The UUCB Service/Sermon archives
FULL SERVICES are available on our church Youtube channel, starting April 19th, 2020.
(Plus one from March 15th, our first Pandemic video).
SERMONS ONLY are available before that date below:
– For video sermons, click on the arrow
– For audio-only versions, click on the right-pointing arrow and make sure your device volume is turned up. You may need to wait a few seconds for the sermon to start.
– For the .pdf (readable) version, click on the sermon title. Only titles in blue have readable sermons.
April 12: The Promise of Change, Rev. Joan Montagnes
If Easter teaches us one thing, it is that change is possible. Life can conquer even death. Winter can become the miracle of spring. And we can rise, liberated from the bonds that hold us today, into a new tomorrow.
April 5: To Free the Prisoners, Rev. Joan Montagnes
Spring and the celebration of Passover lend new meaning to these days of confinement. A season of growth and a story of self-determination provide lessons while we sit in quarantine.
March 15: Waking to Wisdom, Julie Taylor
We all had the experience. A conversation we play over in our heads. A situation that could have gone better. We agonize over what could have been said or done, and it is a hard road to forgive ourselves when we have a bad case of the “Shouldas.” When we wake our inner selves to the wisdom within we have a chance of truly making a difference and moving those “Shouldas” to a way forward.
March 1: Where Wisdom Dwells, Charlene Montgomery
The seat of knowledge is in the head, but wisdom lies in the heart. A wise person knows out of experience — It is the inner knowing what to do in a given situation. In some cases, the decision that is met appears to be irrational, but often it turns out to be the right thing to do. The wise person knows from within, supported by the insights gained from a reflective disposition. Profound but wise lessons can be drawn from the things that happened to you, hence increasing your wisdom about many aspects of life. Trusting in your own wisdom makes room for you to act and not wait for a guru to show you the way or a politician to fix society’s problems.
February 9: Strength and Resilience. Rev. Joan Montagnes
A meditation on personal strengths, flexibility, adaptability and the pressures that can, if we let them, break us.
February 2: Pronouns are People Too. Rev. Joan Montagnes
All of existence is always shifting and moving. Nothing is constantly this or that. We are learning and experiencing a great change in our understanding of gender and identity. How could we ever think that people were only one thing or another?
January 19: Peeling Away the Layers, Rev. Joan Montagnes
When we peel away the layers of protection, other people’s expectations, and intentional forgetfulness we find, at the very core, our true selves. The process is not unlike peeling onions. There are tears.
January 5: Breathing In, Breathing Out, Sarah Martin
Unitarian Universalism is a living tradition that changes and adapts with time and events. How do we live into our shared values with each in breath and out breath?
Dec 29: Awe of the gods, Julie Taylor
There is this statement of comfort that says that god doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Yet this statement provides little comfort when the universe decides to exercise great power over our small existence. The insignificance we feel can be awful and awe-full at the same time. Our small existence can lead to our small choices on how we proceed with facing the overwhelming power of the universe.
Dec 15: The Sacred Between Us, Rev. Joan Montagnes
Interfaith groups have a difficult challenge. They want to join in justice-making, but to do that they need to understand each other. Assumptions are made. Insults are thrown. Disrespect arises. Creating a gracious space for dialogue is perhaps our greatest challenge of all.
November 17: Be Present this Day, Rev. Joan Montagnes
A meditative service. Time to breathe. Time to rest on the forming moment of life. Time to be here, now.
November 10: Learning to Stay, Gaelynn Lea
Gaelynn Lee will be our speaker on November 10 for this UAIM service. A violinist and singer as well as a speaker she will talk about disability education and awareness building. You can find out more about Gaelynn at Violinscratches.com.
November 3: A New Justice in Town, Rev. Joan Montagnes
As of this printing, four people have died in the Erie County Detention Center in the last four months. Twenty-eight inmates have died during Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s oversight of the Holding Center in downtown Buffalo and the county Correctional Facility in Alden. That’s one death every six months. That’s just plain too many, and very wrong.
October 20: Gather, Inspire, Transform! Julie Carter, Kathleen Powers, Robbie Butler
Our congregation created and adopted new Vision and Mission Statements last spring. Explore what it means to belong to our community in all its tenderness and power.
October 6: Restoring Community, Rev. Joan Montagnes
We are called to heal and not to harm, to heal and not to hinder, to bless and not to curse. And yet, the world is broken and imperfect. Our task is to restore community.
Sept 29: Human Expectation, Rev. Gerard Williams
As people of faith we may struggle to honor the “promises” of God because of our human expectations. It is in those moments that the lessons of temperance, long-suffering AND patience contribute to our spiritual integrity.
