Sunday Services Archive

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December Theme: WONDER

Sunday, December 4, 2022
Finding the Holy Within
Guest speaker Pauline E. Nijander

The Hindu faith tradition believes that the holy resides within each of us and in every living being. How can we use this knowledge in how we interact with those around us? With those we don’t agree with? With the living world around us? Join us for this Sunday as we explore the Holy Within.

About Pauline: Pauline E. Nijander just began her fifth year as a Master of Divinity student at the Drew University Theological School in Madison, NJ where she is studying for the Unitarian Universalist ministry, and where she was recently awarded the Dorr Diefendorf Award for excellence in homiletics. Pauline has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton since 2013, where she has served in various leadership roles, including being the ministerial intern in the 2019-2020 academic year, and now, as the Seminarian. As a proud transwoman and lesbian, Pauline has spoken often to different community and student groups about her perspective and life in hopes of educating people through honest and engaging conversation about trans life and issues. For this work, she was awarded the 2017 Triad House LGBTQ+ Champion Award from LifeTies. Along with her wife, Michelle, and their sweet pitbull, Ingrid, Pauline resides in Ewing, NJ.

Sunday, December 11, 2022
God Practice: Choosing The Path of Evolving Process
Alan Oliver

Do you believe in God or are you an Atheist? This talk will invite you to consider an alternative, an evolving and an open path of god practice. Whether you do this alone and/or with a group, the pathway is continuous and can lead (at times) to a oneness with the universe.

About Alan: Alan is a world traveler from Philadelphia who has finally come to rest in New Jersey. Besides the Northeast, he has lived in the Virgin Islands, Alaska, San Francisco, Kenya, The Philippines and Thailand and has visited many other countries along the way. He has worked as a Teacher, 4-H Extension Professional, a Health and Wellness Director, a Community Developer and a Buddhist Academic Consultant in Thailand. His current god practice has been shaped by Lutheran dogma, Unitarian/Universalism and Buddhism. His path leads to a more intimate relationship with the universe and he shares some of those insights with you today.

Sunday, December 18, 2022
One Person Can Make a Difference: Righteous Among the Nations – Rescuers During the Holocaust
Guest speakers Gail Rosenthal and Irvin Moreno-Rodriguez

When learning the history of WWII, often the stories of rescue and resistance are not included. Non-Jewish rescuers and others who resisted in Nazi-occupied Europe changed the history of the Holocaust. Yes, one person can make a difference!

About Gail: Gail Hirsch Rosenthal is the Director of the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton University. She began her teaching career in Philadelphia and when she moved “down the shore,” she continued teaching part-time at ACC. After meeting Dr. Vera King Farris, she was asked to join the faculty/staff at Stockton College in 1984. Since 1990, Gail has been full-time at Stockton teaching in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and also supervising the Holocaust Resource Center.

About Irvin: Irvin Moreno-Rodriguez is Assistant Director of the Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center. He graduated Atlantic City High School in 2011. Irvin then enrolled in Stockton University entering Stockton’s Honors Program and in 2015, he earned a BA degree in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Holocaust & Genocide Studies. Irvin worked several years in the Criminal Justice field and gravitated back to Stockton University when an employment opportunity was advertised for a position in the Holocaust Resource Center. While employed in the Center, in 2022 Irvin earned a Master of Arts in Holocaust & Genocide Studies and congratulations to Irvin. Irvin Moreno Rodriguez was appointed by Governor Murphy to be a member of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education. He is the youngest individual to be appointed to the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education since its inception.

Saturday, December 24, 2022 – 4:30pm
Christmas Eve at UUCSJS
Led by Jess Dunn-Safonof, Gina Roche, and Deb Dagavarian

This service will be light and fun and uplifting! We will have music, lots of singing, and several readings by different people. Come experience the warmth and love of Christmas with your Unitarian Universalist friends! Gina Roche, Jessica Dunn-Safonof, and Deb Dagavarian are preparing this service for families of all types! Come alone or bring the gang!

November Theme: CHANGE

Sunday, November 6, 2022
One Grain of Rice
Laura Kushner

A look at how important our resiliency is to our convictions and how even the smallest acts can add up to big changes.

Sunday, November 13, 2022
The Salem Witch Trials: The Dangerous Power of Conspiracy Theories Then and Now
Cynthia Grzywinski

Between 1692 and 1693 the tiny village of Salem, MA bore witness to a tragic and shameful chapter in American history – The Salem Witch Trials. An event leading to the conviction and execution of 19 innocent people, mostly women, accused of witchcraft, a crime punishable by death. What role did conspiracy theories, easily spread falsehoods, play in the mass hysteria that led to the travesty at Salem in 1692? Can these theories be blamed for fanning the flames of countless other acts of mass societal injustice, such as the McCarthy hearings from the mid-20th century (The “Red” Scare) or the January 6, 2021, Insurrection (The Big Lie)? It’s been over 300 years since the witch trials. Have we learned anything?

Sunday, November 20, 2022
Having Hope and Thanksgiving
Rev Dr. Richard Speck

Johannes A. Gaertner said, “To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” As we approach the holiday of giving thanks, what are we thankful for? Given the state of the world, where do we find hope that is grounded in reality? How do we live gratitude? We will explore these themes this Sunday.

Sunday, November 27, 2022
Recipe for Love and Life
Gina Roche

Gina is excited to invite the congregation to our November 27th “Share a beloved recipe, share your heart” service. A service where we will be Recipe Sharing and cooking up some joy, good music and thankfulness at the UU! Gina is inviting all congregation members to please share a beloved or favorite “recipe” for the upcoming Nov 27 service, even if it’s only because it’s your favorite dish to eat! It can be sweet or savory or both. Gina’s family of origin is of Spanish/Cuban and Irish heritage. Growing up in a family of seven there were many traditional Cuban dishes gracing the table. Her abuelita, aka Nana, made the absolute BEST food. It was always a celebration when Nana came to town with her arroz con pollo, picadillo and morro. Every St Patty’s day there was homemade Irish soda bread, ham and cabbage, and we made the sweet “Irish potatoes” (from our Philadelphia side!).

October Theme: COURAGE

Sunday, October 2, 2022
I Know I Can: An All Ages Pop Up Service
Jess Dunn-Safonof, Director of Religious Education

In this all ages pop up service, you get to craft the service. What songs will we sing? What readings will we hear? What stories will we learn from together? The decisions are in your hands as you work with your group to put together all the worship elements. As we journey down the path of courage together, we will explore what it takes to change the world. We will be inspired by prophetic people who helped bend the arc of the universe toward justice. And we just might find out that we perform dozens of ordinary acts of bravery everyday, in simple ordinary ways.

Sunday, October 9, 2022
Do UUs Need a Creed? (Or Do We Already Have One?)
Guest minister Rev David Hunter

If a friend (a non-UU friend) asks you what do you UUs believe, and you recite to them the seven principles (you do have them memorized, don’t you?), are they satisfied, or do they ask about our beliefs with respect to more traditional theological topics? Are they satisfied (are you satisfied?) to say we UUs can believe whatever we want?

Sunday, October 16, 2022
Genuine Spirituality
Lay speaker Stephen McGahee

What does it mean to be authentically spiritual in our day and age? What are the “fruits of the spirit”? How do you know you are progressing on your path? How do we know whether genuine spirituality is the source of our social justice work rather than partisanship, ideology, or tribalism? These teachings help us find meaning in our suffering, transcendence amidst our difficulties, and support during our grief.

