Sunday Services Archive – 2015-2019

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December 1, 2019
A UU Take on Faith & Miracles
Guest speaker Melanie Davis, PhD

Language can trigger emotional responses related to a listener’s spiritual journey. Faith and miracles are two hot-button words relevant to the lives and beliefs of religious liberals. Anecdotes and scientific facts build appreciation of these constructs from a non-theist perspective.

December 8, 2019
ACE’s High – Understanding the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences
Lay speaker Bud Smith

Just how do the traumatic events of childhood change us? What can we do to alter the effects of toxic stress within? Is there a pathway to a healthier way to live, love & learn? (spoiler: YES there is!)

December 15, 2019
You’ve Been Wait-Listed
Rev. Dawn Fortune

December is a season of miracles and waiting and wonder. As the nights get longer and darker and colder, our attention turns to stories of hope that we will be delivered from the dark. As Joseph and Mary sought shelter from the bitter desert cold, they found themselves waiting with urgency, hoping for relief. Join us as we consider how we wait and how the wait affects the outcome when it arrives.

Friday, December 20, 2019 – 6 pm
Winter Solstice Singing Ritual

We will celebrate the return of the Light which occurs after the Winter Solstice with songs and stories. The singing will include music from calypso, Western choral singing, Native American texts, Greek mythology, feminist rounds, Pagan chants, and even an old American hymn.

December 22, 2019
We Are Stardust

Featuring children and volunteers from RE and some audience participation, our Holiday Pageant will bring the awe of science and the Big Bang to the Christmas story.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019 – 6 pm
Lessons & Carols

Join us for some Christmas readings and carols to celebrate the season!

December 29, 2019

Happy New Year to all.

November 3, 2019
With Attention, Forward and Back
Rev. Dawn Fortune

This is the Sunday of the year when we set our clocks back an hour and get one hour added to our day. What will you do with that hour? How will you spend it? What does it mean to have extra time? Join us as we explore the attention we give to the time we have.

November 10, 2019
Pay Attention!
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The news of the day shouts at us from electronic devices and the newspaper that lands on our front step. What does it mean to pay attention to our larger world, and how do we balance that with attention to our own emotional and spiritual health? Join us for a multi-age worship service exploring time, attention, and relationship.

November 17, 2019
The Harvest
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The air is crisp and cool, beach days are finally behind us for the year, and our thoughts turn toward the coming winter. As farmers harvest their fields, what is it we reap from this time of the year? What do we name as the products of our growing season? Join us for an exercise in contemplation and mindfulness as we ponder these questions.

November 24, 2019
Feed My Sheep
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The week before Thanksgiving is when many Americans think about those who do not have enough food. Studies have reported that United States residents eat more food on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. (The second most gluttonous day is Superbowl Sunday.) As a faith devoted to seeking and creating justice, we must focus our attention beyond holiday-inspired generosity and share what we have on a more regular basis. We must be attentive to the needs of our neighbors beyond this week and into the new year. In this way, attention becomes a spiritual practice that causes us to set aside our own needs and think of others.

October 6, 2019

We Belong Together(ish)
Rev. Dawn Fortune

In a denomination rooted deeply in individual freedom and integrity, Unitarian Universalists can experience tension between that independence and the very human need for deep connection. What does it mean to belong — to a congregation, a town, a global community?

October 13, 2019

What Have We Wrought?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

On the weekend of Indigenous People’s Day, we consider the effects of exploration by Europeans on this continent and how those foundational patterns affect us today – in our culture, our government, and our spiritual practice. In the context of our monthly theme of “Belonging,” how do the descendants of colonizers make room so that the descendants of the displaced are included in our national conversation?

October 20, 2019

Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Theresa considers Samhain one of the most high holidays in our pagan tradition — it is the New Year, and the time when the veil is thin between the world of the living and the dead. If we pay attention, our ancestors can return to visit us and give us help and advice. Theresa says, “in my house I make an altar to my ancestors, placing pictures and special mementoes of my beloved dead. I cook some of their favorite foods. I pack a picnic lunch and take my grandchildren to the cemetery, and tell stories of their ancestors. It is a special holy time.” You are invited to bring pictures and mementoes of your beloved dead for display on the chalice table.

October 27, 2019

The Passing of Time
Rev. Dawn Fortune

In the season of Samhain, All Saint’s Day, and Día de los Muertos, we feel our connection to those who have passed from this world into whatever comes next. Contemplating loss and mortality prompts us to examine our relationships with one another and how we fit together in community.

September 1, 2019

The Importance of Our Unitarian Universalist Faith
Guest minister Rev. Mark Kiyimba

UUCSJS last welcomed Rev. Mark Kiyimba to our area in July 2014, not long after Uganda had passed an anti-homosexuality law, and traveled the U.S. to spread the word about the threatening climate in Uganda and many other parts of Africa that endangered lives. He also is very active in facilities and services for children orphaned by HIV or who have HIV. Come hear what Rev Kiyimba is all about today.

September 8, 2019

Welcome Back to Community
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Ingathering as celebrated by Unitarian Universalist congregations in North America is a time of gathering after a summer’s time away. We share a ritual that brings together water from places we’ve been or that are meaningful to us, and we recommit to being in community with one another. Ours is a covenanted faith, and it is worthwhile to revisit our covenant and recommit to the thing that holds us together as a community.

September 15, 2019

Freely Gathered
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Bound not by creed, but by covenant, the notion of a covenanted community is sometimes difficult to grasp. So much of our lives is governed by rules and laws and contracts, but a covenant is different in some fundamental ways. Join us as we explore the unique way that members of Unitarian Universalist Congregations form and maintain the complex relationship of “covenant.”

September 22, 2019

The Poetry of the Tao Te Ching
Lay speaker Debbi Dagavarian

Does the Tao Te Ching’s beauty and simple wisdom come from the 6th century BCE’s Lao Tzu, or from the scholars who translated it? In this service, we will look at some of the poetic translations of the Tao Te Ching, and discover what the Tao offers us in the present.

September 29, 2019

Hold On (Loosely)
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The magical of covenants is that they leave room for human error and forgiveness. As humans, we make mistakes, poor decisions, and bad choices. As members of a covenanted community, we commit ourselves to remaining in relationship. But what happens when someone will not or cannot abide by the shared covenant? How do we remain open to relationship, uphold our values, as well as maintain healthy boundaries?
Join us as we explore this rich topic.

August 4, 2019

Singing the Journey
Guest minister Rev. Maddie Sifantus

How do we sing our journey as Unitarian Universalists? How does the path of our journey change what we sing and how does what we sing change the journey? Join Rev. Maddie Sifantus, minister of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Santa Paula, California and professional singer, as she explores our journey in song and reflection.

August 11, 2019

The Iowa Sisterhood
Led by UUCSJS Margaret Circle

In the late 19th century, two dozen female Unitarian ministers served congregations on the western frontier, with a different style of ministry than their male counterparts in the staid churches of New England. In this service, you will meet several of these pioneering women who called themselves the “Iowa Sisterhood.”

August 18, 2019

Finding Center
Guest speaker Robin Renée

Words and music have the power to help us declare personal truths, to evoke inner stillness, and to draw us into deeper connection with one another. Join writer and performer Robin Renée for an experience of Finding Center through original songs, spoken word, and the call-and-response chanting practice from the Indian tradition called kirtan.

August 25, 2019

Mindfulness: The Path to Free Will
Lay speaker Dennis Bohn

Much of the time we go through life as automatons: our responses based on our ingrained conditioning.
We act out of our evolutionary, cultural, ancestral, familial and childhood programming instead of what we would like to do. Mindfulness is one element of the Buddha’s path. We’ll explore using appropriate mindfulness to gain some spaciousness and freedom in our lives.

July 7, 2019

The Story of Five Seeds: Seed Justice and Gloves on the Ground
Lay speaker Damon Smith

Join Board member, veteran and avid gardener, Damon Smith, on an investigation into five “conflict seeds” he is growing this year, and the importance of seed justice to his new organization, Gloves on the Ground.

July 14, 2019

Book Lovers’ Faves
Led by UUCSJS Book Lovers

Still looking for some summer reading? Hear about some of the fascinating books the UUCSJS Book Lovers’ Group read this past year.

July 21, 2019

Music to Suffrage By
Guest speaker Pat Lamanna

Women gained the right to vote on August 18, 1920, so the year 2020 will mark the centennial of that achievement. This music service weaves songs from the seven decades of the struggle for women’s suffrage with a brief history of that movement, bringing us to the present day and contemporary women’s struggles.

July 28, 2019

When Our Heroes Disappoint Us: Lessons from Harry Potter
Guest minister Rev. Hannah Roberts Villnave

Have you ever been disappointed in a hero of yours? Or discovered that a person you admire has all kinds of problematic viewpoints? Join us this Sunday as we explore what the Harry Potter series can teach us about dealing with disappointing heroes.

June 2, 2019

Why is it so Hard to Show Love?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It is often said that the world needs love more than almost anything else, and yet is the thing that is so hard to express. How many of us were taught how to show love? Can we separate love from romance and sexuality in our US culture, so infused with the message that those things are hopelessly entwined? Another question unanswered from the Question Box sermon, this query needed its own sermon all to itself. Join us for an exploration of our own hearts.

June 9, 2019

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Rev. Dawn Fortune

A service of milestones: two of our youth will participate in a traditional UU bridging ceremony to mark their movement from children of the congregation to young adults in the world — still connected to this, their spiritual home, but now equipped with the skills and support to venture forth and make their way. Rev. Fortune will reflect on what it means to move through life’s milestones and offer some practical advice for people heading off on new adventures.

June 16, 2019

A Celebration of New Jersey Through Music
Guest speaker Valerie Vaughn

Plan to be entertained and moved by the lovely voice and powerful lyrics of singer-songwriter Valerie Vaughn, a south Jersey native. Dubbed New Jersey’s Troubadour, she will perform original songs celebrating NJ.

June 23, 2019

LGBTQ Pride: Stonewall After 50 Years
Led by Interweave

In 1969, patrons at the Stonewall Inn nightclub in Greenwich Village fought back when police tried to arrest them for congregating in a place known to be frequented by homosexuals. They fought back each night for a week, causing riots that coincided with last call at area gay bars. This uprising marked what is commonly understood to be the beginnings of the modern LGBTQ liberation movement and is celebrated with pride parades worldwide. Members of the UUCSJS chapter of Interweave, the UU LGBTQ member group, will share their experiences of living as queer people in our community.

June 30, 2019

Coffeehouse Worship
Led by Barbara Miller

UUCSJS Music Director Barbara Miller will coordinate a coffeehouse style worship service with musicians and words to heal and inspire.