Sept 22: A Knock at the Door, Rev. Joan Montagnes
A reflective service of poetry and music welcoming the guest into our hearts. Let’s not be forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Sept 15: When you Least Expect It, Rev. Joan Montagnes
Although beauty can break through in your life when you least expect it, so can violence and loss. Domestic violence, ruined sanctuaries, the outbreak of war all surprise us and leave us wounded. Whole or wounded, let us heal the brokenness of the world.
Sept 1: We Shall Overcome, Rev. John Rex
The powerful words of the song inspire us, but we need better communication to attain that end. We Americans live in a culture of white supremacy, and sometimes we lack even a common vocabulary to talk about it or to tell our stories. Let’s work on that together.
Aug 18: Roots and Wings, Kristina Church
The early history of Unitarian Universalism is intertwined with a small region of Romania known as Transylvania. Nestled in the Carpathian mountain range, this region is home to a small but vibrant religious community of ethnically and linguistically Hungarian people, who continue to practice an ancient Unitarian tradition. Kristina Church recently traveled to Transylvania in order to learn more about our connections to the Hungarian Unitarian Church. During this service she’ll share some epiphanies, memories, and reflections from this soul-stirring journey.
Aug 4: Got god? Julie Taylor
Got milk? The advertisement beckons, influencing the masses to thoughtlessly pick up a gallon and put it in the shopping cart. Is it that easy? And should we be so easily influenced? In a turbulent time of god-getters body checking humanists and the like away from the god display in the loss leader aisle of your grocery store, advocating for god becomes an act of resistance for liberal theology.
July 28: Simplify Abundantly, Rev. Rita Capezzi
Albert Einstein said, “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.” Yes! And many of us know this idea through the simpler version, “Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler.” What exactly is simple enough and yet more than enough?
July 14: Practicing Simplicity, Rachel Clark
Frequently, summer is idealized as a period of relaxation, reflection, and connection with both nature and loved ones. However, being a part of the interconnected web of existence is anything but simple. We recognize the many problems in our community, and we work to solve these ills. Can we incorporate simplicity and acceptance into our spiritual practice? What would that look like?
July 7: Love is the Doctrine of Our Church, Rev. Joan Montagnes
We are often asked: “What do you Unitarian Universalists believe anyway?” We have a single, simple answer: “Every day we ask what Love requires of us.”
June 23: Are You Saved? – Bonnie Collins
Explore the legacy you are leaving to next generation. You don’t have to be old to think about this; its about how we give our lives meaning at any age.
June 16: Seeds of the Future, Messengers of Love – Joan Montagnes and Sarah Martin
This Sunday we celebrate our Flower Communion ritual. Bring a flower, or a bunch, to church. We will offer them as symbols of hope and share them as precious gifts of friendship.
May 19: Who Are You? – Rev. Joan Montagnes
The Worship Associates and Rev. Joan will explore aspects of identity. Get curious. Who is our neighbor? Who are you?
May 12: What It Means to Be a UU – Youth Group Service
Readings and reflections from the UUCB Youth on the meaning of Unitarian Universalism. As they evolve from children to adults, the youth group examines how they are evolving as UUs, too.
May 5: Encouraging Wonder – Rev. Joan Montagnes
For centuries, our faith has encouraged us to be thoughtful, rational and curious. We affirm the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. However, as faithful citizens we may not have ensured that all our neighbors have the resources they need to feed their natural curiosity.
April 21: Holy! Holy! Holy! – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Easter is here! The year has turned from frozen death to life, greenly and flowered. Rejoice! The stone is rolled away and out of the tomb rises Love.
April 14: Lessons Unforgotten – Sophia Veffer
After it happened in Nazi Germany, we swore, “Never again!” Yet, hatred and evil continue to re-surface. How can we stop the horror? Sophia Veffer shares her personal experience of the Holocaust and her views on the genocides that continue.
April 7: Wholey Water – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Most Unitarian Universalists find the Holy in Nature. Imagine sitting by a wooded stream or listening to waves crashing against the shore. Water, with its restorative properties, connects us to a Divine ongoing creation.
March 31: The Balm of Gillead – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Where do you find healing when life is wounding? You may have to journey far from your usual habits, friends, or routines to find the cure. You may even have to leave home. Or you might just need to journey inward to discover your own wholeness.
March 17: All the World’s a Stage – Vincent O’Neill, Artistic Director of the Irish Classical Theatre Company
This St. Patrick’s Day, Vincent O’Neill, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Buffalo’s Irish Classical Theater, will reflect on is journey and a life in theater.
March 10: On the Path – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Life is a journey. What is your quest? Not all who wander are lost. No one steps in the same river twice. The journey is the destination. When you come to a fork in the road, take it! Come to a reflective service on the journey of our days.
