Secrets Shared, Secrets Held (10AM service)

Date and Time: 05/27/2018 10:00am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate Walker
From treasure hidden within the heart to power of destruction, what we share, when we share it, or have never told, can shape our lives in ways often hidden and forceful. On this Memorial Day, we’ll honor those who have died in service of their country.

Promise and Fulfillment of Peace

Date and Time: 05/20/2018 9:15am and 05/20/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate Walker

Peace begins with me, peace begins with you, and peace begins with us.  We will look at ways each of us and all of us can create peace. Our service includes a celebration of our Religious Education program. Children will attend class after we offer our gratitude to the teachers in our annual Teacher Recognition ceremony.

The Pink-Blue Divide (Flower Communion)

Date and Time: 05/13/2018 9:15am and 05/13/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate Walker

On this Mother’s Day, we recognize research is emerging that culture is changing and society is split between accepting and rejecting gender identity. How do we keep up and support the changing landscape around gender issues? Our children need to know before we buy them any more pink and blue outfits.

This is our Annual Flower Communion Sunday. Please bring a flower to share.

Sacred Ground: A Theology of Place

Date and Time: 05/06/2018 9:15am and 05/06/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Barbara Wells

What makes a place holy or sacred? And how does caring for our particular place make us more connected to the whole of creation? Growing up on MVUC’s “Holy Hill,” guest preacher the Rev. Dr. Barbara Wells ten Hove will reflect on how place matters to our spirits.

The Promise and the Practice

Date and Time: 04/29/2018 9:15am and 04/29/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

In this special worship service, written by Unitarian Universalists who identify as black, we ask: What would it be like if our UU worship service centered entirely on the voices and the experiences of black Unitarian Universalists? What truths might we hear, however difficult? What might we learn? How might these black UU leaders teach us to be better allies, better siblings in faith, and even better citizens in our community?

(This service does not include a homily as such; the various elements of the service itself bear this week’s message.)

Looking Out the Window

Date and Time: 04/22/2018 9:15am and 04/22/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Kären Rasmussen

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Most of us feel both of these during our lifetime, but in our loneliness, we often reach out and seek community. Join Rev. Kären as we explore loneliness and what it means to reach out, to be looking out the window.

Encountering the Divine

Date and Time: 04/15/2018 9:15am and 04/08/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Madelyn Campbell

Rev. Madelyn Campbell, Interim Minister, Bull Run Unitarian Universalists, leads us in considering the question “Where have you come upon the holy?”

Can I Take Your Temperature?

Date and Time: 04/08/2018 9:15am and 04/08/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

Sometimes it can be really hard to figure out what we’re feeling, and even harder to read someone else’s emotions. We know the spiritual path is tied to emotional health, so how do we gain awareness of our emotions in order to enhance our spiritual journey?

Rise and Greet the Sun/Son

Date and Time: 04/01/2018 9:15am and 04/01/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate Walker

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker for Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. On this Easter morning we celebrate the stories of new life found in the ancient Pagan myths and Christian history.

Following the Rules

Date and Time: 03/25/2018 9:15am and 03/25/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate Walker

In this multigenerational worship service, the whole congregation is invited to reflect on how and when we choose to follow or break the rules.

“Guided by Love: Rev. Margaret Barr and the Khasi Hills”

Date and Time: 03/18/2018 9:15am and 03/18/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Mimi Stevens

Annie Margaret Barr, a British Unitarian minister, lived and worked among the Khasi people in NE India for more than 40 years, until her death in 1973.

She defied the standards for women in her time by requesting and receiving a post to India, met Gandhi, worked as a teacher in Calcutta and opened schools and an orphanage in Kharang, in the Khasi Hills.

On Partner Church Sunday, we celebrate and remember this amazing woman and learn about her gifts and challenges.


Images of Redemption: From Nature to Christ, Seeking Atonement” Part Two of Two

Date and Time: 03/11/2018 9:15am and 03/11/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

As spring begins to reclaim the earth, we look at the Theme of the Month: Redemption and Atonement.

We continue last week’s discussion. Are we stuck in an endless cycle leading to a life devoid of meaning and hope? How do we sustain the human quest to climb out of darkness?

Is the journey for rebirth informing our capacity to be co-creators and holders of moral goodness? We invite members and friends to recommit to financial stewardship of our community perhaps a path to redemption?


