How can we be comfortable and achieve balance with both the energy and concrete forms of this home? Do we directly experience our own dynamic process and the evolutionary and creative energy of our home?

September 30

Flaming Chalice
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

What does it mean to become an ordained minister? Are the beacon fires only for dire need, or should ministry be an every day affair?

September 30, 4 pm

The Ordination of Charlie Dieterich
by the Congregation, with Rev. Libby Smith other distinguished guests
Details here.

Video highlights (11 minutes)

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October 7

Companions Remembered
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

When human partners die, we remember them in many ways... we even become "widow" or "widower." But what about when a pet dies? You are invited to bring a photograph of a departed pet for our altar, and we will spend our hour together exploring how pets have touched our lives and changed us.

October 14

The Business of Death
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

Emily Post says that when someone dies, the butler should draw the curtains. But what is a real, 21st century understanding of the mechanics of going from death to memorial? Can we find the love in this busyness?

October 21

End of Life Issues
Guest speaker Debbie Glick

At the center of Hospice care is the belief that every person has the right to die in comfort and peace with dignity, and that families will receive the necessary support. It is a philosophy of care that accepts dying as a natural part of life.

October 28

Musings on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Reverend Charlie Dieterich and Jim Gentile

Our 7th principle affirms and promotes respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are part. Is this principle an invitation to meditate upon what happens to us when we die? Do we no longer exist as part of this interdependent web? Should we engage in a spiritual practice to prepare for our own deaths? If so, what should our practice be? Within the Tibetan tradition, life is both boundless and endless. The tradition views death as a strong force close to life, a powerful impulse toward the good which intensifies positive attitudes and actions. Can this ancient, rational and challenging tradition inform a disciplined meditation on the existential question raised by the 7th principle?

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November 4

Volunteer Sunday
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

Committees, commitment, commentary, commingling... come!

November 11

Veteran's Day with Poet, Scholar, and Teacher Bill Ehrhart
Guest speaker Bill Ehrhart

As a Vietnam War poet, Bill offers a unique perspective on Veteran's Day through his poetry and reflections. This is Bill's second visit to UUCSJS.

November 18

Thanks Giving
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

In preparation for the largest "Civil Holiday" of the year, Pastor Charlie offers a reflection on gratitude.

November 25

Come, Come, Whoever You Are, Come Sing A Song With Me
Lay speakers Barbara Miller, UUCSJS Music Director, and Scott Roewe, Music Director, UU Church of Santa Clarita Valley

Join us as we take a journey through Unitarian Universalist hymns.
This will be an all music service co-led by our Music Director Barbara Miller,
and Scott Roewe who is the Music Director at the UU Church of Santa Clarita Valley, California.
We will sing, and hear stories about how some of our favorite hymns came to be!

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December 2

Spreading Hope: UUCSJS > AIDS
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

December 1 is World AIDS Day. Our congregation can be greater than HIV, be a force in eliminating this disease in our community and the world. How? The "WE>AIDS" Campaign says: Knowledge, Talk, Protection, Testing, and Action will eliminate AIDS. Come, build a world where we bind up the broken.

December 9

Hanukkah and Hope
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

The story of Hanukkah is one of oppression and hope, transformed into a story of pride and sharing. As people of differing faith backgrounds, what can we learn from this celebration?

December 16

The Cosmic Dance
Lay speaker Margaret Rea

Author Joyce Rupp’s The Cosmic Dance offers poetry and musings on Hope – and Margaret will share some of that and her own rekindled hope.

Friday, December 21, 7 pm

Winter Solstice Singing Ritual
Led by Barbara Miller

Deep, deep, deep in the dark of the winter...    A celebration of the Darkness and the Light with songs and stories. The singing will include music from calypso, Western choral singing, Native American texts, Greek mythology, feminist rounds, Pagan chants, and even an old American hymn. The ritual runs about 75 minutes.

December 23

Wrapping and Unwrapping
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

Be present for this one!

Monday, December 24, 7 pm

Christmas Eve with Readings and Carols
Reverend Charlie Dieterich

Brighten your Christmas Eve with a community celebration at the UU Center. All ages are welcome to share in the glow of the holiday.
(One night only, no snow date!)

December 30

Fire Communion
Lay speakers Michelle Tomko and Theresa McReynolds

Join us for a UU fire communion. Theresa McReynolds will create a ritual in the pagan "Burning Bowl" tradition of burning the old to make room for the new. Michelle Tomko will discuss letting go of our past and our old stories. The congregation will be asked to write down something they wish to be rid of and we will burn the papers in a community bowl. This will be an inter-generational service. This is of course all based on the supposition that the Mayans are wrong.


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January 2, 2011

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here, we should dance
Guest minister Rev. Linda Holzbaur

What hopes do you have for the new year? How will you handle the uninvited events that slow you down or derail your plans? How do they affect your attitude toward daily living? Do you see them as obstacles or opportunities? How much of your life are you really living?

January 9, 2011

Tuning Out the Noise
Guest speaker Kelly LoGuidice

In the clamor of everyday life, finding a moment of stillness can be difficult. When we stop long enough, our inner wisdom may surface. What might block us from experiencing this deep connection? Come explore those barriers and discover those silent spaces within.

January 16, 2011

Adventures of a Lifelong UU
Led by Paul Utts, Marsha Hannah, Karen York, Chris Holaday

Our “Adventures of a UU...” series continues with musings from four of our members who actually grew up UU.

January 23, 2011

Principles in Poetry
Led by Pam Hendrick and Helene Gentile

Our annual poetry service takes a new turn as we focus on poetry that showcases the Seven Principles.

January 30, 2011

Laughing Matters
Lay speaker Karen Zindell

Laughter lifts spirits, reduces stress, helps to lower blood pressure and stimulates the immune system. Link this view of the benefits of laughter to the spiritual practices of certain monks, shamans, Buddhas, and healers. World peace may not be achieved in our lifetime, but we can feel a solid sense of contribution to it by training ourselves to have the inner spirit of laughter.

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February 6, 2011

The Legacy of Transcendentalism
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

"We are a club of the like-minded... no two of us think alike." This statement, and others like it attributed to the American transcendentalists of the early 19th century, could very well describe our own congregation today. How has transcendentalism shaped our UU faith? As we begin our search for a new UUCSJS minister, what can we learn from those early Unitarians like Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau that can help us understand our challenges and shape our expectations?

February 13, 2011

Expressions of the Heart
Guest minister Rev. Addae Ama Kraba

When we are filled with joy we feel it in our heats. Our heart center is the link between body and spirit, instinct and inspiration. Concentrating on this rhythm serves to remind us that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and not the other way around.

February 20, 2011

Adventures of a UU Pagan
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Theresa will share with us how Unitarian Universalism harmonizes with her long-held earthcentered view of the world.

February 27, 2011

Are We a Green Sanctuary?
Lay speaker Jon Luoma

Jon will enlighten us as to what a “Green Sanctuary” is, and how UUCSJS can become one.

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March 6, 2011

The Great Dissent Tradition
Guest minister Rev. Manish K. Mishrah

Unitarian Universalism prides itself on being a “dissent tradition,” one that has stood apart from conventional understandings of religion. While this is true to a degree, how does that understanding both shape and limit our religious understanding of ourselves? In what ways is being a dissenter a strength, and in what ways does it hold us back?

March 13, 2011

The Peace Corps Experience: Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone
Lay speakers Prim Reeves and Alan Oliver

This year the U.S. celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Prim Reeves, who served in the Peace Corps three times, and Alan Oliver, who served twice, will share with the congregation a basic tour from three months of training through two years of service. They will also pose questions about moving out of your comfort zone that are relevant to everyone's life from moment to moment. The opportunity for a "peace corps moment or experience" is available to all of us.

March 20, 2011

Singing Meditation
Lay speaker Barbara Miller, Music Director, and choir

Singing Meditation is an interfaith spiritual practice that combines singing – of many types – with group observation of silence. Combining the two practices, which are often engaged in separately, results in a synergy that enhances each component. Music Director Barbara Miller and the UUCSJS choir will lead us in this celebration of Song and Silence.

March 27, 2011

Commitment Sunday
Lay speaker Paul Utts

In eleven short years we have built a community that nourishes our individual souls. Together, with remarkable generosity, we have built a vital center for religious exploration and social justice, having fun and making connections along the way. Are we finished? Not quite. On this Commitment Sunday Paul Utts will share his recollection of our journey, building a community that strengthens our hearts and minds. Now we must reach out and bring our message of peace, love and environmental responsibility to the community at large. How do we turn up the volume?

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April 3, 2011

Who Do You Think You're Fooling?
Lay speaker Jack Miller

Despite the fact that “playing the fool” is easy and natural for most of us, we still tend to leave the role to be played by the experts as often as we can. Is anyone thinking “I bet this Sunday's speaker is going to make a fool of himself?”

April 10, 2011

Ethical Eating: A Vegan Perspective
Guest speaker Freya Dinshah

Logic, scientific study, and the guiding principles of compassion and ahimsa (not hurting) instruct a lifestyle under renewed examination for its value to individual well-being and preserving natural resources. The practical discipline of vegan living offers surprising variety and abundance. Many, including well-known personalities, are turning away from eating animal food products because of concerns about cruelty, the environment, and to benefit health.

April 17, 2011

The Last Week
Lay speaker Margaret Rea

This Sunday is, in the Christian calendar, Palm Sunday… the day that commemorates the arrival of Jesus and his followers in Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover, just a few days before (according to tradition) his execution. Margaret Rea, a member of this congregation, will draw on the book, The Last Week, by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan to suggest that the events of what is known among our Christian family, friends, and neighbors as Holy Week can as easily support the thesis that Jesus' death was the result of anti-imperial political activism as they can the more traditional thesis that the Jewish religious authorities felt threatened by the words of an itinerant preacher.

April 24, 2011

The Sermon on the Mount: Jesus' Political and Moral Discourse
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

In the era of Roman domination and Jewish religious elitism, Jesus Christ reached out to the commoners with his message of love and hope. Do the Beatitudes contained within his “Sermon on the Mount” as described in the Gospels still have relevance 2,000 years later? The Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi reportedly said to the British Viceroy, “When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems not only of our countries but those of the whole world.” Focusing on the Beatitudes, we’ll look at what is considered by many to be the most important religious message of all time.

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May 1, 2011

Deep Ecology for Earth Day
Lay speakers Angela Jones, Susan Polk, Barbara Miller

Deep Ecology is the creation of community with all beings, life, and the earth itself. Angela Jones, Susan Polk and Barbara Miller will share insights about doing environmental work rooted in spirituality and community (based on Alan Oliver's workshop Foundation Stones of Environmental Consciousness).

May 8, 2011

Celebrating Mothers
Lay coordinator Barbara Miller

Personal reflections, songs, and readings for Mother's Day.

May 15, 2011
11:00 am

Felt Intimacy
Guest speaker Carlos Martinez, Seminarian

John James Audubon described his passion for birds as a felt intimacy “…bordering on frenzy [which] must accompany my steps through life.” So often the great undertakings of our life are those which are motivated from a deep wellspring of passion. This force mysteriously animates us and leads us to exceed ourselves. Where does this spirit emanate and how can we tap into it to make it available for all the “steps of our life.”

May 22, 2011

Flower Communion
Guest speaker Joe DeMasi

Joe DeMasi returns to UUCSJS for a music service with a Flower Communion.

May 29, 2011

Death as a Spiritual Journey
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Benjamin Franklin said “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Now that the tax season is behind us, perhaps it’s time to look at that other certainty, death. Why does it consume our culture and, in particular, the world’s religions... will we cross the river Styx or be greeted at the pearly gates, or enter into a world of nothingness? Maybe we all harbor a haunting belief that perhaps we haven’t lived as well as we should have. Welcome to the world of the macabre.

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June 5, 2011

Living Love: Radical Selflessness and Universalism
Guest speaker Michael Masters

“Radical selflessness” and Universalism ultimately come down to the same thing: love, the only source of real meaning in human life.
How do you find meaning? Live love.

June 12, 2011

Lay leaders Melissa Hutchison, Heidi Jannsch

Please join us for a special Bridging Service, which recognizes and honors the transition from youth to adulthood. Help us to celebrate our high school graduating Seniors, some of whom have been with us since the inception of UUCSJS! Parents; please note that this will be an intergenerational service; children are invited to attend the service with their families as our entire community celebrates this special event.

June 19, 2011

Guest minister Rev. Julie Newhall

If you had a paragraph in which to describe a father figure in your life, what would you say? Who is/was this man to you? What has he brought to your life? Perhaps you can bring your memories with you to this special service to explore the many kinds of fathers we know.

June 26, 2011

Summer Solstice: Celebration of the Sun
Guest speaker Kelly LoGiudice

Come rejoice in the gifts of this time of year with a summer solstice service for all ages. Delight in the warming rays of community and sharing of abundance. Let your little light shine and let sun make sweet your song.

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July 3, 2011

Memory and Creation
Lay speaker Jack Miller

It is hard to imagine living a life that is not based on memory. So is it a problem or a blessing that memory is unreliable?

July 10, 2011

The Three Theresas
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Our own Theresa will share her appreciation of three Theresas that have led her back to a fresh understanding of Jesus: St Teresa of Jesus (Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582), St Therese “The Little Flower of Jesus” (Therese of Lisieux, 1873-1897), and Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997).

July 17, 2011

Crumbs No More
Guest speaker Donna Renfro

What can we learn from the encounter between Jesus and the woman from Tyre? Who do we most need to truly welcome?

July 24, 2011

Our 2011 General Assembly Experience
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

As we did last August, prepare to attend another “virtual” Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (GA). This year’s GA was actually held in Charlotte, NC, June 22-26, 2011. Celebrate with us the 50th anniversary of the merger of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America. Your delegates to the GA, Jeff Taylor, Marie Taylor and Richard Grzywinski have selected and excerpted the most inspirational messages and music from the GA for this UUCSJS service. Come, be uplifted, be inspired, and reflect on the future of our faith as UUCSJS readers and musicians bring the GA to our UU Center.

July 31, 2011

Cosmology: Exploring an Evolutionary Universe
Lay speaker Alan Oliver

Cosmology is about the origin and nature of the universe. This presentation will briefly explore the old cosmologies (flat earth, earth centric, sun centric, and existential meaningless) and make a case for the creation of a new, shared sacred story: The Great Story. Science is increasingly showing us an emergent, developmental and evolutionary universe, but our myth making -- meaningful stories of our place in the universe -- has lagged behind these new revelations. How can our everyday lives reflect this new evolutionary perspective?

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August 7, 2011

Creating the Beloved Community
Guest speaker Donna Renfro and Core of Fire Interfaith dancers

Experience the exhilaration and the healing power of movement and music in a service full of dance,inspiration and poetry. The interfaith dance ensemble will offer some of their sacred navigations to paths of spiritual connection, both within and that which vibrates through the beloved community and throughout the world. Join us for a sacred experience of heart-opening new dances, live music and personal stories as we bring songs by Peter Mayer, “Holy Now” and Sarah McLachlan’s version of “Prayer of St Francis” to life through movement and sign language. Participants in our Saturday morning workshop are welcome to join us on stage as “our spirit stops and rests on a midsummer morning.”

August 14, 2011

Truth or Consequences
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

In our “free and responsible search for truth and meaning,” would we Unitarian Universalists recognize “Truth” when we encounter it? Is our search for universal truth a necessary journey or a “fool’s errand?” Do we mold truth to fit our own reality? How can we tell right from wrong, or good from evil, when something as seemingly concrete as the truth is yet so elusive? Perhaps reason alone is inadequate, and our search tools must include transcendence and spirituality. A reprise and expansion of Richard's previous talk on Truth in September 2009.

August 21, 2011

The Journey Through Loss and Healing
Guest speaker Penny Harter

By sharing her poems, Penny will share her journey through various kinds of losses: the sorrow of divorce, the grief of losing her both parents in 2003, and most recently, the death of her husband in 2008 after thirty years together. She will talk about how writing can help one confront and transcend pain and sorrow, and move into healing and light. She feels that her losses have cracked her even more open to empathy and unconditional love, and she wants to bring you both, along with hope for healing from your losses.

August 28, 2011

Meet Kurt Vonnegut
Lay speakers Pam Hendrick and Jon Luoma
Cancelled due to Hurricane Irene
rescheduled for Sept 4

The novelist Kurt Vonnegut, a humanist born into a religiously liberal family, belonged to no church, but sometimes called himself a Unitarian, and once delivered a keynote speech to the UU General Assembly. Often with humor, he has much to say about peace, war, foolishness, faith, life and death. We’ll spend a few moments “unstuck in time” with this American writer.

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September 4, 2011

Meet Kurt Vonnegut
Lay speakers Pam Hendrick and Jon Luoma

The novelist Kurt Vonnegut, a humanist born into a religiously liberal family, belonged to no church, but sometimes called himself a Unitarian, and once delivered a keynote speech to the UU General Assembly. Often with humor, he has much to say about peace, war, foolishness, faith, life and death. We’ll spend a few moments “unstuck in time” with this American writer. (Rescheduled from August 28.)