March 3: No More Caravans of Despair – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Sufi mystic, Jalal al-Din, invited us with these familiar words: “Come, come whoever you are; wanderer, worshiper lover of leaving. Our is no caravan of despair.” And yet today, we see refugees and desperate migrations everywhere.
February 24: Letting Go – Rev. Joan Montagnes
If we close our hands too tightly, they become fists. If we hold onto the past, we will never experience the present. If we don’t let go of the trapeze, we will never fly. Have a little trust. Try Letting go.
February 10: You have Ravished My Heart – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Reflections and meditations on living a life of trust and love.
February 3: Just Community – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Every week we begin our worship service by reciting our congregation’s mission statement.
“We gather in loving community, inspiring one another to transform ourselves, to create a more just and compassionate world.” But what does that mean? What is a just and compassionate community?
January 27: Boundless Possibility – Rev. Joan Montagnes
A meditative service to dwell on the possibilities open to us and the hope those possibilities offer. As Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”
January 20: UU Access and Inclusion Ministry Service – Andrew Marcum, PhD
Andrew is an Adjunct Professor of Disability Studies for the City University of New York and Program Coordinator at the Center for Self Advocacy in Buffalo. Andrew was a 2018 Open Buffalo Democracy Fellow where he developed an annual leadership forum dedicated to increasing civic and community engagement among people with disabilities in Buffalo and Erie County so that our community can become more inclusive, open, and accessible to all People.
January 13: Who is the Stranger? – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Since ancient times, communities asked, “Who are my Neighbors?”
To that age-old question, we might add, “Who are we?” and, perhaps more importantly, “Whose are we?” As we reach for answers, we might surprise ourselves.
November 25: Beyond Gratitude – Rabbi Jonathan Freirich
As we emerge from a week of giving thanks, how will we turn our “attitude of gratitude” into action? As recipients of blessings, what is our responsibility to the world when blessings are so unfairly distributed? This is an ancient question. How do ancient texts and contemporary observations help us delve deeper?
November 11: Lest We Forget – Rev. Joan Montagnes
George Santayana told us, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Apparently, we have a lot of remembering to do.
Oct 28: Live in Possibility – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Gloria Steinem said “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Isn’t that fun? It’s stewardship Sunday!
Oct 14: Discovering Sanctuary – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Take some time this morning to visit the temple of your heart. A reflective service to rest on the
forming moment of the day. Open yourself to the stillness.
Oct 7: Yearning to Breathe Free – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Lately a lot of us feel like we have been holding our breath, steeped in so much fear that we hardly know which way to turn. This why we join in religious community, to widen our vision and increase our strength. You are not alone and together we can find a way to breathe free.
September 30: Transforming the Future – Whitney Walker
Whitney Walker is the Executive Director of VOICE-Buffalo our local faith-based community organizing network. She has a powerful vision of how an interfaith community of congregations in Buffalo and Erie County can organize for social change.
September 23: The Long View – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Allegedly, the poet Pablo Neruda wrote “Even now, as always, it is still early.” How comforting. We still have more than a chance to do it all. We just need to shift our point of view to beyond the horizon.
September 16: Finding Clarity – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Our vision is often muddied by regrets of yesterday, trivial distractions of today, and anxiety about tomorrow. Seeing through the muck to life’s most important offerings can be a challenge.
September 9: A Bold New Wave – Rev. Joan Montagnes and Sarah Martin
Fresh from our summer dreaming and relaxation, we gather again as a community. Unchartered seas, as always, lie before us. Let’s set sail! This is our annual water communion ceremony.
July 1: Seeds for the Sowing – Kristina Church
UUCB member Kristina Church is in seminary. Worshiping with this congregation inspired her dream of becoming a UU minister. Share in her impressions of her first year; a time of planting seeds that may someday yield a fruitful harvest.
June 24: A House for our Dreams – Edward Harris
The weather is nice. Get out and enjoy yourself. Enjoy the culture, meet the people, and experience the land. Be mindful, take in all of it, and perpetuate kindness in the community.
June 17: A Communion of Life – Rev. Joan Montagnes and Sarah Martin
Flower Communion Sunday is one of our High Holidays. Bring a flower to share. Not only will this be a multigenerational service, we will also have the joy of a Child Dedication Ceremony.
June 10: Wrestling with the Spirit – Rev. Joan Montagnes
When you wrestle with a gorilla, you don’t give up when you get tired. You keep wrestling until the gorilla gets tired. The same is true with your spirit. Wrestle until the spirit blesses you.
June 3: Proud and Blessed – Rev. Joan Montagnes
It seems difficult to love our whole selves. We all have faults. We have all made mistakes. And yet each of us is wholly loved, loving and lovable.
