Click on the service title to listen to the podcast for that service.
For some, hope offers ineffectual lip service for change. Others see hope as a brave stance in the face of a difficult world. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks gives different names to these diverging views. “Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one. It needs no courage, only a certain naiveté, to be an optimist. It needs a great deal of courage to have hope.” How can we move hope beyond wishful thinking to life-giving vision?
December 3 – Holding Onto Hope – Rev. Linda Lawrence
Some of you may have been surprised to see my photo under the Oct. 26th Sierra Vista Herald/Review story entitled “God is our hope.” I know I was surprised! As it happens, our Sunday service theme for December is hope, so we have to ask ourselves: If God isn’t the main source of hope for most Unitarian Universalists, what is? Let’s talk about it.
November 26- Counting our Blessings – Rabbi Helen Cohn
What is a blessing, where are they in our lives, and how can we count them?
November 19 -Multi-Age Service: Empty Bowls/Bread Communion – Terry Zapotocky
This will be the 10th time SIUUC observes Empty Bowls. The purpose of Empty Bowls to to bring awareness to the problem of hungar in the local community and to raise funds for the food banks in SV and Bisbee.
Terry Z will talk about hungar and food insecurity in a land of abundance. In keeping with theme of hungar, Lorraine Groberg will lead the congregation’s 1st bread communion. The service will be followed by a soup potluck and a sale of plantable Christmas decorations made by our RE children and instructors. All funds raised will go to the local food banks. The 2nd collection the following Sunday will also go to the local food banks.
November 12 – The Interplay of Abundance and Growth – Rev. Tina Squire
Journalist Thom Hartmann states that we need a certain subsistence level of provision to feel happy, but above a certain point, having more stuff does not increase our bliss. Research by Ravi Mehta shows that perceived scarcity of goods can make us use products in more creative ways. When does an awareness of abundance allow us freedom to develop and when does a sense of shortage push us to grow?
November 5 – For the Beauty of the Earth/Returning to the Springs – Rev. Linda Lawrence
Our sermon series ends with a focus on our sixth and final source of inspiration as described in the Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws: “Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” See Chapters 11 & 12 of A Chosen Faith if you’ve been reading along (optional).
October 29 – Dia de Los Muertos Multi-age Service – Rev. Linda Lawrence (no podcast available)
Please bring photos and/or mementos of your deceased loved ones or of others you admire and wish to honor as we create altars to honor their memories. Through ritual, story, song, and sharing, we will remember those who have died, call forth their best qualities to comfort and inspire us, and strive to let go of any remaining bitterness or hurt we may still feel toward them.
All of us I think have witnessed acts of Courage, either personally or through outside sources, mainstream and social media, the radio, and so forth. Some of these acts of courage are so obvious, like the police officer in Texas who, though undergoing treatment for cancer, returns to his hometown to rescue people after Hurricane Harvey. Or the unarmed Lakota Sioux Water Protectors protesting the desecration of their sacred sites and their water facing vicious attacks by dogs and armed men and women.
There are also acts of courage that go largely unseen. The teenager who makes a conscious decision to reveal that he or she is gay. The people who deliver water in the desert in hopes of saving lives in spite of harassment by law enforcement agents. Or the minister who foregoes retirement in order to help a congregation lay a path to becoming a community of trust and love.
Courage, in my opinion, lies within each of us. I comes forth when loves calls us to act without regard for our own safety. To do those things out of love for others when every instinct tells us to flee. Courage does not act alone. It is a servant of Love to do it’s bidding.
October 15 – No Courage Without Love – Rev. Ben L. Somerville II
I know a little.
I think a lot.
I believe a lot.
I am convicted of very little.
All fields of knowledge are in flux.
There is a struggle for authority.
Among fields of knowledge.
Within the fields of knowledge.
It takes courage to live in the world today.
I cannot do that without love.
Rev. Somerville was born in Georgia 1940, reared in West Virginia, graduated West Virginia University married Mary Anne Somerville, have two sons, a grandson and grand daughter, graduated The School of Theology of The University of The South, ordained by the Episcopal Church. Before ordination I was a car salesman, gas station manager, retail clerk, an assistant financial loan manager, and a sales representative in the printing industry. After ordination, I served in Ga., Md., Ct., Wy., NY. About ½ of my time was in the Baltimore, Md. area. I moved to Sierra Vista, AZ as Rector of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in 1999, and retired in 2006.