September 11, 2011

Thirsting For Community - a Water Ceremony
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

This intergenerational service will include commemoration of 9/11/01 and also celebration of community, for joy and sadness are often intertwined. Bring about an ounce of water in a reusable or recyclable container. Our annual UUCSJS community picnic will follow.

September 18, 2011

Changing the World One Step at a Time
Guest speaker John Francis

This service will celebrate the life, work and teachings of Peace Pilgrim, an American woman who dedicated her life to the cause of peace in a unique and powerful way. Drawing inspiration from this remarkable person who truly “walked her talk” for a peaceful world, we will be looking at the interconnections between inner and outer peace and how these manifest in our lives and in the world.

September 25, 2011

Platform Diving
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

No, not the Steel Pier, but an examination of the founding document of Congregational Polity. The Cambridge Platform, a document from 1649, defines how our congregations work together and govern themselves -- Seventeenth Century decisions which still influence us today, and guide us into the future.

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October 2, 2011

Serving With Grace
Lay speaker Jack Miller

What if your committee work could offer spiritual rewards as potent as working with your hands, creating art, or a meditation practice? What would that feel like? Would we still accomplish what we need to do?

October 9, 2011

Association Sunday
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

This should probably be called "Associations Sunday", as it will be a reflection on how the professional associations for Ministers, Religious Educators and Musicians contribute to "Ministry" in our Unitarian Universalist faith. We have chosen to celebrate this on October 9th and include a second plate collection in support of UU Religious Professionals.

October 16, 2011

Clean Slate
Guest minister Rev Dr Nicole C. Kirk

A week after the Jewish Day of Atonement, we turn to the meaning and power of forgiveness and the power of a fresh start. Is it possible for us?

October 23, 2011

Hell as a Tourist Destination
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

It seems reasonable, what with Halloween coming up, to talk a bit about the evolution of Hades/Hell, from the Zoroastrians to Universalists. What vision of "the Underworld" do you hold inside?

October 30, 2011

How Are We Called?
Lay speaker Barbara Miller

In the words of a song, "All of Life is Calling Me." What nourishes your soul? Is it nature, art, relationships, or "all of life?" Calling is also defined as mission. Is there a calling for UUCSJS as a people of faith in our community?

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November 6, 2011

Indifference and Complicity: Reflections on Kristallnacht
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Seventy years ago this week, the world watched while Nazis looted and vandalized Jewish communities throughout Germany, offering a glimpse of what was to become the Final Solution. Despite these horrors, the Nazis faced little resistance. In the spirit of "Never Again," we reflect on what might keep good people from doing the right thing.

November 13, 2011

Let It Be a Dance
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

The title, from a song by Ric Masten, assumes that life already is a dance, we just have to let it happen. Stop worrying about the upcoming holidays and come enjoy! Perhaps we will even get you up and moving!

November 20, 2011

We Gather Together
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Don't forget the cranberry jelly... Yes, Thanksgiving is almost here, and it is a chance to reflect on our blessings.

November 27, 2011

Poems to Honor the Earth
Lay speaker Penny Harter

In the Preface to her book Lizard Light: Poems From the Earth, Penny writes: "I have written these poems in response to Earth's geological and evolutionary history, its place in the cosmos, and our place as part of the whole. . . . I am consistently aware that we are on a planet, and that it is alive. . . . We need poems that speak of universal concerns and point out that all beings exist as integral and inter-connected parts of the larger community of the universe. Poems that affirm." She will share with us poems that sorrow for the harm we have done and continue to do to our planet, and poems that joyfully praise Earth's gifts to us and our deep connections with it and the cosmos.

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December 4, 2011

Lessons From My Youth
Lay speaker Bob Baum

In our youth we tend to accept things the way they are -- attitudes about race, lifestyle, and gender roles. Bob can remember events that made him question the rightness and wrongness of these attitudes. He'll share with us some of his stories of coming of age viewed through the lens of adulthood.

December 11, 2011

Bring Many Names
Pastor Charlie Dieterich

Even in the 19th Century Unitarians were noticing that congregations diverged in their religious practices, but there were common threads running through the many beliefs. What was the "landscape of religion" like then, and what is the Unitarian Universalist landscape like today?

December 18, 2011

Bard in the UUSA
Lay speaker Michelle Tomko

In this three-part series, Michelle Tomko and other members of the congregation will explore our seven principles via the works of William Shakespeare, period music, and dance. Part I will introduce the series and explore Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations ("The quality of mercy is not strained." - The Merchant of Venice) and A free and responsible search for truth and meaning. ("To be or not to be." - Hamlet).

Saturday, December 24, 2011, 7 pm

Come, bring friends, join in a celebration of Christmas with readings, songs and candles! This is your big chance, since there is no service on Christmas morning!

December 25, 2011

No service. Enjoy the day with loved ones.

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January 3, 2010

Unitarian Universalist History Series: Part 3 – 1893 to 1961: The Rise of Humanism
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Thanks to Darwin, Nietzsche, and the rise of American freethought in the late 19th century, Unitarian thinking evolves toward "religious humanism." Will Unitarians and Universalists agree on a "religion without God"? Can they survive resurgent Christian Fundamentalism? Don't change that dial!

January 10, 2010

UUism and Shiism
Guest speaker Amy Glenn

What do you know about Shia Islam? About 15% of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are Shia, with majority Shia in Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, and Iran. What similarities, if any, exist between this minority expression of Islam and our Unitarian Universalism?

January 17, 2010

The Morality of Global Climate Change
Guest speaker Chad Tolman

Climate change is not only a scientific, economic, political, and national security issue; it is a profound moral and ethical issue that demands a response from those who value the inherent worth and dignity of all people and who want to preserve the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part. Chad realizes that we have done a lot, but hopes to inspire us to even greater action on behalf of future generations and Earth’s other creatures. After the service Chad will expand on the topic with a presentation going into greater depth, with opportunity for dialog.

January 24, 2010

Unitarian Universalist History Series: Part 4 – 1961 to the Present: “An Unexamined Faith is Not Worth Having”
Lay speaker Jim Gentile

This quote from James Luther Adams sets the theme of the final Sunday in which we examine our UU tradition. The message will examine our responsibility to respect the dedication of those who came before us, define who we are as a community, and vigorously embrace the deep roots of our tradition, which intertwines relentless examination and universal compassion. The service will be followed by a Congregation-wide workshop to enable us, as a community, to further examine who we are and, most importantly, who we seek to become.

January 31, 2010

Are You a Poet and Don’t Know It?
Led by Barbara Miller

Join us for our traditional annual poetry service, in which congregation members share their favorite poetry – some original.

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February 7, 2010

Parenting Perfection
Lay speaker Jim Woodcock

It is a daunting challenge to raise a child well, even though we may have the best of intentions. Today’s talk will compassionately look at some of the traps which we parents may fall into. But perhaps there is a way by which all of us, parents and children alike, can find redemption from our missteps.

February 14, 2010

After the Love is Gone
Guest minister Rev Dr Om Prakash

There is a biblical verse that says one should love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, body and strength, and equal to it, love thy neighbor as thyself. Equal to it is usually translated as “like it.” What does this mean when we hear fundamentalists railing against the Immigrant and Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual Communities, or being ahead when it comes to the desire for war? In our service we will discuss real love and its application, and how our world is being depleted and destroyed because of lack of a simple, heartfelt love.

February 21, 2010

Twice a phoenix: Reflections on the life of Tsutomu Yamaguchi
Guest speaker Dr Robert Nichols

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was a Japanese engineer who in August 1945 survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima, then a few days later, the next atomic explosion in his home of Nagasaki. Perhaps a hundred or more people experienced and survived both events. After the war he worked as a translator, teacher, and then again for his previous firm. Memories of death and loss haunted him. He became a poet who published late in life when he also took on public roles against nuclear weapons.

February 28, 2010

There Be Dragons Here
Guest minister Rev Dr Len DeRoche

Early European maps marked the end the world as they knew it with the statement, “There be Dragons here.” Locations where people had never gone or returned from, were thought to contain dragons; so it is with our inner lives. Len looks at looking in these dark places.

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March 7, 2010

Unitarian History: World War II Footnotes
Lay speaker Bill Felix

The subject of the sermon is the WWII activities of three Unitarians. Charles Rhind Joy and the Rev and Mrs Waitstill Sharp. These three helped hundreds flee the Nazi regime.

March 14, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small, or Things You Can Learn From Your Dog
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Are you become increasingly overwhelmed by issues regarding animal rights? How should you respond? What is the proper ethical relationship between human and non-human animals? Better yet, why should we even trouble ourselves with this question? Can reason and philosophy provide the answers, or must we reach within to our own spirituality?

March 21, 2010

Talking About the “T” Word
Guest minister Rev. Jeff Gamblée

As we move into the post modern age, we UUs are finding our former orthodoxy of “reason and fact” in religion is softening with our desire for mystery and transcendence. Pastor Jef will speak of ghosts, quote historical Unitarians, acknowledge today’s peace vigil and share his take on the hunger with which we (almost) dare not speak.

March 28, 2010

Making Choices
Guest speaker Dr. Carol Rittner

During the Holocaust, people who today we refer to as “righteous gentiles” – rescuers, or, in Ervin Staub’s words, “active bystanders” – were a very small minority, not at all representative of the attitudes and responses of most non-Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II and the Hitler era. They highlight the issue of “choice”, that is the power of a person to choose an option when faced with the question, “Whose side am I on?” What is the role of “good” people in difficult times?

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April 4, 2010

Fulfilling the Promise
Lay speaker Paul Utts

What commitments do we make to ourselves and to each other as Unitarian Universalists of the South Jersey Shore? Paul Utts, past president of our Board of Trustees, will share his thoughts.

April 11, 2010

Books and the Spirituality of Reading
Guest minister Rev. Tim Barger

Consider that humans are the only beings who read. Reading is a passion for some of us, and it all started with “once upon a time.” The influence of books and stories on the self and on religious life is special. This sermon addresses the wonder of books, the spirituality of reading, and what is sacred about text.

April 18, 2010

Good and Evil: Hope and Heroism in the 21st Century
Guest speaker David Chapman

Why do good people, people with high ethical standards and sound theological beliefs, often fail to keep their decisions and actions at the same level of goodness as their moral guidelines? Dave’s talk involves a look at good and evil in light of the science of our 21st century, and what it means for us individually, socially, and spiritually. Dave makes a call for a new definition of heroism and moral character.

April 25, 2010

Justice and Equality for All!
Lay speaker Alison Maxfield, LSW

Unitarian Universalism is built upon the foundation of justice, equity and compassion in human relations. We strive to make the world a better place; but, how do we proceed? UU's also believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person; but, how can those with low self esteem believe they are worthwhile? This sermon will examine oppression, diversity and how to become an ally for the oppressed.

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May 2, 2010

Parenting Perfection
Lay speaker Jim Woodcock

It is a daunting challenge to raise a child well, even though we may have the best of intentions. Today’s talk will compassionately look at some of the traps which we parents may fall into. But perhaps there is a way by which all of us, parents and children alike, can find redemption from our missteps. (postponed from February 7)

May 9, 2010

Adventures of a UU Hindu
Guest minister Rev. Manish Mishra

Rev. Mishra, recently installed as Minister of the UU Church in Cherry Hill, will share his experience of coming to Unitarian Universalism from a Hindu background, and how our UU understanding of religious pluralism impacted his life. Join us on this special Sunday as we explore a central tenet of our faith - religious diversity - and reflect on its impact in our own lives.

May 16, 2010
11:00 am

Celebrating Our Feathered Friends
Guest minister Rev. Dr. Marie DeYoung

Drawing on the poetry of Emily Dickenson and the music of Western composers, Rev. deYoung’s message will explore the sounds, the colors, the feelings of joy and abundance inspired by the birds that share our world. Potluck will follow.

May 23, 2010

Margaret Fuller
Led by members of the UUCSJS Margaret Fuller Circle

The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial is an opportunity to celebrate and learn about an extraordinary woman and continue her global vision of equality and human rights. The Bicentennial hopes to raise awareness of Margaret Fuller, so that her story may inspire people of all ages to follow her lead and think independently, express their thoughts clearly, defend their convictions with courage, learn through dialogue and the free exchange of opinions, believe in the equality of all people, and be open to change.

May 30, 2010

Do I Need a Bucket List?
Lay speaker Robert Baum

Not for Bob. Just as he forces himself not to obsess over checking e-mails, texts, and twitters (tweets?), not putting virtual friends above real friends, and not having to cross things off his chores list, he also will not have a bucket list of phenomenal things to check off before he dies. Rather, Bob wants to live in the moment and stay true to daily and weekly joys that give meaning to life.

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June 6, 2010

RE Sunday and Flower Communion
Coordinated by Heidi Jannsch and the RE Classes

"Once, in a beautiful, faraway land ... there fell a Truth." Based on the book Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglass Wood, this service for all ages will be presented by our Children's Religious Education students. The service encourages us to be mindful of the small and wonderful truths in our lives and to be thankful to those who help us recognize these truths. Don't forget to bring a flower for the flower communion.

June 13, 2010

A Place to Live for Everyone
Guest speaker Rohn Hein

Our guest will be speaking about the need for people to advocate for affordable housing within our communities. The many gains made by New Jersey to provide afforable housing since the Mt. Laurel decision in 1975 are threatened by proposed legislation in the State legislature, and by the rhetoric of Governor Chris Christie who has warned that he wishes to gut the Council on Afforable Housing. Mr Hein hopes to provide some education about this struggle and to offer suggestions on how people can become involved.

June 20, 2010

Revelations of Fatherhood
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Readings, original and published poetry, and singing with music selected or composed and performed in a collaborative effort by the UUCSJS Men's Discussion Group. The service will be based upon the themes of "fatherhood" and "maleness." Message: Lessons learned or impressions gained from my father and/or from being a father, presented by several UUCSJS members.

June 27, 2010

That Good Ole Time Religion, Universalism!
Guest speaker Donna Renfro, Divinity student

Universal Salvation has meant many things, and it always means everyone's included. And helped! Can Universalism help us now, to become the religion for our time? Yes, we can!

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July 4, 2010

COMMON SENSE – The pamphlet that sparked revolution(s)
Lay speaker Carl Benner

As we celebrate the birth of our nation, today's talk will describe the accepted values that had to be challenged before a Declaration of Independance could be written.

July 11, 2010

Mountain Meadow: A Safe Haven for Youth from LGBTQ Families
Guest speakers Carolyn T. Thompson and Tessa Corcoran-Sayers

Youth from diverse backgrounds will share their experiences growing up in LGBTQ families.

July 18, 2010

Walking with Peace
Guest speaker Bruce Nichols

This service will celebrate the life, work and teachings of Peace Pilgrim, an American woman who dedicated her life to the cause of peace in a unique and powerful way. Drawing inspiration from this remarkable person who truly “walked her talk” for a peaceful world, we will be looking at the interconnections between inner and outer peace and how these manifest in our lives and in the world.

July 25, 2010

A Letter From Your Minister
Guest minister Rev. Libby Smith

Using the format of a letter to a fictional congregation (one that looks a lot like UUCSJS!) , Rev. Smith explores the joys and and the challenges of part-time ministry. Following the service, she will facilitate a congregational discussion about ministry, answer questions about her own half-time consulting ministry, and help us seek clarity about our needs and expectations.

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August 1, 2010

Adventures of a New UU
Lay speaker Charlie Roberts

Charlie will talk about some of the interesting things he discovered about being a UU and what it really means to be a UU.

August 8, 2010

Environmental Sustainability: Beyond Lightbulbs to Collective Wisdom
Guest speaker Stacey Kennealy

It’s becoming easier and easier to make better environmental choices in the marketplace, but is this enough? This talk will challenge us to think beyond our current ideas of “greening”, and will lift up success stories of congregations and schools pushing the limits of sustainability, achieving results no one could have imagined.

August 15, 2010

Adventures of a UU Atheist
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

In the next segment of our series “Adventures of a UU [fill-in-the-blank],” Michael discusses the challenges of being an atheist – even within the friendly UU community. How does a nonbeliever find meaning? Is it possible to advocate for atheism without being a jerk about it? Do atheists melt when words like “faith” and “worship” are used? And most important, how should UU atheists fill out surveys asking us our religion?

August 22, 2010

A String and a Prayer
Lay speaker Barbara Miller

What is a UU Humanist doing using prayer beads? Seeking a way to deepen her spiritual life, Barbara Miller discovered this modern day practice deeply rooted in world religious tradition.

August 29, 2010

My General Assembly (GA) Experience
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Calling it “absolutely the most spiritually uplifting event I could ever have imagined,” Richard will share his experiences as our congregation's delegate to the annual UUA General Assembly , held this year June 23 through 27, in Minneapolis.

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September 5, 2010

Common Ground Uncommon
Guest speaker Dr. Nancy Ashton

Using the example of a group on abortion she participated in, Dr. Nancy Ashton will share her thoughts on seeking common ground when people very much disagree. Our families, communities, nations, and the world benefit when we can work together beyond divisive ideas; indeed, the future may depend on this.

