The following selection of recent readings and sermons can be played directly by clicking the players below. Sermons will soon also be available as podcasts.

Why do people join a religious community? What do those joining a congregation hope to find as they covenant with others in their faith journey? And how does the congregation benefit as new members become part of the community? Today, during the ritual that welcomes new members to OUUC, each of us is offered an opportunity to reflect on why we decided to become Unitarian Universalists and members of this congregation.

The Reverend Carol McKinley, OUUC’s affiliated community minister, is serving as the congregation’s bridge minister until the interim minister begins in August.

Rev. Tandi Rogers converted to Unitarian Universalist in college and upon moving to the Pacific NW looked for a UU congregation before looking for an apartment or job. Strangers voluntarily gathering to co-create something as lovely, transforming, complex and difficult as a religious community still astonishes her. Please join us for a celebration Sunday as Tandi holds up a mirror to remind us what an amazing miracle Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation is!

Rev. Tandi Rogers is our regional UU primary staff. She also serves congregations throughout Washington, Idaho, Utah, Western Colorado and Alaska. Tandi writes, preaches, and speaks widely about growth and religious innovation, and teaches Religious Education for a Changing World at Meadville-Lombard Theological School. Tandi is especially passionate about congregational polity in the 21st century, covenant, faith formation and multigenerational communities.

The Reverend Linda Hart is the minister of the Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

Our UU theology reminds us that we are all born good and right the first time.

Rev. Schurr is on the Congregational Life Staff of the Pacific Western Region of UUA. Sarah has served as a transitions coach for many years and currently works closely with ministerial transitions for the PWR. The Rev. Sarah will speak with interested members of the congregation after each service on Sunday.

We cannot control these unexpected moments of life, that come our way, uninvited. We can only control how we respond. How we move forward. How we begin to create a new future.

Helen Henry is secretary of the Board of Trustees and member of the Worship Arts Committee.

Matthew is a ministerial intern at the Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Tacoma. He is a Master of Divinity candidate at the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

“Here be dragons” was a phrase used by medieval cartographers to indicate where the known world ended and uncharted territory began. While our physical world is intricately mapped and charted, our liberal religious faith is a continual exploration and refinement, especially when our deeply held value of tolerance confronts the intolerable. This sermon explores the notion of tolerance at the edge of the known world.

Joseph Bednarik, Joseph works full-time in the publishing industry. At Quimper UU Fellowship, in Port Townsend, he serves as the Pulpit Assistant and curates the annual Favorite Poem Service. He and his family have been active members at QUUF since 1999. He also speaks monthly at Olympic UU Fellowship in Sequim.

A spiritual life includes Joy. Joy is not merely happy feelings, but something deeper, richer and more enduring. That does not mean we should not be happy too. How does this congregation nurture laughter, lightness and a sense of humor about absolutes in our lives? Can we say that when we laugh the earth laughs with us? It is true that when she laughs there are butterflies? Listen for the laughter of the soul with us this Sunday.

Peace-making is relatively easy when the stakes are low and emotions are high. But what does peacemaking mean when you are facing a hate-filled enemy? Does peace mean anything during a time of war? How can one think of peace when powerful people are threatening what you value the most? Come this Sunday seeking the source of deep peace in times of trouble.

What are the signs that tell us it’s time to change? Are there parts of ourselves that get lost in our daily routines that have become rituals for perpetuating the status quo? How do we move beyond disappointment, shock, and pain and into the decision to act and move with self-confidence? In a time of pain, moving into new things and making new mistakes are key to explore unknown paths.

Tet GallardoMa. Theresa (Tet) Gallardo, is the 2016-2017 Balazs Scholar at Star King School for the Ministry in Berkley, CA. Rev. Gallardo was ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines (UUCP) in April 2013 and called to serve the only congregation in Manila, the Bicutan Congregation. In addition to other UU leadership roles, for over twenty years, she has worked on organizing women, youth, farmers, and labor interests for better legislation in the Philippines. In 2015, she founded a company that helps Philippine small business startups – Amansinaya.com.

The ancient Hebrew book of Proverbs, warns its readers against wrong speech. “Keep your tongue from evil. A perverse person spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.” But what if you want to warn a friend about a dangerous person, or condemn someone for hurtful acts? What if you want to say that someone else is being a gossip? Certainly, you should speak up, but where does truth-telling end and gossip, or slander, begin?

The Johnston Amendment is a provision in the US Tax code. There are political reasons it has stayed on the books since 1954. But now people are claiming the rule undermines religious freedom. We have always held both a deep commitment to religious freedom, and to spiritual freedom. But, we must also ask, does the separation of powers make us less free, or more?

Poet and Songwriter Leonard Cohen died the day after the presidential election, but his words and music remain. How do we keep the blizzard of the world from overtaking the order of the soul? How we survive the blizzard and gather our strength, while seeking justice in this fragile moment of time?

The Reverend Kathryn Bert comes to us from the Midwest where she knew The Reverend Thomas Perchlik. She serves the congregation which ordained her in 2002; the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing.

A shelter can be much more than temporary protection from bad weather. To fight poverty can require more than providing temporary assistance. Seeking refuge can require creating a refuge. Today we will consider how we seek give shelter in this cold and stormy world.

In 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” Today, as then, we would do well to heed his words and continue to be maladjusted to poverty, racism, and violence.