Sunday, October 23, 2022
The Power of Awe
Guest minister Rev Kim D. Wilson

Awe imbues us with a different sense of ourselves — one that is smaller, more humble and part of a greater wholeness. It can also be a powerful source of healing. We explore the connections between experiences of awe and altruism, a feeling of attunement with humanity and other positive effects on our mental and spiritual well-being.

Sunday, October 30, 2022
Honoring Halloween: Exploring Earth Based Traditions and Psychological Rituals to Heal the Pain of Loss
Lay speaker Alison Maxfield

This Sermon will explore the Pagan Concept of Halloween, Native American spirituality, and rituals from Psychology to honor and heal grief. Rituals can transmute grief back into love and appreciation, while surrendering to the grieving process. Please bring a picture of a loved on to put on the communal table. After the sermon, feel free to connect to others through the pictures of love.

September Theme: BELONGING

Sunday, September 4, 2022
Unions and Unitarians – Solidarity Forever
Lay speaker Kit Marlowe

How is organized labor the foundation upon which other social justice campaigns rest? Kit will explore the following:
* Relevance of labor organization for college–educated workers
* Effect of gig work on worker rights
* Current obstacles to fairness in the workplace
* How UU congregations can and should support organizing efforts

Sunday, September 11, 2022
Water Communion Service
Rev. Carol Haag

The congregation regathers after summer activities that may have slowed or changed our pace. We regather in the spirit of the fall equinox, seeking balance in our lives. We regather to share the most universal and essential element of the earth: water. You are invited to think about the place of water in your life and to bring a sample to share in a community bowl.

About Carol: Rev. Carol S. Haag retired after 13 years as the religious educator (DRE and MRE) with The Unitarian Church (now Beacon) in Summit, NJ. Since then, she has served on the Murray Grove board, as member, President, and currently chairs its Development Committee. She is a strong advocate for Universalism as the central, vital force in our Unitarian Universalist movement. She believes that Universalism embodies the critical message of inclusion for our time.

Sunday, September 18, 2022
No Future Without Forgiveness
Guest speaker Dr. Mindy Fullilove

The United States is in a state of division that has reached unexpected levels of social hostility. This has paralyzed the workings of our democratic institutions at many levels. How might we go forward? This talk looks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s book, No Future Without Forgiveness, for advice.

About Mindy: Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, LFAPA, Hon AIA, is a social psychiatrist and professor of urban policy and health at The New School. Since 1986, she has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health. She has published eight books, including the highly-regarded Urban Restoration Trilogy, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It, Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities, and Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All. She is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and serves as president of the congregation in Orange, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County.

Sunday, September 25, 2022
Fall Equinox: Coming Together to Honor the Harvest
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

The time of harvest, of thanksgiving and joy, of leave-taking and sorrow. Day and night are equal, in perfect balance. And we give thought to the balance and flow within our own lives as we practice gratitude for the bright spots of the year, clearing the way for a new beginning.

Sunday, August 7, 2022
Sunday with the Arts
Music Director Gina Roche

Come and treat yourself to this delight for the senses! Music, art, and much more!

Sunday, August 14, 2022
We Are All Wounded Healers
Rev. Kim D. Wilson

We don’t get to live life without experiencing any pain — it’s a part of the human condition. Henri Nouen, author of a little book called Wounded Healers, suggests that by finding and addressing the suffering in our own hearts, we become better able to help others to heal their hurts. In this way, we can all become wounded healers.

About Kim: A lifelong UU, Rev. Kim was ordained in 2001, and she served the UU congregation in Madison, CT for 6 years. She recently retired after serving the UU Fellowship of the Poconos in Stroudsburg for the past decade. Rev. Kim recently bought a house in Emmaus, PA and has been spending her time updating the interior and planting and tending its gardens. Rev. Kim also enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling in her camper and spending time with family.

Sunday, August 21, 2022
Baseball: An American Religion
Lay speaker Deb Dagavarian

Baseball and religion have many similarities, including rituals, superstitions, moral inspiration, and reverence for the sacred. Join us to hear this somewhat lighthearted look at our national pastime.

Sunday, August 28, 2022
You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Guest speaker Laura Kushner

Laura’s call to ministry; a story of accepting changes and finding out you may not be who you thought you were.

About Laura: Laura Kushner is a long time member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair. She is currently attending Drew Theological School, where she is working towards her Masters of Divinity and is the Ministerial Intern for UU Faith Action New Jersey. Aside from her work within Unitarian Universalism she has taught pre-school for the past 30 years.

Sunday, July 3, 2022
Larry Kramer, AIDS, and the Pandemic
Lay speaker Tony Zitelli

A look at how the AIDS epidemic prepared us for the pandemic.

Sunday, July 10, 2022
Working with Anxiety
Lay speaker Nathan Morell

Nate Morell will present, “Working with Anxiety” an interactive talk aimed at supporting you as you navigate the experience of anxiety that arises in your internal and external worlds.

Sunday, July 17, 2022
You Can Make a Difference
Guest speakers Andy Cowgill and John Sherfey

Even before the pandemic, 48% of Atlantic County households and 61% of Cumberland County households could not afford to pay for basic living expenses. Eastern Service Workers Association (ESWA) is a free and voluntary, unincorporated membership association comprised of service, temporary, seasonal and other low-paid workers, joining together with students, teachers, professionals, clergy and other concerned residents on a volunteer basis to fight for a permanent solution to the problems involving low-income workers in South Jersey.

About Andy and John: Andy Cowgill grew up in Minnesota. After gaining a variety of experiences in community service, political organizing and activism in Ecuador, San Jose (CA), Boston and elsewhere, he became a full-time volunteer organizer in 1999. For the last 13 years, Andy has been the Operations Manager of Eastern Service Workers Association (ESWA) in Pleasantville. John Sherfey grew up in Williamstown in a family with deep roots in the South Jersey agricultural industry. John graduated from Stockton University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. John began organizing full-time in 2021, after working as a chemist and running a small business. He now serves as ESWA’s Administrative Assistant and Educational Coordinator.

Sunday, July 24, 2022
Grace Notes
Featuring Grace Notes Singers

Grace Notes Singers will share their song repertoire and invite us to sing along. The group will explain what they do as part of the Grace HealthCare Systems hospice program. The service will also include meditative readings and some silent time together. The Grace Notes Singers include our own Barbara Miller, Cynthia Grzywinski, Melissa Hutchison, as well as other local singers.

Sunday, July 31, 2022
The Blade Faces the Plate
Lay speaker Heather Swenson-Brilla

Some people can read a formal table setting and understand what the meal will be (ooh, a fish knife!) and most people know where the fork and knife “go” but the history of eating together contains deeper meanings of how we care for and build community with the people around us when we share food. Join Heather Swenson Swenson Brilla to find out how a social constructionist and occasional nihilist explains why red wine belongs in a red wine glass and how a proper table setting can activate your parasympathetic nervous system?


Sunday, June 5, 2022
Celebrating Blessings! What is a Blessing?
Jess Safonof
All Ages Service

What is a blessing? Is it as simple as what you say after a sneeze? There are blessings at the dinner table, counting your blessings, and sayings like “you are a blessing.” What do you think blessing means? Join us as we begin a month of “celebrating blessings” with an interactive, all ages service.

