UPCOMING SERVICES

Sunday, May 21: "Spiritual Journeys"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Unitarian Universalism draws on a variety of sources for its wisdom and inspiration, and unsurprisingly, the people at UUI also reflect a fascinating mix of religious/spiritual backgrounds and beliefs.  In this fun and engaging service we will spend some time getting to know one another better and learn about our different individual journeys, so we can better understand this community we are building together.

 

PAST SERMONS

Sunday, May 14: "Three Women to Know in UU History"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Sunday, May 7: "Bridging Service"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger and Susanne Hinson-Rieger, DLRE

The Bridging service is a special service in May where we "bridge" our senior youth out of the religious education program for children and youth, and into adult participation in the church.  It is a graduation, a coming of age, a welcome, and a celebration.  Bring tissues!

Sunday, April 30: "Poetry Service"
by Janet Cohen, John Cote, and Jay Harvey

It's our annual poetry service!  Come celebrate the power of the written word to move us into new places of insight and new depths of emotion with selections (and some original compositions!) by Janet, John, and Jay.  This year the theme is “I Like Poetry.”  Who can argue with that?

Sunday, April 23: "Until It Is Faced"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

James Baldwin said, "Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced."  The last few weeks have seen tremendous upheaval within the Unitarian Universalist Association, as a controversy over racist hiring practices has led to the resignation of the UUA president and two senior staff.  This has sparked a denomination-wide conversation over how white supremacy has functioned in our religion's history and still functions in our present day.  Over the next few weeks more than 500 UU churches all around the country are having a service on this topic.  Come and learn what the controversy is about, what is meant by white supremacy, and what our movement is doing to better realize our vision of the beloved community for the future.  After the service there will be the opportunity for further discussion.

Below are some resources on these subjects:

A compendium of UU World Articles on the hiring controversy:  http://www.uuworld.org/articles/developments-2017-04-07

The Story of Whiteness:  http://www.uua.org/worship/words/reading/story-whiteness

The Invisibility of Whiteness:  https://www.uua.org/worship/words/quote/invisibility-whiteness

Letter from a Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King, Jr:  http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Sunday, April 16: Easter Sunday Flower Celebration
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The Flower Celebration is a Unitarian tradition which originated in Prague almost a century ago and has been observed by UUs in America since the 1940s.  People bring a flower to church to place up front at the beginning of the service.  At the end everyone leaves with a flower different than the one they brought.  On this Flower Celebration Sunday, which is also Easter Sunday, we will celebrate beauty springing up season after season and the hope that we find in the way the story of life is continually renewing itself and renewing us.  Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

Sunday, April 9: "Prophets of Liberation"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, and then Monday evening after marks the beginning of Passover.  We will honor the Christian and Jewish roots of our living tradition by examining the stories of two remarkable prophets of liberation, Moses and Jesus.  What was similar and different about their visions of liberation, and how do those visions look to us today?  Special music by Dan and Beth Henkel.

Sunday, April 2: "Religion, Uniting and Dividing"
by Colleen Russell and Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Religion can be a powerful force for separating people into "us" and "them" and sowing the seeds of division.  But it can also bring people together around a shared vision of the good.  UU strives to be a very inclusive faith, and yet we also have an identity that sets us apart.  How does this tension impact our own lives?  And what can we learn about our own identity from the interfaith work we do?

Sunday, March 26: "The Growing Light"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger with guest presentation by Megan Howey Hughes of the School for Community Learning

"The great end in religious instruction" wrote the great Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing, "is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own."  Unitarian Universalism prizes the questioning mind and the independent spirit.  How do those values inform our approach to religious education?  And how do we continue to grow the light of understanding in our own life, at whatever age we are?

For this service we will also have a special guest presentation by Megan Howey Hughes, Director of the School for Community Learning, who rent our space for their school.  Come learn about their approach to education and how our values and purposes align with theirs.

After the service we will be having a pitch-in lunch with families from the School for Community Learning.  Everyone is invited to bring something to share.  Then after lunch we will be engaging in some joint projects with SCL to clean, beautify, and organize our campus.  It will be a great opportunity for us to get to know one another better.  We hope you will join us.

Sunday, March 19: "An Ancient Beauty"
Spring Equinox Service
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger and Victoria Laughlin-Casares

In honor of the Spring Equinox, join us for a service celebrating the beauty of Spring and the promise of this season of renewal.  Special music by the UUI Choir, including the debut of an original composition by our own Liz Efryomson.

Sunday, March 12: "I Am a Work in Progress"
by Cara Moczygemba

Our 3rd UU principle is "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth."  Growth is a process that includes stretching our comfort level and making mistakes.  This Sunday Jamie will give a reflection on how we are called to grow as UUs, and Cara will give a sermon on some of the challenges of growth especially as it relates to social progress and issues of racism and sexism, and on the need for forgiveness and grace.  Special music by Rose Scott, who will be singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Sunday, March 5: "Sanctuary"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

As national rhetoric around deporting immigrants continues to grow harsher, and new executive orders are creating real fear among many in our communities, let us step back and ask how did we get to here?  And how do we respond?  Many churches, including UU churches and congregations, are considering offering, or are already offering sanctuary to those facing deportation.  In this service we will learn more about this new sanctuary movement and consider what role we have to play in this present moment.  Special music by the Indianapolis Women's Chorus, Meagan Johnson directing.

Sunday, February 26: "Self-Reflection and the Road to Racial Healing"
by Dr. Hildi Hendrickson

Dr. Hildi Hendrickson will discuss her biography of African-American minister Dr. Paul Smith, whose long career of civil rights activism and intercultural ministries stretches from meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. while at college in 1957, to Buffalo, NY, Selma, Alabama in 1965, and LaClede Town in St. Louis.  Having served as lead minister at First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, NY for 20 years, Rev. Smith’s worldview has been influenced by Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman and statesman Andrew Young.  Dr. Hendrickson will share how she came to be involved in this project, what it taught her and how it changed her thinking on race in America. 

Hildi Hendrickson has been a professor of anthropology at Long Island University, Brooklyn, since 1993.  Her research specialty is colonialism and cultural resilience in southern Africa.  She is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist and a member of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, NY.  She has been a visitor to UUI and looks forward to having a chance to speak to the congregation on Sunday.

