Past Sermons

Sermon text and audio (as available) for the last twelve months are arranged here in reverse chronological order.

As an alternative to this page, you may view All available sermon text and listen to All available sermon audio files.

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July 9th, 2017
"The Spiritual Practice of Risk Perception"
Seth Moran and Norm Enfield

As Carmelo Anthony once said, "Life is risk." Every day we make thousands of decisions large and small - Should I live in earthquake country? Should I talk to that stranger? Should I walk down this street at night alone? - that are rooted in how we perceive risk. In this service we will explore how risk perception works and how our sense of risk can influence our ability to bring our core UU values into practice in our daily lives.



July 2nd, 2017
"Surviving Domestic Abuse"
Jeannie Starke and De Stewart

Domestic abuse is deeply traumatic. How do we keep ourselves safe and open our hearts to love and trust again?



June 25th, 2017
"To Tell the Holy: Storytelling As Spiritual Practice"
Will Hornyak and Bonnie Long

Every tribe, culture and people has its sacred stories. But, there is also a sacred manuscript of personal spiritual experiences within ourselves that reveal moments of connection, inspiration, understanding and knowing that seem to stand apart from other events in our lives. Mr. Hornyak is highly regarded in our congregation and throughout our regional UU community as a master storyteller.



June 18th, 2017
"To Leap, To Soar, and So To Land..."
Rev Heather Lynn Hanson and Bonnie Long

Rev. Heather Lynn is a familiar guest in our pulpit. This Sunday, she shares the wisdom of her 20 years of interim ministry with us. "As a congregation, you've been through an extended flight, from the decisions that triggered your search process to the exciting candidating and call of your next minister. And your next minister has also been through a complicated process, daring, and preparing to leave familiar "ground" and soar to a different congregation in the milieu of the Pacific Northwest. We reflect on what it means to be "in the air" and what a "safe landing" might feel like—from both perspectives."



Sunday, June 4th
"Umbilical Cords and Apron Strings"
Rev. Greg Ward and De Stewart

Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker helped navigate Unitarianism through a theological questioning of Christian doctrine. He wrote a powerful and widely published sermon called 'The Transient and Permanent of Christianity' which claimed that. there are truths which are transient and fade with time, and there are truths which rest at the center of all life and are eternal. This could be said for each person and each religious community. This sermon will endeavor to name the transient and permanent of UUCV.




May 28th, 2017
"Juneteenth in Memory and Celebration: The Spiritual Legacy of Slavery"
Bridgette Fahnbulleh and Gretchen Meyer

The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, but the official end of slavery was June 19, 1865 when Union troops brought the "news" to Texas. Juneteenth is a national holiday that goes almost unnoticed in the Northwest but is celebrated in a big way in the South, especially Texas. The Vancouver chapter of the NAACP invites us to a deeper awareness and commitment to racial justice.



May 21th, 2017
"The Rapture"
Rev. Greg Ward and Norm Enfield

In the 'Left Behind' series, author and minister Tim LaHaye talks about the rapture. The rapture, for those of us who haven't spent time in the south or who don't listen to Garrison Keillor, is the apocalyptic accounting of the end times where good souls are swept up and taken to heaven and 'non-believers' are 'left behind. Where are Unitarian Universalists in the rapture? In this exploration of apocalyptic thinking, we endeavor to find our place in the end of times.



May 14th, 2017
"Faith and the People"
Rev. Kathryn Bert and Karen Valbuena

It takes faith to be kind when others are not, and to have courage when surrounded by fear and terror. This courage and kindness allows us to resist when justice demands and to be resilient, recovering quickly from difficult conditions.



May 7th, 2017
"The Beauty of the Blues"
Rev. Kathryn Bert and Gretchen Meyer

Blues (blooz) pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)

  1. A state of depression or melancholy. Often used with "the".
  2. A style of music that evolved from southern African American secular songs and is usually distinguished by a strong 4/4 rhythm, flatted thirds and sevenths, a 12-bar structure, and lyrics in a three line stanza in which the second line repeats the first.

