Sermons Archive

Is Dad Gender Expansive?

Is Dad Gender Expansive
Cedars UU Church at The Island School
17 June 2018
©2018 by Thomas M. Perchlik

Rev. Perchlik has made available his full sermon for “Is Dad Gender Expansive?” held on June 17, 2018. To read the full sermon text click here.

Choose Life Sermon

Cedars UU Church at The Island School
25 March 2018
©2018 by Thomas M. Perchlik

Rev. Perchlik has made available his full sermon for “Choose Life” held on March 25, 2018. To read the full sermon text click here.

The Myths of Ministry Sermon

Cedars UU Church at The Island School
17 September 2017
©2017 by Thomas M. Perchlik

Rev. Perchlik has made available his full sermon for “Myths of Ministry” held on September 17, 2017. To read the full sermon text click here.

Ministry in the Bardo

Reverend Thomas Perchlik has made available his sermon on Ministry in the Bardo from the Sunday, August 13, 2017 service. You can download the PDF here.

The Humanist Tradition Sermon Now Available

Our guest speaker and member, Eric Rasmussen has made availble his talk on The Humanist Tradition from the Sunday, April 2 service. You can dowload the PDF here.

Tweeting Thoreau Feb. 19, 2017 Sermon

The sermon by Rev. Barry Andrews held on Sunday, February 19, 2017 is now available for review.

Click here to open the PDF document.

Nothing Secure But Life,.. Nov. 6, 2016

Rev. Barry Andrews sermon from Sunday, November 6, 2016: “Nothing Secure But Life, Transition, the Energizing Spirit” by Rev. Barry Andrews, Cedars Member and retired UU Minister is now available to read by clicking here.

Reclaiming Mythos in a Logos World Oct. 2, 2016

You can now read here Reverend Barbara ten Hove‘s October 2, 2016 sermon.

Reclaiming Mythos in a Logos World

which notes that rational religion has its place, but the longing for spirit remains even within our faith tradition. It lifts up the work of religious thinker Karen Armstrong, who suggests that “it’s time to look again at mythos, in new and different ways.”

Latest Sermon by Rev. Jaco ten Hove Now Posted

Latest Sermon by Rev. Jaco ten Hove Now Posted

You can now read (HERE) the August 28, 2016 sermon, After a Dying Dad, which features Rev. Jaco’s reflections on his experience caring for his father on home hospice earlier this year.

“Caring and Giving - They’re Fundamental”

“Caring and Giving – They’re Fundamental,” Rev. Barbara ten Hove’s Oct. 16 sermon based on Jonathan Evison’s The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving: A Novel (Kitsap Regional Library’s 2015 “One Book, One Community” selection) is now posted as a  HERE. (A copy was sent to the author, who was “thrilled and touched” by the piece, according to Rebecca Judd, manager of the B.I. Branch Library.)

Many Stories, One Identity

Al Tringali’s message “Many Stories, One Identity,” which was shared as part of the Becoming American service on Sunday, July 26, 2015 is now available here.

Rev. Barry Andrew’s Aug. 2, 2015 Sermon Now Posted

“Intimations of Immortality,” delivered by retired UU minister (and Cedars member) Rev. Barry Andrews, is now available online HERE.

Messengers from the Source

“Life goes on as we continue to evolve, hopefully for the better. Always there are folks who push the front edges of our self-awareness as planetary denizens, and thereby improve the odds for productive growth. We can learn important depth and breadth from Miriam MacGillis, Janice Benyus and Wendell Berry, three interconnected “messengers” who ground us in both earthy and cosmic consciousness.”

Rev. Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church
Bainbridge Island and Greater Kitsap County, WA — May 10, 2015
View in PDF here.

Sustaining Each Other

There are stresses in our lives that urge us to reprioritize things, and as we do we might feel the full range of our feelings, up and down. We may also notice a palpable need to be in sustaining relationships, both individually and collectively, casually and intimately. How we do this–or not–matters, so we consider ways to improve the odds for such relational sustenance.

Rev. Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church
Bainbridge Island and Greater Kitsap County, WA — February 1, 2015

Read sermon PDF HERE.

The 'Is' and the 'Ought'—Social Ethics for Social Justice

Martin Luther King, Jr., suggested that “Justice, at its best, is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
We might know this in our hearts, but the ethics that guide us in that direction are elusive, even if inspirational. 

Rev. Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church
Bainbridge Island and Greater Kitsap County, WA — November 16, 2014
Read sermon PDF HERE..
Please also note copyright message at beginning of sermon.

Rev. Barry Andrew's Recent Sermon Now Posted

“God and the ‘What’ of Unitarian Universalist Spirituality,” an acclaimed July 27 sermon delivered by retired UU minister (and Cedars  member) Rev. Barry Andrews, is now available online HERE .


My Journey From Homophobia

It doesn’t feel like a particularly dramatic story, my movement away from the homophobia of younger years, but, upon reflection, it matters that I tell it—especially as we endeavor to help America move toward a religious value of inclusivity.

