Sunday Service - 10:30 am
Sunday Service begins every Sunday at 10:30am in the sanctuary. Minister Rev. Susan Manker-Seale presides over most services. Guest speakers or lay members present occasionally and during July and the first two weeks of August.
The following describes the upcoming sermon topics. You may also click on "All" or a specific year to review the topics of prior Sunday services.
This sermon will address the many aspects of that sometimes slippery word, “Friendship.” This comes a week before that annual celebration of love – Valentine's Day, an appropriate Sunday to look again at what can be one of the most difficult exams of our lives – how to make and nourish and keep a friend. I find that it's all worth it because friendship, in its many guises can enrich, heal and extend our days. I look forward to sharing my experiences of these ultimate connections with you, my dear friends who bring purpose and generosity of spirit into my life.
Multiple time zones separate us from our partner congregation in the mountaintop hamlet of Calapayan, Philippines. Yet the heart is not bound by time zones. We will reflect upon some changes over the past year which have affected our Philippine partners. Digital technology makes it easier than ever to strengthen the online connections between us. In this annual service focused on the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines, be prepared to leave your heart in Calapayan
Rev. Susan Manker-Seale, a Unitarian Universalist minister, has proposed a new genre of literature – mysti-fi. The term is short for mystical fiction, or novels which are neither science fiction nor fantasy, but which explore spiritual and mystical themes, in past, present or future settings. Her book "Mysteries of the Esse: Shala's Hope" will be the springboard for exploration of spiritual and mystical themes.
In this multigenerational service, we will explore the democratic process in our liberal religious tradition.
SHARE THE PLATE goes to UUSC. (cash & checks accepted).
The UU Service Committee, our premier Social Justice organization brings Pam Sparr, Associate Director for Justice Building, to speak about the Syrian refugee crisis & what we, as Unitarian Universalists and people of faith, are called to do .
After service we’re having a "WELCOMING LUNCH” to meet our local Syrian refugee families and friends. Breaking bread together is the universal way to create community. Translators will be available. Plan to stay longer than usual. The families have children ages newborn to 21. Potluck lunch for everyone.
Everyone, please bring something to share (no pork). All other foods are OK. The Syrians are bringing food too. (Stuffed grape leaves have already been promised.) Come. MVUUC is one of the first UU congregations in the country to offer a Welcoming Lunch for refugees. It's a great opportunity to share in community.
Special music by Gary Daniels & Harry Ragland. Worship Associates: Social Justice Coordinating Committee.
Parking may be limited. Please park in Appleby's parking lot. Thank you.
As we approach St. Patrick's Day, we pause to reflect on what makes a saint and what makes a sinner. They are each loaded words and not commonly addressed in Unitarian Universalist worship services. We will also explore what it means for the congregation to be "Freethinker Friendly." The choir will present music with Irish themes.
Rev. Ann Schranz
In our fast-paced world where there seems to be a new "trending topic" each day, the importance of dedication over the long haul may fade from view. What does it mean to dedicate ourselves to a way of living? What does it mean to work (and play) for the common good? We will consider the types of dedication that make a satisfying life sustainable.
Rev. Ann Schranz
Followers of Jesus draw comfort, hope, and courage from his enduring presence. Among the multitude of ways of interpreting the life and death of Jesus, what is your way? In this multigenerational service centering on the Sixth Source of Unitarian Universalism (the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all), we will explore links and tensions between the ways of Jesus and the goal of world community. The choir will present music with Easter themes.
Rev. Ann Schranz and DRE Amy Randall
The problem with many of the challenges we face today — from climate change and inequality to sexism, racism and other forms of bigotry — is that they are so complicated and so deeply-entrenched that it’s hard to know how you and I as individuals should think about them, much less how we might do anything about them. What can one person do? For that matter, what can one congregation do?
