Listen to sermons

Audio for more recent services will be available soon. 

Please visit Rev. Theresa Novak's blog for texts of her recent services:

Click the play button to listen. To download on a PC, right-click on the title and select "save link as." To download on a Mac, ctrl-click on the title and select "download linked file." For audio copies of the whole service, or for services older that August 2009, pease contact the BFUU office, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

January 18: Still Dreaming
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

On this Martin Luther King Sunday, we will explore the power of having a vision of a better world.  Does the arc of the universe really bend toward justice?  What can we do to make it so?


January 11: A Family Church
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

People often say that BFUU is like a family to them. What does that mean? How is functioning "like a family" a good thing for a religious community and how can it sometimes hold us back from really fulfilling our mission in the wider world?


March 30: Confessions of a Mystical, Humanistically-Inclined Agnostic Theist with Pagan Tendencies and a Love for Jesus

Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader

The title of this sermon is inspired by the diversity of beliefs one finds within a UU congregation—and sometimes even within one individual Unitarian Universalist! Joy will explore her personal theology, and invites you to do the same.

March 23: Expressions in Spring

Sunday Services Committee Members and Others


To further open to the wonderful array of creative talent in our Fellowship, let us join together to explore how spring inspires our community in words, music, and art.

March 16: St. Patrick's Service: Celts, Snakes, Godessess and St. Patrick

Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader


The sermon will explore some of the legends and myths surrounding the saint known as Patrick (who was actually not Irish!), as well as some of the more ancient pagan practices that Patrick is said to have supplanted with Christianity.

March 9: Born Again, Deity Free: In Search of the Transcendent Self
Moses Channels, Worship Leader

Can we become more Christ-like, without deifying Christ? Can we become more loving, caring, forgiving, tolerant and helpful with each other without deifying Jesus? Do we need to believe in any deific figure, or bearded sovereign in the heavens, in order to become more virtuous? If not, then what moral principles are we to follow: what makes right and wrong; and what then is our purpose in being here on earth? Do we have a destiny to fulfill? Using the writings of Emerson, Channing and others, I will explore the possibility of spiritual renewal, rebirth, or personal renaissance, without reliance on deity.

March 2: The Third Principle
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader


The Third Principle of our faith calls upon us to encourage one another to spiritual growth. What is “spiritual growth,” and how can we pursue it for ourselves and encourage it in our congregations?

February 23: The Gift of Anger
Pam Gehrke, Worship Leader

Reflecting on the good, bad and ugly of this most heated of emotions, we consider what makes anger a "gift." How can we best deal with its destructive potential in ourselves and others? 

February 9: Exploring Transylvania: The Seat of Unitarianism
Jo Green, Worship Leader

How much do we know about our Unitarian family in Transylvania? Are we different or the same? In her travels, Jo Green, a Starr King student on scholarship in Transylvania, explores the roots of our faith tradition, our similarities and differences in practices and conventions and the knowledge we can gain from our Unitarian family in the country of our beginnings. 


February 2: Evolution Sunday: All That Has Given Us Birth 
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader


Amazingly, there are still those who question the scientific theory of evolution on religious grounds. But to many modern scientists and theologians alike, science and religion are not enemies. Many religious organizations set aside a Sunday in February annually to celebrate Evolution Sunday, as an answer to those who continue to denounce the theory of evolution. This service will celebrate the contributions of Charles Darwin, born 205 years ago on February 12, and explore the interface of the scientific and religious world-views. 

During this service, we will also welcome several new people into membership at BFUU.

January 26: On The Sacrament of Being
Wesley Morrison-Sloat, Worship Leader


Please bring your favorite books or your e-reader to decorate the altar as we explore the spiritual tradition of sacred texts and reading for education, enlightenment and joy.


January 19: Martin Luther King Day Service: Following a Dream
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader


This service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King will focus on issues of racial justice and the phenomenon of white privilege, woven together with African American poetry and personal experience.

January 12: Journey to Wholeness Through Service
Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, Worship Leader

Using examples from her life experience, the BFUU Community and what she has learned along the way, Lauren will explore the idea of working with our challenges by being of service to others – and ultimately ourselves.

January 5: Your One Wild and Precious Life

Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

It’s a New Year—a time for resolutions, perhaps, on how to live the rest of our lives most fruitfully. The service and sermon will explore the issue of time in our lives and how we might live more fully in this new year and beyond.  

December 29: Auld Lang Syne Poetry Service
Frances Hillyard, Worship Leader 

Featuring poetry from our community. Have you written a poem you'd like to share about beloved people and place or experiences of your past? If you'd like to present at this service, please contact Frances. There will be time for congregants to offer quotes of a few lines on this theme as well.

December 22: Intergenerational Winter Solstice Service
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

On this Sunday nearest the Winter Solstice, we will acknowledge various traditions that celebrate light in the darkest time—traditions as varied as Hanukkah and Christmas, Hopi and Chinese, Kwanzaa and Yule.


December 15: Jesus the Sage
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

The sermon will explore some of the recent scholarship concerning Jesus, whose birth so many celebrate this month. Whoa was this remarkable figure, beneath the legends? How much of what is attributed to him did he really say?

December 8: What You've Told Me About Your Hopes and Concerns 

Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 


In October and November our interim minister conducted several small meetings to explore current issues at BFUU and to envision the future of the congregation. For this service, she will reflect back some of what you have told her in these meetings and in other venues, and offer commentary from an ”outsider’s” perspective.

December 1: A Right Jolly Old Elf

Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

He’s coming to town. Have you been good? Did St. Nicholas really exist? The sermon will explore various myths and stories surrounding this Christian saint, whose feast day is celebrated on December 6th in many parts of Europe.

November 24: Intergenerational Thanksgiving
Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader

Gratitude is a deep feeling that can help us get through even the toughest challenges of life. Join us for a celebration of the attitude of gratitude that the holiday of Thanksgiving helps us to cultivate. Children will be present for the entire service. 

November 10: Alas for the Daisies
Rev. Joy Atkinson, Worship Leader 

The autumn leaves are turning. Nothing lasts forever in this universe. Changes, little and big deaths and losses, are inevitable facts of life. And yet, as the poet Wallace Stevens wrote, “death is the mother of beauty.” What would we really bother to do if we had an infinite amount of time to do it in? How can we cope with, and even learn to treasure, the changes and losses in our lives, and the stark fact of our own mortality.

November 3: Connecting with the Spirit of Place
Katrina Martin, worship leader and Wesley Morrison-Sloat, worship associate

How do you connect with the unique spirit of the places in your life? How can places get you closer to Spirit? Ecopsychologist and BFUU Office Coordinator Katrina Martin will reflect on the spiritual relationship to place and how we can cultivate a deeper connection with places including physical structures, land, and water. The service will include songs and readings about the special connection we can create with place.

October 27: Intergenerational Service: Death, Remembrance and the Meeting of Two Worlds
El Dia de los Muertos/Halloween Service
Rev. Joy Atkinson, worship leader 

We will explore themes of the Day of the Dead and Halloween holidays. El Dia de los Muertos is a combination of the Christian All Souls Day and indigenous traditions, a holiday widely celebrated in Central and South America. 

October 20: Let's Talk About Sex
Erica Ward, worship leader 

This service will explore the value of talking about sex and sexuality, particularly in the context of religious community. Erica Ward, a seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry, will draw on her experience completing the Unitarian Universalist "About Your Sexuality" program as a teenager, implementing the Unitarian Universalist / United Church of Christ "Our Whole Lives" comprehensive sex education program for youth as a Director of Religious Education, and teaching sex education to African youth using the "Our Whole Lives" program as a resource as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.

October 13: Association Sunday: UU's, the Good News and the "E" Word
Rev. Joy Atkinson, worship leader and Frances Hillyard, worship associate

We will celebrate the larger Unitarian Universalist movement and explore how we can sustain and strengthen Unitarian Universalism. What is the “E” word, and why does it make some Unitarian Universalists so uncomfortable?

October 6: Annual Blessing of the Animals
Lauren Renee Hotchkiss and Seon O'Neill, worship associates

Please come to this kid-friendly event in which will honor animals currently in our lives, and remember those who have crossed over the Rainbow bridge. Following the service there will be an animal blessing in the courtyard between the Hall and RE BuildingFor those not wishing to bring an animal, please do bring pictures or a memento for the altar, or share virtual pictures from your cell phones after the service.

September 29: Continuing the Ministry of Religious Exploration  
Michelle Mueller, worship leader

Our new DRE Michelle will share the vision she has for our Lifespan Learning program at BFUU. Michelle sees Lifespan Learning and children's RE as ministries of the Fellowship than can benefit us all....from Our Whole Livescomprehensive sexuality education to Tuesdays Together with Live Oak! Hear her introduce herself, her ministry and plans for RE and Lifespan Learning!

September 15: The Miracle of Forgiveness: A High Holy Days Service 
Rev. Joy Atkinson, preaching

The High Holy Days of Judaism ended on Saturday with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This time in the Jewish calendar calls upon observers to take stock of their lives over the past year and actively seek and offer forgiveness. How can the miracle of forgiveness offer a healing balm in our own lives?

September 8: It Begins with Water: BFUU Homecoming/Water Communion 
Rev. Joy Atkinson, worship leader and Michelle Mueller, worship associate

In this intergenerational service, the BFUU congregation will come together to launch a new “church year” with the traditional Water Communion service, celebrated in many UU congregations. Please bring some water from, or symbolic of, your summer journeys and activities to add to the communal bowl.

September 1: Labor, Women & Race: The Struggle Continues
Gene Herman, Virginia Hollins-Davidson and Susan Singh, worship coordinators

This is a Social Justice Committee Labor Day service. The labor movement of the United States includes men and women of all races who have been involved in the development of just and equitable hours, wages and benefits. From the deliverance of the Negro freed from the bonds of slavery to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union to the United Farm Workers…all of these workers have joined in union solidarity. This service focuses on a valiant few in the ongoing struggle and the working class in America.

