Sermons for 2018 are listed below. We will provide audio, video and/or pdf versions if and as they become available.
- To listen to our audio messages, please click here.
- Printed versions aka PDF's when available can be viewed by clicking the the date/title of the sermon as listed below.
- Videos if available will appear on our YouTube channel.
October 7: Don't Just Do Something, Said Buddha. Stand There! with Rev. Johnson. Special Music: UCH Choir
October 14: The Moon over the Beach with Rev. Johnson Special Music: Sarah Adams & Kel Kyle
October 21: Dialogue Sermon with Rev. Johnson & Sara Palmer, DRE. Special Dance & Music: Karen Mallah & Kel Kyle
October 28: Service with Yvonne DuVal & Dean Leverett
September 2: Labor Day Interactive Service with Laura Edinger. Special Music: Wendy Colby.
September 9: Faith and Hope in This Perilous Time. Part I: Faith with Rev. Johnson. Special Music: UCH Choirs
September16: Faith and Hope in This Perilous Time. Part II: Hope with Rev. Johnson. Special Music: UCH Choir
September 23: Everyone Needs a Lifesaver Sometimes with Rev. Johnson. Special Music: UCH Choir
September 30: Whose lives matter?” My journey from "All Lives Matter" to Black Lives Matter with Jim Cavenaugh. Special Music: Voices 3.
August 5: DNA as a Doorway with Marjy Hartman.
My passion for DNA in my teen years served as a catalyst to pursue a career in science education in the 1980's. Surprisingly, what the scientific community knew about DNA then has changed quite a bit over the years. Some of what was thought to be true simply wasn't, some of what we have discovered has been shocking. Reminds me of the course we are on at UCH presently. My participation in last years Ministerial Search Committee was a blessing that lay bare some new truths about us. There are things we know about ourselves, and things we don't know about our future as our journey continues.
August 12: Opaque Doors, Shame That Kills with Susan Sink Jones.
August 19: The Doors of the Church Are Open with Rev. Anthony Johnson.
There is a Baptist church where altar call ends with the invitation, "The doors of the church are open." This is meant as an emphatic welcome. But if the doors are open, those inside can also step out through the open doors and ... do what?
August 26: Rick Williams (UUPLAN)
In the game show of life, we encounter many doors. No matter the amount of pragmatic research about the type of wood, the shape of the handle, the way our knock sounds on the door... we never truly know what will happen once we go through to the other side. It could be a fully loaded 2019 Toyota Prius OR it could be a zonk-- shoes made out of bacon for example! So, do you stick with a sure thing or do you risk getting a zonk? We say “Why not go through the door?!” Special Music: Maggie Shaver-Wilson: "Minuetes I and II' from Suite I by Bach
Although the abandoning of babies on doorsteps is still a very real phenomenon, it has also become a modern trope of storytelling and for good reason. The plight of the doorstep baby is compelling for anyone who has ever felt lost or abandoned. But, ultimately, foundling is an avatar of hope and self-reliance. Special music by Jason Fortney: "Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan
If you're a LOTR fan, you are probably familiar with these words by J. R. R. Tolkien: "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." In my sermon I will use these kinds of door metaphor quotes from literature and elsewhere as jumping-off points for sharing some of my life experiences and personal beliefs. Special music by Voices 3 (Kel Kyle, Sarah Adams & Laura Edinger)
July 22: "What I Learned from Teaching in 39 Countries" with Don Brown. Special music by Marjy Schubauer-Hartman and Lois Voigt.
July 29: "Seeing Doorways" with Paul Haidet. Special music by Lileigh C. "Keva" Brown and Rhyan Brown
June 3: Coming of Age (service led by coming of age group) No text available.
June 10: Stardust Rev Lyn Cox (final Sunday with Rev. Lyn)
Insights from physics, theology, and UU history give us some thoughts about where we move, how we move, and by what power we move as a people of faith. The vocal choir will sing, "Sweet Radiant Mystery."
Connecting with music, painting, dance, and other arts are some of the ways of exploring spirituality. Engaging with creative arts, we may find ourselves more open to surprise, to the calling of the Spirit of Life, and to the gifts of the silent mystery. The choir will sing, "Make Your Own Kind of Music," with a surprise instrumental accompaniment.
Flowers, freedom, human dignity, and community. These values were relevant at the time when the Unitarian Universalist Flower Ceremony was developed in Prague, and they were relevant at the time when the Oliver LaGrone Scholarship was developed, and they are very relevant today. Let us come together for a multigenerational celebration of the freedom to grow into the people we are called to be together. We will hear from the 2018 Oliver LaGrone Scholarship recipient. The women's ensemble will sing, "Over the Sea to Sky." Please bring a flower to add to our shared vase and plan to bring a different flower home with you.
May 27: A Creative Memorial Day with Laura Shemick. Special music by Jane Bechtel and Kel Kyle singing "Holy Now".
Some of us regard stories about the risen Jesus as cornerstones of our faith. Others of us recognize that these stories hold deep cultural truths. Resurrection is a mystery. We may believe, we may wonder. We know that what is remembered lives. Let us wonder and remember together, as a community of all ages, in the spirit of love. The choir will sing John Lennon's "Imagine. No Audio or PDF available.
