An Urban Center in Detroit for Spiritual Renewal and Social Justice

Liberate Truth - Radiate Kindness - Love Courageously

Sunday Worship

May 15, 2022

A Fond Farewell
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

On his final Sunday as the Minister of our church, Rev. Murray offers his farewell sermon.

Order of Service

Previous Services

For services prior to 2019, see Worship Service Archives

Upcoming Services

Services begin at 11:00 AM unless otherwise noted
Link for Live Worship Service (Zoom)
Phone access via Zoom: 312-626-6799, Meeting ID: 949 9483 0471, Participant ID: none (just hit #)

May 8, 2022

In Celebration of Mothers
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

On this Mothers' Day, we will reflect on the importance of mothers and the evolving roles of who mothers are in our lives.

Program & Recordings

May 1, 2022

May Day
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

May Day, typically celebrated on May 1st, is an ancient festival marking the first day of summer, and a current traditional spring holiday in many European cultures. We will discuss this period of transition in the seasons and our culture.

Program & Recordings

April 24, 2022 (online only)

On Prison Reform
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of the most important works in American civic discourse in the past twenty years was Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. In this book, Alexander makes a devastating case for how many African-Americans are being denied essential rights of citizenship through a racial caste system use of the prison system. In this sermon, we will explore Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book and discuss prison reform today.

Program & Recording

April 17 2022 (online only)

Ostara and the Promise of New Life
Rev. Laura González
Ostara (pronounced oh-STAR-ah) is one of the eight Sabbats of the modern Pagan Wheel of the Year. It is one of the "lesser Sabbats", meaning that it is based around either an equinox or a solstice. Today we will explore the Myths of Goddess Eostre and learn what the Egg and the Hare have to do with resurrection and the promise of new life.

Rev. Laura González offers her intuitive gifts as a Spiritual & Community Healer, Priestess and Minister and is a Practitioner of Traditional Mexican Folk Magic, Native Philosophies and North American Paganism in the Goddess tradition. Her community activism is an extension of her spiritual practice, she is an advocate for the Latin American, Pagan & LGBTQIA communities and cares deeply about women’s rights, suicide prevention and diversity inclusion. Laura co-edits the e-zine, El Caldero and publishes regularly there and in Circle Sanctuary Magazine. She is also the founder of Boletin Pagano, a meeting place for Spanish-speaking Pagans. In the past, Laura has been deeply honored to present workshops at events such as Parliament of the World’s Religions, Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride Day, Fort Wayne Pagan Pride Day, St. Louis Pagan Picnic, Circle Sanctuary and Pagan Spirit Gathering. She’s a leader in her community as a resident Bruja (healer) and as volunteer ESL teacher at the Aquinas Literacy Center. Laura Gonzalez is also a popular podcaster and producer of her shows, Lunatic Mondays (Lunes Lunaticos) and Paganos del Mundo on Circle Sanctuary Network Podcasts.

Program & Recording

April 10, 2022 (online only)

On Prophetic Language
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

While within a Unitarian Universalist church we may disagree on what the subject of our religion may be, we nonetheless identify our common community as one that seeks and loves justice. What should our role be in achieving justice, and what does justice mean for our church, among all the definitions of justice that we might find in the world?

Program & Recordings

April 3, 2022 (online only)

A Culture of Covenant
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Forming a societal and church culture that uplifts the notion of “covenant” is ultimately a different way of seeing, of envisioning the people and the world around us. I will invite each of us into this wider view of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition.

Program & Recordings

March 27, 2022 (online only)

Women and Theology
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In the 20th century, there was a new call for women’s voices, not just those in the present but those often ignored in the past, to inform and shape theology. Nowhere was this charge as prominent as it was in the shaping of Unitarian Universalist theologies.

Program & Recordings

March 20, 2022

Spring Equinox
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In the last equinox that I will serve as the Minister of this church, I wanted to explore why it is that Unitarian Universalists so revere the equinoxes and solstices of our calendar amid the myriad spiritual and a-religious traditions that we observe.

Program & Recordings

March 13, 2022

Women among UU Clergy
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Our theological forbearers were among those who first ordained women in the United States. As part of our recognition of Women’s History month, we will explore the a movement once referred to as the “feminization” of Unitarian Universalist clergy, and how this change has affected the course of this denomination.

Program & Recordings

March 6, 2022 (online only)

How to Move Beyond The Self Toward Reparations: A Radical Empathy
Ashley Jones

Growing up as a Black woman in Birmingham, Alabama, I have never doubted the idea that struggle and unfairness exists for my people and many others on planet earth. But it did take time to understand that some of the people who actively participate in the oppression of marginalized people don't always realize that they have or are perpetuating bias. They argue that they're "good," so how could they ever participate in something "bad" like oppression. How can we step away from this idea of our own goodness and move into a more empathetic mode of thinking--it's vital that we begin practicing self-searching and take away the false dichotomy of personal goodness and racial bias. A person can be good and hold bias simultaneously. Self searching can look a lot like meditation and prayer, and it can begin with a look through our shared history. I will read poems which demonstrate my own self-search and my commitment to my history, my spirituality, and my desire for change.

Ashley M. Jones is Poet Laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She holds an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University, and she is the author of Magic City Gospel (2017), dark // thing (2019), and REPARATIONS NOW! (2021). Her poetry has earned several awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. She was a finalist for the Ruth Lily Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship in 2020, and her collection, REPARATIONS NOW! was on the longlist for the 2022 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. Her poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming at CNN, POETRY, The Oxford American, Origins Journal, The Quarry by Split This Rock, Obsidian, and many others. She teaches Creative Writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and in the Low Residency MFA at Converse University. Jones co-directs PEN Birmingham, and she is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival. She recently served as a guest editor for Poetry Magazine.

Program & Recordings

February 27, 2022 (online only)

Praise Song for the Day
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Looking back to President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, one of the highlights was the poet Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day.” In her poem, a particular line is memorable, wherein she speaks about “The Mightiest Word.” When Krista Tippet spoke to the UUA’s General Assembly, Tippet seized on that line as pointing to a cenrtal question that our nation faces. What could that word be? What story does it call us to?

Program & Recordings

February 20, 2022 (online only)

Remembering John Lewis
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Congressman John Lewis was one of the moral titans of American history. A powerful leader in the civil rights movement, his participation in the marches on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama drew the eyes of the world upon the violence perpetrated against black citizens in America. What has his legacy been for us in matters of race relations today?

Program & Recordings

February 13, 2022 (online only)

James Baldwin and the Concept of We
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

James Baldwin was one of the most influential black writers of the 20th century, the sort of public intellectual that challenged and changed societal perspectives around him. Today, we will explore Baldwin’s intricate understanding of an American concept of “We.”

Program & Recording

February 6, 2022 (online only)

Three Marches, Two Sisters, One Bridge
Charles Thomas Jr.

 

Charles Thomas Jr. was born in 1960 in Cincinnati Ohio, the 4th oldest of 10 children born to Charles Sr. and Bernice Thomas. Charles Jr. is also the grandson of Ezekiel Thomas, a sharecropper in Camden Alabama where he and his children worked land. Charles’ dad was the oldest of 13 children that grew up in their household, and the family was eventually moved to Selma Alabama. Surviving Charles’ father are two of his siblings, who along with their mother, Inell Thomas, took part in the march in 1965, as well as both attempts to make the trek from Selma to Montgomery. Charles Jr. is a veteran of the US Army having served 6 years, and a retiree from the US Postal Service having gone from a City Letter Carrier hire, to Officer in Charge in the City of Roseville at the time of retiring. He has engaged in undergraduate studies focused in the area of theology, counseling and psychology. He is the author of two books, an entrepreneur, and engaged with his 501c3, which he founded, that focuses on missionary works, in collaboration with a Detroit Department of Recreation Center, aiding families along the Detroit and Hamtramck border. Charles Jr. is also engaged in community activism work, specifically in the area of voter engagement, collaborating with multiple likeminded organizations, with ACLU People Power, GOTV-M

Program & Recordings

January 30, 2022 (online only)

On Life Balance
Dr. Jeanie Murphy-O’Connor

We all experience the consequences of not feeling balanced - in the most basic of terms, we fall. Falling can take the form of illness, anxiety, depression, irritability, and other unhealthy coping mechanisms that make us tough to live with - by others as well as ourselves! How do we recover balance then? How do we maintain it? Drawing from personal and professional experience, I'll share signs of falling out of balance and ways to return to feeling mind, body and spirit in harmony - balanced

Jeanie O'Connor is a Chaplain Specialist with Ascension Michigan, with a focus on Associate Care, as well as a provider of Spiritual Care for residential substance use disorder patients at Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery. She received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Ecumenical Theological Seminary, is certified by the National Association of Professional Chaplains, and is certified as a teacher of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training through Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Program, Notes, Recording

January 23, 2022 (online only)

MACA: Making America Compassionate Again ... Let's Go!!!
Bill Secrest

Reflections on "Lojong", The ancient Tibetan, now global, mind training practice to build up our skills and power to push back against the current upsurge of popular ill-will. I've been working with this practice for a decade and will share and suggest some teachings that I've found helpful in taming the "wild elephant" of my own disposition ...

Bill is Dan's older, wiser, and better looking brother. However, as Garrison Keillor might say, all the men in the Secrest family are good looking.

Bill Secrest was born in Detroit, raised and educated in a comfortable middle-class family in Dearborn. He enrolled in MSU, where he majored in Economics. It was there that, as he says, “The counterculture emerged in the face of the tragic war in Viet Nam, the rising awareness of an environmental collapse, and the cultural imperative of the civil rights movement.” Changed by this awareness, he went to New Zealand to “work and wonder on a communal farm with friends.” His goal was to fashion a sustainable, just, and seemingly reasonable way of living amidst the insanity of the 20th century with its hydrogen bombs and ongoing demolition of Mother Nature.

Returning to his homeland, the Motor City, he engaged in graduate studies at University of Detroit. The department head in Religious Studies in 1974, T.K. Venketeswaran. T. K. became Bill’s mentor and opened up the spiritualities of India and East Asia for him until Venketeswaran died in 2002. Bill went on to make a living teaching for the next 40 years … prayer, meditation and the religious traditions of the world, first at a Catholic high school, and then at a few colleges and Universities. He retired after 35 years from Henry Ford College, where he ran the Religious Studies Program.

During his tenure at HFC, Secrest facilitated the Student Environmental Association there, where he met Jack Smiley who had just founded the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy. It was “just his cup of tea.” For the last 33 years, he has served on the SMLC Board of Directors and worked to preserve several thousands of acres of wild nature in our region.