Galen Guengerich is Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, an historic congregation located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He is the tenth person to hold this position in the congregation’s 194-year history. He is a well-known public speaker on important issues of our time. He is author of God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age (Palgrave Macmillan) and writes a regular column on “The Search for Meaning” for psychologytoday.com, as well as writing occasionally for Huffington Post and for FaithStreet. Don't miss this topical sermon right here at Monte Vista UU congregation by a dynamic speaker of our own faith.
As ripples move through water, our lives ripple through time, space, and people. Sometimes the effects are dramatically evident. Other times, the effects are subtle. What legacies do we hope to leave behind when absence replaces presence? It is never too soon to begin considering the ways we hope to be remembered. Such reflection helps shape today, and it hints at tomorrow's richness.
Rev. Ann Schranz
Climate change is turning our planet into a hot potato. We could toss the potato into the hands of future generations, but they will not appreciate it, and we will have squandered an opportunity. Our opportunity lies in experimenting to find more sustainable ways of well being for all. Socioeconomic and political forces are often resistant to change, but resistance is simply resistance. What matters is how we respond. We will also focus on the Jewish Passover story of liberation from oppression as we seek to generate hope against the odds.
Rev. Ann Schranz
A COMING OF AGE service created and presented by youth:
Amina El-Zatmah, Brianna Greene, Geoff Norman-Anderson, Jaime Esparza, Miles Presley, Naomi Davison and Noelle Holmes. Our youth will be formally welcomed into the congregation. The COMING OF AGE ceremony is an incredible witness to our future generation.
Guest Speaker Carol Hayward, M.Div., M.A., was raised in Northern California. She earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts, and is pursuing ordination as a Unitarian Universalist minister. In May 2015, Carol received her second Master's degree in Inter-Religious Studies from Claremont School of Theology.
In 1923, Unitarian minister Rev. Norbert Capek introduced a flower ceremony to his congregation in Czechoslovakia. The ceremony draws attention to the beauty of each individual and highlights the ways we are different from one another yet complement one another. Rev. Norbert lost his life at the hands of the Nazi's, yet his message and the flower ceremony continue. From prison, he wrote, "When a holy enthusiasm seizes the heart, your face lights up. You feel like a star singing. Your very soul, hearing your song, is radiant. It was, and it will be again."
Please bring a flower to the service, and know that you will take home a different flower.
Rev. Ann Schranz
Improvisation and Motivations"
Jazz musicians improvise within certain musical conventions. While there have been people who excelled at blurring musical boundaries, for the most part, conventions or patterns assist with communication in music, art, and life. Ministers improvise within certain religious conventions. Jazz pianist Harry Ragland and Rev. Ann will engage in spoken and musical dialogue about the motivations for her ministerial improvisations in the congregation and in the community.
Harry Ragland and Rev. Ann Schranz
We take a look back at this year's Religious Exploration program for children and youth. We Are Unitarian Universalists, and honor those who have worked to make it so successful. Led by Religious Exploration Director, Amy Randall, and RE Teachers.
Please join us for a year-end celebration Potluck Picnic in the RE area following the service. Bring something Yummy. Hot dogs (meat & veggie) and drinks provided. All ages encouraged to participate.
Rita Salama, MVUUC member, will share her perceptions of Tanzania, the spiritual practice of forgiveness, and the journey towards love.
Rita works for Village Network Africa; a local nonprofit that provides health education, clean water projects and improved sanitation in rural Tanzania. Rita spent a month in Africa last fall. Come hear her tell her tales. To find out more, go to www.vnafrica.org.
After serving as the congregation's minister for nine years, Rev. Ann is retiring from full-time ministry at the end of June. In this service, we will remember key moments during her time with the congregation. Rev. Ann will share a blessing and her best wishes for the congregation. Please stay for a community Fare-Thee-Well Potluck luncheon after the service. Everyone of all ages are invited to participate.
Rev. Ann Schranz
WHAT DOES MUSIC MEAN TO YOU?