October 8 – Strengthening Our Core: the Partnership of Courage and Justice – Rev. Tina Squires
Standing for justice often requires bravery yet, often, those who do the dangerous right thing do not see themselves as especially heroic. Their acts stem from a life and community that clearly know the best course of action. The Rev. Erika Hewitt notes that the origin of the word courage, is the Latin word “cor,” or heart and, according to the poet Mark Nebo, courage initially meant to stand by one’s core: a reminder “that living from the Center is what enables us to face whatever life has to offer.” How do we deepen our ties to heart and mind and strengthen our inner resolve to act for what we believe is best?
October 1 – The Fifth Source of Unitarian Universalism &
Coming of Age Ceremony for Mariah Hoggatt – Rev. Linda Lawrence
This morning we will hold a special ceremony to celebrate the approaching 18th birthday of a young woman who has been a part of the congregation for nearly ten years. Our focus for the remainder of the service will be the fifth source of Unitarian Universalism as named in our Association’s bylaws: “Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.” If you wish to read A ChosenFaith, our resource for this service, see Part V, Chapters 9 & 10, pp. 155 – 186.
September 24 – Seizing the Essence – Tsoglam
We are alive, therefore we will die. This is the simplest, most obvious truth of our existence. Coming to terms with our own impermanence and the impermanence of others has great meaning and brings us much peace. Buddha taught that there is no need to fear death. Although death and dying are difficult, they also can be one of life’s most transformative, and even positive experiences.
September 10 – The Transformational Power of Welcome – Rev. Tina Squire
In recent years several different denominations have embraced the term “radical hospitality.” The word “radical” comes from the term “root” and suggests change that goes to the core of who we are. Numerous writers affirm that both those who give and those who receive deeply generous welcome are profoundly altered by the practice. We will consider how we can be open to these two sides of welcome.
We continue exploring the sources of inspiration as cited in our Unitarian Universailst Association bylaws. Today’s focus will be upon “Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.” For those reading A Chosen Faith, the basis for this sermon series, see pp. 119 – 154. Each of the services in this series will include a time of silence and sharing. Reading the book or attendance at previous parts of this series are not necessary for benefit and enjoyment of today’s message. Please note that the remaining two sources of inspiration will be addressed later in this congregational year.
We claim “wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life” as one of the sources of our religious tradition. For those reading A Chosen Faith, the basis for this sermon series, see pp. 81- 118. Each of the services in this series will include a time of silence and sharing. Attendance at previous parts of this series is not necessary for benefit and enjoyment of today’s message.
Our second source of inspiration as listed in the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association is: “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.” For those reading the book, the focus will be pp. 41 – 80. Each of the services in this series will include a time of silence and sharing. Attendance at previous parts of this series is not necessary for benefit and enjoyment of today’s message.
The bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association lists the sources that we draw upon for inspiration. The first is “direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life.” For those reading the book, the focus will be pp. 3-40. Each of the services in this series will include a time of silence and sharing. Attendance at previous parts of this series is not necessary for benefit and enjoyment of today’s message.
August 6 – An Introduction to A Chosen Faith – Rev. Linda Lawrence
“The Living Tradition we share draws from many sources.” This Sunday begins our exploration of Unitarian Universalism’s six sources of inspiration. Using the book A Chosen Faith by John Buehrens and Forrest Church, we will start with an overview and introduction to the six sources. Those who wish to can read the Foreword, Preface, and Introduction to the book (pp ix – xvii) in advance, but one need not read the book or be present for every Sunday of the series to benefit from and enjoy individual services.
July 23 – General Assembly Presentation (Due to copyright restrictions, there is no podcast of this service)
The Service of The Living Tradition from the UUA General Assembly in New Orleans.
July 16 – General Assembly Presentation (Due to copyright restrictions, there is no podcast of this service)
The Sunday Morning Service from the UUA General Assembly in New Orleans.
July 9 – We Need To Talk About An Injustice – TED Talk by Bryan Stephenson
Bryan Stevenson’s Ted Talk, ” We need to talk about an injustice “. In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives.