Program & Recording

January 16, 2022 (online only)

On Hope
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Hope has become one of the predominant themes in modern theology, a quality of human living that allows us to move from merely surviving to thriving. When we look toward the future, can we see the promise of a better world, and what is our part in making that promise come to fruition?

Program & Recordings

January 9, 2022 (online only)

On Trust
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Throughout the course of our spiritual journeys, all of us at some point or another come to the question of what is the foundation of our faith? What grounds us? What opens us to our true selves in compassionate engagement with the world? Today, we will wrestle with how we might answer that question by understanding better in what we can trust.

Program & Recordings

January 2, 2022

None Shall Be Compelled
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

The beginning of this new year lands us close to the anniversary of the edict of religious toleration decreed at the Diet of Torda on January 6, 1568. We will examine this "first" statement in history regarding religious freedom, and its implications for us today.

Program & Recording

December 26, 2021

Light of Kwanzaa
Dr. James Robinson

We will celebrate the African- American Holiday of Kwanzaa on the first day of this 7-day Celebration. Kwanzaa is not meant to replace Christmas, and is based on African Harvest Festival traditions.

Dr. Robinson is a longtime pillar of the Detroit community and the UU Detroit congregation, along with his wife Mildred.

Dr. James Robinson holds a Master’s in Race Relations and a Ph.D. in Speech Communication, both from the University of Michigan. He also holds degrees from Wayne State University and The University of Detroit. He was a full professor, and is now Professor Emeritus at Eastern Michigan University. James, and his wife Mildred are familiar faces at 1st UU, joining in 1984. Along with Mildred, James helped to form a Black Concerns Working Group at 1st UU Detroit, with the aim of creating an antiracist environment through education about the many aspects of Black history. James served on the board of the National Black Concerns Working Group within the UUA for 5 years.

James has provided leadership at 1st UU church in many capacities including with the Church Board, of Trustees, Church Trust, Worship Committee, Journey Toward Wholeness Co-Chair, Memorial Committee, Ministerial Committee, Jubilee Antiracism Working Group Facilitator, two Ministerial Search Committees and the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee. Dr. Robinson appeared in Who’s Who of Media and Communication in 1998 and 1999, and has publications in The International Journal of Intercultural Relations and The Western Journal of Black Studies.

James and Mildred even organized an Annual Kwanzaa Jazz Concert starting in 1987 which ran for 20 years. The concerts featured jazz pianist Barry Harris.


Program & Recording

December 24, 2021 7:00 PM

A Christmas Church
Reverend Stephen Butler Murray with Todd Ballou
There are many different kinds of churches, each of which expresses something about how the church celebrates holidays and moves throughout the year. Tonight, we will discuss how despite being a Unitarian Universalist church, or perhaps even because we are a Unitarian Universalist church, ours is a Christmas church.

Program & Recording

December 19, 2021

A Charles Dickens Unitarian Christmas
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of the most beloved Christmas experiences is watching Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. His imagination did much to add to the traditions of Christmas that we now celebrate. In this sermon, we will explore how his encounter with Unitarianism may have done much to shape his thinking.

Program & Recordings

December 12, 2021

American Gods
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of Neil Gaiman’s most celebrated novels is his book American Gods, a road trip across the country that involves the protagonist coming to understand that America is full of gods. On his recent drive across the country to Arizona and back, Rev. Murray listened to this audiobook, and found that his road trip while listening to American Gods has brought some revelations.

Program & Recordings

December 5, 2021

Revisiting Earth-Based Religions
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

This is the promised follow-up to Rev. Murray’s previous sermon on the sixth source of liberal religion, earth-based religions.

Program & Recordings

November 28, 2021

Survivors of the Past, Warriors of the Future: My Discoveries on the Yakama Reservation
Dr. Joel Geffen

Most Americans, it is fair to say, know about Native Americans through images provided through movies, books, calendars, and even some brightly feathered Halloween costumes. Often, "Indians" are portrayed in one of two primary ways -- either as the wise, deeply spiritual, morally good, and pleasant-looking "Noble Savage" or as the deceitful, bloodthirsty, immoral, and unpleasant-looking "Ignoble Savage." Both stereotypes tend to trap our nation's indigenous peoples into the category of "savage," somehow less than fully human, somehow unlike us, somehow uncomfortably "other." This presentation seeks to explain, through personal experience working on an Indian reservation, that the best way to perceive and interact with Native Americans is to treat them as they truly are -- fully human, just like us, with the same capacities for hurt, anger, fear, love, hope, and healing. For those wishing to help native peoples in their struggles, it is recommended that they follow rather than lead, that they ask native peoples what they need and want rather than assume, often wrongly, that they already know. Native American history is complex and multilayered. It can be understood, even by outsiders like us, however, -- through watching, listening, and learning, but most Importantly, by invitation from native peoples themselves.

Dr. Joel Geffen is an educator, a photographer, and a writer. He teaches comparative religious studies at Henry Ford College in Dearborn., and is also a contributing member of the United Photographic Artist's Gallery, located in Tampa, Florida. Currently, Joel is in the initial stages of writing a memoir. In his previous life, he worked in Washington State as a forest archaeologist and land-use historian on the Yakama Indian Reservation. For nearly eight years, he surveyed timber sale areas proposed for harvest by the tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. During that time, he had many cultural experiences with native peoples. Those experiences served to erode stereotyped and romantic images Joel, like many Americans, internalized from books, movies, and television. Through repeated, close interactions over years, Joel came to recognize the biases he unconsciously carried and to arrive at deeper understanding and respect of Native American history, both in terms of the terrible emotional wounds entailed in that history and in the cultural continuities that offer Indian peoples a future grounded both in the traditions of their elders and in engagement with the dominant society currently surrounding them.

Program & Recording

November 21, 2021

Necessity, Possibility, and Persuasion as expressed in Three Goddesses, Ananke, Tyche, and Peitho
Rev. Paul Larson

Necessity, possibility, and persuasion are abstract concepts. How much easier would be to relate to the existential fact of limitation is we could address the abstract as persons, perhaps as did the ancient Greeks who engaged with Ananke, Tyche, and Peitho. Personification literally humanizes the problem of relating to abstraction.

Paul Larson received his doctorate in counseling psychology in 1977 from the University of Utah. For ten years he practiced at the Dayton VA Medical Center before coming to Chicago as Director of Psychology at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital. While working at that job he obtained his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law. He then taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology in their Rehabilitation Psychology program before moving to the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 1997. He retired in 2019 and is now Professor Emeritus. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois. In 2010 he was ordained a minister in Circle Sanctuary, one of the nation’s oldest Wiccan churches. He served 10 years ministry in a Wisconsin prison and 2.5 years at Naval Station Great Lakes before retiring. He has now resumed his prison ministry.

Program & Recordings

November 14, 2021

Sources of Faith: Spiritual Teachings of Earth-Centered Traditions
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In a series of sermons this Fall, we will explore the six sources that the living tradition of Unitarian Universalist draws upon. The sixth in the series examines the spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Program & Recordings

November 7, 2021

All Saints Day
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

This past year and all throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have mourned as members of our community have died, some of whom we have not been able to gather to celebrate together. Our service today seeks to honor and lift up the memories of those members of our spiritual family whom we have lost.

Program & Recording

October 31, 2021

The Church and the Graveyard: Reflections on Horror and Religion
Dr. Brandon Grafius

Brandon Grafius, scholar of Bible and horror, walks through some of the surprising connections between our faith and our fears. These connections suggest that our spirituality and our love of the spooky are ways of asking the same questions about how we make life meaningful.

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Chief Academic Officer of Ecumenical Theological Seminary

Program & Recording

October 24, 2021

Sources of Faith: Humanist Teachings
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In a series of sermons this Fall, we will explore the six sources that the living tradition of Unitarian Universalist draws upon. The fifth in the series examines the humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.

Program & Recordings

October 17, 2021

Sources of Faith: Wisdom from the World's Religions
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In a series of sermons this Fall, we will explore the six sources that the living tradition of Unitarian Universalist draws upon. The fourth in the series examines the wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.

Program & Recording

October 10, 2021

Sources of Faith: Words and Deeds of Prophetic Women and Men
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In a series of sermons this Fall, we will explore the six sources that the living tradition of Unitarian Universalist draws upon. The third in the series examines the words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.

Program & Recordings

October 3, 2021

Sources of Faith: Jewish and Christian Teachings
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In a series of sermons this Fall, we will explore the six sources that the living tradition of Unitarian Universalist draws upon. The second in the series examines Jewish and Christian teachings, which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Program & Recordings

September 26, 2021

What Time Is It on the Clock of the World?: Facing Apocalypse with Eloquence
Dr. James W. Perkinson

In the frenzy and urgency of a twitter-charged world of emergency, are we bound simply to run our lives and our anxieties at ever higher tempo until collapse? The sermon will offer a few musings from an artist/activist/educator, seeking to learn from wild natural creatures and creative marginalized people a basic capacity to “joust” catastrophe with equanimity and magnificence.

Dr. Jim Perkinson is a long-time activist and educator from inner city Detroit, where he has a history of involvement in various community development initiatives and low-income housing projects. He holds a PhD in theology from the University of Chicago, with a secondary focus on history of religions, is the author of White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity and Shamanism, Racism, and Hip-Hop Culture: Essays on White Supremacy and Black Subversion, and has written extensively in both academic and popular journals on questions of race, class and colonialism in connection with religion and urban culture. He is in demand as a speaker on a wide variety of topics related to his interests and a recognized artist on the spoken-word poetry scene in the inner city.

Program & Recordings

September 19, 2021

Sources of Faith: Direct Experience
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In a series of sermons this Fall, we will explores different sources of faith. Today, we will discuss how our direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life.

Program & Recording

September 12, 2021

20 Years After 9/11
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Twenty years ago, the United States suffered a series of terrorist attacks on our home soil which changed the direction of private and public life, international affairs, and the role of religion in America. Today's sermon will include personal reflections by the Minister, who lived in New York City at the time of 9/11.

Program & Recording

September 5, 2021

Another COVID Delay
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

We had originally planned to be back doing in person services on this date, but the Delta variant is keeping us home for a further period. Zoom only (c:

Program & Recording

August 29, 2021

What does it Mean to be a Quaker?
Peter Dale

Peter will compare the 7 UU Principles to the Quaker "SPICES": Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. He will focus on Integrity in the context of the 4th Principle of the free and responsible search for truth and a discussion around the 7th principle with the Sources of Direct Experience in Everything and Prophetic Voices. Peter is particularly interested in relating how the central tenet of Quakerism, that there is that of God in every individual, manifests itself in the search for truth and how that search also manifests itself in personal behavior and the social activism of which Quakers are known.

