Prairie Circle Unitarian Universalist Congregation
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When a speaker provides permission, the recorded sermon is provided on Mondays and will be linked to the icon. In some cases, the speaker provides the sermon text and that too is provided and linked to "Sermon Text".
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PCUUC Speaker Mike Honegger - 6.5.22
"Blessed Are The . . ."
What does it mean to a Unitarian Universalist to be blessed? Can blessings come from somewhere other than a god? This sermon will take a look at different interpretations of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount to try to find out.
Guest Speaker Jeff Phillips - 5.22.22
"Music Collaboration as Spiritual Practice"
A smart fellow named Bruce Moon asked me what seemed to be an easy question: "Why do you run Open Mic Night?" In trying to answer that, I learned some things about myself, my music making, and my spirituality. I'll tell you my story, and explain a few direct connections to the faith of my youth, and my UU faith now.
PCUUC Speakers - 5.15.22
"Four PCUUC Poets present Thoughts on Beauty"
The May 15 homily will explore beauty from the perspectives of four PCUUC poets. Jan Kirch, Joyce DeWitt, Mark Wilson, and Bruce Moon will share poetry created explicitly for this service and offer insights related to the role of beauty in their creative processes.
Guest Speaker Ben Merens - 5.8.22
"Nurturing the Beauty in Others by Hearing Their Stories"
Our willingness to give our time to another, and allow them to be heard nurtures their soul. When we allow someone to tell us about part of their life’s journey, we validate their existence. The “give and take” of storytelling will be at the heart of Ben’s message today.
Guest Speaker Rev. Nicole Kirk - Easter Sunday, 4.17.22
(Rev. Kirk's sermon was read by PCUUC congregants)
One of the extraordinary stories surrounding Jesus’ resurrection is from the Gospel of John, when the disciple Thomas asks to see if Jesus’ wounds from the cross are real. Thomas received a nickname from that episode of questioning, he became “Doubting Thomas” in literature and art. It is also a story about how we can sometimes be reluctant to let go ideas, resentments, and beliefs that keep us from new possibilities. Join us for this Easter Sunday where we wonder together what is possible.
Guest Speaker Pey Carter - 4.10.22
"Discovering My Agender Identity"
Join guest speaker Pey Carter as they share their journey discovering their Agender identity and making the choice to have gender-affirming surgery. They will also reflect on how it affected their self-love and thoughts of self-worth.
Guest Speaker Bhante Sujatha - 3.27.22
The definition of renewal is to “resume an activity or state after an interruption.” When we talk about spiritual renewal, it’s taking what we know to have worked before in our spiritual lives and re-starting our focus and commitment to it. In this sermon, Bhante Sujatha talks about Spiritual renewal.
Guest Speaker Cathy Moon - 3.20.22
"Faith-in-Action Within the Context of a Divided World:
It’s not that simple"
This sermon addresses the temptation to resort to false binaries as means of dealing with social and moral complexity. What is the role of faith in creating a just and equitable world when simply being a ‘good person’ is not only not enough, but might even be a hinderance to progress?
Guest Speaker Pamela Fullerton - 3.13.22
"Healing into 2022"
The past few years have no doubt drained the human soul. From social unrest due to institutional injustices to a violent pandemic and socio-political upheaval, people have endured so much and are yearning for some respite from all this suffering. The following discussion will be a hopeful reminder of how to be the change we all need right now. We all need to do our part to swing the pendulum to a place of hope, compassion, and community togetherness.
Guest Speaker Pey Carter - 2.27.22
"Building a Faith without Walls"
Our first principle calls us to believe that every person has dignity and worth. However, in a world of oppression and injustice, this isn’t always easy to put into practice. Join guest speaker Pey Carter as they talk about how we can overcome these struggles and widen our circle.
Guest Speaker Mark Wilson - 2.20.22
In 1907 Ada Habershon, an English hymnist and devout Christian, wrote "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." The Carter Family recorded a version in 1935 and the song eventually became an iconic chestnut of American folk. As we contemplate widening the circle and what that means today, it might be insightful to think about Ms. Habershon's lyrics and their connotations for societies today, both large and small.
Guest Speaker Rev. Louisett M. Ness - 2.6.22
"The Act of Invitation"
How and who do we invite into our circle? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone who did not agree with you? Not an argument where you stood in your opinions/judgement, a real open-ended conversation where you allowed your ideas to be questioned. What are the edges of your circle? The Art of Invitation is also the place where disruption of ideas and values occur. What is that for you and your community?
