The narratives we share shape us in both positive and negative ways so it makes sense to be conscious about how we tell them. Liturgical scholars Herbert Anderson and Edward Foley assert that churches have a significant opportunity to use ritual to make sense of the stories of life and to use living stories to renew ritual. What stories do we tell as Unitarian Universalists? Do we want to tell additional ones? Do they have the power to renew our worship and life together?
Past Services & Podcasts
Click on the service title to listen to the podcast for that service (If you use Firefox to listen to the podcasts, you may experience problems).
Baja 4 services since March 27 are available here on YouTube.
March 15 – Wise Generosity – Rev. Tina Squire
Do “extreme givers” build stronger community, as Adam Grant writes, or are they “odd narcisists”…. bribing others into attachment,” in the words of Steven Berglas, PhD? How do we “give until it hurts” and still “do it with love” as Mother Teresa implores? Is that even always healthy? We will explore the myriad advice we find from respected researchers, activists, and world beliefs to make sense of our own benevolence.
On this day, in which we lift up the gifts and potential of women, let us remember the advice of Margaret Wheately to listen to many voices, instead of just a few, senior experts. In a time when institutions are changing rapidly “multiple observers elicit multiple and varying responses giving a genuine richness to the observations. An organization rich with many interpretations develops a wiser sense of what is going on and what needs to be done. Such organizations become more intelligent.” How can we become better informed by listening to women, and other groups that have not historically had our ear?
many people use the words interchangeably, and sometimes it’s
hard to see if there is a bright line that separates the two concepts. But let’s find out what distinguishes one from the other – with a little help from William Shakespeare and a collective of three argumentative characters who called themselves Publius.
February 23 – Surviving Strong – Rev. Tina Squire
Black history month ends officially with the close of February, yet I propose we learn from the wisdom of African Americans throughout the year. Professor Ibram X. Kendi sees racism as a relatively young, not-even-six hundred-year-old ill in our world but it has become a pernicious, metastatic cancer. He finds few signs that we are making progress eradicating it but asserts, “Once we lose hope, we are guaranteed to lose. But if we ignore the odds and fight to create an anti-racist world, then we give humanity a chance to one day survive, a chance to live in communion, a chance to be forever free.” What steps do he and others suggest to make this powerful reality possible?
January 12 – Food Paves the Way – Ann Aust & Rev. Tina Squire
In recent years social scientists have recognized that dysfunction in community leads to many different types of problems, impacting the health and wellbeing of residents. You can spend your time trying to get government to solve all of the problems or you can roll up your sleeves and develop effective, directed interventions from within communities. Working together with community members to address problems creates trust, communication and surprising solutions to a myriad of problems from all sources. Once trust is developed empathy grows and even more is possible. Ann Aust and Tina Squire will explore how to bring wellness to different types of communities, how we already do that within this church, how we can expand on these ideas to address other problems.
January 5 – Epiphany – Rev. Amy Belaine
Epiphany, which traditionally falls on January 6, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God as a human being in Jesus. In many cultures the arrival of the wise Magi, bearing gifts for the newborn babe, is celebrated. The original Greek word meant the arrival of dawn, sunrise. Later it indicated the encounter of a human being with God. In January we are blessed by the gifts of a few more moments of sunlight each morning. These days the word epiphany means ‘a bright flash of insight’. What gifts might wisdom brings to us this day, in this time, and how might we celebrate our own encounters with sacred wisdom within us and around us?
BIO- Reverend Amy Beltaine provides a UU ministry of spiritual mentoring through individual and group appointments, Sunday services, rites, and rituals. She helps broken-hearted allies and friends of the marginalized and oppressed struggling to feel their spiritual direction. We need all the support we can get! When (spouse) Hawthorne and Amy are not pulling their little home behind them they live in Portland, Oregon with a beagle named Zim. A graduate of Meadville Lombard School for the Ministry, Amy is on the coordinating committee of the UU Spiritual Directors’ Network. Amy is an accredited Spiritual Director, certified Transitions Specialist, nearly life-long earth-honoring Process-Panentheist, and faculty member at Cherry Hill Seminary. Amy aspires to become a Love-Ninja. Connect with Amy at http://amybeltaine.info.