Sunday, February 19: "Reflections on the Hero's Journey"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

What makes a hero?  Drawing on Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" we will look at different examples of the hero's journey in myth, scripture, and history.  What lessons can we apply to our own journey?  Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

Sunday, February 12: "Stardust" (Evolution Sunday Service)
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

This Sunday is the 208th birthday of Charles Darwin.  It was Darwin's genius to unlock the mechanism by which all life on earth has unfolded in one continuous process.  Or as Tagore said, "The same stream of life that runs through my veins... runs through the world."  It is an annual tradition at UUI to honor Darwin's birthday with an Evolution Sunday service.  Join us once again for a celebration of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Sunday, February 5:  "Reality is not Post-Truth"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

There is a lot of talk these days about this being a "post-truth" world where "alternative facts" and "fake news" rule the day.  Unitarian Universalism believes that each person has the right to follow their own truth.  Does that mean the truth doesn't matter?  Or that capital-T Truth doesn't exist?  Join us for a sermon about what it means to be humble truth-seekers, and why it matters.

Sunday, January 29:  "Self Empowerment: Rising Strong"
by Richard Brendan

Many see a political storm unfolding in our country. We may not get to choose what is happening around us, but we always get to choose how we respond. Now, more than ever, we must arise from consciousness that demonstrates the desired outcome we seek. We must be it in order to see it!

Sunday, January 22:  "The 7 Minute Spiritual Workout"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

In this service we will examine wonder, gratitude, and compassion as key concepts that ground us as ethical/spiritual beings, help us live our UU values, and encourage a daily life that is happy, resilient, and responsive to the needs and opportunities around us. Then we will explore a simple spiritual practice to bring more of each into our life.

Sunday, January 15:  "Say Her Name"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

On this MLK Day weekend, join us for a service celebrating African-American women who have been on the cutting edge of the fight for freedom and justice throughout American history, including those who are still fighting today.  For this service we are thrilled to welcome local poet Mariah Ivey to perform two spoken word pieces.  Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

Sunday, January 8:  "Shelter One Another"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The Unitarian Universalist approach to religion emphasizes the need to make our love active in the world.  We say "deeds not creeds."  This Sunday we will discuss Unitarian Universalism's history of service, with particular attention to issues around homelessness.  What are misconceptions around homelessness and what is the reality, in the United States and here in Indianapolis?  What can we do to make a difference?

Sunday, January 1: "New Year's Day Service"
by Elizabeth Valencia

The New Year brings the opportunity to renew our commitment and goals.  Join Elizabeth as she welcomes 2017 with reflections on motivation, ideas on human nature and interdependence, and the role of love and fear.  How can we develop our why-power to ignite our curiosity and commitment long-term?  How can we nourish and sustain our involvement in social justice efforts in 2017?

Sunday, December 25: Christmas Day Service
Service, Refreshments and Fellowship 12:30 - 1:30pm

Join us for a simple Christmas Day service followed by cookies, coffee/tea, and fellowship. Please note the time change for this service. There will be no Religious Education classes or nursery/childcare.

Saturday, December 24: Christmas Eve Service
6:00 - 7:00pm

A UUI tradition, this is a traditional "stories and carols" service but with a UU take on the meaning of Christmas. Come prepared to sing all your favorites. We will end with singing Silent Night by candlelight.

Sunday, December 18: "How the Unitarians Invented Christmas"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

At this time of year we often hear about a so-called "war on Christmas" and the need to get back to the true spirit of Christmas. But did you know Christmas was once a fairly disreputable holiday, involving public drunkenness and pranks? And that the celebration of Christmas was often discouraged or even banned in early American history? Christmas as we know it is an invention of the 19th and 20th century, and Unitarians have their fingerprints all over it. Come learn how our religious ancestors helped transform a bawdy public carnival into our modern celebration of family, peace, and yes, shopping.

Special music by the UUI Choir.

Sunday, December 11: "Sweet Darkness"
by Victoria Laughlin-Casares

As we approach the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice, we will look at how different pagan traditions celebrate the mystery of darkness and the return of the light.

December 4: "A Light in the Window (On Hanukkah)"
by Jamie Hinson Rieger

Most people know the story of the Hanukkah miracle, the vial of oil that burned for eight days when there was only enough oil for one day.  Less well-known is the story leading up to that -- the culture clash between native Jews and Greek occupiers that turned into open war.  The Hanukkah story is actually a very complicated story about cultural diversity and counter-cultural resistance, about tradition and change and identity.  What message does it have for us today in our increasingly pluralistic, multi-cultural world?  What does it have to tell us about the culture clash going on in our own country?

November 27: "Two or More People in Conversation = Intercultural Dialogue"
by Jenny Peak

Even in our closest relationships, we may experience moments of utter surprise when we find ourselves in different places, be it highly charged topics of religion or politics, or everyday seemingly benign conversations. With gentle humor and lots of humility, we can celebrate our differences from a foundation of common ground.

Jenny Peek is a Candidate for Ministry with the UUA, holds her Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School and is pursuing her Master of Arts in Leadership Studies. Jenny has traveled to The Philippines where she preached and toured the congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines. Her emerging ministry focuses on exploring the relationship of self and community.

November 20, 2016 "Now What?"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The 2016 election violated long-standing norms of American democracy, both in the language used and the policies proposed. With the crashing and burning of both the Republican and the Democratic establishment, it seems there has been a sea change in what is possible in American politics. We now face an unknown future. In this service we will discuss how our UU principles call us to respond.  Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

November 13, 2016: Thanksgiving Service and Meal

A UUI tradition, please join us for a service commemorating the history of our denomination which stretches all the way back to the Puritans.

Did you know there is a UU church whose doors are still open today that was originally founded in 1620 by people who came over on the Mayflower? During this special service we will acknowledge the joys and sorrows of that history and look at how our dreams and their dreams are alike and different.

During this service, which will be held at tables in the Sanctuary, we will also share a pitch-in Thanksgiving Meal. UUI will provide turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Last name ending in A-K please bring a vegetable, L-Z please bring a dessert.