Join us as the choir performs most loved songs. Choir members as well as congregants will speak on "What Music Means to Me". Come participate in a service of song.
Lay Leader: Abraham Peraza
Celebrate and Honor the animals with which we share our lives and our Earth. Bring a photo or bring your animal companions to be blessed and bless us with their presence. In consideration of other animals and human beings, have a way to contain your animal for protection or possible accidents. This will be an intergenerational, interspecies service. There will be a special story for all ages by Rev. Ann Schranz about her cat, Chester. This will be Rev. Ann’s final appearance from the pulpit before she retires.
Minister Rev. Ann Schranz, DRE Amy Randall with Lay Leader: Catherine Rowlee
Guest Speaker: Ahmad Adib Shaar
On a weekend when Americans are reflecting on their love of their country and listening to the stirring sounds of John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and America on Parade it is well that we hear of the love that others have of their places, especially when those places are being torn apart by violence which is not of their making. The city of Aleppo, Syria, is such a place. One of the oldest cities in the world, a center of world culture when Europe was going through its Dark Ages, it has been a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews have lived together in peace for centuries, and it is now being destroyed.
Ahmad Adib Sharr is an Aleppine citizen and engineer who is being hosted this year by Harvey Mudd College and sponsored by the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Program. He has a special interest in what he calls the intangible heritage of Aleppo, he is a member of the Archaeological Society of Aleppo, and he has been posting daily reflections from Aleppo on Facebook during the past five years as his city has been under attack by Syria’s government, by radical Islamists, and more recently by Russian air strikes.
Lay Leader: Dick Olson
Celebrate the Sun with CUUPs and the Circle Singers. We will welcome the Summer with a belated Solstice Ritual that celebrates, honors, and greets the Summer season. The congregation is invited to join us in the songs and chants if they so desire.
Guest Speaker: Ellen Livingston
Some say the world would be better off without religion. Many prefer the more user-friendly word “spiritual.” In this scientific/technological age do we need either word to describe our faith? I propose we need religion more than ever today: a religion that does not need a super-natural god or holy scriptures to validate our beliefs. I suggest we embrace a more evolved and democratic religion appropriate for our times and our aspirations.
Ellen Livingston is minister emerita of MVUUC.
Guest Speaker: Professor Madeleine Scully
Professor Madeleine Scully, chairman of San Bernardino College’s Performing Arts Department explores being your authentic self, the self you were meant to be. In addition to sharing her outstanding teaching and vocal careers, she offers insights into her unique life’s experiences first as a man, and then as a woman.
Guest Speaker: Abigail Clauhs
Lay Leader: Abraham Peraza
Our prophets call us not just to commemorate them but to continue their work. What do our heroes of the past--such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and the UUs who marched at Selma fifty years ago--call us to do in the face of racism today?
Rev. Ellen Livingston and Barbara Dev present two seminal works: One that predicted human-induced climate change, another that is at the center of Eastern philosophy's influence on the West. Presented by the MVUUC Book Club.
Lay Leader: Mary McMahon
Come join in singing and learning songs from our hymnbook, “Singing the Living Tradition” and “Singing the Journey” as we experience and learn how music impacts the way we worship. Abraham Peraza will present a brief history on music’s development in history and in the church. There will be lots of singing!!!
One of my colleagues used to love to sing this David Bowie phrase when faced with transitions. The line after it goes, “Turn and face the strange.” It can be so hard to do, but that is life. Interim ministry is about changes, otherwise known as transitions. This Sunday, I’ll introduce myself to you a little, and share some anecdotes about the nature of change within ourselves and our organizations, as we kick off our new interim ministry.
Speaker: Rev. Susan Manker-Seale
Creativity fascinates me. In a way, it’s almost as if it’s the sacred way of being, as opposed to adhering to a dogma that denies the free breath of faith. How do we balance the traditions we inherit and love with the desire for singing a new song, and not just singing one, but actually writing one? How might we apply the creative spirit to worship, religious exploration, and social action? How do we imbue our lives with sacred creativity?