Guest Speaker Rev. Jackie Ziegler - 1.30.22
"Intention, Meaning, and Purpose"
Living with intention means living a life that’s full of meaning and purpose. It is said that in order to live with intention, we have to be present to life; we have to pay attention. The poet Mary Oliver said, attention is the beginning of devotion. What are you paying attention to these days? Are you ensuring your life is based on your own conscious choice of what you want to devote your life to, or are you living on autopilot?
Guest Speaker Dan Kenney - 1.23.22
"How We See Is What We See"
Dualistic thinking holds us captive and keeps us from fully seeing reality. For processing the big questions like death, love, infinity, suffering, and God, we need to be able to access contemplation. A non-dualistic way of seeing reality, our world, and our lives.
Guest Speaker Julie McCarthy - 1.16.22
"Elements of Intention"
With 2021 in the rearview we once again have hope for change and peace. Likely, we have set goals for the New Year, whether a small personal habit or larger, more ambitious plans. Why do some intentions stick and others barely make it to February? What does it mean to make a real intention, resulting in behavioral change? How does something move from an act of prayer or meditation to reality? This talk will explore the anatomy of an intention and how we can all set intentions that are more aligned to our true values and self.
Rev. Scott Aaseng - 1.9.22
"Living Our Collective Intentions"
What helps us live with intention? What gets in the way? And how might we live out our collective intentions as UUs?
Rev. Fran Bates - 1.2.22
I am sure that we have all asked ourselves “What is the purpose of my life?” Or we may ask “What are my goals?”
But it seems very different to ask “What does it mean to live with intention?"
Rev. Darrick Jackson (scheduled) - 12.24.21
"A Time for Peace"
As we celebrate the Christmas story, we are reminded of the promise of peace. This is a legacy not just for a child in a stable, but for all of us to enact in our lives.
Dr. Bruce Moon - 12.19.21
"Love Wrote a Letter"
The fourth Sunday of Advent is focused on peace. This service will explore the intertwining of sorrow, hope, and peace as we approach Christmas 2021.
Rev. Karl Watkins - 12.12.21
"Joy in the Dark"
We do not always feel joyful. The problems of our world are many, and, together with our personal problems can at times seem overwhelming. Fortunately, despair is not our only option. In fact, joy is possible in spite of hard times. You (plural) can be, and are, a source of Joy in spite of it all.
Rev. Nicole Kirk - 12.5.21
"The Mystery and the Marvelous: Stories of Joy"
Either from high expectations or memories of loss and how the holidays take on a life of their own, this time of year can be emotionally overwhelming. But there is a theological reason for holidays, celebrations, and festivity former Harvard theologian Harvey Cox has argued. We need festivity as much as we need practices of mourning and forgiveness. Join us for this multigenerational Sunday full of seasonal stories of magic, wonder, and joy.
Guest Speaker Steve King - 11.28.21
"When Forgotten Truths Find the Light of Day:
Thoughts on Thanksgiving"
Thanksgiving? Celebration or appropriation? History or mythology? Contrived or primal? Probably all of these and more. We explore the contradictions of what is, for many, our favorite holiday and remind ourselves what we really can give thanks for.
Guest Speaker Cyndee Starr - 11.21.21
"Seven Traditional Teachings"
While Unitarian Universalists hold to the principle of "respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are part," there is often a failure on the part of non-Native people to acknowledge the historical relationship between land and people, to reckon with the harm caused as settler colonialists, and to benefit from Indigenous guidelines that instill respect for all of life. In this homily, Cyndee Starr discusses the seven traditional teachings that form the foundation of a Native American way of life: Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom.
Guest Speaker Dr. Elyse Ambrose - 11.14.21
"Truth-Telling as a Practice Toward Hope"
This sermon encourages us to see the truths we find in our histories as opportunities to deepen our commitments to boldly hope.
Elyse Ambrose, Ph.D. (they/she) is a black queer ethicist, creative, and educator, whose research, art and community praxes lie at the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and spirituality. A Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethical Leadership and Society at Meadville Lombard Theological School, Ambrose currently resides in Chicago and NYC, and is a plant sibling and parakeet parent.
Guest Speaker Kristal Larson - 11.7.21
"Unapologetically Transgender - Honoring the Lost, Victimized
Elected in 2021 as Clerk of Avon Township, Kristal is one of only sixty-four gender non-conforming elected officials in the United States. She is wife, mother of two, a small business owner and serves on the board of directors for A Safe Place helping survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking and the LGBTQ+ Center of Lake County. She also serves on the community advisory committee of Equality Illinois helping to advance LGBTQ+ rights throughout the State of Illinois.