May 5, 2019

Eat Your Veggies: Moral Authenticity in a Complex World
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Our Unitarian Universalist Principles are aspirational statements that call us to live to the highest kind of ethical standards. Considering our commitment to responsible stewardship of the earth, what do we do in our daily lives to support that value? The annual service auction sermon topic offering was won this year by Melissa and Ron Hutchison, who charged me with examining the moral imperative for UUs to strive to live a plant-based life to the extent that we can. Like all things aspirational, it’s complicated. Join us for the exploration into the options before us to best live out our values.

May 12, 2019

Consent and Empowerment
Lay speaker Betsy Erbaugh

Mother’s Day was originally founded as an antiwar rallying cry by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe. In the age of #MeToo, #TimesUp, #FamiliesBelongTogether and #FreeBlackMamas, how do our UU principles call us to help create conditions so that all families can thrive? Betsy Erbaugh reflects on how the OWL program has shaped her parenting, work and activism. Special collection for Black Mamas Bailout during the service.

May 19, 2019

How Do We Know What is True?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

How do we know what is true? How much of our perception is shaped and shaded by our own social location and lived experience? One of the questions from the Question Box sermon earlier this year, the notion of how we know truth is complex and fascinating. Join us for this journey of exploration.

May 26, 2019

Memorial for the Fallen Dead
Lay speaker Kit Marlowe

Memorial Day is complicated for UUs. We mourn every soldier, sailor, or airperson who has died in military service, and recognize that our society would be very different, and not in a good way, if the USA had no Department of Defense. On the other hand, we abhor war and feel shame over some US military actions. How can our observation of this holiday incorporate all of our feelings? Help us figure that out. Children 8 years old and above are welcome to attend.

April 7, 2019

So … What’s it (worth) to ya?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

This is the last Sunday of our annual stewardship pledge drive. This is the time when we wrap up our fundraising work and begin to calculate what we can and cannot accomplish in the coming year. What bits of congregational life are most important to you, and what are you willing and able to do to support them? We will consider once more just how much this community means to each of us and to us as a whole community.

April 14, 2019

Sermon on the Amount, Part 2
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who show generosity, for they shall receive great gifts. The stewardship season is over. The fellowship dinner was last night, and as the dust settles, we look forward and consider what lies ahead for the coming year.

April 21, 2019

Rev. Dawn Fortune

Easter and Earth Day coincide this year, giving us a perfect opportunity to consider the notion of death and resurrection as it applies to our physical world as well as our spiritual growth. Must there be death for there to be growth? Must something be destroyed completely to be born anew? What does that mean for our personal spirit, as well as our little blue planet? Join us as we consider these ideas and how they apply in our lives today.

April 28, 2019

Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Beltane is the ancient Celtic festival of spring. We celebrate new life everywhere, as the signs of spring grow around us. Traditionally this is the festival of the Maypole dance and the Beltane fire.

March 3, 2019

Sermon on the Amount, Part 1: What it Means to Belong
Rev. Dawn Fortune

What does it mean to belong to a community? Some we are born into, some we fall into because of our environment, and some we choose intentionally. As members of a community, what do we expect? And what is expected of us? Join us as we kick off our annual stewardship campaign and consider what it means to be a member of the UU Congregation of the South Jersey Shore.

March 10, 2019

When We Grow Up
Lay speakers Paul Utts and Kit Marlowe

The value of this congregation in our lives consists not only of who we are today, but whom we expect to become. Adults often ask young persons, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As our community turns 20, we will try to answer this question for UUCSJS. As is true for youths, that future consists of our vision AND our willingness to invest in making it come true.

March 17, 2019

St. Patrick and A Treatise on Time
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Saint Patrick, like so many of the saints, has a story that is not all glory and grace. It is muddy and murky, and has some parts that are decidedly unholy.
Each of us travels this earth for a limited amount of time. How will we spend that time, and on what? Time is one of the resources we cannot stockpile, so let’s consider how will we spend it, The first of two volunteer fairs happens after worship. Join us!

March 24, 2019

All Good Gifts Around Us
Rev. Dawn Fortune

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,” wrote theologian Frederick Buechner. What is it that you are gifted with that you’d like to share with the people around you? Where does the world need what you have to offer? Let us consider how we prioritize our volunteer time.

March 31, 2019

Why Do We Sing?
Led by Barbara Miller, Music Director

Over the years, singing has been part of our Sunday services, celebrations such as memorial services and weddings, and social activism. If you think of a UUCSJS soundtrack, what music comes to mind?

February 3, 2019

Where the Road Leads
Guest speaker Pat Infante

As institutions grapple with the shifting sands of the 21st century and the constant headwind of change, congregations face questions of relevance and sustainability in the community and the broader world. Strategic conversations are an important first step for discerning, in the words of Frederick Buechner, “where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” Patricia Hall Infante of the Central East Region of the UUA will share thoughts on how to map a path forward that is both strategic and wholehearted.

February 10, 2019

Sex and Church: Saint Valentine revisited
Rev. Dawn Fortune

From Lupercalia, to a martyred Christian saint, to Chaucer to Hallmark and boxed chocolates, humans have found a way to celebrate romantic and sexual love, even in some of the most creative and sometimes bizarre ways. Join us as we consider the role sexuality has played in the evolution of religion and theology.

February 17, 2019

Question Box Sermon
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Ever wonder why worship is organized the way it is? Where did our exceedingly long name come from? How can someone be atheist and a religious leader?
Write your questions down and put them in the question box in the foyer by February 10, and Rev. Fortune will answer as many of them as possible in the space of the worship hour.

February 24, 2019

Looking Ahead
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It has been said that we manage life or it can manage us – it’s all a matter of planning. Certainly no one can plan for every contingency, but it behooves anyone – and any organization – to have an idea of where they want to go and how they plan to get there. On February 23, UUA Congregational Life Staff Pat Infante will discuss with us our plans for the future of UUCSJS. Sunday’s service will be a reflection on that discussion and consider some of the options before us. Come join!

January 6, 2019

Book of Questions
Led by Theresa McReynolds and Mariann Maene

Come join us for an informal service where we ponder the answers to questions, both lighthearted and profound.

January 13, 2019

New Beginnings/Resolutions
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It’s been almost two weeks since New Year’s Day. How are those resolutions coming? Did you join a gym? Start a diet? Begin a new spiritual practice? How do we set goals and work toward them, allowing room for failure and a return to the struggle? Join us as we contemplate resolutions and what they mean in our lives.

January 20, 2019

Love and Revolution
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Two years ago, the 45th President was sworn into office on this day. On January 19, a Women’s March celebrating Fannie Lou Hamer took place in Atlantic City. On Monday, the nation will celebrate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. If justice is what love looks like in the world, what is it that love calls us to do in our age?

January 27, 2019

Rev. Dawn Fortune

Halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, Imbolc marks the beginning of the spring season. It is the Gaelic festival of Brigid, a pre-Christian fertility goddess, later colonized by Rome into St. Brigid, guardian of livestock and homes. Join us as we mark the steady march of seasons and celebrate the coming spring.



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December 2, 2018

A Brighter Coming Day
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

Reflections on Hanukkah, the Tree of Life, and words and thoughts of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper.

December 9, 2018

Waiting for the Light to Return
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The darkest nights of the year approach, and people all across the northern hemisphere enter into a time of waiting for the light to return. Jews, Christians, and pagan and earth-centered faiths all mark in their own way the annual return of the sun. Join us as we contemplate what it means to wait with faith.

December 16, 2018

Seeking Shelter in Midwinter
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The caravan of migrants seeking shelter in the United States has been arriving in bits and pieces for weeks. What are our obligations when refugees present themselves at our door? What if things about them make us uncomfortable? And who determines whether a person is a refugee or something else?

December 23, 2018

Winter Solstice Singing Ritual – INTERGENERATIONAL SERVICE
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Usually held in the evening, this year we will hold this special service of music and ritual on the morning of December 23rd. This will be an intergenerational service, so children will remain with the adults upstairs for the whole worship service.

December 30, 2018


This year, in order to give our staff a well-deserved break during the holidays, the UUCSJS offices will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day. There will be no service on Christmas eve, and no service on Dec. 30. Worship will resume its regular Sunday morning schedule on January 6.

November 4, 2018

Fall Back or Spring Forward?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Daylight Savings Time ends on this day and we set our clocks back an hour. It is the Sunday before the mid-term elections. In towns and states all across the United States, people are preparing to go to the polls. Will our nation fall back, or spring forward on voting day?

November 11, 2018

What Have We Learned?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

I’m not sure I expected that! As UUs, we are committed to the democratic process in our congregations and in our larger world. What lessons can we find in the results of this week’s elections, and what is our vision for the future?

November 18, 2018

Gratitude As a Spiritual Practice
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It can be a challenge some days to find goodness in the world. What happens when we intentionally seek and name the good in our lives each day?

November 25, 2018

Uncertainty… or Maybe Not
Lay speaker Jack Miller

Many of us are uncertain as to how comfortable we are with uncertainty. We’re not sure this matters, but it might.

October 7, 2018

Christopher Columbus and Conspicuous Consumption
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Christopher Columbus is celebrated and reviled on this weekend. We will examine his legacy in North America and consider what it means in our age.

October 14, 2018

Listen to the Silence
Guest speaker Alice Gitchell

Unitarian Universalism and the Society of Friends have always been somewhat sympatico in outlook and action. Let’s hear more about this peaceful tradition.

October 21, 2018

Lessons from Alfred Bernhard Nobel
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Born on October 21, 1833, Alfred Nobel is remembered for the annual prizes that bear his name, but he originally gained fame for inventing dynamite! What can his story teach us about our own legacy?

October 28, 2018

To Everything There is a Season
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

In ancient times, Samhain was believed to be the time when the veil was thin between the world of the living and the world of the dead. It is a time to honor our beloved dead… Do you have pictures or special things to remember your loved ones? Please bring them to place on the altar.

September 2, 2018

Transcendentalism: Not Just a Walk in the Woods
Lay speaker Tracey Staab Catino

Tracey Staab Catino, former English teacher, will explain transcendentalism, a philosophical and social movement from the mid 1800s. Most people think of transcendentalism as an escape from industrialism through nature. But, it is much more than that. Learn how transcendentalism relates to social justice and how it relates to Unitarianism.

September 9, 2018

Return Again
Rev. Dawn Fortune

In a traditional ritual celebrated in many Unitarian Universalist congregations, we gather to celebrate the beginning of a new church year, bringing water from our journey to share in the common bowl, blending our stories and our spirits into a joined, whole community of souls.

September 16, 2018

As the Harvest Approaches
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It is said that we reap what we sow. What are the things we gather now and how do they show what it was we planted? We look internally at our selves, our community, and our nation in this service.