September 12, 2010

Ingathering and Water Communion
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Mark your calendars for the traditional Water Communion Service on September 12. Our water communion Service this year will be preceded by a short play entitled “I, Water.” It is an original first-person account of the history of water written specifically for our UUCSJS congregation. It will use movement, dramatic expression, music, song, poetry, storytelling, and, most importantly, a mural painted by our RE students representing key elements of the story.
Remember to bring a small amount of water from your travels or waters having some special meaning to you. We will combine that water with waters from previous years. This tradition has various meanings to UU congregations: some see it as a symbolic welcoming back from summer vacation travels, others as a welcoming to new members, others as a reaffirmation of our sixth principle using water as the symbol of interconnectedness, and still others as a representation of the melding of past with present.

September 19, 2010

Sharing the Flame
Guest speaker Joan Priest

3,300 Unitarian Universalists in the Joseph Priestley District come together three times a year to light the flame for others outside their own congregations so that they may have strong congregations and advance Unitarian Universalism. This Sunday UUSJS is celebrating Chalice Lighter Sunday, a special time to focus on this program within the Joseph Priestley District that has helped eight congregations numbering over 750,000 members to get started and to grow. Joan Priest, Director of Development for the JPD, will visit our pulpit and bring a sermon that focuses on sharing our gifts.

September 26, 2010

Hope Needs Only Hands and Hearts
Guest speaker Marc Adams

Marc Adams will speak from his experiences growing up as the son of a fundamentalist Baptist minister. In an effort to save his own life, he decided at age 16 to rebel against his parents and attend Jerry Falwell's Liberty University where he thought he could find a way to change his behavior from homosexual to heterosexual. His experience there changed his life and jump started his journey to self acceptance and personal freedom. He bridges the serious discussion with humor and all-encompassing human compassion.

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October 3, 2010

A Vision for Environmental Justice and Environmental Sustainability
Guest speaker Rev. Dr. Roy Jones

What is a vision of environmental justice and environmental sustainability? What does this vision mean to individuals, families and institutions in Atlantic County and New Jersey as a whole? How can we achieve this vision?

October 10, 2010

Challenging Relationships
Lay speaker Alan Oliver

Alan Oliver will explore the potential for spirituality in all relationships, how it is important to be in relationship in many different ways, and the necessity of challenging these relationships. A challenging relationship is alive with energy of all sorts and successfully navigates the impermanence of life.

October 17, 2010

Changing the World One Neuron at a Time
Guest speaker Dr. Keith Coleman

Why does the brain get wired into certain beliefs (literally)? This process makes it difficult (but not impossible) to be open to new beliefs. Dr Coleman will talk about the process (called brain plasticity) in which we can cultivate a new attitude and a brain that is willing to be open to new ideas and beliefs through meditation and mental focus.

October 24, 2010

Adventures of a UU Christian
Lay speakers Helene Gentile, Steve Fiedler, Tracy Staab

Oftentimes UUs pay more attention to exotic faith traditions such as Buddhism or non-religious spiritual worldviews such as humanism than to its own roots in Christianity. We continue our “Adventures of a UU” series with a look at the positive contributions of a Christian perspective.

October 31, 2010

Day of the Dead
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Rev. Dr. Theresa McReynolds will consider how Death and Ancestors are celebrated in the Pagan Tradition. She invites all to bring pictures of their beloved dead, pets as well as people, to place on the altar. Samhain is the Witches New Year and so we end at the beginning, as we should, and the Wheel turns on.

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November 7, 2010

Sermon on the Rock
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

How can we find solace at times of sorrow and despair - those “dark moments of the soul”? Can the “Creation Story” as told by modern-day scientists offer inspiration and a possible answer? Let's pause a moment and reconsider the extraordinary events that created “us”. Perhaps the Christian Bible provides a clue… must we really be “born again?”

November 14, 2010

Adventures of a UU Buddhist
Lay speaker Cynthia Grzywinski

Cynthia will discuss how Buddhism has affected her spiritual and emotional growth by exploring Buddhism and many of its themes manifested in literature and art. She will describe how drawing on and applying some of Buddhism’s basic facets such as mindfulness (aka “being in the moment”), acceptance of impermanence, seeking one’s own truth, universal compassion, and meditation have helped her more fully experience the wonder of life.

November 21, 2010

Adventures of African American Evangelical Universalist
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

Our UU principles speak of inclusiveness but our denomination remains predominately Anglo Saxon, well-educated, and middle class. Come and hear of the path of one African American UU, her evangelical roots in Universalism, and lessons learned as a person of color in our denomination.

November 28, 2010

A Remedy for the Hereditary Allergy to Religion
Guest minister Rev. Nate Walker

Reverend Nate Walker of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia will be explaining how his experience of a UU fellowship in Northern Nevada became the remedy for his allergy to religion, an allergy that was passed onto him for generations. The sermon will serve as a call to the UU Congregation of the South Jersey Shore to continue to be the remedy: to welcome those who long to heal their religious past, to collaborate with interfaith leaders to counter the extremism portrayed by the media, to continue to renounce fanaticism, to proclaim reason, to cultivate wonder, to promote religious freedom, and most of all to continue to stand together on the side of love.

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December 5, 2010

From Jewish to Jew-Nitarian
Lay speaker Maxine Blumenthal

Maxine, a member of UUCSJS from the very beginning, shares her journey, from joining the First UU Congregation of Plainfield in 1972, to what she views as the Miracle of Hannukah, and her belief in the need to be who we are, whether it was to be Jewish in 165 BC or JewNitarian in 1972 NJ.

December 12, 2010

Lights in the Darkness
Led by Heidi Jannsch and Barbara Miller

This theatrical all-ages service invites you to join with our UUCSJS “kids” during a religious education class as they learn about the many winter holiday traditions and discover that these different traditions share similar themes of light, warmth, wonder and community during the darkest season of the year.

December 19, 2011 4 pm

The Winter Wheel
Led by Melissa Hutchison and Margaret Rea

“Surely the earth is turning from dark to light.” The year wheel turns again as we celebrate the longest night with a play called The Winter Wheel. Service starts at 4 pm at the UU Center.

December 26, 2010

UU Center closed.

No service, No religious education, No meetings.

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January 4, 2009

The First Hundred Days
Rev Rosemarie Newberry

No, this is not a sermon making predictions about the Obama presidency. It is about Rosemarie's first hundred days as our new minister. To start off the new year, she will share some reflections and make some predictions.

January 11, 2009

Marching With Martin
Rev Rosemarie Newberry

Two Unitarian Universalists sacrificed their lives supporting Civil Rights. The stories of The Rev. James Reeb (1927-65) and Viola Liuzzo (1925-65) are important to know. They were both killed as part of their participation in the protest march from Selma to Montgomery. Their actions can still be an inspiration for all of us.

January 18, 2009

Sixth Source: Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature
Lay speaker Prim Reeves

Adopted in 1995, UU's newest source of inspiration and meaning owes its inclusion in part to the increasing need to feel part of the "interdependent web" mentioned in our Seventh Principle.

January 25, 2009

Change the World Before Those Other Guys Do
Guest speaker Bruce Knotts

While we are not a missionary church, we need missionary zeal to promote UU values. Without our input in the world, we leave the world who would remake the world according to values most of us would not like to see prevail. Therefore, it is our obligation to be involved and active to change the world with justice and compassion. One way to promote UU values on a global scale is to support the UU office at the United Nations, the most important forum there is for global issues.

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February 1, 2009

Lay leader Barbara Clark

Life is a miraculous passage through amazing ages. What is there to look forward to in the next decade of your life? Come hear the viewpoint of different age cohorts.

February 8, 2009

Volunteer Sunday
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

It is that time again. We will be looking at the needs of our congregation and the gifts of the individuals. We will have some fun and also explore how nurturing, teaching, learning, hospitality, and listening are all spiritual practices. Let’s grow our souls together.

February 15, 2009

Love is the Doctrine
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

“Love is the doctrine of this church, the quest of truth is its sacrament, and service is its prayer.” Many congregations recite this affirmation every Sunday. The Rev. Rosemarie Newberry will explore the multiple meanings of love and analyze its applicability to a post modern and post Christian society. There will be special visitors that morning, joining us for both morning worship and afternoon celebration.

February 15, 2009
4:30 pm

Building Dedication!

Guest minister The Reverend John Crestwell

The service will last approximately 1½ hours, followed by light refreshments. Note: please park in the Stockton College lot if possible. Parking in the UU Center lot primarily for handicapped, and our special guests.

February 22, 2009

The Perfect Heart
Intergenerational service, led by Rev Newberry & Heidi Jannsch

This intergenerational service will explore a community’s need to find a new leader with a “perfect heart”.

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March 1, 2009

Being Dust
Guest minister The Reverend F. Jay Deacon, D.Min.

Ash Wednesday was last week. Isn't Lent, with that ash-mark on all those foreheads, a bit grovelly for UUs? We are an amalgam of god and dust. To be a religious, a moral being, is sometimes to feel uneasy about the quality of our purposes, days, and deeds, without grovelling. When Emerson spoke of the "Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the present, and the only prophet of that which must be," he meant something capable of taking a measure of us. And what is that?

March 8, 2009

Reflections on Humility
Guest speaker Mark Bernstein, JPD Director for Growth

Being humble with each other enables members of a congregation to find their “right fit” and to truly listen to and learn from each other. In this message, Mark will discuss the virtue of humility and how it can help a congregation to grow and thrive.

March 15, 2009

For the Love of Money
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

We are more comfortable speaking about sex, religion and politics, than we are about money. Money can be wonderful or very stressful. Today we will look at the spiritual side of money, if there is one.

March 22, 2009

Unitarian Universalism: What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Lay leader Richard Grzywinski

From the perspective of a “devout spiritual humanist,” and with a little help from Shakespeare and a morning poem, we will explore the meaning of love, its spiritual roots, its consistency with our UU Principles, and why it is so important to our emotional well-being.”

March 29, 2009

Theology 101
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

It takes at least four classes on theology before a minister can begin to understand start to understand it. Unitarian Universalists can call themselves theists, atheists, pantheists or panentheists. Come hear a discussion about theology that you will understand in just twenty minutes.

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April 5, 2009

The Beatitudes
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

The Sermon on the Mount is considered one of the most famous collections of wisdom of the prophet Jesus. The Rev. Rosemarie Newberry will look at the two versions that exist in the Christian Scriptures and reflect on the message that it has for us today. This sermon topic was picked as part of the annual auction -- thank you, Betsy and John Searight. Also, in this service will be a time for new members to sign the membership book.

April 12, 2009

A Single Path
Lay speaker Margaret Rea

Margaret Rea, long time member of this Congregation, will speak about the past and present use of Labyrinths as tools for meditation, metaphors for life's journey, and platforms for healing and ritual.

April 19, 2009

Our Shared Ministries
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

The new Committee on Ministry and The Rev Rosemarie Newberry will be sharing and reflecting on our shared ministries. We will be considering how we work together, how we handle conflicts, how we divide up the responsibilities between professional and lay ministers. There will be an opportunity after the service to gather and discuss deeper your thoughts and views. This Sunday will also be the first Children’s Chapel. The children will not be with the adults upstairs and will enjoy their own chapel downstairs. Both the Children’s Chapel and the after service discussions are embraced by many Unitarian Universalist congregations and we are trying them out as an experiment. We would love to hear your feedback.

April 26, 2009

The Water Cycle, Past and Future
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

This will be an intergenerational service; the children will attend the entire service. In honor of Earth Day, we will be learning about our water, including pollution and water rights.
Everyone will learn something new and be motivated to make changes in their lives.
The Core of Fire, a Unitarian Universalist (mostly) liturgical dance group, will dance a new piece of theirs.

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May 3, 2009

Ethical Eating, Part I
Lay leader Michael Cluff

Michael will discuss the environmental and ethic implications of what we eat, from factory farming to mass-produced organic. Are there inconvenient truths even pro-green Unitarians need to hear?

May 10, 2009

Wisdom – Where can we find it?
The Reverend Rosemarie Newberry

One reason many come to a faith group is to grow spiritually. One characteristic of a spiritually mature person is that they are wise. Before one can be wise, one must be able to be able to recognize wisdom. So where can it be found? Would you recognize it, if you saw it?

May 17, 2009
Service at 11:00!

Paul Winter’s Earth Mass/Missa Gaia
Lay leader Barbara Miller

Music Director Barbara Miller will lead this service as we experience recorded selections from Paul Winter’s Earth Mass/Missa Gaia. Missa Gaia integrates world music with songs from the wild to celebrate the whole earth as a sacred space. UU composer Jim Scott was one of the principal musicians involved with its creation.

May 24, 2009

The Legacy of Liberal UU Ministers
Guest speaker Frank Kowalczyk

MaryAnne Kowalczyk’s husband Frank will interview three historic women: Miss Olympia Brown, the first Universalist-ordained minister, Dr. Mary Augusta Safford, a pioneer in frontier Unitarianism, and Dr. Caroline Julia Bartlett Crane, journalist, suffragist, public health crusader, and pacifist.

May 31, 2009

Coming of Age Service
Led by our Coming of Age RE class

All this past year, the COA teens have been asking "Big Questions", such as "what is the purpose of life?", "what do you have faith in?", and "what are your hopes and dreams for the future?", as they explore their own personal beliefs and values as emerging Unitarian Universalists. They will be sharing their personal credos with the congregation in this special service that is not to be missed.

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June 7, 2009

Flower Communion
Lay leader TBA

Just as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Together the different flowers form a beautiful bouquet. Norbert Čapek is a Czech Baptist-turned-Unitarian who more than 80 years ago created the Flower Communion service beloved by Unitarian Universalists everywhere.
Please bring a sprig of flowers with you to the service to be shared.

June 14, 2009

Living the GLBT Life: Equality for All
Lay speaker Allison Woolbert

This exciting service will explore several individual’s views of how it was to grow up being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender. Each person will also speak to their spirituality and the gift of finding our beloved community, the UUCSJS.

June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice Celebration
Lay leader Theresa McReynolds

This year our Summer Solstice celebration will be taking place on the exact day where the length of the night and the day is equal. Come bask in the joy of the height of the light! Service will be held outdoors, weather permitting.
Chairs will be provided, but bring a hat and sunglasses if needed.

June 28, 2009

Patriotism and Social Conscience: The Stars & Stripes, or The Chalice?
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

While we frequently oppose our nation’s engagement in wars, or decry its social policies that we view as inconsistent with our UU principles, can we (and should we) endorse or participate in acts of “patriotism?” Is patriotism somehow contrary to the idea of the oneness of humanity because it promotes separateness and highlights group differences? Ideas to consider before another Fourth of July.

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July 5, 2009

One Unitarian’s View on Religion
Lay speaker Carl Benner

Carl Benner will present his view on God, organized religions and their prophets. If you hear echoes of The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, no one will be surprised.

July 12, 2009

Mountain Meadow: A Safe Haven for Youth from LGBTQ Families
Guest speaker Carolyn Thompson

Youth from diverse backgrounds will share their experiences growing up in LGBTQ families.

July 19, 2009

Step By Step For Peace
Guest minister Jody Kessler

This service will celebrate the life, work and teachings of Peace Pilgrim, an American woman who dedicated her life to the cause of peace in a unique and powerful way. Drawing inspiration from this remarkable person who truly "walked her walk" for a peaceful world, we will explore through song, meditation, and sharing from the heart how world peace begins with us and finds its expression through us.

July 26, 2009

The Spiritual Discipline of Giving Money Away
Guest minister Rev. Ned Wight

In August 2006 the Rev. Ned Wight moved from San Diego, where he had completed 13 years as minister of a new UU congregation, to Long Island, where he began his current tenure as Executive Director of the UU Veatch Program at Shelter Rock. Rev. Ned will share insights about his transition from parish ministry to leadership of a unique grantmaking program, as well as his observations about the challenges — intellectual, emotional and spiritual — of giving money away.

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August 2, 2009

6.8 Billion and Growing: Are We There Yet?
Guest speaker John Seager

The earth's population is growing by one billion every dozen years. There is a clear connection between this growth and virtually every global challenge from poverty to climate change and from species extinction to the political instability of failed nation-states. John will give a brief overview of the causes and impacts of rapid population growth and how to meet this challenge through voluntary approaches.

August 9, 2009

Loving Ourselves and Others
Guest speaker Don Grubbs

Can “love” be a basic philosophy of life? What is love? How can I really love myself and how can I grow in love? Can I love all others, when some people seem so "unlovable?"

August 16, 2009

Sacred and Profane: The Common Roots of Theater and Worship
Lay speaker Pam Hendrick

As far as historians and anthropologists have been able to discern, religion has existed in all human societies. The same is true for public performance. In many cultures these two phenomena were at one time inseparable, and in some cultures they still are. Most forms of worship contain elements of performance, but do elements of the sacred still reside in our many forms of public performance?

August 23, 2009

Slow Food Smorgasbord
Lay speaker Missie Aprill

Join Missie Aprill as she prepares an “all-you-can-think” buffet of ideas about food. Learn about the Slow Food movement and how its philosophies mirror our UU principles. Satisfy your intellectual appetite and take home new “recipes” for food that is good, clean and fair.