Peter was brought up in Ann Arbor by parents who had just arrived in America two and a half months prior to his birth. His first language was Russian and he was raised in the Russian/Greek Orthodox Church, where he was head altar boy. While a late teen in high school, Peter left the church due to theological and political differences. He became a Quaker, or the Religious Society of Friends, in 1973 and has remained active in that faith ever since. Peter graduated from the U of M with a BA and then served in the army. When he got out of the service, he obtained an MA from the U of M in slavic linguistics. After working for the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor for two years he moved into the used record business, opening a shop in Detroit, which he moved to St Clair Shores in 1981 before selling it in 1989. That same year, he opened another store in Ann Arbor which he ran until his retirement in 2011. Peter has two children: a daughter, who has muscular dystrophy, and a son, who is Deaf. Ever since retirement, Peter has been an active volunteer with various organizations in the city of Detroit. He has been active in the Detroit Friends Meeting (Quakers) for about 40 years. He and his wife have lived in Livonia since 1985

Program & Recording

August 22, 2021

The Underground Railroad
Elizabeth Lehto

The pathways of the Underground Railroad include several routes which freedom seekers followed as they ventured from southern states to Canada where Liberty stood awaiting. Hardy Brown's, "Black Voice Footsteps to Freedom Underground Railroad Study Tour," introduces students to one of these paths. During this 10 day immersion program, students follow the path from the perspective of the freedom seeker. They experience some of the trials and tribulations the freedom seeker had to go through. The immersion is so deep that the empathy is sometimes too much to bear. In Sunday's service, we learn about the experience as told from one of the Hardy’s students and member of our church, Elizabeth Lehto.

Our guest speaker is Elizabeth Lehto. Elizabeth is a member of 1stUU, joining with her husband, Scott, in 2017. She is a third-grade teacher in the Wayne Westland Community School District with a career beginning in 1991. Like many teachers, she cares about her student’s success in school and life outside of school. Elizabeth has a special interest in her student’s emotional well-being and family life and spends many hours outside of work with several of these families. In 2019 her school selected Elizabeth and 9 additional teachers to attend a 10-day learning trip regarding the history and immersion in the route of one of the paths in the Underground Railroad. The class size was 52. Last year, we had guest speaker, Hardy Brown, discuss his impetus for initiating the program. This year, we hear Elizabeth talk about her experience.

Program & Recording

August 15, 2021

On the 23rd Psalm
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of the most familiar and powerful readings that is offered at memorial services is the 23rd Psalm, which begins, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, he makes me lie down in green pastures, he restores my soul." Recently, at a memorial service for a feminist political icon in Western New York, I used the singer and composer Bobby McFerrin’s "feminist" reinterpretation of the 23rd Psalm, dedicated to his mother, which we will play as part of this service. In this sermon, we will explore the universal appeal of this particular piece of the Jewish scriptures which serves as comfort for people of all beliefs, including Unitarian Universalists.

Program & Recording

August 8, 2021

American Morality
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

The very nature of "freedom" is at question in America today. Do we uphold ideas of freedom from persecution, or do we celebrate freedom to behave however we wish? In the midst of a global pandemic, does the government promote freedom by mandating masks, or is this instead a violation of our freedoms? This murkiness threatens the stability of our nation. This sermon will explore how we understand the difference between right and wrong and the collective character of our nation.

Program & Recording

August 1, 2021

The Wealth Gap in America
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

There is nothing that calls attention to the wealth gap like billionaires taking space flights funded by taxpayer dollars while paying relatively little in taxes themselves. The chasm that exists between the 1% and the 99% has become increasingly polarized. The Poor People's Campaign provides a model for intersectionality across divisions of race, gender, class, and faith. What does their work offer to us as religious progressives who seek to work with others on matters of economic justice?

Program & Recording

July 25 2021

How to Do Something About It: the Search for Enlightenment and Action
Jin Haeng Kai Wiswal (“Kai”)

Though we may not always feel or act like it, we are all inherently enlightened beings. This fact can either liberate us or hinder us further, depending on our point of view. How does our common search for spiritual peace both support and create friction with our desire for social justice and what does Zen say about saving an inevitably burning world?

Jin Haeng Kai Wiswall is a chaplain and ordained Dharma Teacher in the Korean Seon tradition. His chaplaincy centers on eco-chaplaincy, an exploration of our spiritual relationship with the non-human world, and movement chaplaincy, or the spiritual care of activists. He attended seminary at his home temple, Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple in Detroit, MI and further chaplaincy training at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, NM. He is the guiding teacher of the Forest Park Zen Sangha in Springfield, MA where he lives with his wife, two children, and a growing number of dogs.

Program & Recording

July 18, 2021

The Power of Stories
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

There are many ways that we can speak with one another and inform one another, but one of the most powerful is through telling stories. The use of narrative to inspire and empower, to familiarize and empathize, is one of the richest ways that humans communicate. Today, we will explore the phenomenon of storytelling and why we continue to love to discover new narratives and hold on to cherished familiar stories.

Program & Recording
Order of Service

July 11, 2021

A Grief Observed
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of my favorite books is A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, about his experience of grief following the death of his wife, Joy, after a battle with cancer. This book has become all too personal for me in the past weeks, in the wake of the sudden death of my wife, Cynthia. Today, I will talk about grief and how people of faith often engage with this penetrating emotional experience.

Program & Recording

July 4, 2021

On Patriotism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

On this Independence Day, we will discuss patriotism, both in its positive and negative dimensions. Patriotism in the positive sense can lead to a profound sense of community, a spirit of self-sacrifice for the betterment and protection of one’s fellow citizens, a purpose that unites a people. In the negative sense, patriotism can lead to the exclusionary and prejudicial practices of nationalism, boundaries that refuse the humanity of “the other,” and an over-inflation of the moral qualities of a nation that may or may not be exhibiting moral behavior.

Program, Recording

June 27, 2021

On Universalizing Injustice as Injustice
Maher Alhaj

While it is true that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and that there is a sense of interconnectedness between all of our human struggles, there remain some things about injustice that we cannot universalize. In this sermon, I want to explore what we mean by injustice, as well as problematize some of the warrants that are often entangled with it. This is important to do because how we deal with injustice in one space, at a time, and in one context, may or may not be relevant to another space, at another time, and in another context. For me as a Palestinian Queer Muslim who did not grow up in the West, it became concerning to me how the West has been approaching injustice in non-Western spaces. I felt that while queer injustice anywhere is a threat to queer justice (and other forms of justice) everywhere, no somewhere (like the West for example) can meaningfully define and tackle an instance of injustice for everyone everywhere. For injustice can only be understood within its own parameters of history, habitat, and context. As such, justice can only be justly achieved, appropriated, or negotiated from and through such a contextual framework.

Maher Alhaj is the founder of Halal This Way, LLC, a social multimedia enterprise that is building a platform for the theological accommodation of queer communities in Sunni Islam. Maher earned his associate degree in liberal arts from Henry Ford Community College in 2005. He earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology with an area-certificate in neuroscience from Indiana University in 2007. Maher then went back to school a few years later and graduated with a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago in 2020. At the University of Chicago, Maher wrote a thesis on the queer-predicament of Sunni Arab spaces at this globalized moment in time. His thesis is the foundation of his forthcoming book, Halal This Way: Towards a Viable Queering in Sunni Islam. For more information on Alhaj’s book, visit this link.

Program, Slides, & Recording

June 20, 2021

Native American wisdom: The Medicine Wheel
Nancy Shattuck, Steve Curtin

What wisdom is addressed in the Native American Medicine Wheel? It is a way of orienting ourselves within nature despite our life’s fluctuating paths. This non-linear cyclical view of existence links together the seasons, our physical, mental, spiritual and ethereal selves, our natural world in the cosmos, allowing us to view life in terms of a continual renewal.

Nancy Shattuck is an author and Secretary/Office Administrator of our church. She is the author of a travel memoir, a children’s book, and three historical novels in a series titled The Watertown Chronicles. She writes in Farmington Hills, Michigan where she lives with her adopted cat Houdini, and taught English Composition at WSU and several other local colleges. Shattuck became interested in Native American shamanism when her neighbors invited her to a sweat lodge and Yuwipi ceremony conducted by Luciano Perez, a Yuwipi man who trained with the shaman Leonard Crowdog of the Lakota Rosebud reservation in South Dakota. Working with Luciano’s followers and connecting with a second shaman in Idaho, Nancy followed the Native American teachers for ten years. She learned the medicine wheel—fundamental to all the Lakota spiritual rituals—was a means of orienting oneself to center and maintain balance.

Steven Curtin has been a member of 1st UU Detroit since 2016 and a member of the chorus where when we had in-person services he also played bass, congas, guitar and other instruments. Since the start of the Covid lockdown he's served as "Zoom Guru" for our teleservices and continues to play instruments with Todd and Eric and mixes the videos for our Zoom Chorus pieces. He maintains a 40 year Zen Buddhist practice, and since 2003 has observed all eight events of the wheel of the years in the Celtic Pagan tradition.


Program, Slides, Recording

June 13, 2021

On Juneteenth
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Looking ahead to Saturday, June 19th, we discuss Juneteenth (Freedom Day), which commemorates that day when Major General Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation to slaves in Galveston, Texas, freeing them two and a half years after the proclamation was signed into law.

Program & Recording

June 6, 2021

The Difference Heaven Makes
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

A significant number of people believe in an afterlife, and the Christian traditions have made "heaven" a popular concept in American public conversations. Today, we will explore the origin and evolution of "heaven," and discuss both the appeal and the lack of interest in participating in such an afterlife.

Program, Recording

May 30, 2021

Mental Health Awareness
Joyce Marter

Our world is experiencing a mental health epidemic. In this message, we learn the current statistics and trends in stress, suicide, depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues. We explore treatment implications and changing needs. We discuss how to become mental health advocates and support clients by promoting education, stomping out stigma, and supporting legislation that affects behavioral healthcare providers and clients served.

Joyce Marter is a strong advocate for affordable and accessible mental health services as well as addiction awareness and treatment. She has devoted her life’s work to destigmatizing mental health issues and promoting awareness and access to care. She has done this through her many different roles, such as Founder of Urban Balance, Chief Brand Ambassador & Senior Advisor for Refresh Mental Health, leading various counseling associations for Illinois and the Midwest, lobbying congress, speaking nationally about mental health awareness and advocacy. Joyce is the author of the upcoming book, The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life.