Speaker: Dick Olson
In the late nineteenth century, the self-educated American philosopher, Elbert Hubbard, argued that, "Life is a paradox. Every truth has its counterpart which contradicts it; and every philosopher supplies the logic for his own undoing." Hubbard was right. I am told by B.F. Skinner and his fellow travelers that everything I think and do is determined by my biology and my environment; yet I am told by my Free Thinking friends that they can and should be free to choose their own beliefs and commitments. Some tell me to use my head, while others say listen to your heart or your gut. Some say persevere against the odds, while others say don't throw good money after bad. How do we live satisfactorily in a world filled with massive contradictions?
Speakers: Amy Randall and Rev. Susan Manker-Seale
Bring water from your summer travels or favorite, precious places, and we will share briefly the importance of sacred spaces in our lives. Metaphorical water works, as well (as in from the kitchen sink). We will gather in multi-generational community for the entire service.
Speakers: Rita Salama, Laura Mulroy, Maribel Dana, and Rev. Susan Manker-Seale
Who are we as Unitarian Universalists here in Montclair/Claremont? Who might we become? We’ll explore the importance of having both a mission and a vision to guide us with passion as we dream about flying. The service today will be followed by a congregational presentation by our Land Use Task Force, as well as a fun visioning exercise on dreaming up a slogan.
Speaker: Rev. Susan Manker-Seale
This past week PBS aired a documentary on the Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp, a Unitarian minister and his wife who made a huge sacrifice and put their own lives in danger to save others during World War II (watch Defying the Nazis, Tuesday, September 20, 9 PM). What motivates human beings to go the extra mile (or thousands of miles) to help others? I’ll introduce the UUA’s action project #WeDefy, which asks us how we are defying hatred and discrimination today as we carry on the legacy of the Sharps.
Presenters: Freethinkers Forum
The Freethinkers Forum will present a play entitled "Dedication To A Cause". A panel of Albert Schweitzer, Josey Mengele, Carrie Nation, and Clara Barton will discuss their viewpoints led by an MVUUC moderator. The play resembles an ancient Greek morality play with heroes and villains.
Rev. Susan Manker-Seale and Jill Raiguel, Worship Associate
This is the time of the Jewish New Year. Part of the preparation is to ask forgiveness of one another and ourselves, and to let go of past hurts and angers (etc.). In this way, we make space for new relationships and opportunities. We will explore these ten High Holy Days of Turning, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, and hold our own ceremony of letting go, wherein we shall take steps to return to the home of our souls (per Carlebach’s beautiful song, “Return Again”).
Guest Minister: The Rev. Dr. Tom Owen-Towle
I want to talk about morality, religion, and politics during this tumultuous election year, so bear with me as I explore the core qualities of what makes America a good country. The Rev. Dr. Tom Owen-Towle has been a parish minister since 1967 and is the author of two dozen books on personal relationships and spiritual growth, several of which will be available following the service. Tom and his life-partner, The Rev. Dr. Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle were co-ministers of First UU Church of San Diego from 1978-2002. Tom is a guitarist and parlor magician, who currently sings with seniors, mentors youth-at-risk, volunteers with San Diego’s homeless, and preaches throughout our PSWD. He considers it both a privilege and joy to be returning to our Monte Vista UU congregation.
Rev. Susan Manker-Seale and Jeanine Ganzen-Little
October 24 is UN Day, and this year’s UN Sunday theme is from our UU/United Nations Office’s 2016 Spring Seminar on “The Colors of Inequality: Costs and Consequences.” We’ll look at their report on global economic inequality and the consequences for living in health and peace on our planet. Jeanine Ganzen-Little is chair of our Social Justice Coordinating Committee.
Rev. Susan Manker-Seale, Amy Randall, and Abraham Peraza
Bring mementos of loved ones who have died and we will adorn the altar for this beautiful and moving tradition of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This will be a multigenerational service, with music, surprises and commentary on the value of humor in facing death. Abraham Peraza is Worship Associate.
