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Evil is not a popular topic to preach on or discuss. But we live in a world that is full of evil, and the inclination to sin lurks within the hearts of all of us. Throughout history, human beings have struggled to create societies where all people’s rights are respected. Why does evil so often triumph over good, and how can we change that? In our October 3 service, we begin a three-part series on evil: what it is, how it works, and how to overcome it.
Many great philosophers and religious teachers throughout history have taught that people should live simply. What does this mean, and why is it so important? In our fast-paced and materialistic modern world, it’s especially easy to get caught up in the desire for worldly things. But Jesus warns of the spiritual danger of accumulating more and more stuff. In our September 5 service, we explore the theme of the simple life.
What does it mean to have a mature religious faith? Should we stifle our doubts and close our eyes to other religions and belief systems? Or should we explore with an open mind and be willing to embrace whatever ideas and traditions can best inspire us to live a life of higher meaning and conscience? In our August 1 service, we explore the subject of faith, doubt, and spiritual growth. We also tell the story of Thomas Merton, a 20th century Catholic monk whose faith was deepened by interfaith dialogue and exploration of Eastern religions.
Why should Christians care to observe the birthday of one particular country? Like the Biblical Hebrews, the United States of America has conceived of itself as a chosen people, called by God to be an example to the world. America has sometimes failed to live up to this calling, but we should continue striving to fulfill our lofty ideals. In our Fourth of July service, we discuss what it means to be a righteous nation. We also remember Washington Gladden, a prolific minister who preached that righteousness and salvation are not only for the individual, but for society as a whole.
When Christians take communion, the bread and wine of the Eucharist represent the body and blood of Christ. Beyond rituals, how can we feel connected with Christ so that we can grow in his divine image? In our June 6 service, we explore the theme of the church as the mystical body of Christ, in which we should be united in helping each other become our best selves.
In the early church, many people believed in ongoing revelations from the Holy Spirit. For much of Christian history, this belief was suppressed, but it reemerged with the Pentecostal movement in the early 20th century. In our service on Pentecost, we discuss the openness to the gifts of the Spirit that has brought controversy and confusion and the potential for positive change. We also tell the story of William Seymour, an African American minister who was a founding leader in the rise of Pentecostalism.
What is the meaning of salvation? Some say that people are saved if they have the right beliefs. Others say we must live a good life. And some believe that in the end, everyone will go to heaven. But how do we really ascend from the sinful world of the flesh to the heavenly world of the Spirit? In our May 16 service we explore these important questions. We also tell the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a 20th century minister and martyr who taught that true faith can be costly.
The Bible is full of examples of the Divine Feminine, but most people think only of the male attributes of God, our Father, or the proverbial “Man Upstairs.” Without seeing God as our Heavenly Mother, mainstream Christians are missing an important part of the story. In our Mother’s Day service, we honor our human mothers and give thanks and praise to our Mother in Heaven. We also tell the story of Pandita Ramabai, a Hindu woman who worked for equal rights for women and girls in India, and later became a Christian.
In the past few hundred years, technology has profoundly changed the world. From heavy industry to nuclear weapons and the rise of artificial intelligence, what are the spiritual implications of these developments? Christians have long expected the end of the world. In our May 2 service we ask: Will modern technology bring heaven on earth or the apocalypse? We also tell the story of Dorothy Day, a Catholic activist for peace and social justice.
There’s a time and a season for everything. Some times are full of struggle, while other times are filled with the blessings of renewal. In the world today, we’re dealing with a lot of challenges. This is especially true for the Christian church, which is in deep decline. In our April 25 service, we talk about the hope for renewal of the church. We also tell the story of C.S. Lewis, who lost his faith but later regained it and became one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century.
The coming of spring brings joyful reminders of new life, but science tells us our modern lifestyle is risking the future of our planet. On April 22 we celebrate Earth Day — a time to reflect on the beauty of nature and the importance of protecting the environment. In this week’s service we also tell the story of John Muir, who felt called to explore the wilderness and became an influential conservationist.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Since the beginning of time, we’ve been asking this question. In our April 11 service, we explore the traditions of Christian monasticism and intentional community. We also remember Macrina the Younger, an early Christian nun, saint, and big sister who inspired her whole family to live extraordinary lives of holiness.