Sunday, June 12, 2022
Self-Compassion: Taking a “Good” Look at Yourself
Lay speaker Cynthia Grzywinski

Oftentimes our self-directed inner voice can be harsh and judgmental. How often do you find yourself thinking self-disparaging thoughts, such as: “I’m an idiot”, “I don’t measure up”, “I’m always getting (fill in the blank) wrong”. These types of negative self-criticisms rarely help, and often serve to reinforce low self-esteem, which in turn may lead to depression, anxiety, anger, et al. Let’s stop beating ourselves up and explore mindful ways to treat ourselves with the loving kindness and compassion we would extend to a friend, family member, or someone in need. Compassion begins with you.

Sunday, June 19, 2022
Summer Solstice: The Longest Day of the Year
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

We come together once again to turn the wheel, to celebrate the longest day of the year. We are part of nature’s cycle. We have planted the seeds of our own changes and to grow, we must accept even the passing of the sun.

Sunday, June 26, 2022
General Assembly Watch Party

2022 General Assembly broadcast from Portland, Oregon.
Join us as we watch a portion of this year’s General Assembly.

May Theme: BEAUTY

Sunday, May 1, 2022
Beltane: A Time for May Flowers
Theresa McReynolds

Where sweet desire meets wild delight. The time between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. A Wedding of the Sun God Bel and the Mother Earth. Let’s come together to Turn the Wheel.

Sunday, May 8, 2022
Flower Communion
Guest minister Rev. Dr. Marie DeYoung

May 8 is Mother’s Day. Rev. Dr. Marie deYoung will reflect on the original purpose of Mother’s Day, as founded by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe. How do we make sense of Julia Ward Howe’s call to peacemaking in these complicated times? She will also reflect on the importance of taking time to participate in community reconciliation gatherings and rituals. Unitarian Norbert Capek gifted us with the unique Flower Communion. Marie’s sermon will culminate with the community’s participation in this Flower Communion ritual. Please bring your favorite flowers to share with the community on this day.

Sunday, May 15, 2022
Immigration, Refugees, and Migrants in South Jersey
Guest speaker Jose Sanchez

Since the mid 2000’s, migrants and refugees have been settling in our area. Jose A. Sanchez will cover Catholic Charities’ Reception and Placement program; the difference between the Afghans and Cubans and Haitians regarding work, public benefits, and more, as they settle in south Jersey. Also, what we can do as a congregation to help these people when they arrive.

Sunday, May 22, 2022
Images of Eve: Patriarchal vs Biblical
Guest speaker Dr. Marcia Fiedler

What they want us to “hear” (Midrash – Rabbinical/Religious/Patriarchal Commentary); what they want us to “see” (various English translations – what is added, what is missing); what they want us to “think” as a result of what we hear and read. Listen to the literal translations from the original Hebrew Biblical Text. Come to your own conclusion.

Sunday, May 29, 2022
Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
Lay speaker Paul Utts

These three questions from a popular UU hymn asks the questions that are the basis of almost all faith communities and, for that matter, much of scientific inquiry. But as our faith community enters a new phase, these are questions we need to ask ourselves. Paul will talk about where we came from and explore the questions of who we are as a community and where do we go from here. With our annual meeting only two weeks away, it’s time to take a good look at ourselves.

April Theme: AWAKENING

Sunday, April 3, 2022
Awaken, Rejoice, and Come In!
Rev. DC Fortune

April is a time for awakening! Spring is finally underway and cannot be denied. Stewardship season is in full swing, and it is time for us to look forward and consider what the days ahead have to offer us.

Sunday, April 10, 2022
Palm Sunday: Contemplating endings and beginnings
Rev. DC Fortune

Palm Sunday is a time of wrapping things up and preparing for a new season and awakening. Stewardship season is drawing to a close, and the time of ministerial transition approaches. What do we say in times like these? We are in a period of looking forward and looking back.

Sunday, April 17, 2022
The Easter Miracle: Awakening in the Tomb
Rev. DC Fortune

The Bible tells us Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead and continued his ministry in ancient Judea. What might it have been like to awaken in that dark tomb? So much had happened. What more could be asked of him? Looking forward to a new day can be daunting, but full of promise.

Sunday, April 24, 2022
Failure is Always an Option
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

Not all awakenings are caused by blissful epiphanies. Sometimes they come at inconvenient — or embarrassing — times. This week, Michael will talk about some of the things he’s learned from the mistakes he’s made.


Sunday, March 6, 2022
A Renewing Faith
Rev. DC Fortune

One of the basic tenets of Unitarian Universalism is that truth is not finite, but continues to be revealed. This is the basis for our fourth principle, which encourages us to engage in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Let us explore some of the things that we have learned and imagine what might lie ahead as our faith continually renews itself.

Sunday, March 13, 2022
Can a Dress Save the World?
Jess Dunn Safonof

Can a piece of clothing fight climate change, grow sustainable farming practices, raise living conditions in developing nations, fight the stigmas of the women’s fashion industry, and build world wide community? Join us to find out.

Sunday, March 20, 2022
Renewing Faith, Renewing Commitment
Rev. DC Fortune

It is time for our annual pledge drive, in a year that is quite different from recent years. We are in a position to renew ourselves through a renewed commitment to our congregation and our faith. Join us as we kick of the stewardship drive for a new future.

Sunday, March 27, 2022
Rev. DC Fortune and Jess Dunn Safonof



Sunday, February 6, 2022
From Fear to Faith – PDFYouTube recording
Guest speaker Charles Loflin

Fear, like all human emotions, serves an important purpose. Healthy fear alerts us to danger and prepares us to deal with it. Unhealthy fear, on the other hand, can paralyze and prevent us from fully living into our values. What are the strategies that can help shift us from fear to faith?

Sunday, February 13, 2022
Embracing all that is colorful – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. DC Fortune

Unitarian Universalist leaders spent three years studying how white supremacist culture runs through all parts of our denomination, from the national level down to the smallest committees in our congregations. What does it look like to be truly welcoming? How do we go beyond welcome to inclusion?

Sunday, February 20, 2022
How Big is Your Comfort Zone?
Rev. DC Fortune

Our “comfort zones” are the areas of experience and thinking that are comfortable to us. New ideas and new experiences can enlarge our comfort zones, but that stretching is often uncomfortable and disorienting. Join us as we examine how we can widen the circle of our comfort zones.

Sunday, February 27, 2022
A Morning With the Arts
Music Director Gina Roche

Join us for a New Year service filled with music, poetry, and song. Music Director Gina Roche coordinates this service with an all-star cast of contributors!


Sunday, January 2, 2022
Worship cancelled due to coronavirus exposure

Sunday, January 9, 2022
Living With Intention – YouTube recording
Rev Dawn Fortune and Jessica Dunn-Safonof

What will 2022 hold for us? As individuals and as a community, what would we like to set for an intention for the coming year? What might we like to leave behind from 2021? Join us for this all-ages ritual of renewal.

Sunday, January 16, 2022
Earthly Intentions – YouTube recording
Guest speaker Jethro Heiko

The annual ritual of turning sap from maple trees into rich, sweet, maple syrup goes back centuries. Through a special grant program at Stockton University, today’s guest speaker, Jethro Heiko, is able to bring that connection with nature to the public in very real ways. Join us to learn about how sustainable practices, done with intention, deepen our connections with each other and the earth.

