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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:
http://theresauuco.wordpress.com/category/sermons/


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 May 2013, pease contact the BFUU office, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

2015
March 22: Nature is My Church - Love is My Religion
Rocky Morrison, Worship Leader

A random encounter with a bumper sticker provides some provocation for reflecting on the meaning of church and religion. What does it all mean? What is important?


March 15: The Gospel Truth

Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

Did St. Patrick really drive the snakes from Ireland?  Did David write the Psalms?  What kind of conversations might we have with friends and relatives who may be Biblical literalists? A little knowledge of modern Biblical scholarship can be helpful to all of us as we try to navigate a world where too many people think they have the one and only truth.


March 8: Not Dogmatic, but not Wishy-Washy
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
Many people today say that they are spiritual but not religious. What does that mean for the future of Unitarian Universalism?  We are a big tent faith, but does that mean all of us just believe whatever we want?  What holds us together?


March 1: Using Our Anger
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
Too often, our anger gets us into trouble. Expressions of anger can shatter relationships and can make us feel bad about ourselves and others. Can we learn to better understand our anger and learn how to use it in ways that help bring about the community and the world we would like to create? I think we can. During this service, we will explore some of the tools for using our anger in more effective ways.


February 22: Poetry Service: Social Justice from the Heart
Frances Hillyard, Worship Leader
Holly Harwood, Worship Associate
We are part of a social justice community inspired in our work by the courage, wisdom, compassion and commitment of those we admire. Today you are invited to celebrate those who inspire you.

February 15: What's Love Got to Do With It?
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader
On this Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day we will explore the different types and qualities of love. What does "Love your neighbor" really mean? Can we really love our enemies? 

February 8: What is Time?
Matt Weinstein, Worship Leader
Matt Weinstein is a student at Starr King School for the Ministry preparing for Unitarian Universalist ministry. Matt is pursuing a call to interfaith university chaplaincy, and has a deep passion for contemporary philosophy and theology. In this Sunday’s service, Matt will share with us some basic philosophical and theological approaches to the seemingly simple concept of time. By the end of the hour, Matt hopes to seriously complicate your understanding of time. 

February 1: The Gender Games
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

Gender roles and rules permeate our culture. There can be a negative impact on all of us if we take those roles and rules too seriously. What does this mean for us who affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all? Why are people who do not fit the gender norms and stereotypes seen as such a threat? Why is there such violence perpetuated against them?  There is a theological explanation and a theological solution.

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?

January 4: Letting God Off Leash
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

The images we have of God affect how we live in the world, how we think of ourselves, and how we treat other people.  This is true even for people who do not believe in God.  Atheists, theists, and everyone in between might be surprised at some different ways we can imagine God.



2014
December 28:  New Year Wishes
Holly Harwood, Worship Associate


December 21: The Longest Night: a Solstice Ritual
Rev. Theresa Novak, Worship Leader

This will be an intergenerational service as we ritually leave behind some of what now longer serves us. We will embrace the dark and its healing powers.



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.  

2013
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.
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.