August 25: Hellos and Goodbyes at BFUU
Rev. Joy Atkinson and Cecilia Owen, worship leaders; Fellowship Band, Deborah Hamouris, musician

In this service, we will look back, honor the year’s transitions, and say goodbye to our summer ministry team. We will also look ahead, saying hello to Rev. Joy Atkinson and welcoming her interim ministry at BFUU. Rev. Joy Atkinson, our new interim minister, will participate in this service.

August 18: Honoring Endings, Welcoming Beginnings
Cecilia Owen, preaching; Virginia Hollins-Davidson, worship associate; Richard Nelson Hall, pianist

What is there we need to honor, to release, and to let go of, in order to make space for the new? In this
service, we will say goodbye to our summer services together and make room for a new season in the life of our community this fall. "It’s celebration time, come on!"

August 11: The Maia Project: Bringing Clean Water to the Children of Palestine
Ziad Abbas, preaching

The Maia Project is one of many programs conducted by MECA, the Middle East Children’s Alliance. Ziad Abbas, program manager for cross-cultural programs at MECA, is a Palestinian refugee from Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank. He is the cofounder of the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh. Ziad is also a filmmaker, journalist, and educator who has worked with Palestinian and international media and helped create several documentary films.

August 4: Composers and Songwriters in Service
Frances Hillyard , worship coordinator; Holly Harwood, worship associate; music by Fellowship band

It is said that artistic expression reflects the need to make sense of our lives and the world around us. Come hear BFUU Community musicians and songwriters speak about what they are attempting to express in their music, how it relates to their spiritual beliefs, what they are trying to bring to the Fellowship, and what they receive. Songs and compositions will also be shared.

July 28: UU Credos in Poetry, Presented by BFUU Poets
Frances Hillyard , worship coordinator; Holly Harwood, worship associate; music by Fellowship band

Poets of BFUU will be invited to read original works that deal with aspects of their personal beliefs as UUs. There will be a chance for everyone to exercise thoughtful creativity and self expression. To be one of our presenters, contact Frances Hillyard at 510-528-4996 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

July 21: Theology of the Next Generation
Wesley Morrison-Sloat, worship leader

Beyond PowerPoint and electric guitars, come hear what young adults actually think about religion, theology, and church. This will be an intergenerational service.

July 14: What We Hold Dear
Pam Norton and Cecilia Owen, worship leaders

This service is a celebration of our "credos," or what we hold dear. Please bring something to the service that represents an important value or belief to place on the altar. This service will incorporate song and dance, so be ready to boogie!

July 7: The Common Good: Common to Whom and Good For What?
Adam Dyer, preaching

Often we hear that things are done for the “common good,” but what does that really mean if we haven't explored what our commonalities are? How do liberal assumptions of commonality stifle broader perceptions of what may be common and what may be good?  In a world where the role of religion and faith are continuing to evolve, how can we look to our own faith to evolve with this changing world?

June 30: Pride
Wesley Morrison-Sloat, Elinor Roberts, Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, and Cecilia Owen, worship leaders

As an affirming congregation, BFUU has been a supporter of the queer community for many years. On this day of Pride, come join with those who are holding a spiritual center here at BFUU as others take to the streets in San Francisco. LGBT members of the congregation will speak on their experiences, and the Fellowship band and choir will offer music of support and celebration.

June 23: Summer Solstice

Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, worship leader

Members of the Fellowship presented a ritual in celebration of the Summer Solstice and our relationship with the sun, the season and the earth.

June 16: Stages of Recovery From Mental Health Difficulties
Rev. Barbara Meyers

Recently the psychiatrist Mark Ragins has proposed that there are several identifiable stages in recovery of one’s mental health, similar in concept to the stages of death and dying identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. A reflection on these concepts and how they might be helpful in our congregation and in our lives.

June 9: What I Know...
Rev. Ben Meyers

Rev. Ben’s last Sunday in the pulpit as our Consulting Minister.

June 2: Appreciation Sunday and Flower Communion
Rev. Ben Meyers

There is much to be thankful for and many people to thank, acknowledge and show our appreciation for! Come join us for lots of “Thanks, Goodbyes, and Blessings." This was Caitlin Cotter’s last day with us after three years of service as our Director of Religious Exploration, and an opportunity to thank Matthew McHale for his two years as our Office Administrator, and our wonderful Ministerial Intern, Cecilia Owen. We also acknowledged our RE children and teachers and our outgoing board members.

May 26: Memorial Day: “When Death Comes Near”
Rev. Ben Meyers

A service about death and how we respond to it.

May 12: Mother’s Day: “Love and Other Four-Letter Words: A Vocabulary Primer”
Rev. Ben Meyers

Mother’s Day was originally founded as a day of peace, yet, so much of our world today focuses on conflict and strife, making the language of peace difficult to express or hand down to future generations. Today I will revel in short words with great meaning! May they bring you peace and joy.


May 5: Founder’s Sunday: “It Takes a Congregation…”
Rev. Ben Meyers, preaching

We will celebrate this Beloved ‘Village’ by looking a bit at the past, but at the future more.


April 28: A Journey Inward
Rev. Adél Nagy, visiting Balázs Scholar, preaching

“The only journey is a journey within.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
Most of us like to travel and experience new things -- we seek variety. There is also a kind of inward journey we can take, experiencing new parts of ourselves and our connection to Life. Whether we are humanist, atheist, spiritual or other, we experience an inner life that sometimes surprises us. Come hear about this journey from a Transylvanian Unitarian perspective.

Rev. Adél Nagy is this year’s Balázs Scholar at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley. She presently serves as the minister in the village of Recsenyéd, Transylvania, Romania (population 130, of whom 98% are Unitarian).


March 24: “Salvation by Temptation?
Rev. Ben Meyers

This may seem an unlikely sermon title to find in a Unitarian Universalist service. Raised a Baptist, I was indoctrinated to think some very specific things about these two religious constructs incompatible in the context I have suggested. Both words are seldom heard in a liberal religious setting. They are words that are “loaded” with negative meaning for many people. On this, the Sunday before Passover and one week before Easter, I wish to revisit and even reclaim these bothersome terms because they are words that hold spiritual significance for this Holiday period AND our lives. They are words, I believe, worth revisiting in a liberal light.

March 17: “TBD: The Nature of Change
Rev. Ben Meyers


March 10: “Hope, Joy & Faith
Rev. Earl Koteen

Rev. Earl, our Community/Environmental Justice minister, will lead this service about the journey of hope, joy, and faith that is environmental justice work.


March 3: “Marriage Rites, Equal Rights and the Religious Rights’ ‘Wrongs’
Rev. Ben Meyers

Many of the arguments against marriage equality from the religious "right" claim to be Biblically-based. But, are these arguments religiously or even culturally sound? By what authority? This service will offer both a critical eye and a spiritual interpretation to help us in our respectful and rightful engagement to counter these arguments and to support the rights of all people to marry, "Wherever Love Is." All are worthy, all are welcome.


February 24: “Celebrating Our Elders”: The Forest Sings
Mindy Mull

This service will be dedicated to honoring the elders of the BFUU community, by celebrating together in their stories, songs and talents.


February 17: “Unitarian Presidents (and Some ‘Also-Rans’)
Rev. Ben Meyers

There have been either four or five Unitarian Presidents, depending on the status accorded Jefferson. (Like Lincoln, Jefferson never joined a church.) Our faith has produced its share of heroes and heroines, men and women whose names will be remembered as long as history is written and read and recounted by us. This is a sermon on ‘faith and freedom’ to celebrate Presidents’ Day.


February 10: "Standing on the Side of Love" Intergenerational Service: "Hand in Hand" / "Reflection"
Caitlin S. Cotter, Director of Religious Exploration - "Hand in Hand"

Wesley Morrison-Sloat - "Standing on the Side of Love" Reflection

Join us as we re-frame Valentine's Day as Standing on the Side of Love Day, a day for justice and solidarity. The kids will stay with us for this service about love and equality.


February 3: “Spaces Between: A Theology of Rainbows
Caitlin S. Cotter

This Sunday we take on the gender binary, and the question of who we are as men, as women, and as those somewhere in between. Who we love and who we are rarely fits into tidy boxes. What does this mean for us, as Unitarian Universalists standing on the side of love?


January 27: “Sowing Seeds of Justice and Growing Community
Matthew McHale

This Sunday we consider our relationship to one another and to the environment which sustains all life on this planet. In this age of climate change, ecological destruction, and economic disparity how can we create systems and communities that align with our liberal religious values—promoting justice and honoring the interconnected web of existence?

Matthew McHale is a candidate for Unitarian Universalist Ministry and an active supporter of anti-opression and ecological justice work. He is also BFUU's office administrator. This service will draw on his experience with Occupy the Farm.

January 20: “Abraham, Martin and Barack”: MLK Sunday
Rev. Ben Meyers

This Sunday before the second inauguration of President Obama, we honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and reflect on one of our greatest Presidents.

January 13: “Belong
Cecilica Owen, Intern Minister

What does it mean to belong to a spiritual community in terms of our spiritual growth and well-being? This is an excellent service to bring a friend!
Ingathering of New Members during the service. If you are ready to join this beloved community, please contact Rev. Ben This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


December 30: "Poems: Social Justice from the Heart"
Holly Harwood, Michael Tucker, Wattie Taylor, Seon O'Neill, Gene Herman, Deena Andrews, Marianne Robinson, & Frances Hillyard, Poets


December 23: “A Prayer for Peace
Rev. Ben Meyers

A service on peace and how we make it.


December 9: “From iChurch or Beloved Community?
Rev. Ben Meyers

Our culture is steeped in individualism, but at what cost to the common good, the beloved community, and the future of Unitarian Universalism? Can we articulate a more universal message in service to something larger than the individual?

December 2: “What Are You Waiting For?”: Looking to the Fig Tree / “Room to Wait
Cecilia Owen, Intern Minister - "Looking to the Fig Tree"

Rev. Ben Meyers - "Room to Wait"

“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the Christian tradition, this is the first Sunday in Advent, a period of waiting and preparation. In this season of hurry embellished in a culture of unbridled speed, it seems a good question to ask: “What are you waiting for?”


November 11: “E Pluribus Unum?
Rev. Ben Meyers - preaching, Tom McAninley - worship coordinator

A post-election sermon and a recognition of Veteran’s Day.