Molly Smith will present a 3-5 minute talk on the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation.
July 2 – Memorable Moments from General Assembly – Rev. Linda and Attendees
June 25 – Balancing Act: Inner Peace, Outer Turmoil – Tsoglam (Chris Fisk)
How is it possible to maintain a peaceful mind when everything around us is so challenging? In Buddha’s teachings we can find the wisdom that understands how we ourselves, our friends and family, and even our world actually exist. By gaining insight into the true nature of reality, we can develop the mental equilibrium necessary to deal skillfully with external turbulence.
June 18, 2017 – Migrant Quilt Project – Jody Ipsen
June 11, 2017 – Joy: Patient, Elusive and Full of Surprises – Rev. Kathleen Baughman
Joy is an experience that many UUs contemplate each Sunday morning when we lift up the joys and sorrows of our congregation. In this service, we will explore joy as a spiritual experience that seems inextricably woven together with sorrow and suffering and is also blessedly, full of surprises. Bio: Kathy Baughman moved to Arizona in September of 2006 to take a position as a staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. She currently serves as the chaplain for the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Phoenix. At age 50, she transitioned from a long career as a nurse therapist, for children and their families, to one as a minister. She graduated in 2005 from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Kathy was ordained to the UU ministry in 2008 at the UU Fellowship of Topeka, Kansas. In 2013, she was board certified as a chaplain by the Association of Professional Chaplains. Since 1985, she has been involved with UU congregations in Michigan, Kansas and Minnesota. Kathy is a member of the UU Congregation of Phoenix.
June 4, 2017 – Feeding Spirit, Cultivating Joy – Rev. Tina Squire
The novelist Barbara Kingsolver writes, ‘I have taught myself joy over and over again.’ If we pay attention to joy, and tend it, it’s presence can show where there is vitality in our inner life and health in our connections to each other.
May 28, 2017 – Building the Beloved Community in Arizona – Rev. Lisa McDaniel-Hutchings
In our Unitarian Universalist congregations, we often hear calls to build the “Beloved Community,” a term popularized by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who often spoke of the Beloved Community as his ultimate goal. How do we shift our worldview to accommodate the values of Beloved Community? How might we have the crucial conversations necessary to begin building the Beloved Community in Arizona? Lisa McDaniel-Hutchings is the Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona Network (UUJAZ). Please join Rev. Lisa for a UUJAZ Update following the service.
May 21, 2017 – The Place of Execution – Wally Hoggatt
The message will be a few comments about the current state of the death penalty — including the bad news, the good news, and the bad news about the good news.
May 14, 2017 – The Peril and Promise of Embodiment in Community – Rev. Tina Squire
Being embodied teaches balance; our bodies are our own and yet at the beginning and end of life we must rely on others. We get to decide who we are and what we want to do within our physical form, and yet others keep us alive in love long after that shape is gone. We will consider both the gifts and costs of the relationship of our bodies to community.
May 7, 2017 – Blessing Our Bodies – Rev. Linda Lawrence
We are exposed to (and often internalize) a lot of judging and shaming messages about our bodies. These messages come from families, peers, advertising and social media. Because of the messages we’ve received, most of us have complicated relationships with our bodies – relationships that change with age and circumstances. Today we will explore some of the joys and challenges of being embodied and we’ll offer gratitude for our hard-working bodies – the homes of our minds and spirits.
APRIL 30, 2017 – Transformation is a Dirty Word – Rev. Ron Phares
Transformation is one of the most over used words in contemporary religious circles and UU’s absolutely love the word. It’s a nice aspiration. But what does it even mean? Has it become pablum? Trite? Cliche? You bet it has. How do we redeem the word, find insight into its essence and apply it to our religious path? We’re going to transform transformation.
APRIL 23, 2017 – Transformational Possibilities: journeying towards wholeness – Beth Kingsley Hawkins, M.A.
Mark Twain said “Your eyes won’t do you any good if your imagination is out of focus.” Inner work enables us to find extraordinary strengths and resources in the hidden depths of our own subconscious, using dreams and the imagination for a journey of inner transformation. Beth will share the geography of her own inner landscape and her heroine’s journey with the help of her hero, Joseph Campbell.
