Archive for the 'Sermons' Category

January 24, 2021- Existence as Resistance- Rev. Jen Crow

Monday, January 25th, 2021

In a society that wants you erased, existence is resistance. In a country where laws have limited your access to resources and opportunity, to safety and basic human rights, survival is a form of resistance. In a time when lies are fed to the masses, naming the truth is resistance. As we take a collective breath this week, we will remember that for many of us, existence is an act of resistance. We will remember those who did not make it with us to this moment, and we will acknowledge the parts of ourselves that have been injured even as we have survived. Together, we will continue to heal. 


Words of Welcome- Rev. Justin Schroeder (:28)

Story for All Ages- Seth Anderson-Matz (4:11)

Interlude- We Will- Ann Reed (7:42)

Sermon- Existence as Resistance- Rev. Jen Crow (9:33)


January 17, 2021- A Dream or a Nightmare?- Rev. Justin Schroeder

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

While Dr. King fervently spoke about the “dream” of country where character mattered more than skin color, this dream has failed to materialize. More often than not, the dream is simply given lip service, while structures and practices of oppression and harm remain in place. What is required for the dream to truly come alive, for justice to roll down like waters, and peace like an ever flowing stream?

Words of Welcome- Rev. Justin Schroeder (:24)

Story for All Ages- The Castle With Three Windows- Aimee K. Bryant (3:06)

Hymn- Gather The Spirit- Aimee K. Bryant and Franco Holder (10:45)

Sermon- A Dream or a Nightmare?- Rev. Justin Schroeder (13:48)


January 10, 2021- Remembrance Sunday

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Every year, as we begin the New Year, we hold a ritual space to name and recount the losses we’ve experienced in the past year. This year, more than ever, this ritual of “Remembrance Sunday” feels so important. In 2020, grief was a constant companion. We lost jobs, business, and loved ones, many of them to Covid-19. We lost opportunities to attend graduations and weddings, memorials and family reunions. For many of us, grief wove with grief.

In this service, we will be held by beautiful music from Ellis as well as Franco Holder and violinist Travis Waymon. Lauren Wyeth, Rev. Arif Mamdani, and Rev. Justin Schroeder will lead us in story and ritual as we touch on the realities of impermanence, remember what lives on in memory, and discover how, even in the face of grief, we might embrace life and love once again.

Words of Welcome- Rev. Justin Schroeder (:29)

Story for All Ages- Lauren Wyeth (3:03)

Lighting the Candle of Impermanence (9:30)

Interlude- Excerpt from Spiegel im Spiegel- Travis Waymon and Franco Holder (10:55)

Prayer and Reflection- Rev. Justin Schroeder (11:43)

Lighting the Candle of Memory (21:02)

Spirit of Life- Travis Waymon and Franco Holder (22:02)

Homily- Rev. Arif Mamdani (23:20)

Lighting the Candle of Embracing (30:46)

Start Where You Are- Ellis Delaney (32:45)

Closing Words- Lauren Wyeth, Rev. Arif Mamdani, Rev. Justin Schroeder (36:59)

January 3, 2021- Impossible Dreams- Rev. Justin Schroeder

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

What will be different in 2021? What dreams for our lives and our community have been shaped by the pandemic, the racial justice uprising, and the questions still unanswered of whether or not the United States can actually become a pluralistic, equitable, multi-racial democracy? What dreams of yours – and what collective dreams of ours – might come to life in 2021? For dreams to be born, we must choose change, be courageous and brave, and let old habits and patterns fade and die, so something new and life giving can blossom.

Story for All Ages- Aimee K. Bryant (:21)

Hymn- Voice Still and Small, Erin Segrue (6:40)

Sermon- Impossible Dreams, Rev. Justin Schroeder (8:16)

Closing Hymn- We'll Build a Land, Sarah Lindsay

December 27, 2020 - A Year-End Prayer- Rev. Arif Mamdani

Monday, January 4th, 2021

Rev. Arif Mamdani shares: In a year that has seen so much, how we gather, how we mark this passing, is not as clear cut as it may have been in other, less tumultuous years.

Back in the spring, almost a year ago now, I asked “what is the story that we want to be able to tell about this time?” I invited us then to imagine ourselves into a future where we’d be sharing the story of this pandemic with young ones who hadn’t lived through it or were too young to recall. This was before George Floyd was murdered, before the cities across our nation and around the world rose up in a cry for justice that is still reverberating, before it became evident that Line 3 was going to be a significant fight, before our president would make numerous attempts to destroy our democracy and we would wonder (we are still wondering) if we’d have a peaceful transition of power or if we would need to be in our streets defending our democracy. And in the background of all this, the drumbeat of loss, and loss, and loss that has been a constant refrain of 2020.

It has been a year. And so, when we gather as a community on the 27th, let’s gather with this question in mind: “how shall we end this year? And what comes next?” And when we gather, let’s see how we answer it, together.