November 4: “The Benefit of Doubt”
Rev. Ben Meyers - preaching, Lauren Renee Hotchkiss - worship coordinator

“Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the attendant of truth.” --Robert T. Weston
Some people never reach the stage of doubt in religious development, some seem to be born with it. The tendency to doubt religiously, despite its unconventional nature, is a legitimate and important stage of faith development. (The Buddha insisted that an attitude of doubt is necessary.) Today we will explore and honor doubt as “an attendant of truth” and the servant of discovery, maturation, and—faith.


October 21: The Practices We Keep
Rev. Ben Meyers - preaching, Cecilia Owen - worship coordinator

Unitarian Universalism is a faith for our time, yet few can succinctly name its sources, principles, or practices. Today's "UUism" has been distilled through "time-tested" practices based on religious thought and spiritual actions that require a constancy of merger, fusion, adaptation and change to maintain its value and relevancy. How can such a paradox be maintained? What are some of the ways we embody these practices in our lives today? What practices will we need to adopt to move into the future? What practices sustain you?


October 14: Intergenerational Work and Regeneration: Reflections from the Field
Lena Richardson - preaching, Rev. Ben Meyers - coordinator

In this service, Lena Rebecca Richardson discusses her work in the field of intergenerational circles and relationship-building both at BFUU and beyond. She reflects on the practical and spiritual dimensions of this work, and what it has meant in her own life.

This service celebrates the publishing Stories Between Us: Oral Histories from a Countercultural Congregation, based on the BFUU Oral History Project conducted from 2009-2010.


October 7: The Hip Bone Is Connected to the Thigh Bone
Rev. Earl Koteen - preaching, Cecilia Owen - worship coordinator

We talk about the interconnected web of existence and interlocking oppressions, but once we look deeply and broadly into any injustice, we see how it is connected to others. Come join us to learn how we can address systemic injustices and give meaning to our lives and work.


Sept. 30: Sharing Stories: From Bee'more to Berkeley
Cecilia Owen, Ministerial Intern

Ministerial Intern Cecilia Owen introduces herself to the congregation on this Sunday by way of storytelling. She shares stories from her adventures away from Berkeley. Cecilia has been serving as a hospital chaplain for the last two years in the Baltimore/Washington DC area. We reflect together as a community on the stories that bring each of us to this new moment in BFUU history. What are YOUR stories and how do they bring you into the present moment?

Sept. 23: “Spiritual Center/Justice Circumference”
Rev. Ben Meyers

In these confusing and contradictory times in which we live, we are often easily discouraged or irascibly angry (or both). As Unitarian Universalists, a tiny slice of progressive religion, we wonder about our role in the great scheme of things. What is our response? Bill Moyers, Baptist minister, media guru and social prophet, once said the role of the media is to be a “public nuisance.” I believe one of our primary missions, and perhaps our unique mission as a religion, is to be a gadfly on the body politic and religious “right.” We need to have what poet Robert Frost called, a “lover’s quarrel” with our world.


September 16: Teshuvah: Turning, Returning, and Beginning Again in Love: A Service Commemorating the Jewish High Holy Days
Rev. Ben Meyers

The Jewish High Holy Days are traditionally a time for re-flecting on the year past and an opportunity to “set things right” for the coming year. The term teshuvah, or “turning,” provides us a context in which to do the difficult, but necessary, work of changing our patterns of behavior and letting go in order to move ahead.


September 2: Journey Towards Home
Caitlin S. Cotter

What Is Pilgrimage for Unitarian Universalists? Our Director of Religious Education, Caitlin S. Cotter, explores the concept of journeying in search of our sources and the physical sites of the sacred. We will consider the question of where our spiritual homes are and how we seek them.


August 12: “In Musical Service”
Lauren Renée Hotchkiss, Lisa Stein, Marty Rosman & Vic Sadot

Come hear some of the wonderful house and guest musicians that grace our services talk about their music and what they wish to bring to the Fellowship, and of course share some of their beautiful playing. There are some you might expect, but also be prepared for a few surprises. And there’s even a rumor that some musicians may play together for the first time ever.


July 29: “This I Believe”

Virginia Hollins-Davidson & Alex Tuggle

Unitarian Universalism is a creedless religion - we follow no dogma. We may be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Agnostic, or none of the above. Yet we share one faith, a faith in common values and principles, and in religious freedom. Our first principle says we affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” The Fourth Principle supports “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning,” which we do together. This Sunday new members Virginia Hollins-Davidson and Alex Tuggle share their spiritual paths and how their beliefs shape their lives today.


July 22: Poetry Service: Gratitude—Gladness for What Makes Life Good
Tom Ross, Michael Tucker, Gene Herman, Kathleen McClung, Holly Harwood, Seon O'Neill, Redwood Mary, Lauren Renee Hotchkiss, Marianne Robinson & Frances Hillyard, Poets

Today our poets explore through original works the impact on their lives of people, relationships, experiences and things that have lifted their spirits, and helped make living worthwhile.


July 8: “The Neurobiology of Enlightenment”
Jody Savage

Traveling from Carl Sagan to Joseph Campbell, from the reptile brain to the primate brain, we explore the quest for enlightenment.
Jody is member of the Live Oak UU Fellowship where she often leads worship services.


July 1: “This I Believe” Intergenerational Service
Pam Norton, Worship Leader & the Members and Friends of BFUU

In this intergenerational service, members and friends share their beliefs and how those beliefs affect the way they live. Pam Norton shares a story about Helen Keller.

June 17: “What’s a Summer For?”
Rev. Ben Meyers

This will be Rev. Ben’s last Sermon until August 19th. A reflection on the year past, what’s ahead, and the need for rest and renewal.
We will also have a recognition of Fathers’ Day during the service.


June 10: “Between a Rock and a Soft Place”
Rev. Ben Meyers

A sermon about brokenness and hope in trying times.


June 3: "There Must Be 50 Ways to Say "Thank You'"
Rev. Ben Meyers

Join us as all ages gather for a day full of gratitude for every aspect of our community- especially those individuals who serve us in the Religious Exploration program, on Sunday mornings, and who work around the year to support this congregation.

May 27: MEMORIAL DAY - “Some Myths of War”
Rev. Ben Meyers

We will explore some of the mythology that underlies the ancient human practices of warfare. Why is it that no generation, no matter how badly wounded by the ugly realities of war, is ever able to communicate its disillusioned suffering to its grandchildren? How comes it that human beings so readily, almost eagerly, construct Enemies? Is war an inevitable byproduct of human culture or, if we really wanted to bring this historical curse to an end, what might be the best ways of going about it? Come join us in worshipping, exploring, and remembering on this holiday of commemoration.


March 18: “Hardwired for Altruism”
Rev. Lucas Hergert

Some say that human beings are basically selfish. Rev. Lucas Hergert, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, begs to differ. Following recent findings in sociology and anthropology, he argues that we are actually hardwired for altruism. We need to have opportunities to care for others and to be generous.

March 11: “The Cure for ‘Humanity Fatigue?’”
Rev. Ben Meyers

Are you tired of the polarization of politics? Do you weary of the punitive path leading us to moral and social disaster? From our various political and economic perspectives, we can—indeed, must—disagree honorably about precisely how to build a just society and care for all our fellow citizens. But we must once again agree as a national people to care—consistently and compassionately—for all.


March 4: “Kickapoo Wisdom" vs. "The Precarious Western Bird’s Nest": Putting an End to the End
Fred Wahpepah, Kickapoo Elder - "Kickapoo Wisdom"

Andrew Scott, Intern Minister - "The Precarious Western Bird's Nest"

A reflection on the difference between particular forms of indigenous spirituality and the dominant western paradigm of the impending end. Is there a connection between a religious belief system, that’s been telling us for centuries that judgment day is coming, and the particular global reality that we are now witnessing? Do we have the responsibility or the power to change it? Is there somewhere else to go; or is it possible for us to return to where we are? Do we inherit the earth from our ancestors, or do we borrow it from our descendants? We will discuss possibilities for creating a more beneficial reality for the sentient beings that will inhabit the earth in coming centuries.


February 26: The Dream of the Diaspora
Rev. Zoltán Kopándi-Benczédi

“Diaspora” describes people of a common ethnicity who live away from their home community, among foreigners. In the Unitarian Church of Transylvania, the term Diaspora is used for ethnic Hungarians of the Unitarian faith, spread across a vast Romanian majority. To build community in a Diaspora, we must adopt the visionary attitude of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and have a large, but realistic dream, which speaks to the way the congregation imagines itself in the future. It is hard work, but it will be successful if done by people who believe their work is lead by God's Providence.

The Rev. Zoltán Kopándi-Benczédi is the 2011-2012 Balázs Scholar at Starr King School for the Ministry, and minister to three congregations in Transylvania. He hopes to return at the end of his scholarship year with new insights into the connection between church life and community development, particularly work done in multicultural environments.


February 19: “Not For Sale: Today’s Abolition Movement”
Rev. Ben Meyers

By conservative estimates, there are 27 million slaves in the world today. Human trafficking is, in fact, the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world, ranking close behind drug trafficking and the illegal arms trade. It is, in short, a huge and growing industry of organized crime. As people who affirm the value of freedom, justice, equity, compassion, interdependence, and the worth of every person, how are we to respond? The answer is unequivocal not only in our modern Unitarian Universalist principles, but also when we turn to our abolitionist heritage and our pride in that heritage.


February 12: “The Power of Love”
Andrew Scott, Ministerial Intern

What do we mean when we say we are acting out of love? How does love fit into our quest for social justice in the world? How can we be more gentle with ourselves, and kind to others? In this intergenerational service we explore the relationship of love to community, in our daily lives and the world in which we live.


February 5: “Unitarian Universalism: Then, Now, and Tomorrow?”
Roger Husbands and the Rev. Ben Meyers

To know where you are going, you first have to know where you’ve been. This service will look at the legacy of the Fellowship movement, where we are as a movement now, and our hopes for the future of this congregation.