Beth Kingsley Hawkins is a third generation Universalist, growing up in New England in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She is still a 55 year member of the First Unitarian Church there but now resides in Sedona, Arizona, with her husband Ross and their petite golden doodle, Sunny. Beth’s background and extensive work with music and imagery, as a board-certified music therapist, has evolved into a ministry of arts and spirituality through her photography. She is a professional nature photographer and her Sedona Hummingbird Gallery features her images of nature that she calls ‘Holy Originals.’ Rev. Linda and Gary spent time in Sedona with Beth last summer. They knew right away that she was a kindred spirit. They are happy to welcome Beth and Ross to Sierra Vista and glad that Beth will be bringing some of her cards and books for anyone interested in purchasing them.
April 16: 10:30AM – Flower Communion Service – A Multi-Age Service – Rev. Linda Lawrence
This service for all ages includes “Changing Places,” an original, audience participation story by Terry Zapotocky. We will reflect on seasonal transformations – including the seasons of our earth and the seasons of our lives – and end the service with a flower communion.
April 2, 2017 – Transformation Through Travel – Rev. Tina Squire
The saying “wherever you go, there you are,” attributed to Confucius, points out that you cannot always fix your problems with geographic relocation. Putting yourself in a different place, however, can open you up to change. How do such physical or mental shifts work?
March 26, 2017 – Risk and Spirit: Necessary Dance Partners – Rev. Linda Lawrence
Many of our choices dance with our spirits to keep them alive, engaged, and compassionate. Risk is, perhaps to some of us, an unlikely dance partner. We will explore the dance between risk and spirit and how critical that dance is to our survival as inclusive and loving people.
March 19, 2017 – Where Are We Going? – Jerry Beale
Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? What kind of questions are these? How long have they been asked? Do they have the same meaning across different theologies?
Also a remembrance of Orlando and thoughts on empathy.
March 12, 2017 – Is It Worth the Risk? – Rev. Tina Squire
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” (Attributed to Bob Marley)
Throughout our culture we celebrate heroes who are willing to take tremendous risks for a higher good. Is this a legacy from Christianity and Jesus’ assertion in John 15: that “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”? Clearly non-Christians make huge sacrifices as well; Dorothy Day noted with surprise that it was her atheist and anarchist friends, who only believed in one life, that were the most willing to lay that life down for the sake of a cause. Is this prizing of risk-taking good? When is dangerous? How can we make conscious decisions about risk?
March 5, 2017 – Life is Risky Business – Rev. Linda Lawrence
To be alive is to face risks on a daily basis. There are the big, bold, seemingly daredevil choices we sometimes make, but there are also everyday decisions that ask us to risk our serenity, complacency, or even our integrity. Today we’ll talk about risk in individual and community contexts, and we’ll take some time to thank the many volunteers who keep our congregation and its programs going.
February 26, 2017: A Big Heart in Daily Life – Kelsang Tsoglam
We say that love will conquer all, that love is the answer, and that all you need it love, but how do we practically apply this as we go about our day? How can we love someone whose views directly oppose our own? In these divisive times, it is vital that we learn how to interact with others via the wisdom of love. Come learn how love is the real nuclear bomb that destroys enemies, according to Buddha.
February 19, 2017: Begging Sermon – Jerry Beale
There seems to be the one universal ritual in UU churches. Some call it the begging sermon. It could be called “Jack Benny’s Spiritual Dilemma – And Ours.” Remember that Jack Benny’s major characteristic was his reluctance to part unnecessarily with a single penny. Jerry Beale will suggest 8 possible scenarios: 8 possible ways we can raise the funds necessary to finance our dream. They are called: the Commune Method, The Bake Sale Method, the Entrepreneurial Method, the Mystic Society Method, the Holiness Method, The Mafia Method, the Forbes Method and finally the Viagra Method.
February 12, 2017: Celebration of Sky Island UU’s 20th Anniversary – Rev. Linda Lawrence
The twenty year history of SIUUC will be celebrated in joyful story, music, and song as we take a stroll down memory lane, a look to the future, and hear greetings from various sources. There might even be some surprise guest appearances!