Rev. Erin Walter - 10.31.21
"The People We Are A'Changin - 3rd Principle"
We are not the same as we were before the pandemic. Even in a seemingly uneventful 18 months -- if there ever is such a thing! -- people grow and change. Thankfully, the third principle of Unitarian Universalism calls us to the "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations." We are acting faithfully as we grapple with growth and change in these times.
Guest Speaker Deb Campbell - 10.24.21
"Deep listening -- being with each other and God"
Deb Campbell (she/hers) is a life/career coach with 20+ years experience in big corporate tech. She is now focused on helping women who want help navigating that world. She helps people connect with their core values and reach their soul goals.
Guest Speaker Clyde McLemore - 10.17.21
"From Dehumanization to Human Rights"
Listening is a developed technique. Many people hear well enough, but they don’t actually listen. Lots of local communities are learning to listen to the wisdom and voices of non-white leaders. Clyde McLemore will talk about the skills of listening and clearly communicating needs in relation to Black Lives Matter Lake County.
Rev. Darrick Jackson - Outdoor Service - 10.10.21
"Stop in the Name of Love"
Unitarian Universalism is a faith grounded in covenant, love and justice. When covenant is broken, we are called to accountability. What might an accountability grounded in love and justice look like? Note: We are experimenting with recording our occasional in-person services. Our first try is a bit rough around the edges. Please excuse our "dust."
Multigenerational Outdoor Service - 10.3.21
"Community, Commitment, and Celebration"
At this interactive service we celebrated our PCUUC congregation with water communion, an all-ages activity, lively music, and an in-person welcoming of new families who have joined our congregation since the pandemic began. Note: We are experimenting with recording our occasional in-person services. Our first try is a bit rough around the edges. Please excuse our "dust."
Leslie Piotrowski - 9.26.21
"A Look at New Beginnings"
From time to time we all experience different kinds of new beginnings in our lives. They can be small, large, messy, perfect, planned or unanticipated. PCUUC member Leslie Piotrowski will reflect on some of her new beginnings as well as look at new beginnings we have experienced collectively. She will also discuss how new beginnings can be great growth opportunities.
Guest Speaker Bhante Sujatha - 9.19.21
"Self-compassion, and learning to live with ease by practicing loving mindfulness"
Bhante Sujatha (he/him), a 30+ year Buddhist Monk, is singularly focused on adding more love in the world. Bhante teaches loving-kindness meditation to people around the globe for all those seeking the art of happiness and contentment.
Guest Speaker Pey Carter - 9.5.21
"Embracing My New Identity"
Guest speaker Pey Carter came out publicly as agender this year. They will discuss the meaning of agender and how much embracing different genders, sexualities, and preferred pronouns matter in our UU faith and in our congregations.
Rev. Denise Tracy - 8.29.21
"The Spirituality of Friendship"
During the pandemic much has challenged us. One gift that has improved many of our lives is the deepening of our friendships. This service will explore the importance of friendship!
Rev. Nicole Kirk - 8.15.21
"Making Spiritual Connections Through Spiritual Practice"
This Sunday we will explore the importance of spiritual connections and how reading is a surprising but life-giving spiritual practice.
Rev. T. Michael Rock- 7.25.21 "Meaning is Being Created"
Meaning is being made and created when we live into mystery and the unknown. The pathway to this learning isn’t simple or without suffering, but it is the only way I have ever discovered any spiritual truth.
Ben Helmke- 7.18.21 "Empathy, the Engine of Democracy"
The purpose of this worship service is to challenge us all to recognize the seriousness of what we are facing and at the same time recognizing the gifts of power, strength and 21st century technology that are available to deal with these issues in a redeeming fashion.
David Bozek- 7.11.21 "Service Never Stops"
An overview and various examples from all over on thoughts and sayings about Service in all its forms
Paul Kendrick- 7.4.21
"Nine Days that Changed Dr. King and America"
This relevant civil rights history can inform and inspire our deeds today to live our UU principles.
Rev. Dr. Caroline Helsel - 6.20.21
"Serious Play: Play, Seriously"
What does spirituality have to do with play? And how does play relate to the commitments we have to social justice?