January 29: “The Age of Reason” in the Era of Globalization & Occupy Wall Street: A Celebration of Tom Paine’s Birthday
Jeffrey Melcher & BFUU's Social Justice Committee

On his 275th birthday, the Social Justice Committee leads a service on the revolutionary intellectual and pamphleteer, Thomas Paine. Drawing on writings including “Common Sense,” “The Crisis Papers,” “The Rights of Man,” “The Age of Reason,” and his letters, we examine how Paine's ideas remain relevant today, particularly to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.


January 22: Love and Justice in the Heart of Berkeley
Rev. Earl Koteen

Rev. Earl Koteen, our Community Minister for Climate Justice, reflects on the history, the present, and the future of the Fellowship.  As Dylan said, "the times they are a-changin," both within and outside the Fellowship, and these words are truer today than when he wrote them.  Let us all find love, joy, and justice in this community we cherish.


January 15: Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Sunday: “When Systems Fail, Character Calls”
Rev. Ben Meyers

We celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. best when we remind ourselves of his clarion call to respond to ‘the fierce urgency of now.’  Our ‘now’ moment of economic collapse, societal change and global crisis calls us to remember and repeat the lessons in leadership which King taught.  We live in an urgent moment and must respond to the issues of social justice locally, nationally, and globally. Come and let’s inspire one another!


January 8: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been
Andrew Scott, Ministerial Intern

This is the story of how your Ministerial Intern ended up in Berkeley (of all places), and in Seminary (of all places)! It’s a story about how the class clown discerned a call to ministry. It is also a story about lunacy and perseverance, about a young man who found his mind in Thailand before losing it (again) in Colorado, and how he got to “be here, now.”


Saturday, December 24: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of “Lessons and Carols” for All Ages
Rev. Ben Meyers

A lovely service of song and story, poetry and light.


altDecember 18: “Celebrating the Light and Dark of the Season” — Intergenerational Service
Rev. Ben Meyers

For everything there is a season—a time of light and a time of darkness. With the arrival of winter’s low dark sky, communities around the world look to the miracle of light as a sign of rebirth and a source of hope. At this service celebrating the holidays of winter, we celebrate the promise of new life in ourselves and the world through both new and familiar stories and songs and by kindling the lights of the season.

Musicians: Susan Mashiyama, harp and piano, Erik Newman, flute, the BFUU Choir and Children's Choir and many others.


December 11: Living in the Present: From Genesis to Revelation to Nagarjuna
Andrew Scott, Ministerial Intern

A sermon about the shape of emptiness, and the shape of ideas.

altDecember 4: “FAQs for UUs: Answering While Standing on One Foot
Rev. Ben Meyers

What do Unitarian Universalists believe?  What is the essence of our liberal faith and spiritual grounding that compels us towards social justice and openness to religious pluralism?  How do we articulate all this….succinctly?


November 27: Sacred Stories, Sacred Communityalt
Patrice K. Curtis

Touching on the experiences of refugees and displaced people in Africa and Europe, we will explore how we can create communities of love through the act of listening deeply to the stories of each other.

Patrice has an MA in International Affairs, and post-graduate studies in complex humanitarian emergencies. She’s lived and worked in Sudan, Kenya, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Patrice is currently a student at Starr King School for the Ministry.

altNovember 20: “What Occupies You?” - A Sermon on Joy and Thanksgiving
Rev. Ben Meyers

Gratitude is often born of hardship as much as joy, for it is in hardship that we realize and appreciate what we have. Yet, what truly sustains us is dependent upon what we give our focus, time and attention: in short, it depends on what occupies us. What if we choose to focus on what is right, on what makes us happy, on what fulfills us, on what is working?

In this time in which many of us are occupying spaces in order to bring about change, let’s focus on the change we seek!

November 13: Promises Shape Our Lives and the World
Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams

As Unitarian Universalists we are bound together by covenant, not by dogma but by the promises and the stories that we share. Our promises not only bind us together in our communities but also bind us through time. Covenants act as both a container and a catalyst for living our shared values. Those values have the capacity to transform the world.

altNovember 6: Manfesting Hope
Andrew Scott, Ministerial Intern  

A sermon about a legacy of guilt, about the structure of much of western thought, and how it prevents us from imagining a new reality.  We will explore the ways in which we can begin to free ourselves from the bondage of outmoded thought, how we can conceive of new possibilities for peace, justice, and ecological harmony, when we are liberated from the prison of ideas upon which our modern reality has been constructed.  This sermon explores the underlying notions that are to this day influencing human decisions on a fundamental, yet unconscious level.

altOctober 30: “Day of the Dead” Intergenerational Service
Rev. Ben Meyers & Caitlin Cotter

In the spirit of Samhain, Halloween and Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) we invite you to gather and celebrate those who have passed before us. Rev. Ben and Caitlin offer story for the occasion

Wear festive or celebratory garments and bring an item of remembrance for an altar honoring our departed loved ones.

October 23: New Conversations About the Death Penaltyalt
Pam Gherke, M.Div., Ph.D.

Speaker Pam Gherke, made up her mind that the risk of human error makes capital punishment untenable. But what about public safety? What about victims' families? What about justice? As the campaign gets under way for a 2012 ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty in California, we lift up stories and statistics to explore some of the issue's complexities.

Pam Gehrke is a UU ministerial candidate and a graduate of Starr King School of the Ministry.

October 16: “Where Do We Come From?”alt
Rev. Ben Meyers

A whirlwind tour of Unitarian Universalist history in under two thousand words!


altOctober 9: Olympia Brown Speaks!
Carol Ann Amour

Olympia Brown (1835-1926) dedicated her life to opening doors for women. Ordained as a Universalist minister, she was the first woman to graduate from an established theological school and achieve full ministerial standing recognized by any denomination. As a young minister, she took an active role in the women's suffrage movement and lived to vote in the 1920 presidential election.

Carol Ann Amour, who became a UU in Racine, WI, where Olympia Brown was a minister, recreates the minister/activist and brings her life and work alive.

altOctober 2: Teshuvah: A Service of Forgiveness
Rev. Ben Meyers

The Jewish High Holy Days are traditionally a time for reflecting on the year past and an opportunity to “set things right” for the coming year. The term teshuvah, or ‘turning’, provides us a context in which to do the difficult, but necessary, work of changing our patterns of behavior and letting go in order to move ahead.

September 2011

September 25: Association Sunday 2011: Excellence in Ministries
Andrew Scott and Patrice Curtis

Unitarian Universalist congregations are self-governing entities whose connections to one another sometimes seem tenuous. We need Association Sundays to strengthen the bonds of common purpose. Even more importantly, we need to combine our resources in order to make Unitarian Universalism a stronger voice of liberal religious values in the world.

Special music by harpist and soprano, Susan Mashiyama.

September 18: “Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow”alt
Dr. Carrie Knowles, Ministerial Intern

In Dr. Carrie Knowles' last sermon of her ministerial internship, she looks back over the months since January and counts her blessings.

altSeptember 11: Moving Planet: Air, Land & Water
Rev. Earl Koteen, Community Minister

On Saturday, September 24, thousands will gather in San Francisco to join with activists around the world in the demand that we move from fossil fuels to cleaner and healthier transportation and land use. Rev. Earl Koteen, our Community Minister, will help us explore the depths of this movement.
September 4: Honoring the Waters Ceremony
Rev. Ben Meyers & Caitlin Cotter

This Sunday traditionally marks the beginning of a new program year for the Fellowship. It is a time to “re-gather” from our summer travels through the ritual of the “Gathering of the Waters.”

altAugust 2011

August 28: Serious Fun: Ingenious Improvisation, Money, Food, Waste, Water and Home
Carolyn North

Author, Healer, and Hunger and Sustainability Activist, Carolyn North shares a unique and thought provoking look at finding and maintaining balance in an unbalanced world.


Mistakes are an important part of lifeAugust 21: The Blessings of Imperfection and Other Lessons for Living in the Real World
Rev. Ben Meyers

The world is not a perfect place, and mistakes are inevitable. It was the great hockey player, Wayne Gretsky, who said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” (What he didn’t mention is that even if you are very, very good, you still miss 70% of the shots you do take!) I believe some of the most important lessons in life are those which come through the grace of failure.


August 7: From Hiroshima to Disarming Collaboration
Rev. Dr. John L. Young

A sermon observing the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan.

Rev. Dr. Young is a retired UU minister. He is a member of the Board of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco and Chair of the Committee on Veterans Affairs.

July 2011

July 31: Eve and the Serpentalt
Dr. Carrie Knowles, Ministerial Intern

"Eve and the Serpent," a verse play in two scenes, by Dr. Carrie Knowles, presented as a reading-in-the-round that reconsiders the myth of Adam's Fall and Eve's choice of wisdom over obedience.

altJuly 24: The Moral Injury of War
Dr. Carrie Knowles, Ministerial Intern

No man or woman returns from war without profound change both within the self and in relationship to society.  Modern warfare leaves spiritual wounds that affect the warrior and the peace-maker.  Dr. Carrie reflects on her experience of ministering to veterans and their caregivers.

July 17: Confessions of an Inactivistalt
Rev. Earl Koteen, Community Minister

Forty years have passed since the heyday of activism in the 1960s. While many, especially in Berkeley, continued their activism, others dropped out. Returning to activism, they found a different world. This service will explore reconciling with our past and acting in the present to prepare for our future.


altJuly 10: This I Believe
Carol Ann Amour and Hassaun Ali Jones-Bey

Carol Ann and Hassaun tell of their core beliefs and share some of the stories of their spiritual journeys.


July 3: Peace Is Patrioticalt
Dr. Carrie Knowles, Ministerial Intern

There was no sermon this Sunday, instead we had music and a reading as the centerpiece of the service.

June 2011

PoetryJune 26: Semi-Annual Poetry Service: “Who I Am… Reflections on Identity”
Carol Ann Amour and Frances Hillyard, and the myriad bards of BFUU!

Participants share poetry exploring experiences and values that make them who they are at this point in their spiritual journeys.

Fathers_DayJune 19: “My father walked through dooms of love”  -- E.E. Cummings
Rev. Ben Meyers, with Kevan Jenson, Hassaun Ali Jones-Bey and others.