February 5, 2017: Identity and Community – Rev. Tina Squire
We use the word ‘identity’ frequently these days, attaching it to politics, gender, and theft. What is identity? How can we be allowed to define ourselves while taking into consideration the shaping of outside influences? Looking at the work of Parker Palmer and Kwame Anthony Appiah, I will consider how we shape our own identity and whether or not community can play a positive role in the process.
January 29, 2017: Are We a Hardy Church? – Rev. Lyn Oglesby
January 22, 2017: No Time Not To Love – Rev. Amy Beltaine
There are those who would set fire to the world. There is only time to work slowly. There is no time not to love. It is tempting to shake our fists and decry the “evil” corporations. But how might we respond to sin with both compassion and strength? What might doing the work with love, with hospitality, look like in our daily lives? Universalist Clarence Skinner explored these ideas after World War II, as did Susan B Anthony during her fight for women’s and African Americans’ right to vote. We are called to find our own way during these years of transformation.
January 15, 2017: Prophets? Us? – Susan Goldsmith
Prophecy is one of those words that we UUs sometimes think don’t apply well to us. But we do sometimes say that we aspire to be prophetic congregations or communities. This morning we will explore what that might look like and what might be standing in our way.
January 8, 2017: The Prophetic Imperative – Rev. Linda Lawrence
Who were some of the prophets of Unitarian Universalism? What do our history and principles demand of us today? What does it mean to be a prophetic church community?
January 1, 2017: Starting a New Year Grounded in Truth – Rev. Tina Squire
The Hebrew prophets understood the future because they were so clear about the present. Each one of us has moments of deep clarity when we know what reality is and how we must respond to it. Instead of imposing resolutions on ourselves as we start 2017. I invite us to recall the deep truths we each stand on and want to embody in the year ahead.
December 18, 2016: Christmas with Archy and Mehitabel – Presenter: Wally Hoggatt
It’s time once again for us to check in with our old friends from Shinbone Alley: Archy, the free verse poet who died and was reincarnated as a cockroach, and Mehitabel, the alley cat who claims she was once Cleopatra. Archy and Mehitabel were created one hundred years ago by journalist and poet Don Marquis (1878-1937), and for about 20 years Marquis featured them in comic pieces dealing with the issues of the day. A couple of years ago I decided to bring Archy and Mehitabel back to literary life to help us make sense of the troubled times in which we find ourselves. On December 18th, we’ll revisit an Archy classic and hear two new pieces: Mehitabel and the war on Christmas, and Archy and the best tree money could buy.
December 11, 2016: The Gift of Spirit – Rev. Tina Squire
What does it mean to be “spiritual but not religious” in a Unitarian Universalist setting? What does it mean to unwrap the true gifts of this season, if they aren’t tangible and don’t come tied up in a neat religious bow?
December 4, 2016: The Gift of Presence
As the winter holidays approach, are you thinking mostly about presents or more focused on presence? We will explore some of the ideas and methods offered by the Humanist Community at Harvard to nurture mindfulness and combat the stress often associated with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
November 27, 2016: Thanksgiving Poetry Service
November 20, 2016: Najashi (Najashi was the 7th century Christian ruler who protected early Muslim emigrants.)
Homily: Ahmed Meiloud – Ahmed Meiloud is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Middle East and North African Studies and a former Fulbright Scholar, with MAs in Near Eastern Studies and American Studies. Ahmed studies political Islam and modern religious and legal discourses in the Arab world and North Africa. Ahmed also serves currently as the director of the Islamic Center of Tucson.
November 13, 2016: When Story Is Not Enough
Homily: Rev. Tina Squire – Stories help us make sense of life, affirm our sense of individual identity and also help us build and preserve community. They can also limit us to one narrative or blind us to painful journeys in our lives or the lives of others. In this month of November, we will take up the challenge of a business proposal adopted at this summer’s Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, “Thanksgiving Reconsidered,” and explore the complex legacy of the arrival of the Mayflower almost 400 years ago.
November 6, 2016: The Power of Stories
Homily: Rev. Linda Lawrence – Shakespeare wrote: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” But we are more than puppets in someone else’s script. We can be directors, screenwriters, and authors – the stars of our own lives! Come and explore the playfulness and power of stories.