As inspiring as the cross can be, it’s not the final chapter of the story — either for Jesus or for our own lives. In our Easter service we reflect on the Biblical testimony of the resurrection. We also tell the story of Desmond Tutu, a courageous minister and human rights activist who has devoted his life to the cause of justice, reconciliation and renewal.
On Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, Christians each year commemorate the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This week, our theme is “The Incredible Power of the Cross” — why the cross of Christ is such a pivotal event in history and its transformative effect on our lives. We also remember Clare of Assisi, a wealthy young woman who gave up everything, took up her cross daily, and became a living sacrifice for God.
It’s not easy to stand up for what’s right when you know it might cost you your comfort, your freedom, or even your life. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs. What are we willing to do? In our March 21 service, we focus on the courage to sacrifice for our faith — and we honor the memory of Chu Ki-chol, a Korean Christian minister who stood up against Japanese imperialism and died as a martyr.
In our March 14 service, we focus on the theme of Joy — rejoicing even despite our troubles and afflictions, which is made possible by faith in a God who loves us with infinite compassion. We also tell the story of Fanny Crosby, who overcame severe disability and became one of the most prolific hymn writers in history.
The Apostle Paul used the metaphor of athletic training and competition to inspire us to live a disciplined life of the spirit. In our March 7 service, we focus on the Triumph of the soul that is possible when we understand salvation as more than just believing in Jesus. We also tell the story of Eric Liddell, an Olympic athlete and missionary whose deep religious principles propelled him to a truly triumphant victory.
There are many things that people want in life, but only some things are good for us. In our February 28 service, we focus on the theme of Temptation, and our calling to resist addictive and self-indulgent behavior that leads to suffering. We also tell the story of King Louis IX of France, a pious ruler who resisted the temptations of self-indulgence and corruption of worldly power.
During Lent, many followers of Jesus make conscious sacrifices or commitments to become more righteous in the path of Christ. In our February 21 service, we focus on the theme of Commitment — an essential virtue for spiritual progress, or for any kind of success in life. We also honor Richard Allen, a former slave who was so committed to the cause of equality that he founded a new Christian denomination.
At the beginning of Lent, Christians reflect on the theme of Repentance — turning away from wrongdoing, and reorienting our minds, our lives, and our world toward the God who calls us to be transformed in the image of Christ. In this service, we observe Transfiguration Sunday and Ash Wednesday. We also honor the repentance of Bartolomé de las Casas, a slaveowner who became an activist for the equal rights of all.
Life is a journey of becoming, and in the course of our lives we must deal effectively with change and accept patiently the times of adversity and uncertainty. In our February 7 service, we focus on the theme of Transformation. We also honor the patient dedication of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who persevered in teaching ideas that were ahead of his time.
In our Candlemas service, we celebrate the light of God that enlightens our world through Jesus Christ, and our calling to join Jesus in spreading the light through our own actions. We also recognize the important contributions of Barnabas, who worked with Paul to spread the faith as a devoted apostle.
In part two of this two-part series on the ministry and teachings of Jesus, we focus on the themes of openness and inclusion. And we tell the story of Mahatma Gandhi, a spiritual giant who walked the path of Christ despite belonging to a different religion.
Who was the real Jesus Christ, and what did he really teach? In part one of this two-part series, we focus on the themes of charity, healing, and forgiveness. And we tell the story of Lillian Trasher, the “Nile Mother,” a brave and devoted servant of God who lived up to the calling of Christ by serving people in need.
In our January 10 service, we commemorate the Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we talk about the importance of taking action and making sacrifices in our lives to follow what we sincerely believe to be God’s will. We also celebrate the life of Anne Hutchinson, a courageous religious leader in colonial America who faced trial for heresy.
In our first service, we commemorate the discovery of Jesus by the Magi, who were seeking a savior — and we reflect upon the importance of discernment and building our faith upon a solid foundation. We also celebrate the life of Julian of Norwich, a woman who survived a pandemic in the Middle Ages and received revelations of God’s love.
Pastor Eric Stetson shares the good news that God is a loving family and we’re all part of it.
Pastor Eric Stetson talks about how the coronavirus pandemic should inspire us to reflect on our faith and the meaning of life.