of Scituate, Massachusetts
First Parish
Unitarian Universalist Church
by William Ketchum on March 18th, 2019

"A theme throughout the New Testament is expressed by the father: the compassion of comfort by imperfect people. The father’s challenge is different than the previous parables about lost sheep and a lost coin. Lost children can talk back and express feelings and emotions. The father comforts his sons in pain. He is the one attempting to reunite the family."  From William Ketchum's sermon.  Read the whole sermon here:

by Pamela M. Barz on March 10th, 2019

"Jesus was a storyteller.  He knew that the concepts he was trying to talk about – the realm of God, the kingdom of heaven, the fullness of love and justice among all people on earth – were so big, so deep, so wide, that you couldn’t pin them down in a didactic explanation.  He could only offer glimpses of the truths he wanted to convey through metaphor and simile.  He was a poet in prose."  Read the whole sermon here:

by First Parish on February 28th, 2019


by Pamela M. Barz on February 24th, 2019

 When it comes to love, the English language is impoverished.  We have one word to describe our feelings for our significant other, our child, and our best friend – not to mention our favorite activity, vegetable, or vacation spot!  The ancient Greeks had 6 words:  eros – “romantic love”; storge – “love for family”; agape – “love for everyone”; philautia – “love of self;” and philia – “deep friendship.”  I don’t know what word they would have used for one’s feelings toward broccoli, skiing, or Aruba!
            In church we tend to focus most on the first four, with sermons on loving and accepting yourself, strengthening the bonds of community, and caring selflessly for others, rituals around marriage and the dedication of children, and programs for families, but we don’t talk much about philia – the love between friends.  Yet as I read about this love this week, I found that it is central in ways I hadn’t thought of in many religious and philosophical traditions.

Read the complete sermon here:

by Pamela M. Barz on February 10th, 2019

"How would it change how we understand ourselves and one another, how we understand our world, if things weren’t divided into good and bad, before and after, reward and punishment, but just all that is with joy suffusing everything?"  Read the entire sermon here:  

by Pamela M. Barz on February 3rd, 2019

Joy is not of our own creating nor can it come when called.  Joy bursts on us when we do not expect it – in response to a chord of music, the sight of a soaring bird, connecting to another’s heart.  Unlike happiness which comes from an awareness of ourselves and our surroundings, in joy we lose the boundary of self and merge with the music, the bird and the sky, the snow-lit world, the other person.  In joy we become one with the universe.  We are joy in those moments. Read the entire sermon here:

by First Parish on January 31st, 2019


by First Parish on January 3rd, 2019


by Pamela M. Barz on December 26th, 2018

"I think "Silent Night" speaks to the yearning of our hearts for that same peace, the same hopes that are part of the birth of every child, and the same joy present even in the midst of chaos.   Read the whole sermon here:

by Pamela M. Barz on December 23rd, 2018

The angels don’t call us to a life without fear – that is not humanly possible – and some fears are appropriate ... Rather, the angels remind us not to be bound by our fears ....  They remind us when we feel fear to take a breath and consider its cause and its effect.  Is it a fear coming from wisdom and intuition or a fear coming from a sense of loss or losing control?  Is the effect of the fear to make us truly safer, as in fleeing from danger, or to give us the illusion of safety so that we don’t have to grapple with change? ... Read the whole sermon here:

by Pamela M. Barz on December 5th, 2018

Angels have gotten a bad rap in recent years.  With shows like “Touched by an Angel” and Sophie Burnham’s books on angelology, angels have been domesticated, diminished to sweet and safe guardian who look out for human beings and steer them to gifts they are said to deserve but might have missed.  That is nothing like the angels in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Those angels are fierce, uppity even, and though they bring gifts, their gifts are always the prelude to journeys inward or outward.   Read the full sermon here:

by First Parish on December 1st, 2018


by Pamela M. Barz on November 26th, 2018

“Do Unitarian Universalists celebrate Christmas?”  Do people ask you this question?  They certainly ask me.  Usually it’s somewhere between Thanksgiving and New Year’s – I’m talking to someone who knows a little about our tradition but not much, and he wonders if I’m celebrating what he’s celebrating.  I always say “yes,” but the answer’s not really that simple.  We may be observing the same holy day, but we probably don’t mean the same thing by it.  Read the rest of the sermon here:
 

by First Parish on November 1st, 2018


by Pamela M. Barz on October 28th, 2018

In many ways Frankenstein and his creature are doubles of one another.  A theatrical production of the story which played in London a few years ago highlighted that with the actors playing Frankenstein and the creature switching roles every performance. The creature is hideous to look at, but a blind man in the book, unbiased by its appearance, is struck by the sincerity of his words and receives him as an equal.  Had he been raised lovingly, might there have been no story of murder and revenge?  And if Victor were not the handsome son of a wealthy and prominent family, might his actions have been perceived differently and met with different consequences? 
These questions come to us still.  And especially in this week filled with monstrous events – the president wanting to send troops to the border to turn away refugees fleeing violence connected with our history of interference in their countries; pipe bombs mailed to critics of the President; two people killed in a supermarket in Kentucky on Wednesday almost in a fit of pique because the shooter couldn’t accomplish his intention of shooting people a black church; and yesterday’s shooting of congregants in a synagogue – all that physical violence as well as the emotional violence offered to transgender people with the news that the current administration is seeking to define gender as fixed at birth.  What monsters have we created?  What monsters do we need to look at?  And how can we change the story? 
Read the whole sermon here:


by Pamela M. Barz on October 14th, 2018

As I thought this week about all the issues facing our democracy, this labeling of other people who disagree with us or cross us – or cut us off! – this making people “the other” or “those people” seems at the root of them all. 
            And more and more it seems those labels come up:  Those people who want to pull books from the Scituate school curriculum; those people who rejoiced when Brett Kavanaugh took his seat as a Justice of the Supreme Court; those people who deny climate change even as the unprecedented force of Hurricane Michael flattened the Florida Panhandle and killed 17 people including an 11 year old girl in Georgia.  Those people who don’t see the world as I do.  Those people whose point of view I have trouble understanding.  Do you ever “those people” who don’t agree with you? 


by First Parish on October 4th, 2018


by First Parish on September 6th, 2018


by First Parish on July 5th, 2018


by First Parish on May 31st, 2018

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