Rev. Susan Manker-Seale and Dick Olson, Worship Associate
Arguing commentators, voting guides that would kill your toe if you dropped it, horrible television attacks by so many candidates—what in the world? When it becomes standard practice for candidates to speak over one another in angry tirades, well, I just feel dragged through the mud. What do we do to stay sane even while exercising our very important, very vital right to vote? There will be a New Member Recognition in the service.
Guest Minister: Rev. Ms. Denise Tracy and Anne Thorward, Lay Leader
Rev. Denise returns to MVUUC with a positive message. Rev. Denise will speak to us about the Art of Possibility, a way of responding to change that everyone can use when experiencing shifts in our lives.
After a long career in ministry, Rev. Denise is currently a Police Chaplin among other volunteer activities. She has a vested interest in our faith community as she intends to become a member of MVUUC when she moves to Pilgrim Place from Elgin IL in a few years. Come be part of a warm, spiritual worship time together.
Rev. Susan Manker-Seale and Julie Steinbach, Worship Associate
“My thanksgiving is perpetual,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. Like the daily practice of counting our blessings, feeling gratitude for all that is our life, every day throughout the day, can be a wonderful spiritual practice. And since there is a clear connection between gratitude and generosity, we will kick off the annual Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s Guest at Your Table program, and participate this year in “bringing a brighter future to displaced families.” (uusc.org)
Guest Speaker: Len Hayward
The days have been getting colder, and it's been getting darker earlier. This feels out of sync with all of the celebrations and cheery decorations. Yet there is something there. A sense Nature is gathering strength as it rests. A longing for rebirth, but waiting for the right moment. Let's explore our connection to this time of rest and how it can revitalize our lives.
Rev. Susan Manker, and Abraham Peraza, Lily Popova
We’ll reflect on how music lifts our spirits as well as expresses and shapes our emotions, especially during holiday times. There will be special music and the choir will lead us in singing favorite Christmas carols in preparation for this season of light and love.
Rev. Susan Manker, Amy Randall, and the Religious Exploration Classes
From Japan to Sweden, Africa to the United States, this play celebrates winter holidays from all over the world. Sung to the Twelve Days of Christmas, we will trace the common theme of light in the dark of winter.
Rev. Susan Manker
What does the discovery of Dark Matter have to do with a babe in a manger, everlasting light, or a bonfire in the night? How does our creation of sacred space in this holiday season influence our inner space (Personal Truths) and outer space (Universe-al Truths)? How do we immerse ourselves in a season that demands so much and almost requires the suspension of the rational for the traditional and the mystical? Lily will lead the choir. Mary McMahon is Worship Associate.
Rev. Susan Manker, Lily Popova and Abraham Peraza
Let’s celebrate this special night with carols sung in candlelight, children snuggled close and jingle bells. Rev. Susan will tell a story she wrote called, “The Mysterious Cedar Christmas Box.” There will be special music to lift your spirits, even if they don’t need it. We’ll follow this hour-long, multi-generational service with refreshments, so BRING GOODIES if you can manage it (but don’t bother if you’re stressed - just gather everyone up and join us!) Merry Christmas!
Worship Associates: Catherine Rowlee, Dick Olson
Light is an almost universal symbol of what is good and hopeful and inspiring about our world and ourselves. It transcends the boundaries of cultures, religious beliefs, spiritual practices, historical time and intellectual reasoning. Both the Eastern Mystic and the Western Rationalist seek to become enlightened. Throughout the world since ancient times rituals of hope and renewal have been celebrated around the time of the winter solstice when the hours of daylight began to increase after the period of maximum darkness. This year Christmas and Hanukkah (two very different celebrations of light) coincide on this day. In this service we will explore some of our favorite symbolic meanings of light and seek inspiration to kindle and share the light within and keep it burning brightly.