May 20: Creative Religious Education – Sarah Martin
We celebrate the end of our RE year with a fun, multigenerational service honoring the creativity and dedication of our students and volunteers.
May 13: Be Inspired – Joan Montagnes
Inspire, respire, conspire: with body, heart and soul we transform ourselves and our world. A meditative service to breathe life into our days.
April 29: Yes We Can – Joan Montagnes
This Memorial Day service we will remember those who died and all our deceased loved ones. We will also reflect on a time our church made a bold decision to be part of a larger peace movement and how that decision propels our moral obligation today.
April 15: Radical Hospitality – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Imagine a world in which everyone felt truly welcome and honored for exactly who they were. No more wasting time on prejudging, oppressing, and violence. What new possibilities would emerge in our community? It may be a far-off dream, but we might be able to get a whole lot closer than we are today.
April 1: A Foolish Emergence – Rev. Joan Montagnes
It’s Easter! Spring has sprung! Emerge into the new day leaving behind the dried husks of winter clothes, your past encumbrances, and society’s constraints. Get foolish on this happy day!
March 25: Finding a Balance – Rev. Joan Montagnes
It seems impossible in our busy schedules to find time to balance heart and soul. Competing distractions, diversions and demands impinge on the health of the spirit. Suddenly, we can find ourselves tumbling off life’s tightrope and into the abyss.
March 11: Weaving Webs – Dr. Rita Capezzi
Sometimes it feels like the world is determined to tear us apart, to set us against each other, to isolate us from one another. What can we do to recognize the threads connecting us, to weave stronger strands of relationship, to value the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a small and vital part? Rita is looking forward to her ordination as a UU Minister this spring.
March 4: Balancing the Scales – Rev. Joan Montagnes
If only we were simply called to find balance in our own lives, but we are called to do so much more. We are called to balance the scales of justice – not with the sword, but with compassion and humility.
Feb 25: Underneath the Surface – Rev. Renée Ruchotzke
UU Congregations, like all groups with a common identity, have their own unique cultures. Like an iceberg, part of that culture is visible. But a larger part of culture is underneath the surface. We will explore aspects of that unconscious culture to understand how our UU communities can be more welcoming to cultures in the global majority.
Feb 18: Looking to the Horizon – Rev. Joan Montagnes
As People of Persistence, we must look to the coming day, to the horizon of our vision, and then…beyond.
Feb 11: A Caring Community – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Happy Valentines’ Day! No, not that kind of Valentines’ Day. The kind where we begin to understand the vital power of transformative love in community.
Feb 4: We Can’t Stop Now – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Crises bring out crowds and draw attention, but an effective movement toward justice depends on local people who know one another and are committed to working together for the long haul. Trust and care are at the heart.
January 28: If You Build It, They Will Come – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Do you ever get the feeling you aren’t welcome? People with disabilities are greeted with barriers all the time. Our Universal Access and Inclusion Ministry Team asks, “How can we widen the circle of hospitality in our church and in our hearts?”
January 21: Stepping into the Breach? – Rev. Joan Montagnes
You can sit around for years and years and do nothing. Suddenly, often without any conscious effort on your part, you are called to action. All you have to do is dive in. This sermon was purchased at the Service Auction by Eve Holberg.
January 14:Faithful Interactions – Sarah Martin
We strive to honor the legacy and sacrifice of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by doing our part to help bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.
January 7: “Who Leads the Revolution?” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
A moral movement for change will put human faces on injustice. It will amplify the voices of the oppressed. How can we help without taking over?
December 31: “Hope Over Troubled Waters” – Julie Taylor
In the past year we’ve been faced with many troubled waters. Many of us have been navigating difficult family relationships, defining personal parameters of integrity, speaking out to impact change, and taking action to make a difference. Having hope means understanding every nuance, every eddy, every danger of the troubled waters and still maintaining the conviction that one day, the waters will calm.
December 17: “Finding Hope” – The Rev. Joan Montagnes
When Pandora opened the box given to her by Zeus, all the evils of the world escaped and filled our lives. But, when Pandora looked deeper inside, there, at the bottom of the box, she found Hope. It is also our Mitten Tree service and we welcome donations of mittens, scarves, and hats to be sent to Journey’s End to help keep Buffalo’s refugee families keep warm.
December 10: Homily from the Winter Music Sunday Service – “With Gratitude and Praise”
We continue our 6-year presentation of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, with Part 4. Dan will conduct the Choir, Su Lee, and a chamber orchestra of Buffalo’s top professional musicians in a program that will also include other of Bach’s sacred works.
