Sunday, December 27, 11AM, Sanctuary, Rev. John Buehrens,Senior Minister and Young Adult Speakers
Major transitions are always done in the face of fear, grief, or anxiety. Young adults Joseph Chapot and Cierdwynn Donaldson will testify to their own experiences of finishing college, becoming engaged, changing gender identity, and dealing with the death of a parent, while Rev. Buehrens leads us in preparing for a spiritually grounded transition into a New Year.
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens
As we begin the New Year, our service begins with a baby blessing – dedicating the grandchild of our beloved organist, Reiko Oda Lane. Her name: “Aria.” In traditional churches, a theme raised at the New Year is how Jesus was named, brought to the Temple, adored by Magi, and then, as an adult, baptized. But why? John will tell a story about a visit to Israel that suggested an answer. Assistant Minister Rev. JD Benson
Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens
Most of us are alienated from someone. Often for quite good reason. How do we achieve anything like reconciliation? John will draw on his experience in family systems work to offer some insights on the age-old issue of forgiveness.
Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 11AM by Cindy Pincus, Intern Minister
Martin Luther King's legacy towers above all the rest in our national imagination. We remember him for his pure dream of freedom and equality, and yet today that dream still seems so far from our nightmare of mass incarceration and the unbearable fact that black bodies don't seem to matter as much as white bodies. Come hear Cindy Pincus preach about spiritual reparations and religious hope as we engage again and again with the great, unfinished American experiment in freedom.
Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 11AM by Cindy Pincus, Intern Minister
When our trust has been betrayed, the first thing we do is put on armor to protect our vulnerable spots. Betrayal can be especially painful in matters of the heart and we are often left with feelings of guilt, shame, and anger. On Valentine's Day weekend, we ponder the creative power of vulnerability and the risk of love.
Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
Mutual trust is a form of "social capital." We move forward at the speed of trust, I am convinced. But when trust fails, the natural tendency is to seek our own safety. How do we begin taking risks again?
Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. Alyson Jacks, Associate Minister
In the late 1800's, American Philosopher, Josiah Royce, coined the term Beloved Community, a phrase adopted by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. To build the beloved community, according to Royce, requires love, loyalty, and cooperation, among other things. It also requires engagement and risk. And it takes practice - lots and lots of practice.
Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. JD Benson, Assistant Minister
What does it mean to be a philosophically and theologically pluralistic community? What does matter in our relationships with one another and to what is it we each rely upon? Are you "right" or is what you believe/understand simply right for you?
Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
Going to and from Selma Alabama for the 50th anniversary of the voting rights campaign there, John Buehrens was reading Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society, by UC Berkeley professor john a. powell, who spoke at a dinner here on Feb. 28. In his final chapter, from which this sermon takes its title, Powell writes, "If spirituality is engagement with the deeper sense of self, the divine, or God, narrow engagement with the egoistic self is the lack of spirituality. The suffering that is caused by separation cannot be healed by this small self. Indeed, it is this same small self and the institutional arrangements that it collectively brings into being that cause social suffering."
Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
It has been said that the Exodus story, retold at Passover, is not only the key to "engaged religion," but has been re-interpreted in every social justice movement from Jesus on Palm Sunday through Marxism to other liberation struggles. Linda Enger, chair of our 2015 operating fund drive, will give both a report and a testimonial.
Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Rev. Alyson Jacks and Rev. JD Benson
Celebrate Easter with laughter and joy, music and stories of new life. Wear an Easter bonnet if you like, bring the children, and join the ministers, the Choir, the Bell Choir and singer-songwriter Mike Rufo in an Easter Sunday to remember. See photos from Sunday.
Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 11AM by The Ministers and the Rites of Passage Kids
This Sunday is our special RITES OF PASSAGE Service! Our 12 ROP graduates, along with their Teaching Team, will join Revs. Buehrens, Benson and Jacks on the Chancel. Our talented group of 3rd-4th graders has spent the year learning about themselves and their church community. They have filled up the pages in their workbooks, interviewed the ministers and other church leaders. They've toured the building, designed a service project, and created symbolic artwork, which will be on display at the service. In addition, they've contemplated some of life's Big Questions. This Sunday the ministers will do their best to answer those Big Life Questions, wish them luck! See photos from Sunday.
Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 11AM by The Rev. Mary McKinnon Ganz
It's boom town times again in San Francisco, this time with companies on the cutting edge of technology. We hunger for the new; we fear being left behind in this year's Global Economy 3.0. But is there a spiritual downside? Rev. Mary McKinnon Ganz first hit the streets of San Francisco in the 1970s as a reporter for the AP and the SF Examiner. After completing her ministerial internship with this congregation and the Faithful Fools Street Ministry 10 years ago, she went East to serve congregations in Virginia and Massachusetts. Last fall, she returned to walk again with friends and Fools in the Tenderloin.
Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
Our worship theme for April is "wealth and poverty," explored in both the material and spiritual dimensions. Questions of distributive economic justice are ultimately moral and spiritual issues. Join John Buehrens for a powerful sermon which borrows its title from a book on the theme by UU Minister Richard Gilbert.
Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. JD Benson, Assistant Minister
We will begin the service with Rev. Alyson Jacks, Associate Minister, recognizing those who have volunteered as teachers in our religious education program this year. In the day-to-day roller coaster ride through our lives we experience a range of feelings moment by moment. Joy is something deeper than pleasure or happiness. A reservoir of joy sits tranquil, unaffected, awaiting our acceptance. How shall we find a path to our joy?
Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
Many of us feel a bit other If we are wise, we learn to treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated. Our mothers, if they were wise, told us this. But we often need the reminder. And sometimes our mothers do too! On this Mother's day Sunday John offers a sermon with a story involving his own mother, and the process of being wisely open to joy again. No matter what.
Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
Claiming the name gay, was an act of liberation for same-sex loving men and others in our culture. But today, in 78 countries in our world, such sexual expression remains life-threatening. Our own Guardian Group helps to resettle LGBTQ refugees fleeing for their lives. We will join with progressive congregations of every stripe in proclaiming a Gilead Sabbath, to include straight and gay alike, in claiming a right to joy. With some definition of what such joy truly is.
Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. Margot Campbell Gross, Minister Emerita
On this Memorial Day Weekend, many members of UUSF will be on the All-Church Retreat. The joyous, UU remnant left in the city will gather in the Sanctuary, And have a joyous time, perhaps remembering that true joy is only possible in the full awareness of loss and absence.
Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
A person entirely tied up in him (or her) self becomes a very small package, said one great progressive preacher. True joy emerges, often unexpectedly, in giving oneself to a purpose far larger than oneself. So what purpose might that be for you. At this time in your life? Because, you may recall, to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."
Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
It's hard to feel at home in the world. But if we are going to fulfill our mission as a sanctuary for spiritual exploration, we must welcome pilgrims on life's journey. Our service will include the formal welcome of new members who have joined UUSF in recent months. Please try to be present to let them know that we are glad they have chosen to join us.
Sunday, June 14, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
This was a Flower Communion Sunday. John tells the story of how the flower communion developed at what was the largest Unitarian church in the world in Prague, between the world wars. He also told a story relevant to the central question of his developmental ministry with us. How will we know when we have arrived?
Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. Dr. Gordon Gibson, Guest Minister
We have just celebrated the involvement 50 years ago of hundreds of Unitarian Universalists in Selma, Alabama, in support of Black voting rights. But we should also know about and learn from Unitarian Universalists living in the South whose work on racial issues preceded and followed the voting rights demonstrations of 1965. Gordon Gibson was part of the Selma civil rights campaign, served as the only Unitarian Universalist minister in Mississippi 1969-84, and has recently written "Southern Witness: Unitarians and Universalists in the Civil Rights Era" . At UUSF he is best known as Shirley Gibson's father. Purchase a copy of the book here.
Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 11AM by Dawn Neal, Guest Preacher
Dawn began contemplative practice in 1997. She is currently earning an MA (MDiv equivalent) in Buddhist Studies and Chaplaincy from the Graduate Theological Union. Dawn was ordained in Burma in 2009, and was authorized to teach Buddhist practice, from the perspective of loving-kindness, by her Burmese teacher that year. She teaches meditation, mindfulness, and loving-kindness in Buddhist, clinical, and educational settings. She serves intermittently as a commissioned interfaith chaplain and was a student in John Buehrens preaching class this spring at Starr King School for the Ministry.
Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel, Guest Minister
Theologian Kortright Davis explains that true hospitality requires us to move beyond our boundaries and to extend the spirit of welcome to the stranger, to those easily seen as “Others”. But do we want to step away from the ease and comfort of congregational homogeneity? If so, how do we set The Welcome Table for all to be fed?
Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. JD Benson, Assistant Minister
We are bound together with strong threads of inspiration, reverence and love. Our stories are those of individual lives woven together with our shared lot in life. We have made the choice to be in this intentionally diverse and inescapably interdependent religious community. How shall we grow even more deeply into its fabric?
Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. Mary McKinnon Ganz, Guest Minister
Face it, humility doesn't come easily to most of us Unitarian Universalists; it doesn't come easily to Americans, either, especially to those of us living here in the most beautiful city on Earth. Yet, there it is on the wall. A hard look at an often-forgotten virtue.
Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. JD Benson, Assistant Minister
"What is essential is invisible to the eye" says the fox in "The Little Prince". In a world of matter and form, what is this knowing that lives with only the shape the human heart may offer? Intuitive understanding is essential to the human condition. How shall we cultivate and value this kind of knowing, and why should we?
Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. Margot Campbell Gross, Minister Emerita
We often say how important it is to welcome the stranger, and indeed we do try to practice hospitality. But a closer, deeper connection is not so easy to risk. Growing up, many of us learned things about other people--some true, some false--but these teachings can make it more difficult for us to really see, and love, our neighbors as our selves. Sometimes we have to learn to shut our eyes to things we have been taught about others, in order to see another more humanly and more deeply.
The Reverend Emerita Margot Campbell Gross serves as spiritual advisor to the Small Group Ministry Program. Judith Stoddard is the coordinator of the program. Other participants in this service are current or former small group facilitators.
Denise Cartmill, Julia DeFranco, Alessandro Gagliardi, Megan Lehmer, Christine Patch-Lindsay, Laura Pederson, Fred Rabidoux, Alison Rittger, Julia Wald, Don Wiepert
Sunday, August 16, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
When we are young, we are taught to look both ways before crossing the street. By mid life, we’ve probably learned to look at life “from both sides now.” How do we keep spiritually alive when, as we age, there is so much to look back upon but life’s end is drawing closer?
Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 11AM by Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister
The great agnostic Robert Ingersoll once said that the only God he could believe in would be a Universalist God, who “leaves the latch-string out until every wayward child has come home.” The Universalist vision grew to become a multi-faith openness to wisdom from many sources. But there are wise and foolish ways to try to be a Universalist.