December 29 – Reveling in Hymns – Rev. Tina Squire & Jean MacKeen
If you haven’t had enough Christmas music and want to sing carols, or have had too much and want to sing something completely different, now is your chance to come to church and pick your favorite music out of the hymnal to share together. We will learn a bit about some of the ones we choose to sing this week as well.
December 22 – The Peace-Love Connection – Rev. Sandra Jean
Rev. Sandra Jean says, “Every time I see a holiday scene, especially one with snow, I think about peace and love.” She will explore the link between them during worship this Sunday.
Rev. Sandra Jean was born and raised in Colorado. Rev. Sandra resides in Palominas, AZ in a straw bale house that is 100% solar powered. (And one that she had built). Rev. Sandra has been an ordained minister of the United Centers for Spiritual Living since October 1989, and has been a Licensed Professional Practitioner since 1972. She earned her Masters in Consciousness Degree through Holmes Institute in 2008. She has served Religious Science churches in Battle Creek, Michigan: St. Louis, Missouri; and Rapid City, South Dakota. She served 14 years as minister of the Bisbee Center for Spiritual Living in Bisbee, Arizona.
As Unitarian Universalists, we use the miracles unmasked through scientific discovery and research to help us make sense of our own lives. Wonder is the origin of both scientific discovery and faith. What hope can science offer us? What can wonder teach us?
Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe, a life-long Unitarian Universalist, was installed as the settled minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson this past January. She is speaking this day as part of the Baja 4 pulpit exchange; the ministers of the UU churches of southern Arizona like to swap pulpits during months that have five Sundays. Rev. Tina will be at Borderlands in Amado, AZ this month. Stay tuned to future “Pulpitpalooza!” trades.
This time of year we use candles to symbolize so much that is good – “the victory of knowledge over ignorance” in the Hindu festival of Diwali, the preservation of the identity of an entire people during Hanukkah, the return of longer days and spring as we acknowledge the winter solstice, and the possibility of the sacred becoming tangible at Christmas. If we over use images of light and dark, however, we can reinforce negative beliefs about people with browner skin, leave out people with low vision, and ignore forms of spirituality that do not have all the answers. This week we will explore the beauty of different forms of “dark” and try out some new metaphors to bring richer meaning to this season.
November 3 – Are You Hungry Tonight? – Ann Aust & Terry Zapotocky
October 27 – Attention that Increases Belonging – Rev. Tina Squire
Rev. Sofia Betancourt has heard from UU seminarians of color that “worship works best for them when they believe worship leaders have considered their presence in the room.” Consideration of even small details can make them feel welcome. Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones has found that to become more multicultural, a church needs to “explore the congregation’s history and its wider context to see what strengths and what mistakes form part of its inheritance for this work.”
We will consider these UU ministers’ suggestion that paying greater attention to our worship and to our history may help us welcome more diverse groups into our community.
“Diversity is going to a party; Inclusion is being a member of the party-planning committee.” Diversity trainer Daniel Juday came up with this fresh take on the popular saying “Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance,” because he feels that people who have not had the power to participate in past activities need to actually shape present and future events. “It seems to me that espousing this idea that inclusion means being asked to dance is not only overly simplistic, it’s dangerous. It allows that there is, and will be, a specific group that controls the ‘pace’ and ‘space’ of the dance floor.” This week we will consider the complexity of how to foster a sense of belonging among diverse racial and ethnic groups, for as UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray avers in this Fall’s UU Magazine “It is easy to hold up a light and declare that everyone is welcome. It is harder to build a place where everyone is truly at home”.
October 13 – Justice as a Spiritual Practice – Janine Gelsinger (UUJAZ)
They’ve been silent for far too long: Archy, the free verse poet who died and was reincarnated as a cockroach, and Mehitabel, the alley cat who claims she was once Cleopatra. But now they’re back. With your guest speaker’s apologies to the memory of the great Don Marquis (1878-1937), who created Archy and Mehitabel more than a century ago, we will hear three new pieces: archy tells the boss not to retire, archy sends his condolences, and archy and mehitabel have a conversation but only one of them can hear much of it.