September 23, 2018

The Spirituality of Abundance
Guest speaker Elizabeth Terry

Giving, generosity, and believing in abundance are the beating heart of Unitarian Universalism. Let’s explore how practicing the Spirituality of Abundance can shape our interactions within our congregations, inform our connections to our neighborhood and community, and foster deep relationships with other Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Saturday, September 29, 4 pm, 2018

Installation of Rev. Dawn Fortune as Our Called Minister:
Mission, Ministry, and Mischief

September 30, 2018

Coming Home
Rev. Dawn Fortune

On the anniversary of John Murray’s landing in New Jersey, and the 10th year anniversary of the UU Congregation of the South Jersey Shore opening its building, we also celebrate the newly-installed first called minister. It is a time to consider the meaning of home – what is it, how do we create it, and what it means for the future.

August 5, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonHumanism: More Than Mere Atheism
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Though the Humanist movement was born from Unitarianism, UUs may find it difficult to define. Michael Cluff, President of the South Jersey Humanists, will address humanists and non-humanists alike, sharing his thoughts on how Humanism differs from mere atheism, on the joys and concerns of being a UU Humanist, and more.

August 12, 2018

Singing as a Spiritual Practice
Lay speaker Barbara Miller

We will consider how singing creates community and how it heals and transforms us. This includes singing many favorites from our hymnals.

August 19, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonMany Paths: Small Group Ministries
Coordinator Colby Tippins

How does participating in a small group ministry fulfill you in a spiritual way? Colby will share some of the ways many in our beloved community embrace meaning.

August 26, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonAn Interview With a Black Woman
Lay speaker Shelee R. McIlvaine

To know someone we must be able to say what is in our hearts. Let’s examine thoughts about women of Color from Shelee’s perspective. Offer your questions, those you’ve had with family and friends and even those that are considered taboo. Let us get to know one another on a deeper level as we begin this journey in the safety of loving kindness.

July 1, 2018

YouTubePlayButton60 Years of Community Service
Lay speaker Bill Felix

Bill Felix has recently returned from his 60th college reunion of Yale University. He was on a committee to solicit stories from his classmates about their experiences in volunteering these past 60 years. Many of these stories might strike you as ordinary, but Bill has chosen some that are generous enough to inspire you.

July 8, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonTrailblazers: Black Women of the 19th Century
Women of Margaret Circle

In this service, brought to you by Margaret Circle, you will meet five remarkable black women from the 19th century. These were women who did not let their gender or race prevent them from accomplishing the extraordinary.

July 15, 2018

YouTubePlayButton7 Books for 7 Principles
UUCSJS Book Club

While books entertain us they can also be a source of inspiration. They may even shed a new light on our Unitarian Universalist principles.

July 22, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonThe Quest for Meaning
UUCSJS Men’s Group

The Men’s Group will be presenting a service loosely based upon the Coen Brothers’ classic “O Brother Where Art Thou” about our journeys toward self-actualization.

July 29, 2018

Finding Balance
UUCSJS Everyday Spiritual Practice Group

“Soul satisfying spiritual practices can be done, even amidst the demanding confusions, distractions, and duties of daily life.” ~ Scott W. Alexander
Join us as our Everyday Spiritual Practice group leads the congregation through an interactive service prompting one to consider the ways in which it is possible to sprinkle spirituality into daily routines and discover the beauty of balance between the great mystery and the mundane.

June 3, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonThe Courage to Teach
Children’s RE and Staff

Our annual celebration of all things related to our Religious Education program. Our Director of Religious Education for the past 11 years, Heidi Jannsch, is leaving her position at the end of June. This will be a day to celebrate Heidi, along with all of the RE teachers and volunteers, and celebrate students who are moving on to college and other things.
Picnic to follow the service.

June 10, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonIf I Could Be A Superhero
Lay Speaker Matt Honig

From Superman to Spider-Man, from Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel, our media is full of heroes, though some segments of the population are better represented than others. But media isn’t the only place you can find a hero. Our modern-day heroes come from many places. Let’s discover where they’re hiding together!

June 17, 2018

It’s Complicated… Part 2
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Father’s Day is another secular holiday that brings families together, including parents and grandparents, in-laws and out-laws, to celebrate the role of fatherhood in our culture. At least that’s the general idea. What it has become is a marketing opportunity for sellers of “dad stuff,” ranging from ties to lawnmowers or power boats. Families are complex, and Father’s Day offers every bit of that complexity to be celebrated (or not) with a Hallmark card. Join us to consider the roles of fathers in our modern age and in our own families.

June 24, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonCome Celebrate
UUCSJS Interweave

History (His story), Herstory (Her story) — is the humankind story of all of us. June is Gay Pride month, a time to celebrate and also to reflect on the stories of all LGBTQ people. Your friends and fellow members of UUCSJS will give you a glimpse of their life in a specific year, a year which has a significant importance in the LGBTQ community. Through music and words, come learn, reflect, and celebrate Gay Pride month.
After the service, a panel will answer questions during coffee hour.

May 6, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonAin’t That Good News!
Guest minister Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Unitarian Universalism has a message of good news for the world, and it is too big not to share. Come and join Rev. Amy Shaw as we explore hope and agency in troubled times, and our role in spreading the Word.

May 13, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonIt’s Complicated… Part 1
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Mother’s Day is complex, sometimes chaotic, or fraught. On this day we will celebrate all of the chaos and glory of spring with our annual flower communion, as well as welcoming new members into our congregation and offering a child dedication. We will consider motherhood, babies, and what it means to belong to a community of shared spiritual growth. Mother’s Day, like life, is indeed complicated!

May 20, 2018

The DeMasi Brothers
Guest musicians Joseph and John DeMasi

Music has always been an important part in movements of social change. Join award winning twin brothers and UU musicians/singer/songwriter/humorists Joseph and John DeMasi as they present songs that will inspire, motivate, enlighten and touch on issues that are relevant today.

May 27, 2018

Honor, Sacrifice, and Peace

YouTubePlayButtonHonor, Sacrifice, and Peace
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day,” a tradition begun to honor soldiers killed during the American Civil War. Since that time, it has become a day set aside to honor all United States soldiers killed in battle. As people committed to peace, how do we honor those who went to war and never came back? We will explore notions of sacrifice, honor, and integrity as we consider this holiday.

April 1, 2018

Easter for the Imperfect
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Jesus of Nazareth was not perfect. He struggled with the same things all humans do – family frustrations, friends who maybe weren’t as smart as he thought they should be, institutions that were corrupt to the point where he lost his temper and started flipping tables. On the weekend in which Christians celebrate the divinity of Christ, we will examine the humanity of the man, and what his ministry and message means for us today.

April 8, 2018

Mary. Mary. Quite Contrary: The Seeds of Feminism
Lay speaker Cynthia Grzywinski

Mary Wollstonecraft, considered the 1st British feminist, authored “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” in 1792. She died 10 days after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Godwin Shelly, the author of Frankenstein, hailed as the 1st science fiction novel ever written. Although Mary Shelly never knew her mother, Wollstonecraft’s writing, philosophy, and beliefs greatly influenced her daughter, who became a literary giant in her own right. Both were considered “outlaws,” rebelling against the strict social mores of the time. How did these women’s lives and work influence our current culture? And how did a Unitarian minister in Newington Green, England influence their creative and feministic oeuvre?

April 15, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonPay Unto Caesar
Rev. Dawn Fortune

April 15 is America’s income tax deadline. It also marks the end of our stewardship season and reveals what the coming year’s budget will look like. Will we be able to do the things we want to do in our community? Will we continue our move toward full-time ministry? Will we be able to grow in spirit and in number? We pay in taxes what belongs to Caesar, and we pay into our faith community that which feeds our heart and improves our world. Let us explore what that means for the coming year for our congregation.

April 22, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonFor the Beauty of the Earth
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Earth Day 2018 prompts us to look anew with wonder at the world in which we live. For centuries, humanity treated the planet as though it was a consumable product with endless supply. Scientists have long warned that human behavior needs to change if we are to prevent global climate change. Today we will examine the ways the earth heals itself and what it means for us to act as stewards of this precious resource.

April 29, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonTo Infinity! And Beyond!
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Service Auction Winning Bidders Paul and Helen Utts have chosen the topic for this sermon.
What does it mean to peer into the future? Lacking a crystal ball, how do we divine what lies in store for us? It has been said that “luck” is when opportunity meets preparation. What are we preparing for, and what opportunities do we expect to find in the years ahead of our congregation?

March 4, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonLent and Stewardship: A Time of Anticipation
Rev. Dawn Fortune

As we kickoff our season of stewardship, we enter into a time of preparation and anticipation of growth and renewal. What does it mean to anticipate? Does it mean waiting for something to happen, or working to shape the future? What can we do to shape the future we want to see at UUCSJS?

March 11, 2018

RISE UP !… A Message for My Granddaughter
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

Women’s issues are nothing new. There have been gains in many areas, but systemic sexism continues. From Goddess to the present patriarchal system, now is the time to come into our own. We must rise up.

March 18, 2018

St. Patrick and Identity Politics
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Each of us has many facets to our identity. We describe ourselves in terms of race, age, religion, heritage, politics, and many more. As members of this congregation, we subdivide even further, identifying as members of this committee or that team. The theme of this year’s stewardship campaign is “More Than the Sum of Our Parts,” and today we will examine how the roles each of us plays support the congregation in its own interdependent web.

March 25, 2018

Occupational Hazards of Being a Prophet
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Unitarian Universalists have a long and noble history of prophetic speech and action, some of it covered in danger and glory, and some of it quiet and behind the scenes, uncelebrated and invisible. Not everyone is called to being a public prophet, but all are capable of prophetic work. This morning we will explore the ways each of us can be prophetic in our lives as we work collectively to change the world in which we live.

February 4, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonSports: Our National Religion?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Superbowl Sunday is the day when Americans consume more food in a single 24-hour period than any other save Thanksgiving. What is it about sport that causes non-watchers to participate in this annual ritual? Is sportsball actually a religious experience? Even for heretics, that seems like a stretch, but the annual football championship seems to cross boundaries of culture, race, religion, and much more on the first Sunday in February each year. Join us as we consider all this, plus beer ads. Worship kicks off at 10 am.

February 11, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonLegacies of Love
Guest minister Rev. Laura Randall

We are each the inheritors and the creators of legacies, for good and ill. What legacies do you aspire to? Struggle with? What legacies are you creating with your own life? What legacies are we, as Unitarian Universalists, creating together? The Rev. Victoria Safford says that transformation comes from “thinking of yourself already as an ancestor, a leaver of legacies for descendants you will never meet, but whose lives are already intertwined with yours.” Join us as we explore the legacies that shape and inspire our shared ministry with the Rev. Laura Randall, Legacy Campaign Director for the Wake Now Our Vision Collaborative Campaign.

