Services and reflections

The following selection of previous services and reflections can be played directly on your computer by clicking the links below or can be downloaded to your computer or MP3 player as a podcast by following the directions at the bottom of this page.

April 20, 2014 When We Learn to Die, We Learn to Truly Live
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

In part, the Easter story tells us that one’s ability to most fully live arises through an encounter with one’s death. In this service we will reflect on that possibility for experiencing life more truly even as we acknowledge as part of this year’s Earth Day observance, the potentially life-altering changes that may result from global warming.

April 13, 2014 Forgiveness Is Not an Occasional Act; It Is a Permanent Attitude
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

One of the great stories in the Torah tells of how Joseph forgave his brothers years after they had sold him into slavery, and he had become a person of importance in ancient Egypt. Life can be difficult enough at times, but we only evoke greater pain when we are unable to forgive others and ourselves.

April 6, 2014 Meditation as a Journey to Freedom
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Incorporating some form of spiritual practice into our day-to-day lives can deepen our experience of life by helping us live with greater awareness of both the world around us as well as the world within us. While such practice can come in various forms, I will speak about my experience with a mediation practice.

March 30, 2014 Dancing Circus Bears, Liberal Religion, and a Bit of Fake Shakespeare
The Reverend Dr. James Kubal-Komoto

Unitarian Universalism is different from many other religious traditions. Often to outsiders (and sometimes to insiders), Unitarian Universalism seems like a religious tradition with something essential missing - like an Oreo cookie missing the cream. But is it really?

The Reverend Dr. James Kubal-Komoto is in his 14th year of ministry at Saltwater UU Church in Des Moines, WA.

March 23, 2014 Finding Meaning in Unitarian Universalism
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Finding meaning is one the great human quests. It is often our need for meaning that brings us to religion in the first place. How does Unitarian Universalism help us discern a meaning upon which we can ground our lives?

March 16, 2014 Discovering Life’s Sacredness with Rumi
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Celâleddin Rumi was 13th century poet and Sufi Mystic who spent his adult life in what is modern-day Turkey. Some years ago, I had the good fortune of visiting the shrine where he is interred in Konya, Turkey. There is a delightfully ironic teaching one encounters in traveling so far to visit his shrine and learning that his epitaph reads: When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men.

March 9, 2014 Our Relationships with Nonhuman Animals
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

The relations between human-beings and nonhuman animals extend from seemingly familial devotion toward the pets that live in our homes to the cruel treatment meted out to animals raised on factory farms. What is our responsibility to the other animals with which we share this earth?

March 2, 2014 The Massachusetts’ 54th Regiment and its Unitarian Commander
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Colonel Shaw’s parents were Unitarians and abolitionists who encouraged their son to assume command of the first Black regiment raised in the North during February-March, 1863, to fight in the Civil War. At first, Shaw was reluctant to take command, but he soon grew to be deeply devoted to the men whom he came to value as soldiers of valor and steadfastness.

February 23, 2014 Social Justice is Personal
Nancy Curtiss, Katie Rickman and Tim Ransom

Three members of the OUUC community speak on the personal impact of their involvement in social justice issues. Nancy Curtiss (advocating the end of poverty), Katie Rickman (environmental justice) and Tim Ransom (homelessness) talk about how this involvement reflects and influences their understanding of themselves as religious beings.

February 16, 2014 Encountering Defeat Through Success
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

There are various circumstances that can bring about our defeat in some endeavor, but one way that can prove subtly incapacitating to our life’s aspirations is the defeat that may occur through our success.

January 6, 2013 To Accept and Encourage One Another
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Over the past five months as our congregation has struggled with our differing perspectives regarding the personnel dilemma confronting us, two of our principles have been emphasized, the first with its focus on the individual and the seventh with its focus on the community. As we begin the New Year it may be helpful to broaden our focus to include our third principle, “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations,” which places its focus on the juncture of the individual and community.

August 12, 2012 To Be Filled with Lovingkindness
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Our capacity for developing friendliness toward ourselves and others is essential to the development of lives that are capable of experiencing and sharing good will and compassion.

October 16, 2011 Michael Servetus: A Heretic in Search of Truth
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Born September 29, 1511, this year marks the 500th anniversary of Michael Servetus’ birth. With a commitment to seeking truth that ultimately cost him his life, Servetus was one of our religious Tradition’s antecedents whose courageous quest helped lead to our existence.

July 24, 2011 Perspectives on Prayer in Our Lives
The Worship Arts Committee

What meaning and value does prayer have in the life of a Unitarian Universalist? Our UU Association states “Few words in the liturgical lexicon are more problematic for Unitarian Universalists (UUs) than ‘prayer’.” Members of the Worship Arts Committee will share their perspectives on prayer and what it means to them.

Karen Jackson, Diana Finch, and Myra Barker are members of the Worship Arts Committee. Each has been involved in various aspects of our congregational life.

May 1, 2011 Finding Refuge in Unitarian Universalism
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

What does it mean to seek refuge in our religious tradition? Where do we find comfort when our souls feel besieged?

September 14, 2008 Four Reasons to Try Something Different by
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Reason number 1: The experience of human life is incredibly precious.
Reason number 2: The experience of human life is incredibly short.
Reason number 3: Society is often designed to deny reason number 1.
Reason number 4: As short as life may be, we are continually sowing the seeds of our future in our present actions.

November 25, 2007 The Values of Liberalism by
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

In his book, Freedom’s Power, Paul Starr writes: “The proposition that each of us has a right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ remains as good a definition as anyone has ever come up with of liberalism’s first principle and America’s historic promise.” The values and understanding of what constitutes a healthy society derived from liberalism are central to the American experience and to the possibility of fostering freedom, justice and equity throughout our society.

September 23, 2007 Faith Without End by
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

Some years ago, James Fowler proposed a theory of faith development in which he suggested that people often move through established stages of faith. What can we learn from this about the nature of faith, and our capacity to create a faith that evolves as our understanding of ourselves and life grows.

September 16, 2007 The End of Faith by
The Reverend Arthur Vaeni

The title is taken from Sam Harris’s book of the same name. Both Dr. Harris and Richard Dawkins who wrote, “The God Delusion,” challenge not only commonly held religious perspectives but the wisdom of tolerance for those perspectives that are held by so many people.


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There are a number of programs that can be downloaded to obtain podcasts, some for a fee, but one of the best is the free download of iTunes from Apple (which runs nicely on PCs). You can get it at If you would like information on other types of programs available for downloading podcasts a list of them can be found at

If you use iTunes, you can easily subscribe to our Podcast by clicking here. Anytime you start up iTunes, new sermons will either automatically download (if you set your preferences for that) or you can right-click the OUUC Podcast title in the list and select Update Podcast to get any new episodes that have been added.

Donations to this audio service

We have had many positive responses to this page, and a number of people have asked if they could make a donation to help support our online audio service. This is now possible through our secure donations page where you can choose any amount you might wish to contribute. You’ll find a spot for Podcast Support in the Contributions section. Podcast funds raised here will be used to make more recordings available by letting us increase our server storage. Thanks!