December 3: “Hope for the Future” – The Rev. Joan Montagnes
We are a people of hope. We believe that the transformative power of Love can always work through in new ways. We believe we can restore and heal broken relationships. It will be difficult, but together we can fulfil our promise of bringing peace, faith and justice to the larger community.
Nov. 26 “My Friend in Need” – Pastor James Giles
The needs are real. When you are about to fall over the edge, who is there to grasp your hand and never let you go? Pastor James Giles is the President and CEO of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries and the President of VOICE-Buffalo.
Nov. 19 “Grace and Gratitude” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Our annual Thanksgiving worship service. Come and break bread (literally)! There is always room at the welcome table! And there is always more than enough delicious nourishment for the soul.
Nov. 12 “Start with Abundance” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
A service of music and words for meditation upon a value which is so often forgotten in these disturbing days. When we remember our abundance, we remember our ability to love with power.
Nov. 5 “A Little Help from our Friends” Rev. Joan Montagnes
We are blessed with an abundance of allies in our social justice work. Without them, we would be spinning our wheels in the mud of history. Remember, we do not have to believe alike to change the world for the better together.
Oct. 29 “Democracy in the City” – Councilmember Joel Feroleto
Buffalo is in an exciting time of growth, immigration, and economic resurgence. And yet, much of our city’s population is living in poverty, neighborhoods are run down, and schools are lacking. What is going on in City Hall? What is capturing the imagination of our elected officials? Is your voice represented in local government?
Oct. 22 “Opportunities Abound!” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
The world is your oyster of new opportunities and experiences. Don’t be shy. Have courage! Dive right in!
Oct 15 “Living Our Values: Plant Gratitude, Harvest Joy!” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
The luckiest minister in the world gets to share her overflowing happiness with her congregation. This Stewardship Sunday we will remember that generosity is our grateful response to life’s many blessings.
Oct 8 “Stories Matter: Courage Defies Oppression” – Dr. Andrew Kahn
Human beings have been sharing and using stories for over 150,000 years. We share stories to celebrate our unity. We use stories to bring order to the chaos of our lives. This chaos in our global, local and personal lives can, when unattended, oppress and suppress our stories. We must arm ourselves with tools and vocabulary for surfacing, building and sharing our stories. It requires courage. It is essential if we are to move forward. It always has been.
Oct 1 “Brave Democracy” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
In this country, it is easy to vote. But it takes a lot of courage to build a just democratic system.
Sept 24 “Welcoming Forgiveness and Starting Anew” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
This service sits between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – the New Year’s celebration and the annual Day of Atonement. At this season, we forgive ourselves, and each other and begin again in love. Easier said than done.
Sept 17 “Getting Involved and Making a Difference” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Love is our doctrine, the quest for truth is our sacrament, and service is our prayer. This year our congregation will embark on an engaging social action ministry to heal the democratic process, dismantle white supremacy, and build bridges with allies in seeking justice. Join the struggle. Join the party. Everyone is welcome.
July 30 “Interdependence”- Rev. John Rex
Consider how our very independent selves might best function as components of the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.
July 16 “Bridging Journeys” – Rev. Rita Capezzi
Within a community where you are known and comfortable, you might not have to make many, if any, personal changes. But what if you want to be in community with people whose life experiences are very different from your own? What personal journeys might you have to take in order to be in community?
June 25 “Profiles in Courage” – Bill Parke, Church Historian
In terms of justice work, Unitarian Universalists in Buffalo have been early adopters. We support social change before it is fashionable. In times like these, in a city like ours, that role is noble, unique and priceless, and we can own it like few others. We should draw strength from our commitment to justice because it makes our world a better place, even if it is sometimes a hard road. It is the best road, spiritually, because travelling that road is to live on the side of righteousness.
June 18 “Freedom, Beauty and Power” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Spring has finally come. The flowers are out in wild colors and vivid scents. Life springs eternal and spring means Flower Communion Sunday. Bring a flower to share. Don’t worry, we don’t eat the flowers!
June 4 “Pride and Joy” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Rainbows, butterfly wings, body glitter and dancing in the streets. The Pride Fest brings a lot of zest to Elmwood Avenue. But its more than a party. Together, the Parade and the Dyke March remind us that these uncertain times call us to speak up against injustice everywhere.
May 28 “We Remember All Souls” -Rev. Joan Montagnes
On Memorial Day, we remember those who lost their lives in battle. We remember all our loved ones who once lived, felt love and saw sunsets glow. All souls shed their mortal coils in the fullness of time. Ours is a sanctuary of memory, caring and hope.
May 14 “Body and Soul” Rev. Joan Montagnes
Walt Whitman said “If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.” Rejoice in your embodied spirit.
April 16 “Rise Up! Rise Up!” Rev. Joan Montagnes
“Show your power. We’re dancing into the sun. It’s time for celebration. Spirit’s time has come.”