Sunday, January 23, 2022
What tracks will we leave on this world? – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Living with intention calls us to a practice of mindfulness. What impact do each of my actions have on the world in which I live?

Sunday, January 30, 2022
What are your intentions? – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. DC Fortune

We are each granted one life with which we are to learn, experience, and accomplish all that we might. What will you do with that life you have been given? Will you create community? Will you explore the stars? Will you make a million dollars? What are your intentions?



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December Theme: OPENING TO JOY

Sunday, December 5, 2021
Opening to the Joy of Miracles – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of how a one-night’s supply of oil lasted for eight nights. It is a time of feasting and joy and celebration, with special food, lots of joyful gatherings, and gifts. Join us as we explore and appreciate this tradition that is thousands of years old.

Sunday, December 12, 2021
Joy in Abundance – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The Christian season of Advent is but one of the holiday observances celebrated in these darkest weeks of the year. Advent is a time of joyful anticipation; Hanukkah is a celebration of the miracle of light; Kwanzaa celebrates African culture maintained throughout the diaspora. What experience of joy might we embrace this year?

Sunday, December 19, 2021
In the Deep Midwinter – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

As the planet turns once more toward the sun, let us open our hearts to all the joy the world has to offer! The solstice is a perfect time to balance and pivot toward newness and the returning light.

Friday, December 24, 2021, 7 p.m.
A Night of Music and Joy
Rev. Dawn Fortune

An evening service of music and readings with Music Director Gina Roche and a host of luminaries provide a welcome celebration of the Christmas holiday after two years of chaos and isolation. Join us to celebrate the joy of the Christmas story and the beauty of music in the nighttime.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

In order to provide a week off for our staff at the close of this second plague year, there will be no worship service today.
Enjoy your quiet time.


Sunday, November 7, 2021
Falling Back and Looking Back: What does UU History have to teach us? – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It has been said that there is nothing new in the world. This year, as we set our clocks back an hour, let’s examine together what our shared Unitarian and Universalist histories have to offer to our modern lives, and consider what parts we want to keep and what parts we are willing to let go.

Sunday, November 14, 2021
Lessons in Idealism from UU History: James Luther Adams and Dorothy Day – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

James Luther Adams and Dorothy Day — each struggled in their own way with the idealism of a liberal faith in a world filled with imperfection and occasionally, outright evil. What does it mean to be liberal in the time of rising fascism? How do we understand our faith in the human capacity for good when humans seem so bent on doing evil? Their considerations and musings are as potent today as they were nearly 100 years ago. Join us as we explore a history that is not nearly as distant as we might think.

Sunday, November 21, 2021
Honoring the History of Thanksgiving – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune and Jess Dunn-Safonof


The American mythology around the Thanksgiving holiday offers a narrative that we now know as wildly inaccurate. We all live on land that was once populated by Native Americans. In this interactive, All-Ages service, we will share some of the histories and traditions of the native peoples of our area, and work together to create a meal that nourishes our hearts as well as our spirits.

Sunday, November 28, 2021
Waxing Floors in Heels – YouTube recording
Presented by Margaret Circle

Margaret Circle will take us back to the late sixties as young women discover what the women’s movement means to them.


Sunday, October 3, 2021
A Recipe for Relationship – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Relationships would be so much simpler with clear instructions. Instead, we take humans with various needs and fears, priorities and values, passions and talents; then we mix them all in a neighborhood, or workplace, or classroom, and hope they’ll get along. But there are no universally understood instructions for how to do that. Join the service prepared to experiment with relationship-building exercises that will hopefully deepen our connections with each other.

Sunday, October 10, 2021
Building Relationships Through Trust and Vulnerability – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

In order to be in relationship with one another, there must be some degree of trust. Trust allows us to share parts of ourselves that are tender, knowing that we will be safe. In Unitarian Universalism, we share a core set of principles that guide how we interact with each other. We’ll explore how those values support us as we develop and grow relationships. Join us to grow together!

Sunday, October 17, 2021
Blessing of the Animals – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Our relationships with companion animals can bring us deep joy and many lessons about loyalty, trust, and love. Bring your favorite animal(s) with you this Sunday to have them blessed during the service. All animals must be leashed or in a cage that prevents their escape. Photographs of animals will also be blessed if your pet prefers to stay home.

Sunday, October 24, 2021
Cultivating Relationships by Cultivating the Land – YouTube recording
Lay speakers Meredith Massey & Jason Simmons

Where and when are you your most essential self? What makes you feel most connected to the Earth and to others? Join Meredith Massey and Jason Simmons of Thin Place Farm as they explore the relationships formed when we choose to cultivate our connection to the land.

Sunday, October 31, 2021
All Hallow’s Eve – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

‘Tis all hallow’s eve, a time for dress up and pretend, a time to safely imagine scary things having to do with death and what may or may not come afterwards. Bring a photograph or memento of a loved one you have lost in the past two years so that we may bid them farewell from this realm while the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest. There will be a Halloween Party for the children during worship.


Sunday, September 5, 2021
Musical Transitions – YouTube recording
Led by Barbara Miller and Gina Roche

La la la! Mi mi mi! Let’s get our voices warmed up for as we introduce our new Music Director Gina Roche to some of our favorite hymns.

Sunday, September 12, 2021
Return and Celebrate! – Facebook Live
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Each year in September, when Unitarian Universalist congregations return to community for worship, we celebrate by each bringing water (real or metaphorical) from a source that is important to us, and we mingle that water in a common pool. That water is then saved to be used in ritual celebrations throughout the church year. This year will be particularly poignant, as we have not gathered for communal worship since early 2020. Bring a small container of water from home to add to our common bowl.

Sunday, September 19, 2021
Making Progress and Moving Forward – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The fall equinox falls on September 20, and marks the halfway point between the longest days of summer and the longest nights of winter. It is a good time to consider where we are in our spiritual travels, and what we’d like to explore next. Join us as we explore and embrace the possibilities before us!

Sunday, September 26, 2021
The Call You Cannot Refuse – YouTube recording
Rev. Carol Haag

Rev. Haag is an ordained minister and retired religious educator who currently serves as Chair of the Development Committee at Murray Grove. Her sermon will touch on the history of John Murray’s arrival in North America and the still commanding ideas of Universalism in our lives today.

Sunday, August 1, 2021
When Reason is Impossible and Hope is Hard to Find: A Personal Encounter With Depression – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

When brain chemistry goes awry, it affects more than just our thinking: it affects behavior and basic physiology, and it can be nearly impossible to see in ourselves. After a six week leave to recover from depression, Rev. Dawn Fortune has some insights into depression, chemistry, and recovery. Join us for an examination of how depression affects us all.

Sunday, August 8, 2021
Book of Questions – YouTube recording
Led by Melissa Hutchison

Join us for a zoom version of our traditional “Book of Questions” discussion service.

Sunday, August 15, 2021
The New Challenges of Being Human – PDFFacebook Live recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

At UU Center – OUTDOORS!

After 18 months of various levels of shutdown, isolation, and pandemic-fueled social anxiety, many of us find it challenging to return to familiar places and behaviors. What does it mean to gather again? How will we redefine the concept of community? Let us explore together some of the hopes and fears we share of returning to something we might eventually call “normal.”