Program, Slides, Recording

May 23, 2021

Inspiration and Commitment
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

On this Sunday, we both reflect on where we have been and we look forward to where we are going. This past year, our church has thrived during a time of pandemic. While worshipping online, we have welcomed back members who could not meet in person, have shared hospitality with people from other states and countries, and have invited speakers near and far. At the same time, we have had members who did not engage with a technologically dependent community and who are eager for us to meet in person again. We are all one community, all of us, and on this day of our annual meeting and the launch of our canvass, we will focus on what inspires us and commits us to be members of this community of faith, love, and justice.

Program & Recording

May 16, 2021

On Dialogue
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of the most important ways in which we might interact with people whose beliefs and backgrounds are different than our own is through dialogue, rather than through debate. Today, we will explore the importance of dialogue and see how it has been a vital way forward for the encounter between people of different faith traditions.

Program & Recording

May 9, 2021

Celebrating Mother Earth on Mother's Day
Rev. Laura González

A distinctive characteristic of the Divine source is creation, during today's service we join together to celebrate Mother Earth on Mother's Day.

Rev. Laura González offers her intuitive gifts as a Spiritual & Community Healer, Priestess and Minister and is a Practitioner of Traditional Mexican Folk Magic, Native Philosophies and North American Paganism in the Goddess tradition. Her community activism is an extension of her spiritual practice, she is an advocate for the Latin American, Pagan & LGBTQIA communities and cares deeply about women's rights, suicide prevention and diversity inclusion. Laura co-edits the e-zine, El Caldero and publishes regularly there and in Circle Sanctuary Magazine. She is also the founder of Boletín Pagano, a meeting place for Spanish-speaking Pagans. In the past, Laura has been deeply honored to present workshops at events such as Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride Day, Fort Wayne Pagan Pride Day, St. Louis Pagan Picnic, Circle Sanctuary and Pagan Spirit Gathering. She's a leader in her community as a resident Bruja (healer) and as volunteer ESL teacher at the Aquinas Literacy Center. Laura González is also a popular podcaster and producer of her shows, Lunatic Mondays (Lunes Lunáticos) and Paganos del Mundo on Circle Sanctuary Network Podcasts.

Program & Recording

May 2, 2021

Addressing the Rural & Urban Divide with Compassionate Curiosity
Jill Murphy and Susan Matthews

We will look at how Deep Canvassing can help in understanding the beliefs, feelings and needs that are driving the rural - urban gap. The process uses empathy and compassion to break down interpersonal barriers and open up candid conversations.
Jill is a Small Town and Rural Organizer for Michigan United.
Susan is a UU Detroit member and volunteer with Michigan United.


Order of Service
Zoom Recording

April 25, 2021

A Renewed Earth
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In the wake of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22nd, we are reminded of televised scenes from this past year. Around the world, as economies and industries and transportation shut down due to the global stresses of COVID-19, we nonetheless witnessed skies clear of smoke and smog. We saw a vision, all too brief, of an earth recovering from pollution. How might we liberate the earth and ourselves from this cycle?

Order of Service
Zoom Recording

April 18, 2021

Asian American in America
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

In Detroit, our considerable focus on the racial dynamics between "black" and "white" often deafens us to the experiences of other cultural and ethnic people living in our midst. This past year, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been over 3,800 anti-Asian, racist hate incidents in the United States, mostly perpetrated against women. Today, we will share in a meditation about Asian American lived experiences in America, and in particular during the era of the coronavirus pandemic.

Order of Service
Zoom Recording

April 11, 2021

Witches Get in Formation
Regina Weiss

Recently, the Chair of the Michigan Republican Party casually suggested that the top three female democratic leaders in Michigan were witches who need to be "burned at the stake." This attack is a common one throughout history; women who have stepped into political leadership are lambasted and attacked with misogynistic language. Women have often fought back and reclaimed some of these terms, most notably the ultimate feminist symbol: the witch

Regina Weiss is a State Representative and a member of the UU Detroit church. She is currently serving her first term representing the 27th House District, which encompasses the cities of Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Ferndale and Hazel Park, as well as Royal Oak Township. Regina began her career as a teacher in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. She also served as an Oak Park City Council member until her election to the House in 2020.

Order of Service
Zoom Recording

April 4, 2021

Environment
Stephanie Chang

Stephanie Gray Chang is a Democratic politician from Michigan representing the 1st district of the Michigan Senate, and a member of the UU Detroit church.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

March 28, 2021

Politics and the Seven Principals – Observations from the Arena
Terry Campbell, Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow

Terry will share reflections on work in politics and public life while living her values as expressed in the seven UU principles. She will share anecdotes about her time in the auto industry and with the Senate.

Terry has been part of the senator’s state team since 2014. A Detroit native, she has responsibility for facilitating the connection between the senator and constituents, local government and federal agencies. Terry previously served as Chief Operating Office for Eastern Market Corporation, the non-profit in charge of the region’s oldest continuously operating farmers market. She spent her early career in the auto industry with General Motors in Flint, Warren, Singapore, and Shanghai.
Terry is a graduate of MSU (B.S. Engineering) and Wayne State University (MBA).


Order of Service
Audio Recording

March 21, 2021

On Audre Lorde
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Audre Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. We will explore Lorde's remarkable legacy to poetry and the womanist movement.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

March 14, 2021

Ecofeminism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Ecofeminism is a philosophical and political movement that combines ecological concerns with feminist ones, regarding both as resulting from male domination of society. Today, we will examine the history of this movement and the women who have contributed to its development.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

March 7, 2021

Liz Theoharis and the Poor People’s Campaign
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of the most prominent activists on the issue of poverty in the United States is the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, who co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign with the Rev. William Barber II. Today, we will focus on Theoharis and her faith journey toward activism.

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Audio Recording

February 28, 2021

Walking in Blackness after Black History Month: My world is not a NOVELTY!
Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell

Dr. Harvell will discuss the deliberate attempt to devalue the important critiques Black History Month has to offer about the self-determination of Black folks. Through a conscious goal of reflection and recovery, Dr. Harvell will provide a critical assessment of what it means to view Black bodies outside of the safe, intellectual restraints imposed by contemporary demands for empathetic reactions to the persistent and deliberate attacks on Blackness. Indeed, Harvell will provide critical insights into what it means to walk in Blackness after the (oftentimes) intentionally sanitized celebrations are over.

Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell is the oldest son of Lillian and Calvin Harvell. Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. Upon graduating from Flint Southwestern Academy, he continued his education, earning a B.S. in sociology from Grand Valley State University, an M.A. in sociology from Ohio University, an Ed.S. in educational leadership (Specialist) from Oakland University, and a Ph.D. in global leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology.

Dr. Harvell is a professor of sociology at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. He has taught an array of courses, including but not limited to, Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Society, Independent Studies, and Leadership in Diverse Communities and Organizations. Furthermore, Dr. Harvell taught in a learning community designed for under-represented males. In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Harvell and his esteemed colleagues coordinate the Black Male and Quintessential, Unique, Essence of Ebony, Necessary, Sisters (QUEENS) Focus Group, an academic and social support network designed to address equity on the campus of Henry Ford College.

Dr. Harvell is member of the Diversity Scholars Network at the National Center for Institutional Diversity (University of Michigan). The past president of the Michigan Sociological Association, Harvell was awarded the Milton Olsen Award for distinguished service to sociology in Michigan. Harvell is also the founder and chair of the Black Male Retention and Success Conference (Henry Ford College). Additionally, he is the chief intellectual officer (CIO) at Harvell & Associates, an educational consulting firm involved in the production of asset-focused, culturally responsive educational programming. Of all his accomplishments and letters, the letters he is most proud and passionate about are-D A D D Y!


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Audio Recording

February 21, 2021

Remembering Malcolm X
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

On this day in 1965, the Muslim activist Malcolm X was assassinated while giving a speech in New York City's Audubon Ballroom. We will look back on the life and legacy of Malcolm X, and what his teachings have to offer us today.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

February 14, 2021

One Luv
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

The great preacher the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Walton, the Dean of the Wake Forest University Divinity School, is known for promoting the idea of "One Luv." In the words of the late, great Morehouse president Benjamin Elijah Mays, "The love of God and the love of humanity are one love." Today, we will explore this concept.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

February 7, 2021

On Amanda Gorman
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

One of the most inspirational moments of the President Joe Biden's inauguration was when Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, stepped forward and offered her poem, "The Hill We Climb." This sermon will focus on Gorman and her supernova moment.

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Audio Recording

January 31, 2021

The challenges BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) individuals face as we strive to engage in earth restoration
Dr. Ventra Asana

Dr. Ventra Asana is founder and CEO of Spiritual Kinetics, a company that provides training and development to identify best practices for faith communities, civic and community groups to take care of the earth, in the urban environment. These include workshops to develop ecological awareness, projects for developing community parks, and green and blue infrastructure.

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Audio Recording

January 24, 2021

Rebuilding: Marginalized People
UU Detroit Vespers Team

For well over a decade, UU Detroit has provided a vespers poetry program. This rich tradition has continued via Zoom during the covid lockdown. Our church poetry mavens have been asked to share poems related to the theme of marginalization and healing with the congregation, and this worship service is the result.

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Audio Recording

January 17, 2021

King and Political Change
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an enormously effective advocate for societal change among the political powers of his time, and as we move toward the inauguration of the next President of the United States, we reflect on how King utilized the power of spiritual communities and movements to sway political reality in his day to inform our activism today.

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Audio Recording

January 10, 2021

On Democracy
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

As we prepare for the inauguration of our 46th President in the United States, and in the aftermath of a turbulent electoral season, it is important to focus on the importance of democracy.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

January 3, 2021

Hope for a New Year!
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

We move out of 2020, a year of overwhelming loss for many, and into 2021, where there is fresh hope. Today, we consider the ways in which hope is an excellent way to orient ourselves in the year ahead.

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Audio Recording

December 27, 2020

The Trilogy Sermon: Socialism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Dan Secrest and Michelle Danius Peters jointly "won" the "You pick it, I preach it" contest on Facebook! The two of them made suggestions for a trilogy of sermons on the topics, "Individualism, Tribalism, Socialism." This is the third of the trilogy, all to be done in the month of December.

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Audio Recording

December 24, 2020 7:00 PM

A History of Santa Claus
Reverend Stephen Butler Murray with Todd Ballou
Just who exactly is Santa Claus? Is he Saint Nicholas of Myra? Is he a jolly old elf? For Christmas Eve, we'll share in a history of this mythic figure whose nose like a cherry and luminescent reindeer Rudolph dominates our culture this time of year.
Order of Service
Zoom Recording

December 20, 2020

The Trilogy Sermon: Tribalism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Dan Secrest and Michelle Danius Peters jointly "won" the "You pick it, I preach it" contest on Facebook! The two of them made suggestions for a trilogy of sermons on the topics, "Individualism, Tribalism, Socialism." This is the second of the trilogy, all to be done in the month of December.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

December 13, 2020

The Trilogy Sermon: Individualism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Dan Secrest and Michelle Danius Peters jointly "won" the "You pick it, I preach it" contest on Facebook! The two of them made suggestions for a trilogy of sermons on the topics, "Individualism, Tribalism, Socialism." This is the first of the trilogy, all to be done in the month of December.