We all have expectations, good and bad, about where our society is heading. Depending on whether they are positive or negative, our expectations may lead us either to complacency or to despair. Are such responses justified?
August 25 – The Power and the Value of Storytelling – Bruce Carlstrom
Can you remember a story that was told to you by someone or perhaps that you read which has remained in your memory to this day? What was it about that particular story that stood out to you the most? Why do you still remember the story? Was it a funny story? Was it a sad story? Was it a story with a happy ending or a moral lesson? For many of us, stories from our past have helped to shape our lives. They’ve instilled in us the values we live by and the view we have of the world.
August 18 – Celebrating the Stories of Different Traditions – Rev. Tina Squire
Human communities keep their traditions alive and give meaning to their traditions through particular story forms. We will savor the koan of Buddhism, the parable of Christianity, the middrash of Judaism, the enduring oral tradition of Native American groups, among other provocative ways story keeps culture alive and challenges it to grow.
talking about fiction. Often history is presented as if the participants had been born to play the roles that we, in hindsight, have assigned to them. Do the actors in the stories of our lives always deserve the labels imposed on them?
August 4 – Embracing the Power of the Story of Sky Island – Rev. Tina Squire
Last week we gathered the accounts of when Sky Islander’s felt most alive in this congregation and what they hope to see the church become. Today we will share some of those narratives and lift up the most widely shared themes about what we value in this community and what we dream for its future.
July 21 – Embracing the Power of Story – Rev. Tina Squire
Admit that I can’t tell you, with any degree of precision, what makes some jokes funny. Attempts to explain what makes some things funny are usually doomed to failure. I’m better at explaining what makes some things unfunny. And it turns out that for many supposed jokes, lack of humor is the whole point.
June 30 – Sunday Service from General Assembly – Dave Weigel
We will be showing the June 23 Sunday Service from General Assembly in Spokane. After exploring the power of we, what are we
ready to do? Let’s not be servants of the past in new cups. Let’s all get free by planting faithful seeds of change and together turn to free the faith we love. The speakers will be Dr. Emily Jaworski, Marty Swisher, Rev. Lindasusan V. Ulrich, and Rev. Marta I. Valentín.
June 23 – Walking in Beauty With the World’s Dispossessed – Rev. Tina Squire
In 2010 the United Nations designated June 20 each year as World Refugee Day in order to call attention to the situation of the more than 65 million of the world’s people now displaced from their homes. In the early 20th Century, Black Elk’s wording of the Oglala Sioux blessing “May You Always Walk in Beauty” was written down and shared with the world. This year the UN has chosen the theme “#StepWithRefugees — Take A Step on World Refugee Day” (and yes, you can connect your fitness trackers to a global effort). Walking in beauty has come to mean, walking well, in connection with all living beings and the world; so we will consider some of what is happening to the world’s displaced people and some of the ways we can walk, stand, or sit along side them on their journey to recreate home.
June 16 – Feeling Temporary About Myself: A Fathers’ Day Story in Three Objects – Wallace Hoggatt
Willy Loman, the Salesman of Arthur Miller’s play Death
of a Salesman, was the flawed son of a father who abandoned
him. His father’s absence made him feel, as he put it, “kind of
temporary about myself,” throughout the remainder of his life.
This won’t be a lecture about Willy Loman, however: Willy is
just one in a long line of sons abandoned by their fathers, a line
going back at least as far as Ishmael, Abraham’s oldest son.
I’m in line, too. A couple of years ago I talked about my own
experience with an absent father: how I last saw him when I
was twelve and a half, and how I learned of his death more
than 30 years later. On this Fathers’ Day, 2019, I’ll revisit the
same subject, this time with the help of three exhibits marked
for identification and submitted for your consideration.
June 9 – We Are Never Broken – Janet Howe-Johnson
June 2 – Claiming Beauty – Rev. Tina Squire
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder and in the mind of the definer? Is it just skin deep and, if so, who gets to define it? Is it something deeper, that wells up from our inner experience. If so how do we find it and use it to grow and heal? What is the interplay between our private definition and embracing and strengthening beauty in a wider community?
May 26 – Making our Answers Provocative Proposals – Rev. Tina Squire
If creative questions move us to a way to act in the world, how can we frame those answers in a manner that keep us open to growth and change? How do we combine curiosity and commitment, open-mindedness and action?