This is a father’s day service on the foibles, fables and blessings of being (and having) fathers.

altJune 12: The Power of "Yes"
Rev. Ben Meyers

Coming together as a diverse community requires intentionality. Despite our differences and disagreements, we need to be able to say "yes" to each other. What is the mutual "yes," the mutual affirmation that brings us together as a community?

June 5: "Of Chickens, Choices and Change"
Rev. Ben Meyers

Change is the most consistent and persistent cause for stress and anxiety in our lives. Yet, Emerson said: “We wish to be settled in our lives…but it is only in our being unsettled that there is any hope for us.” The service will explore the questions: “How do we hold one another during times of anxiety and change without making each other wrong?” and, “Why DID the chicken cross the road, AGAIN?”

May 2011

standing_on_shoulders_2May 29, 2011: Memorial Sunday: “Standing on Their Shoulders”
Carol Ann Amour

We are not the product of our own efforts. There are many legends that speak of how we are shaped by those who came before us and showed us how to live out a better way. Today we take a moment to pause, reflect and remember.


May 22, 2011: BFUU, 54! UUA, 50!
Rev. Ben Meyers and Dr. Carrie Knowles
uua logo

No, this is not the score of a recent sporting event…2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the merger between the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association. It also marks the 54th anniversary of the formation of the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarians [sic]. Rev. Ben Meyers and Dr. Carrie Knowles share the pulpit and provide reflections of the 'transient and permanent' nature of our approach to spiritual growth and social action.


altMay 15, 2011: In the Beginning...
Carolyn North

Carolyn North, author of In the Beginning: Creation Myths from Around the World, will present readings of re-told myths to improvised music from several cultures, including Japan, in honor of the people and the land.


prodigal_son_4May 8, 2011: Letting the Prodigal Go
Rev. Ben Meyers

The story of the Prodigal is found in many cultures and has survived over centuries because it plays out a perennial psycho-drama that all of us know something about—and that many of us have lived, intimately. How well we understand the lessons of the story and the limits of the characters, determine whether we face our friends, family and even ourselves, with “clenched teeth, or open arms.”


May 1, 20may-day211: The Work of Our Times
Octavio Pascal Carrasco

May 1st is the international workers day. Work is not something we do only with our bodies, but with our spirits. In this time of change, we must remember what we are working towards and how we are enacting that work. Even a prayer is a working action. Let us put our spirits into our work as we attempt to move something.


APRIL 2011

classic-easter-bunnyApril 24, 2011: Intergenerational Easter: An Easter Service for All Ages
Rev. Ben Meyers with Caitlin Cotter and Dr. Carrie Knowles

In this season of rejuvenation and renewal, we gather together to celebrate the miracles of springtime and the timeless stories that remind us of rebirth in our own lives. Today we explore the origins of this holiday that celebrate joy and hope and mystery and symbolism. Do you know the origins of the Easter Egg, or why we have baskets and bunnies and flowers everywhere this time of year? Did you know that "Hot Cross buns" were originally "Gifts to the Queen of Heaven?"


seedling009April 17, 2011: Our Spirits Fed by Art, and Justice Our Daily Bread
Rev. Ben Meyers

Each year we focus on the efficacy of our Fellowship in our lives and in this community and assess how we will support its continuance and vitality as a place for "Spiritual Growth and Social Action". Today we "kick-off" our process of discernment by focusing on how these two elements of our mission make a difference in our lives. One place to begin is by asking: "What would I be/do without this community?" Special music for the occasion and stewardship materials distributed after the service. Please plan now to play a role in the future health and wholeness of BFUU.


April 10, 2011: Musical Missions of Peace
Rev. Ben Meyers and Musical Missions of Peace (Cameron Powers and Kristina Sophia)

Rev. Ben Meyers has invited the talented and inspiring duo of Cameron Powers and Kristina Sophia to present with him a musical service on peace.

Peter and Kristina travel the Middle East and the Americas as the "Musical Missions of Peace". They are world musicians bringing music from Egypt, Greece, Peru, Iraq, Mexico, Syria and more.They are frequent guests in UU churches around the world.


April 3, 2011: We Are Good Enough for God!
Rev. Erika Demeter, Guest Minister
- Transylvanian Unitarian Minister and Scholar

rev erica

In Acts, 10:1-2, 9-15, 34 of the Bible, Peter has a vision where he refuses to eat the food offered to him by God, believing it to be unclean. This symbolizes Peter's prejudice against human beings different from himself. This morning we will reflect on the concept of prejudice, a human attitude that still exists in so many of our communities. Like Peter’s vision, the message of today’s sermon is that only God has the right to judge us, and He/She always says, “We Are Good Enough for God!”

The Rev. Erika Demeter is minister to congregations in Erdőszentgyörgy, Gyulakuta and Havadtő, Transylvania. While spending the 2010-2011 academic year in Berkeley, where her husband Rev. Levente Lázár is the Balázs Scholar at Starr King School, she is studying pastoral counseling at the Graduate Theological Union. She hopes to continue her counseling studies upon returning to Transylvania.


MARCH 2011

March 27, 2011: Ordinary Miracles
Rev. Ben Meyersordinary-miracle

Things we come across in our everyday lives give meaning and beauty to our existence (if we notice.) They lie all about us and they come to us from the forces that are beyond you and I. This sermon is a less-than-subtle reminder of the incredible gifts all around us which inspire joy, awe, and wonder. Come be inspired by your presence with others!


invisible_manMarch 20, 2011: How to Be Invisible
Dr. Carrie Knowles

Dr. Carrie Knowles' sermon considers the ways we screen out of our awareness people who are differently abled, or other perceptions that challenge us. Dr. Carrie Knowles, M. Div., our ministerial intern at BFUU, graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry this year. Her advanced degrees are also in psychology and law. Her work for many years as a psychotherapist and teacher led her to reflect often on our consciousness of injury--of the body, mind and spirit--in ourselves and others.

March 13, 2011: A Theology of Doubt
Rev. Ben Meyers

“Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the attendant of truth.”--Robert T. Weston. Some people never reach the stage of doubt in religious development, some seem to be born with it. Religious doubt, despite its unconventional nature, is a legitimate and important stage of spiritual development. It comes when the mind is well-enough developed to ask questions, to live with those questions, and to grow into their answers. Today we will explore and honor Doubt as “an attendant of truth” and the servant of self-discovery and spiritual maturation.


eat_pray_love_xlg-500x500March 6, 2011: Eat Pray Love
Rev. Larry Jay

We will celebrate the pleasures of food and the joys of sharing meals. We will also focus on how our personal food choices impact people around the world, our social justice values and our own quality of life here in Berkeley. This topic is a UUA congregational study/action issue for 2008-2012.



February 27, 2011: The Chalice and The Flame
Rev. Ben Meyers

A symbol is a visible sign of something invisible. It is often an object or image that creates cultural significance and the capacity to unite, excite, or inspire. The Flaming Chalice, within two concentric circles, has emerged as the symbol of American Unitarian Universalism in this century. The origins of this image which are manifold, historical and, perhaps apocryphal, tell the story of our religious journey as a denomination and can be used to represent our current goals, hopes, and aspirations.



hero_2February 20, 2011: Heroes: The Qualities That Living People Bring
Dr. Carrie Knowles

What are the qualities that acknowledge someone as a hero? Several voices outline their personal take on what makes a hero.



February 13, 2011: Love Works…standing on the side of love
Rev. Ben Meyers

"Hatreds do not ever cease in this world by hating, but by love; this is an eternal truth…” --Dhammapada 1.5

Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) is our Unitarian Universalist Association's public advocacy campaign. Its purpose is to actively promote respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. As it says on the official website, “We believe no one should be dehumanized through acts of exclusion, oppression, or violence because of their identities." Period. SSL is about lifting strong religious voices proclaiming love in the face of fear and hate. Come join your voice and stand with us in promoting marriage equality amd immigrant rights with peace, justice and equity for all.

February 6, 2011: Landslides and Detours: On Changing Careersroads_web
Dr. Carrie Knowles

Carrie describes ways that we can cope when the road ahead appears blocked. She tells the story of the career changes of her own life and significant events that required change.



January 30, 2011: "Being Loyal to the Sky": A Service on Social Activismmarissahandler
Marisa Handler

Marisa Handler—writer, activist, singer-songwriter, and speaker—is the author of "Loyal to the Sky: Notes from an Activist," which Booklist called a “must read,” and which won a 2008 Nautilus Gold Award for world-changing books. Marisa speaks and sings about visionary social change all over the country.

January, 23, 2011: "Abortion: Questions of Life and Liberty"
Rev. Ben Meyers

Every argument has its own rules but one universal rule is that each side's greatest strength is the other's most obvious weakness. Abortion is an issue which, given our current, polarized political and religious climate, commands our earnest engagement and steadfast attention. On this Sunday prior to the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, I wish to (re)examine some challenges inherent in the Abortion issue.


mlk 2January 16, 2011: Annual MLK Sunday Service
Allison Cook

On this Sunday which honors the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and promotes civic service, we welcome Ms. Allison Cook, Special Project Coordinator of the Story of Stuff Project. As Special Projects Coordinator, Allison develops organizing campaigns and leads collaborative projects with faith-based and educational communities. The Story of Stuff Project amplifies public discourse on a series of environmental, social and economic concerns and facilitates community involvement in strategic efforts to build a more sustainable and just world.


January 9, 2011: Special Service to Induct Carrie Knowles as our Ministerial Intern!
Dr. Carrie Knowles and Rev. Ben Meyers

We are so happy and fortunate to formally welcome Dr. Carrie Knowles as our Intern here at BFUU. Today, Carrie will
‘officially’ begin her 9 month internship and will share the pulpit with Rev. Ben with homilies entitled “Of Interns and Infants” and “Teaching and Learning”, respectively.

janusJanuary 2, 2011: “By Another Way”
Rev. Ben Meyers

A sermon about new beginnings for a New Year. January is named for the god, Janus -- the two-faced god who looks both forward and back. Janus is the symbol for what we tend to do at the turning of the year: Look back on the year and the years of our life that have now passed, And look ahead to the unknown future that lies before us.