Special music by the Indianapolis Women's Chorus.

After the service join us for Second Sunday which will include leaf-raking and a variety of fun indoor and outdoor activities. Please bring a rake and outdoor clothes.

November 6:  For the Beauty of the Earth
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Children's author E. B. White said, "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day."  As UUs we want to improve the world, but we also need to take time to celebrate its beauty.  This Sunday we will explore the different ways that beauty feeds our spirit.

Also this Sunday during the Service we will celebrate our 1st - 3rd graders' continuing intellectual and ethical development with an Age of Reason ceremony, and UUI will be presented with an award for our environmental work.  Special music by Graham Brinklow.

October 30:  Ancestors Service
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

William Faulkner famously said "The past isn't dead.  It's not even past."  For this service we will honor our ancestors, known and unknown, and reflect on the impact on our life of all those who came before us.  We are the beneficiaries of their hard work and the bearers of their hopes, dreams, and also fears.  What are the ways in which we live out the patterns of the past?  What are our responsibilities as a bridge from the past to the future?  Everyone is invited to bring photos or mementos of their "ancestors", however you choose to interpret that, to be displayed during the service.  You can also email images to jamie@uui.org to be projected during the service.

October 23:  "Bullying"
by Elizabeth Valencia

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time when many schools and organizations across the country are active in bringing awareness to school bullying.  How is bullying defined?  How does it look outside in our communities?  During this heavy political time, how can we re-sensitize ourselves to pay more attention to our words and actions?  Join Elizabeth as she shares her personal story with bullying and tools that various faith traditions offer for addressing and coping with bullying on a broader community level.

October 16:  "Doing the Work, Finding Your Passion"
by Andrew Frantz

What does it mean to find your own way in life, rather than following the crowd?  How do you know that you're fulfilling your highest purpose?  Guest service leader Andrew Frantz will explore these questions through songs, stories, and readings.  He will share his own story of being called to be a Unitarian Universalist minister.  Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

Andrew Frantz is beginning the journey to being a UU minister, in his first year as a student at the Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary.  His home church is the UU Fellowship of Oberlin, Ohio.  Andrew served a long career in education before being called to the ministry.  He is a singer who performs regularly with fellow UU musician Hal Walker.  He is the father of two boys who are both in college.

October 9:  "On Forgiveness"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

October 2 through October 12 are the Days of Awe beginning with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and ending with Yom Kippur.  At this time, our Jewish neighbors celebrate the creation of the world and the possibility for new life in a new year.  Yom Kippur is also a time of atonement and forgiveness, a time to make amends for wrongs done against God, our neighbors, and creation.  How is new life and new possibility tied to our ability to forgive ourselves and others?  And what about justice?  Can we be too quick to forgive?  Join us for a service exploring the connection between atonement, forgiveness, and creation, and ultimately asking, "How do we get to a place of forgiveness in our lives?"

October 2: "Separate and Not Equal" 
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger and Anita Saunders

Brown v. Board of Education ended official segregation in schools in 1954. In 2016 we continue to deal with segregation in our public school system. How do our schools look different for different children? How do our UU values call us to respond?

September 25: "Turning and Returning"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Oftentimes we think of the journey of our lives in terms of straight lines -- a straight line path from youth to old age, or a straight line of progress from goal to goal, or a straight line climb "up the corporate ladder," or even a straight line ascent to enlightenment.  You get the idea.  Pagan and earth-centered traditions emphasize the wheel and the spiral -- the rhythmic cycle of turning and returning and the organic unfolding of possibility.  September 22 is the Autumn Equinox, a day that marks the official beginning of Fall.  Join us for a service celebrating the rhythm of the seasons and the rhythms of our lives.  Special music by Kevy Bailey.

September 18: "Who's Driving This Thing, Anyway?" 
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

One of the six sources we say make up the Unitarian Universalist tradition is "humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science."  This Sunday we will examine the role of reason in human psychology.  Plato saw the human soul as like a chariot yoked to two powerful horses, one representing the impulse to the beautiful and one representing the base appetites.  Reason is the charioteer in the driver seat desperately trying to keep the two horses in line.  This Sunday we ask, “Who's driving this thing, anyway?”  Special music by the UUI choir.

September 11: On Making Peace
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Our 6th Unitarian Universalist principal challenges us to adopt an active philosophy of peace-making as a response to the reality of violence and war. What does that mean for us 15 years after the attacks of September 11, with our country mired in a "war on terrorism" with no end seemingly in sight? How can we bring more peace into a world so torn by violence and hate? Guest musician Sister Stella Sabina will add uplifting and energetic singing and drumming to our meditation on peace.

September 4:  TC, Trigger Warnings, and Safe Spaces, Oh My!"  by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

This school year incoming freshmen at the University of Chicago received an unusual welcome letter from the Dean of Students warning them that there would be no "trigger warnings" or "safe spaces" on their campus, as a part of the school's commitment to "freedom of inquiry and expression." The letter has served to super-charge an already heated debate about political correctness and norms of expression on campus. What are trigger warnings and safe spaces, and are they really a threat to intellectual freedom? What is political correctness and why do some people hate it so much, it is supposedly responsible for the rise of Donald Trump? As UUs we traditionally cherish freedom of speech. Are there other UU values at stake and (potentially) in conflict? Let's respectfully examine these very controversial issues together. Special music: Mary Kay Bonner will play the harp.

August 21:  "School Is In Session"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

As we celebrate the start of the school year for our children and youth with a "blessing of the backpacks" ritual, we will reflect on the ideal of life-long learning in our tradition.  In contrast to religions that view "salvation" as a state of being, as something you either have or don't have, Unitarianism emphasizes the continuous development of our mind and our ethical instincts throughout the course of our life.  We are all a work in progress.  The great Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing called this progress "salvation by character."  What wisdom does our tradition have to offer us lifelong students, and what is asked of us in return?  The school of life is in session.

August 14:  "Welcome Home"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Join us this Sunday for a service about welcoming as an ethical/spiritual practice, what it means to be a welcoming community, and the value of home.  This Sunday is also our Water Communion ceremony, welcoming people back from the summer and starting off the new church year.  People are invited to bring water that is in some way meaningful or symbolic of their summer, whether it is water from a trip, rainwater from the backyard, or tap water from a kitchen.  We'll pour the waters into a common vessel symbolizing our coming together as a community.