Sunday, August 22, 2021
Poetry Jam – YouTube recording
Coordinated by Deb Dagavarian

Hear some new and old poems shared by our members and friends.

Sunday, August 29, 2021
Voices of Women of Color – YouTube recording
Led by Debbi Dagavarian

Stories from 19th and 20th century women of color, in their own words. Presented by Margaret Circle.

Queen Lili’uokalani – read by Kim Trotto
Mamie Till – read by Betsy Searight
Daisy Bates – read by Barb Morell
Wilma Mankiller – read by Deb Dagavarian
Malala Yousafzai – read by Judy Pereira

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021
The Inherent Worth and Dignity of EVERY Person? Really? – YouTube recording
Guest speaker Pat LaManna

Turns out, it’s easier to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of some people than others. Pat explores what it means to affirm every person’s inherent worth and dignity. No exceptions. You may be surprised to learn that she found a bunch of songs to share with you that express that sentiment better than mere words can.

Sunday, July 18, 2021
The Seven Principles: More Action, Fewer Words
RE Director Jess Dunn Safonof


The Seven Principles – those things we as UU’s covenant to affirm and promote. Have you noticed they are a bit wordy? A bit difficult to act on? In Children’s Religious Education we have a simple “children’s” wording that makes it easier to understand and act out our values in everyday life. Join us as we learn more about the important principles of our faith and how we can live out those values.

Sunday, July 25, 2021
Grace Notes – YouTube recording
Coordinated by Barbara Miller


Grace Notes Singers will share their song repertoire and invite us to sing along. The group will explain what they do as part of the Grace HealthCare Systems hospice program. The service will also include meditative readings and some silent time together.

The Grace Notes Singers include our own Barbara Miller, Cynthia Grzywinski, Melissa Hutchison, as well as other local singers.

This service will be outdoors. Please bring lawn chairs and your own water.

June Theme: PLAY

Sunday, June 6, 2021
On This Journey Together – PDFYouTube recording
Guest speaker Birch Spick

No matter who we are, making sense of our lives and seeking out direction is a profound commonality we share as human beings. It is a journey that many people make in each other’s company, often in religious or spiritual communities. But for a variety of reasons, many LGBTQ people struggle to feel welcome in joining and staying in these communities. Join us as we consider what it means to be LGBTQ and spiritual, religious, or seeking deeper meaning in our lives.

Sunday, June 13, 2021
From Legos to Logos: Playing With the Building Blocks of Religion – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Unitarian Universalism doesn’t come with a holy book or creed. Today we’re going to talk about building religion and having it your way.

Sunday, June 20, 2021
Hell is a Human Invention – PDFYouTube recording
Lay speaker Barbara Miller

Where did the concept of “fire and brimstone” in the afterlife come from? Is there any way that Hell could seen as a positive thing? Take a deep dive into Hell with us.

Sunday, June 27, 2021
General Assembly Watch Party

Join us as we watch a portion of this year’s General Assembly, which is all-virtual.

May Theme: STORY

Sunday, May 2, 2021
Listening to Today’s Prophets – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Rev. Dr. Theresa McReynolds considers herself a spiritual seeker. She has spent most of her life studying many different religious texts as well as several different spiritual traditions. She believes that the prophets of today can be found in the arts — the writers and painters and movie makers. She has been spending this time of COVID studying and listening to these wise teachers and is looking forward to sharing with you some of what she has learned.

Sunday, May 9, 2021
Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Mothers help to shape the lives of their children. For good and bad, it’s a role that never ends. We recognize today all those who share the responsibility for shaping another human life.

Sunday, May 16, 2021
8th Principle? Why? – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.” What does that mean, and why would we as UU congregations want to affirm it? Come and find out more!

Sunday, May 23, 2021
Pentecost and an Ethic of Risk – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev Amy Petrie Shaw

As Unitarian Universalists we are not often crowned with holy fire and sent out into the world. Or maybe we are.

Join Rev. Amy Shaw in a service which examines the fire that sends us into the world, and the ethic which fuels it.

Sunday, May 30, 2021
From Civil Rights to Racial Justice: Baseball’s Chance to Move the Country Ahead – PDFYouTube recording
Lay speaker Deb Dagavarian

What was it like for a talented black ballplayer who wanted to play with and against the best white players in the game—in 1940? Deb Dagavarian will take you on a quick trip from the 19th century, through the Negro Leagues, to when the great Jack Robinson integrated major league baseball.

April Theme: BECOMING

Sunday, April 4, 2021
Dry Bones and Caterpillar Soup – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Easter is the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth after his murder. With hopes high of an eventual end to the COVID-19 pandemic, how do we experience death and resurrection in the year 2021?

Sunday, April 11, 2021
Poetry Share – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Deb Dagavarian

Join us in our popular (semi-)annual celebration of poetry. These include favorites and original pieces contributed by our members and friends.

Sunday, April 18, 2021
Music: Magic, Prophecy and Revolution (Barbara Miller Music Tribute) – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore’s Music Director Barbara Miller has officially retired after more than two decades of dedicated service. Join in this special service of celebration and remembrance of her humble leadership since the very first days of the congregation.

Sunday, April 25, 2021
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The Neverending Dance of Becoming – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Our past, present, and future all play a role in our lifelong journey of growth and becoming. The parts of this journey that are the most challenging, even painful, are often the places where the most intense growth happens. That growth happens best when we are able to open our hearts to the things that frighten or upset us, and we are able to lean into the vulnerability that Brené Brown describes as “Daring Greatly.” Join us to explore that vulnerability and embrace the growth that it makes possible.


Sunday, March 7, 2021
Are You Committed? – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Join us this Sunday for our Stewardship kickoff as we begin our month of asking “What does it mean to be a people of commitment?”

Sunday, March 14, 2021
Moving Money in the Direction of Our Commitments – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Ivette Guillermo

Money is like water. It can be a conduit for commitment, a currency of love. Money moving in the direction of our highest commitments nourishes our world and ourselves. What you appreciate appreciates. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands. Collaboration creates prosperity. True abundance flows from enough; never from more. Money carries our intention. If we use it with integrity, then it carries integrity forward. Know the flow — take responsibility for the way your money moves in the world. Let your soul inform your money and your money express your soul. Access your assets — not only money but also your own character and capabilities, your relationships and other nonmoney resources.

Sunday, March 21, 2021
Spring: Nature’s Commitment – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The spring equinox marks the changing of the seasons, the time between the depths of winter and the height of summer. Nature offers us so many ways to celebrate and observe the turning of the wheel of time. With this new season, what might we commit to?

Sunday, March 28, 2021
Commitment Matters When Things are Difficult – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Palm Sunday in the Christian calendar is when Jesus of Nazareth is said to have entered Jerusalem, knowing of his impending arrest and death. Committed to his role in the legend, as laid forth by the prophets before him, he went forward anyway, knowing what he faced. We are not asked to sacrifice at such a level, but commitment does require some willingness to give of ourselves. How much can we give? How brave might we be in the face of big challenges?