Continued rise in global temperatures will cause rises in ocean levels and tsunamis will cause rising destruction. We must be prepared. However, there is also a religious transformation going on in American and global cultures that will cause massive change in religious communities, including ours. Are we prepared?

The Reverend Doctor ML King Jr. is often described in terms of his political work, or as a preacher. Others place him in the ancient line and tradition of prophets. But which was he? And more importantly, which role inspires your actions most for 2017?

Can we prevent ourselves from making mistakes? What causes us to misunderstand and misinterpret reality? How can we know what is true and good? And what should we do when we make mistakes?

Story told by Sara Lewis, Director of Lifespan Religious Education; Exploration and Sermon by The Reverend Thomas Perchlik.

The service centers on a ritual of letting go of the unpleasant or finished things and events from 2016 and preparing ourselves to begin again. We will use the power of the earth, rather than of fire, for our ceremony this year.

The role of elders and the elderly is quite mixed in our society. Most adults make anxious jokes about growing old and try to postpone aging as long as possible. But, is there a difference between being elderly and being an elder? What are the benefits of becoming an “old person?” And what is the importance of old people when we celebrate a baby being born?

Inspired by the book by Stephen Nissenbaum, we will explore the role of New England Unitarians in saving Christmas during the 18th and 19th centuries. What importance could that have for us today who may celebrate a mixture of Solstice, Hanukkah, civic and Christian holidays?

Many people are familiar with the figure of “the fat laughing Buddha” and the rotund “laughing Santa.” What can they both tell us about the relationships between Christianity, Buddhism, joy, peace and suffering in this holiday season?

As the season of Advent arrives some await the arrival of their Messiah. In this particular year many of us seek any source of hope. Experience suggests that the most surprising sources of hope and salvation come from within. Who are we, really, before we accept the wholeness of our self?

The Reverend Anya Drew Johnston has pursued multiple careers. 1999 marked commencement from Starr King School for the Ministry, ordination, and entry into full time parish ministry. After 8 years of service they came out as transgender while serving our historic congregation in Detroit, Michigan. Reverend Anya is the first and only transgender UU minister who was identified as male at birth and continued working in parish ministry, for a while, after coming out. In the eyes of some, Reverend Anya has earned the rare status of UU Heretic.

What is the hope for peace and gratitude in a world with such difficult people? In this service we will consider the meaning of a supper shared in 1621 by the Wampanoag people and the people of the Puritan settlement.

For some of us, the word God invokes something very personal, for others God denotes something very important, and for others God is a confusing or meaningless word. The word is spoken in our worship, but what does it mean?

What does the holy grail have to do with the flaming chalice and the cornucopia? What does it mean to share when the world wants to take all you have? Is our economy based on abundance or scarcity? What beautiful music will our choir sing today? How is our pledge drive going? Come this Sunday to find out.

What people are in our family and what do we owe those people? How does the non-human world shape our identity? Some religious ideologues have argued about our relationship to apes, but what about the bison, the bear and the salmon? Are we really all related?

The war on drugs was first declared by President Nixon in 1971. What was the result, or end, of that war? Did that war ever come to an end, or could it ever have an ending? What were the religious assumptions behind that war and what spiritual attitudes are needed would shape the end of drug abuse?

What is the relationship between the words, Unitarian, and Universalist? Is “Unitarian” a noun or an adjective? Do the two lines, that were parallel for so long, merge? What is your spiritual identity, part of an old tradition, or a new way of being in a new world?

Reverend Amy is endlessly fascinated and excited by the mystical experience of the sacred in nature and relationships, she describes herself as a… woman, teacher, seeker, and a letter in “lgbtq.” Amy supports the League of Women Voters of Portland in their office half-time. The balance of her time is spent on her ministry “Listen to HeartSong,” preaching all over the Northwest, offering pastoral care, and serving as president of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. Amy is affiliated with Atkinson Memorial Church in Oregon City.

As the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur approaches it is good for UUs to also think about the nature of atonement and forgiveness. When we apologize, or someone apologizes to us, should we forgive, or forget?

According to many surveys, Unitarian Universalists are on average very educated people. But what is education, what does it mean to be an educated person? What is religious education, and can education help grow a soul?

Our annual ceremony of ingathering uses water to represent how our spiritual experiences can blend into one religious community.

Why do we work? What counts as labor? On this Labor Day weekend, reflections on the satisfactions and pitfalls of work in all its forms.

Many of us were involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Many of us have joined the new struggle of inclusion and justice in recent years. But what is our role exactly, and what is spiritual about fighting injustice, oppression, and racism?

The Pacific Ocean has many shores. Some are sprinkled with white sands, others are wave battered cliffs. Some are open to the horizon, while others are sheltered inlets. Can we say there is unity in their diversity; and what can shorelines tell us about Unitarian Universalist spirituality?

As we begin a new era in the life of our church, we will draw on ideas of the Hindu deity Ganesha. Today Reverend Perchlik will use Ganesha to consider what removes all obstacles, and what it takes to be a lord of beginnings.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a way of letting a program manage subscriptions to audio content, downloading programs you subscribe to so you can then listen to them any time, or even load them onto a mp3 player (or iPod). You can choose to set the programs to automatically download during the night if you have a slower modem.

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 http://www.apple.com/itunes/download. If you would like information on other types of programs available for downloading podcasts a list of them can be found here.

We are working on updates so that you will once again be able to easily subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes. Until we get this function working again. all the sermons will be available on this website.

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!