Order of Service
Audio Recording

December 6, 2020

Peace, Justice, and the Season: A Music Program
Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke

In the 8 years that Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke have been together, they have created a sound that is powerful and unique in the world of acoustic music. Influenced by 60s folk music, traditional Appalachian songs, Celtic melodies, the intensity of bluegrass, country, & gospel/christian standards, Classical atmospheres, African & Middle Eastern rhythms, and Native American prayer chants, Joe & Sheila incorporate guitars, autoharp, African djembe drum, Native American sacred drum, and many other diverse instruments from around the world to provide their original and uplifting music. They write socially conscious & spiritual songs of struggle, thanksgiving, redemption, and love. Their descriptions, interpretations & translations (sung in many different languages) are mystic and revelatory. Both are published poets/writers which gives their concerts the added power of the presence of the spoken word. joekiddandsheilaburke.com

Order of Service
Audio Recording

November 29, 2020

Gratitude
Scott Lehto, Dan Horrigan, Cathy and Mark Tade

 

 

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Audio Recording

November 22, 2020

 
Dr. Elías Ortega

Times of Mourning, Rituals of Hope

Dr. Elías Ortega is President and Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Leadership at Meadville Lombard Theological School.
Full Biography

Order of Service
Audio Recording

November 15, 2020

The Arts as Protest
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

All throughout my life, I have been entranced by the use of the arts as form of protest. When I was the chaplain of Skidmore College at the beginning of my career, I was influenced by a new colleague, the renowned poet Carolyn Forché, who is now University Professor at Georgetown University. Forché’s “poetry of witness” has become an important example of the arts as politically engagement. In today's service, I will talk about the possibilities of the performing, literary, and fine arts as political protest, and ruminate about how our church has been engaged in such movements here in Detroit.

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Audio Recording
Look What's Goin' Down

November 8, 2020

The Aftermath
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

No matter what happened the Election Tuesday preceding, we’ll need to talk about it come Sunday. We will either know something of the future direction of the American government or we will be enmeshed in uncertainty. How do we support one another as a spiritual community in a time such as this, what will we protest and celebrate, and how might we live best into our UU principles?

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Audio Recording

November 1, 2020

Go Vote
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will be the culmination of an unprecedented voting season in American politics. A dangerously divided nation, in the midst of a global pandemic, will determine its political future. We will examine the Unitarian Universalist commitment to democracy and the importance of voting in America.

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Audio Recording

October 25, 2020

Wittenberg
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Looking forward to next weekend, Reformation Day is celebrated by Protestant Christians on October 31st, although it often plays a mute second fiddle to the cultural phenomenon of Halloween. According to the influential Reformation theologian Philip Melanchthon, October 31st, 1517 was the day that the German monk Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, regarded as the start of the Reformation. Today, we will explore Luther’s action on that day and how his work fueled a major shift in the Christian traditions.

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Audio Recording

October 18, 2020

Coming out Spiritually
Rev. Sal Sapienza

All of us walking the spiritual path are being called to "come out" to more-and-more of who God created us to be. In that regard, out-and-proud LGBTQ people demonstrate for all of us what "shining our Light" and leading an authentic life looks like. Throughout the centuries and across cultures, LGBTQ people have been spiritual teachers, inspiring and encouraging others to step out of the darkness and to walk in the Light. In his message, Pastor Sal will share some of their wisdom and encourage all of us (regardless of our gender identity or sexual orientation) to more fully walk in our Truth.

Salvatore Sapienza is the author of the books: "Seventy Times Seven" (nominated for 2 Lambda Literary Awards), "Mychal's Prayer: Praying with Father Mychal Judge," "Gay is a Gift," and "Childish Thinking: How the Church Keeps Us Stuck in Sunday School." A former religious brother in the Catholic Church, Sapienza worked alongside Father Mychal Judge ("The Saint of 9/11") in the early 1990's in helping to establish St. Francis AIDS Ministry in New York City, one of the first Catholic AIDS organizations in the country. Sapienza's best-selling debut novel, "Seventy Times Seven," was adapted into the award-winning feature film, "Brotherly Love" (2018). A freelance writer, Sapienza has written feature stories for several newspapers and magazines across the country, and he has appeared locally on NPR and PBS. He and his husband live in Saugatuck/Douglas, Michigan, where Sapienza serves as the pastor of a United Church of Christ church. Visit: SalSapienza.com

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Service Audio
A Quad of Todd

October 11, 2020

Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

On Friday, September 18th, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg died after a lengthy battle with cancer. One of the most significant jurists and advocates for women’s rights in American history, Ginsburg became a cultural icon, embraced affectionately as “The Notorious RBG.” Today, we will discuss Ginsburg and her formidable legacy.

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Service Audio

October 4, 2020

On Marriage
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Eighteen years ago today, Cynthia and I were married at the First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston, New York. Since that event will be prominent in my mind, I wanted to share some reflections and thoughts on marriage, and why it remains an important part of human culture.

Order of Service
Service Zoom Recording

September 27, 2020

Blessing of the Animals
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Many churches hold annual animal blessing services, a time to give thanks and bless our companions in life. Animal blessings originate out of the Roman Catholic tradition, however, many Unitarian Universalist congregations have adopted this practice and made it a uniquely UU type of blessing. Our seventh principle which states that we are all part of an interconnected web of existence is the underlying motivation for many of these services.


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Service Audio

September 20, 2020

The Underground Railroad
Hardy Brown

Based upon his role as the Executive Director of the Black Voice Foundation, Hardy Brown comes to us sharing his experiences, using artifacts, lecture, and perhaps even reenactment, guiding learners to see the real stories of freedom seekers in the past and present.

Hardy Brown is the Executive Director of the Black Voice Foundation, based out of San Bernardino, CA...he is also the President of the San Bernardino County school board, a husband, and the father of two very accomplished daughters.

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September 13, 2020

On Forgiveness
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Forgiveness is difficult. Forgiveness is transformative. Forgiveness can be controversial. Can we always forgive, and should we always forgive? Today, we will discuss the complex dynamics of forgiveness, the courage and vulnerability that is involved, and the possibilities that can arise from the work and blessing of forgiveness.


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Service Audio

September 6, 2020

Remembering the Pilgrims
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

September 6th is the 400th anniversary of when 102 English Purtians (now known as Pilgrims) set sail about the Mayflower from Plymouth, England for a new life in America. After a perilous journey, they landed in what is now Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod, Massachusetts on November 11th. They had intended to land in Virginia, but were unable to reach it because of heavy seas. Today, we will mark this historical moment and discuss both who the Puritans were and what their legacy became in the United States.

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August 30, 2020

19th Amendment
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Rev. Murray will address the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — granting women the right to vote — which was ratified by Congress 100 years ago this August.

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Service Audio

August 23, 2020


Reaching Across the Racial Barrier
Alexander Morgan and Dwight "Skip" Stackhouse

Alex, who was raised to be a white supremacist in Savannah, Georgia, and Dwight, an African American raised in a racially tolerant neighborhood of Detroit, became friends as they shared their joint stories at a local writing group. They developed these stories into a play, provocatively entitled "The N-Word Duet."* Their "duet" makes a harmony of their contrasting experiences of the brutality of American racism. Today, Dwight and Alex will discuss how they were drawn to work together and how the play emerged from their dialogue.

*On August 25, they will offer a reading of a one-act play, "A Hospital Lynching," which is a scene adapted from their longer play. This will be presented on Zoom and will be sponsored by the First UU Detroit, Social Justice Committee.

Alexander Payne Morgan was born in Savannah, Georgia. He worked for 30 years as an industrial mathematician at the General Motors Research Laboratories in Warren, MI. He has published two poetry chapbooks; one of them, "H.G. Wells Investigates the Tragedy of Colour in America," collects his poetry about race and the white supremacy he was raised to.

Raised in Detroit, Dwight "Skip" Stackhouse has published one novel and two books of poetry. He is recipient of the 2018 Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellowship Award. In 1979, while performing in James Baldwin's play The Amen Corner, he was introduced to the famous author who saw much promise in him. For several years he and Baldwin shared philosophies on human rights, family history, religious backgrounds and creative inspirations, they became friends. He is the subject of one of Mr. Baldwin's poems, "Song for Skip" published in his literary collection called "Jimmy's Blues". Skip's life work comes from a fundamental philosophy; "we can be better than we are."

Alex and Dwight met in a poetry workshop, and they discovered they were both writing about their personal experiences of American racism. They have given join talks on the topic and are now collecting their stories into a play, "The N-Word Duet".


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August 16, 2020

Amazing Grace
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Amazing Grace is an unusual hymn for Unitarian Universalists to sing, and yet it remains a standard both in American life and in the UU tradition. Today, we’ll explore the history of this hymn and why it continues to shape our spiritual lives.

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August 9, 2020

Looking Up
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

The other night, we were captivated by watching a comet, the brightest discernible by human eyes in quite some time. It just so happened that the comet was accompanied by a meteor shower, meaning that we had shooting stars flying over us like fireworks. It was a reminder that sometimes, we need to stop what we are doing and simply look up to regain a sense of wonder and awe about the universe.

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August 2, 2020

Improvisation
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Sometimes, the best moments of theater or comedy happen when the actors depart from the script and simply improv, riffing off of one another to create a whole new storyline beyond and above what had existed before. I want to explore today how improvisation is an important skill in life, especially when we live in times quite unlike any that we have lived in before.

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July 26, 2020

On Hope
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

Sitting around the dinner table the other night, when all that we talked about was the resurgence of Coronavirus, a failed American presidency, and the unending nightmare of racism in America, I thought to myself ironically, “Well, that was cheery.” How do we find hope in a time such as this? What is the nature of hope, and how is it different from optimism? How might we engender hope in our lives today?

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July 19, 2020

Black Lives Matter
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

The murder of George Floyd by a police offer in Minneapolis was the straw that broke the camel's back. June 2020 saw the United States enveloped with the Black Lives Matter protests, arguably the most important, sustained social protest in 50 years. Today, we will discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, and where we stand today.