August 30, 2009

Rethinking the Creation Story of Genesis From a Feminist Perspective
Guest speaker Donna Renfro, Divinity student

In the first three chapters of Genesis, information about females is revealed in three different ways -- explicit, implicit, and null (which means: What's said? What's not said? What’s not even noticed?). This leads to a new way to interpret the feminine in these verses.

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September 6, 2009

Standing On the Side of Love
Lay speaker Margaret Rea

Margaret, our delegate to the June 2009 General Assembly in Salt Lake City (the UUA’s annual convention), will share a bit of the sense of the mornings, and afternoons, and evenings -- the worship, meetings, workshops, and information overload. Will you be inspired to attend 2010 GA in Minneapolis-St. Paul?

September 13, 2009

Ingathering & Water Communion: Water of Life
Led by Richard Grzywinski and Barbara Miller

This year’s water service will be presented in contemporary style and feature the retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale The Water of Life. All ages are welcome at this service, and remember to please bring a small amount of water from a place of personal or spiritual significance to add to our common bowl.

September 20, 2009

Into the Valley of the Shadow
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

Please join us to hear a UU’s perspective on death and dying. Based in part on Rev. Forrest Church's last book Love and Death: My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow (he announced in 2008 that he has terminal cancer), Stephanie’s will share her own thoughts and experiences.

September 27, 2009

Truth or Consequences
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

In our “free and responsible search for truth and meaning,” do we know “Truth” when we encounter it? Is the search for truth a “fool’s errand?” Can it be molded to fit our own reality? How can we tell right from wrong, or good from evil, when something so seemingly concrete as the truth seems so elusive? A follow-up to Richard’s previous talk entitled “Unitarian Universalism, What’s love got to do with it?”

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October 4, 2009

Association Sunday
Guest minister Rev Om Prakash

This service will celebrate the Unitarian Universalist Association. As a small, yet influential organization, we have historically been at the foreground of social change: the creation of more humane society; deep theological reflection and insights; and the promotion of the worth and dignity of the human family on all levels. In this service we will address the UUA’s dedication to becoming a multi-racial, multi-cultural, anti-racist association and what this means in a world--and in our congregations, that are becoming multi-racial and multi-cultural right now. We will consider what a combination of this decision and shifting demographics mean for all of us, and how this decision and those like it, will affect our lives and the lives of the coming generations well into the future.

October 11, 2009

To Be One is to Be Truly Whole
Led by Donna Renfro

Core of Fire is an interfaith dance ministry of mature women, who use the healing power of dance to combine spiritual connection and creative movement into choreography that speaks to our deepest longings to express the awe, wonder and anguish of the life experience. We will tell our personal and collective stories about what Core means to us, in dance, poems, and anecdotes, and debut a new dance!

October 18, 2009

Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Being grateful may be good for the soul, but its power is magnified when it is not kept private but shared with those around you. At this service Theresa and Mariann will remind us why it’s important to say “Thank You.”

October 25, 2009

Addictions Recovery Ministry
Lay speaker Will Parsons

Will will describe what the many different addictions have in common and how the Addictions Recovery Ministry, a small group ministry, is contributing to the mission of the Congregation.

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November 1, 2009

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There
Lay speaker Jim Woodcock

There is no doubt that our spiritual practice, whatever form it may take, can help us deal with life's problems, including our own perceived shortcomings. Spiritual teachers and texts can offer good advice to help us cope better and overcome self-defeating habits. But there seems to be a trend towards believing that psychological growth and spiritual growth are the same things, a trend which the psychiatrist Gerald May has called "dangerous." This talk will try to explain how an over-emphasis on self-improvement might actually be an obstacle to both our spiritual practice and our psychological well-being.

November 8, 2009

Home? Beloved Community?
Guest Speaker Kathy Ellis, Ministerial Intern

What makes a religious congregation home? What kind of "home maintenance" is needed? How can our religious home be hospitable? How do we work toward becoming a beloved community? And what does beloved community mean anyway?

November 15, 2009

Unitarianism and Universalism: The Roots
Lay speaker Mariann Maene

Our series on UU history will begin with the dawn of Christianity and continue through the period just before John Murray sets sail for Murray Grove.

November 22, 2009

Eco Service Fair: "Full Green Ahead"
Lay speaker Jesse Connor

We put our Seventh Principle into practice in every phase of designing and building our UU Center. Now it is the time to step up to commit to going "Full Green Ahead" in our daily lives. Jesse Connor will lead this multi-generational service. After a 20 minute gathering of music, message, and meditation, UUs and friends will be invited to visit a dozen stations showing how we can take action to slow Global Climate Change.

November 29, 2009

Nichiren Buddhism
Guest speaker Michael Petkov

The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is based on the teachings and philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, which places the highest emphasis on the sanctity of life. Members seek, through their practice of Buddhism, to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstance, and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family and community.

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December 6, 2009

Unitarian Universalist History Series:
Part 2 -- American Steppingstones
Lay speaker Jon Luoma

In the late 18th century through the late 19th century, uniquely American forms of Universalism and Unitarianism blossomed and, as always, continued to evolve. Even back then, two separate U and U strands showed signs of intertwining commonality. (Central theme: Dogma Aren’t Us.)

December 13, 2009

Going Up! What is your Elevator Speech?
Lay speaker Melissa Hutchison

Past UUA President, William Sinkford, in a 2003 issue of the UU World magazine, famously said the following: “I always encourage people to work on their elevator speech, what you’d say when you’re going from the sixth floor to the lobby and somebody asks you, ‘What’s a Unitarian Universalist?’ You’ve got forty-five seconds.” UU’s all over the world have been working on their elevator speeches ever since. Today several of our very own UU’s at UUCSJS will share their elevator speeches with the congregation, and will also share more details about their personal theological journeys.

December 20, 2009
4:30 pm
(no service 10 am)

Winter Solstice Singing Ritual
Led by Barbara Miller

Deep, deep, deep in the dark of the winter… A celebration of the Darkness and the Light with songs and stories. The singing will include music from calypso, Western choral singing, Native American texts, Greek mythology, feminist rounds, Pagan chants, and even an old American hymn. The ritual runs about 75 minutes.

December 27, 2009

Book of Questions
Lay speaker Mariann Maene

Our customary informal end of year service, where we consider questions -- some light-hearted, and some reaching deep inside us -- and share our answers.

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January 6, 2008

The Holy Grail
Guest speaker The Honorable Mark I. Bernstein

King Arthur stories have delighted and entertained Western Civilization for centuries.
How may the Quest for the Grail inform our lives in the 21st century?

January 13, 2008

Annual Poetry Service
Various members, led by Barbara Miller

According to Carl Sandburg, “Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.” Help shoot down some barriers and share in some very personal poetry by others in our congregational community.

January 20, 2008

The First Principle
Lay speaker Jack Miller

When we say we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of each person, we see that the words are few, the idea is clear, but the practice is unbelievably difficult. How do we honor this principle in our everyday life, at work, at home, at play, and at UUCSJS?

January 27, 2008

Building Relationships and Equality Through Fair Trade
Guest speaker Jason Simmons

Fair trade has brought us a long way towards making more equitable trade a reality. It has also helped connect us to where the products we purchase come from. However, there is constantly a need for greater understanding between people on a more human-to-human level. We must always seek to go beyond the labels and perceptions of production and consumption, and actively work to build dialog and community with people, face-to-face.

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February 3, 2008

2nd principle: Justice, Equity, and Compassion in Human Relations
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

What do we really mean by "justice," and can it exist without equity and compassion? Join us in a slalom course through historical justice as we push off with Plato, Aeschylus and Aristotle, hurdle over Hammurabi, tumble through the Testaments, call out to Immanuel Kant, study the Semai of Malaysia, cavort with five female capuchin monkeys, and, with a blatant secular bias, find the meaning of justice within ourselves.

February 10, 2008

The Question of God
Guest speaker Ron Neely

What do you believe? And why is it important to you?
Do you believe in good? What about evil? Are good and evil opposites? Are they arbitrary?
Do you believe in God? What about the Devil? Or, do you believe in neither of these?

February 17, 2008

Love That Gives Meaning
Guest minister Rev. Susan E. Vollmer

This service will recommit us one to the other: parents and children, friend to friend, partner to partner and welcomes everyone who loves to attend. Here we can claim the LOVE that gives meaning to our lives in the presence of our church community. Let us come together and celebrate.

February 24, 2008

Our Transgender Experience
Guest speaker Stephanie Guinan

What do parents do if their young son insists that he's really a girl? Stephanie will share the story of her transgender daughter, how she and her husband recognized this condition, how they dealt with family, neighbors, friends, school, and what they did to survive and grow through this life-shaking situation.

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March 2, 2008

There’s Something Happening Here
Lay speaker Paul Utts

What is it? Paul Utts takes a break from his RE class to share with us where we've been, why he thinks we're here, and where we might go from here. This Commitment Sunday Service kicks off our annual canvass.
Be sure to stay afterwards for our visioning session, and have your voice be heard.

March 9, 2008
No service at the Lions Center today

Canvassing Brunches/Sharing Circles

Members and friends of the congregation will gather in small groups at members’ homes to reflect on what they value about our congregation, and to enjoy eating and socializing together. Participants will have an opportunity to make a pledge of support to the congregation at these gatherings.

March 16, 2008

How and Why We Ventured into Co-Housing Focused On Water And Energy Conservation
Guest speaker Lou Hammann

Hundredfold Farm is a collaborative housing project outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that offers an alternative to the alienation and isolation of our modern-day suburbs. With privately owned homes clustered around commonly held areas, the entire design emphasizes community, efficiency, and eco-friendliness. Lou will tell us more about why he and his wife Pat sought out this 21st century (but in many ways, old-fashioned) way of living.

March 23, 2008

The Renewed Promise of Humanism
Guest speaker Marilyn Westfall

Humanism has always been a vital component of the modern Unitarian movement, and now in the 21st century, there is a renewed vitality in Humanist trends, perspectives, and activism, within UUism and worldwide. Let's examine what this positive lifestance has to offer us, at a time when "change" and "hope" seem to have been rekindled in our nation.

March 30, 2008

With a Song in His Heart
Guest speaker Joseph DeMasi

Join award winning singer/songwriter/humorist and all around good guy Joseph DeMasi as he presents a musical program focusing on the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism. Come and find out how a nice Italian boy from Brooklyn ended up living in the plains of North Dakota. (UU's are everywhere!)
A fun, insightful, engaging and unique presentation!

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April 6, 2008

Third Principle: Acceptance of One Another and Encouragement to Spiritual Growth
Lay speaker Bob Gillies

Are these principles mere platitudes? What does the third principle really mean? Is it one principle, or two? And are the two redundant? Bob will try to tease apart the interrelated third principle.

April 13, 2008
No Service at Lions Center!

A Celebration of Construction at Our New Home
Led by Prim Reeves

Location - Our emerging building on Pomona Road. Time: 10:30 am.
This will be an informal service, with a chalice, and some singing. The speeches will be from us, as we reflect on the moment of being at our new home.
We will stand for this short service.
After our ceremony, there will be a treasure hunt for the children.
Note: The Lions Center is holding a pancake breakfast on this day, and we encourage any who are pancake-lovers to get their sustenance beforehand there.

April 20, 2008

Fourth Principle: With Freedom Comes Responsibility
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

In the spirit of the fourth principle and its promotion of a "free and responsible search for meaning," many UU congregations welcome everyone from Agnostics to Zoroastrians -- and a whole alphabet soup of isms in between. We UUs probably have a handle on what it means to have a free search for meaning. But what does it mean to undertake a responsible search for meaning?

April 27, 2008

A Home for an Unknown God
Guest speaker Rev Lyn Cox

There is something at the center of our faith, something known by many names and by none. We might call it "the holy," or "the divine," or "transcending mystery and wonder." Some of us call it God or Goddess, some of us don't find these names to be useful. When we bind ourselves together in the spiritual work of justice and compassion, we are serving this center. When we create beauty in worship, we are serving this center. When we care for one another and create a sanctuary for those who need it, we are serving this center. As the congregation constructs a new building, it is worth remembering that transcending mystery and wonder reside everywhere.

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May 4, 2008
Service at 11 am

Ways of Knowing, and the Quest for Ultimate Things
Guest speaker Peter B. Rosenberger, MD

When we seek to move beyond the everyday in our search for knowledge, we run into questions of how can we know what really is, and what do we do to reality in the process of knowing it. Modern neuroscience has learned a great deal about what the brain does in the process of learning. The brain imposes categories on sensory input, and these are derived from a stew of past experience and emotional salience. How then approach the question of God, who seems to be down here rather than out there? Dr Rosenberger will argue that the God he knows has everything to do with perfection and nothing at all to do with creation.

May 11, 2008

Fundamental Choices
Guest minister Rev Ron Neely

In life we make many choices - both large and small. Sometimes we make secondary choices in support of primary choices we've made, sometimes not. In this service we will explore some choices that go beyond our primary choices and get right to our fundamental outlook on life. These fundamental choices, when consciously made, can change the way we are with the world, with each other, and with ourselves.

May 18, 2008

Annual Flower Communion
Presented by the Coming of Age RE group

Just as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Together the different flowers form a beautiful bouquet. All this past year, the COA teens have been asking "Big Questions", such as "what is the purpose of life?", "what do you have faith in?", and "what are your hopes and dreams for the future?", as they explore their own personal beliefs and values as emerging Unitarian Universalists. They will be sharing their personal credos with the congregation in this special service that is not to be missed. Please bring a sprig of flowers with you to the service to be shared.

May 25, 2008

Sixth Principle: World Community, with Peace, Liberty, and Justice for All
Lay speaker Pam Hendrick

Charter member, Pam Hendrick, will offer her insights on our 6th Principle.

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June 1, 2008

Feel Your Faith
Guest speaker Stash Serafin

Mr Serafin, blind since birth, offers ways to feel faith; rather than just think about it. He weaves an inner tapestry of sensing faith rather than merely thinking about faith. Could faith be a vibration? A frequency we can learn to cultivate and actually sense? Join us as we have fun learning to Feel Your Faith.

June 8, 2008

God Bless You, Mr.Vonnegut; or Imagination As Faith
Guest speaker Dennis Moyer

Kurt Vonnegut has been called "a Christ-loving atheist." He has described himself this way: "In order not to seem a spiritual quadriplegic to strangers trying to get a fix on me, I sometimes say I am a Unitarian Universalist". This presentation explores the relationship between imagination and faith as seen through the unique lens of Vonnegut's vision.

June 15, 2008

Seeking Peace
Lay speaker Eddie Hicks

Eddie will discuss the Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI), adopted at the 2006 General Assembly. Should the Unitarian Universalist Association reject the use of any and all kinds of violence and war...and adopt a principle of seeking just peace through nonviolent means?

June 22, 2008
Service at 11 am at 75 Pomona Rd

Summer Solstice Celebration
Presented by many

A special service to celebrate the longest day of the earthly year.
Service is at 11:00 am. We will meet at our new building, unless the weather is inclement.

June 29, 2008

Freeing Your True Nature: The Psychology of Zen Meditation
Guest speaker Kurt Spellmeyer

Zen meditation might be understood as the tradition that uses the power of the unconscious mind to liberate people from their illusions and destructive mental habits. Even though people today are quite familiar with the idea of the unconscious, they are in fact less in touch with it than human beings of earlier times. For individuals and for society, tapping into the unconscious may be the most liberating thing that we can do.

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July 6, 2008

"That Filthy Little Atheist"
Lay speaker Carl Benner

...is how Teddy Roosevelt referred to Thomas Paine. Should Paine be on a pedestal or be vilified? Emphatically the former, says Carl, who will make his case.

July 13, 2008

What is General Assembly?
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

Curious about the purpose of a General Assembly and what the acronyms AIW, CSAI, CSW and SOC mean? Come and find out from our representation to this year's convention held in Ft.Lauderdale. Stephanie is a founding member of UUCSJS , her primary congregation, and is also president of the SW Florida Cluster of UU Congregations through the UU Fellowship of Charlotte County Florida, her winter residence. What role does our congregation play as a part of the larger denomination?

July 20, 2008

Peace Pilgrim
Guest speakers Bruce Nichols and Cheryl Canfield

Bruce Nichols will speak from his personal experience about how Peace comes into the lives of those who never knew her, and about how the pilgrimage continues. Cheryl Canfield will tell us about the time in history when Peace walked, how she met her in 1976, and offer some similarities to current times.
One person can make a difference!

July 27, 2008

Fifth Principle: The Right of Conscience, and Use of the Democratic Process
Lay speaker Lynn Stiles

Charter member, Lynn Stiles, will offer his insights on our 5th Principle.

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August 3, 2008

Chanting: Discovering the Spirit in Sound
Lay leader Barbara Miller

Since ancient times, chanting has helped people find a connection with each other and the divine. We will experience the spiritual and physical benefits of chanting in this all-music service.