February 18, 2018

The Interdependent Web: Thoreau, Quantum Physics & the 7th Principle
Guest speaker Kate Sloan

How could a 200 year old Transcendentalist relate to today’s world? Thoreau knew more than he thought he did! We examine the transcendentalist belief of the interconnectedness of life which lead to our 7th Principle and contrast that with what we know from quantum physics today. Just how connected are we? More than we could imagine.

February 25, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonI’m Black and I’m Proud
Lay speaker Shelee McIlvaine

As a Person of Color, as a woman in these times, am I able to speak my Truth without reservation, caution, or fear of repercussion or punishment?
In the Spirit of Black History Month, let us reflect on the origin of the loss of the African American voice. How did that happen, why is it important, and how can you help celebrate the unapologetic proclamation “I’m Black and I’m Proud?”

January 7, 2018

YouTubePlayButtonThe Art of Meaning
Guest minister Rev. Kimberley Debus

Art has power to move us and change our lives. But what is it about the arts? We’ll examine the ways viewing, performing, and making art helps us make sense of our lives, our communities, and all of creation.

January 14, 2018

What Makes a Covenant?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Unitarian Universalists are freely gathered people who voluntarily enter into covenanted community. As we welcome new members to our congregation, let’s consider what it means to be a covenanted community. A covenant lays out some standards about how we will treat one another, but what makes it different from a contract? Join us to welcome our new members and renew our connection to each other.

January 21, 2018

In the Deep Midwinter
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It’s been a year since the last presidential inauguration. Let’s take time to consider what has changed in our lives since that day, and examine what it is that draws us together each Sunday. We will explore the ancient language and ritual of worship, and consider how it serves our present spiritual development.

January 28, 2018

Compassion for Conservatives
Lay speaker Kit Marlowe

Many people describe the current political environment as “tribal.” We tend to ascribe most of the irrationality to whoever we disagree with. Think about how you stop listening whenever you suspect racism or sexism. Kit Marlowe will help us try to learn how to recognize “the inherent worth and dignity” of those who support President Trump and engage in “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning” with them. It may not be easy.



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December 3, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonAdvent: A Time for Waiting
Rev. Dawn Fortune

We have entered into the season of waiting and anticipation. We wait for the first snowfall, we wait for the killing frost, we wait for the holidays, the sales, for each new milestone as we march toward the darkest days of the winter season. Advent is a time when Christians wait for the arrival of their savior, when Jews celebrate the miracle of lights, when earth-based faiths wait for the return of the sun. What are you waiting for during this time? Join us as we consider what it is that we wait (perhaps wish) for as we approach the end of the year.

December 10, 2017

Love’s Only Hands
Guest speaker Cindy Beal

Ours are the only hands that love has. If the universe truly bends toward justice it is because we bend it. And we do that in community, in congregational life, together. In this service, we will explore the how and why of congregational life bending the universe toward justice.

December 17, 2017

Clear as Mud: Voices, Visions, and Liberation
Lay speaker Matt Honig

Hearing voices is nothing new. Come join Matt in exploring just how common so-called “extreme experiences” of hearing voices and experiencing dissociation is, and learn about the Hearing Voices Network and their World Congress.

December 24 – 10 am, 2017

The Living Nativity
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is retold in live-action, improvisational style with audience participation! This is not a service you want to miss!

December 24 – 6 pm, 2017

Lessons & Carols By Candlelight
Rev. Dawn Fortune

A traditional Christmas Eve service of carols and readings by candlelight.

December 31, 2017

Buddhism – The Doctor is (With) In
Lay speaker Cynthia Grzywinski

The Buddha said “I teach only about suffering and the transformation of suffering.” Buddhism contends suffering is a manifestation of the mind and the attachments it creates. It follows that our minds can be used toward its cessation. Currently mindfulness and meditation practices have been embraced worldwide as a means to ease suffering, and have stood up to scientific scrutiny. Is it any wonder that the Buddha has been referred to as “the great healer” or “peerless physician”? Let’s explore some Buddhist teachings, precepts and techniques that may help us more effectively deal with the pain and uncertainties of life, and find the doctor is truly within ourselves.

November 5, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonA Year Ago, America Voted
Rev. Dawn Fortune

A year ago, Americans went to the polls and elected our 45th president. Many were painfully disappointed in the outcome, and have responded to it is a variety of ways. Join us to consider what has changed and what has remained the same since election day 2016.

November 12, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonGoing Once, Going Twice, SOLD!
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The UUCSJS annual services auction will be held the night before this Sunday’s worship service. How much we value a thing is often directly related to how much we are willing to spend for it. Join us as we take a look at what we value and the complex ways we express that appreciation.

November 19, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonWilling to be Changed by What We’ve Started
Guest speaker Zr. Alex Kapitan

Zr. Alex Kapitan returns to UUCSJS to talk about gender, welcome, inclusion, and the realities of change in a system on the eve of International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Alex will offer a workshop after coffee hour.

November 26, 2017

The Holocaust Today
Guest Speaker Doug Cervi

The relevance of the Holocaust and genocide to the modern day political climate.

October 1, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonThe Challenge of Universalism in Our Modern Age
Rev. Dawn Fortune

On the 247th anniversary of John Murray’s first sermon at Potter’s rural chapel, we pause to consider what our first principle calls us to be and do. Universalism has evolved since Murray’s 1770 landing, but has become no less challenging in our modern age. Join us as we explore what it means to believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and the challenges of living out that faith in today’s increasingly polarized world.

October 8, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonChristopher Columbus’ Legacy
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Cities around the United States are re-naming the celebration of Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of North America in honor of the Indigenous Peoples who suffered the very worst that European Imperialism brought. The last millennium’s culture of exploration and exploitation has left us with behaviors and ideals that linger still. Join us as we consider what the vestiges of that legacy look like in 2017 and how they play out in our lives.

October 15, 2017

What Will We Harvest?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “you reap whatever you sow.” In this time of harvest, it bears consideration: what do we sow in our world, beyond that which is in our vegetable garden? What beauty do we plant? Do we sow peace or discord? Every living, growing thing requires food, water, and some kind of energy to grow and multiply. Join us as we consider what can we do to nurture the things we wish to see grow into a harvest that will benefit all.

October 22, 2017

The Fire Children
Guest speaker Lauren Hooker

INTERGENERATIONAL service – no RE classes today.
“The Fire Children” is a lively, musical rendition of an African creation myth from Ghana celebrating the Earth and its people of many different shades and colors brought to life with songs, djembe drum and thumb piano. Informative, fun and educational, “The Fire Children” is the perfect way to rejoice in diverse cultures – what makes us different – yet the same!

October 29, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonRemembrance: Peering Through the Veil
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Samhain is the time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead is said to be at its thinnest. It is a time to remember those who have left the realm of the living in the past year, to gaze at them through the veil, and release them with a good-bye. For this service, people are encouraged to bring photos of loved ones who have died in the past year to place on the shared altar so that we may share one another’s grief and offer support. This will be a somber service of ritual and periods of silence. Please join us in this annual time of remembrance.

September 3, 2017

Labor Day
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Labor Day has been an official Federal holiday since 1894. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. Come hear what our new minister has to say about it.

September 10, 2017

Water Communion
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The life-sustaining symbolism of water is universal. Throughout the year, members of many UU congregations, like ours, collect small amounts of water that have meaning for them (e.g., the family home, an ocean or river, memento of a trip). At the service, the samples of water are placed in a single bowl so they can merge. Join us for this annual ritual of ingathering and hope.

September 17, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonWhite Fragility and Racial Justice
Rev. Dawn Fortune

UUCSJS has a Racial Justice Task Force which instituted a year-long series of workshops held last year at Asbury Methodist in Atlantic City, strengthened our bonds with other racial justice organizations in the area, and held a well-attended rally just a few weeks ago. How can we continue on the path of learning about and fighting for racial justice?

September 24, 2017

“I Know What You Did Last Summer”
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

No, this is not about that blockbuster 1997 horror film of the same name. Our summer sermons program from July 2 to August 27, 2017 presented of a diverse mix of nine interfaith topics ranging from humanistic views of the universe through Judaism. So while many of you were off dipping your toes in the surf, or hiking the Appalachian Trail, we stalwart members were inspired by speakers mostly from outside the congregation. What did we learn, how were we inspired, and how does it all fit together? Come and find out.

August 6, 2017

Religion, Fashion and Freedom
Guest speaker Sara Elnakib

We will discuss the intersection of religion, fashion and freedom in the United States in a post-9/11 world through the experiences of a Muslim woman. Does fashion play a role in our perception of people? Have Muslim women experienced discrimination for being visibly Muslim? How has Muslim fashion evolved in the last 10 years as millennials have come of age? What does it feel like to be a Muslim woman living in the United States? How can we bridge the gap in understanding and become more inter-culturally competent?

August 13, 2017

Jane Addams
Led by Maxine Blumenthal and Margaret Circle

Margaret Circle will be dramatizing a radio interview with Jane Addams after she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1931. You’ll see scenes from her work against unfair child labor practices, her advances in the juvenile justice system, and the antagonism to which she was subjected in her work for peace.

August 20, 2017

“Help, Thanks, Wow!” – The Three Essential Prayers in Song
Lay speaker Barbara Miller

The title of the book Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott inspired music director Barbara Miller to think about how our UU hymns express the 3 kinds of prayer: petition, gratitude, and praise.

August 27, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonJudaism- Seeing the World Through Jewish Eyes
Guest speaker Rabbi David M. Weis

Seeing the world through Jewish eyes – How Judaism trains us to be God’s agents in creation.

July 2, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonDo We Really Matter? Redux, with a Twist
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

In the enormity and age of the universe, does our existence really make any difference? Richard brings back an old favorite, renewed and refreshed, to answer that question.

July 9, 2017

YouTubePlayButtonThe Gnostic Gospels: Self Knowledge and Spiritual Meaning
Lay speaker Cynthia Grzywinski

Before the discovery of the gnostic gospels at Nag Hamadi, Egypt in 1945, all that was known of this early Christian sect was what was written about them by their detractors, mainly Catholic bishops from the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. The Gnostics believed self-knowledge (gnosis) was the key to spiritual union with the divine. The early Catholic Church condemned them as heretics and successfully abolished almost all traces of them, until the amazing Nag Hamadi discoveries. But what made their beliefs so threatening to the orthodox Catholic hierarchy? Can we draw any parallels between our UU faith and Gnosticism? And what’s the movie “The Matrix” got to do with it?