These are the lyrics to Parachute Club’s 1983 “Rise Up”, a pop tune that just sings “Easter!” to me. (https://vimeo.com/10022924) It is definitely time to shake off the chill that’s been keeping us down and Rise Up!
April 9 “Just Do It” Rev. Joan Montagnes
It’s Volunteer Appreciation Sunday! You are the ones who show up. You do what need to be done for the greater good. That is the holy work of the world. Come and be celebrated! Remember, they also serve who sit and listen.
April 2 “Strawberry Moments” Rev. Joan Montagnes
When the past is full of monsters, the future is equally terrifying, and the today is fleeting, the most precious moment may be right now. Don’t miss the sweetness.
March 26 “Risking Everything for a Better Life” -Eva Hassett, Executive Director, International Institute of Buffalo
Immigrants and refugees are making Buffalo a wonderfully diverse and vibrant city, but coming to a new country is hard, and the status of many who are here and their friends and relatives who want to join may be under siege. How can we help, and what do we need to know and understand to do so effectively?
March 12 “Dangerous Truths” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Truth is dangerous when it threatens the status quo. Lying lives offer comfort for some, but justice for none.
February 26 “Thinking About Disability, Overcoming, and Brilliant, Imperfection” – UAIM Team & guest speaker Eli Clare
Mr. Clare, who identifies as white, disabled and genderqueer, is a national speaker, teacher and facilitator from Vermont, published essayist and poet, and helped organize the first-ever Queerness and Disabilities Conference.
February 19 “I See You” Rev. Joan Montagnes
In the Serengeti, in India, and in the 2009 blockbuster, Avatar, people greet each other by saying “I see you.” When someone sees us for who we are, we matter.
Feb. 5 “Mumbling in the Elevator” – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Imagine you have a single elevator ride to tell your friend about Unitarian Universalism. What do you say? Who are we? What do we do? And why, in this day and age, do we matter?
Jan. 22 “Our Shared Future”- Marvin Henchnbarger, speaker
Marvin Henchbarger, Executive Director of Gay and Lesbian Youth Services (GLYS), will help us make sense of today’s complex and sometimes confusing landscape of identities around sexual orientation and gender identity and point to ways we can make ourselves and our congregation more welcoming to people of all identities.
Jan. 15 “Dreaming Boldly” Rev. Joan Montagnes
This Martin Luther King Jr. weekend we look deep into our dreams to see the future.
Jan. 8 – “Three Easy Tips to Survive 2017” Rev. Joan Montagnes
Step right up, folks! Here is your Field Guide to the Future! All you need is a few simple lessons to make it through the wilds of our brave new world.
Jan. 1 – “Who Chooses the Chosen One?” Sarah Martin, DRE, and Daniel Bassin, Music Director
Prophecies are a recurring theme in oral stories and literature. It is always a thrill to ride alongside a character who has been chosen to fulfill a spectacular destiny. What happens when there’s room for interpretation in the prophecy? What part does a character play in creating a place in the story?
Dec. 11 – “A Season of Presence” Rev. Joan Montagnes
Amid the holiday feasting, family gatherings, and general hubbub, it can be tricky to become fully spiritually present. What is the Holy bringing to birth in your heart?
Nov. 27 – “A Voice in the Community” Pastor James Giles and Rev. Joan Montagnes
VOICE Buffalo organizes congregations throughout our community to fight for justice. Together we are stronger and wiser. Let’s become a more effective social action church. Let’s be the change we want to see.
Nov. 20 – “Thanks for all the Fish!” Rev. Joan Montagnes
We have so much to be grateful for, including fish! This Thanksgiving, we’ll put aside the old threadbare story of the pilgrims for the wisdom of author Douglas Adams. We will also share not fish, but in a communion of bread, cider and good company.
November 13, 2016: Racial Justice: Where Are We Going? – The Racial Justice Task Force
We hope that you will join us as we share our stories and reflect on the steps we need to take to go forward in love. We are not alone!
November 6, 2016: What’s Your Story? – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Muriel Rukeyser said “The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” We can see these cosmic building blocks in politics and in our own hearts.
October 30, 2016: Healing Earth’s Spirits – Frances Montgomery
As the earth’s seasons shift from summer to winter, the veil between life and death is at its thinnest. A good time to hold all our relations in love.
October 23, 2016: Living Our Values – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Celebrate our community and our faith as we joyously and raucously kick off our stewardship campaign. What do you value? Tall Caramel Macchiato $4.91, roundtrip ticket to Paris $791, a faith community that energizes you with the transformative power of love: priceless!