August 10, 2008

Kids Can Be Peacemakers
Lay speaker David Shaman

David will be providing a special School Peacemaker experience for our congregation. It will be an inter-generational event, so children will remain together with the adults for the entire service. With the aid of creative dramatic role-playing and interactive group percussion, this will be a very fun and light-hearted reinforcement of positive values and a nonviolent approach towards life.

August 17, 2008

The Bedside Theologian: Reflections of a Unitarian Universalist Chaplain
Guest minister Rev. Keith Goheen

Drawing from his daily practice, the Reverend Goheen will share some of the religious substance and spiritual light that shape and guide his hospital ministry.

August 24, 2008

Seventh Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part
Lay speaker Jon Luoma

Our 7th Principle calls on us to honor the web of all existence. What events actually sparked the adoption of this newest principle in the mid 1980s? Did the spirit of the 7th principle have a life far earlier in a tradition that often seemed so focused on individualism? And, by the way, is this only a principle about birds, bees, and recycling our soup cans?

August 31, 2008

Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, 19th Century African-American Unitarian, Addresses "The Colored People in America" in 1857: A re-enactment
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

How far have we come as a nation and as a denomination in the 150 years since this essay was published? Hear the essay and dialogue with Mrs. Harper. As a published poet, author of fiction, lecturer and abolitionist, Mrs. Harpers' topics centered on the issues of racism, sexism, and classism envisioned through a radical Christian perspective advocating reform, revolution and humanism. A Brighter Coming Day, a reader containing her poetry, sample essays, letters, and excepts from her novel and short stories, edited by Francis Smith Foster in 1990, is available through the UUA Bookstore and online sources.

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September 7, 2008

Ingathering and Water Communion Service
Lay leaders Margaret Rea and Heidi Jannsch

This year’s water service will be presented in contemporary style and feature the retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale The Water of Life. All ages are welcome at this service, and remember to please bring a small amount of water from a place of personal or spiritual significance to add to our common bowl.

September 14, 2008

First Source: Personal Experience
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

We begin a new series on the Six Sources from which Unitarian Universalism draws.
The first source is “Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.”

September 21, 2008


Open-minded? Show up today to see what’s on tap.

September 28, 2008

Fifth Source: Humanist Teachings
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

The fifth source from which Unitarian Universalism draws is “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.”

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October 5, 2008

Noble Delights
Coordinator Barbara Miller

French novelist and proto-feminist George Sand said in 1851,
"He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet,
though he has never written a line in all his life."
We're all poets today, as members share their favorite poems,
not necessarily of their own composition.

October 12, 2008

Association Sunday
Rev Rosemarie Newberry

The theme for the UUA's second Association Sunday, Growing Our Spirit, will raise funds to support projects focused on deepening our shared ministry. These new resources will go toward programs for lay and ministerial theological education programs, including a special initiative to support ministers of color.

October 19, 2008

Second Source: Prophetic Words & Deeds of Women & Men
Lay speaker Mariann Maene

Who are these prophetic women and men which "challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love?"
And should we get involved, or just let them handle it?

October 26, 2008

Our New Home
Rev Rosemarie Newberry
at the UU Center, 75 S Pomona Rd

Over the last few years, our congregation has been closely (and some might say obsessively) caught up with the myriad details and complex process of planning and building our new UU Center, culminating in a paroxysm of delight upon our arrival here. Reverend Newberry will give us the perspective of someone newly upon the scene as to the import of this new phase in our congregational life.

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November 2, 2008

Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Besides how to pronounce it, come learn more about Samhain. Bring something with you today to remember a loved one who is no longer with us.

November 9, 2008

Religion, Family, and Culture
Rev Rosemarie Newberry

Rosemarie will look at the impact that family and culture has on religious choices.

November 16, 2008

Fourth Source: Jewish and Christian Teachings Which Call Us to Respond to God' s Love by Loving Our Neighbors As Ourselves
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Michael will provide his own insights into one of the Bible's Prime Directives.

November 23, 2008

Rev Rosemarie Newberry

Yes it is the "Thanksgiving season". In this intergenerational service, Reverend Rosemarie will address appreciating what you have and bringing humility to your life.

November 30, 2008

Third Source: Wisdom from the World's Religions Which Inspires Us in Our Ethical and Spiritual Life
Lay speaker Will Parsons

Many of the world's religions have similar things to say about living righteously, and achieving a more spiritual existence. Methods and practices differ, but perhaps these differing approaches are two sides of the same coin.

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December 7, 2008

Healthy Congregations
Rev Rosemarie Newberry

What does it mean for a congregation to be healthy?

December 14, 2008

Poetry Service
Coordinator Barbara Miller

Our poetry service back in October was so popular, we had overflow poems that didn't get heard. Come join us for this communal joy in the power of words to delight the soul and move the heart.

December 21, 2008
10:00 am

Holiday Sharing and Old Time Favorites
Rev Rosemarie Newberry

For those that need a Sunday morning UU fix, we will be holding a less formal service this day. We will sing old holiday classics (Santa songs, winter songs, the Dreidel song) and share some of our holiday memories. The service will be child friendly. If you have a desire to share a musical piece or reading, please contact Rosemarie.

December 21, 2008
4:30 pm

Winter Solstice Singing Ritual
Barbara Miller and the Winter Solstice Singers

"Deep, deep, deep in the dark of the winter...."
A celebration of the Darkness and the Light with songs and stories. The singing will include music from calypso, Western choral singing, Native American texts, Greek mythology, feminist rounds, Pagan chants, and even an old American hymn. The performance runs about 75 minutes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
7:00 pm

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Rev Rosemarie Newberry

Our Christmas Eve service will feature a UU interpretation of the Biblical birth story. We will be honoring new additions to our families (babies, children, partners). Let Rosemarie know, if you had someone new come into your family in 2008. We want to be sure to light a special candle, even if you are unable to make it. We will have a cookie and juice reception after the service. Please bring something to share, if you are able.

December 28, 2008

Book of Questions
Leader Mariann Maene

At the close of the calendar year is a good time to reflect on some questions -- some light-hearted, and some reaching deep inside us -- and share our answers.

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January 7, 2007

Earth and Spirit
Guest leader Jim Scott, UU musician

Jim intersperses original songs and readings in a celebration of earth with reflections on the diversity, abundance and relative health of life systems that we might say comprise the "spirit" of our small planet. His uplifting songs provide the balance to the wake up call, leaving participants with a vision and inspiration to take the healing into our own hands. He makes the case for our "spiritual response" as we are facing a crisis of the life spirit of the earth.

January 14, 2007

Non-Violent Communication
Guest Speaker John Karvel

NonViolent Communication (NVC) is a practical and effective way to bring the mindfulness of Thich Naht Hahn and the ahimsa (nonviolence) of Gandhi into all of our communication and interaction with others. NVC can powerfully facilitate personal growth, family peace, compassionate social change, conflict resolution and mediation.

January 21, 2007

Violent and Nonviolent Social Change
Rev. George E Blair III

Both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X strove for social change, but used different approaches. Can nonviolence be an effective tool for shaking up the system?

January 28, 2007

"A Fine Excess"
Various congregational members

"Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity -- it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance." -- John Keats.
Come share some excesses and singularities in our quasi-annual poetry service.

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February 4, 2007

Civil Unions
Rev. George E Blair III

What is the new New Jersey law on civil unions? How will heterosexual and homosexual marriages be different under the law? What must our religious response be to the new marriage apartheid?

February 11, 2007

Auschwitz Memories
Guest Speaker Will Kahane

The last Jewish child born in his shtetl in the Ukraine after the end of WWII,
Will Kahane’s life’s journey has included stops in a displaced persons camp in Germany, a chicken farm in Vineland, film school at NYU, Vietnam, Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign, and more recently, a study tour in Eastern Europe which he documented through film. He holds a Masters degree in Holocaust Studies from Richard Stockton College. (Perhaps he should consider making a documentary of his own improbable and intriguing life.)

February 18, 2007

Unitarian Presidents
Rev. George E Blair III

A president's day special on the four Unitarian presidents
and the one Unitarian wannabe.

February 25, 2007

Death, or Life Without Parole?
Lay speaker Eddie Hicks

Our own Eddie Hicks relates his experience as one of the thirteen members of the
NJ Death Penalty Study Commission over the past year. Also involved with the groups New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation, Eddie has personal experience with the impact of violent crime, having lost his own daughter in 2000 to homicide.

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March 4, 2007

Is Hatred of Family a Religious Value?
Rev. George E Blair III

"If any man comes to me, and hates not his father and mother and wife and children and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
So says Jesus in the gospel of Luke. Many cult leaders base their power on separating their disciples from their families of origin. What are we to make of the rejection of biological family as a religious value?

March 11, 2007


Due to a previously-scheduled event at the Lions Center, the facility is unavailable for us to use.

March 18, 2007

Commitment Sunday
Lay leader Karen York

In March members of the congregation are asked to reflect on the future growth and prosperity of UUCSJS. Karen York will lead a service considering what is possible when we share our gifts with the community.

March 25, 2007

Canvassing Brunches/Sharing Circles
No service at the Lions Center today

Members and friends of the congregation will gather in small groups at members’ homes to reflect on what they value about our congregation, and to enjoy eating and socializing together. Participants will have an opportunity to make a pledge of support to the congregation at these gatherings.

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April 1, 2007

In Praise of Folly
Rev. George E Blair III

April Fool's Day and Palm Sunday.

April 8, 2007

Joseph Campbell - a UU "Saint"
Guest speaker Mark Bernstein

Joseph Campbell was a renowned teacher, author and mythologist, best known for his discussions with Bill Moyers on PBS. He described his own work as an attempt to tell humankind's "One Great Story," the saga of spiritual awakening through different mythological and religious perspectives. His central theme is that our seemingly disparate spiritual traditions are not unique but are really "ethnic manifestation" of the same universal truths.

April 15, 2007

Death and Taxes
Rev. George E Blair III

Should we render taxes unto Caesar or not? An especially poignant question as our tax money goes to support imperialism and death across the world.

April 22, 2007

Called To Grow
Guest speaker Pat Infante

Patricia Hall Infante, Director for Growth and Extension in the JPD, takes us along on her journey from lifelong UU to religious educator to UU evangelist with a passion for growing the faith.

April 29, 2007

Small Group Ministry: EvenSong
Lay leaders Kathie Benner and Marsha Hannah

When congregations grow in size, Small Group Ministry programs can provide ways for us to learn about each other and our range of philosophical/religious outlooks. In the fall months, two small groups in Ocean County and Galloway participated in meetings in the EvenSong format. These groups, their leaders, Marsha Hannah and Kathie Benner, and UUCSJS members will participate in a "sample" meeting. Hint: the key is listening. Join us!

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May 6, 2007

Favorite UU Hymns
Music Director Barbara Miller

Some time ago, congregation members were surveyed to find out what were their most beloved hymns. Now, join in a service where we find out (and get to sing) the top ten winners.

May 13, 2007

Paths to UU
Coordinator Michael Cluff

Birthright UUs are a minority in our faith tradition. How do the rest of us find our way to our UU home? And how do some birthright UUs avoid falling away?

May 20, 2007
11:00 am

A Glance at the Life of Norbert Čapek
UUCSJS players

Today we will have a real treat. We'll see a performance of a play about the life of Norbert Čapek, written by Rev Daniel Ó Donnell, minister of the Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, Missouri. Mr. Čapek is a Czech Baptist-turned-Unitarian who more than 80 years ago created the Flower Communion service beloved by Unitarian Universalists everywhere. Note: bring a flower to share!
Since we have our birders tramping through the meadows and marshes early this morning, the service starts at 11:00 am.
Potluck lunch follows the service.

May 27, 2007

Hunger Here At Home
Lay speaker Evelyn Benton

Hunger isn't something that only occurs in the developing world. As head of the South Jersey Food Bank, Evelyn will give us a perspective on hunger issues happening right now in our own backyard and elsewhere.

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June 3, 2007

New Beginnings
Kathie Benner and Prim Reeves

Kathie and Prim will take a philosophical look at the changes occurring in our congregation. Our program year runs from July 1 to June 30. It's time for a fresh start as we go from this service into our Annual Meeting.

June 10, 2007

COA (Coming Of Age) Extravaganza
Coordinated by lay leader Melissa Hutchison

Move over, Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson! Coming your way by the Coming of Age troupe, get ready for "UU Idol"! See how famous Unitarians stack up against each other and against the judges. What will Simon say next? This service is intergenerational, so bring the kids.

June 17, 2007

The Church is Not Your Family (Thank Goodness!)
Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger

Many UUs describe their church as their "family" -- but is family really the healthiest metaphor for the relationship within a Unitarian Universalist congregation? A provocative topic about the nature of family for this Father's Day service, which will include a special meditation on fathers.

June 24, 2007

Litha, also known as Summer Solstice
Guest speaker Theresa McReynolds

This is the time of the Rose, blossom and thorn, fragrance and blood. The Earth basks in the Light and warmth of the Sun. Now on this longest day, light triumphs, and yet begins the decline into the dark. The Lord of Light dies to Himself, and sets sail across the dark seas of time, searching for the Isle of Light that is rebirth. We turn the Wheel and share his fate, for we have planted the seeds of our own changes, and to grow we must accept even the passing of the sun.

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July 1, 2007

Armenian Genocide
Lay speaker Debbi Dagavarian

Historians acknowledge the Armenian massacres that began in Turkey in 1915 as the first genocide of the 20th century, and Hitler used its fading from memory as justification for his engineering the Holocaust. A million and a half Armenians were killed in this genocide, and Turkey still denies it happened. As UUs, we can take a stand against this profound injustice to the memory of those who suffered. In this service, Debbi will speak about the Armenian genocide, focusing on the actual experiences of her beloved great-uncle, paternal grandmother and godfather, all of whom survived.

July 8, 2007

Full Green Ahead
Lay speakers Michael Cluff, Richard Grzywinski, Dr. Harold Clark, and Jesse Connor

Members of the Social Justice Committee will report the results of our survey and personal narratives and the progress we have made as a congregation in addressing Global Warming. We’ll take a look at where we can go from here: how we can strengthen our commitment to the seventh principal in this age of global crisis.

July 15, 2007

How to Live at Peace in a World at War
Guest speaker Ali Wassil, PhD, DLitt

As we devote our energies towards the end of violent conflict and world peace, what about our own inner peace? Ali Wassil has been a figure on the world stage, and we are fortunate to have him join us again, speaking, as always, from a spiritual point of view.

July 22, 2007

The Interdependent Web
Guest speaker Doris Lin, Issues Specialist, Animal Protection PAC

Does the interdependent web of all existence include animals? Should we strive for peace, liberty and justice for animals? Doris Lin is a vegan, an animal activist and an attorney who focuses on wildlife issues.

July 29, 2007

Highlights from General Assembly
Lay speakers John and Betsy Searight

Our faith is democratically based, and the annual convention of our congregations represents this democracy in action. John and Betsy Searight will bring to us some of what transpired and spoke to their heart at this great gathering. We can expect that they will advise everyone to attend a GA at least once in their lifetime.

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August 5, 2007

Ms Brown Goes to Washington
Guest speaker Lori Lippman Brown

How did a Jewish Humanist Unitarian Universalist become the first Congressional lobbyist for non-theists? Lori was hired by the Secular Coalition for America in September, 2005 as its Director. She guides the coalition's activities and lobbies members of Congress on issues arising out of the inappropriate incursion of religion into civil law. She also addresses the interests and concerns of America's atheists, freethinkers, humanists, and other nontheists through media appearances and speaking engagements.

August 12, 2007

Be Ye Lamps Unto Yourselves
Guest minister Rev. Kathie Davis Thomas

How do we find clarity when handling challenges in our lives? We’ll examine the Quaker use of Clearness Committees, Sue Monk Kidd’s ideas about chaos, and the story of Jesus overcoming temptations in the wilderness. Who am I and what do I stand for?

August 19, 2007

Unitarian Universalism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Guest speaker Jan Taddeo, UU Seminary Student

Jan Taddeo, ministerial student, will share information about our roots and the merger of Unitarians and Universalists, and then explore the questions, "Who are we today, and where are we going?"

August 26, 2007

Everyday Spiritual Practice
Lay speaker Karen York

As Unitarian Universalist we do not have prescribed spiritual practices set out by our faith. Yet as individuals we may discover activities that nurture our spirituality and help us to develop our faith. What consistent intentional activities do you have that help you to connect to the greater good or our Unitarian Universalist faith? What can we do encourage each other's spiritual practice?

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September 2, 2007

Buddhism & the Brain: You never think with the same brain twice
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

The disciplines of Neuroscience and of Buddhist philosophy have reached surprisingly similar insights about the nature of the mind. Just how much do they agree?

September 9, 2007

Ingathering and Water Communion Service
Guest minister Rev. Anne Herndon

After a summer season of a more relaxed tempo, we celebrate our coming together again as a community, looking forward to an exciting new church year. This will be an intergenerational service so that all ages may participate in our Water Communion. Please bring a small amount of water from a place of personal or spiritual significance to add to our common bowl.