July 16, 2017

Guest speaker Ashesh Shah

Ashesh Shah is a member of the Vaikunth Hindu Jain Temple, our neighbors on Pomona Road in Egg Harbor Township. He will present the history of Jainism, the cornerstone of its ethics and dogma, and the five main vows that all followers of Jainism take. He will show how in many ways they mirror our UU principles — focusing on “Ahimsa” which means nonviolence, non-injury or absence of desire to harm any life forms.

July 23, 2017

Nutrition and Spirituality: Seeing Spirit in the Kitchen
Guest speaker Prof. Anthony Dissen

The foods we eat nourish us physically, yes, but their influence and impact go far beyond the individual nutrients they contain. Our food choices and dietary habits impact the world around us in many different ways. Environmental health, social justice concerns, and animal and planetary welfare are just some of the ways in which the foods we eat have moral and ethical impacts on our world. As a result, many people are looking at their plates in a new light, and thinking about the spiritual nourishment they receive from their meals as much as the physical nourishment they provide. Lets look at how different spiritual traditions view the role of food and eating in the development of the soul, and better understand how to make our kitchen a place of worship!

July 30, 2017

Christianity: Lammas (Lughnasadh)
Guest minister Rev. Jeanie Collins

This worship service is celebrating the upcoming Christian quarter feast of Lammas, or “Loaf Mass” that has roots in the Celtic, Northern European first harvest festival of Lughnasadh. The height of the summer is the perfect time to recognize the riches of the season, and contemplate how nothing lasts… enjoy it whilst you can!

June 4, 2017

CRE Coming of Age
Melissa Hutchison, Heidi Jannsch, and the COA Class

Throughout the RE year, our teens explored theology, spirituality and history, and with the help of their class leaders and mentors, learned what it means to define their beliefs and put their faith into action. Join us as we celebrate their spiritual journeys and they share their belief statements with their beloved UUCSJS community. This service will include a second collection to support the Murray Grove Summer Camp.

June 11, 2017

The Power of Prayer. An Atheists Point of View
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Prayer takes many forms and serves many purposes. Mostly it is considered intercessional, that is, asking the Higher Power or Creator to alter the natural course of events in some way for our benefit. But for an atheist, there are other ways to pray that are equally effective in helping us deal with our emotional and physical needs. Can it still be transformative? What is prayer? Do we all do it without even recognizing it as prayer? Perhaps the ultimate source of prayer’s power is within ourselves. Maybe it is spiritual rather than supernatural. Come, Let Us Pray Together!!

June 18, 2017

Father’s Day: Hope for the Past
Rev. John Marsh

Towards the end of his life, Robert Frost was asked if he had hope for the future. His response was that he not only had hope for the future, he also had hope for the past. It seems to me that the two things go hand in hand — and the relationship between fathers and their children is a great place to begin that consideration.

June 25, 2017

Prodigal Journeys
Rev. John Marsh

Whether we know it or not — we are all on a journey. This will be the last opportunity of my interim ministry here to share traveling tips with you. BBQ Farewell Picnic will follow the service.

May 7, 2017

The Chosen Minister
Rev. John Marsh

We make a big deal about our congregations each choosing their own minister, and so we should. It is sometimes compared with the search for a spouse. One of the similarities is that while there is a big day of choosing, and a special ceremony that follows, the choosing still needs to be redone again and again.

May 14, 2017

Motherhood is Messy
Candidate for Ministry Rev. Dawn Fortune

Mother’s Day is a complex holiday. People have been parenting and mothering imperfectly for thousands of years. Let’s take a look at some of the ways motherhood is defined and celebrated, and examine some of the myths and expectations that make this one of the most poignant days on the calendar.

May 21, 2017

Are You Being Served?
Candidate for Ministry Rev. Dawn Fortune

With apologies to classic British sitcom creators, this service will examine some of the things we do and why we do them. How many of the things we do each day do we do out of habit? What things do we do out of obligation? What things do we do that no longer work but we keep doing them?

May 28, 2017

Flower Communion and Other International Blessings
Rev. John Marsh

Everyone is invited to bring a flower to the service. Together we will create a fantastic bouquet and then everyone will be invited to take a flower different than the one they brought. We will tell the story of the first Flower Communion and consider other stories of international blessings.

April 2, 2017

Inspiration from General Assembly
Lay speakers Stephanie & Aaron Thomas and Melissa Hutchison

Every year representatives from Congregations all over the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) gather to learn, conduct business, sing, and be joyous together. It happens in June, and this year it will happen in New Orleans. Some of those who attended last year will speak of their experiences.

April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday
Rev. John Marsh

Palm Sunday remembers a day on which a population puts reason aside and goes crazy over a charismatic leader. Within a week the crowd will turn on the savior as the cause of all of their problems. For many Unitarian Universalists, it is an invitation to look within.

Friday, April 14
7 pm, 2017

Good Friday Service
Rev. John Marsh and others

Ours is an optimistic faith. This is a service that requires us to acknowledge some hard truths. Not all that wounds us makes us stronger. Sometimes there is nothing redemptive about suffering. We will remember stories of crucifixions both ancient and modern.

April 16, 2017

Easter Celebration
Rev. John Marsh

We will look at some parallels between the story of Harry Potter and the Christian Gospels, celebrate some good news, and sing songs of rejoicing. Wearing of Easter bonnets is encouraged — regardless of gender.

April 23, 2017

Earth Day
Rev. John Marsh and others

We will celebrate spring and the earth, talk about some of the threats to the Pinelands, and recommit ourselves to living gently as part of the natural world.

April 30, 2017

Inherent Worth and Sanity
Lay speaker Matt Honig

What is a mental disorder? What is the state of the mental health system? Why should we care? All of these are complicated questions, but the answers to some (and more) will be answered in a sermon getting us ready for May’s Mental Health Month. (Please note that this sermon will briefly discuss suicide.)

March 5, 2017

UUs Got Talent, or The Sermon on the Amount
Rev. John Marsh

This Sunday morning’s service will be the kick-off for the Congregation’s annual Stewardship Campaign. It will feature a story told by Jesus, another told by Shakespeare, and quotes from Benjamin Franklin. It will be all that, and either a cherry on top or a side of gravy (whichever you prefer). Don’t miss it.

March 12, 2017

U.N. Sunday
Guest speaker Bruce Knotts

The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office’s director, Bruce Knotts, will make a case for balanced emphasis on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (caring for others). He will delve into issues of race, gender, sexual orientation and international relations, income inequality, and the influences of money, power, privilege , and the military-industrial complex in our society. You will be heartened to learn of the work and influence of Unitarian Universalists on the world stage, especially at the United Nations.

March 19, 2017

A Fool for the Web
Rev. John Marsh

Our faith calls us to use reason, and it also calls us to sometimes do more than can be reasonably expected.

March 26, 2017

Welcome as a Spiritual Practice
Guest Speaker Zr. Alex Kapitan

Think you know what it means to be a Welcoming Congregation? Think again! Guest speaker Zr. Alex Kapitan, former manager of the Welcoming Congregation Program for the UUA, will deliver a sermon in honor of the National Weekend of Prayer for Transgender Justice that will push us to take our welcome to the next level. In today’s political climate, it is more vital than ever for us to work to create safety, inclusion, and justice for people of all genders and sexualities – both inside and outside our congregational walls.
A workshop on transgender identity, inclusion, and justice will follow the service.

February 5, 2017

Too High a Spirit
Rev. John Marsh

“Too High a Spirit to be Encumbered by Old Nonsense” — These words by Ralph Waldo Emerson describe his thoughts about his own past as well as external hindrances. We’ll consider his friendships, his thoughts on solitude, and his support for John Brown.

February 12, 2017

Love: In Anticipation of Valentine’s Day
Rev. John Marsh

Rev Marsh will talk about Love.

February 19, 2017

After the Ball is Over
Rev. John Marsh

Some post-Valentine’s reflections.

February 26, 2017

I’ve Seen Fire & I’ve Seen Rain
Lay speaker Bud Smith

Mining the origins of the Pentecostal Revival for Purpose & Perspective.
Something happened in an old warehouse on Azusa Street in Los Angeles just after the turn of the 20th century. A religious meeting quickly became transformed into a movement, then into a worldwide phenomenon. Why did these people come? What did they want? And when they looked at their world, what did they see? All that memorializes this spot today is a small sidewalk plaque outside a Korean grocery store. But the questions remain and seem as pertinent as ever.

January 1, 2017

Let It Burn, Let It Go
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

“The purpose of a new year, is not that we should have a new year, but that we should have new eyes and new ears.” – William Dean Howells
Theresa will invite us to share in a Burning Bowl Ceremony, a way to let go of the old year and invite in what you desire for the new year. It is a way to create space for new magic, new opportunities and new miracles.

January 8, 2017

Playing Well With Others
Rev. John Marsh

William J. Barber, in his book The Third Reconstruction talks about a fusion of political groups, religious groups, labor groups and others working together to support a common set of values and a common set of goals. This gives us the opportunity not only to be more effective, but also to expand our souls.

January 15, 2017

Martin Luther King Sunday
Rev. John Marsh
With special music by our Choir

King said he aspired to be a “drum major for justice.” We might think of a drum major as a solitary figure. However, a drum major must be fused with the rest of the marching band. The reality is that the drum major is anything but a solitary figure. Let’s revisit some of the history and receive some of the inspiration.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer

OPEN HOUSE: People are invited into the sanctuary for silent meditation and quiet conversation between 11 am and 6 pm.
At 6 pm there will be a service.

January 22, 2017

Wisdom and Where To Find It
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Where do you go to find guidance when confronting moral or ethical dilemmas, or for help in dealing with the everyday emotional and spiritual challenges of modern life? Does having all the right answers accurately describe wisdom? Have you tried fortune cookies, Dr Oz, astrology, religious texts, the Magic 8-Ball, Poor Richard’s Almanack, the writings on subway walls, your brother-in-law, or your Greek friend Sophia (I may need to explain that last one), all to no avail? Maybe there’s a better way. We’ve invited someone to our service today who can give you all the answers you need. Can you guess who?

January 29, 2017

What’s Said in Baltimore…
Rev. John Marsh

What’s said in Baltimore… gets talked about everywhere, at least, so it seemed after William Ellery Channing gave a sermon there in 1819. Some might say he went looking for trouble, and he found us.



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December 4, 2016

The Battle for Christmas
Rev. John Marsh

Take Away Message: Traditions evolve over time. However, just as a small group of fashion designers decide what these year’s colors will be, there have always been some to set the tone. When I served as a minister in San Francisco I married many young couples. One my pre-marital counseling questions was: “How will you spend your first Christmas?” It was really a question about “How are you going to resolve arguments?”

