Sermons 

Here is a sampling of sermons delivered by UUFF and guest ministers over the years. Please remember that the words belong to them and should be reused only with permission. (We will do our best to forward permission requests to the author.)

Christmas. The Land of Expections or The Land of Possibilities?

 In the children’s classic book, the Phantom Tollbooth, the hero Milo, receives a surprising gift, a game that includes a tollbooth, toll fare, a map, a car, and a rulebook.  Not knowing what else to do, Milo assembles his gift and heads through the tollbooth and arrives promptly in the Land of Expectations, where he gets stuck by what he expects.

Most of us, this time of year, head through the gateway of Thanksgiving and arrive, just as Milo did, in the Land of Expectations. Read More »

My Religious Faith

I have always struggled with faith.  What do I have faith in?  What is solid and real and worth valuing?  What gives me hope when all seems hopeless?

One of the joys of being a Unitarian Universalist minister has been the opportunity to grapple with these questions through the study of theology.  Theology is one of those words that can send alarm bells ringing in the heads of UUs since it seems to be all about specific definitions of God.  And, it is true that at one time, theology meant the “study of God.” Read More »

God is One! 400 Years of Unitarianism

This is the story of Francis David, known in Latin as Franciscus Davidis and in Hungarian as Davidus Ferenz. He was born in Kolozsvar, Transylvania, a principality bounded by the Carpathian Mountains in what is now the northwestern part of Romania. Francis David was the son of a shoemaker. Read More »

What I Learned at GA This Summer

I have been to lots of General Assemblies – the yearly meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association. I have also been to a few years of the preceding Professional Days for UU ministers. I always find these national gatherings to be really exciting and really exhausting. I always buy at least one more bit of chalice jewelry. The hotel I stayed in this year had a late night happy hour that started at 10:00 pm, with huge cheap margaritas and this yummy flat bread. And this year I was reminded that I am just getting too old for a regular diet of staying out very late with colleagues in the hotel bar, sipping margaritas, and then getting up for meetings early in the morning. It just can’t keep up that kind of pace for very many days in a row. Read More »

Wildness and Wilderness

I have to tell you something.  The fact that I serve as minister to two congregations in the State of Alaska is proof positive that God has a sense of humor.   Let me explain this by telling you a little bit about myself.  You see, I am not what you would call an outdoorsy person.  I don’t camp, I don’t canoe or kayak, I maybe hike about once every three years and then it is very short hikes and pretty much just for social reasons. My idea of roughing it is staying in an inexpensive hotel.  I travel a lot in my work but I did fly once last year for pleasure. It was not to quiet sunny beaches or to majestic mountains.  It was to go dress shopping in San Francisco. Read More »

Heaven on Earth

“Heaven, is a place… a place where nothing…nothing ever happens.”  Anyone else remember that song? I think it was “The Talking Heads” What had me thinking about heaven was the prediction of the Rapture that was made in May of 2011.  God’s chosen people were all supposed to be whisked off to heaven. Folks on the news were talking about it.  There were some people who took it seriously and most who thought it was kind of just another crazy end of the world prediction.  I remember that morning, the morning when we were all supposed to be taken up.  I was in a retreat center up here in Alaska.  I woke up that morning to look over the water at breath taking mountains and a soaring eagle. I remember thinking that I sure felt like I was in heaven.  But as a Universalist, I expected it to be a lot more crowded. Read More »

Unitarianism Begins I: Michael Servetus

In honor of the 456th anniversary of Michael Servetus’ martyrdom, we’re reposting this sermon which the late Rev. Frank Schulman deliverd at UUFF on Sept. 7, 2003:

Unitarian history is difficult to trace because we don’t begin with any one person. It can be traced back to Judaism and early Christianity. Modern Unitarianism, though, goes back to the early Reformation. It is an exciting story and it will unfold in two sermons. First, though, some background. Read More »

The Practice of the Wild

Something came over me in my junior year of high school in eastern Pennsylvania.  I began sleeping outside.  Every night.

I would strap my sleeping bag on my bicycle and bike in a direction for a half hour to an open field next to a forest, to a lake with a view of the hills, or beside a gurgling stream.

I kept my glasses on so I could sort the stars into their constellations before I fell asleep.  And often I woke up with glasses on.

As winter came, I layered on a second army surplus sleeping bag, and worked on getting my face hole small and on the side, so falling snow wouldn’t wake me.  It was a fine line between success and the middle-of-the-night, claustrophobic panic attacks, a definite downside of mummy bags. Read More »

Retelling a Parable: The Prodigal Daughter

What is a parable? The word parable comes from a Greek word for “comparison”. So a parable is a comparison, or a little story containing a comparison, used for a religious or ethical purpose. The story line of the parable you have just heard is simple, even though it is the longest parable in the four gospels. This is a Bible story for everyone, not just for Christians. But let’s update the story, bring it out of the country into the city, and for good measure, change the gender of the characters. Read More »

God is One: William Ellery Channing

Unitarian history differs from that of most denominations. If you want to know the history of Methodism you begin with John Wesley. George Fox founded the Quakers, John Calvin the Presbyterians, Joseph Smith the Mormons. The Unitarians, though, do not begin with any one person. The movement goes back to the earliest days of Christianity. Unitarian ideas can be traced back to Jesus or Socrates, Arius and Pelagius. In Europe all through the middle ages we find groups struggling toward Unitarianism. The movement became organized in the middle 1500’s and such names as Michael Servetus, Sebastian Castellio, Faustus and Laelius Socinus, Francis David, and King John Sigismund are prominent. Read More »

mugshot

Hayden

child