December 26, 2010: Sunday, December 26, 2010 10:30 am "The Healing Power of Laughter"

In this time of long nights and overcast skies, humor lifts the spirits-- and supports the immune system. Dr. Caroline (Carrie) Knowles is in our pulpit today. Music TBA.

Dr.Knowles graduates from Starr King in December, 2010. She is a clinical psychologist and has a law degree along with her masters in divinity. She will be joining the BFUU staff for 9 months as a ministerial intern. Welcome Carrie!

December 19, 2010: “” Sunday, December 19, 2010 10:30 am "The Law Of Volcanos"

the Rev. Ben Meyers, preaching. Midway through the twenty-one poem cycle of love poems by Adrienne Rich comes this line: “Every peak is a crater. This is the law of volcanoes.” As we stand poised before the mountain of expectation called Christmas, I propose we pause to consider what is at the core of our celebrations and ask ourselves, “From whence comes our power to transcend darkness into light?” The Children will linger for a while longer than usual as hymns, carols, and all things Christmas will be sung and shared before the sermon.

December 12, 2010: “” candlesSunday, December 12, 2010 10:30 am "The Lights of the Season: An Intergenerational Service"
For everything there is a season—a time to die and a time to be born. With the arrival of winter’s low dark sky, communities around the world look to the miracle of light as a sign of rebirth and a source of hope. At this service celebrating the holidays of winter, we celebrate the promise of new life through story and song and recommit ourselves to the protection of everyone’s right to his or her own radiant humanity by kindling the lights of the season. Service Leaders: Rev. Ben, Caitlin Cotter, Dolores Helman and others. Musician: Aline Prentice

Sunday, December 5, 2010 10:30 am "Becoming Expeditors - Alternative Faith-Based Voices"

The Rev. Ben Meyers is preaching. Mr. Richard Thomas will be our pianist. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” This is the great hope of liberal religion; that in the long run, goodness will prevail here on earth. It is our work as humans, especially of liberal religionists, to expedite that day.

During lunch, following the service, we will "Deck the Halls" with greenery and sing songs and carols for the season, led by our own Dan Cunningham. Bring the whole family...and a friend! May the lights in our hearts dispell the darkness of the long wintry evenings.

The BFUU adult choir will rehearse Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 before service at 9:30am.

November 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010 10:30 am "Are We What We Eat?"

We will all be thinking about food this weekend. Join us for a meditation of Ethical Eating in all of its ramifications, presented by Geri Kennedy, member of Redwood City UU. Shirley Adams is the Worship Coordinator. Brett Torres offers us music on the Steinway. Our "World Peace Diet" Book Club will help with readings and the lunch.

Our denomination has asked us to look at the question of Ethical Eating. What better day than the Sunday after Thanksgiving to explore the complex world of where our food comes from, how it gets here, who benefits, who is harmed and whether what you eat is feeding your soul along with your body. Read about the four year UUA study initiative on Ethical Eating on the UUA site. This service will certainly give you something to chew on.


Sunday, November 21, 2010 10:30 am "Songs of Gratitude, Notes of Thanks,"

Our Thanksgiving Service with Rev. Ben Meyers in the Pulpit. Harvest Communion during the service…Come celebrate with us! Special Music this morning by Betsy Rose, Aline Prentice and other friends. We will have a different kind of lunch this week. Bring a potluck dish to share and we will have a specialThanksgiving dinner together.


Sunday, November 14, 2010 10:30 am "Baseball Theology: Some Lessons From Both Sides of the Foul Lines,"

A service by the Rev. Ben Meyers and Mr. Tom McAninley.
Herbert Hoover once said: “After religion, that which has furnished the greatest impact on American life than any other institution is baseball.” The Frenchman, Jacques Barzun, offered this insight into people’s passion for the game: “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”
Now, if you are NOT a fan of baseball, this may sound like hyperbole. However, with the conclusion of the World Series upon us, we invite both skeptic and true believer, alike, to join us in this light-hearted service that looks at the deep and abiding lessons to be gleaned from the great American past time.


Sunday, November 7, 2010 10:30 am "It Takes a Congregation"

by the Rev. Ben Meyers.

My sermon title is a take off on the often-quoted expression, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ No place is that more true in our modern society than our religious institutions. It takes many people and lots of volunteer hours to put together a strong and vital religious community. Our sense of village provides a warm and nurturing environment for people of all ages to grow, to build character, to find access to an inner life, and to put their faith in actions that make a difference in the world. We have visiting artists Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halprin providing music for this service.Listen to their music on their website.

October 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010 10:30 am "Intergenerational Halloween Service: Facing Our Fears Together"

Halloween is sometimes portrayed as a 'Night of Frights'.

This service asks:

"What scares you and where have you needed to be brave in your life? Where do you need to be brave now?" Rev. Ben and several people will offer short messages on the topics of fear and courage and stories and songs will be used to help us all "face our fears" together. Nancy Palmer offers a reflection on fear, Frances Hillyard shares a poem, Wattie Taylor, Shirley Adams join Rev. Ben and Caitlin cotter in a skit. Music for the occasion, including the newly-forming BFUU Singers, and recording artist, guitarist Ronnda Cadle. Ronnda is a a solo guitar instrumentalist, visitng the Bay Area from her home on Camano Island, WA.

Sunday, October 24, 2010 10:30 am "Belonging and the Art of Living Well"

Sermon by Rev. Ben Meyers Coordinator: Shirley Adams. Musician:Dan Cunningham. Reading by Kathryn Thompson. Time For All Ages: Caitlin Cotter.
We will enjoy some familiar music on the joy of friendship.
According to Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, “Friendship has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010 10:30 am "Association Sunday"

Hear from Tom McAninley, Rev. Ben Meyers, Carrie Knowles, Jo Green and Caitlin Cotter about their connections to UUA and SKSM and why they have made them so prominent in their own lives.

Sunday, October 10, 2010 10:30 am "Reweaving the Interconnected Web"

By now you have heard of 10-10-10. So you can guess that our service this morning will be focused on climate change and that we will be participating in several 'work parties' on behalf of the environment during the afternoon. Rev. Earl Koteen, our community minister and a staff member with UULMCA, will deliver a sermon on the subject and after lunch we hope that most of our members will engage in some effort that speaks to their love for the earth. We need help staffing a "NO on 23" table at MLK Park this afternoon. And we will have a work group st the fellowship doing much needed landscape and garden maintenance.

Sunday, October 3, 2010 10:30 am "Do you Hear What I Hear?"

Carrie Knowles offers us a sermon on listening. Carrie will call on her years as a psychologist and her recent experiences as a chaplain to explore how and when to listen. Music by David Udolf.

September 2010

September 12, 2010 10:30am. Teshuvah Service.

UU interpreted celebration of the Jewish holy days of the season. Gene Herman coordinates with Rev. Ben in the pulpit.

Sunday, September 19, 2010 10:30am. Bring a Friend Sunday.

Occasionally we have a sermon that helps those new to our denomination get a better idea of our beliefs and practices. This is a great Sunday to bring a friend and stay for coffee and lunch. "Are we a People of Faith?" is the sermon by Rev. Ben Meyers. Richard Thomas will be on piano.

Sunday, September 26, 2010 10:30am."Sex, Religion & Politics: the Role of the Unconscious & Dreams in Liberal Religious Thought.

Sex, Religion & Politics: The Role of the Unconscious & Dreams in Liberal Religious Thought, by the Rev. Jeremy Taylor with Sylvia Scherzer coordinating the service. Marty Rosman is on the Steinway this Sunday. Dr. Taylor writes "Any plan of salvation (personal or collective, religious or political) that ignores the unconscious is doomed to failure. I’ll talk about the ways to acknowledge our unconscious self in our waking life action."

Jeremy Taylor, D.Min. was ordained by The Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian-Universalists congregation in 1980 - - a treasured moment in his life. He is one of four founders of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and past president. Author of 4 books on dreams and the unconscious, Jeremy has taught all around the world for more than 40 years.

August 2010
August 1, 2010 Change: Between Trapezes by Linda Laskowski, UUA Board of Trustees rep from the Pacific Central District of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
August 8, 2010, 10:30am This I Believe. Participants are Sumi Hosiko and Addie Bianchi.

revben1August 22, 2010, 10:30am. "The Glory of Uselessness" sermon by Rev. Ben Meyers, returning from a summer break. A contemplation of summer, and consideration of E.B. White's dilemma of savouring the world or saving it. Music by David Udolf. Some summer favorite songs:Summertime and Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!




August 29, 2010, 10:30am. " The Lady or the Wall". Sermon by Rev. Ben Meyers. statueofliberty

Rev. Meyers and Stan Boghosian, guest musician

Story for all ages: Statue of Liberty...Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus".
When we think of symbols and icons of the U.S., many images may come to mind. When addressing the issue of immigration rights and issues, two stand out: the Statue of Liberty and the U.S.-Mexican border wall. This sermon will be one in a series addressing the Unitarian Universalist call to “Stand on the Side of Love.”

July 2010

July 4, 2010, 10:30am "A tribute to Tom Paine" organized by Cynthia Johnson and Vic Sadot. Reading by Addie Bianchi and poem by Marianne Robinson.
Participants include Nancy Palmer offering her 'Credo' and Bill Balderson sharing his passion for working for justice in all that you do. Wattie Taylor offers us a life story about becoming "No Longer an Island".

July 18, 2010, "How Inherent is Worth?"

Chris Celata from LiveOak UU will be in the pulpit. Members of the Live Oak choir are participating in the service along with accompanist, Debra Temple. Sumi Hosiko coordinates. Chris Celata and Bonnie Richmond of Live Oak have led this service for their own congregation and some members enjoyed it so much they are coming to experience it a second time. Below is an introduction from Chris about the service: According to the first UU principle we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of every person. Does that mean that everyone, including barbaric torturing murderers has inherent worth? Then maybe I shouldn't feel so good about having it myself? Surely babies have worth, but can you forfeit what you have due to bad behavior? And how much worth do you have to have to deserve healthcare? a comfortable jail cell? What is "inherent worth" anyway? And what is it that are we all worthy of? Christine Celata, physicist, mother, and presently a member of the Live Oak Fellowship in Alameda, and Neighborhood UU Church in Pasadena, will give her thoughts on these questions.