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July 12, 2020

Michigan UU Churches Joint Worship Service
Rev. Murray, Martha Bogner, Michigan UUs

Over 600 Michigan UUs joined in worship service.
The service was pre-recorded and broadcast on Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube.
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray and Martha Bogner, UU Detroit-sponsored aspirant for UU ministry, represented UU Detroit


Order of Service

July 5, 2020

On Liberty
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

As we celebrate Independence Day, it is important to think about what it is that Americans uplift as important about liberty. In the Coronavirus Era, have we been well served by the desire for a rugged independence, or have we suffered because of our concepts of liberty?

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June 28, 2020

Knowing Who We Are
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister

When major life events crash over us like a rogue wave, we sometimes lose sight of who we are as we try to adjust to the new circumstances that life has thrown our way. None of us could have foreseen that we are having the 2020 that we are having, when so much of our "normal" has been thrown out the window. So how do we navigate this time? Who are we, and how does our before affect our now, and how does our now affect our future?

The 1st Unitarian-Universalist Church of Detroit is excited to announce that Detroit R & B legend Thornetta Davis will be adding her voice to our online service on June 28 at 11:00am.

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June 21, 2020

Solstice, Seasons & UU Sixth Source
Reverend Selena Fox

On this Summer Solstice Sunday, explore some ancient and contemporary ways of celebrating the annual Circle of Seasons, consisting of the Solstice and Equinoxes marking the beginning of each of the four seasons, and the midpoints, known as the Celtic Fire Festivals. Reflect on celebrating the Seasons as a manifestation of UU's Sixth Source: "Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of Nature."

Rev. Selena Fox is Senior Minister of Circle Sanctuary, a church headquartered on a Nature preserve near Barneveld, Wisconsin serving Nature Spirituality practitioners worldwide since 1974. Selena's writings and photographs on Nature, Celebrating the Seasons, Ecopsychology, and Paganism have been widely published, in print and on-line. Selena hosts two weekly podcasts, Nature Mystic and Nature Spirituality. Over the years, Selena has been a speaker at UUA conferences, including General Assembly, and a guest minister at a variety of Unitarian Universalist churches across the USA. She is among the contributors to the anthology, Pagan and Earth-centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism. Selena has a MS in counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and does spiritual psychotherapy and holistic counseling by zoom and phone. She is an activist for gender and racial equality, religious freedom, interfaith collaboration, and environmental preservation. She is director of Circle Cemetery, one of the first Green cemeteries in North America. Selena has been an environmental activist for over fifty years and was among the organizers of events for the first Earth Day in 1970. Her interfaith endeavors include work with Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, Charter for Compassion, and Parliament of the World’s Religions.

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June 14, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
UU Principles in the COVID-19 Era: Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of Which We Are a Part
 
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June 7, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
UU Principles in the COVID-19 Era: The Goal of World Community with Peace, Liberty, and Justice for All
 
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May 31, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
UU Principles in the COVID-19 Era: The Right of Conscience and the Use of the Democratic Process Within Our Congregations and in Society at Large
 
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May 24, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
UU Principles in the COVID-19 Era: A Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning
 
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May 17, 2020

Everything Stays
Martha Bogner
Our church is getting ready for the familiar yearly pledge drive. But these days we are living in a different environment, which can be weird – even scary. In the face of that unease, how can we still go "All In" as a religious community? How do we sustain our mission in a world where, as a song from the cartoon Adventure Time puts it, "everything stays, but it still changes?"
Martha Bogner is a member of UU Detroit. She has served in several roles at the church, and is currently our sponsored aspirant for UU ministry.
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May 10, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
UU Principles in the COVID-19 Era: Acceptance of One Another and Encouragement to Spiritual Growth in Our Congregations
 
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May 3, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
UU Principles in the COVID-19 Era: Justice, Equity, and Compassion in Human Relations
 
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April 26, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
UU Principles in the COVID-19 Era: The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person
 
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April 19, 2020

 
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
 
 
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Service Video (Facebook video, sermon starts around 28:00 mark)

April 12, 2020

Sustainability and the Individual
Charles King
Sustainability is the final evolutionary step in human development, and it is a step we must take during the next century, or lose the chance forever. Climate change is the most urgent of a list of several threats to Sustainability. This sermon will describe what Sustainability makes possible for humanity, and list some of the ways that we can work towards that goal as individuals.
Charles is the chair of the UU Detroit Social Justice Committee, and has a long history of environmental activism.
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April 5, 2020

All In
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Reverend Murray discusses the serenity prayer and its relevance to today's situation.

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Worship Service Video (Facebook video, sermon starts around 38:40 mark)

March 29, 2020

Still Living Through It
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
 
 
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Worship Service Video (Facebook video, sermon starts around 29:30 mark)

March 22, 2020  ONLINE SERVICE

Living Through It
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Reverend Murray will provide the sermon online.

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Service Video (Facebook video, worship service starts at 9:10 mark)

March 15, 2020  ONLINE SERVICE

The Contagion of Human Dignity
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Reverend Murray will provide the sermon online, and there will be discussion afterwards via the miracle of modern technology.
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Service Video (Facebook video, worship service starts at 10:00 mark)

March 8, 2020

Overcoming Evil with Good
Daniel Buttry
How do we confront and deal with some of the terrible things happening in our world today? It's so easy to get sucked into negative mindsets, emotions, and actions--evil, if you will. But then we become part of the problem, too. We will explore how to be transformers of evil through good, nonviolent, constructive, creative actions that can change dynamics, relationships, and even the course of history.
Dan and his wife Sharon are global consultants, Dan for Peace and Justice and Sharon for Community Transformation. They serve around the world to provide consultation and training in conflict transformation and the transformation of communities, working primarily through the church as God’s instrument of change. They utilize experiential education and participatory Bible study in their workshops. In the past nine years, Sharon and Dan have trained over 250 church and community leaders from 50 countries in 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers programs. Many of these leaders have made a profound impact in the peacemaking of their communities and countries.
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March 1, 2020

Battle for Access to the Ballot: Rule Changes Alone are Never Enough
Sharon Dolente - ACLU / UU the Vote
Our democracy works best when all people can make their voice heard. With the passage of Proposal 3 in 2018, registering to vote and voting has never been easier in Michigan. But rule changes alone are not enough if we want to eliminate disparities in participation that plague our democracy. People of color, young people, voters with disabilities, low income people, and English language learners will continue to face barriers to voting unless we do more in 2020.
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February 23, 2020

On Octavia Butler
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Octavia Butler was one of our most important science fiction writers, an African American woman who won the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. Butler had a remarkable talent for examining how religion and spirituality can make and break community. Today, we will share a profile of Butler and her major works.
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February 16, 2020

How do Islamic beliefs reflect the UU goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all?
Imam Al-Qazwini
Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini will speak about the ways in which Islam and Unitarian Universalism share the values of "world peace, liberty, and justice for all." He will address myths about Islam which often prevent an understanding by those of other faiths.
Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini immigrated to the United States in late 1992 after his family endured pressure from Sadam Hussein to support his corrupt regime. He has served as Director of the Azzahra Islamic Center in Los Angeles, CA, and as scholar and religious leader for the Islamic Center of America. He is founder of the YMA, or Youth of Muslim America. Al-Qazwini continues to be one of the most outspoken and influential Muslim Shi’a religious leaders in the United States. For more information on the Imam, please visit qazwini.org.
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February 9, 2020

Who is Today’s King?
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
A question that many people ask is: who is the Martin Luther King, Jr. of today? In many ways, it’s an unfair question: Who could be? Today, I will profile several African American faith leaders who are involved in progressive actions today who could inspire mass movements.
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February 2, 2020

Environmental Racism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
On this Sunday, we explore the complexities of environmental racism, the environmental injustice that occurs in practice and in policy within a radicalized context, with special attention on how this occurs in Detroit.
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January 26, 2020

On Transcendentalism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Transcendentalism was one of the most important intellectual and cultural developments that influenced and was influenced by American Unitarianism. Today, we will explore the central tenets and main figures of transcendentalism as part of our effort to better know our past and our UU identity today.
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January 19, 2020

The Arc of the Moral Universe
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, we will explore MLK's famous phrase, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." We also will discuss King's intentional decision to paraphrase the Unitarian abolitionist Theodore Parker.
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January 12, 2020

On Angels
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
All around the Christmas story, there are sightings of angels. The idea of the divine messenger is one that shows up throughout the religions of the world. We will explore this notion of an intermediary between the divine source and humankind, and the relationships that angels provide.
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January 5, 2020

This I Believe
Sally Borden, Steve Curtin, Elayne Sikelianos, Kathe Stevens
We begin the new year by reflecting on our beliefs and values. Four of our own members will share their beliefs and journey with Unitarian Universalism. How will we move our values into individual and collective action in the new year? We will commit to and share our intentions for the year, privately or publicly, in a closing ceremony.
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December 29, 2019

All Things New
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
As the new year approaches, we resolve to do new things, put away bad practices, embrace a better vision for ourselves and the world. What might we resolve to be, and how might that change how we relate to our friends, our neighbors, even our environment?
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December 24, 2019 7:00 PM

A Night of Hope
Reverend Stephen Butler Murray with Todd Ballou
A light in the darkness. New life. Hope in the midst of a time marked by political oppression. How does the story of the birth of Jesus continue to inspire a feeling of joy in our world today?
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December 22, 2019

Winter Solstice
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Recognizing that we gather for worship immediately following the shortest day of the year, it is important to realize why Winter Solstice is a pivot point in the religious and cultural life of so many around the world.
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December 15, 2019

Speaking Truth to Power - Justice for Immigrants in the U.S.
Sister Karen Donahue
Sister Donahue will share her work on behalf of justice for immigrants including advocacy, public witness and visiting immigrants detained at the Monroe County Jail.
Karen Donahue has been a Sister of Mercy for fifty-eight years. She has worked for peace and justice at the local, national and international levels serving in Sisters of Mercy community justice positions and at 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago. She has traveled widely, visiting Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She was part of two delegations to Honduras that were organized by the Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team. She has participated in three trips to Israel-Palestine with Meta (formerly Michigan) Peace Team and has taken part on civil disobedience actions at the Nevada Test Site, the School of the Americas, the Federal Courthouse in Detroit just before the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, and most recently at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. in support of DACA recipients in February 2018. For the past eleven years, she has coordinated a weekly vigil in solidarity with immigrants at the Department of Homeland Security Office in downtown Detroit and twice a month visits immigrants detained at the Monroe County Jail in Monroe Michigan with Justice for Our Neighbors, the migrant ministry of the United Methodist Church. Currently she serves as a member of the Sisters of Mercy Justice Team. A native of the Chicago area, Karen has lived in downtown Detroit for seventeen years. She is an active member of St. Aloysius Parish in Detroit and received the 2013 Urban Parish Spirit Award.
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December 8, 2019