September 16, 2007

The Art of Spirituality
Guest minister Rev. Lyn Cox

Unitarian Universalism calls us to a constant process of discernment. On the one hand, we are given the freedom to explore for ourselves the "big questions" about the nature of divinity and the purpose of humanity. On the other hand, we are asked to engage in that exploration deeply and responsibly, and to support others doing the same. Because we respond to the world with our whole selves, it is worthwhile to involve our whole selves in the search for truth and meaning. Embodied meditation, creating visual art, and appreciating music are a few ways to engage in the search.

September 23, 2007

Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, 19th Century African-American Unitarian, Addresses “The Colored People in America” in 1857: A re-enactment
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

How far have we come as a nation and as a denomination in the 150 years since this essay was published? Hear the essay and dialogue with Mrs. Harper. As a published poet, author of fiction, lecturer and abolitionist, Mrs. Harper focused on the issues of racism, sexism and classism envisioned through a radical Christian perspective advocating reform, revolution and humanism. A Brighter Coming Day, a reader containing her poetry, sample essays, letters, and excepts from her novel and short stories, is available through the UUA Bookstore and online sources.

September 30, 2007

Equipping the Saints
Guest minister Rev. Kathy Ellis

Who are the saints in Unitarian Universalism? What does it mean to be equipped? Find out what this could mean to Unitarian Universalist congregations.

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October 7, 2007

Even Atheists Need Ritual
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

As Unitarian Universalists, we thrive on the use of reason in our “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” We characterize ourselves as free-thinkers, unconstrained by absolutism or dogma. Yet in our Sunday services, we do incorporate stylized customs, symbols, and repetitive acts reminiscent of traditional faiths. Are these elements important to our “faith,” or are they mere artifacts of our Judeo-Christian origins? How and why do they affect us so deeply? Perhaps we can enrich our spiritual growth through a greater understanding of our ritual practices and the mechanisms which engender positive feelings.

October 14, 2007

Now is the Time
Lay leaders Barbara Miller, John Searight, Mariann Maene

Unitarian Universalist congregations are self-governing entities whose connections to one another sometimes seem tenuous. On October 14 we will join with over a thousand UU congregations across the country to strengthen the bonds of our common purpose. Now is the Time for our congregations to grow stronger and more effective because our religious values are needed to help heal the wounded world.

October 21, 2007

What’s the Matter With Our Youth?
Guest minister Rev. Don E. Robinson

Rev. Robinson, founder of the Beacon House Community Ministry in Washington DC, will talk about the problems that face many of our at-risk youth today, what caused those predicaments, and try to give some solutions.

October 28, 2007

Samhain: New Beginnings
Lay leader Rev Theresa McReynolds

Theresa considers Samhain one of the most high holidays in our pagan tradition -- it is the New Year, and the time when the veil is thin between the world of the living and the dead. If we pay attention, our ancestors can return to visit us and give us help and advice. Theresa says, “in my house I make an altar to my ancestors, placing pictures and special mementoes of my beloved dead. I cook some of their favorite foods. I pack a picnic lunch and take my grandchildren to the cemetery, and tell stories of their ancestors. It is a special holy time.” Members are invited to come to the service in costume and bring pictures and mementoes of their beloved dead.

Note: The Oct 28 service will be held at the GTAA Building at Gabriel Field, Zurich & Duerer Streets, Galloway.
The children will be having a Halloween celebration at Free To Be Child Care Center on Pomona Road (adjacent to the Stockton ball fields, across the road from the Catholic Campus Ministry Center, our old meeting location). Parents, please drop your children off there before the service.

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November 4, 2007

An Introduction to Islam
Guest speaker Zia Rahman

Zia Rahman, co-founder of the Islamic Center of South Jersey, will be the guest speaker. Mr. Rahman, who was instrumental in the establishing a Mosque in Voorhees Township, NJ, will enhance our understanding of Islam and the Muslim community.

November 11, 2007

The Politics of Poetry in Wartime
Guest speaker William D Ehrhart

Vietnam War veteran Mr Ehrhart provides this meditation on patriotism, peace, lessons learned and not learned, courage, cowardice, conscience, lies, damned lies, and statistics. Well, maybe not statistics, but anything else is fair game. And all done with poetry.

November 18, 2007

From Dream to Reality
Joseph Priestley District Executive Rev Dr Richard D Speck

What does it mean to work toward a long-held dream and finally see it come to fruition? What do we need to keep in mind as the reality unfolds? Rev. Dr. Richard Speck will explore this theme as the building program for our new facility gets under way.

November 25, 2007

Systems Approaches to Spirituality and Problem Solving
Guest speaker Alan Oliver

General System Theory describes not only parts and wholes, but also how the parts and wholes interact. In our complex, interactive and fluid world it is important to train ourselves in systems thinking so we can deal with reality as it is. This is true for our spirituality, our families and any problem or issue. It has been said that we live systems, but do not think systems. This presentation will help you wake up to that possibility.

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December 2, 2007

Discover Your Ministry
Lay leader Marsha Hannah

Discover Your Ministry is a course designed to help you discover your unique gifts and talents and empower you to share them in the world. In this service, participants from the course share their discoveries.

December 9, 2007

Introduction to the Seven Principles
Guest minister Rev Kathie Davis Thomas

Unitarian Universalists do not have a creed which we are required to believe, but we have found it useful to articulate common values in what has become known as the Principles and Purposes. Rev. Kathie Davis Thomas will share some interesting background on our 7 principles in preparation for a monthly series of lay-led services on each principle.

December 16, 2007
Note: service at 4:30 pm, not 10:00 am

Winter Solstice Celebration
Barbara Miller and the Winter Solstice Singers

"Deep in the dark of the Longest Night..."
A celebration of the Darkness and the Light with songs and stories. The singing will include music from calypso, Western choral singing, Native American texts, Greek mythology, feminist rounds, Pagan chants, and even an old American hymn.

December 23, 2007

Kwanzaa's Seven Principles
Lay leader Stephanie Garrett

Learn about the uniquely African American celebration of Community known as Kwanzaa. This secular ceremony is based on seven principles to live by similar in purpose to our Unitarian Universalist principles. Come celebrate another aspect of the diversity found at UUCSJS. Stephanie Garrett, UUCSJS charter member, is lay leader with help from the membership.

December 30, 2007

Book of Questions
Lay leader Mariann Maene

Join us in our almost-a-tradition year-end informal gathering where we tackle questions from the Book of Questions. If you were God for a day, what would you do? Would you be able to forgive your child anything at all? How about your mate? What is something that you enjoy that is a chore for most other people?

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January 1, 2006

Service of New Beginnings
Rev. George E Blair III

What was wrong with the old beginnings? Could we start again, please?

January 8, 2006

A Walk Through the Tarot
Lay leader Denise Rodriguez

Denise Rodriguez, UUCSJS member and dedicated Tarot enthusiast, will explore the history and mystery of the Tarot, and share her thoughts on why these images have resonated with humankind through five centuries.

January 15, 2006

The Birthday of a King
Rev. George E Blair III

Impressions from a visit to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee, the site of the murder of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and of the National Civil Rights Museum. What did I learn from trying to explain racial prejudice to my two-year old son? How soon until he begins to explain it to me?

January 22, 2006

Always the Quest
Guest minister Rev. Kenneth Beldon

Rev Ken Beldon, previously of River of Grass UU in Broward County, Florida, is now the Lead Minister for a new congregation starting in northern Chester County, Pennsylvania as part of the JPD's recent growth initiative. In his talk, he will reveal the basic culture of this new congregation and what he considers to be liberal religion at its best: a soul-enlarging, soul-shaping venture in which the spirit of adventure, abundance and awakening call us ever forward into religious existence.

January 29, 2006

Human Rights and Amnesty International
Guest speaker Georgina Shanley

Georgina has been the Cape May County coordinator of Amnesty International-USA, for the past 15 years. She will talk about how difficult it is becoming for us in the United States to sustain (or regain!) the high moral ground concerning justice and right action. But it has never been so important in all our history to keep the light shining.

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February 5, 2006

Marriage and Morals
Rev. George E Blair III

An examination of human sexuality from the perspective of Bertrand Russell, agnostic philosopher of the early twentieth century. "Most men and women, as things stand, are incapable of being as wholehearted and as generous in the love that they bring to marriage as they would be if their early years had been less hedged about with taboos." A humanist approach to sexual ethics.

February 12, 2006

Living in Sin?
Rev. George E Blair III

The Rev. John Shelby Spong was a minor heretic in Episcopal circles until he began promoting a Christian sexuality which welcomed the sexual experiences and relationships of homosexual, bisexual and transgendered people. He ordained an openly gay bishop, and his theology hit the fan. "I believe sex outside of marriage can be holy and life giving under some circumstances, but it can also be evil and life diminishing under other circumstances." A liberal Christian approach to sexual ethics.

February 19, 2006

End of the Innocence
Lay leader and Director of Religious Education Ginni Stadler

Ginni will talk about information overload from the perspective of our children. How much information is too much? Are we expecting them to handle things that are too much for them? In what ways can this headlong hurtling into adulthood be harmful?

February 26, 2006

Moaning of the Bar
Rev. George E Blair III

Three days post-bar exam, your minister moans and gripes about how complex the law is and why it is so important. Is anyone "above" the law? What is a "high crime and misdemeanor, and how does any President escape impeachment? Why do we care about what the law is, and when can we morally disregard it?

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March 5, 2006

Living in Sin?
Rev. George E Blair III
(rescheduled from February 12)

The Rev. John Shelby Spong was a minor heretic in Episcopal circles until he began promoting a Christian sexuality which welcomed the sexual experiences and relationships of homosexual, bisexual and transgendered people. He ordained an openly gay bishop, and his theology hit the fan. "I believe sex outside of marriage can be holy and life giving under some circumstances, but it can also be evil and life diminishing under other circumstances." A liberal Christian approach to sexual ethics.

March 12, 2006

Hinduism 101
Guest speaker Dr. Mahesh Ghayal

The words swirl around: dharma, karma, kama sutra; the Bhagavad gita, the Vedas, the Upanishads; yoga, puja, and ayurvedic medicine; swamis, maharishis, Brahmins and dalits; Ganesha, Vishnu, and Shiva the Destroyer. Dr Ghayal will give a basic overview of Claiming over 900 million adherents, Hinduism is one of the oldest religions still practiced in the world.

March 19, 2006

Violence Begins at Home
Rev. George E Blair III

A sweeping overview of the nature, appeal, and appall of violence, from its casual beginnings and escalation in the domicile, to our sports fetishes, our television and movies, to blowing up sacred sites, to nuclear winter. And a ray of hope for the future.

March 26, 2006

Justice isn't something just "anyone" can afford
Lay leaders Debbie Duncan & friends

For UUSC's Justice Sunday, hundreds of UU congregations join to increase awareness of economic injustice. "Leading economic indicators..." on the news is usually followed by optimistic prognostications that bear little resemblance to my economic reality! Is a "living wage" a right or a privilege?

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April 2, 2006

Why I am a (UU) Christian
Rev. George E Blair III

A reply to Bertrand Russell's essay, Why I am not a Christian. How can one be a modern person and still adhere to Christianity? What does being a Christian mean in a Unitarian or Universalist context?

April 9, 2006

A Palm Sunday Church
Rev. George E Blair III

Some churches are focused on Good Friday -- Mel Gibson's passion, broken Christs hanging from crosses, emphasis on the nobleness of suffering and blood redemption. We're not one of those. Some focus on resurrection: life after death, redemption, glory, the communion of saints. We're not really one of those either. So why do I believe we are a "Palm Sunday Church?" Come and see. Get free palms.

April 16, 2006

Resurrection: Myth or Reality?
Rev. George Blair III

Bishop John Shelby Spong's take on the resurrection. For an Episcopalian he sounds very UU. This Sunday, the best attended in Christendom, is generally one of lower attendance for UUs. We'll explore what resurrection means in the post-Christian era.

April 23, 2006

What is Fair Trade?
Guest speaker Patrick Hossay

Patrick Hossay, Associate Professor of Political Science at Stockton College, will talk to us about his international work with the fair trade movement. He has just returned from two weeks in Belize, where he was helping to implement a fair trade project with a women's sewing collective. He will be joined by at least one Stockton student who is currently active in the movement.

April 30, 2006

Lay leaders Beth Dusman, Steve Duran

Beltane is the ancient Celtic festival of spring. We celebrate new life everywhere, as the signs of spring grow around us. Traditionally this is the festival of the Maypole dance and the Beltane fire.

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May 7, 2006

Of A Feather
Rev. George E Blair III

"What we have in common is that we are all limping to some degree or another." Rev. Gwen Langdoc Buehrens is an Episcopal priest married to the past president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. In a brief essay, she describes what UUs and Episcopalians need to understand about each other. Today we examine whether UUs are as uunique (sic) as we think we are!

May 14, 2006

A Mother's Day Flower Communion
Rev. George E Blair III

In 1923, a former Czechoslovakian Baptist preacher established the flower communion in the Unitarian Church he established in Czechoslovakia on June 4, 1923. It became an annual event until he was executed by the Nazis in the Dachau concentration camp in 1942. Today -- the history and celebration of this service.
Please bring a flower or two with you to share.

May 21, 2006

Annuals, Biennials, and Perennials
Rev. George Blair III

What kind of flower is the Unitarian Universalist Movement? And what kind of stupid lame question is that? Consider the lilies of the field ...   and other parables worth pondering.
Annual Congregational Meeting after the service.

May 28, 2006

Insight Meditation
Guest speaker Ruth Sperber

Insight Meditation is a simple and direct practice that employs the moment-to-moment investigation of the mind/body process through calm and focused awareness.

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June 4, 2006

How are the Children?
UUCSJS R.E. Children

A special service is planned by the children and teachers in religious education classes. At UUCSJS we recognize the children as a valued part of our community. Come enjoy the spirit and joyful energy of the children as they lead us in honoring our connection to the Earth and considering what the future may hold for their children. We will also have Teacher Appreciation and the revealing of the Mystery Pals. Come join in the fun and see how our children are doing!

June 11, 2006

Coming of Age
Rev. George E Blair III and DRE Ginni Stadler

Our minister and our Director of Religious Education present the Coming of Age program to the community as we bond with our young adults in commitment to them over the course of their religious journey. What is "coming of age" and when will we do it?

June 18, 2006

The Fatherhood Blues
Rev. George E Blair III

Why would someone become a father on purpose? Is fatherhood more than an empty wallet and a ride to soccer practice? And what exactly is the difference between a father and just "mom's boyfriend"?

June 25, 2006

Making Good Relationships Better
Lay leaders Drs. Barbara and Harold Clark

Every relationship -- no matter how good it is -- has the potential to be even better, and we can learn to use this potential to enhance all of our relationships. We invite congregation members to share in some participatory exercises, as they are willing and able.

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July 2, 2006

The First Amendment and the First Commandment
Rev. George E Blair III

The first amendment to the United States Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." First commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Is there a conflict between the free exercise clause and the no law respecting clause -- and can we be a faithful religious person without making "Americanism" our religion?

July 9, 2006

God in a Box
Rev. Nancy Dean, Unitarian Society of Mill Creek, Delaware

Many religions teach that they have the only way to find God, or grace, or salvation, or goodness. This sermon is a challenge to the idea that any one person or group can put God in a box.

July 16, 2006

Welcome to America: Now Speak English
Rev. George E Blair III

How hospitable are we to immigrants? Why are we currently obsessed with the immigration issue, as if immigration (including illegal immigration) was something new? How does the Judeo-Christian tradition treat the problem of immigration?

July 23, 2006

Do You Think – or Do You Believe?
Guest Speaker Dr. Ali Wassil

The faithful in most of the world's religions believe they are adhering to the "word of God." More secular persons challenge the "infallible" claims of faith, arguing that much of it is "myth and delusion." Dr. Wassil will discuss both faith and reason, and the lives and views of eminent advocates of each. Do we have to choose one or the other--or can we strike an ingenious balance and live with both?

July 30, 2006

Fishers of Men: Go Literal or Go Figure
Lay leader Jack Miller

An entertaining look at Biblical figurative language.

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August 6, 2006

The Gospel of Judas
Rev. George E Blair III

Recently, the National Geographic Society revealed to the general public a startling find: a second century gospel attributed to Judas Iscariot. Come learn about the bizarre history of this Coptic document and what it reveals about primitive Christianity.

August 13, 2006

Singing the Journey Around the World
Lay leader and Music Director Barbara Miller

(Postponed from July 30) A glance at our new hymnal supplement reveals a diversity of musical styles and cultural sources. These include Ghana, South Africa, the Taize Community in France, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Hungary, and South Africa. We will travel around the world in song, and even sing some songs in English!

August 20, 2006

The Rehabilitation of Saint Paul
Rev. George E Blair III

Every conservative Christian's favortite, the bane of liberal Christianity, St. Paul has had a cranky, sexist, elitist, judgmental image for centuries. Why St. Paul is not as bad as he seems, and why we should get him as a guest speaker sometime, should he return from the dead (as his boss did).

August 27, 2006

What is Co-Housing?
Guest Speakers Debbie Dehghan and Steve Welzer

Debbie and Steve will discuss Concord Village, a proposed intergenerational cohousing community to be located near Kennett Square, PA.