Sunday, February 7, 2021
Creative Co-creation of Community or How ‘Come on Eileen’ and a Guy in a Unicorn Suit Changed My Life – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Heather Swenson Brilla

Who would you be if no one knew who you were, and what community would that person create? Using the 10 Principles of Burning Man and my experiences of Regional Burns, we will explore social constructions all around us and the co-creation of a community for the new year.

Sunday, February 14, 2021
Sex, Love, and Shame on St. Valentine’s Day 2021 – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Sexual shame has been promulgated by thousands of years of church teaching. But our sexuality is a gift from the divine. How can we change our thinking on this?

Sunday, February 21, 2021
PreRecorded Service from Side With Love
Order of Service (Google doc)

The 8th Principle
Rev. Dawn Fortune
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.” Join us to explore what it means to devote an entire denomination to the eradication of institutional racism within and without our movement.

Sunday, February 28, 2021
Beloved Community: Beyond Warm and Fuzzy – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

We sometimes think of beloved community as a utopian ideal where diverse people live together in harmony, but that is a myth. Beloved community calls us to embrace discomfort, to learn and grow in ways that stretch us beyond what we think we can bear, and to become stronger as a result of our efforts, both as individuals, and as the beloved community to which we aspire.

January Theme: IMAGINATION

Sunday, January 3, 2021
My Dream for Our Congregation – YouTube recording
UUCSJS Board Members

The members UUCSJS Board of Trustees lead this service, kicking off 2021 by imagining the congregation’s future as they would dream it to be.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

America’s Divide: Where Do WE Stand? – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Many Americans watched in horror this week as an insurrectionary mob pushed through barricades, smashed doors and windows, and ransacked the United States Capitol. “How could this happen here?” they asked. “This is not who we are.”

The harsh truth is that this IS the United States. This IS who we are, as a nation. Our nation is in a convulsion that comes at times of great social and political change. Whether that change is for good or for bad, any organized society experiences this kind of upheaval with big cultural change.

Join us as we examine our own role in our national situation and consider what we want our role to be as we go forward.

Sunday, January 17, 2021
Promises and Dreams – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

We sit at the cusp of a new presidential administration and imagine what 2021 might offer us individually, as a congregation, and as a larger community. Our nation was founded on promises and dreams. If we were to start over today, what might those promises and dreams include? Individual freedom? Community accountability? Personal liberty? Collective responsibility? The struggle to find balance between freedom and responsibility is eternal. Let’s imagine what it might look like if we created a new world today with the wisdom gained from nearly 250 years of democracy.

Sunday, January 24, 2021
Imagine This – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The Dedham Decision: Unitarian/Trinitarian infighting is responsible for the separation of church and state in the United States. A uniquely American dispute created a whole new section of the tax code, and had effects that we still wrestle with today. Join us for a bit of American history on a historical week in America!

Sunday, January 31, 2021
The Religion of Sports – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Is football a religious experience? Baseball? Basketball? What is religion, anyway? Let’s imagine some of the ways we can experience spiritual community beyond Sunday mornings (or Sunday afternoons!).


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December Theme: STILLNESS

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Stillness as a double-edged thing – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The tumult of the election season has passed and our attention now turns to the stillness of the shortening days and darkening nights. Times of deep stillness and contemplation are opportunities for renewal, but also for isolation. In these days of pandemic and anxiety, extended periods of stillness can leave us feeling alone and frightened. Join us as we explore how stillness works (or does not) during these shortened days and lengthened nights.

Sunday, December 13, 2020
In the Quiet, We Wait – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

In the stillness of December, Christians wait for the birth of the messiah, Jews celebrate the festival of lights in Hanukkah, and Pagans await the annual turning of the wheel and the gradual return of the sun. Waiting in the quiet can be as much of a spiritual experience as the event we are waiting for. Join us as we consider what it means to be present to this time of stillness and anticipation.

Sunday, December 20, 2020
The Stillness of Midwinter – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The holiness of midwinter is upon us. It is the fourth and final Sunday of Advent and the eve of the Winter Solstice. As the cold weather settles in, the reality of longer days gives us hope in this time of cold and quiet darkness. Join us for a contemplative consideration of the stillness found in this season so normally filled with bustle and busyness.

Thursday, December 24, 2020
No Christmas Eve Service

Sunday, December 27, 2020
No Service Today

November Theme: HEALING

Sunday, November 1, 2020
Ancestors and a Spiritual Plan B – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

All Saints Day is a day of remembrance, when we think about those who have died in the past year. In ancient traditions, this was the time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and people believed that they could communicate with their departed loved ones and say a final farewell to conclude their grieving process. Two days before the US presidential election, we are inspired to seek the wisdom and counsel of our ancestors long departed from this world. What do they have to tell us about survival? Resiliency? What do they have to offer to help us create a spiritual plan for whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s election might be? Join us as we reflect and make a plan for healing in uncertain times.

Sunday, November 8, 2020
Now What? – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The voting is over and the ballots are being processed. The only thing that is for certain is how polarized and divided our nation is. So what do we do now? How do we return to some sense of community? Can we? Is it safe? Healing happens in its own time, and cannot be rushed or forced. But can we invite healing in? What might that look like? Is there work we must do first? Join us as we consider our new reality and how we might heal from the hurt we have experienced.

Sunday, November 15, 2020
Breathe In, Breathe Out – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The words “Breathe In, Breathe Out,” are among life’s most simple and basic instructions, but it is remarkable how often we need to be reminded to do it. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Yes, the news of the world is troubling. Unlike the healing that happens after physical trauma, like a broken leg, or a bad cold, spiritual healing can begin before the trauma has ended. Viktor Frankl survived his time in Auschwitz in part by paying attention to his own spirit and serving others. Nelson Mandela emerged from his cell a whole man, not a broken soul. What is it that we can do to begin our own spiritual healing during these days? What does spiritual healing look like for us? Join us as we consider the ways to engage our spirits in the necessary work of healing.

Sunday, November 22, 2020
Book Lovers Group

Books can be entertaining, they can be meaningful, and they can be inspiring. They can also be boring and perfunctory. In this service, we discuss books that have meant something special to us.

Sunday, November 29, 2020
Forgive Me – PDFYouTube recording
Lay speaker Paul Utts

It seems inconceivable that as reprehensible as our current President’s behavior is and has been, that 72 million people in our country would continue to vote for him. 10 million more than 2016. What are they thinking? A minister once told me when looking for congregational approval that they wanted better than 90% support, “because its difficult to get things done when 10% of the congregation is rowing against you.” Yet here we are with almost 50% of voters, many of them hard working, moral people, pulling in the other direction. If we want to see true social justice, we need most of that half of the country with us. Paul will discuss his experience with some of those voters and ask if maybe our faith’s “blaming and shaming” is causing more harm then good. He thinks he will probably anger some of you and so asks… Forgive me.


Sunday, October 4, 2020
Saint Francis of Assisi and Deep Listening (Blessing of the Animals!)PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Saint Francis of Assisi was said to have the ability to speak to animals, or at the very least, call them to him. He is often pictured with a songbird perched on his hand. As the patron saint of animals, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi is a time when many congregations will bless the animals held dear by their members. In the time of the pandemic, we will not have a sanctuary filled with animals, but will instead have a photo gallery of animals available for celebration and blessing.

Saint Francis listened to the way animals communicated, and we will consider the ways we can listen deeply to beings and things we might not otherwise hear. Join us!