Rev. Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church
Bainbridge Island and Greater Kitsap County, WA — March 23, 2014
See sermon posted in PDF.
Please also note copyright message at front of document.

Noah and Klatuu Walk into a Bar...

Written for “National Preach-In on Climate Change” Day, this is an angle you’re not likely to hear anywhere else, linking Noah (of Ark fame) and the main alien from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” to help us come to grips with climate disruption. Joke, No Joke.

Rev. Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church
Bainbridge Island and Greater Kitsap County, WA — February 16, 2014
(Please also see copyright notice at end of document.)

NOTE: Since numerous references within the sermon are thematically connected to other sections of the service in which the sermon was embedded, the author recommends that this entire document be experienced as one integral presentation.

Continue reading (PDF)

Meaningful Momentum

There are formative times in our lives that create deep identity energy that can sustain us for a lifetime, and to which we return (in mind, heart and community) for inspiration and renewal.

by Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
June 2, 2013

I invite you to recognize what was undoubtedly a formative era in your own life, a time captured by the title to one of A.A. Milne’s delightfully evocative little books: “When We Were Very Young” (in which an indelible character appears for the first time: Winnie-the-Pooh).

We adults continue to research and learn about the astounding importance of the early years of a growing human being’s development, but this only confirms what we likely know in our hearts anyway: it greatly matters what young people experience, how they take in their expanding world and absorb what becomes for them, and I daresay for all of us, meaningful momentum.

Continue reading (PDF) …

Slouching Toward Awareness: Deeper Discovery

Most of us understand ourselves as Americans of various ethnic backgrounds, united by landscape and laws. As is often true for each of us psychologically, the deeper our awareness of earlier origins, the more we discover how complex our identity really is, individually and collectively. The 21st century continues to co-mingle us in diversity, so it matters which lenses we use to perceive our shared national meaning. 

by Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
November 25, 2012

Comin’ on winter, it is—often an introspective time, when we earthlings reflect the planet’s call to hunker down through the darker days, literally and metaphorically; when the web of creation moves more internally; when the invasive vines of our own soil maybe go dormant, too, and allow us to dig a bit inward. This is as it should be: our natures in harmony with Nature. “Wake, Now, My Senses,” even as the earth’s call is to slow down.

So I chose Awareness as an overall theme for this sermon heading into winter. But “Slouching Toward Awareness” may or may not ring any bells for you, referencing, as it does, a William Butler Yeats poem that has been formative for some of us, at least by giving lesser poets a way to work into our titles that evocatively docile word: slouch.

Like many people, Yeats was in a fiercely reflective mood after the horrors of World War I, when he crafted his poem called, “The Second Coming,” which I take to be a reality check for Christians, and meaningful to others as well. It’s always risky to excerpt from a poem, but here’s my dangerous attempt to pull out just eight lines:

  • Turning and turning in the widening gyre…
    • Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    • Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…
  • The best lack all conviction, while the worst
  • Are full of passionate intensity.
  • Surely some revelation is at hand;
    • …And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    • Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Continue reading (PDF)

The Universal Spirit of Compassion

By Rev. Barbara W. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
November 18, 2012

Today marks for us the beginning of the Holiday Season, so we acknowledge the importance compassion plays during this time of year and in the many religions of the world. Though at times it seems as if religion is used as a club to hurt those who are different, if you dig just a bit, you discover that compassion is at the heart of all major religions.  As an example, let me call you into worship with a wonderful story from the Jewish Hasidic tradition. (Scholars have discovered versions of it throughout the religious world.)

    A Rabbi had a conversation with God about Heaven and Hell. “I will show you Hell,” said God and pointed to a table. The people sitting at it were starving and desperate. In the middle of the table there was a large pot of delicious stew. The people round the table were holding spoons with very long handles. They found that it was possible to reach the pot to take a spoonful of the stew, but because the handle of the spoon was too long, they could not get the food back into their mouths. The Rabbi saw that their suffering was terrible.
    “Now I will show you Heaven,” said God, and they went into another room, exactly the same as the first. There was the same table and the same pot of stew. The people, as before, were equipped with the same long-handled spoons—but here they were well nourished,laughing and talking. At first the Rabbi could not understand. “It is simple,” said God. “You see, they have learned to feed each other.”

(From Storytellers, Saints and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching, adapted by Kirin Narayan)

Continue reading The Universal Spirit of Compassion

The Dialectic Loom of Democracy

What inner resources do we bring to the tumultuous table of our times, when fractious embitterment tends to disable our noble system of self-government? We can contribute to “Healing the Heart of Democracy,” as inspired by Parker Palmer’s latest book of that title.

By Rev. Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
 — September 16, 2012 —

Page references from Healing the Heart of Democracy
by Parker Palmer (2011, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco)

OPENING SONG — “Building Bridges,” #1023 in Singing the Journey:

Building bridges between our divisions, I reach out to you, will you reach out to me?
With all of our voices, and all of our visions, friends, we could make such sweet harmony.