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September 3, 2006

An Overview of the Koran
Rev. George E Blair III

Five years ago, on September 11, a group of radical Muslims decided to take innocent life in the name of jihad, or Muslim "holy war." They claimed justification in their holy book, the Koran. Certainly the Koran has a reputation for militarism. But does the Koran justify September 11?

September 10, 2006

Gathering of the Waters
Lay Leader Marci Rea

This is a service of homecoming and restarting as well as an annual ritual of blending of water, representing our separate experiences, into a miniature ocean, representing our community. You may bring a small container of water, symbolic of your life in the last 12 months, and mix it with others as we begin another year.

September 17, 2006

Rosh Hashanah/Ramadan
Rev. George E Blair III

Two holy seasons for two warring peoples. What are the roots of these two holidays, which coincide this year, and how can the message of Jewish and Islamic tradition lead to reconciliation instead of warfare?

September 24, 2006

If Religion is Made Up, Then Why are People Religious??
Guest minister Rev. John T. Crestwell, Jr

What if you discovered that all that you knew and believed was made up? What if you found out that your religion was full of myth and symbolism -- would you still go to church? Would you still be religious or sink into a deep depression? There are many who know their religion is made up, yet they remain faithful practitioners. Why would anyone do that? Come hear more...

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October 1, 2006

Yom Kippur: the Idea of Community Atonement
Rev. George E Blair III

What does it mean to atone for one's "sins" as a community? What can we do as individuals within a community to help right the wrongs we have committed, and those of our ancestors? How can our volunteer service lead to a stronger community and a better world?

October 8, 2006

Is It UU To Share Our UU Faith?
Guest Speaker Robert Johnsen

Our speaker will certainly conclude that it is very important for us UU’s to be spreading our faith, and will suggest ways for us to do this. It was Bob Johnsen, in his position of Director for Growth and Extension for the Joseph Priestly District, who initiated our formation in June of 1998. Following the service, he will share some of his stories as to our actual founding and his recollections of our earliest months.

October 15, 2006

October's Bright Blue Weather
Guest Speaker Alan Oliver, lay Buddhist teacher

Buddhist teachings are often revealed by everyday experience in the moment. So why not discover these teachings in the essence of October through an old fashioned poem and paean (hymn of praise) about the glories of this month of transition?

October 22, 2006

Intuition vs “Truthiness”: Should You Believe Everything You Think?
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Recent research has suggested that we have a two-tiered mind, one quick and intuitive, the other slow and thoughtful. Though this structure helps us survive long enough to reproduce, how does it affect the way we seek truth? To this end, we will explore the latest research in Experimental Psychology, name-drop Malcolm Gladwell, and delve into the canon of Stephen Colbert.

October 29, 2006

Book Club groupies

What can we do to change the world? Members of the UUCSJS Book Discussion Group lead a presentation of their August selection, Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. We’ll relate Gladwell's theory that ideas, behaviors and new products move through a population much like a disease. Can we utilize this theory to provoke change in our own community?

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November 5, 2006

From Fundamentalism to Freedom
Guest speaker Marc Adams

Mr. Adams will share some of his life's story, read from his new book (lost)Found, as well as talk about HeartStrong, Inc., the non-profit organization he co-founded for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students of religious educational institutions.
Note: on November 5, Mr Adams was ill.
The substituted service was by Rev Richard Speck, the Director of the Joseph Priestly District (our uua district). He spoke on the meaning of "Welcoming Congregations."
Marc Adams is scheduled to speak on December 6 at 7 pm, at Stockton College A-wing lecture hall.

November 12, 2006

Thoughts for a Healthy Congregation
Guest Speaker Paula Maiorano

We UU's sing the hymn "We Would Be One," yet the dance of closeness and distance in human relationships plays out in our lives and in congregations in multiple ways -- some good, others not. The key is to be conscious and intentional. It takes understanding of system dynamics to do that. This morning's service offers an introduction to a healthy approach.

November 19, 2006

Rev. George E Blair III

What it means to be grateful for what we have, without feeling either guilty or superior to those who have far less. Gratitude as a spiritual value.

November 26, 2006

Guided Imagery: Scenes from the Subconscious
Lay speaker Jack Miller

Guided imagery refers to a number of different techniques, including visualization, metaphor and storytelling, fantasy and game playing, and dream interpretation. It has been used for stress reduction, self-awareness and self-healing. Jack will help us understand and explore our subconscious through one or more of these techniques.
This replaces the originally scheduled service on Coming of Age, which has been postponed to a later date.

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December 3, 2006

Sneak Attacks
Rev. George E Blair III

It is said that all is fair in love and war, but really fairness doesn't seem to apply in either. How deception and misdirection is woven into the fabric of our being, so that we no longer notice or care when we lie or are lied to.

December 10, 2006

What Did God Say - To Different People?
Guest Speaker Ali Wassil Ph.D., D.Litt.

A philosopher of wide world knowledge and experiences, Dr. Wassil will return to discuss what millions of people believe God said to Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, and Buddha.

December 17, 2006 - 11:00 am

December Dilemma
Rev. George E Blair III

A UU teenager is giving a school assignment to explain how her family and religious community observe the December Holidays. What's a UU to do? Our annual Holiday Pageant.
Location: Lions Center for the Blind, Absecon

December 24, 2006
4:00 pm

A Traditional Christmas Service
Rev. George E Blair III

How is Christmas celebrated in King's Chapel, the oldest Unitarian Congregation in America. Traditional songs, prayers and, well, the sermon is never quite traditional is it?
Location: Good Shepherd Methodist, Northfield

December 31, 2006

Domestic Violence and the Holidays
Rev. George E Blair III

The Kwanzaa Controversy and ramifications for UUs and their families.

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January 2, 2005

Power is How You Get Things Done
Guest Minister Rev. Dave Hunter

Used properly, power is a wonderful thing. Drawing on sources from Starhawk to Rosa Parks to Woody Allen, Dave will discuss five forms of power.

January 9, 2005

The Morality of Global Climate Change
Guest speaker Chad A. Tolman

The GA this year chose the Threat of Global Warming as the study and action issue for UUA congregations for 2004-2006. Dr. Tolman, who has followed the issue for 15 years, will explain why climate change is not only a threat to human societies and natural ecosystems, but is also a profound moral and religious issue, on which we must act. A video, We Are All Smith Islanders, and discussion will follow the service.

January 16, 2005

John the Baptist and His Star Pupil
Rev. George E Blair III

Essene influence on two great Jewish leaders in the first century, and what we can learn from this ancient Jewish philosophy.

January 23, 2005

The Sermon on the Mount
Rev. George E Blair III

The great sermon as recounted by Matthew has its counterpart in Luke's Sermon on the Plain. What is the humanist philosophy of Jesus, and how does it differ from what has become Christian orthodoxy? A heretic's viewpoint.

January 30, 2005

The Zen of Oz
Rev. George E Blair III

What can we learn about Zen Buddhism from the movie The Wizard of Oz? Is there really “no place like home?” An intergenerational service.

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February 6, 2005

The Annual Sex Sermon
Rev. George E Blair III

What's new in sex and religion--particularly in the current political climate in the United States? How does birth control, sex education, condom distribution, homosexuality, bisexuality, polyamory and stem-cell research play in a "conservative" climate?

February 13, 2005

Looking Back and Forward
Rev. George E Blair III

The fifth anniversary of Charter Sunday. Where have we come from, and where are we going?

February 20, 2005

“The Barn’s Burned Down… Now I Can See the Moon”
Lay leader Barbara Reynolds and others

This Zen saying is the inspiration for a service about overcoming adversity. Barbara Reynolds and others will share personal stories of finding blessings in life's challenges.

February 27, 2005

Lay leader Marsha Hannah

“There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure.” One of our longtime members will share her views on the idea of reincarnation.

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March 6, 2005

Lent, Ramadan, and Yom Kippur: The Religious Tradition of Fasting
Rev. George E Blair III

Why fast? What is the religious implication of starving oneself?
Why don't Protestants or UU's fast?

March 13, 2005

Miracles in the Religious Tradition
Rev. George E Blair III

All major religions have miracles -- events that seem to defy the laws of nature -- the unexpected deus ex machina that saves the day of the religious saint. What do we make of miracles in the modern age?

March 20, 2005

A Home for U and U
Rev. George E Blair III and Lay leader Karen York

Think of it as Day One of our Capital Campaign. How can we make our commitment “real”? What words and deeds can we use to make our dreams bear fruit? Why do we need a “bricks and mortar” home – isn’t it enough just to have each other? Let us look inward and outward to plan for our future.

March 27, 2005

The Western Tradition Easter
Rev. George E Blair III

What are the traditions surrounding this day in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Calendar? Why is it today? What does Easter mean for us today?

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April 3, 2005

Evolving Our Ecological Spiritualities
Guest speaker Connie Barlow

Connie, along with her husband Michael Dowd, are itinerant evangelists of the epic of evolution as a sacred story which bridges science and religion, providing common ground for spiritual seekers. Just as ecology has informed our reverence for Earth, evolution’s teachings of time can deepen our spiritual connection with the Cosmos.

April 10, 2005

Children, Teens, and Grief
Guest speaker Pat Smith, LCSW

How can we be there for our children and the children in our community after they experience the death of a loved one? Pat is a co-director of The Alcove, a non-profit organization that offers grief support to children and their families. Often the parent(s) in such a situation, overwhelmed with grief themselves, can’t offer the emotional support that children need during this difficult time.

April 17, 2005

First Amendment: Separation of Church and State
Guest speaker Janice Rael

Americans United for Separation of Church and State seeks to keep our govern-ment out of the clutches of those who would promote or allow state-sponsored religion. What is happening in today’s America to threaten the secular nature of our society? Why is secular better? Janice will have a question and answer session after the service.

April 24, 2005

The Other Palm Sunday (Eastern Orthodox)
Rev. George E Blair III

Why are we celebrating Palm Sunday after Easter? The history of Palm Sunday and the Eastern Orthodox church. We also celebrate Passover this day with our Jewish friends.

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May 1, 2005 -- 11:00 am !!!

Orthodox Easter, Beltane and Birding Sunday
Rev. George E Blair III

Easter in the Eastern Orthodox and Pagan Traditions. Why is the Western Easter so early, and the Eastern Easter so late? What is the connection in the religious mind between resurrection, spring, and flying in the sky? This service will be at the usual place, but begin at 11:00 a.m. instead of 10:00.

May 8, 2005

Strengthening Our Partnership in Building a Liberal Faith
Guest speaker Richard Speck, Joseph Priestley District Executive

The UUCSJS is on the verge of new space and a new vision for growing Unitarian Universalism in southern New Jersey. How can the JPD and the UUA help spread the liberal gospel in this region? What are the ways that we can partner with you in achieving your expanded vision? Rev. Speck will discuss this with you as he comes to visit and see the great progress we have made.

May 15, 2005

Habemus Papam
Rev. George E Blair III

Never before and never again will we have a former member of the Hitler Youth and an army deserter elected Pope. Why does it matter to us, and the world, about the proclivities of Pope Benedict XVI -- what good and what bad can come from this papacy?

May 22, 2005

What is Truth?
Rev. George E Blair III

An inquiry into the nature of truth, and why, for the most part, we don't want to be confused with the facts. Why sociology is not common sense.

May 29, 2005

The Dedication of Peace Memorials
Rev. George E Blair III

War memorials abound, but periods of peace, understanding, and prosperity barely make themselves into our national consciousness. Lest we forget the brothers Berrigan...

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June 5, 2005

Only Siths Think in Absolutes
Rev. George E Blair III

Enter "Star Wars" and "anti-Bush" into your search engine and you’ll get over 18,600 hits. The impossibility of this led me to watch the movie and decide to present this sermon on the religious and political values of the Star Wars movies. May the force be with you.

June 12, 2005

Embryonic Warfare: the Stem Cell Debate
Rev. George E Blair III

Why has this issue become such a hot one, and why are the opponents of embryonic stem cell research largely limited to George W. Bush, a few evangelical Christians, the Roman Catholic Church, and one UU minister? An examination of the ethics -- not the science -- of this issue.

June 19, 2005

Our Fathers
Coordinated by Jack Miller

At this Intergenerational Service we will share stories, poems, pictures, songs, and anecdotes about our fathers. A potluck lunch and outdoor games will follow the service.

June 26, 2005

Reclaiming the Western Meditative Tradition
Lay leader Ben Luoma

Ben will be discussing the meditative and tradition of the western world from Aristotle to the Medieval Christian Mystics. He will talk about these traditions and practices, and why they’ve received so little popular attention of late compared to the meditative traditions of Asia.

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July 3, 2005

Naturalistic Ethics: Do We Need God to be Good?
Lay leader Michael Cluff

Many assume that morality can only come from the explicit laws of a deity. Is it possible for a naturalistic, mechanistic universe to compel humans to be moral? Or does such a universe mean that anything goes?

July 10, 2005

Things That Go ‘Bump’ in the Night
Rev. George E Blair III

Spiritism, Kirlian photography, ghosts, hauntings and such like.

July 17, 2005

Why Some People are Lucky, and Some are Not
Rev. George E Blair III

This service will attempt to explain how my wife has won two vacation trips and the only thing I won was a lifetime with her. Actually, it seems like I got the better part of the deal. Does Providence smile more widely on some lives than others?

July 24, 2005

Magic: As You See It, So It Is
Guest speaker Marcus Evans Bluefeather

Be careful what you wish for, as wishes do come true. Marcus will talk about Manitou, an Algonquin term meaning Great Spirit, which combines the meanings of Spirit, mystery, magic, and generally is applied to the manifestation of some form of power that is not readily understood or coming from elsewhere.

July 31, 2005

Tai Chi, Qigong, and Spirituality
Lay leader Stacy Hagan

What do these ancient martial arts have to do with spirituality? What health benefits are gained from practice of these forms? We will explore these questions with verbal explanation and hands-on demonstration.

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August 7, 2005

Plato's Phaedo: The case for eternal life
Rev. George E Blair III

Socrates is not afraid to die, because his philosophical investigations have convinced him that the soul is immortal. Early Christians integrated Platonic ideas about the soul along with Jewish ideas of resurrection of the body, and came up with their own ideas of eternal life. What heaven might be like.

August 14, 2005

Justice: The Republic of Plato
Rev. George E Blair III

Everyone thinks Justice is a good thing, but people don't agree on what it is. How Plato helped clarify things, or would have, but nobody reads him.

August 21, 2005

Voices of Vision
Lay leader Barbara Miller, UUCSJS Music Director

Barbara Miller, our Music Director, recently attended the UU Musicians Network (UUMN) retreat in Denver. These gatherings always re-energize her and she will share her inspiration and discoveries with us, which include Sufi and Hebrew choral music, chanting, and music for healing.

August 28, 2005

Yoga: Another Path
Lay leader Ginni Stadler

Ginni will present a narrative on the origins of Yoga, its many aspects and its intended purpose. The service will conclude with a Yoga meditation practice.

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September 4, 2005

Judaism, Christianity, Islam: a view from their sacred texts
Guest Speaker Dr. Ali Wassil

Dr. Wassil, an author, world traveler, and philosopher, has been called An International Ambassador of Peace by Carl Sandburg and currently resides in Atlantic City. He will include related thoughts from Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Parker, and has agreed to a question/answer time at the conclusion.

September 11, 2005

Revenge and Its Alternatives
Rev. George E Blair III

What is the purpose and impulse for revenge all about? How is it enshrined and controlled in law and most of Western Philosophy, and why is it repudiated by Jesus and the Buddha? What would Jesus do? What would the Buddha advise?

September 18, 2005

The Volunteer State
Rev. George E Blair III

For the first time in eight years, I returned to the church of my shortest ministry in Belvidere, Tennessee. What I found there surprise me, and gave me new hope and insight in the power of the laity and consensus building for the good of the church. This Sunday, let's discover what each of us can do to help.

September 25, 2005

Walking the Walk towards Zero
Lay leader Jon Luoma

The current UUA study and action issue is global warming. A guest sermon by Dr. Chad Tolman in January of this year brought us the moral context, and the pending tragedy for the world’s poor, of this phenomenon. So if it’s time for us to take action as individuals or a group, what can we actually do? (Hint: Lots!)

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October 2, 2005

Calvin and the Theology of Repressed Sexuality
Rev. George E Blair III

Jean Calvin of France had a secret -- he was in love with another man. How Jean Calvin became John Calvin, and created a bleak theology profoundly pessimistic about the nature of sinful humanity. What happens to us when we suppress who we are. Current Catholic debate.

October 9, 2005

Stranger in a Strange Land
Guest speaker Kim Mason,
JPD Director for Young Adult and Campus Ministry

Why is Young Adult Campus Ministry important for the growth of Unitarian Universalism?
How can we build intergenerational congregations?

October 16, 2005

No One Ever Expects the Spanish Inquisition
Rev. George E Blair III

The history of Christian persecution as a paradigm for persecution of all types. What happens when we earnestly and truly believe that we must torture and kill people in order to save our society.