May 19 – Loving the Questions Themselves – Rev. Tina Squire
Children annoy with all the “Why?” and “How?” they ask, yet often those who have their queries honored grow into productive, creative adults. Scientist Suzie Sheehy chronicles how much of today’s technology was once the unproductive-seeming by-product of curiosity driven research. Movie producer Brian Grazer attributes all his success, including a thirty year partnership with director Ron Howard, to being curious. How can we celebrate and hone our questions to open our minds to the world around us?
May 12 – The Call to Nurture – Rev. Sandra Jean
Mother’s Day is usually a time to romanticize all mothers as if all mother/child relationships match the “happily ever after myth.” I want to explore the idea of the nature to nurture that lies within us all and is called forth in various circumstances.
May 5 – THE CONFLICT BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION (and the possibility of some harmony) – Lorraine Groberg
Throughout human history, human curiosity has been a driving force for both science and religion as we strive to find ultimate reality and truth. They are the parallel searches for understanding the reality within (our psychical) and the reality without (the physical). However, their world views have come into deep conflict with one another and have created conflict between us.
During this service we will explore the important areas in which science and religion impinge on each other, what impact they have had on each other and if there is a slim chance of compatibility. Do you already know where you stand in this conflict? We all have different orientations, different temperaments, and different cultural backgrounds, but if we remain curious, perhaps we may find a glimmer of wider understanding.
Bio: Lorraine Groberg continues to maintained a deep interest in religion, psychology, and philosophy after achieving a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in mental health counseling. She worked as a mental health counselor for many years and enjoyed teaching yoga and studying Eastern and Western religions. Recognizing that people are often perplexed about the conflict between science and religion, she decided to explore the topic in her message.
April 28 – Choices, Consequences and Changes – Green Sanctuary Team
Every day we make choices: what time to get up, what to wear, what and when to eat, what activities to do. Our choices have consequences – some minor, some far reaching. Now we are faced with dangerous and erratic weather patterns, record highs and record lows, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, drought, flooding, raging forest fires, etc. Our choices can have serious consequences for us and future generations. Are we willing to make the changes needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change or will those who come after us malign us for doing too little too late?
April 21 – Easter: Experiencing resurrections – Rev. Tina Squire
Whether or not you believe Jesus came back from the dead, the mystery of new life happens to all of us. Since community is a powerful place to acknowledge experiences of rebirth, you are invited to share any such renewals that have happened to you and celebrate them in others.
April 14 – Would You Give Water to a Person Dying of Thirst? – Cameron Jones
Mr. Jones will talk about the work and mission of No More Deaths.
Cameron Jones is a farmer born and raised in Arizona who has been volunteering with No More Deaths/No Más Muertes since 2013. Cameron worked for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic for four years after college. During that time he lived and worked in a Haitian/Dominican community near the border dividing that island. That experience helped him see the Arizona/Mexico border through a new lens and led him to volunteer with No More Deaths when he returned to Tucson.
April 7 – At Onement: The Many Ways Humans Seek to Be Whole – Rev. Tina Squire
Throughout human history we have sought to be at home with ourselves, but often the power to make things ‘right’ has been in someone else’s hands. I will explore how recent trends, such as womanist theology and the growth of mysticism, give individuals the authority to claim their own wholeness.
March 31 – Living in the Valley of the Shadow – Rabbi Helen Cohn
How the journey of our lives can be a blessing even as we live in the valley of the shadow of death.
Rabbi Helen Cohn is the spiritual leader of Congregation M’kor Hayim in Tucson, AZ, a liberal congregation associated with Judaism’s Reform movement. Rabbi Cohn is also a Spiritual Director and is active in Tucson’s interfaith community.
March 24 – Continuing The Journey – Packing Light – Rev. Jeanne Festa
As hard as we try to plan ahead, our journey through life can be totally unpredictable. We can make it so much more difficult unless we learn to “pack light”, recognizing and leaving behind all those things that might be holding us back. My message will include the wisdom of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go There You Are, and other modern and classic spiritual writers.
March 17 – Traveling with a Purpose: Ethical Journeys – Rev. Tina Squire