"History: flavor not fate"

By Rev. Dawn Fortune, Interim Minister

How we were made – the ingredients, the method, those early experiences of our lives – matter. Genetics are a science we understand. There was a monk – an Augustinian friar, to be specific – ages ago who charted the characteristics of peas in his garden, carefully cross-pollinating different strains to create predictable results. Gregor Mendel, through patient, deliberate observation and record-keeping, was able to describe for the first time the nature of hereditary genetics. His 19th Century diaries did not have language or concepts for what we know now as DNA and RNA and genomes, he observed that if you pollinated a tall pea plant with pollen from a short pea plant, that the seeds that resulted from that specific match would produce – in predictable numbers – some tall, and some short plants. Later scientists studied human hair and eye color and developed theories about dominant and recessive
genes in the matrix of hereditary traits.

....click here to read the entire sermon.


"The Power of a Sabbath as Spiritual Practice"

By Dawn Fortune, Interim Minister

Let us breathe together. (three deep breaths)

Some time ago, I sat in a little meetinghouse with box pews and a worn pine floor
and listened to a choir sing and a minister preach and we had worship. And it was
good. At one point during the service, I slipped my feet out of my sandals and let
them rest bare on the cool boards of the sanctuary floor while a gentle breeze blew
through the open window, bringing with it the murmur of Commercial Street
coming awake on a warm Sunday morning in July. I was in Provincetown,
Massachusetts. I was visiting a friend who has a small cabin and no internet access,
and it was marvelous. For the first time in weeks, perhaps even months, I felt my
internal batteries begin to recharge. I felt my shoulders relax, the muscles across
my chest uncoiled, my toes seemed to wiggle with a joy all their own. Thus is the
purpose of a Sabbath. 

....click here to read the entire sermon.


"Shedding Our Skins"

By Andy Grizzle

When my kids were young, we lived in the woods up in northern Illinois.  It was a great place to build a connection to the earth and her creatures, so I worked on explaining the behaviors of different life in the woods and clearing around us.  Which seems like a good idea until they take the exploration into their own hands.  One afternoon Jason ran back to the house all excited because while flipping over dead logs, he had found a snake – found it and brought it back with him.  He had already named it Sparky.  It was a tiny milk snake, a little baby thing, but as I reached to take it from him it reared back and struck out at me.  I jumped back, but was immediately a little embarrassed to be so frightened of such a skinny, cute child of Mother Nature.  I decided Jason could keep holding it while I explained that it was not good for one to take wild creatures as pets.  We walked down to the extreme far end of the pasture and let sparky go in the low branches of an old hickory tree, so we could “visit” sparky some time in the future, but gosh, look as we might, we never saw sparky again. 

....click here to read the entire sermon.


"A Wealth of Blessings"

By Dawn Fortune, Interim Minister

When my godfather died, my aunt and I described him in his eulogy as one of the wealthiest men we ever knew.  Many in his family were shocked to hear such an assessment, having grown up with him working long hours to provide for his wife and five children, working hard to fix up their home, doing all the work himself on nights and weekends.  He drove an old truck, and they never had a new vehicle.  All the kids got jobs as soon as they were able, because there was no money for allowances during those growing-up years.

Yet each Christmas, the house where they lived was teeming from early morning to late at night with people.  Family came from far and wide to sleep on air mattresses and couches, friends came for meals and company, and sometimes because their own homes were not safe or welcoming places to be.

....click here to read the entire sermon.


"Change and Choice"

By Dawn Fortune, Interim Minister

There is a science to change. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. At least that’s what the books all tell us.  I find the notion that there is a process to upheaval to be reassuring.
And like most simple explanations of the human experience, there is truth to it, but the whole answer is far more complex than can be adequately outlined on a motivational poster or in a paperback book in the “Self Help” section of the library.at is meant to be taken."  

....click here to read the entire sermon.

"Transformation:  A process, not an event"

By Dawn Fortune, Interim Minister

"The work of an interim is to encourage transformation.  There are a series of specific tasks involved, but I'll save that discussion for another day.  What is important today is for you to get to know a little bit about me and about what my role is.

First, I am a minister.  I perform all the typical duties of a minister: pastoral care, preaching, spiritual direction, teacher, confessor and comforter.  My role is also to encourage, empower and challenge this congregation as it moves from the grief of the loss and changes you've experienced in the past couple of years to a place where you are ready to take your next step as a congregation.

....click here to read the entire sermon.

"News to Me"

By Rev. Julie Taylor

Three years ago I preached a sermon at the Fourth Universalist Society in New York City called "Wearing a Hoodie."  It was a response to the killing of Trayvon Martin. I joined ministers all around New York preaching in hooded sweatshirts that day to remember a 17 year old African American high school student walking home to his father’s house unarmed, when he was killed in Sanford, Florida —shot to death by a white, self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. At the time I preached that sermon, Zimmerman had not been charged with any crime. Ultimately he was charged and would be found not guilty of the murder.

....click here to read the entire sermon.

"Turn and Face the Strange: Changes"

By Rev. Julie Taylor

David Bowie’s song, Changes, initially became very important to me my senior year of high school. I was on the senior film team. In my high school we had a film program; now we’re going back to the late 80s so this is not high definition, not even camcorders to VHS, I’m talking about Super 8mm film that gets developed and we spliced by hand and taped together, and to get the soundtrack right you put a tape on and started the film and hoped you caught it at the right time so it would synch. Some of you know what I’m talking about. As part of the senior film team we spent the entire year documenting our final year of high school and debuted the film at our senior banquet in the spring. The theme we chose was David Bowie’s Changes. And so for me this song always means one place, one time, it always takes me back to then.

....click here to read the entire sermon.

"Freeing the Forest Floor" 

By Rev. Krista Taves

"Peace and balance doesn't happen on its own.  It happens because human beings make strategic choices that allow us to take the place that is meant to be taken."  

....click here to read the entire sermon.

"Getting to Know Your President"

By Pat Baker

"As many of you know, I am a very shy, private person.  Since I have become the president of this congregation on very short notice, it occurred to me that it might be helpful to tell you something about myself.

I was born in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada January 7, 1943.  For those who need help with math I am 72.  When I was about 6 months old I was adopted and brought to the USA. In 1952 we moved to Clayton MO.  The only way my father got my mother to move here, was to promise that she would never have to spend a summer here, and she never did.

....click here to read the entire sermon.


"That's All I Got . . ." by Andy Grizzle 03/15/15

"The Web of Covenant" By Rev. Julie Taylor 02/15/15

"Prayer - The Kiss of the Spirit" By Rev. Krista Taves 02/08/15

"Journeying With Grace" - Rev. Krista Taves 01/25/2015

"What's Grace Got to Do With It?" - Rev. Krista Taves 01/11/2015