October 23, 2005

Weaving a Rainbow
Guest speaker Vince Grimm,
CEO of the non-profit group GABLES of Cape May County

Vince will discuss his life as a gay activist and the role of GABLES in protecting the human dignity and human rights of lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Learn how we can work with the area's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community to better promote the second principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

October 30, 2005

Samhain: A Festival of Endings and Transformation
Guest minister Rev. Amara Willey

October 31, or Samhain, is the new year in the turning of the Wheel of the Year for earth-based religions, and is the oldest celebration in history. It's a time to remember the losses of the previous year, a time to mourn, and a time to welcome the new beginnings that the changing year will bring.

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November 6, 2005

All Saints
Rev. George E Blair III

Do you have a memory of someone special that you'd like to share with us? The saints aren't just the official list, you know. This Sunday we will remember the saints and angels who have touched our lives, and are no longer with us in body.

November 13, 2005

All Sinners
Rev. George E Blair III

"That's why I call myself a witch now: the Wicked Witch of the West, if you want the full glory of it. As long as people are going to call you a lunatic anyway, why not get the benefit of it? It liberates you from convention.” An examination of wickedness -- are we born wicked, do we become wicked, or do we have wickedness thrust upon us? With liberal reference to Wicked -- the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, and songs from the Broadway play.

November 20, 2005

Perspectives on the Holocaust from a Child Survivor
Guest speaker Fred Spiegel

Fred Spiegel, a child survivor of the Holocaust, was born in Germany, escaped to Holland after Kristallnacht to live with relatives, then sent to three camps, including the infamous Bergen-Belsen. Now retired, Fred lectures at schools and colleges about his experiences as a child during the Holocaust.

November 27, 2005

The Advent Tradition: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
Rev. George E Blair III

What does it mean to be a Christian and not believe that Jesus was God incarnate?
Should I be a Jesusian (Kathie Benner's coinage) or a Jesuit (Society of Jesus) instead?
Why Advent, and why do I drag it in every December to a mostly nonchristian congregation? Just stubborn, I guess.

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December 4, 2005

Waiting for Godot
Rev. George E Blair III

“But that is not the question. What we are doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.”
The classic play by Samuel Becket asks the serious advent question:
“Who are we waiting for?” Will Messiah come this year?

December 11, 2005

The December Dilemma
Rev. George E Blair III

Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims suffer "Santaclaustrophobia" as the season deepens -- from holiday decorations in stores to decorated streets to music on the radio. What's a UU to do? How can we celebrate the December holidays with any integrity?

December 18, 2005

Yule Pageant

Our annual holiday pageant focuses this time on the pagan holiday of Yule, celebrated at the time of the Winter Solstice. Come join an Icelandic family as they and the fairies, elves, trolls and dwarves await the annual coming of Thor in his goat-drawn sleigh.

December 25, 2005


CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE. Join us in a service of lessons and carols. The Christmas Story as related by Matthew, Luke, Muhammad, James, pseudo-Matthew and the Sibylline Oracles. Traditional Christmas carols sung a cappella!

January 1, 2006


NEW YEAR'S DAY SERVICE. One hour later, so you can sleep off the night before. Start the year off right with a service of new beginnings!

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January 4, 2004

Adventures in India and Burma
Lay speaker Ben Luoma

Come listen to Ben's experiences studying Buddhism in India and avoiding getting into trouble in Burma. Hear stories about crazy rickshaw drivers and Tibetan Lamas listening to Jerry Garcia. Know nothing about Myanmar? Learn about this country of contrasts, and how he dealt with the incessant chanting which made it hard to sleep, what food loaded with MSG does to you, how the State Law and Order Restoration Council threw him out.

January 11, 2004

Discussion of Long Range Plan
Led by congregational members

A review and discussion of our Long Range Plan will be the topic today. This will include programs, membership growth, finances, and our new property and building.

January 18, 2004

A Futuristic Fantasy
Rev. George E. Blair III

If present trends continue (and they never will) the future may look bleak. This Sunday, the pastor tries to imagine a future of the peaceable kingdom -- a happy rather than a catastrophic future. How could it happen, and what would it look like?

January 25, 2004

Roe vs Wade
Rev. George E. Blair III

Will the abortion controversy ever be settled? This Sunday will be a controversial, even painful examination of the topic that continues to divide our nation. Who decides? How does one decide? A risky discussion/talk-back will follow.

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February 1, 2004

Pagan Celebration
Rev. George E. Blair III

The middle of winter is upon us, and we turn to the traditions of pagans to celebrate and inspire us to muddle on until spring.

February 8, 2004

UU Principles of Star Trek
Lay speaker Bill Headington

How Gene Roddenberry incorporated UU principles into his well-loved science fiction TV series.

February 15, 2004

A Valentine
Rev. George E. Blair III

Sex, sex, sex -- that's all he wants to talk about. Worshiping with our bodies and souls -- a beginner's guide to spiritual intimacy.

February 22, 2004

Truth and Truthfulness
Guest speaker Jonathan Black

What is truth, and why do we need to be truthful?

February 29, 2004

Leap Year!
Rev. George E. Blair III

Who needs an extra day in February?

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March 7, 2004

Making Stone Soup
Lay leader Karen York

In March members of the congregation are asked to reflect on the future growth and prosperity of UUCSJS. Karen York will speak about the UUCSJS community and how by working together we can make Stone Soup.

March 14, 2004

Forget St Paddy; All Hail Brigid, the Sublime One
Lay speaker Beth Dusman

Beth, one of UUCSJS's Pagan members, instructs us in the Celtic mysteries and how they've shaped the Irish culture. There will also be Irish music and poetry.

March 21, 2004

Unitarian Universalist Monasticism
Guest speaker Michael Masters

What in the world is Unitarian Universalist Monasticism? What might a Unitarian Universalist contemplative community be like, and why would anyone even consider such a thing, never mind trying to create one? Michael Masters explains his answers to these questions, the factors that led to their arising in the first place and what he has done about it. Michael is assistant director of the Murray Grove Retreat and Conference Center in Lanoka Harbor NJ.

March 28, 2004

A Sermon on Peace
Rev. George E. Blair III

What is peace? Is it the absence of war? An exploration of the Arabic term 'salaam' and the Hebrew term 'shalom'. Can we have peace without justice? Why would we want it?

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April 4, 2004

Palm Sunday - American troops march on Baghdad
Rev. George E Blair III

Mission accomplished? How quickly "hosanna" can turn into "crucify him!" as America ponders a post-Saddam future.

April 11, 2004

Rev. George E Blair III

How can we snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? How can we keep going when doom is staring us in the face? An exploration of the meaning of hope.

April 18, 2004

Led by Barbara Miller (and accomplices)

Is it selective perception, the law of averages playing itself out? Or is it, as Carl Jung believed, a glimpse into the underlying order of the universe? We'll share our stories and try to answer this question for ourselves.

April 25, 2004

Doubting Thomas
Rev. George E Blair III

The role of doubt in religious faith. Can we celebrate doubt without making a fetish of it? Does doubt indicate lack of faith or depth of faith? And what is faith anyway?

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May 2, 2004

Unitarian Thought
Lay speaker Carl Benner

Carl Benner will lead a forum on Unitarian thought about God, the bible, and religion in general. Any and all Unitarians in the audience will be invited to express their ideas to share with the rest of us.

May 9, 2004

The Death Penalty
Rev. George E Blair III

What are the attitudes of the major religious faiths regarding the ultimate penalty? How does the Christian experience (whose major figure died from capital punishment) affect modern attitudes towards the death penalty? Why have the faith positions of many Christian and Jewish sects towards this issue had so little effect on the beliefs of their membership, or in shaping public policy?

May 16, 2004

The Birds and the Bees
Rev. George E Blair III

What's wrong with these people? Why can't they just choose? While bisexuality does double your chances of getting a date on Saturday night, is it consistent with religious values? What of monogamy, polygamy, and other variants? What taboos are socially valuable and which ones should be chucked?

May 23, 2004

Where am I Going, and Why am I in this Handbasket?
Rev. George E Blair III

Are we all just a part of the plan or is the universe meaningless chaos? Are those the only alternatives? A search for truth and meaning.

May 30, 2004

Ministering to Each Other
Lay speaker Kathie Benner

In conjunction with our professional minister, George Blair, we all share a commitment to each other in pastoral care. Let's consider the ways we do this, how we are doing, and what new thoughts some of us might have about pastoral care.

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June 6, 2004

Simple Things Are Holy
Guest speakers Rev. Ginny Going and Tom Henderson

At a time when we are being assaulted from every angle by people urging us to go faster and take in more information ­-- fast companies, faster internet access, multitasking --­ we need to find ways to slow down, enjoy our surroundings, reflect, be with friends, play, create; in short, to rediscover the sacredness of simple things.

June 13, 2004

Native American Medicine
Guest speaker Marcus Bluefeather Evans

The "Medicine" that has chosen Marcus is of a nature that enables him to teach the magical parts of the human experience in classes and seminars. He uses his training as a hypnotherapist to enable his clients and students to reach the Native American "Dreamtime". From these levels comes healing, changes in behavior, astral projection, and "knowing".

June 20, 2004

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
Rev. George E Blair III

Moral discernment is difficult in an age without universally recognized standards. This Sunday, we'll take a bite of the apple, and see how we can tell right from wrong.

June 27, 2004

The Tree of Life
Rev. George E Blair III

There was a second tree in that garden, the tree whose fruit was not forbidden. The Tree of Life held the gift of immortality. How does our mortality shape our lives, and what would it mean to live forever?

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July 4, 2004

What is Patriotism?
Discussion service

This informal service will consist of a roundtable discussion on patriotism. With all the flag-waving and "I'm more patriotic than thou" fervor of late, we might well ask, what is true patriotism? Bring quotes, examples, or reflections to share with the group.

July 11, 2004

Muslims in the West
Guest speaker Ibrahim Naboulsi

We will learn about Islam as it is practiced in the West.

July 18, 2004

The Merchant of Venice
Rev. George E Blair III

Shakespeare's comedy about a greedy Jew who gets his just reward is still powerful as a voice for anti-semitism or for tolerance and understanding. How much does this play inform the differences in Jewish and Christian perceptions of the world? How much did Shakespeare get Shylock right, and how much did he wrong him - and Jews throughout history?

July 25, 2004

The DaVinci Code
Rev. George E Blair III

Now that everyone's stopped talking about this book, it's time for a sermon on the topic. Read it, if you can, before this Sunday, and be prepared for an evaluation of the sacred feminine and the mythical and historical claims made in this work of fiction.

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August 1, 2004

Dealing With Stupid People
Rev. George E Blair III

Stupid people are other people who can't see the world sensibly like we do. How can we suffer fools gladly? Why is stupidity so difficult to endure, and how can we get the chips off our own shoulders?

August 8, 2004

Spinning the Interdependent Web
Lay leader Jon Luoma

Our own Jon Luoma will tackle the task of bringing fresh insights to our 7th principle. Since he has been writing on environmental topics for many years and has traveled far and wide researching same, he might have something new to say about declining red knots, mycorrhizal symbiosis, or bug-repellent clothing.

August 15, 2004

Religion and Mental Health
Rev. George E Blair III

Several modern studies have demonstrated that people who are religious have fewer mental health problems. If that is so, why are so many of the great religious leaders pathological nut jobs? A history of looney-tunes who have shaped religious history.

August 22, 2004

What is Unitarian Universalism anyway???
Lay leader Debbie Duncan

Some members of the "Articulating your UU Faith" class will share their insights into how to respond to the questions of befuddled onlookers and neophytes. More importantly, see how we can describe our faith in words to our own satisfaction.

August 29, 2004

Reverence for Life in an Age of Biotechnology
Lay leader Karen York

The science of genetics has brought new promise for medicine as well as some new dilemmas. How do we stand up for humanity and honor life in an age where genetic manipulation of life has become increasingly commonplace?

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September 5, 2004

Reflections on General Assembly 2004
Lay leaders Paul Utts and Marsha Hannah

General Assembly this year was a family affair, with several members of the Utts family meeting up in Long Beach California to participate in the UUA's annual convention. Come find out what Paul and Marsha have to say about this annual orgy of UUism.

September 12, 2004

Intergenerational Gathering of the Waters
Rev. George E Blair III

Join us for our sixth annual water service. This is the time when we come together with our reminiscences of the year past and look forward to a "new" year. Bring a small sample of your actual or symbolic water to blend in a bowl of memories and hope for the future.

September 19, 2004

The DaVinci Code
Rev. George E Blair III

(postponed from July 25) Now that everyone's stopped talking about this book, it's time for a sermon on the topic. Read it, if you can, before this Sunday, and be prepared for an evaluation of the sacred feminine and the mythical and historical claims made in this work of fiction.

September 26, 2004

E Unum Pluribus ("out of one, many")
Rev. Blair and lay leaders Carole Repici, Betsy Searight

Why do human beings gather in intentional communities? What does this community mean to us as individuals? What do we as individuals mean to our community?

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October 3, 2004

Why Ronald Wilson Reagan was Not the Anti-Christ
Rev. George E Blair III

Millions of Americans understand the book of Revelation to be a literal prediction of the "end times" of the world. Dozens of generations of Christians throughout the ages have thought the prophecies were coming true in their own lifetimes. An examination of the "prophecies" of Revelation, and how they do and don't apply to the modern political climate.

October 10, 2004

It's the Economy, Stupid
Rev. George E Blair III

Most of the writings of the prophets and most of the parables of Jesus had an economic subtext. Marxism is one form of Christian heresy -- the economic and political structure of the Book of Acts made normative by driving out God and substituting a Hegelian notion of the world soul of history. How our religious tradition informs our economic values -- all in anticipation of the coming elections.

October 17, 2004

Calculating Our Ecological Footprint
Lay speaker Cherry Mauk

This will be an interactive and intergenerational service based on activities designed by the staff of Population Connection, an organization with educational programs about the ecological impact of population growth and ethical concerns about resource distribution.

October 24, 2004

Why People of Conscience Belong in Jail
Rev. George E Blair III

Join the Rev. Blair in his prison cell, as he explores the issue of why so many people of conscience choose jail, while we are safe on the outside admiring them. Nelson Mandela, St. Paul, Michael Servetus, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, Daniel and Philip Berrigan... us?

October 31, 2004

Why We are Not Catholics
Rev. George E Blair III

And presumably why John Kerry is. A respectful look at the differences between Catholic and Protestant mindset and values. Over thirty percent of UUs are recovering Catholics (as opposed to about four percent of us from Jewish backgrounds, for example). Why? How are we catholic, and how are we not? A reformation sunday special -- come prepared to sing "A Mighty Fortress."

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November 7, 2004

Honoring Women Composers
Guest speaker Elaine Held

Can you name 5 classical women composers? If you cannot you are not alone. Most people have no idea that women have been successful composers since the beginning of musical time. One of the first women to make a name for herself was Hildegard von Bingen who lived in the 11th century and composed hundreds of chants and musical plays. Still, where is the female Mozart or Beethoven or Chopin? How is it we don't know the names of women composers let alone hear their music? Elaine will talk about the history of women composers and play some of the beautiful music that should... no, demands to be heard!

November 14, 2004

Election Post-Mortem
Rev. George E Blair III

Provided that we know by this date how the election came out, what does the electoral mood say about the future direction of our nation? How will our spiritual and religious health be affected by national and local election results? How will our lives change?

November 21, 2004

Who's a Conscientious Objector?
Guest speaker J.E. McNeil

Having represented conscientious objectors, military tax resistors, and demonstrators in many court cases, Ms McNeil is an attorney with a nearly 30- year history in the peace movement. She will talk about the potential of a draft, the militarism in our schools, how to determine of you are a conscientious objector, and how to document your belief for the selective service.

November 28, 2004

Unplugging the Christmas Machine
Lay speaker Denise Rodriguez

Nostalgic for a simpler Christmas? Denise Rodriguez will present a mini-workshop designed to help us rise above the commercialism of the holidays and design a meaningful and joyful celebration for ourselves and our families. Based on the book Unplug the Christmas Machine by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli.

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December 5, 2004

Advent in the Holy Land
Rev. George E Blair III

Jet-lagged and fatigued but spiritually awakened, Rev. Blair returns from his trip to Israel and Egypt with an epiphany or two. Perhaps.

December 12, 2004

If I Ever Forget You, Jerusalem
Rev. George E Blair III

Impressions of the holy city, battleground and sacred to three monotheistic faiths. Why Jerusalem matters.

December 19, 2004

Would You Like to Hold the Baby?
Rev. George E Blair III

We will meet at the Newman Center at 4:00 pm. Come share in our intergenerational Christmas play put on by children and grownups dressed as innkeepers, shepherds, and cows. Includes singing of favorite Christmas songs by the warm glow of candlelight.

December 26, 2004

The Book of Questions, Redux
Lay leader Mariann Davis

With all the post-election dialog of whose moral values are currently ascendant in this country of ours, isn't it time to pin down some of this? Join us in this informal service where we consider questions that help us express and define our individual outlooks on morality, ethics, life. Some old-timers may remember doing this with Denise Rodriguez as our leader in December 2001.

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