October 16, 2016: The Healing Arms of Prayer – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Some say the only prayers we need can be summed up in four words: Oops, Thanks, Gimme, and Wow. Yes, that’s true, and yet there is so much more.
October 9, 2016: Become Awestruck – Rev. Joan Montagnes
The Jewish tradition holds their New Year festival in the fall, but before they can begin with a clean slate they feel they need to heal any broken relationships within their community and between their community and the Divine. What a truly awesome task!
October 2, 2016: We are All Links in a Chain – Guest Speaker, Richard J. Morrisroe, Esq. Executive Director, Buffalo Commission on Citizens’ Rights & Community Relations
We are all linked by our shared gifts and flaws, yet we forget those links when we become isolated in our racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural segregation. It then becomes Us vs. Them and that defines our social interactions. To heal, we must acknowledge the pain, hurt, frustration, fear and anger. We have to validate those feelings and losses; acknowledge our diversity and a way that respects, tolerates and at best, celebrates. That will allow us to rediscover our shared gifts and flaws and learn to love others as we love ourselves.
September 18, 2016: We are Better Together – Delegates to the 2016 UUA General Assembly
Last June, eleven of us went to the General Assembly of Unitarian Universalist Congregations. the promise and challenge of our faith are exhilarating. We came home transformed and wish to bring the new message to you.
September 11, 2016: It Feels like Home – INGATHERING! – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Welcome back! It’s our annual ingathering service. We will be celebrating the water communion ceremony, so bring a little memory of summer in the form of a little offering of water with you.
August 21, 2016: Got Spirituality? – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Are you spiritual but not religious? What’s the difference? What is this thing called “spirituality” anyway?
June 19, 2016: You are Not Alone (Flower Communion) – Rev. Joan Montagnes
During this last service in the regular church program year we will joyously celebrate, in story and song, our annual Flower Communion with our whole multigenerational congregation. Bring a flower (or a whole bunch) to share in this ritual of colorful ritual of life. We will remind ourselves, once again, especially when times are tough, that we are not alone. Don’t worry! We don’t eat the flowers.
June 5, 2016: A Sanctuary for All of Us: Universal Access and Inclusion – Guest Speaker, Tami Moore
For LGBTQ people, for those born with different abilities or who have acquired a disability at some point in their life, and for anyone who experiences a life that is somehow seen by others as outside the norm, church communities can be blessed sanctuaries in the struggle to live with integrity. When a congregation accepts the call to be a place of peace and respite, succor and rejuvenation, what have they gotten themselves into? Is THIS congregation ready live this vision into reality?
May 29, 2016: Decorating Memories – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Memorial Day is set aside for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. We also take time to remember all our beloved dead whether they served in the military or not. This Sunday we decorate the memories if not the graves themselves.
May 15, 2016: The Starfish and the Baby – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Saving the world is a complicated and daunting proposition. You could help one person at a time, but find more broad approaches paralyzing in their scope. You could address justice issues systematically, but find hands on ministry way too intimate. Is it better to bring a can of peas to a food drive, or write your legislator about peace?
May 8, 2016: Who, me? – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? These beautiful words, from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day,” are practically scripture for many Unitarian Universalists. We ponder at life’s purpose. But once called, we often doubt our ability to shine.
April 24, 2016: Stretch Your Spirit – Rev. Joan Montagnes
If you think you have completed your spiritual journey and have decided once and for all upon your beliefs, think again. Get up off the recliner before you fossilize. Faith is not a spectator sport.
April 17, 2016: The Committee Meeting of Your Mind – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Do you hear voices? Rev. Joan admits to having a lively cast of characters including her mother, a televangelist, and a fictitious character named “the Beet Woman” who help her make decisions. And yes, she also listens to the still small voice within.
April 10, 2016: How Large the Circle – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Shifting our attitudes from scarcity to abundance is hard work, especially in these uncertain times during which fear is rewarded. And yet, shifting our attitude and our spirits is exactly our task if we are to survive.
March 27, 2016: The Secret Garden – Rev. Montagnes
Celebrate Easter with music and musings on spring and the resurrection of the spirit. Emerge from the quiet of winter. Be reborn. Refreshed. Come into the garden.
March 20, 2016: A Pocket, Full of Liberation – Jo VonRue
Women have been shamed about their roles and bodies since the fall of Eve in the story of Genesis. Come hear about how the new, ever increasing presence of pockets in dresses has begun to give us a new found sense of freedom and is beginning to liberate us all!
March 6, 2016: Message in a Bottle – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Castaways throw messages in bottles out to sea in hopes of being found. We sometimes bury time capsules to be discovered in the tides of time to come. What do you hold securely, so your message can get through?