Annual Joint Service with Amnesty International: 71 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Ken and Geraldine Grunow
Since its founding in 1961, Amnesty International has devolved from a UK-based organizationwith a limited mandate to an organization with world-wide leadership and a mandate that embraces all the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The challenges and benefits of this devolution are the topic of this talk, which celebrates the 71st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration.
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December 1, 2019

Season of Spending
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
In the wake of Thanksgiving, we wade into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the mass of events and presents involved in holiday celebrations. Why do we do this, and how might we promote celebration without spending?
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November 24, 2019

Thanks for the Earth
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
As we enter into the Thanksgiving week, it is important to remember the source of all life, the very Earth itself. As we gather together and contemplate what it is that we are thankful for, let us be especially conscious of our mother, our home, our provider, and all the ways that we need to cherish what we have from our planet.
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November 17, 2019

Civility, Free Speech, and the Limits of Tolerance
Dr. John Corvino
There's much to be said in favor of niceness and of taking a "big tent" approach toward those with whom we differ. At the same time, the canard that "all are welcome" obscures the fact that shunning and shaming are sometimes merited: To take an extreme example, an unrepentant Hitler neither is nor should be welcome! Where should we draw the line, and why?
John Corvino, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State University. For the past 25+ years, he has lectured at over 250 campuses around the globe on culture-war issues of sexuality, ethics, marriage, and religious liberty. Read more at www.johncorvino.com.
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November 10, 2019

One Nation, Indivisible
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
So much of our country's political rhetoric in recent years has focused on how we are divided. Yet, the very promise of the United States of America is that we are one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. How do we meet the challenges that our current society presents us, and how might we use our hope to make real change for the betterment of everyone, and not just those who agree with us, look like us, or pray like us?
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November 3, 2019

Freedom is an Act
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
The beginning of November is always an important time to ruminate on the importance of elections and democracy. This sermon will focus on the political philosophy of John Lewis, a civil rights icon and longtime Congressman from Georgia.
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October 27, 2019

Honoring our Ancestors in Word and Deed
Reverend Stanley Nunn
Those who have come before have laid the foundation upon which we build. They have given us the tools to write the future for ourselves and the world. How we honor them is by living with courage and honor.
Reverend Nunn has been a leader in the pagan community for many years. He has dedicated his life to further the education and spiritual growth of all who choose to walk the path of mysteries. Reverend Nunn began his journey as a student of Wicca and has found the principles of Wicca to be the central pillar of his philosophy. It is his goal to help as many as possible find their path to enlightenment and joy in life.
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October 20, 2019

Temporary Shelter
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Today marks the end of Sukkot, the Jewish celebration of Tabernacles. Our service will focus on Sukkot, and why our Jewish friends and neighbors honor this day recognizing the biblical, historical, and agricultural tradition of "temporary shelter."
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October 13, 2019

Gender Identity
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
On the Sunday before International Pronouns Day, we will speak about the changing cultural conversations on gender identity and the pronouns that we use for individuals. As part of our discussion, we will reveal how we are updating our church’s name tags to address this issue.
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October 6, 2019

Climate Activism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
In September, members of our church participated in and witnessed the largest international activist effort to address the perils of climate change. Today, we will profile the environmental activist Greta Thunberg, a teenager from Sweden, and the movement that she inspired in a mere year.
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September 29, 2019

The UU Story Part Three: An American Faith
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
To appreciate our inclusive and diverse religious tradition, I believe it is important to understand our history. Over three Sundays in September, we will explore the fascinating story of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Part three traces the development of the Unitarian and Universalist sides of our family tree in America, and how we eventually became the Unitarian Universalist faith we see today.
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September 22, 2019

The UU Story Part Two: UU History in Europe
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
To appreciate our inclusive and diverse religious tradition, I believe it is important to understand our history. Over three Sundays in September, we will explore the fascinating story of our Unitarian Universalist faith. In part two, we will examine the influence of religious movements in Europe during the turbulent centuries after the Reformation.
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September 15, 2019

Finding Hope in Troubling Times - A Hindu Perspective
Shama Mehta
The times in which we live right now are hard. It is hard to ignore the news. It is hard to ignore the natural devastations and harder still is devastations that are manmade. Where do you turn to find hope? Who do you turn to when you need to find hope? As a Hindu, my answer is looking inwards.
Shama Mehta, born in India, is a lifelong practicing Hindu. She is a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains and work as a Hospital Chaplain. Shama holds a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry (Interfaith Chaplaincy) and is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.
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September 8, 2019

The UU Story Part One: Early Church to the Reformation
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
To appreciate our inclusive and diverse religious tradition, I believe it is important to understand our history. Over three Sundays in September, we will explore the fascinating story of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Part one of this three part series looks at the theological origins of Unitarianism and Universalism leading up to the Reformation.
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September 1, 2019

Labor in Detroit: Legacy and Lessons
Tony Paris
Detroit’s identity has been tied to the labor movement thanks in large part to our rich history of unionization in the auto industry. Who were those folks whose backs we stand on? What has changed over the years and why? What lessons from them can we take as we try to create a future that is more equitable for unskilled labor?
Tony Paris is the lead attorney at the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, a national, non-profit organization, dedicated to providing legal support and advocacy for low-income working people, immigrants, and their communities, where he specializes in worker and community rights regarding plant closings & mass layoffs, wage & hour actions, unemployment insurance benefits, and employee organizing/NLRB filings.
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August 25, 2019

Humanism and Religious Dialogue
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
When our Minister was on the Board of Chaplains at Harvard University, one of his most important colleagues was Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain to Harvard University. Today, we will explore important concepts advanced by Epstein about the importance of humanists being involved in inter-religious dialogue.
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August 18, 2019

The Power of We
Martha Bogner
Who are we: as individuals, as a community, as part of a larger whole? How does that inform the way we're called to be with each other and in the wider world?
Martha Bogner is a member of UU Detroit, a seminarian at Meadville Lombard, and many other things as well. She offers some reflections on this theme of the 2019 UUA General Assembly through the lens of her recent experience in Spokane, WA.
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August 11, 2019

Shootings in America
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
This past weekend highlighted what has become too prevalent a reality of mass shootings in our country. Today, we will focus on how we might respond as a spiritual community to this toxic quality of contemporary American life.
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August 4, 2019

Swimming and Spirituality
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Today, the Minister will offer his spiritual autobiography about the importance of swimming and water to his life. Many cultures see bodies of water and flowing water as holy places, even as gods, and he will ruminate on this as part of his sermonic meditation.
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July 28, 2019

Values in Space
Joel Batterman
Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly and other science fiction hits are set in the far reaches of outer space. But they're so popular because they speak directly to our own world's most pressing ethical and spiritual questions, although the answers they give are markedly different. What are the insights and blind spots of each approach, and might they help this troubled planet find its way forward?
Joel Batterman, a member of UU Detroit, is a PhD student in urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan and co-chair of the Motor City Freedom Riders bus rider organization.
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July 21, 2019

On Faith and Science
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
I want to take on the often utilized false dichotomy of religion and science, which creates the impression that people of faith by practice reject science, and that scientists by virtue of their worldview must eschew faith. To quote Shakespeare's Hamlet, "There are more things in heaven and earth... Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
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July 14, 2019

Children in Cages
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
The humanitarian crisis at the American southern border is becoming an increasingly horrific situation. As families seek asylum in the United States, their children are separated from them, kept in deplorable conditions, sometimes shipped away to entire other parts of the country, with no system for how to reunite them. Today, we will focus on this issue and how we, as a faith community, might step into the fray in addressing this situation as part of our focus on immigration issues.
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July 7, 2019

Research and Spirituality
Irene Brisson
How can the spiritual search for truth and meaning be figured as a sort of research project? In short, what are questions to ask ourselves and others in this pursuit? Reflecting on the practices of scientific inquiry, I consider the role of repetition in spiritual traditions. Intersecting the writings of physicist Michael Faraday, poet T.S. Elliot, and the biblical Ecclesiastes, I offer a meditation on time, inquiry, and return in the pursuit of knowledge -- sacred and profane.
Irene Brisson is a member of UU Detroit since 2014 and a doctoral candidate in architecture at the University of Michigan. She researches social relationships in house design in Leogane, Haiti.
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June 30, 2019

The Spiritual Lives of LGBTQ People
Daniel Horrigan
Social worker and storyteller Daniel Horrigan will present on the various religious experiences of LGBTQ people. This speech will examine barriers to faith practices for Queer folks, and shine a light on successful models of welcoming churches. We will also use this opportunity to acknowledge ways in which we as UU's are successful in welcoming and including the LGBTQ community and discover ways in which we can do this better.
Daniel Horrigan is a proud member of 1st UU Detroit. A New York City transplant, Dan served on the RE team at All Souls NYC for seven years where he taught the 7th grade racial and social justice curriculum. Outside of church, Dan was the founder and artistic director of At Hand Theater Company. A company dedicated to developing socially conscious new works by emerging playwrights. At Hand presented over 15 productions of new works off and off - off broadway. As a solo artist and storyteller, Dan wrote and performed "the Big A", a serio-comic monologue about living with HIV. "The Big A" was produced twice in New York City including the New York International Fringe Festival. Daniel is a recent graduate of the Wayne State School of Social Work where he had the privilege of doing field work at both The Ruth Ellis Center and The Alzheimer's Association Greater Michigan Chapter. Dan is just getting started here in Detroit!
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June 23, 2019

Where from Here?
Pastor Bill and Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Eleven years ago, before it was legal in Michigan, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann and her partner Erinn Fahey were married at St Peter’s Episcopal Detroit. In consequence, ecclesiastical charges were brought against her father, Bill Wylie-Kellermann, a United Methodist pastor. Now, the UMC is about to split over the full inclusion of LGBTQ members in the church. Lydia and Bill will share out of their experience in relation to the present moment.
Bill Wylie-Kellermann is an author, teacher, nonviolent community activist, and retired pastor living and working in Detroit. In Jesus, he bets his life on the gospel non-violence, good news to the poor, Word made flesh, and freedom from the power of death.
Lydia Wylie-Kellermann is the editor of Geez magazine focused on contemplative cultural resistance. We explore the point at which word, action and image intersect, and then ignite. She lives in southwest Detroit with her partner and two sons.