Words of Welcome- Rev. Arif Mamdani (:34)

Opening Hymn, Sanctuary - Seth Anderson-Matz (3:01)

Collective Prayer- Rev. Arif Mamdani (4:59)

Homily- Rev. Arif Mamdani (19:27)

December 13, 2020 - Question Box Sermon - Julica Hermann de la Fuente

Monday, December 14th, 2020

Sunday, December 13, Julica Hermann de la Fuente, our Director of Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Ministries, offers a Question Box Sermon. Do you have a burning inquiry about anti-racism and anti-oppression work, especially as it applies to our congregation? We create the message together when you provide the questions for the sermon part of our worship service.

Words of Welcome - Rev. Justin Schroeder (:22)

Story for All Ages - The Wonder Box- Julica Hermann de la Fuente (3:04)

Sermon - Question Box - Julica Hermann de la Fuente (13:48)

Anthem - Make Them Hear You, from Ragtime - First Universalist Choir, Dr. Randal Buikema, conductor, Dominique Wooten Embretson, soloist, Franco Holder, piano, First Universalist Instrumentalists, Shelley des Islets, editor (40:33)


December 6, 2020 - In the Interim Time - Rev. Justin Schroeder

Monday, December 7th, 2020

In his poem, “For the Interim Time,” John O’Donahue writes, “You are in this time of the interim/Where everything seems withheld,” and “The old is not old enough to have died away; the new is still too young to be born.”

These words capture right where we are: we are in a season of waiting, of anticipating the arrival of Christmas, of the Solstice, of Hannukah, of the turning of the planet, and the returning of the light. We are in a season of waiting, anticipating the vaccine for Covid-19 and the end of the pandemic, but “when?” and “how?” remain just out of reach. We are in the in-between place, the liminal space, a time of miracle and magic, fear and anxiety, wonder and grief.

In such a space, where do we cast our eyes for hope? In such a space, what is the spiritual work as we wait for the new dawn?


Words of Welcome - Rev. Justin Schroeder (:31)

Wisdom Story - Aimee K. Bryant (1:45)

Hymn- Lo, How a Rose/The Rose - First Universalist Choir (12:54)

Sermon - In the Interim Time - Rev. Justin Schroeder (18:18)

Interlude - Why Shouldn't We - David Lauth (34:20)

Blessing - Rev. Justin Schroeder (34:56)

November 22, 2020 - The Seeds We Are Planting - Rev. Arif Mamdani

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

From Rev. Arif: These last many weeks, I’ve been returning to the notion of the fractal nature of reality that adrienne maree brown writes about in Emergent Strategy. As she writes: “Dandelions contain an entire community in each spore that gets blown on children’s breath.” Here in the Twin Cities, the dandelions are long gone. Winter is coming. COVID rates are on the rise. Hospitals and those who staff them are at the very edge. This may well be a very hard season. And yet, I wonder in this emerging winter, what spores are we crafting that will reseed the Earth as it awakens in spring? How might we, individually and collectively share the burdens, lighten our load, and move, even just a little, toward the world we dream of? Let’s gather up on Sunday- Breathe together and share word and song as we turn our hearts toward the season ahead, grab each other’s (digital, imaginary) hands, and make our way through.


Words of Welcome, Julica Hermann de la Fuente (:28)

Wisdom Story- Tigers Above, Tigers Below, Seth Anderson-Matz (3:41)

Interlude - Be Here Now, David Lauth (6:30)

Sermon- The Seeds We Are Planting, Ref. Arif Mamdani (7:45)

November 8, 2020 - What Now? - Rev. Justin Schroeder

Monday, November 9th, 2020

The election is over. The votes counted and still being counted. What now? What next? What guides, holds, and shapes us in these coming months? How might we live with, wrestle, and be challenged by these words of the great American poet, Langston Hughes, who wrote,

“Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!”


Words of Welcome - Rev. Justin Schroeder (:32)

Story for All Ages- Aimee K. Bryant (2:59)

Sermon- What Now? - Rev. Justin Schroeder (9:11)

October 25, 2020 - The Ordination of Rev. Arif Mamdani

Monday, October 26th, 2020

Some say that the most unique element of Unitarian Universalism is its individualism - the idea that each one of us is an essential source of religious authority for our own spiritual journey. But individualism and personal authority are not all there is to it. Our faith requires community, and our faith communities call out the good - and the god - in us. This Sunday, we set one among us apart as we ordain Arif Mamdani to the Unitarian Universalist ministry. Our faith community will call out the good - and the god - in him - and we will reaffirm our commitment to call out the good and the god in ourselves and each other.


Words of Welcome, Rev. Justin Schroeder (:30)

Story for All Ages, Seth Matz (2:29)

Hymn: Gather the Spirit, Aimee K. Bryant and Franco Holder (7:38)

Homily, Rev. Jen Crow (10:30)

Act of Ordination, Bryana French and congregants (21:42)

Presentation of Stole (26:20)

Laying on of Hands, Revs. Janne and Rob Eller-Isaacs (31:00)

Hand of Kinship, Rev. Ashley Horan (35:45)

Charge to the Minister, Rev. Karen Hutt (39:33)

Charge to the Congregation, Rev. Meg Riley (46:10)

Hymn: For All That is Our Life, Fawzia Khan and Franco Holder (49:11)

Benediction, Rev. Arif Mamdani (51:14)

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