Ralph Ellison calls the blues "an art of ambiguity" that "constantly remind us of our limitations while encouraging us to see how far we can actually go." This service is a reflection on the importance of "the blues" as nothing less than revolutionary.



April 30th, 2017
"Faure's Requiem... a 'Lullaby of Death'"
Directed by Patrick Scofield and John Boelling

One of the most well loved and performed works of any genre, Faure's Requiem is an offering of peaceful rememberance of the dead, with a focus on eternal rest and happiness. Someone once called it a "Lullaby of Death", a title which Faure himself resonated with. This Music-Centered-Service features a professional chamber orchestra and extended choir, with solos by our own Alexis Balkowitsch and Music Director, Patrick Scofield. Conducted by Patrick and guest assistant conductor, John Boelling.



April 23, 2017
"Lost in Translation"
Rev. Greg Ward and Seth Moran

Have you ever been 'called' to something important but missed the 'call' because you didn't understand what was being asked? What was at stake? Being able to hear, understand and interpret what the world is asking of us is of critical importance if we are to figure out how to become integral and necessary to the future.




April 16, 2017
"The Easter Exam"
Rev. Greg Ward and Bonnie Long

There are few things that stymie and stupify Unitarian Universalists more than the idea of Easter. Ask A UU to explain Easter and they will often look at their watch and change the subject. The concepts of resurrection don't always make sense - at least in the way they have long been explained in our culture. And the idea of a 'violent atonement' is part of the problem. This morning we will celebrate an Easter that is incredibly real and incredibly needed in this world.




April 9, 2017
"A Life Less Ordinary"
Rev. Greg Ward and De Stewart

The greatest of epiphanies provide something amazing - something we couldn't imagine. But they also take from us something we thought we would always have... something we couldn't live without. The greatest periods of growth always come when we are ready to stop holding so tightly to 'what is,' long enough for 'what can be' to slip in and take root. It is a adventurous and visionary to let go of the ordinary and be willing to live a life less ordinary.




April 2, 2017
"Here if You Need Me"
Rev. Greg Ward and Jeannie Starke

We are all asked - from time to time - to navigate moments of disabling loss and grief. Even more often, we're called upon by someone who is in such a place to provide something that would help get them back on track. In the moment, we may feel a little lost or disoriented – too out-of- sorts to continue. It's like we are standing before someone who has lost their place in their own story. But we have also lost our place, because – for a moment – we think we're supposed to go in and fix everything. To change the bad that has happened into good. So, we feel paralyzed. But we're not supposed to change anything. We're just supposed to help the story-teller remember and speak and accept their own story - even the really hard parts. Which it sometimes takes tremendous love and good company to get through the harder parts. How do we help remind someone – who's own story has come to a screeching halt – to find their place again? How can we be the person to, as writer Nell Morton says, 'listen someone back into their truth"?



March 26, 2017
"Cultural Misappropriation in Our World"
DRE Sara Cloe, SR YRUU Youth, and Gretchen Meyer

Our youth will explore cultural misappropriation in this service that invites each of us to examine our practices, and ask if the culture, tradition, or religion we are practicing is ours to adopt. Have we acknowledged the sources? Are we clear about the sacred nature of any rituals or prayers we practice? Do our practices convey a sense of respect for the material and the history and culture being represented? How does globalization affect our culture?



March 19, 2017
Rev. Greg Ward and Karen Valbuena

How do we continue to love and feel compassion, curiosity, connection even after we've been hurt, abandoned, betrayed or disillusioned? How can we keep our soul pliable and resilient, receptive and open? We will look to the wisdom of Vincent Van Gogh to help us understand.




March 12, 2017
"A Religion Willing to Say 'Hell No!'"
Rev. Greg Ward and Seth Moran

Long ago in our Universalist heritage there was a man named John Murray who said, "Give them not hell, but hope and courage..." It was a way of both denouncing a fear-based religious approach to Love AND learning to approach Love by modeling hope and courage. In this sermon, we will examine the hell created to scare us and the hell we create ourselves.