December 11, 2016

Rev. John Marsh

Nostalgia is a powerful force in all of our lives. It has been associated with suicidal depression, as well as providing wellsprings of deep joy. Some beings seem to get along fine without it (Socrates, Dr. Spock). If you are one of them, perhaps this sermon will help you understand the rest of us. If you are one of the rest of us, perhaps this will help you follow Socrates’ dictum, the unexamined life is not worth taking a champagne bath in.

December 18, 2016

Winter Solstice
Rev. John Marsh and others

A celebration of the Season with Music and Poetry.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 6:30 pm

Winter Solstice Singing Ritual

We will celebrate the return of the Light which occurs after the Winter Solstice with songs and stories. The singing will include music from calypso, Western choral singing, Native American texts, Greek mythology, feminist rounds, Pagan chants, and even an old American hymn.
The ritual runs about 75 minutes.

Saturday, December 24, 2016 6 pm

Christmas Eve
All Ages Welcome!

We will deck the halls, light the candles, tell the story, sing the carols, offer gifts from our wealth to help those in need, hear a message of glad tidings, and offer our silent prayers.

December 25, 2016

Christmas Day
No Service

We wish everyone comfort and joy!

November 6, 2016

Revealing the Sacred: The Enduring Bonds of Kin
Special Guest Speaker Rev. Rebekah Montgomery

As we reflect on community and how we come together, we often turn to how family of choice and family of blood relates to our spiritual lives. This sermon explores our chosen bonds as a source of personal theology and a way to live out our chosen faith.

November 13, 2016

What Have We Done?
Rev. John Marsh and everyone

On this Sunday after the election you are invited to reflect together on the significance of this moment. Rev. Marsh will offer a brief homily and there will be time for shared reflections

November 20, 2016

A Song of Thanksgiving
Rev. John Marsh

Thanksgiving is a civic holiday, a religious holiday, and an attitude of gratitude. For some that attitude comes naturally, for others it requires some training.

November 27, 2016

YouTubePlayButton“What?!? Are You Crazy Or What?”
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Aristotle reportedly observed that “no great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” Do our observations of the behavior of others as being “different” or “abnormal” too easily morph into judgments on their sanity, and perhaps further into hate or distrust? As Henry David Thoreau advised, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” So let’s think about this and recall some of the great minds in the arts whose madness brought them notoriety and ask, should we culture a little bit of madness within ourselves?

October 2, 2016

Putting Our Best Foot Forward: Why We Take Positions on Matters of Social Import
Rev. John Marsh

Taking stands on social issues can divide us against ourselves, can seem to run against what we say about the importance of the individual conscience, can seem like people are playing at being holier than thou rather than promoting effective social change. Here’s why we need to do it anyway.

October 9, 2016

Days of Awe
Rev. John Marsh

Lessons for Unitarian Universalists from the celebration of the Jewish New Year.

October 16, 2016

Let’s Be Perfect! Utopian Visions, Part I
Rev. John Marsh

North America was and is awash with attempts to form the perfect society. Boston was to be “a city on a hill.” Philadelphia was William Penn’s “holy experiment.” The state of Georgia was started as an experiment to have a society free of slavery at a time when slavery was still allowed in the other 13 colonies. There were numerous 19th century experiments in communal living — several that were led by Unitarians and Universalists. What can we learn from their enthusiasm?

October 23, 2016

YouTubePlayButtonThe Long Loneliness and the Harsh and Dreadful Love
Lay speaker James Gentile

A celebration of the legacy of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement.
Dorothy Day was a journalist, social activist, and a convert to Catholicism. She taught the Berrigan brothers about non-violent resistance, and believed it was just as important to feed the poor as it was to get arrested for protesting nuclear weapons. Popes loved her. Bishops, not so much.

October 30, 2016

What Did We Learn? Utopian Visions, Part II
Rev. John Marsh

Some utopian experiments came to abrupt ends (remember the one with the Kool-Aid?). Some stories feature villains who betrayed the ideals of community for their own material gain. Other communities flourished for a time, diminished, and then reformed themselves, becoming more like a company town.

September 4, 2016

YouTubePlayButtonLabor and Justice
Lay speaker Kit Marlowe

Our work and employment determines much about our health and social happiness. UUs strive for fairness in spiritual, political, and economic relationships, and labor unions can give workers enough power to negotiate a fair deal. Here’s to a better understanding of economic justice.

September 11, 2016

Living Waters
Interim Minister Rev. John Marsh

Everyone is invited to bring some water from a source that gives meaning and hope. We will celebrate the beginning of a new Congregational Year, with a new minister, a new Board, and a renewed Search Committee. We will acknowledge the anniversary of a tragic event for our nation, and we will hear a story about living waters that gave hope to a woman in search of stability. Everyone is invited to stay for a picnic directly after the service.

September 18, 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness
Interim Minister Rev. John Marsh

Ours is one of the few governments that gives helping to make its citizens happy as a reason for its existence. How is that working out for you? How much can we reasonably expect from government in the happiness department? How much from our religious community? How much from ourselves?

September 25, 2016

Blind Spots and Brain Bugs: Roadblocks to Social Justice
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Nobody ever said fighting for social justice was easy. Michael will explore the mindsets that block progress, both in our rivals and in ourselves.

August 7, 2016

Perspectives on Mindfulness Meditation
Lay speaker Bud Smith

A 2010 Harvard study found that people spend 47% of their days thinking about things other than what they’re actually doing. The busyness of life, anxiety about the future and regrets from the past are all currents that can move us from the present. As Sam Harris remarked, “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” Mindfulness meditation can be described as an exercise that allows us stay in the present moment. This simple practice can reduce stress, promote social and emotional regulation, and allow us to live in the wonder of “now.”

August 14, 2016

What is This Thing Called Guilt
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

Thoughts on where it comes from, its purpose and how to move on. This is a personal reflection with input from friends across cultural/racial and religious lines. An assignment given to me three years ago by a UU minister to help me “get over it” has taken this long to put into words.

August 21, 2016

Books as a Path to the Sacred
Interim Minister Rev. John Marsh

Summer seems like a good time to consider the role that books play in our spiritual lives.

August 28, 2016

YouTubePlayButtonWomen: The Struggle Toward Rights Equality
Presented by the Women of the Margaret Fuller Circle

Sit with us as we hear the voices of 4 women in United States history sharing their stories about life, family, and their concerns regarding women’s rights.

July 3, 2016

YouTubePlayButtonA Community of Reverence
Lay speaker Richard Grzywinski

Our Unitarian Universalist faith is manifested in the satisfying sense of community and friendship it inspires. But does that relationship extend into “reverence?” And should it? As many of us left our previous faith did we leave a vexing hole where reverence once resided? Do we fear reverential behavior to each other, our UU home, our UU services and rituals, and, for that matter, to all existence as somehow signifying the abandonment of reason and critical thinking? Would we be treading perilously close to “religiosity” or godliness? How can we develop a more profound relationship to the “all,” encompassing wonder, devotion, charity, deep respect, and affection, i.e., reverence? Let’s explore these questions and more.
We’ll finish with one simple exercise – you may be surprised at the result… I was.

July 10, 2016

Poetry Party
Coordinator Theresa McReynolds

“Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry.”
— Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)
Join us for one of our community’s favorite services — sharing, feeling, contemplating the spoken word.

July 17, 2016

Everyday Spirituality
Coordinator Erica Onofrio

How can one incorporate a spiritual practice into your everyday life?
Erica and others from the Everyday Spiritual Practice study group, including Marsha Hannah, Helene Gentile, Kathryn Kelley, and Karen York, will have suggestions and share their experiences

July 24, 2016

YouTubePlayButtonThe DUUdes Abide
Presented by the UUCSJS Men’s Group

The UUCSJS Men’s Group (aka “dUUdes”) have met for years, leaving a (litter-free) trail of beer, wings, and veggie meatballs from here to Murray Grove. In the midst of such debauchery, they have created an accepting environment bypassing the restrictive cultural expectations of masculinity. We will investigate how these dUUdes abide.

July 31, 2016

Family Promise
Guest speaker Barb Sabath

Barbara Sabath, the leader of Family Promise of Atlantic County, will give a background on the current state of homelessness in our part of the state.

June 5, 2016

PRIDE Sunday
Rev. Cynthia Cain and Guest Speaker Travis Love

Rev. Cain & Mr. Love, an Atlantic City poet, dancer, and activist, will discuss LGBTQ issues, with a focus upon youth/young adults, current backlash, and issues of intersectionality. Don’t miss!

June 12, 2016

Optimism, and Its Discontents
Lay speaker Jon Luoma

One hundred years ago, some of our Unitarian ancestors saw a future of only “progress… onward and upward forever.” A century — and world wars and inhumanity and environmental degradation — later, have we become too pessimistic? Today, a message of hope, with evidence!, and a few words from Monty Python.

June 19, 2016

There’s No Place Like Home
Heidi Jannsch, Melissa Hutchison, Debbi Dagavarian and the Teen Class

Join us for this intergenerational, family-friendly service as we bid a fond farewell to Reverend Cynthia. We will celebrate Reverend Cain’s two years with us with music, reflections, and Wizard of Oz themed surprises.

June 26, 2016

Commies in the Catskills: The Story of Camp Woodland
Guest speaker Pat Lamanna

Camp Woodland was a left-wing summer camp in Phoenicia, NY which flourished from 1939-1962. In addition to being known for collecting the folk songs of the Catskill region (and the place where Pete Seeger learned “Guantanamera”), it taught the children who attended (Pat included) a set of values and ideals which are nicely summed up in our own Seven Principles.

May 1, 2016

Justice and Income Inequality
Lay speaker Kit Marlowe

Our second principle calls for “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.” Inequality in both wealth and income moves the USA further from this goal every year. Between 1979 and 2012, the richest 0.01% saw their incomes increase 467%. The poorest fifth saw a decrease in real income of 12.1%. Member Kit Marlowe will describe how federal and state policies “rig the game” so that the rich get richer. He will discuss ways that UUs can advocate for an economy that affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

May 8, 2016

Taking a Different Road
Guest speaker Mike Holliday

Mike Holliday is a Singer-Songwriter from Pottstown PA. He has taken his music and message from Pennsylvania to Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts and points in between. He will share how “Taking a Different Road” has given him a voice.

May 15, 2016

Time of Your Life
Rev. Cynthia Cain

“Time is everything. So what does it mean if you have none?” More than anything, the bane of UU institutional existence is the lack of time people seem to have for both the tasks and the community building parts of shared ministry. I worry about that. Do you?

May 22, 2016

Come to the Table
Rev. Cynthia Cain

We’ll be using the metaphor of food (as well as actual food) to talk about key concepts of how community works (and does not work). How will you go forward? What is your mission? How do you honor each new person, their talents and skills and passion, while keeping the ship on course.

May 29, 2016

Rev. Cynthia Cain

A take on the Wizard of Oz classic, which, it turns out, lends itself beautifully to UU interpretation and metaphors about community.