Rev. Lyn will team up with the Congregational Life Team to explore themes of identity, change, conflict transformation, and pursuing shared goals. We'll hear reflections from Paul Haidet, Barbara Van Horn, and Sandy Hamstra; and we'll welcome the Harrisburg Gay Men's Chorus.
High School Youth lead today’s worship service on the topic of Movements: physical, emotional and social.
It's Earth Day! We have much to celebrate about the living planet and our physical bodies. Putting our hands and feet in the dirt where we live, being fully present to the limits and possibilities of our bodies, the experience of the tangible world within us and around us can be good in many ways. The physical world can teach us to be at peace within. It can anchor our feelings of love in the here and now. The concrete reality we share can help us understand our diversity and our commonalities. The choir will sing, "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream."
Most of us don't experience perfect wholeness in our lives - at least, not most of the time. But our imperfect lives can still be filled with beauty and wonder. The choir will sing, "There Is a Season".
March 25: Sharing with Rev. Cox
Palm Sunday is a good time to think about the promises we make and the people to whom we are accountable. A lens of kinship and the siblinghood of all humanity may help us to live into our Universalist framework of shared destiny and collective liberation. Stories about siblings from myths and sacred text as well as from our own lives give us ideas about what we hope for (and what we don't want) in our relationships as we build the kin-dom. The Bell Choir will ring out, "Now, The Green Blade Riseth."
March 18: Building Bridges, one relationship at a time with Jim Cavenaugh
UUs say they affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” But we find this pretty hard to do when we feel that the other person is wrong in some important way. Nathan Walker, in Cultivating Empathy: The Worth and Dignity of Every Person – Without Exception, reminds us how easy it is to play “the same old game, in which ‘success’ is built upon demeaning others rather than making meaning of our lives.” This service will help us examine different ways to build bridges. The choir will sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Paul Simon.
Beloved Community is a term we use often in Unitarian Universalism to describe how the world will look when Love and Justice reign. However, how we arrive at and build the Beloved Community are elusive at best. Come dream together in this service where we will envision and practice living in the communities of love and justice we seek, starting here at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg. Special Music by Voices 3 (Kel Kyle, Laura Edinger and Sarah Adams) singing "One Voice" by Ruth Moody of the Wailin' Jennys.
What is the most important time? Who is the most important person? What is the most important thing to do? We'll hear a story about these three questions, celebrate our second UU Principle, and thank our Lay Pastoral Care Associates in this multigenerational service. The choir will sing "We Will Be A Shelter For Each Other."
February 25: The Wisdom of Love with Rev. Lyn Cox
Love keeps us here, rooted in the world as it is. Love is active, practical, and at one with our physical selves. Love remembers data and frameworks that our intellect may have forgotten. The wisdom of love teaches groundedness, embodiment, and interdependence. We’ll hear special music written by Alice Peacock, Emily Saliers & Kristen Hall sung by Kel Kyle & friends.
February 18: Commitment with Kendra & Pete Trufahnestock
Commitment ~ how do we define it? What mistakes do we make entering it? What should we look for to find it? And what part do we play in sustaining it? Come join us as we explore this human endeavor in relation to partners and even to this church body. The choir will sing “We Want Harmony."
Some of us were raised with the worldview that gender is a duet: two distinct voices set apart from each other. We are learning that gender is a whole symphony, a beautifully complex universe of perspectives and expressions. Let us open our minds and hearts to create a community that supports and encourages the entire orchestra. The choir will sing “Take Down These Walls.”
As the wheel of the year turns and the end of winter creeps into the edge of our imagination, we make our commitments for the year ahead and we practice the creativity that will sustain us through the rest of the current season. In this earth-centered service, we will invoke the four directions, we will bless and be blessed, and we will hear the choir sing, “The Heart of the Mother.”
January 28: Grace with Rev. Lyn Cox
Transforming resentments against others and shame against ourselves into learning experiences is spiritual work. We seek to gather the treasures of wisdom from our past experiences while gaining freedom from dwelling in the past. Our Universalist philosophy and our practice of covenanting can help us get ready to take the risk of growth. Special music "It's Quite Uptown" from the musical Hamilton performed by Kendra Trufahnestock.
January 21: "Which is the Greater Cost" with Dan Vaughn
UCH member Dan Vaughn reflects on the theme of the month: Forgiveness. The choir will sing “Love Has Already Won” by Jason Shelton. No Audio or PDF available.
January 14: The Promise and The Practice with Rev. Lyn Cox
In August and November, we engaged in the UU White Supremacy Teach-In to reflect on dismantling racism in our congregation and in our hearts. In the Promise and the Practice, we join UU congregations all over the country in facing the hopes and disappointments of our faith movement's past, and in opening pathways for an inclusive, diverse, just future for Unitarian Universalism. We are committed to embracing the presence and leadership of people of color more effectively than before. White Unitarian Universalists are still learning to decenter whiteness so that the experiences, needs, and voices of people of color are brought from the margins to the center. Join us as we practice that work and promise a new way of being together. The choir will sing "Now Is The Time" by Poley.
We move into the new year, reflecting on the hurts and disappointments we're ready to leave in the past and on the direction of our intentions for the future. Some of us may be ready for a ritual of forgiveness for ourselves or others. As a whole community of all ages, we'll practice movement meditation, singing, and the ceremony of the burning bowl. Join the adventure and let us worship together. Special music by Laura Edinger who will sing "How Far I'll Go" from the musical, Hamilton.