of Scituate, Massachusetts
First Parish
Unitarian Universalist Church
by First Parish on January 8th, 2020

by Pamela M. Barz on January 8th, 2020

With the news of fires raging in Australia and the assassination of General Soleimani in Iraq, I wondered if a sermon on keeping Christmas in our hearts was still what I needed to say to today, still what you might need to hear.  But I think it is.  For the Christmas spirit Scrooge found, the Christmas spirit we need to hold onto, isn’t about jollity and games and feasting, though those may be part of it.  The basis of the Christmas spirit is regarding ourselves and absolutely everyone else as worthy of care, as delightful.  It is living as if all of Life, not just our own individual lives, is a valuable gift.  And think how different our society and our planet might be if more of us did actually live with the Christmas spirit throughout the year.  Read the whole sermon here:

by Pamela M. Barz on December 9th, 2019

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  The philosopher George Santayana wrote that aphorism, and I’ve always taken it to mean the grand sweep of history – remember the cause of wars, the downfalls of empires, the seeds of revolution, but as I was thinking about Scrooge’s encounter with the Ghost of Christmas Past I realized that those words apply to our own pasts as well.  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  For in Stave Two of “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens shows us – and Scrooge – the past he has forgotten and is now perversely living out.   Read the rest of the sermon here:

by First Parish on December 4th, 2019

by Pamela M. Barz on December 4th, 2019

“Marley was dead: to begin with,” Dickens opens A Christmas Carol.  “Dead these seven years,” Scrooge says a little later.  Seven times he says that in the first stave of this carol in prose, seven years dead exactly this Christmas Eve - but seven is a magic number and Marley is not as dead as he seems..... Read the rest of the sermon here:

by First Parish on November 27th, 2019

by First Parish on November 20th, 2019

by Pamela M. Barz on November 20th, 2019

Do you ever just know something is for you?  In March of 2018, I was scrolling through the Clergy Chicks group on Facebook (yes, there is such a group) when a post jumped out.  A clergywoman I didn’t know had written, “Hey all, I was in this program and it was phenomenal!  It is across ages, denominations, and across the US and Canada. Check it out.”  And below was a link to a post from the Sisters of Saint Benedict – Our Lady of Grace Monastery:
Are you a clergywoman in need of spiritual renewal? Do you want to thrive in ministry? Have you been ordained at least 5 years? Do you yearn to belong to a community of like-minded women who will support you for a lifetime? As you lead your congregation, do you feel like a stray dog at the whistler's convention? Then Women Touched by Grace is for YOU!
Hosted by the Sisters of St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana, this Lilly Endowment funded program has a 15-year history of ministering to Protestant clergywomen in an atmosphere of prayer and hospitality.
For additional information and an application form, visit www.wtbg.org.

So I did.   Read about what happened next and what Pam learned here:

by First Parish on November 13th, 2019

by First Parish on November 6th, 2019

by First Parish on October 30th, 2019

by Pamela M. Barz on October 27th, 2019

Today in my annual Halloween sermon, we’re exploring what wisdom and examples the Neflix series Stranger Things might offer us.  Every year I choose a topic thinking it will be funny and campy, and every year I find the topic offers a serious connection to our world.  This year is no different.  For in many ways we are living in a Stranger Things world.  Read the rest of the sermon here: 

by First Parish on October 23rd, 2019

by Pamela M. Barz on October 23rd, 2019

"This idea of living in an I-Thou relation with the earth and all its inhabitants is at the heart of our Unitarian Universalist faith.  Our Unitarian ancestors broke away from the traditional Christians of their time because of their belief in the inherent goodness of humankind.  In this church that happened in 1825.  Our Transcendentalist ancestors enlarged that goodness to encompass the natural world as well, finding the divine inherent in birds, beasts, flowers, trees, and stones.  Though none of them of course used the 20th century concept of the I-Thou relationship, their theology leads to it – for if all is inherently good, then it is not to be used, but to be cherished, that what is best for the other may unfold along with what is best for you.  Unlike other Christian traditions which have to push against their traditional understanding of physical matter as sinful and only spirit as good, our tradition celebrates the holiness of all of life.  And we need to draw on this holiness NOW to help us work with others to save what still can be saved.  We need to believe and live the belief that the earth is not here for our enjoyment but for the shared enjoyment and nurture of all life forms."   Read the whole sermon here:

by First Parish on October 16th, 2019

by First Parish on October 9th, 2019

by Pamela M. Barz on October 6th, 2019

"Confessing our sins is not a “woe is me” action; it is not an act of self-flagellation.  It is a clear-eyed assessment of our power to help and heal and make whole ourselves and the world, of the ways we have not taken up the power which is ours, and of the ways we will move into our power more fully in the new year ahead.  Confessing our sins is an act of hope, promise, and strength.  It demonstrates our faith in the power of life as we move through a season of death.  As we turn towards taking up our power and our commitments, we say “yes” to life, to love, to the universe, to God."  Read the rest of the sermon here:

by First Parish on October 2nd, 2019

by Pamela Barz on October 2nd, 2019

One of the main contributions of our Unitarian ancestors to the Western Christian tradition was to connect the awe that one feels in nature with religion.  Before the Transcendentalists, Christianity focused on the largeness of God and the smallness of humankind.  ...  It took the Transcendentalists to name that sense of awe one feels in nature as also part and particle of the divine.  They brought God outdoors. Read the entire sermon here:

by First Parish on September 25th, 2019

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" "Church is a place where we get to practice being human" "Elizabeth Goudge" "Hope is the thing with feathers" "I Worried" by Mary Oliver "Live to see clearly and the light will come /To you and as you need it." "Love is the doctrine of this church and service is its law" "Pilgrim's Inn" "Teach us to number our days." "The Silence of the Stars" "This Little Light of Mine" "We shall be a city upon a hill" "original relation to the universe" "those people" #UULent 1st principe 200th anniversary 2016 Presidentail politics 2016 Presidential election 2017 Presidential Inauguration 500th anniversary 7th Principle 95 Theses A Christmas Carol A Wrinkle in Time A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in Abundance Adam Advent African American Alcott All Souls Day All Souls Alliance of Unitarian and Other Liberal Christian Women Amalfi Amy-Jill Levine An Inspector Calls Anne Robertson Annual Report sermon Ascension Day At-one-ment Balance egg at Spring Equinox Balance Ballad of Gilligan's Island to tune of Amazing Grace Beacon Beltane Betty Williams Bible Black Panther Blake covenant Bonnie Prince Charlie Boston Braiding Sweetgrass Brett Kavanaugh Canvass Capuchin Crypt Casablanca Channing Charles Chauncy Charles Darwin Unitarian Charles Darwin Charles Dickens Charles M. Schulz Charlie Brown Christmas Eve sermon Christmas Eve Christmas star Christmas Community Day of the Dead Days of Awe Democracy Dickens Divinity School Address Duty Earth Day Earth Easter Gospel of Mark Easter Parade Easter story Easter Eleven Elizabeth Blackwell Emerson Epiphany Esther Everybody Comes to Rick's Eve Extravagance Ferry Beach Fifth Principle First Parish Ladies' Sewing Circle First Sunday in Lent First Sunday Forgiveness Frankenstein Franz Gruber Friendship Garden of Eden Genesis 1 Genesis 2 Gilligan's Island Girl before a Mirror God Gospel Gratitude Greta Thunberg Halloween sermon Halloween Hanukkah Happiness Harry Potter Heroes High Holidays High Holy Days Honor Hospitality Hurricane Harvey I-Thou I-You Inside Out Isaiah 40: 1-4 Italy J.B. Priestley Jacob Marley Jesus' baptism Jesus Jo March Jo's Boys John 20 John Lothropp John Winthrop Jonathan Safran Foer Joseph Mohr Joseph Joyce Byers Julia Ward Howe Kindness Koran Le Chambon Lenten practice Lenten sermon Lent Lilly Endowment Program for Excellence in Ministry Linus Little Men Little Women Lord of the Dance Louisa May Alcott Love once again break our hearts open wide Lucy van Pelt Luke 2: 10-14 Luke 2: 10 Luke 2:14 Luke MLK Sunday sermon Mairead Corrigan March for Life March sisters Marcia McFee Marie Curie Mark 14: 3-9 Mark Marley's Ghost Martin Buber Martin Luther King Martin Luther Mary Magdalene Mary Shelley Massachusetts Bible Society Matthew 6:27 May Day Meditation Meg Murry Membership Sunday sermon Millie Dresselhaus Mother's Day Mothers' Day Mystic Seaport Museum National Airlines flight 2511 Native American Nativity Nature Nelle Morton New Year's sermon No seed ever sees the flower. Okjokull Old Story of Salvation Oliver Sacks Origin of Species Pageant Palm Sunday Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard Parable of the Leaven Parable of the Mustard Seed Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard Parable of the Yeast Parables Parker Palmer Passover Peanuts Gang Pearl Merrill Pentecost Pharisee Pilgrims Pope Francis Prince of Peace Prodigal Son Protestant Reformation Psalm 51 Psalm 90 Purim Puritans and Ten Commandments Puritans RE News Rachel Carson Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Religious Education OWL Youth Group RE Teachers Religious Education Richard III Rod Serling Rosh