 March 5, 2017
"A Vulnerable God"
Rev. Dr. Emily Brault and Bonnie Long

We have an addiction in our culture to the Strong and Almighty God. But what about the Vulnerable One? And what does our faith have to do with it? Rev. Dr. Emily Brault explores a little God language and how we can envision our faith in these interesting times.



February 26, 2017
"Five Dollars is Five Dollars"
Rev. Greg Ward and Norm Enfield

What is this church worth? What about the denomination? Or the principles of love and justice that we profess? What is any of this really worth? What are the people worth? Their integrity? Their autonomy to believe as they choose? And what are WE worth? What value can we really put on 'the inherent worth and dignity' that is our first principle? In this service, we will talk about the investments we make and the dividends we enjoy when we live a LIFE-WORTH living.

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February 19, 2017
"Heart Communion - An Intergenerational Service on Love"
Rev. Greg Ward and Sara Cloe

Somewhere, far, far away - in a community - ironically much like ours - there lived people in the midst of great transition. And they were looking for their next leader. And that search asked them to consider some very profound questions - not only about who they were looking for, but who they were themselves and what was truly in their heart. This is a timely intergenerational story.



February 12, 2017
"The Sky is Falling"
Rev. Greg Ward and De Stewart

Has there ever been a call to do something important but you missed the 'call' because you didn't see the signs or understand what was being asked? What was at stake? Being able to hear, understand and interpret what the world is asking of us is of critical importance if we are to figure out how to become integral and necessary and relevant to the future.

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February 5, 2017
"Loving from the Insight Out"
Rev. Greg Ward and Bonnie Long

People always would prefer to live - and love - from a place of passion. But sometimes we lose the source. As one colleague has put it, 'we sometimes lose our shine.' We forget or lose touch with the thing that makes us glow, sparkle, really come alive. And the way we get it back is learning to see from the 'insight out.'

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January 29, 2017
"Better Together"
Marty Mendenhall and Jeannie Starke

How are you coping with all the transitions, good and bad, happening in the world today? Jazz Singer Marti Mendenhall takes us on a musical exploration of how a focus on the positive bonds of love and friendship can lead the way through the difficult challenges in our lives.



January 22, 2017
"How to Explain Unitarian Universalism without a Pamphlet"
Rev. Greg Ward and Gretchen Meyer

Think about those times when someone has seen the flaming chalice pin or necklace you're wearing and asked, "Oh... UU... what's that?" What do you say? How do you explain this church? These people? This history? This way of being religious - WITHOUT telling them everything we're NOT? Come to this service if you want to hear how we claim this faith tradition with excitement and pride!



January 15, 2017
"Strange Fruit"
Rev. Greg Ward and Jeannie Starke

Right now, until they reach the age of 15, homicide is the second leading cause of death for black young men in this country . After they reach the age of 15, it becomes the leading cause of death, until - and unless - they are lucky enough to reach the age of 35. If he were alive today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would probably not be surprised. But he might have been sad that the civil rights he'd given his own life for had not increased any more for his descendants than they had for his ancestors. How are we, as a country, doing on the issue of racial equality and what kind of audacity is required to believe Black Lives Matter?



January 8, 2017
"Bird by Bird, Stone by Stone, Hand in Hand"
Rev. Greg Ward

Note: This sermon was intended for services on January 8 that were canceled due to inclement weather.
We are a nation of rugged individualists. We have a history of settling untamed wilderness and glorifying the episodes where heroes went the hard way alone and saved the day. The trouble is, what we need in this new millennium is not what we needed in the 18th, 19th and even 20th centuries. Now we need cooperation more than isolation and interdependence more than independence.