April 3, 2016

A Spiritual “OPEN MIC”

What piece of music, literary quote, or poetry has moved, inspired, or sustained you? What keeps you focused, centered, keeps you coming back to the world as a liberal person, ready to take on another day? All are invited to share, your own or another’s creation, but you must sign up, and there will be time limits!

April 10, 2016

YOUR SHARED MINISTRY, PART I: Freedom of the Pulpit/Freedom of the Pew
Rev. Cynthia Cain

As you move toward what we all hope will be a called minister, I will be talking with you about your part in the ministry of the congregation. Today we explore these two doctrines, foundational to our faith, but often misunderstood. Come, and be enlightened!

April 17, 2016

Transformative Poetry
Lay speaker Jack Miller

Poet Adrienne Rich called poetry “the moment of change.” Jack Miller will reflect on how poetry can capture an insight, and how that insight can lead to change.

April 24, 2016

Rev. Cynthia Cain

Are you a “cultural creative?” Learn how this new way of looking at life and the world can help you redesign the way you interact with your own destiny, and most important, the way you as a congregation have a great deal more freedom about your own future than you may believe.

March 6, 2016

Water, Justice, and Black Lives
Guest speaker Lena Smith

Ms. Smith, the Regional Organizer for Food & Water Watch, will talk about how Water and Environmental Justice affects Black Lives… even right now, as Atlantic City could potentially become another Flint, Michigan. Does our dedication to environmental justice extend to those outside our own walls?

March 13, 2016

Rev. Cynthia Cain

This archetypal symbol can tell us a great deal about our own inner landscapes, our desires, and even our fears. “We live in a spiral-shaped galaxy,” writes Margaret Wheatley, in reference to Chaos Theory. Spirals: they apply to congregations as well as to individuals.

March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday & Choosing Life: A Look at Plath & Sarton
Rev. Cynthia Cain

May Sarton and Sylvia Plath, two poets who were also UUs, had very different lives. Through their poetry and the theology of sacrifice that often accompanies the Easter story, we will consider life & death.

March 27, 2016

EASTER SUNDAY – A Celebration of Renewal
Rev. Cynthia Cain

We celebrate renewal in Words, in Music, and in Community.

February 7, 2016

Congregational Challenges of Calling a Minister
Lay speakers Jim Gentile, Marsha Hannah, Paul Utts
from the Ministerial Search Committee

The worship theme this year is “Change.” As our Congregation anticipates calling a Minister later this year, the Ministerial Search Committee presents a service to contemplate the congregational, relational, and stewardship challenges now placed before the Congregation.

February 14, 2016

Changing the Way We Look at Love
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Our language is the only one that has but a single word for “love.” There are so many other ways to think about love, and to broaden our conversation about who we are as people of faith, especially when we, as Unitarian Universalists talk so much about Standing on the Side of Love. What do we mean, exactly? Can “love” be every bit as fuzzy a word as God?

February 21, 2016

A Blues Praxis
Rev. Cynthia Cain

What can we learn from the blues about living, loving, and about the life of a community of faith? Quite a bit, I will argue. From Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters, the lessons abound.

February 28, 2016

Beloved Conversations Revisited
Rev. Cynthia Cain, Barbara Miller, Heidi Jannsch

Over thirty members of our congregation have engaged in meaningful conversations about racism, white privilege, and the issues surrounding the African American community today.
In this service, we’ll be hearing from some of these folks. Come and be enlightened!

January 3, 2016

Peaceful Dissent As a Spiritual Path
Lay speaker Deb Dagavarian

What are the ways in which marches and rallies for social justice offer spiritual gratification?

January 10, 2016

Beyond Categorical Thinking
Guest speaker Carol Carter Walker and the Ministerial Search Committee

Try this: close your eyes and imagine a minister. Was it a person of a particular gender, race, or age?
Without becoming aware of our preconceptions and biases, we could potentially
overlook the person who would be the best match for us.
Beyond Categorical Thinking is a program designed to promote inclusive thinking
and help prevent unfair discrimination in the search process for a new minister.

January 17, 2016

Rev. Cynthia Cain

Let’s forget the old tired resolutions we never keep.
What do we need to stand up FOR and stand AGAINST, starting today, and HOW do we do it?

January 24, 2016

The Geese Are Flying Low
Rev. Cynthia Cain

A look at mental illness and how we as UUs can normalize our conversations around it.

January 31, 2016

Let Us Pray (Please?)
Rev. Cynthia Cain

I think we all know by now that prayer is good for your health.
So… how can UUs, with our theologies, and lack thereof, all over the map, agree on a way to pray?
A good conversation for a congregation in search!



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December 6, 2015

When Holiday “Cheer” Isn’t: A Look at Addictions Today
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Addiction is actually something that affects every one of us. In Buddhism, tanha — or “grasping,” “thirst,” “desire” — is that which brings suffering. We talk about alcoholism and drug addiction, even food or gambling as if they are “diseases” and these people are separate from the rest of us, yet in reality, we all suffer from desire, and it is somewhere along the continuum that addiction begins to destroy lives. As we head into the winter months, and the holiday seasons, a sober and spiritual look at this universal problem.

December 13, 2015

Beloved Conversations
Rev. Cain, Heidi Jannsch, Barbara Miller

Since we have posted our Black Lives Matter sign, we’ve done a great deal of outreach in the community. “Beloved Conversations” is inreach — talking with one another about the challenges and rewards of recognizing and overcoming White Privilege. Please attend on this day, and become part of a project that will last until Valentines Day!

December 20, 2015

Science of Christmas
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Today will be a fun and lighthearted look at holiday traditions and how they began, and a celebration of how science, math, and even physics play a part in the ways we celebrate this festive time of year. Come, enjoy, and be merry!

December 24, 2015 – 5:30 pm

Traditional Christmas Eve for All Ages
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Carols, readings, and the traditional stories of Christmas. Bring the relatives! The service will be one hour or less… no sermon! A beautiful way to pause and honor the season of Peace and Joy.

December 27, 2015

Book of Questions
Lay leaders Helene Gentile and Margaret Rea

Come join us for an informal service where we ponder the answers to questions both lighthearted and profound.

November 1, 2015

Tending Your Soul
Rev. Cynthia Cain

In times of turmoil, we may forget to nurture our own spirit. Then, we lose heart, become discouraged, and are really no good for helping other or healing the whole. Today is All Souls Day, so let’s talk about how we tend our souls.

November 8, 2015

YouTubePlayButtonLiving With Death
Lay speaker Jack Miller

When was the last time you sat down and had a nice chat about death?

November 15, 2015

Hike Your Own Hike
Lay speaker Colin Hutchison

Walking a footpath from Georgia to Maine is a great way to see the country and remove the boundaries that separate yourself from the forces of nature and other people. These tales from the trail are unique moments in my life that changed my perception of the world.

November 22, 2015

How Gratitude Changes Everything
Rev. Cynthia Cain

When we learn to modify our expectations of the world and to live with wonder, appreciation, and curiosity, immense change can occur. This is true not only of us as individuals, but of systems, organizations, and entire societies. Worth a try?

November 29, 2015

Songs for the Journey
Music Director Barbara Miller

Some of your favorite (and some new) UUCSJS musicians will share songs that
have played a role in their lives and tell the stories behind the music.
Asked to choose a soundtrack for the movie of your life, what would you choose?

October 4, 2015

The Changing of Hearts and Minds: How Columbus Day Became Indigenous People’s Day, and Other Signs That Life is Evolving
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Where and when did this notion arise? Clearly, it was a strategy that was employed by those who have used non-violent resistance. As we look at the gradual evolution of the understanding of “Columbus Day,” let us wonder together about whose hearts and minds can be changed, and whether or not we ought to try.

October 11, 2015

Coming Out Sunday
Rev. Cynthia Cain

This is a time to talk about how our work for LGBT justice and inclusion has changed, what is happening now, and to celebrate the lives, loves and mourn the losses of Queer folk everywhere. With ritual, story, and song, we come together, and come out, as allies and as community.

October 18, 2015

You Can Make A Difference
Guest speaker Guy Forcone

You can make a difference in an abused or neglected child’s life. But if that is not your calling, you can make a difference in some way in your own corner of the world.

October 25, 2015

Compassion: Can We Care Too Much?
Rev. Cynthia Cain

In our global society (a mixture of those who HAVE, and those who HAVE NOT, compounded by an instantaneous media machine), we are saturated daily with the pain and angst of others. According to the American Institute of Stress, while “…we have not been directly exposed to these traumas… we hear the story told with such intensity, or we hear similar stories so often … [that] …we suffer.” Unfortunately, that which makes us human -– compassion — can also hurt us. Let’s talk about caring for others, while practicing self-care.

September 6, 2015

Singing Our Sources
Lay speaker Barbara Miller, UUCSJS Music Director

Most Unitarian Universalists are aware of our Seven Principles. For many of us, the Principles are what first drew us to this faith. On the first Sunday in September we will explore the lesser known Six Sources of our living tradition through songs in Singing the Journey, affectionately known as the “teal hymnal.”

September 13, 2015

Water Gathering
Rev. Cynthia Cain

The annual water “communion” is a ritual held each fall, in which UUCSJS members bring a small vial of water, collected during summer outings or travels, to pour into a shared container. Always a joyful, musical, and delightful time of re-connecting.

September 20, 2015

The Search
Rev. Cynthia Cain and the Ministerial Search Committee

Rev. Cain and the “MSC” (Ministerial Search Committee) will present a service that helps you understand the nature of ministry, the different kinds of ministers, and the process of selecting one, so that as you travel through this year of change, you can be an informed and engaged participant.

September 27, 2015

The Turning
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Rosh Hashanah will have just passed, but at this time of year, in the Jewish calendar, these are the High Holy Days. The time of turning, the act of forgiveness, and the renewal of vows are some of the most valuable, and most difficult practices we undertake in life. And yet, if we are to go forward, we are obligated to do them.

August 2, 2015

Race, Religion, Sex, Politics… Deeds, Not Creeds, is Our Challenge
Lay speaker Stephanie Garrett

A brief historical overview of this society, where we are today, and what role we as UUs should play for positive change.

August 9, 2015

The Gospel of Thomas (Merton)
Rev. Cynthia Cain

This summer I have delved further into Merton’s late writing on race and war. Some feel he was assassinated for these radical thoughts. I had a chance to take part in discussions of his writings on violence and faith, and to compare his prescient thoughts with our most talked about black intellectuals today. I will try to cohere some of this into useful form for day-to-day UU life and being.