Rev. Tony Larsen - 6.13.21
"Stories, You Can Only Get Here from There"
You know that old expression, "You can't get there from here"? Well, Tony's sermon suggests that maybe you can't even get HERE from there! That is, it is necessary to journey somewhere else before you can know where you already were.
Andrew Grant-Thomas - 5.30.21
"Stories, Not Atoms: Toward New Narratives of Race and Community"
A conversation about the power we have, collectively, to lift up and live into an altogether different story marked by multiracial belonging.
Rev. Denise Tracy - 5.23.21
The Story of the Seven Principles: In 1979 the first Women and Religion conference occurred. This is where the creation of the Seven Principles started.
Bruce Moon - 5.16.21 Somewhere, Somebody Knows the Answer: From time immemorial, stories, parables, proverbs, fables, and fairy tales have been used to convey essential truths about the human condition. Metaphoric stories carry potent messages that help people create and discover meaning in our lives.
Rev. Nelson Tate - 5.9.21 Who is Your Neighbor?: All of us live in neighborhoods but do we really know our neighbors? Not only should we know our neighbors but do we personally know the meaning of “neighbor”?
Jimmy Baca - 5.2.21 La Resolana: Explores the habit we have of using labels to shrink the meaning and value of human beings
Maple Moeller 4.25.21 Undeniably authentic: the journey to transcend convention and become yourself when the world denies that possibility
Rev. Tony Larsen 4.18.21 I Speak for the Trees
Tamara Wanshek 4.13.21 Becoming Wiccan
Rev. Nicole C. Kirk 4.4.21 On the Brink—The Edge of Possibility
Mike Honegger 3.28.21 Vonnegut's Palm Sunday
Anne Clough 3.21.21 How Does Your Garden Grow?
Rev. Michael Carlson 3.14.21 Communal Commitment to Peace
Cathy Moon 3.7.21 Do Not Let Whiteness Get in the Way: Anti-Racism as a Spiritual Practice
Rev. Darrick Jackson 2.28.21 - Othering and Belonging
Rev. Denise Tracy 2.14.21 - True Love
Rev. Allison Farnum 2.7.21 - Beloved Community: A Work in Process
Rev. Dr. Nicole C. Kirk - 1.31.21 - Religion and Imagination
Joyce DeWitt, Bruce and Cathy Moon - 1.24.21 - A Poetry Service
Rev. Kyle Brooks - 1.17.21 - We've Been Here Before
Doug DeWitt - 1.10.21
Stepping off the Center Line: Art, Imagination, and Spirituality
Rev. Erin Walter - 1.3.21 - After the Fire, Build in the Clearing
Rev. Karl Watkins - 12.27.20 - You Shall Find a Blessing
Rev. Dr. Nicole C. Kirk - 12.24.20 - The Gift of the Magi
Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman - 12.20.20 - Why Are You Squirming?
Anne Clough - 12.13.20 - Be Still
Rev. Dr. Nicole C. Kirk - 12.6.20 - The Gifts That We Bring
GRATEFUL: A Love Song to the World | Empty Hands Music | nimo feat. daniel nahmod https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO2o98Zpzg8
Rev. Michael Carlson - 11.29.20 - The Healing Power of Forgiveness
Fran Bates - 11.22.20 - When We Refuse to Heal
Rev. Erin Walter - 11.15.20 - The World's on Fire (And We Still Fall in Love)
Rev. Alan Taylor - 11.8.20 - Uncertain Healing
Cassis Harrison - 11.1.20 - How Empathy Helps Me Heal
Susan Schreiber-DeVillez 10.18.20 - Listening to the Nature of Change
David Bozek 10.11.20 - Perspectives: Thought and Indepth Understanding
Ann Russo 10.4.20 - Listening as a Practice of Accountability
Rev. Tony Larsen 9.27.20 - Getting the Hell Out of Religion
Mike Honegger 9.20.20 - It's Time For Us to Atone
Dr. Rev. Nicole C. Kirk 9.13.20 - Becoming Spiritually Grounded
Elizabeth Keats 9.6.20 - Love or Fear: Two Bears, Two Boys and a Beach.
Steve King 8.30.20 - My Journey to a HBCU
Matthew Pargeter-Villarreal 8.23.20 - What Calls You Forward?
Jim Whitton 8.20.20
What I am Learning Now That I Finally Realize I Don't Know Anything
Linda Stolz 8.9.20 - Home
Jeanne Bishop 8.2.20
Across the Divide: The Transforming Power of Forgiveness & Reconciliation
NOTE: Recording of services has been discontinued as of early June 2022 as we are able to be together more often.