January 1, 2017
"The Tolling of the Bells"
Christina Dodds, Joy Overstreet and Gretchen Meyer

As the wheel of life turns and we mark the beginning of another new year, we take time to look back at the lives of several local men and women, including some from our own UU congregation, who made a difference in the world, and died in 2016. Whether we are aware of it or not, our own lives are often deeply affected by the work of people we may hardly know, so on this occasion we note their passing and thank them for their contributions to the rest of us.



December 18, 2016
"Holiday Wars"
Rev. Greg Ward and Norm Enfield

Every year just before Christmas religious conservatives announce there is a 'War on Christmas!' Christmas, they claim, is being dishonored and shortchanged because it isn't allowed to reign supreme over other religious holidays. But there is something we all lose in this holiday hoopla. This is an open letter to conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly. QUESTION: Is there tension between Christmas and other cultural winter holidays and, if so, what is at the heart of that tension?



December 11, 2016
"The Straight Skinny on the Fat Man in Red"
Rev. Greg Ward and Bonnie Long

Who is Santa Claus? St. Nick? The jolliest of all Christmas ambassadors. What have we been told about him and what's really true. What's important for us to know as we try to separate fact from fiction. QUESTION: Does a story have to be 'factual' in order to be 'true'?



December 4, 2016
"Beyond Categorical Thinking"
Jo Victoria and Phil Giesy

We all make assumptions about people, often without realizing it. Those assumptions can be useful, but can also hinder us. As we search for our settled minister, how can we ensure that we remain open to all possibilities? Bringing awareness to how we "categorize"—and sometimes discount—others is a way for us to put our faith into lived experience and improve the odds that regardless of identity, we will find the minister who is the best match for our congregation. Let's open ourselves to a greater understanding of who "we" can be.



November 27, 2016
"The Communion that was Hard to Swallow"
Rev. Greg Ward and Gretchen Meyer

We live in a world of great disparity. Some get a lot. Some get enough. And some live every day on less than enough. The inequity of distribution of wealth and privilege and food is striking when we look at it. What we do to see this or ignore it will determine whether it changes or remains in place.



November 20, 2016
"There's a Crack in Everything--That's How the Light Gets In"
Rev. Greg Ward and Jeannie Starke

When things are at their hardest and you're facing something painful - maybe even something bigger than you, what do you do? There's an old trick of embracing your brokenness - and even looking for what there is within that you're grateful for, that helps locate our strength and purpose. How does that help us toward becoming who we really want to be?



November 13, 2016
"Power vs. Force"
Rev. Greg Ward and Michele Glover

All that happens in life is made possible by energy flow and distribution. This includes everything we do as human beings. But do we ever stop to notice the kind of energy we're bringing to each situation? Is it compelling energy or coercive energy? This is a service where we get to stop and take stock of the energy we're experiencing and the energy we're offering.



November 6, 2016
"An Open Letter to the Next President of the United States"
Rev. Greg Ward and Bonnie Long

The next President of the United States is positioned to manage and execute powers of unfathomable magnitude. And such powers will have an enormous impact on citizens not only of this nation, but the many global citizens who depend on what our unique democracy represents. So, there are a few things that this minister wants to say.



October 30, 2016
"Vasalia and her Quest for Fire"
DRE Sara Cloe and Phil Giesy

This multi-generational worship service celebrates the Gaelic holiday, Samhain (Sa-win) and its modern version, Halloween. Our celebration includes songs, story, music and costumes.



October 23, 2016
Rev. Greg Ward and Jeannie Starke

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once talked about our quest for stability and permanence and the pain that's inevitable in a world that never stops unfolding and evolving. He said, "The only thing constant in this world is change." Now, a couple months into this transition, many of us at UUCV are understanding the depth and difficulty of the change we're in. And we're also beginning to see the possibility and the promise.

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October 13, 2016
"The Circle that Draws Us In"
Rev. Greg Ward and Gretchen Meyer

Acceptance and inclusion are very powerful religious principles. UUs take these very seriously. So how do we treat those who have made mistakes? In these, the High Holidays of the Jewish calendar, what can we turn to that will speak of forgiveness and inclusion?