Please Note: Unlike past years, the Water Communion ceremony is NOT a multi-generational service.  Children will still go to their RE classes and there will be a sermon.

August 7:  "Dreams and Connections"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Langston Hughes wrote: "Hold fast to dreams / For when dreams go / Life is a barren field / Frozen with snow."  How can we better connect to our capacity for dreaming?  And what are the connections we need in the real world to help make our dreams a reality?  Join us for a meditation on the power of dreams and the necessity of connection.

July 31:  "Freedom of Speech"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

This summer we continue to explore the theme of freedom in Unitarian Universalism.  Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are values that UUs have actively worked to promote within American history, most famously when our Beacon Press published the Pentagon Papers.  The media landscape has changed dramatically since the 1970s and today the challenges to free speech look very different.  Drawing on Timothy Garton Ash's "Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World" we will look at the state of this fundamental freedom in the world today and how it can be promoted and protected.

July 24:  "Do We Need to Change?"
by David Jackoway

Many people envision a future for Unitarian Universalism where we are both larger in numbers and more diverse.  But how do we get there?  Do we need to change?  What do we change?  David Jackoway suggests that it starts by changing how we think of ourselves as a faith and how we do church.

July 17:  "The Wonder of It All"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Freedom summer continues as we talk about a freedom Unitarian Universalists hold especially dear: the freedom to question. We reserve our right to subject all ideas to the light of reason and experience. We encourage our children to question everything. It's another critical tool in our UU toolkit (If you were here for the July 3 service, you'll know what that means.) In this service we'll share some tips for effective questioning. But questioning is related to more than our pursuit of truth. It feeds our sense of beauty and wonder.  Come wonder with us this Sunday! Special music by Lucy Newton.

July 3:  "Build It Beautiful"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Our religious tradition calls us to work together to build a better world, but how does it equip us to do that?  Taking a note from Jaimie Dingus's sermon at the young adult led Synergy Bridging worship service at General Assembly, we are going to ask, what tools have we been given to work with in our UU toolkit?  Special music by Carol Kirk.

June 26, 2016:  "Bringing Love to Life: One World, All Sacred"
by Richard Brendan

We are in the midst of great change and it is an auspicious time to be alive.  As we rediscover the size and strength of our hearts, our steadiness of purpose, we choose to love and honor the dignity and inherent worth of every human being.  UUI is pleased to again welcome inspirational radio host Richard Brendan to give a talk on bringing love to life.

June 19, 2016:  "Fearless"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Continuing our summer theme of freedom, we will talk about the connection between freedom and fear. We all have things we are afraid of, both rationally and irrationally. Fear is part of being human. But fear can severely limit our freedom to live the life we want to live, or live our life to its full potential. How do we deal with fear in our lives? Given that our fears might be very different, depending on our race, or gender, or class, or sexual orientation, or zip code, fear is also a justice issue. How do we respond as a religious people when different communities or identities are targeted with fear? Finally, in the light of the shooting in Orlando, politicians are using fear to spread further hatred and division. How do we respond as UUs? Join us this Sunday as we explore promoting a culture of freedom in a climate of fear. May we also find healing and strength for our own fears in our shared community of hope. Special music Dan and Beth Henkel.

June 12, 2016:  "Free Spirits"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

This summer we're going to be exploring the concept of freedom and how it relates to different aspects of Unitarian Universalism.  Since it's Pride week, we'll kick it off by talking about the freedom to live authentically -- to be fully who we are without shame or apology (which includes the right to love whomever we love).  Our desire to live as free spirits is not only something we want for ourselves, but is also connected to our larger vision of human flourishing.  Come celebrate freedom and Pride, with a special shout-out to the LGBTQ heroes who have moved the ball forward for all of us.

June 5, 2016: "Breathing Space"
by Rev. Shari Woodbury

What's the common thread in Digital Detox Camp, mathematician J. H. Poincare's inspiration, conscious parenting, and Thoreau's experiments at Walden Pond? Join us in a meditative start-of-summer service on "Breathing Space" to find out. Rev. Shari Woodbury from our sister congregation in Bloomington will be back as the guest in our pulpit, just as her time in Indiana wraps up.

May 22, 2016: "Michael Servetus and the
Light of Reason"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

During the period in history known as the Reformation, while Protestants and Catholics were denouncing each other with ever-increasing violence and venom over the religious questions of the day, one man put forth a theology so heretical he found himself denounced by both Catholics AND Protestants. This man was Michael Servetus, a brilliant doctor, mapmaker, astronomer, mathematician, poet, translator, biblical scholar, and firebrand popular author. It was the last two that got him in trouble. Using a newfangled technology called a printing press, Servetus published a bestseller arguing persuasively for a shocking doctrine called Unitarianism. In the end, his devotion to his radical ideas cost him his life. In this service we'll learn what the ideas of Michael Servetus were, what impact they had on the world, and what his legacy means to us today.

May 8, 2016: "Chop Wood, Carry Water"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

There is a Zen saying about life changes that goes "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water." How do we deal with moments of change and transition in our lives? Most of us, perhaps, are not currently undergoing the radical transition to total enlightenment (but kudos to you if you are!) but we age, our parents age, our children grow up and go out, we move, we marry or unmarry, jobs come and go, relationships come and go, seasons come and go. How do we stay grounded during these transitions? Should we always stay grounded? Join us for a meditation on life changes and the wisdom of keeping it together and/or judiciously falling apart.   

Special Music by Elise Massicotte

April 10, 2016: "Whose Are We"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Questions of identity and belonging are central to religious exploration. "Who am I?" is a question we all must grapple with throughout our lives.Quaker theologian and activist, Douglas Steere says this question is best answered with another question, "Whose am I?" To whom do we belong? In this service we will discuss the relationship between these twin questions in the light of Unitarian Universalism.  Special music by Kyle Brennan.

April 3, 2016: "Lessons from Broadway"
by the UUI Music Committee

Join us for a totally fun, totally unique service by the Music Committee showcasing important life lessons as revealed in the Broadway classics. Special guest singers Graham Brinklow and Sarah Marone, as well as members of the UUI Choir. Hands down the singing-est service of 2016, this is one not to be missed!