July 25, 2010, 10:30am. This I Believe. Participants are Tom McAninley and Cecilia Owen.


June 2010

June 6, 2010 "Spiritual, But Not Religious?” Rev. Ben Meyers.

More and more people in this country identify themselves as “SBNR”(Do you?) Our UU faith tradition embraces the notion that there are truths to be discovered and respected in each of the world’s religions as well as in the tenets of science and through self-discovery. We don’t usually use textbook definitions to define our terms. This is especially true concerning the two terms in the topic, above. How do you define them? The Rev. Ben Meyers, preaching. Music by Sophie Mengele, a classical pianist, from Munich, Germany. and Chris Diggins, who is also an accomplished clarinetist.

June 13, 2010 Celebrating Community: An Intergenerational Service

Led by Rev. Ben Meyers & Beth Dana, DRE and Others. Children are invited to join with the entire congregation this Sunday to celebrate the Unitarian Universalist Flower Communion. The Flower Communion is a tradition in many UU congregations. It is a celebration of the way we come together to build world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. We will also honor our Religious Exploration teachers and children.

June 20, 2010 This I Believe with Kevan Jenson & Brett Torres.

Shirley Adams coordinates this service and Julia Haverstock reads the Story for all Ages. Kevan's homily is entitled "Uncomfortable" and promises to be an engrossing exploration of the challenges of living well. And Brett plays the music and delivers a homily entitled "A Wretch Like Me" about his religious path to Unitarian Universalism.

bfuueldersJune 27, 2010 Oral History Reflections Led by the Oral History Young Adult Interns.

Members of the interviewers/young adult team include Lauren Aczon, Katie Coffey, Moriah Cohen, Mary-Angela Fatta, Olivia Levins Holden, Maria Michaelson, Kathlyn York.

In this service, the BFUU oral history project interns will speak about this year of oral history gathering, what they have gleaned and why listening to stories matters to them. They will also speak about their own life journeys thus far and the key events that led them to seek out the realm of story and intergenerational community. We will take some time to honor the interns' contribution and recognize their ongoing connection to the Fellowship community as bearers of history.


May 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010 Guest preacher: Rachel Baker, Starr King School for the Ministry "What is so amazing about grace?" Where do we find grace in our lives? How does the concept of grace fit into Unitarian Universalism? Rachel Baker, a born-and-raised Unitarian Universalist, is in her second year of seminary at Starr King School for the Ministry.Rachel felt a pull towards parish ministry upon her return from three years of service in the Peace Corps, Guinea, West Africa. We relish the messages

from our younger voices at SKSM - come and meet one of the rising Stars at Starr King.

On May 7, 1957, the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists formally joined the American Unitarian Association. On this day we will recount some of the highlights of our rich and complex history and honor those who forged a legacy and made our presence today possible. Ingathering Ceremony of New Members and Friends to BFUU will take place during the service. The Reverend Paul Sawyer is scheduled to be with us! Coordinators: The Reverend Ben Meyers and Tom McAninley. Special music for the occasion, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010, 10:30am, "Living With Principles, Living By Heart,"

A sermon on the Principles of Unitarian Universalism, by the Rev. Ben Meyers. Unitarian Universalists are often humorously or derisively berated for "believing in ‘one god--at most'", or, "in whatever we want." The truth is far from that. This sermon is especially intended for those unfamiliar with our unique approach to spiritual growth and social action. Bring a friend! Annual Congregational Meeting to follow.


Sunday, May 23 2010, 10:30am, Generosity and Gratitude.

An interactive service led by the Rev. Ben Meyers and Kate Meyers. Studies report a correlation between physical health and generosity (Generous people tend to be happier.) Other studies show a correlation between generosity and members of religious communities (they tend to live longer, too!) What's the connection? Today we look at what this might be and explore what it might mean for us as individuals, as a growing, vibrant religious community, and for the world.

April 2010

April 4, 2010 (Easter Sunday) What Springs Forth: A Sermon On Renewing Our Community,” by the Rev. Ben Meyers, Tom McAninley, co-ordinator.

Easter and Passover can be a tricky holidays for Unitarian Universalists: our faith is deeply rooted in Christian and Jewish teachings and traditions, but many of our members do not feel a close affinity with the particulars of the resurrection and liberation stories as they are told in the Bible. Many carry wounds from encounters within traditional forms of orthodoxy and the emphasis that is placed on the violence, or the mythology, or the irrelevance of the stories to our times.
However, we are called as Unitarian Universalists to “look beneath” all religious teachings and stories for “the kernel of gold, the core truth, still there underneath the layers of dogma.” That kernel, our faith maintains, can be found within our own hearts.
We invite you to come prepared to examine where we have come and where we are going in the next phase of this radical leap of faith called the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists. Special music for the occasion. Kickoff for our Annual Stewardship renewal and drive.

April 11, 2010 “The Fate of Prophets” by the Rev. Robert Ballint, Hungarian Unitarian minister and Balazs Scholar at the Starr King School for the Ministry. Coordinator: the Rev. Ben Meyers
‘Prophethood’ is not something that you choose. It is something that arouses with elemental power and compels you to walk a path, an adventurous path that is sometimes joyful, sometimes painful, and often both. But it is YOUR WAY, and you can't do otherwise. It gives you strength, for it is coming from the SOURCE OF LIFE.

The sermon invites you to get closer to the memory of Balázs Ferenc (1901-1937), Unitarian minister of Mészkő, Transylvania (Alabaster Village). He was a man with vision, a writer, a poet, a community builder, a parent and husband, and the misunderstood prophet of the Valley of God (Aranyos Valley).

April 18, 2010 We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting ForGuest Preacher: Bill Scarvie. Worship Coordinator: the Rev. Ben Meyers

“The organizing principles of Earth Community are so closely aligned with the principles of my faith that I cannot affirm and promote one without affirming and promoting the other.” In this service we will explore the moral imperative of the Earth Community described in David Korten’s book, “The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.”

Bill Scarvie was called to bring the good news of Earth Community to Unitarian Universalists after reading David Korten’s book. Bill serves as Coordinator of Outreach for the Earth Community Initiative of David Korten's People Centered Development Forum. Bill lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his wife, Karen. They are members of the Cedars UU Church of Bainbridge Island.

April 25, 2010 Intergenerational Earth Day Celebration

March 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010: "The Heart of the Matter" Sermon by Jeff Melcher and Service coordinated by Rev. Ben Meyers

Why we do what we do: A heart journey of social justice advocacy, self discovery, and my place in the world. What drives a social justice passion? What does the work teach us about ourselves? How can a spiritual practice empower our social justice? Jeffrey Melcher speaks to his journey as UULM organizer and lessons he has learned. Jeff Melcher is an Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry Organizer and past-president of the BFUU.

Sunday, March 14, 2010: "Roots and Wings: Planting Seeds and Preening Feathers" by Rev. Ben Meyers & Beth Dana, DRE

The pioneering religious educator, Sophia Lyons Fahs, tells us "it matters what we believe." Some beliefs foster growth, self-worth, respect and gratitude, and other beliefs foster just the opposite. But, what happens when we stop fostering ANY beliefs? This service is about renewing our commitment to ‘teach our children well.' Please plan to stay for the workshop which follows...

March 21, 2010: "Belonging" by Rev. Ben Meyers. NEW MEMBER INGATHERING SERVICE

What does it mean to ‘belong?' Webster's third definition gives a clue, "to be properly or appropriately placed." Where do you belong? Where do you need to be in the world to "properly placed?" Tom McAninley, coordinator.

March 28, 2010: Lessons from the Jewish genocide by Annette Herskovits

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza live under military occupation, every aspect of their lives ruled by the Israeli army. Their land has been stolen to build homes for hostile and armed Jewish settlers. As a holocaust survivor and daughter of holocaust victims, Israel's destructive (and eventually self-destructive) path is a matter of constant interrogation and concern. I will share reflections about the need to understand how the past shapes the present, while, in the present, we make every effort to bring freedom and justice to Palestinians, and peace to both people. Service coordinated by Cynthia Johnson. guest musician is Max Ventura.

February 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010: “What (Else) Are You Missing?” by the Rev. Ben Meyers

The organizational guru, Jerold Panas writes: “Before you leave this life, you want to be able to say: ‘I was given a certain talent—and I used it all.’ What passion, talent, or desire are you longing to use this new year? What is holding you back? How would life be different if you pulled out all the stops?

Sunday, February 14, 2010: Intergenerational Service On LOVE, Coordinator: Beth Dana, Director of Religious Exploration and others

Valentine’s Day is about more than romance, greeting cards, and chocolates. This Sunday, we will celebrate love’s power to transform people and communities. What do you love? How do you show love for the world? This intergenerational service will celebrate the many different ways we love. Margaret Hamilton is sharing a Story for all Ages. Tom McAninley tells about someone he has loved.

February 21, 2010: To Savor the World, or To Save It? by Rev. Ben Meyers
EB White once wrote: "It‘s hard to know when to respond to the seductiveness of the world and when to respond to its challenges. If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. ButI arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." The sermon addresses the dilemma that both the quality of our lives and the world depends on how we plan the day.‘ Is it possible to do both?

Sunday, February 28, 2010: “Making Time: A Sermon for the Hurried, the Harried, and the Hapless” by the Rev. Ben Meyers

Ghandi is attributed with saying: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” As a world citizen in the 21st century, I often find that the “time saving solutions” presented me also exact a cost to my sense of balance. I’m perpetually accosted with a false sense of urgency. And yet, it’s so tempting to think that a “two-minute bedtime story” might actually work! Spending time in virtual reality may be productive, but real connections take patience, presence and practice. Let’s practice.


January 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010: To Know About the World by Rev. Ben Meyers

Come start the New Year off in a good way with us at BFUU. Special music and a ritual for the occasion will be offered. Our children will focus on the UU Fourth Principle by exploring the idea of searching for truth by asking questions.