August 16, 2015

Journey Toward Wholeness
Lay speaker Karen York

Karen shares her experience with a Courage & Renewal® retreat series based on the work of Quaker author and educator, Parker Palmer. The retreat series explored the issues of life purpose, vocation, transition, and how to live with integrity and authenticity in alignment with our deepest values.

August 23, 2015

CHANGE: Can We Take It?
Rev. Cynthia Cain

This year’s theme. Actually CHANGE is the theme of every year, whether we like it or not. What is ours to control is how we respond to it, and that alone is a spiritual task.

August 30, 2015

Swimming Lessons
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Probably the most important quality for spiritual transformation (change) is TRUST. Is trust something we can learn? Using swimming lessons as a metaphor, we will go into the places we sometimes avoid… the parts of us that resist change and growth, because we fear and feel resistance, because we lack the ability to TRUST. Come, listen & learn.

We will be joined this Sunday by AC community organizer Mr. Kaleem Shabazz and others from the African American and interfaith communities, who stand with us in solidarity. Please come and welcome our new friends!

July 5, 2015

Wherever You Go, There You Are
Rev. Cynthia Cain

We will pause today, and consider the notion of “vacation” and vocation. In many ways, I know I am blessed. I chose (was “called”) a vocation that seamlessly fills my life, so I actually never think of it as “going to work.” Most people have a more well-defined demarcation between work and play. But when we take time “off,” as most of us do in summer, just what are we vacating? And what is it we are meant to do with our time, while away, and when we “return?” We will consider these as theological queries.

July 12, 2015

The Golden Rule as Personal Foreign Policy: Reclaiming the Story of Watkuweis
Lay speaker Bud Smith

With laws on the books such as Stand Your Ground, we’ve entered a period where we “do unto others before they have a chance to do unto us.” Is the Golden Rule too outdated, too passive, or inherently too dangerous? Let us consider a forgotten story of a chance encounter between cultures in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho during the fall of 1805. It may inform and remind us of the inherent worth of each person.

July 19, 2015

Be Transported and Disoriented
Various congregational members

“Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.” — Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
Join us in our semi-regular poetry service where members of the congregation share some poetry that may take you for a ride into a cornfield.

July 26, 2015

Persecution of the Disabled during the Holocaust
Guest speaker Lillian Hussong

Jews, gypsies, and gays were not the only groups that suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Ms. Hussong will cover the perceptions of the disabled in the Third Reich, the laws the Nazis enacted to discriminate against them, and the state-sponsored extermination of the disabled which was known as Aktion T-4, when the gas chamber was first used.

June 7, 2015

Religious Education (RE) Sunday
Led by Melissa Hutchison and the Our Whole Lives 7-9 Grade Class

Our annual intergenerational RE Sunday service concludes the religious education school year. This year our service will highlight our UUCSJS children’s religious education program, recognize our dedicated teachers, and celebrate our first ever 7-9 grade O.W.L. graduates through their personal reflections and musical selections.

June 14, 2015

SUNDOWN TOWNS: A Window on White Privilege
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Some years ago, prompted by an African-American member of my church in Kentucky, I began a study of what are called “Sundown Towns,” places where, historically, Blacks were explicitly or implicitly warned to be OUT by sundown. These places are everywhere, including South Jersey. As the new Civil Rights movement begins, what are white allies called to do?  One thing is to learn the history. Thereby, we begin to learn and teach others about White privilege. It’s painful and hard. But becoming whole can be that way. It is necessary.

June 21, 2015

We All Need Someone Who …
Guest speaker David Chapman

Dave discusses basic human needs we all have as individuals and as part of our communities. What do we need from our relationships with other people and groups of people? What do we have to offer our friends and families and communities and how does it benefit us when we share ourselves with others?

June 28, 2015

Bumper Sticker Wisdom
Lay speaker Lauren Porr

Bumper Stickers. Tweets, Advertisements. Sound bites. We are exposed to them all the time, but are we really paying attention to what they are telling us, or what we are telling ourselves about them? Lauren Porr, engineer and over-analyzer, attempts to dissect the kind of short and sweet (and sometimes not-so-sweet) messages that we’re constantly bombarded with and how “wise” they really are.

May 3, 2015

Rev. Cynthia Cain

…how can you dance if your heart is broken? How can you trust if your faith is shattered? How can you live if you have no trust in life? Come, think on these things. It’s Beltaine and our theme for May is TRUST.
Trust me, if you can.

May 10, 2015

Everything Matters
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Bring a blossom, or two, or several, to add to the community bouquet for this annual ritual. Cynthia’s message will take a fresh and deeper look at the idea of “mother.” All are welcome!

May 17, 2015

Getting from Grievance to Gift
Lay speaker Darah Walther

Along with the joys and happy times in our lives, we have all experienced challenges, sadness, pain and loss. This is part of our human experience. Our choice becomes how we perceive our journey. Will we just groan – or grow? Can we heal our grievances and receive the gifts?

May 24, 2015

In Whom Do You Put Your Trust?
Lay speaker Doug Dickinson

Trust your instincts, and trust one another by behaving with integrity in all our relationships. In whom do you put your trust?

May 31, 2015

Sacred Activism
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Sacred Activism is a transforming force of compassion-in-action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual knowledge, courage, love, and passion, with wise radical action in the world. The large-scale practice of Sacred Activism can become an essential force for preserving and healing the planet and its inhabitants. When the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic, and social institutions, a holy force – the power of wisdom and love in action – is born.

April 5, 2015

A TRANSYLVANIAN EASTER: An International Responsibility
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Since Rev. Cain’s former congregation had a ten-year partnership with a small village church in Romania, she visited there four times, and helped lead services. Two years ago, she stayed for Easter. It’s one of the 4 times a year when a (very) Unitarian “Communion” is held, so we will do the same. We’ll celebrate in word and song. If anyone knows a Hungarian speaker who’d like to join us for the morning, that would be a huge asset!

April 12, 2015

Significant Choices
Guest minister Rev. Don Garrett

The search for a new minister involves some of the most important choices a congregation can face. We’ll explore strategies designed to make the process a success.
NOTE: Followed by a congregational presentation on the search process with plenty of time for questions & answers.
Rev. Don Garrett is minister at the Lehigh Valley (PA) UU Congregation and the Ministerial Settlement Representative for our Joseph Priestley District.

April 19, 2015

LET’S GET SMALL: Responding to Climate Change as People of Faith
Rev. Cynthia Cain

What is our responsibility at this moment in time? And how can we, as individuals as well as people acting together in congregations, move forward to have an impact?

April 26, 2015

Responsibility: The Ability to Respond
Lay speaker Penny Harter

Penny Harter believes that the root of “responsibility” is having the ability to respond. But before we can respond, we have to perceive: first, perception, then response-ability. Penny will share and talk about her poems that: respond to the natural world; to others—the human condition; and to events, from the everyday to the significant in her own life, with the hope that hearing them will help others cherish the planet, celebrate the everyday and/or deal with life’s challenges.

March 1, 2015

Suffering, Compassion, and Support
Lay speaker Jack Miller

As we come to understand our own suffering, we come to understand the suffering of others.
To understand the suffering of others is to be filled with loving kindness.

March 8, 2015

Selma Sunday: Unitarians at Pettus Bridge
Lay speaker Bill Felix

Selma was a watershed event in our nation’s history. Violence and bloodshed horrified the country.
At long last however, through the efforts of some courageous and unselfish people, justice won out over oppression. Unitarians played a key role in this event.

March 15, 2015

ISIS, Selma, and the Person Next Door (or in the next Pew): A Consideration of Evil
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Yes, I am going to go there. Reinhold Niebuhr wrote one of the most compelling books on the theology of evil in which he asserts that liberal people are good, but not wise, because over and over again they fail to recognize evil even when it is in their midst. What do we do with the problem of evil and the affirmation of inherent worth and dignity? How do we recognize and deal with our own shadow, and set boundaries in our communities of faith?

March 22, 2015

What Would Lady Grantham Pledge?
Rev. Cynthia Cain and Paul Utts

Rev. Cain & Paul Utts are going to do/say something that will be creative, new and altogether interesting,
and we PROMISE not to make you feel guilty, badger you, or lock the doors until you make a pledge.
However, we might talk about everyone who doesn’t show up. Just sayin’.
Seriously: this is the annual Canvass Sunday. We do it in a lovely and loving way.

March 29, 2015

Rev. Cynthia Cain

We will look at Family Systems by looking at the family of one famous person who was also Unitarian: Frank Lloyd Wright. This will provide a lens to understand such concepts as triangulation, cutoff, sibling position, and generation transference…  and how these dynamics may play out in congregational and other institutional settings.

February 1, 2015

Utilitarianism and Unitarian/Universalist Ethics
Guest speaker Ron Hutchison

Utilitarian thought helped to shape some of our most deeply cherished American values. This sermon will explore the history of utilitarianism, and, explain how this ethical framework, when combined with our UU principles, can provide a strong foundation for environmental justice.

February 8, 2015

FAMILY SYSTEMS in & out of congregations: PART ONE… Being A Self
Rev. Cynthia Cain

We hear a lot in Buddhism about no-self (anatta) and losing the sense of a separate self. Family Systems, as espoused by Murray Bowen and Edwin Friedman, is a school of thought which has become widespread in congregational as well as family therapy. It suggests that until one can be self-differentiated, a system cannot attain health. Come, find out more.

February 15, 2015

Death With Dignity in New Jersey
Guest speaker Ethan Andersen

Only three states have a “right to die” law. Although Gov. Chris Christie has vowed to veto it, the NJ Death with Dignity Act is currently moving through the State legislature, and would allow mentally competent, terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to self-administer medication to end their lives. Our guest speaker has worked with NJ’s advocacy group, Compassion & Choices, to get this law passed in New Jersey.

February 22, 2015

Rev. Cynthia Cain

Celebration of 15 years since Charter Sunday with drama, words, music and afterwards, FOOD!

January 4, 2015

Forgiveness, Part 1: Lost & Found
Rev. Cynthia Cain

We will explore the many challenges and opportunities encompassed by the notion of FORGIVENESS. Perhaps this is the most important spiritual teaching of all. Admittedly, we fail, and yet seeking to be forgiven and to forgive are worth the effort, both individually and collectively.

January 11, 2015

Forgiveness, Part 2: Moving Toward Community
Rev. Cynthia Cain

Cynthia continues her musings on forgiveness. How can it help build community?

January 18, 2015

Unitarian Universalism in One Word
Guest speaker Raj Nigam

If we are to describe our faith in one word, which word would that be?

January 25, 2015

Growing Together
Guest minister Rev. David Pyle

The Rev. David Pyle is the new District Executive for the Joseph Priestly District. He visits us today to become acquainted and to help you ask/answer the questions that are most important for UUCSJS this year. His message will examine the ways our congregations can be more interconnected.

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