March 27: "Love Endures" 
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

When Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, his followers were expecting the imminent arrival of their political freedom and a transformed world. In the aftermath of Easter Sunday they woke to a world dominated more than ever by the wealthy and powerful and with their teacher gone. Yet out of this loss and disappointment, they created a new kind of religious community. For this Easter Sunday sermon we will reflect on spiritual resilience. What creates it in individuals and in communities? Facing a world no less troubled, in what do we place our faith? What is our own vision of the future and how do we best carry on until then? Join us for a sermon on the hope and strength we find within our own tradition. Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

March 13: "A Child Is Born" 
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Join us for a meditation inspired by our third and sixth principles on new life, human potential, and the delights and challenges of growing up in a beautiful but troubled world. What role does our religious community play in sheltering, supporting, and encouraging our youth? What is the world we seek for all children? Special music by Ken Scott, guitar and Debbie Wolfe, voice.

February 28, 2016: Stone Soup Multigenerational Service

An annual UUI tradition! Join us for a service celebrating the value of community. We will tell the story of Stone Soup and then break into a variety of hands-on "stations" with different activities to stimulate conversation and reflection. After the service please join us for a soup lunch. A free-will offering will be taken to raise funds for Boulevard Place Food Pantry.

After lunch, from 12:30 to 2pm, we are delighted to welcome youth from the AlHuda Islamic Center in Fishers to give a presentation on Islam followed by Q&A. This is a great opportunity to learn about Islam and get a young person's perspective on the challenges and opportunities of living out their faith in Indiana.

February 21, 2016: "Beautiful Child"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

"There were no mirrors in my Nana's house" goes the song by Sweet Honey in the Rock. "So I never knew that my skin was too black and I never knew that my nose was too flat." How do the images of American media reinforce the notion that some are beautiful and some are not, how are these messages internalized or resisted, and what can be done about it? Join us for a service celebrating the beauty of everyone. Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

February 14, 2016: "Reclaim MLK"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

For this service closing out the 30 Days of Love between MLK Day and Valentine's Day we will talk about how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's message has been softened and sanitized to remove the truly radical elements of his vision. Today a national movement seeks to reclaim the true legacy of MLK: love working for justice. Special music by Graham Brinklow.

February 7, 2016: "Evolution Sunday"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Evolution Sunday is an annual tradition at UUI. On this near anniversary of Charles Darwin's Birthday we celebrate the wonder of nature, the beauty of science, and the creative power of evolution. We'll reflect on how the fact of evolution informs our religious perspective as UUs. And we'll say Happy Birthday to Charles Darwin. There will be cake!

January 31, 2016: "Why Sustainability Matters to Indy"

Environmental sustainability is about more than just recycling and light bulbs. It impacts the entire life of our city, including how we create jobs, attract talent, reduce crime, and prepare for an uncertain future. In this service, Jesse Kharbanda of the Hoosier Environmental Council will be giving a talk on the areas of promise and challenge for Indianapolis in creating a more sustainable Indianapolis.

January 24: "Jackpot! (On Happiness)"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

All the recent furor over PowerBall and the mega-mega-jackpot calls to mind a famous study that claimed that lottery winners revert to their previous level of happiness (or unhappiness) within a year of winning. Your level of happiness, it is said, is remarkably persistent over time, for good or for bad. So is happiness genetic? A product of our upbringing? Of our mindset? Can we get more happiness for ourselves? Should we be trying? Join us for a service on a question that naturally interests all of us. If we stumble on the secret to happiness between now and Sunday we promise we'll share.

January 17, 2015 "Love is the Spirit of This Church" by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

At the heart of Unitarian Universalism is the idea of being a covenanted religious community--a group of people who have made promises to each other. As members of UUI we say our own church's covenant every Sunday. UUI itself is also part of the larger covenant of Unitarian Universalism, expressed in our seven principles. Curiously, although we say "love is the spirit of this church" in our own covenant, the word "love" appears nowhere in the 7 principles. Where did those principles come from, and how do we understand this larger covenant of which we are a part? Join us this Sunday as we ask, where's the love in our 7 principles? 

January 10, 2016: "First Things First"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The year 2015 drew to a close with strong notes of fear and dehumanization of outsiders in our political and social discourse, targeting everyone from muslims to refugees to immigrants to transgender people to Black Lives Matter protesters. As a sort of spiritual re-centering for the start of the new year, we'll explore how our first principle,  honoring "the inherent worth and dignity of each person", lies at the heart of the religious vision of Unitarian Universalism, and how that vision is needed today.

January 3, 2016: "Begin Again, Again"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The start of the new year can be a great time to pause, take stock, reset our focus and renew our energies. It's also a time that culturally invites a lot of self-criticism and short-lived resolutions. Can we find a healthy balance between honoring where we're at and setting our sights on something new? Join us fora reflection on new beginnings. We will also have a ceremony to let go of 2015 with the help of our chalice flame and some magician's flash paper. Note, this is not a multi-generational service, so children will go to their religious education classes.

December 27, 2015: "Behold the Radiant Token": An Agnostic Perspective on Incarnation and Revelation by Jay Harvey

With another Christmas celebration still fresh in our minds, many UUs are probably working to make the holiday spiritually meaningful despite theological differences with Christian teaching. One perspective is to see how the message of incarnation, and the related truth claims of Judaeo-Christian divine revelation, might work to affirm the possibility of a transcendent reality without requiring commitment to a particular way of knowing God. Worship Associate Jay Harvey will explore some of the problems and rewards of that attempt.

December 20, 2015: "The Jesus Monologues"
by Anita Saunders, Ph.D.

Christians and Unitarians were asked to complete this statement, "Jesus is/was __________." The diversity of responses provide us with personal insights about the man, the prophet, and/or the deity whose birth is celebrated this holiday season and whose existence continues to affect us all directly and indirectly.

December 13, 2015: "Buddha and Bodhisattva"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Continuing our December theme of the wisdom of world religions, we will look at another of the great religions of the Axial Age: Buddhism.