Certainly one of the most momentous times of division in our land was the Civil War between the States, which began its four-year swath of ruin in April 1861. Any “sweet harmony” in the still formative and supposedly United States seemed swept away by voices of dissension and warmongering. Would the Union and its ambitious democracy even survive? It is perhaps hard for us today to imagine the anxiety and discord that swirled so dangerously at that time.

In early March of 1861, just weeks ahead of the opening attack on Fort Sumter, newly elected President Abraham Lincoln made his first inaugural address, as sabers rattled. The closing paragraph of his speech, offered in the face of such deep-seated division, has resonated across the chambers of time and speaks to us still during yet another extremely divisive election season that has many of us dispirited and worried. Listen to Lincoln’s message, spoken as Civil War was imminent:

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature (27).

“(T)he chorus of the Union” will again be “touched…by the better angels of our nature.” This could seem like overly idealistic, unrealistic talk, given what was unfolding. But Lincoln was on to something important, and stayed true to his notions throughout the bitterly destructive war, despite public opinion often against him.

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The Answer to Bad Religion

Progressive Christian evangelical Jim Wallis has what he calls “the answer to bad religion,” which I respect and appreciate. But not surprisingly, I propose a different alternative religious geometry, one that looks with hope into a challenging but stimulating future. 

by Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
— August 26, 2012 —

The author of our reading this morning, Jim Wallis, calls himself a “public theologian” and has been known to speak at upwards of 200 events a year, addressing “the crossroads of religion and politics in America.” He is a progressive evangelical Christian, founder of Sojourners, a nationwide network of similarly optimistic religious folks “working for justice and peace.” One of his more recent books gives evidence to his approach. It’s perhaps wishfully titled: “The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post–Religious Right America.” (Would that we were in a “Post–Religious Right America”!)

But Wallis’s earlier book, God’s Politics, which was mentioned in the lead article of one of our UU World magazines (“The Religious Left“) and is the initial focus of my talk this morning, also has a catchy subtitle: “Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.” It’s a rambling treatise that nonetheless contributes a lot to this public discussion, especially as an important qualifier to the Religious Right.

Continue reading The Answer to Bad Religion

Great Moments on the Inexorable March Toward “BothAndia” — Eastern European Roots

“BothAndia” is an idyllic alternative to “EitherOrland,” and there have been some significant turning points in our early heretical UU history that aimed humanity in that fortuitous direction, although certainly not without resistance. 

by Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
— February 19, 2012 —

Just so there’s no confusion, if you were to search the internet for references to the term “BothAndia,” you would find mention of it almost entirely in works associated with me, so I have to be accountable for whatever fallout there is from this invented expression. It has become one of my favorite words, along with “inexorable” (which means steady, unstoppable)—and today I get to use them both in the same sermon title!

I find BothAndia to be a very handy and expressive tool, especially as an adjective — “bothandian.” But more than that, it helps me highlight an important, maybe even essential liberal religious value: inclusion. And I will draw your attention momentarily to some early Eastern European roots of the Unitarian side of our religion, by profiling two pivotal moments that are decidedly “bothandian.”

I believe the arc of the universe is leading us—slowly, perhaps, but inexorably — toward BothAndia, an idealized state of being, where “both/and” solutions to apparently oppositional dilemmas are eagerly sought, found and utilized to strengthen the common
good. This inclusive vision is in contrast to reliance on more closed and often absolutist “either/or” responses to life’s challenges.

My hope is that after I do this here, any of you will be at least a little bit better able to explain what we stand for and why our heritage matters, both then and now. To be able to adequately speak up for our religious perspective in the current national climate is a challenge I hope none of you will shy away from, since we are the latest generation of both caretakers and innovators of a “freedom that (both) reveres the past (and) trusts the dawning future (even) more” (from Hymn #145, “As Tranquil Streams”).

Read the whole sermon (PDF)

Resilience as a Spiritual Strength

We try to find strength of spirit to carry on when faced with adversity—or even just in the day-to day struggle to stay focused and productive. Resilience, says one expert, reflects a “character of personhood and quality of community that faces difficulty and stays in touch with purposeful life and meaningful relationships.” It is also valuable as a proactive resource.

by Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
— February 5, 2012 —

In any community and on any individual path there will be struggles, adversity, trials of one sort or another. Such is life. The strengths we muster to face any challenge come from deep within us. When pushed, our individual hearts and the heart of a community often draw from the resources that we have collected, the inspirations that guide us, during times easy and hard.

Resilience would seem to be a valuable quality—spiritual or otherwise—to bring to the fore, certainly when challenge knocks us for a loop, but also as a healthy, proactive part of one’s life. I agree with Gigi Leach, that stasis or merely recovering from adversity is not progress. I’m convinced that using a lens of resilience can help us strengthen both our individual and collective paths forward, especially if, as seems likely, the 21st century will continue to throw the weight of the world at us in ways that we don’t expect—or at least don’t want to expect.

Read the whole sermon (PDF)

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