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October 9, 2016
"Spiders, Dragons, Webs and Churches"
Rev. Greg Ward and Michele Glover

Certain things scare us. Things that trigger the cascade of mental, emotional and physiological responses to fear are intending to retard our interactions with danger. But preoccupation with fear leaves us spiritually 'retarded' - unable to exchange love and understanding at a deep level.

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October 2, 2016
"Babies, Bathwater and the Belonging That is our Birthright"
Rev. Greg Ward

The path toward health and wholeness is a long, bumpy and circuitous road. Every journey will encounter moments where, because something hurt us so significantly, we need to leave it behind. And every journey includes moments we learn to reclaim essential parts of ourselves we, unintentionally, left behind.

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September 25, 2016
"Beyond Light Bulbs: Covenant and Collective Action"
Matt Meyer

Ours is a faith guided by covenant. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe that some things are better accomplished in community. A spiritual life is one of those. Social justice work is another. This is a service of rhythm, music, covenantal community and collective action.



September 18, 2016
"God of Our (Mis)Understanding"
Rev. Greg Ward

Millions of people through history have tried to understand God. That search continues. Whereas some see the search as a way to unify all things, it has also been quite divisive. How does this search connect us beyond 'us' and 'them' and connect us to something larger?



September 11, 2016
"Noah's Dilemma"
Rev. Greg Ward

Noah understood about the need to bring people together. In the midst of a great flood of change, he prepared for people to discover the best of one another. Come hear UUCV's multi-generational Ingathering story where we will pour our lives into this community and notice what a blessing each person brings.



September 4, 2016
"Circles of Friends"
Donna Shaver, Char Lindberg, and Sue Morey

Three congregants who have been Chalice Circle facilitators share experiences and insights from their groups over the years. Come hear how these small groups have helped participants learn about themselves and others in our church community.



August 28, 2016
"Perfect Strangers"
Rev. Greg Ward

What is your relationship with trying to be perfect? Have you ever tried to be perfect in order to be noticed... to be appreciated... to be loved? Trying to be perfect may sometimes get us attention, but often it comes with a price: people only know us for what we do and not who we are. And in the process, we become perfect strangers.

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August 21, 2016
"Praying to a God Who Will Laugh"
Rev. Greg Ward

Becoming an adult is serious business. So serious, in fact, that many of us lose our sense of humor along the way. When did we lose our mirth? Our imagination and whimsy? When did we finally surrender our playfulness? And how do we coax these essential tools to return?

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August 14, 2016
"Transylvanian Enigma: Our Heritage, But is it Our Religion?"
Chris Smith and Patty Page

Chris and Patty share their visit to the land where Unitarianism was born, a pilgrimage rich with experiences that led to more questions than answers.



August 7, 2016
"Letting Go and Creating Anew"
Sue Morey, Norm Enfield, and Gretchen Meyer

Three UUCV members share their experiences of meeting life's challenges, letting go of what no longer works, and living into new adventures.



July 31, 2016
"Prepare for Harvest!"
Laura Campbell

Store away these golden hours to sustain you through the dark months ahead. Are your crops ready to be gathered? What will you preserve? What have you learned this season to carry into the next?



July 24, 2016
"It's Not the Same River, You Know"
Rev. Heather Lynn Hanson

People change; churches change; religions change. Rev. Hanson shares her thoughts about transitions, and how members of a congregation can adapt while dealing with the desire to resist the process.



July 17, 2016
"Give Me That Old Time Religion"
Christina Dodds

We retrieve the baby from the bathwater and take a second, perhaps surprising, look at some familiar stories from the Bible. How were they understood in antiquity? What wisdom did some of our prominent Unitarians and Universalist forebears find there?



July 10, 2016
"Roller Derby Saved My Soul"
Jennifer Smith

The path that leads to wholeness is not the easiest nor the expected. A mother, religious educator, and pacifist shares her story through New Thought and Ancient Greece, to find her strength clashing with strong personalities and concrete floors in women's flat track Roller Derby.

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