Buddhism is a religious tradition that has become increasingly influential within Unitarian Universalism from the late 20th century on. Who was Siddhartha Gautama and how did he become the Buddha? What are the points of similarity and difference between Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism? And what do our two traditions have to teach each other?

December 6, 2015: "The Axial Age"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Throughout December, in place of our traditional holiday pageant, the children will help tell us the birth stories of three of the world's great religious figures, Confucius, Buddha, and Jesus, in a fun interactive way (with puppets!) and we will learn more about these traditions. This Sunday we will also talk about the so-called Axial Age in ancient history, when in the space of a few centuries, and all across the world, great teachers began to appear and independently lay the foundation of many of the world's great religious traditions. As UUs, one of the 6 sources of our living tradition is "wisdom from the world's religions." What forms of wisdom began to emerge during this historic world transformation and how do they speak to us today? 

November 29, 2015: "12 Days to Save the World"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

With 2015 on pace to be the hottest year on record, the Paris climate summit begins with real urgency. From November 30 to December 11, the world's nations will come together to create, for the first time in 20 years, a binding and universal agreement on climate change. They have 12 days to save the world. Yet here at home many powerful people still deny climate change is even a reality. In this service we'll talk about what we can do as individuals, what UUI has been doing as a church, what Unitarian Universalism calls us to do as a religion, and why there is room for hope.

November 22, 2015: "Flower and Candles"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Our religion calls us to meet violence, hate, and fear with courage, compassion, and love. Join us for a service of reflection and healing in response to the recent terrible events in Paris and around the globe. 

November 15, 2015: "The Lamp Bearers"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

We say our chalice flame symbolizes, among other things, "the light of understanding." Our religious tradition celebrates education, both to transmit the learning of the past and to ignite the spark of curiosity and imagination in the mind that brings new knowledge into the world. But no one comes into the life of the mind all on their own. This Sunday we pay tribute to the people who illuminated our way: parents, teachers, mentors, and all those who challenged us to learn and grow and ultimately think for ourselves.

November 1, 2015: Social Justice Service
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger and Stacy Robinson

This month's Fifth Sunday Social Justice Service has been moved to the first Sunday! Each Fifth Sunday Social Justice Service provides an opportunity for all ages to engage on a social justice topic and service project together.

Our first principle stresses the inherent worth and dignity of all people, which includes the incarcerated and their families. Last Sunday our guest speaker said "hurt people hurt people." This Sunday we will look at the issue of mass incarceration from the perspective of the people inside the system and the families and communities who deal with the impact of incarceration on the fabric of their lives. Where does healing begin? How do our UU principles speak to complicated issues of justice and rehabilitation?

October 25, 2018: "Hope for Healing"
by Shari Woodbury

It’s a pastoral platitude that “hurt people hurt people.” But how does this play out at different levels of human community?  And what abouthealing and love – are these socially infectious too?  Shari Woodbury, a UU seminary graduate who spoke at UUI in September, will join us again to explore how hurt cycles through generations and communities – and what we can do to help the healing of humankind.

Sunday, October 18 "Enough and Never Enough"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Among the sources we say we draw from in creating our living tradition are "words and deeds of prophetic men and women." In this service we will consider the words of the prophet Micah, who said "This is what is required of you: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your god." What does that mean in the context of Unitarian Universalism, where we have many different beliefs about god, from paganism to theism to atheism? And how do we live out our "prophetic" tradition today?  

October 11: "Starlings, Jellyfish, and Jingles"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Inspired by the invasive species tour happening on the UUI campus after the service, we'll reflect on all manner of physical and non-physical creeping things--critters, cultural messages, and unintended consequences. What are the things that invade our physical, mental, and spiritual space? Stretching the metaphor dangerously further, what are some ways we can cultivate a healthier, invasion resistant garden?       

October 4: "The Art of Living, In the Light of Death" by Richard Brendan

Every moment in this life is precious. In this moving presentation, Brendan will take you with him on a journey of bringing love to life, where we can learn from those facing death how to live far better than we do. Insights and stories will inspire you to celebrate your own life and love more fully and live more meaningfully.

Richard Brendan brings love to live through his teaching, counseling and media projects. He is Founder and President of JourneysFire International, and served as a hospice chaplain for 12 years.

September 27, 2015: “American Prison” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The United States has the largest prison population in the world, with almost 7 million people under some form of correctional control (in prison or on probation.) That is 1 in 35 Americans!

We all know these numbers are vastly different depending on whether you are white or non-white, rich or poor, cisgender or transgender, or suffer from mental health issues. Researchers can now identify children likely to be incarcerated by as early as the third grade.

How did we get here? What is life like for people caught up in our American experiment in mass incarceration? And most importantly, what can we do about it? And what will we do about it?

Come be a part of this service about taking action on an issue that deeply impacts our community.

September 20 Service: "Desire and Destiny"
by Shari Woodbury

The Upanishads tell us, “You are what your deep, driving desire is.” Desire commands tremendous power in our lives.  But is desire good, bad, or neutral?  Do we have any control over our longings and aspirations?  How does yearning figure into our individual spiritual journeys?  Into our mission as a religious community?

Shari Woodbury, a recent seminary graduate and Candidate for the UU ministry, will be our guest in the pulpit as we explore what we want and why it matters.

September 13: Water Communion

September 6 Service: "Go Play"
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

We encounter the holy or sublime in many different spaces in the world--in nature, in the arts, in our encounters with other people, through our personal spiritual practices, and more.

Ever since the Transcendentalists, UUs have come to hold these direct experiences of mystery and wonder as central to the religious experience. How can we open up more room in our lives for these encounters?

On this Labor Day weekend, as the summer draws to a close, our sermon celebrates play and keeping the spirit of summer alive in the year to come.

August 30 Service, WUUDSTOCK by our UUI Youth, the Fifth Sunday Service Team and Worship Leader, Jamie Hinson-Rieger

WUUDSTOCK is a celebration of the power of music, songs and art to make change happen. 

During this Fifth Sunday Social Justice Service, our UUI youth will share music of the past and today that have, or have the possibility to, change the way America thinks.

Join us to learn what issues matter to our youth and hear the words that move their hearts. Then, be inspired to share your own voice to become part of the change that's a comin'!