Sunday, October 11, 2020
Hearing Vulnerability and Fear – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Deep listening asks us to be open to hearing more than just what our ears can sense. Deep listening asks us to listen to the feelings and reasons buried within what we can perceive with our physical senses. It has been said that fear often looks like anger. In times of deep personal and national anxiety, we are challenged to listen through the noise to find the vulnerable source of fear that fuels that anger. In this election season, what must we do to connect in this way? Join us as we explore.

Sunday, October 18, 2020
Seeking silence in a time of noise – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

In the 1800s, Theodore Parker spoke of the things that were transient and permanent in Christianity. In these weeks before the election’s conclusion, it can seem as though our world is a swirling chaos of noise and confusion. Can we listen deeply, through that noise, to find the silence that is permanent and everlasting? Join us as we explore some of the paths to silence we can travel in these days of noise and confusion.

Sunday, October 25, 2020
Compassion – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Theresa McReynolds

Compassion has many faces. The Dalai Lama once said “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” My talk will be about unwrapping empathy, compassion, and love and applying them to these unprecedented times.

September Theme: RENEWAL

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Labor Day and the 40-Hour Week – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Born in the sweatshops of the Industrial Revolution, Labor Unions in the United States fought for – and achieved – laws and policies that banned child labor, regulated working conditions and fair wages for unionized workers. The notion that workers might require time off for more than sleep was a bit of a novel concept, and eventually the results of the shortened work week bore fruit in efficiency and production. Renewal is as vital to us today as it was to the workers in 19th century textile mills. Join us as we contemplate how our days and weeks are split up into “work, recreation, and rest.”

Sunday, September 13, 2020
Here We Are Gathered (Water Ceremony/Ingathering)YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Each year, congregations around the US participate in the annual ritual of Ingathering by combining bottles and vials of water brought from home or far away, to be blessed and used in our rituals throughout the year. Unable to pour water together in person, we will participate in this ritual of ingathering in our virtual realm, reminding us of the connections that bind us to one another, in good times and bad. Join us to renew our covenant with each other for the coming year.

Sunday, September 20, 2020
Equinox: Finding New Ways To Celebrate Ancient Things – PDFYouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

The Fall Equinox marks the midpoint between high summer and deepest winter. It, with its spring mate, are the ultimate liminal times of our year – when we are evenly between those seasonal extremes. It is a point of balance, a place to pause, take stock, and consider what we seek in the descent into the dark months of winter. How do we want to honor this time, and how do we use it to renew our spirits?

Sunday, September 27, 2020 – YouTube recording
You Gotta Put Down the Duckie
Lay speaker Jack Miller

“Put down the duckie.” There may be times when putting something down is a better choice than letting something go. How are these two ideas different?

Sunday, August 2, 2020
Bending Ourselves Toward Justice – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Michael Cluff

We’ve heard that “the arc of the universe is long and bends toward justice.” As we UUs know all too well, sometimes the universe needs to bend a little harder. Michael will talk about the ways we might get in our own way in this struggle, and proposes how we can become more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Sunday, August 9, 2020
You Have To Ride The Wave – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. KC Slack

“…you had to constantly try to understand what was going on and how to survive in this space…and how not to…go under. You’re on your own, and then, politics is in your life. You have to ride the wave.” – Arundhati Roy

Sunday, August 16, 2020
Make of Yourself a Light – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Paul Langston-Daley

Mary Oliver writes that the Buddha’s last instruction was to “Make of yourselves a light.” What does it mean to be a light for others, to be a bodhisattva, to return again and again to the central values of love and compassion?

Sunday, August 23, 2020
There Is No Away: An Ethic of Solidarity Amid Disposability – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Theresa Ines Soto

What responsibility do Unitarian Universalists have in days steeped in call-out culture, threats of disposability, and isolation. Join us to explore how the thinking, feeling and doing fit together on this subject.

Sunday, August 30, 2020
The Allure of the Politics of Us vs. Them – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Cynthia Grzywinski

Over the last several years, a disturbing seismic shift has taken place in countries throughout the world, including our own. Government systems of formerly democratic nations such as Hungary, the Philippines, and Turkey, are now lead by autocratic-minded “strongmen” and their supporters. Each system, characterized by the stripping away of basic democratic rights that we as Unitarian Universalists hold as inalienable such as free speech, freedom of the press, peaceful protest, and racial equality, all use similar tactics to gain control and influence a large portion of the population. Mainly to keep these systems and the men who lead them empowered. These tactics have been used to great effect by tyrants throughout history – and may be boiled down to the polarizing effects of one overriding concept: the politics of Us vs. Them. But how does this tactic work? What’s the allure of the politics of Us vs. Them and why are so many willing to give up democratic freedoms in the process? And, is there anything we can do about it? Please join me in exploring these questions and more.

July Theme: HARMONY

Sunday, July 5, 2020
Predictions, Prophecies, and Promises – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Ranwa Hammamy

Today’s social and political atmosphere has generated significant fear, despair, and chaos. The course of our lives may feel uncertain and even out of our control. Drawing inspiration from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we will explore the power of predictions, prophecies, and promises in these times, and how to deepen our resilience as Unitarian Universalists manifesting justice and love.

Sunday, July 12, 2020
I Sent You A Helicopter: the power to act – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Leela Sinha
(Pronouns are ze/zim/zir)

So often, we wait to be saved. Or we wait for someone else to tell us what to do. What if we already have the power to act?

Sunday, July 19, 2020
Just a Closer Walk With Thee… or, Why UUs Don’t Do Gospel Well – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Kim Hampton

There are theological and cultural reasons why gospel music is complex for most UU congregations. Let’s explore why.

Sunday, July 26, 2020
What Kind Of World Do We Want? – YouTube recording
Guest minister Rev. Edith A. Love

We keep hearing about people longing to “go back to normal,” but maybe normal wasn’t a healthy place for the world to be. Let’s explore what’s possible.

Sunday, June 7, 2020
Remember Me – YouTube recording
Guest speaker Amy G.S.A. Brooks

This sermon serves as a reminder to show compassion to a people we are often quick to forget.

Sunday, June 14, 2020
UU Second Principle: Justice, Equity, and Compassion in Human Relations – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Our denomination commits itself to upholding and promoting justice, equity,and compassion in human relations, but how do we do that in real life? And how do we do it now during a pandemic? Join us as we explore this rich concept.

Sunday, June 21, 2020
Who We Are – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Unitarian Universalism is a multi-faceted movement. Today, we celebrate Father’s Day, the Summer Solstice, and hold our Annual Congregational Meeting, in which we self-govern through the tradition of direct democratic process. And we are aware that our world is hurting, and many of us are hurting as well. How do we hold room in our hearts for all of these pieces? Must we prioritize or can we embrace it all? Join us to explore.

Sunday, June 28, 2020
General Assembly Worship Watch Party

Today is the day our annual convention wraps up. Sunday morning worship of GA is traditionally live-streamed from the convention center, and this year there will still be a live-stream, but from an entirely online program. Instead of holding our regular worship service, we invite everyone, members and friends and visitors alike, to join in watching the live stream of GA worship. The link will be posted on the uucsjs website and on all our social media platforms.

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Preemptive Radical Inclusion – YouTube recording
Guest speaker CB Beal

CB will share reflections on the idea of Preemptive Radical Inclusion (PRI) as an entryway to increase justice and equity among ourselves and in the world, a way to embody beloved community in this time of physical isolation and social connection.