January 10, 2010: True Religion? by Rev. Ben Meyers

Reflections from one who had it, lost it, and later re-discovered it to be both essential and beyond belief! An excellent service to introduce UU to your friends or family members!


January 17, 2010: Tribute to Martin Luther King by Rev. Ben Meyers

Join in making the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday a meaningful experience.

January 24, 2010: From Harvard, to Jerusalem, and Back Again by Cecilia Owen (please contact Cecilia to listen to this sermon)

What do Harvard Divinity School and Jerusalem have in common? They both have become an integral part of my divinity school experience. From riding Palestinian bus lines in Jerusalem to studying Arabic everyday at Harvard, I found myself stretching into whole new areas of knowledge and experience. How could I make sense of these new challenges within my spiritual life? How do we all embrace the multi-faceted dimensions of spiritual and multi-cultural life without becoming overwhelmed and perhaps even become the better for them?

December 2009

December 13, 2009, ‘Bring a Friend Sunday’: While Standing On One Foot: A Unitarian Universalist Catechism by Rev. Ben Meyers

What do Unitarian Universalists believe? What is the essence of our liberal faith and spiritual grounding that compels us towards social justice and openness to religious pluralism? How do we articulate all this….succinctly? As suggested by its title, this sermon will attempt to do so.

December 20, 2009: A Reason for the Season? by Rev. Ben Meyers

As we stand poised before the mountain of expectation of this winter holiday season, I propose we pause to consider what is at the core of our celebrations and ask ourselves, “From whence comes our power to transcend darkness into light?” As this is the Sunday before Christmas and the day before the Winter Solstice, we will sing and share special hymns, carols, and stories. Bring your family and friends!

November 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009: All Soul’s Sunday Service: “Myths, Legends, and the Stories That Shape Us” by Rev. Ben Meyers

Halloween—All Hallowed’s Eve—is the night preceding the feast of all the venerated dead. These are the “saints” of All Saints Day, and the Celtic Samhain, and the Mexican Dia de los Muertos: It is a time to recall and honor those who came before us. In the words of “Breaths,” a popular song, “the dead have a pact with the living.” In this service of remembrance we will explore and celebrate our connections to our dead and their impact upon us. All are invited to bring a photograph or other appropriate item to place upon an “Altar of Remembrance.” Please plan to arrive a few moments before the service for this.

Sunday, November 15, 2009: New Member Ingathering Ceremony. Sermon: “A Question of Religion: Have You Ever Thought You Might Be Wrong?” by Rev. Ben Meyers

More often than not, societal conventions convey religion as a set of beliefs which either confine, berate or even condemn human experience. Religion is usually relegated to strict doctrines that must be followed to the letter lest eternal damnation ensue. Religion could lead us to questions that aid in discerning life’s meaning but, too often, religious education is just a code word for indoctrination, unthinking and unquestioned. Unitarian Universalism offers a different approach to religion. It is an approach that sees religion as a "cradle-to-grave" experience, deepened by our doubts. This service will present some questions that religion must ask if it is to be an aid in living a full life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009: Thanksgiving Sunday and Bring a Friend Sunday. “A Grateful Heart” by Rev. Ben Meyers

There is so much to be grateful for; and this is the time of year when the abundance of our lives is noted and celebrated and shared. For we know that gratitude alone is not enough. We know that true appreciation requires giving back in some way. In order to keep our gifts pure we must develop a sense of generosity, which comes from participation in serving a cause that is greater than ourselves. This is a significant part of my understanding of why it is we gather in religious community... to make real and to live out our interconnections with life. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we pause to take stock.

Sunday, November 29, 2009: Human Rights, Human Power, and Abortion: A UU Legacy by Darcy Baxter

UU congregations are some of, if not the, most pro-choice religious communities in the USA. Roe v. Wade was born in the basement of a UU congregation. What spiritual wisdom does our tradition provide in the face of the current shortage of abortion providers and the increasing restrictions and obstacles to reproductive healthcare? What does abortion teach us about the limitations of human power?

Darcy Baxter is a 3rd generation UU and 4th year seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry. Darcy could not have done her work as an abortion counselor, a sexuality educator, or as a chaplain on a neo-natal intensive care unit without the solid moral and spiritual grounding of Unitarian Universalism.

October 2009

October 11, 2009: Association Sunday: We Are Better Together! by Rev. Ben Meyers
On this Sunday, we join with UU congregations throughout the continent for the Third Annual “Association Sunday.” This years’ campaign is to build enthusiasm for the goals of growing our faith in numbers, spirit, diversity, leadership and social witness. A special collection will be taken to support the UUA’s Growth in Diversity initiatives. Rev. Ben Meyers will deliver the sermon and there will be special music for the occasion. Children’s Religious Exploration program offered for all ages.
Tom McAninley, Coordinator

September 2009

September 6: Labors of Love: The Work That Makes Us Come Aliveby Rev. Ben Meyers
This will be Rev. Ben Meyers first ‘official’ sermon with BFUU as our new, full-time minister. Rev. Ben says, "I’ll share a little history based on the many one-on-one conversations I’ve had with many of you during the month of August…and a little prophesy, sharing my hopes and dreams for the future of this religious community."

September 13, 2009: Gathering of the Waters Ceremony with Rev. Ben Meyers and congregation

From one of my favorite Robert Frost poems comes this line: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” On this Sunday which traditionally marks the beginning of a new program year for the Fellowship, the service will be a recognition of the role the religious community plays as ‘home’ in our lives and the part we play in making a spiritual home for all those who, when they need it, may find it here. We send a special invitation to all those who may have been absent for the Summer (or longer!) All are welcome.

September 20, 2009: Answering the Call by Rev. Earl W. Koteen

Who or what is calling you? What role, what ministry do you perform at the Berkeley Fellowship? in the community outside the Fellowship? How do you see the future and your future in this beloved community? Rev. Earl reflects upon these questions and and invites you to do the same as the Fellowship moves forward in its plans for the revitalization of its ministry to the greater Berkeley community. Rev. Earl, the first minister we have ordained in many years, was our intern minister during the 06-07 congregational year and has been our organizational development consultant since Aug. 2007.

Sunday, September 27, 2009: Teshuvah: A Service of Forgiveness and Atonement by Rev. Ben Meyers

The Jewish High Holy Days are traditionally a time of reflection of the year past and an opportunity to “set things right” for the coming year. The term teshuvah, or ‘turning’, provides us a context in which to do the difficult, but necessary, work of changing our patterns of behavior and letting go in order to move ahead. A ritual recitation of the Al Chet will be a part of the service.

August 2009

August 30: Radical Hospitality: Creating Welcome by Christy Baker

As Unitarian Universalists, particularly in the diverse Bay Area, we like to think of ourselves as welcoming towards all people. Being truly hospitable is often much harder than it sounds. What does our faith and spirituality demand of us if we are to be true to our desire to be welcoming? How might we, individually and collectively, create an atmosphere of not just tolerance towards others, but of radical hospitality?

Previous sermons:

February 22, 2009: "Hope on a Tightrope" by Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald

Dr. Cornell West, inspirational, prophetic, Socratic visionary, has called us all to explore the way of hope in his recent book, Hope on a Tightrope. He asks, "What must happen for us to stay awake permanently and commit to critically engaging the public interest or expanding the common good?" Join us as we explore these and other questions of this good and dangerous man.

February 15, 2009: "Everyday Spiritual Practice" by Aline Prentice
Aline will explore how we can bring spiritual practice into our everyday lives. How can we connect with the Source of Love as fuel for our way of being and our actions in the world? What is the quality of deep listening that brings us closer to this Source? What is the Presence that carries us through the difficulties, and the paradoxical grace or kindness we can find even in the darkest of moments? How can we bring sacredness into the everyday, particularly in our close relationships, communities, organizations, and social justice work. View text

February 8: "Where Is the Stranger?" by Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald
The practice of hospitality is a grace to which all cultures devote abundant energy. What deep spiritual and ethical truths within the human lead us to such a practice? Is anyone a stranger? What are the key elements of authentic hospitality?

January 4, 2009: "Entering the Century: Paying Our Hopes Forward" by Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald
Almost a full decade into the 21st Century, it has already taken more than one wild turn. What are its true claims upon us and how can we lay down a course that celebrates spirited renewal? The shape of Unitarian Universalism in the East Bay is deeply affected by and interwoven into this new time. Rev. Kuhwald will share some of the work of the dialogue that is now taking place between leaders from the Fellowship, Starr King School for the Ministry (in Berkeley) and the UU Church of Berkeley (in Kensington).

December 21: "Winter Solstice, Sweet Solstice" Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald
Join us as we return to the source of winter celebration in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter Solstice, Sweet Solstice . . . the time of turning, turning from the nurturing and protective times of dark to the reemergence of light-lit days and the rekindling of steady summer warmth. Let us lift up the ancient and the present as we celebrate Earth's journey.

August 24, 2008: “Qualities of the Contented Heart” by Eve Decker
The Buddha taught ten qualities that when engaged in as practices can lead to profound peace and transformation in individuals and communities. Buddhist practitioner and musician Eve Decker will invite us through word, poetry, and song to consider how we can deepen these qualities in our own lives. Eve has practiced Buddhism in the Vipassana style since 1992. She is a member of the Berkeley radical folk trio Rebecca Riots, performs original “Dharma Music” for spiritual communities around the bay. She taught elementary school music and theater in the East Bay for more than 20 years.

June 22, 2008: "Navigating Towards Global Beloved Community—Reflections on True Development from Africa to America" by Sara Wolcott How might we best navigate towards Global Beloved Community? How do we realize wholeness and justice as the dominant global paradigms? What is true human development? Quaker writer and speaker Sara Wolcott connects the dots from her journey of following these questions from East Africa to Memphis, Tennessee to Oakland, California, and offers her experience, strength, and hope in this growing global movement.

May 11, 2008: "In Such a Time as This" by Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald
How are you being called to be present at this time on the Earth? How may we, in the words of the great minister/theologian/activist Howard Thurman, keep fresh before us the moments of our high resolve? In honor of his mother, and mothers everywhere, Rev. Kuhwald will deliver this sermon he offered to the students and faculty at the Starr King Chapel this year.