August 23 :  "Sacred Journeys"
by Dr. Ian S. McIntosh

In what ways can the sacred journey lend itself to envisioning and realizing a better world, and help facilitate communication across lines of division?

Join us for a service about pilgrimage and peace-building on the world stage.

August 16:  "How to Be Wrong" (Reason and Science, Part 3), 
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The last sermon in our three-part series on the place of reason and science in our "free and responsible search for truth and meaning" will be a fun exploration of the many ways cognitive biases and logical errors send our thinking astray, despite our best efforts.


What is the fallacy of the excluded middle and how did it get me in an argument with my wife? What does a random pattern really look like, and why does it matter? What is confirmation bias, or, is the number 11:11 trying to tell you something? And what surprisingly simple bias has been systematically distorting public policy research for years?


Join us for an examination of our very human intellectual foibles, and maybe we'll come out better thinkers at the end. 

August 9:  "Soaring and Sinking" (Reason and Science, Part 2)
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

We say there are six sources that Unitarian Universalism is rooted in, and one of them is "the guidance of reason and the results of science." In a three part series in August, we will talk more about what that means and how it relates to our Principles.

On July 14 of this year, the New Horizons spacecraft began its historic flyby of Pluto, beaming back images to earth of amazing clarity and beauty. Like many kids, Pluto was always my favorite planet growing up. But I never for a moment thought I would live to actually see it! Our religious tradition has always been deeply appreciative of science (did you know it was a Unitarian who discovered Pluto?) but we also understand that its gifts come with consequences. The same scientific and technological revolution that has allowed us to explore other worlds is transforming our own planet in unprecedented and dangerous ways. In this service we will celebrate the glories of science, while examining its limitations and the new challenges it has brought us.       

August 2:  "The Gadfly of Athens" (Reason and Science, Part 1)  
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

We say there are six sources that Unitarian Universalism is rooted in, and one of them is "the guidance of reason and the results of science." In a three part series in August, we will talk more about what that means and how it relates to our principles.

We kick it off this Sunday with an examination of the life of a man who embodied our fourth principle of "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning" as well as anyone in history. And he paid the ultimate price for it. Who was Socrates, how did he live and die, and what does he have to teach us?  Join us Sunday for service at 10:30am, followed by coffee and fellowship hour.  We hope to see you there!

July 26:  "Altars and Sacred Spaces"
by Victoria Laughlin-Casares

Many cultures and religious/spiritual traditions have the practice of creating or recognizing a sacred space--a place outside of time where we turn our attention away from our daily cares and concerns and connect to that which is enduring or eternal. In this sermon we'll look at the concept of sacred space, including the connection between altars and sacred spaces, and also learn about the practice of creating a personal altar.

July 19: " Open Source Church"
by David Jackoway

July 5:  "Unforgiven" (Forgiveness & Grace Part 1)

July 12:  "Love Beyond Belief" (Forgiveness & Grace Part 2)
by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

In the last month our country has been visited heavily by the demons of its past and the angels of its future. In this two part series we will explore the tragedy of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church and the triumph of the legalization of gay marriage (henceforth to be known simply as “marriage.”) We will in particular look at the remarkable act of forgiveness visited upon the Charleston killer by some of the families of the victims. In theology, undeserved forgiveness is often called grace—a love that transcends human failings. In confronting the evils of racism and intolerance, how can we seek forgiveness as a nation? Where can we find grace?

June 28:  "The Warp and Weft of Life"
by Cindy Wilson

While weaving a life is an often-used metaphor, what the process of weaving teaches one about the world and life is another lesson. Life with all its color, diversity, struggles, pains and successes is mimicked in a craft that has infinite possibilities.

June 21:  "Unitarianism and Jewish Humor"
by Dick Wolfsie

Radio and TV personality and humorist Dick Wolfsie will be our guest speaker with a presentation on the similarities and connections between Unitarianism and Jewish humor. 

Mr. Wolfsie is an award-winning feature reporter with WISH TV, and an author whose 12 books include Indiana Curiosities, a collection of the 300 most off-the-wall people and places in Indiana. Mr. Wolfsie's weekly newspaper humor column is now also a weekly feature on WFYI radio. 

June 14:  "Re-Enchantment"
by Addie Hirschten

Where, oh where are Shangri-la, Brigadoon, and the Fountain of Youth?  In this service we will examine these idealistic Utopias and discover how we can use them to become re-enchanted with reality.

June 7, Who Do Men Say I Am?: A Humanist Looks at the Humanity of Jesus by Jay Harvey

The Bible is foundational in Unitarianism, in part because the failure to find the Trinity in Scripture generated the Unitarian movement. But more than a different theology is available to UUs who look in particular at the Gospels for insight about Jesus as a powerful religious leader and moral exemplar. Today's service offers a perspective on Jesus' complex identity as a man, setting aside two important lines of inquiry: what's historically true about him and what to believe about his divinity. We will instead consider Jesus as a literary character fleshed out by four authors with extra-literary agendas.

May 3, The Generosity Path by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Most of us would agree "'tis better to give than receive." We aspire to be generous people. Are we effective with our generosity, or is our giving random, haphazard, or spur of the moment? Are we as generous as we would like to be, or does life sometimes get in the way? Drawing from the book "The Generosity Path" by Mark Ewert, we will talk about generosity as a life-affirming value and look at practical steps we can take on the path to becoming "intentional, lifelong philanthropists."


April 26, “Goodbye to Tolerance” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Tolerance has always been a central value to liberal-minded people. UUs like to go a step further and say we do not just “tolerate” others--we welcome and celebrate diversity. But not all thoughts and actions and social systems are tolerable. Martin Luther King Jr. said there are some things to which we should be maladjusted. For example, do we tolerate intolerance? How do our UU values guide us? This sermon could be timely for the state of Indiana right now.     

Special Music by Ruben Benzel, clarinet



April 19, "The Last Tree on Easter Island" by Cara Moczygemba

Special Music by Dan and Beth Henkel


April 12, “The Care and Feeding of the Soul” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Our theme for April is art and education. Stretching all the way back to our Puritan ancestors, Unitarian Universalism has always strongly valued the cultivation of the mind and personality through education. We’ve always been a bookish people! We’re also a people who believe that beauty is good for the soul—in art, in music, in poetry, and wherever else we encounter it. This is a service to remind us to attend to the care and feeding of our souls.  