Sunday, May 10, 2020
RE Service
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Every age of childhood is a threshold of one sort or another. Children are perpetually changing and growing, moving from one age and stage into the next. Join us for a special worship service designed and delivered by the children in our Religious Education Program.

Sunday, May 17, 2020
Escaping the Trap – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

As we enter the third month of home confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling trapped. we are trapped in our homes, trapped in our own medical fragility, trapped economically, emotionally, and even spiritually. Join us as we examine the feeling of being trapped, and consider ways to escape.

Sunday, May 24, 2020
Military Service: A Mixture of Many Things – YouTube recording
Lay speaker Sheila Stoner

Why would anyone, especially one with Quaker-like feelings, ever join the military? Oh, and trans to boot. 100 years of family service, including both my children.

Sunday, May 31, 2020
What is Pride Without the Parade? – YouTube recording
Rev. Dawn Fortune

It has been 51 years since the Stonewall uprising in New York City that is celebrated as the beginning of what is now the LGBTQ rights movement. Since that first summer of police riots, the anniversary has been commemorated not with riots but with joyful parades that celebrated queer culture. Because of the Coronavirus, there will be no pride parades this year. How do we mark this important anniversary without balloons, glitter and rainbow flags? Join us as we consider what it means to celebrate without a party.

Sunday, April 5, 2020 – YouTube recording
Liberation in a Time of Bondage
Rev. Dawn Fortune

As we approach the high holy seasons of both Passover and Easter, we find ourselves bound at home and threatened by a plague that spreads across the land. It is a good time to consider the messages of liberation told by the ancient Hebrews and the early followers of Jesus of Nazareth as they faced their own dark and frightening times. Join us as we explore what it means to be free people within the confines of a hostile and threatening world.

Sunday, April 12, 2020 – YouTube recording
Liberated From Death
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Easter is the time when Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection after his crucifixion. Passover commemorates the time when the ancient Hebrews were spared from the Angel of Death by splashing lamb’s blood over their doors. Death is sitting uncomfortably close these days. Let us ponder how we may be liberated from its grasp.

Sunday, April 19, 2020 – YouTube recording
Liberation and Freedom
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Liberation and freedom are two different things. One is a status and the other an achievement, or an event. Lets examine the concepts of liberation and freedom within the context of our world today.

Sunday, April 26, 2020 – YouTube recording (captioned)
The Bodhisattva Path to Liberation from Suffering
Lay speaker Ivette Guillermo-McGahee

The Bodhisattva path offers tools that help us respond creatively to world crises rather than feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed by distress. As when we do grief work, facing our distress doesn’t make it disappear. Instead, when we do face it, we are able to place our distress within a larger landscape that gives it a different meaning. Rather than feeling afraid of our pain for the world, we learn that the world itself has a role to play in our liberation; its very pressures, pains, and risks can wake us up — release us from the bonds of ego and guide us home to our vast, true nature.

Sunday, March 1, 2020
Wisdom, Wisdom Everywhere!
Rev. Dawn Fortune and Jessica Dunn Safonof


In this all-ages, interactive workshop worship, we will explore the Six Sources from which Unitarian Universalism draws its wisdom. Those sources include: The direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder, the words and deeds pf prophetic people, wisdom from the world’s religions, Jewish and Christian teachings, Humanist teachings, and the spiritual teachings of Earth-centered religious traditions.

Sunday, March 8, 2020
All, Here and Now
Guest minister Rev. Eric Dobson

As Director of Community Engagement for Fair Share Housing Center, Rev. Eric Dobson’s mission is to end discriminatory or exclusionary housing patterns which have deprived the poor, particularly those presently living in inner cities, of the opportunity to reside in an environment which offers safe, decent, and sanitary housing near employment and educational opportunities.

Sunday, March 15, 2020 – VIA ZOOM
Stewards of Many Things
Rev. Dawn Fortune

As UUs, we are called to be good stewards of the planet and the interdependent web of which we are a part. We are also called to be stewards of truth, and reason, and freedom. As members of this religious community, we are called to support and nurture it as a beacon of those values in our area. Join us as we talk about the many ways we are able to do this.

Sunday, March 22, 2020 – VIA ZOOM
Examining Wisdom
Rev. Dawn Fortune

We know lots of things, but where does that knowledge come from? Who told us the narrative that we know to be true? Let’s explore some of the things we know and how we know them, and consider what deeper truths might have been omitted from the larger story.

Sunday, March 29, 2020 – YouTube recording
Relevance in Our Age
Rev. Dawn Fortune

With the turmoil occurring each day in our world, how is it that a liberal religious community remains relevant? When it seems that that the world is on fire, what is our role in taming the conflagration? Join us as we explore how one congregation seeks to remain relevant in the 21st century.

February 2, 2020
The Physics and Spirituality of Resilience
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Resilience is defined by physicists as the ability of matter to absorb outside energy or pressure and return to its original state. Personal and spiritual resilience can be quite different. Join us as we explore our resilient spirits in a challenging world.

February 9, 2020
Together We Promise
Guest speaker Patricia Infante

Covenant is a spiritual discipline which asks us to take part in an ongoing, intentional commitment. The work of creating a covenant is just a first step; living into it, sustaining it, restoring and renewing it when it is broken takes commitment and a willingness to be vulnerable. Patricia Infante from the Central East Region of the UUA will invite us into a time of reflection about the covenants we hold with one another and why they matter. After worship, we’ll gather to consider our existing covenant and engage in a process of recommitting to the work of building a strong, covenantal community here at UUCSJS.

February 16, 2020
Your Purpose is Bigger Than You Realize
Guest speaker John Gray

Using the life of Moses as an example of faith and resilience, we can never allow our past mistakes and failures to derail our God given purpose.

February 23, 2020
Intentional Resilience
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Matter tends to be either resilient (rubber) or not (concrete). Matter can be adapted to increase its resilience to make it stronger and more durable. Is that something we can do to ourselves? Beyond going to the gym and building muscles, what is it we can to do our spirits to make ourselves resilient? Join us as we explore.

January 5, 2020
Integrity: Beyond Wholeness
Rev. Dawn Fortune

We kick off 2020 with an interactive, all-ages workshop worship, where we will explore what it means to be people of integrity with exercises that stimulate our minds, bodies, and hearts. Join us!

January 12, 2020
Two Truths and a Lie
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Integrity means telling the truth. Or does it? When might telling a lie be the better choice? Life is complex, and integrity, our inner moral compass, calls us to consider carefully before we speak. Join us for this challenging exploration!

January 19, 2020
“If I’m Honest…”
Guest speaker Christin Green

One of the principles Unitarian Universalists are known for is our “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” We are seekers and questioners and skeptics and pioneers! Yet, we often default to “someone else more qualified” to lead the charge. How do we, as people of faith, keep ourselves honest about our role as leaders in social justice work? Join guest preacher, Christin Green, to explore January’s theme of Integrity.

January 26, 2020
What Would You Do?
Rev. Dawn Fortune

Integrity is said to be what we do when nobody is watching us. Life presents us daily with situations where we must make moral choices – sometimes we choose what is right, sometimes we choose what is more comfortable. What does our Unitarian Universalist faith call us to do in complex situations?



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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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