Images of Redemption: From Nature to Christ, Seeking Atonement, Part One of Two

Date and Time: 03/04/2018 9:15am and 03/04/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

As spring begins to reclaim the earth, we look at the Theme of the Month: Redemption and Atonement. How do we sustain the human quest to climb out of darkness? Is the journey for rebirth informing our capacity to be co-creators and holders of moral goodness, or are we stuck in an endless cycle leading to a life devoid of meaning and hope?



“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” C.G. Jung

Date and Time: 02/25/2018 9:15am and 02/25/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” C. G. Jung. Is “sanity” a concept that is overdue for rehabilitation? Humanity has long struggled with reacting to those with mental disease, from shaming, blaming, harming and honoring as a wise elder. What we really need is to understand and support, yet how can we do that if we don’t understand what the baseline for sanity is?

Year in RevUU

Date and Time: 02/18/2018 9:15am and 02/18/2018 11:15am

Presenter: YRUU

Our annual Youth Service: After an unusual 2017, YRUU members reflect on what they learned and accomplished last year and look forward to 2018.

Celebrating the Life of Dotty Ann McClelland

Date and Time: 02/11/2018 3:00pm

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

With deep sorrow, we share the news of Dotty Ann McClelland’s death on Thursday, January 11. She died peacefully following a brief illness and a rich 97-year life. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, February 11, at 3 pm in our Chapel. Donations in lieu of flowers are requested to be made to Mount Vernon Unitarian Church.

The Promise and the Practice: Confronting Evil with Our Choices

Date and Time: 02/11/2018 9:15am and 02/11/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

Every day we make choices about what to pay attention to and what to ignore. For most of us this bubble is a privilege and a luxury. A growing majority of our country faces very different choices about where to put their time and energy, and how to keep themselves safe. We’ll look at how to reclaim our power to confront evil practices in our culture and society.

Satan, Evil and a Crisis of Innocence

Date and Time: 02/04/2018 9:15am and 02/04/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

Surrounded by images reminding us daily of the capacity of humanity to inflict horror, we’ll begin our look at evil as the Theme of the Month by exploring the history of evil and its primary advocate Satan. We’ll also look deep into ourselves, and seek the roots of Satan within.

This sermon also included a showing of the short film “UK: Jewish family open doors to Syrian refugee (Tiger Nest Films)” available at the UN Refugee Agency’s website.

What If God Was All of Us? Making Meaning in a Wasteful World

Date and Time: 01/28/2018 9:15am and 01/28/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Diana Davies

Our commercial culture generates waste at an unprecedented level: garbage, certainly, but also wasted resources, plundered landscapes, and lives lost to poverty and violence. How do we live in a way that promotes creation, beauty, and complexity, while countering a culture of waste?

Rev. Diana Davies was recently ordained as a UU minister. She is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School, and she served as a student minister at First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. Rev. Davies is currently supporting the Unitarian Universalists of Charlestown (in Catonsville MD). Before entering seminary, she had a long career as a teacher of Russian and an international educator, most recently serving as Vice Provost for International Initiatives at Princeton University. She is bringing her international experience into her ministry through her work as an international education consultant for Meadville Lombard.

Creating Safe Space for Non-Violent Resistance and Conflict

Date and Time: 01/21/2018 9:15am and 01/21/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

In the social justice movement there is a lot of talk about nonviolence and creating safe spaces for people to work through conflict and fulfilling the call for transformation. We’ll take a look at this challenging and important work and the depth of commitment it demands.

Celebrating 450 years of Religious Freedom: Thank you Francis David

Date and Time: 01/14/2018 9:15am and 01/14/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

The sixteenth century was a time of vibrant change and challenges for religious reformation in Europe. Our Unitarian tradition was affiliated with Radical Reformers who were unsatisfied with some of the reforms and pressed for further freedom. In Transylvania they found traction, and a man named Francis David, who died for the religious freedom he fought for.

We’ve Got Class

Date and Time: 01/07/2018 9:15am and 01/07/2018 11:15am

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

This month we look at the theme of Freedom, and take a hard look at the Unitarian and Universalist historical tension with classism. We’ll ask is classism undermining our religious liberalism? How does classism and subsequent culture wars inform what we choose to focus on for social justice issues (such as reduction of gun violence)?

“You’re Next, God”: A New Year’s Resolution

Date and Time: 12/31/2017 10:00am

Presenter: Betsy Yarrison

Part of the annual celebration of the High Holy Days that begin the Jewish New Year is Erev Yom Kippur, the night before Yom Kippur begins. What can the practices demanded in this holiday teach Unitarian Universalists at a time in which the UUA is experiencing a crisis of faith that should be transformative if the faith is to grow into the 21st century?