April 5, “Season of Hope” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

At this time of year, many of the faith traditions we draw from share stories of new life and new hope. As we move from winter into spring we’ll celebrate the rebirth of life and the energy and uplift that comes with it. 

Special music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.


 

March 29, 2015

For our Fifth Sunday Social Justice Service this Sunday, Kristina Hulvershorn from the Peace Learning Center will join us to discuss the center's new "Be the Change" interactive exhibit, which promotes awareness of climate change and teaches people how, through small actions, we can all make a difference in the world. We will be helping construct educational materials for the exhibit. Fifth Sunday Social Justice services provide a family-friendly opportunity for all ages to work on a social justice project.


March 22, 2015

"Shades of Truth/Separate Truths" by John Cote

The stories we tell to explain or to justify become our truths, but your truth may be different from mine.


March 15, 2015 

“Stand by Me” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Sometimes there are moments of high drama and decision in our lives which demand of us strength or courage or independence. Our UU heroes tend to be role models of these more exciting virtues, while fighting the good fight and standing up for justice. But over the long haul, our lives are shaped by humbler qualities like patience and loyalty and kindness, and by the small choices through which we wed ourselves to one another, come what may. This is a sermon in praise of the boring virtues.

Special Music by the UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.


March 8, 2015

“Better Together” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

A follow-up to our Stone Soup service on community. UU is built around individuality in community. We believe we are at our best when inspiring, challenging, and supporting one another. But the value of community isn’t a religious abstraction—our social groups keep us healthy, find us jobs, and much more. In this service we will examine the many benefits, spiritual and practical, that we receive from being together.    

Special Music: John Hague and the North United Methodist Brass Choir


February 22, 2015

Stone Soup 

Multigenerational Service by Natalie Spriggs-Trobridge, Stacy Robinson and the RE Council

On February 22, UUI will once again hear a story of the making of stone soup. This is a multigenerational service and children and youth are invited to stay and participate in the service. Following the service everyone is invited to enjoy soup, salad, and dessert. You can participate in the lunch by bringing a dessert if your last name begins with A-L, or by bringing a salad or fruit if you name begins with M-Z. And, cleanup is easier with many helpers, so if you can assist afterward, please contact Betsy Voigt at awesomevoigt@gmail.com

Special music provided by our UUI Choir, Linda Parr directing.

PHOTOS


February 15, 2015

Evolution Sunday Service

by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

It's Evolution Sunday, the annual service where we say "Happy Birthday!" to Mr. Charles Darwin (February 12) and reflect on the awesome story of the unfolding of life on earth. What does evolution tell us about our place in the interdependent web of life? What life lessons can we draw from it? And, why is a tardigrade the most impressive animal you probably never heard of?


February 8, 2015

“The Woman in the Attic” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Our February social justice theme is women's rights. UU has always been on the cutting edge of women advocating for change, and it still is. Feminism is as UU as chalices and vegan potlucks. But feminism is for everybody! In this service we'll celebrate our feminist history and how it's part and parcel of our vision of human empowerment. Spoiler alert: we are totally going to give away Jane Eyre, so read it now if you've been putting it off.


February 1, 2015

“Identity in Poetry” by Jay Harvey, John Cote, and Addie Hirschten

Poetry helps us find and come to terms with who we are, and examines our attempts to understand and appreciate the identity and worth of others as well.  In selecting poems for this service we've found poems about self identity, about group identity, and about place identity.  We've also found that some identity poems might be dangerous.  This service should be a lot of fun and have something for everyone.


January 25, 2015

“The Prophet Motive" by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

 


January 18, 2015

“Reimagining America” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

For this MLK Day service we will ask some hard questions about America’s history when it comes to the question of race. The liberal reformist critique says the history of America is fundamentally about liberty and equality, and race is a sad exception that we are slowly correcting over time. The radical critique says white supremacy is and remains central to American history. Are you a liberal or a radical? Does America need to be reformed or reimagined? This is part 2 of a 2-part series on racism in America.


“Does Racism Require Racists?” by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

Our social justice theme in January is institutional racism. When Americans are polled about race, the majority will say that they don’t see color, that racism is wrong, and that they support MLK’s vision of a country where people are “judged by the content of their character.” But the data shows that racism is alive and well as a negative factor in the lives of people of color. How can that be? In this service we’ll look at how “color-blind” people can perpetuate a racist system and talk about the implications for anti-racism work. This is part 1 of a 2-part series on racism in America.


"On Ferguson", by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

The shooting death of Michael Brown and the protests in Ferguson have raised many complex issues that people, including UUs, have conflicting opinions about. In this service we’ll discuss the shooting, the grand jury investigation, and what has happened on the ground since, and then examine the larger context of violence against black people in America and how we as UUs are called to respond.


"Graphene, deGrasse, and Global Warming", by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

How two recent interviews with rock-star scientists got me thinking about the nexus between America's newest problem and America's oldest problem. There are many obstacles to dealing effectively with climate change, but the costliest one may turn out to be different than we think.


"I Don't Believe in Bakersfield", by Cara Moczygemba

In its Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court just ruled that scientific evidence is irrelevant if someone "sincerely believes," for example, that certain forms of birth control cause abortions. What happens to social issues when the only thing that matters about a belief is that we believe it?


"Home Truths", a play by Jay Harvey

Scene: From total darkness, a blinding flash of light (with thunderclap) reveals upstage center a man. Clutching a sheaf of papers, he’s dressed casually but conservatively in today’s garb, standing astonished in the middle of a cozy living room in 1950s American style, blandly and comfortably appointed. 


"Of Monkeys and Mortgages", by Jamie Hinson-Rieger

We continue to explore our second principle of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. These three concepts are sometimes in tension with one another. Justice and equity can be interpreted to demand that each person be given their "just desserts," regardless of the consequences for their individual lives. On the other hand, one person's compassion is another person's favoritism. Can we reconcile these tensions? And what do monkeys and mortgages have to do with any of this?