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June 16, 2019

Where in the World is God?
Rev. Diane Baker
In our world today, around every corner and on every news outlet, we are bombarded with reports about the worst that is going on in our communities, nations and environment. It’s easy to get disheartened, despondent and even depressed. We could be convinced that we’re on the slippery slope down into the abyss. However we are reminded every day in many ways that God is in the mix, pulling us onto the path that brings health, healing and wholeness. We just need eyes to see.
Before opening her private counseling practice in 2000 Diane worked in corporate America for 16 years. She holds a Mechanical Design Engineering Technology degree from Michigan Technological University; a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Counseling from Oakland University with a Post-Masters specialization in Marriage and Family Counseling; She also earned her Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degrees from Ecumenical Theological Seminary. Her DMin explored how church leaders can become more mindful through family systems-based conflict training. Diane also has trained extensively through the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center on how to work effectively with conflict in churches. She is currently the pastor at Bethel United Church of Christ in Waterford and has a heart for building Interfaith relationships as well as for creating healthy churches. Diane enjoys travel, golf, scuba diving, and landscaping. She and her husband Dean live in Clarkston.
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June 9, 2019

The Rights of Women
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
In a time in which more women hold political office in the United States than ever before, we concurrently live in a time in which women's rights and liberty are more in jeopardy than they have been in the past fifty years. Today, we will examine what is happening in American politics that has brought us to this tremulous time, and how we might engage our political system to avert this crisis.
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June 2, 2019

On Democracy
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Unitarian Universalists place a high value on democracy, both in political process and in its own considerations. On this day, when in our church we hold an election for our next class of church officers, it is important to consider why this process is important and how representative government is essential to our understanding of ourselves and our society.
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May 26, 2019

On Service and Memory
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional entry point to the summer vacation season in the United States, but far more importantly, our federal holiday for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Today, we will explore what service to this country means, both in the military and otherwise, and how we might honor all of those who have served our country.
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May 19, 2019

Hospitality and Welcome
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Two days before this service, the world will commemorate The International Day Against Homophonia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This is a day to raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. As we seek to become an ever more welcoming church, I want to discuss the very concept of hospitality and what we might do to become increasingly welcome to our LGBT neighbors and friends.
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May 12, 2019

Birthing Revolution, Birthing Hope
Siwatu-Salama Ra
Mother and organizer Siwatu-Salama Ra will share her experience being raised by an activist mother along with a village of Detroit organizers, and how she passes on the generational wealth of love, social justice, and community power to her children.
Siwatu-Salama Ra is a mother and organizer who was born and raised in Detroit. She grew up in the environmental justice movement, and is currently the co-director of East Michigan Environmental Action Council. In addition to her work locally and across the country, Siwatu represented Detroit and the United States at global social justice and climate justice events in France, Turkey, and Senegal. She also led youth organizing and media justice work including the Young Educators Alliance and Detroit Future Youth. On March 1st, 2018 Siwatu was incarcerated for defending herself, her mother, and daughter. At the time she was six and a half months pregnant was forced to give birth to her beautiful son during her imprisonment. After nearly nine months at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, Siwatu was released in order to appeal her unjust conviction and reunited with her family. She continues to fight for her freedom as well as well as organize for environmental justice and a world without prisons. FreeSiwatu.org
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May 5, 2019

Cinco de Mayo
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
One of the most popular celebrations of the year, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican-American culture. But do we even know what we are celebrating, or that this is a much more popular celebration in the United States than it is in Mexico? Today, we will explore the commemoration of the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, and understand better what this celebration has become for us today.
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April 28, 2019

On Doubt
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Last Sunday, many churches around us celebrated Easter. The Sunday after, Christians often tell the story of “Doubting Thomas,” the disciple who did not believe in Jesus’ resurrection. Rev. Murray will talk about the history of the tradition of Thomas in the early Christian church, and further explore the importance of doubt in any life of faith.
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April 21, 2019

Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders in Today’s American Society
Dr. Russell Kavalhuna
Henry Ford College President Russell Kavalhuna will discuss what leadership means for our young people today. Current leaders were influenced by a very different sphere of influences than that of young adults today.
Russell A. Kavalhuna, J.D., joined Henry Ford College as the institution's sixth president in July 2018. The role unites his passions for public service, education, and institutional leadership. As the son of an immigrant who attended a Michigan community college, he believes the community college model of education and service is the gateway to the American Dream. His work experience is varied and rich. He has a federal prosecutor and a commercial airline captain. In 2018, Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer’s transition team selected Mr. Kavalhuna for consultation on higher-education policy. He continues to offer the Governor’s office insight on the intersection of education, statewide-talent development, and workforce development. He was appointed by the last two governors, Snyder and Granholm, to The Aeronautics Commission. Additionally, Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush selected Mr. Kavalhuna to serve in the second class of their Presidential Leadership Scholars program in 2016.
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April 14, 2019

Ostara, Revisited
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
The Spring Equinox (remember that, back in March?) is significant because it is the time when night and day are of equal length, and a time to celebrate balance in all things. Our Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic ancestors would celebrate the arrival of Spring’s arrival many different ways. Today, as much of Christendom gears up to celebrate Easter in a week, we reflect on Ostara, which would seem to be an origin for modern Christianity’s celebration of Easter.
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April 7, 2019

Getting to YE$
Dan Secrest
We will kick off our annual pledge campaign with a rousing discussion of where we stand as a church, and how we can progress together.
Dan Secrest is a longtime member of UU Detroit, having served the congregation in many capacities, including worship, communications, finance, and religious education.
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March 31, 2019

On Dorothea Dix
Sally Borden
Dorothea Dix, a strong Unitarian woman, survived a traumatic childhood and suffered mental illness herself . But out of this trauma, she managed to get state governments in every state in the U. S. during the mid 1800's to open at least one mental hospital to provide treatment, relieve suffering and stop the jailing of the mentally ill. Have we now gone backward?
Sally Borden is a longtime member of UU Detroit, having served the congregation in many capacities, including worship, membership, caring, and religious education. She has recently published an ebook entitled Saving the World--Part II, a real life look at working in the trenches as a social worker for 54 years in Detroit.
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March 24, 2019

Higher, Further, Faster
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
In recent weeks, the highest grossing movie without question will have been Captain Marvel. It is the story of an ace fighter pilot who encounters an alien and thereby is introduced to a wider universe than she could have imagined before. Carol Danvers' story asks the question what it means to be human and what it means to be a woman in a context where humanity is no longer normal.
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March 17, 2019

A Conversation with Jane Addams
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
This dialogical sermon was first offered in 2002 at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, California by the Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, now President of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Inspired by the biography of Jane Addams by Jean Bethke Elshtain, Rev. Barker wanted a way to tell the important work Jane Addams did with Chicago's immigrant population and the nation's peace movement without sounding like a history lecture. This is a re-enactment of that dialogical sermon.
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March 10, 2019

Women and the American Presidency
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
This year, a record number of women are running for the presidency of the United States. Today's sermon will focus on this phenomenon in American politics, and what has brought us to this moment when women are determined to lead the country.
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March 3, 2019

Wonder Woman
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
One of the most beloved characters of the DC comics universe is Wonder Woman, an Amazon who comes to the "world of men" as both savior and hero. In 2017, the movie Wonder Woman threw wide open the door to women as the leading heroic figure in fantasy movies.
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February 24, 2019

Jim Crow Detroit
Jamon Jordan
Segregation, sharecropping, lynchings, and the intense racism of the Jim Crow South, led to the Great Migration. Detroit would be a major destination for African Americans leaving the south. Jamon Jordan will speak on this era in which African Americans created and became a part of the historic communities of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, where they founded churches, schools, civic institutions, as well as 350 Black-owned businesses. And learn how it was destroyed by local, state and federal policies of urban renewal and interstate highways. His talk will take us right up to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1950s and 60s.
Jamon Jordan was born and raised in Detroit & Highland Park. In high school and college, Jordan became active in protesting and organizing against white supremacy and on behalf of Black Studies and Black self-determination. While in college, he met and became a student of Kwame Ture, formerly known as Stokely Carmichael. This relationship widened his perspective on Pan-Africanism and Black Nationalism. Jordan began teaching in 1999, and started working at Nsoroma Institute in 2003. While at Nsoroma Institute, he has taught African Community Studies, and African & African American History. He is the co-founder and facilitator of the Black Scroll Network History & Tours and has led research tours throughout the city of Detroit and the United States.
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February 17, 2019

Immolation and Identity
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
One of the moral quandaries of the Vietnam War era concerned the Buddhist monks who immolated themselves in protest of the war. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh corresponded with each other on this issue, providing a rich Christian-Buddhist dialogue on the comparative religious ethics concerning this topic. Our congregation felt the effect of this issue most acutely when one of our members, Alice Herz, immolated herself in March 1965 in protest of the escalation of the Vietnam War. Alice’s daughter, Helga, was a longtime member of First UU Detroit as well, active in the peace movement. There is a plaque on the fireplace mantel in the house lobby dedicated to Helga. Our service today will explore the memory of this form of protest.
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February 10, 2019

The Promise and the Practice: Unitarian Universalism’s Black History
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
Today’s service will explore the history of African Americans in the Unitarian Universalist movement, from 1860 to the present.
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February 3, 2019

On Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
One of the most important historians and interpreters of African American lives is Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University and host of the beloved PBS series Finding Your Roots. Today, we will explore the biography and legacy of Gates’s public intellectual work.
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January 27, 2019

Pilgrimage To Honor the Earth: Reflection from the Road
Rabbi Moshe Givental
What if the roots of our abusive relationships with people and world conflict are the same as our dysfunctional and destructive relationship with the environment and climate? What if re-connecting with our neighbors and strangers, is part of the same healing that we need in order to reconnect with the Earth and other-than-human life? Reflecting on these questions and the current environmental/climate crises, Rabbi Moshe Givental will share some thoughts from his Pilgrimage to Honor the Earth, walking from Boston to Detroit in the Summer of 2018.
Rabbi Moshe Givental is a teacher, community chaplain, and activist, working on issues at the intersection of ecology, justice, indigenous wisdom. He is a former psychotherapist, and was ordained as a Rabbi at the non-denominational Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Boston. More information at Moshe Givental website
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January 20, 2019

The Radical King
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
All too often, our vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. is of a religious statesman who guided a nation toward racial justice. But to see him in too antiseptic a way is to not recognize the full complexities of King, nor his genius.
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January 13, 2019

Hosea Ballou and Universalism
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
One of the most important architects of the Universalist movement in America was Hosea Ballou. Today, we will explore his history and legacy, and finally answer the question: Is Todd Ballou, our organist and director of music, related to Hosea?
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January 6, 2019

All Things Are New
Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, Minister
As we celebrate a new year, how do we truly make all things new? We have inherited a lot from the previous year, so what can we do to transform and inspire this new 2019?
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