February 28, 2016: The Whole Truth – Laura Pederson
Lying is always morally wrong according to philosopher Immanuel Kant. Yet, my Aunt Sally says white lies are okay when they spare someone’s feelings. Our attitude toward truthfulness impacts all of our relationships and shapes our expectations for behavior by others. On a larger scale, when our faith in the honesty of our leaders breaks down, society is at risk
February 21, 2016: Secrets and Silence: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Keeping hidden and forbidden knowledge, maintainingfamily taboos and denial, participating in clandestine andcloseted behavior: we all do it and we know it (except for the things that we don’t know about because they are kept secret from us).
February 14, 2016:A Greater Love – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Love is more than intimacy between two people. At its most powerful and most joyous, Love pulses through our wider and wider community overcoming oppression, violence, exclusion, fear and hatred.
February 7, 2016: Truth, Lies and the Laughter of the Gods – Rev. Joan Montagnes
Albert Einstein said “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” But if we aren’t the judges, who is? How do we know the Truth?
January 31, 2016: Into the Wilderness — Rev. Joan Montagnes
The wilderness is not necessarily a place of spiritual solace. It is where the great ones from Jesus to Thoreau have gone to confront their own demons.
January 17, 2016: The Beloved Conversation — Rev. Joan Montagnes
What makes building a truly post-racial world so difficult is that none of us have ever done it before. Every real conversation about race and multiculturalism is breaking new ground. We can only safely and creatively move forward through the pain if we hold each other in a deep and meaning-filled love.
January 10, 2016: How’s that Working for You? — Rev. Joan Montagnes
Do you ever feel like the same sort of @#$%& thing keeps happening to you over and over again? What would happen if you dared to step out of the box? That could change your life!
January 3, 2016: To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before — Rev. Joan Montagnes
We are tumbling into a new year. No one has ever been here before. How will you face the oncoming days? Are you afraid of the unknown or are you ready to face the future with courage?
12-06-15 People Get Ready — Rev. Joan Montagnes
The world seems to be changing at a more rapid rate every day. Climate change, the digital age, the global market. Is your spirit ready for The Next Big Thing?
11-29-15 Healing the Broken Heart — Rev. Joan Montagnes
And then there are the times when promises are broken, we feel abandoned and our faith is shattered. Where is the covenant then? Where is hope? How can we ever recover from that wound?
11-22-15 Plant Gratitude, Harvest Joy — Rev. Joan Montagnes
Celebrate a joyful Thanksgiving service! Abundance! Gratitude! Life, however fragile, is a gift. May we count our blessings with graciousness.
11-15-15 We Belong To The City — Crystal Rodriguez, Department Head, City of Buffalo Commission on Citizens’ Rights and Community Relations
Our church walls cannot be barriers to the outside. We enter our sanctuary to be intellectually stimulated and spiritually uplifted, inspired and ransformed so we may leave and become part of the greater community with more love, mindfulness and integrity. Opportunities abound!
11-08-15 We All Need Somebody to Lean On — Rev. Joan Montagnes
Our man Ralph Waldo Emerson was wrong. We are not and cannot be “Self-Reliant.” We are part of a beautiful, interdependent web of connection and relationship. There is absolutely no point in even trying to get through the trials and tribulations of this life on your own.
11-01-15 Promise-Making and High Throttle Democracy — Rev. Joan Montagnes
Politicians are always making wild promises during election season. We get all excited either “for” or “against.” The temperature goes up and there’s a lot of smoke in everyone’s engines, but are we getting anywhere?
10-25-15 You are the New Day — Rev. Joan Montagnes
It’s Stewardship Kick-Off Sunday! Our church makes real, positive differences in people’s lives and in our community. Every day is ours to grow into the church of our dreams! Gather! Be inspired! Transform the world! And let’s not forget to have a whole lot of fun!
10-18-15 Bless This House — Rev. Joan Montagnes
Our building was recently listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Our church home is pretty special. And so is your home, or wherever you hang your hat. Let us be awake to all that shelter’s us.
10-11-15 The Space Between Us — Rev. Joan Montagnes
Something very special happens when a blessing is offered and accepted. The air becomes powerfully alive and possibilities abound. Transformation occurs.
09-27-15 A Mantra for Starting Out — Rev. Joan Montagnes
Ever feel like a spiritual couch potato? Lack of motivation, energy or confidence getting you down? Begin training with this soul-stimulating mini-triathlon. Three thoughts to help you take that first all-important step.
09-20-15 Beginning Again in Love — Rev. Joan Montagnes
The Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur remind us of the possibility and promise of forgiveness.
05-03-15 Becoming That Which We Are Becoming — Rev. Joan Montagnes
04-26-15 An Unmoving Mover — Rev. Joan Montagnes