The Light in the Darkness

Date and Time: 12/24/2017 4:30pm and 12/24/2017 7:00pm

Presenter: Rev. Kate Walker, Mark Zimmerman and Ann Richards

Homily for Christmas Eve, by the Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker; with remarks by the Rev. Dr. Walker about United Community Ministries’ mission in our community and a prayer for hope on Christmas Eve.


Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker

Christmas Eve Story/Homily  [Transcript]

24 December 2017

A Story for All Time:

And Mary Prayed

Mary did you pray that night? Did you call out to Yahweh in the darkness from your economy lodgings? With your labor well under way, did you raise your fist in defiance as the strong woman we know you to be? You knew what was happening. You had been told by Gabriel, you chose to listen and to obey. “May it be” you said to Gabriel when told of your destiny. Then you shared the news with your cousin Elizabeth. She knew right away what you were risking. Two women in a land of misery and poverty, barely getting by, the two of you conspiring to overthrow that hideous Roman monster!

Rebel that you are, you did not shrink into a corner and hide, nor did you sit and kvetch. No one would have blamed you had you chosen differently. Instead, you told your betrothed, despite the huge risk of your reputation in a land where shame and honor were like Superglue with no remover. With your subversive baby on the way, ready to undercut the oppressive Herod the Great and his constant egotistical demands for more taxes (so he could build his outlandish palaces), I ask again, Mary did you pray?

I suspect you prayed a lot while raising Jesus. You knew all too soon what a very bright kid you had, didn’t you? When Jesus was left behind at the Temple after Passover (oops), every parent’s worst nightmare, you returned in time to find him conversing with the doctors like he was one of them, a regular Doogie Howser! I suspect, like all parents throughout the ages, that kid challenged you!!!

Did you really complain to him about running out of wine at that wedding reception? I think you were setting him up to perform another miracle. “Hey, Jesus, we need more wine,” wink, wink. He kind of sassed you, for he knew what you were doing. But he did as told, and a miracle was had, water into wine. Now what Jewish mother doesn’t like to brag and show off her son!

Mary, you came from nowhere, you were a no body, and your story is barely known. Conjecture really, details being filled out over time as a faith was born from your womb. Your face has been painted a million times, seen in the clouds and the side of mountains. You have inspired, compelled and comforted countless millions over the ages as humanity has struggled with itself again and again. You’ve been portrayed as strong and defiant, gentle and meek, you’ve been misunderstood, and mythologized. You have been practically and popeishly deified. You’ve been politicized and demoted just as the Protestants discovered you!

But in the end, you were the first that ushered in a rebellion, a revolution, a direct challenge to the powers over you and your new family. Know what I think? Nice girls don’t change the world! You prayed and sang for peace! With all your strength, with all your heart, with all your faith, you prayed and sang that peace was being born that night.

With your tiny little baby, gently held in your arms for the first time, did you pray? As the donkeys brayed, and the dogs sniffed, as the lambs called out, and the cows moved closer, did you pray? As the magi showed up (what a surprise that was!), did you wander into the night air, stars above showing the glory of heaven, did you look down into your arms and call out to your God?

You did! In song you prayed. Not words of fear, not words of shame, not words of grief – perhaps the bravest act of all – for you knew what risk your son would bear. But none of this! You sang of glory, you sang of freedom, you sang of exultation! In the first Christmas story, you offered not fear and grief, but gratitude. You declared Herod would be dethroned and the people would be restored to the fullness of life.

Because of your prayers, your song, your courage, we honor you too. You brought the story of all time into this world: A story of peace for all. You did indeed pray that night, perhaps with tears in your eyes, but your throat was open, your voice strong to everyone willing to listen. We hear it now, in a time of pain and oppression. Still, we humans fight with each other, still, we know too many that oppress the hungry and the poor. Still, we yearn for salvation.

But this is what we know to be true; on each night that a child is born, a savior is born. Each night a child is born, is a holy night. Mary, your prayers are still heard tonight and all nights. Your gracious song of gratitude echoes in the cathedrals, the mosques, the synagogues, and the churches, and out into the streets carried by the faithful who believe in humanity’s capacity for goodness, in the strength and the courage to change the world. On this night, your prayers are heard. May your voice be heard in our own.

The True Spirit of the Holiday Season

Date and Time: 12/17/2017 9:15am and 12/17/2017 11:15am

Presenter: Life Span Spiritual Growth, Children & Youth of MVUC

This year’s holiday pageant explores the true meaning of the holiday season through memories, rituals and stories shared by members of the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church community. (There is no sermon post for this Sunday, as the pageant was our homily.)

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