Hashanah Sadness Samhain Samuel Longfellow Saving the world begins at breakfast Scituate Scripture Scrooge Seasons of Love Separatist Seventh Principle Shavuot Shonda Rimes Year of Yes Silent Night Silent Spring Skywoman Snowflake Fair Sophia Fahs Spirit Spring Equinox St. Valentine Star Wars Stewardship sermon Stewardship Stranger Things Summer solstice Sunday School Super Bowl Sunday 2015 sermon Sydney Carter Thanatopsis Thanksgiving sermon Thanksgiving The Brain Center at Whipple's The Conversation Project The Good Samaritan The Prodigal Son The Pursuit of Happiness The Redemption of Scrooge Thoreau sermon Three kings Toy Story Transcendentalists Tree of Life Synagoge Trump presidency Trump Truth Twilight Zone UU Lent UU good news UU view of Jesus UU women's organizations UULent UU Ubuntu Unitaarian Universalist Unitarian Louisa May Alcott Unitarian Univeralist Unitarian Univeresalist Unitarian Universalist Advent Unitarian Universalist Ascension Day Unitarian Universalist Christmas Unitarian Universalist Easter sermon Unitarian Universalist Thanksgiving sermon Unitarian Universalist Transcendentalism Unitarian Universalist covenants Unitarian Universalist liturgical year Unitarian Universalist sermon for Rosh Hashanah Unitarian Universalist sermon for Yom Kippur Unitarian Universalist sermon for the Days of Awe Unitarian Universalist sermon Unitarian Universalist values Unitarian Universalist women's history Unitarian Universalist women's organizations Unitarian Universalist Unitarian Women's Alliance Unitarian women's organizations Unitarian Unity Club Universalism Universalist Untiarian Universalist sermon Valentine's Day sermon Valentine's Day Vegan before 5 Vegan before 6 Vernal Equinox Veterans' Day sermon Via Negativa Walden sermon Wangari Maathai Water Communion Wendell Berry What Is a UU? What Unitarian Universalists believe Why do bad things happen Will Byers William Cullen Bryant Witch-hunt Witches Women Touched by Grace Women's March Wonder World War I Christmas truce Yom Kippur You are the light of the world action addiction afterlife anam cara angels angel art atheist awe baby dedication baker ban books birds black liberation theology blessed bones bread brevity of life bridging divides broken heart calling can worrying make your life longer? candles canvass sermon care change child dedication church covenants church clay bird clergy climate change climate crisis climate strke college reunion community dinner compost cosmic costume courage covfefe creation myths creation stories dance darkness death diet diversity do Unitarian Universalists celebrate Christmas? don't believe in God dream drunk from wells I did not dig economic inequality election end of days end-of-life environment evil evolution faith fear of death fear feeding ourselves and others finances fire communion sermon flowers and joy follow football and the church football sermon frameworks freedom friends funding gardening and joy give the money to the poor giving glacier good grace graitude grief happy hearing into speech history holiness hopes for 2015 hope hubris human nature hygge immortality imperfection incarnation inequality inequity inherent goodness inherent worth and dignity interpretation journey joy cometh in the morning joy judging justice kairos kite flying kites language lectio divina life changes life of deep fulfillment light listening lives lost love lucky magi masks meaning in life ministry miss the mark mission modern-day Transcendentalism monsters mortality new earth new reformation nostalgia nurturing spirituality othering others parable paradigm shift paying attention peace dove peace perspective philia pledging poems poetry polarization political divide post-election sermon potluck suppers power and privilege praise prayer pray priesthood of all believers prosperity gospel racism randomness reason reconciliation recycle reflection regrets renewables repentance resilience response resurrection reuse rich young man risk ritual role of women in Unitarian church sabbath and climate change sacred time sacrifice salvation science fiction security blanket seed self-acceptance self-care self-esteem sell all your possessions sermon on control sermon on fear sermon on fulness of life sermon on worry sermon seven deadly sins seven generations shooting silence sin skeleton slavery social justice sabbath sorrow sower spiritual practice spiritual response to election spiritual thirst spirituality spirituals stars star statistics stories story substance abuse suffering sunrise take something on for Lent talking about death tax collector teshuvah thanks the church in the 21st century the end of work the woman with the ointment theology time transforming church trees I did not plant trust umami spirituality understanding universe vision vulnerabaility vulnerablility we aren't in control weeping whole hearted wind wishes for end-of-life care witch hats women at the empty tomb women worship preferences worship styles worship