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Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation's Podcast

Sermons by resident and guest ministers on themes like Curiosity, Trust, Mystery, Sanctuary and so much more. Feel free to download and share our podcasts!
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Now displaying: Category: Growth
Aug 28, 2016

Sermon delivered by Tony Mitchell on August 28, 2016. An Oak Park resident and Chicago area native, Tony joined Unity Temple in the spring of 2015. He currently is enrolled in the Masters of Divinity program at Meadville Lombard Theological School, where Tony is in formation to become a Unitarian Universalist Minister. A Soul Connections leader in the congregation, he plans to become a Unity Temple intern in the fall of 2017. Tony graduated from Yale University and has been a communications and public relations leader for much of his career. He currently serves as Vice President of Communications for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs – an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight and influences the public discourse on critical global issues.

Tony has long been active in community advocacy and action – particularly as it affects the African American community. He serves on the boards of Housing Forward, an organization comprehensively addressing homelessness on Chicago’s West Side and in western Cook County, and Rush Oak Park Hospital. He will begin the Clinical Pastoral Education phase of his seminary work this fall by providing chaplain services in support of The Night Ministry – a Chicago-based organization that works to provide housing, health care and human connection to members of our community struggling with poverty or homelessness.

The theme for August is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Aug 21, 2016

Sermon delivered by Kellie C. Kelly on August 21, 2016. Kellie is a student at Meadville Lombard Theological School, steering committee chairperson of UU Class Conversations, and Unity Temple's incoming ministerial intern. Before seminary, she built a career in the staffing industry as a sales manager and technical recruiter. Kellie’s call to ministry began when she worked as a U.S. Navy family ombudsman and deepened during her time as a director of faith development.

Kellie is from a white working-poor family of restaurant workers. As a third-generation single mother, she became the first person in her family to attend college, completing her undergraduate degree at the age of 41. Kellie also is an “out” mental health advocate, trying to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Kellie feels a strong commitment to work with and for the people society pushes to the margins, whether based on the color of their skin, their class, or their perceived disabilitiesKellie can be reached at kkelly@uuma.org.

The theme for August is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Aug 14, 2016

Sermon delivered by Rev. Scott Aaseng on August 14, 2016. In this sermon, Scott wants us to ask ourselves if we are as good at receiving as we are at giving. Rev. Aaseng was a musician, a community activist, and a Lutheran pastor (among other things) prior to discovering his call to Unitarian Universalist ministry.

Scott graduated from the St. Olaf Paracollege with a degree in Peace Studies, and spent a year studying and traveling in South Africa during the apartheid years. He volunteered as a teacher in rural Tanzania, before returning to the U.S. and earning his M.Div. at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He interned at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, and served a small Lutheran congregation on the southwest side of Chicago for five years in the early 1990’s.

He left ordained ministry to become primary caregiver for his two daughters, while becoming project director and then grant-writer for the Southwest Youth Collaborative, a community-based youth organization he helped found. He also served as musician for a number of church gospel choirs, and went on to serve as Village Musician at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in the mountains of Washington state. Upon returning to Chicago in 2005, he became a project assistant with American Friends Service Committee, coordinating a nationally touring display of combat boots and civilian shoes showing the human cost of war. He also began attending Third Unitarian Church in Chicago with his family.

Becoming a musician at Third Unitarian in 2009 re-awakened his call to ministry, now more clearly grounded in Unitarian Universalism. He took classes at both Starr King and Meadville Lombard seminaries, completed his internship at Unity Temple, and went on to serve as Unity Temple’s first Assistant Minister for Social Justice. He has since served as part-time Consulting Minister at the Unitarian Church of Quincy, Illinois and at First Unitarian Church of Hobart, Indiana. He now serves as Director of the Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois. 

Scott has lived on the west side of Chicago for 20 years with his spouse, Gale Holmlund, and their two teenage daughters, Sunniva and Brita. He enjoys bicycling, playing piano, being outdoors, and traveling with his family.

The theme for August is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Aug 7, 2016

Sermon delivered by Rev. Brian Chenowith on August 7, 2016. Brian is a lifelong Chicagoan with roots in the South Side. His spiritual upbringing was Catholic and Anglican though he came to Unitarian Universalism in middle school. It was there, in that UU church where he spent his formative years, that he heard the call to ministry most clearly. He earned his degree in Theology & Religion from Elmhurst College in 2008. From there he entered seminary in 2011 after a period of discernment and preparation for theological education and graduated from Meadville Lombard in Chicago in 2014. Brian served two congregations as a ministerial intern for three years. Two of those years were spent at Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL and the remaining year was at First Parish in Concord, MA. Through these two congregations, the real learning in ministry happened. He is currently the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, Kentucky.

The theme for August is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Jul 31, 2016

This service from July 31, 2016 was presented by members of the UTUUC Reproductive Justice Committee along with Dr. Cassing Hammond. Dr. Hammond, who delivers the sermon, practices General Obstetrics and Gynecology and also directs the Section and Fellowship in Family Planning & Contraception at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine where he is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

In 2002, Dr. Hammond launched Northwestern’s Fellowship in Family Planning & Contraception - one of more than 30 fellowship programs throughout the United States and Canada that train physician scientists in complex abortion and contraception care and research. An ardent proponent of reproductive justice, Dr. Hammond chaired the board of directors of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), the nation’s largest professional association of abortion providers. He is one of fifteen founding members of the Society of Family Planning and currently a member of the board of directors of Physicians for Reproductive Health (PRH), the nation’s largest physician-led reproductive rights organization. In 2005 he received NAF’s C. Lalor Burdick Award, given to “Unsung Heroes” of abortion rights. He has also received special recognition for community service from both PRH, Personal PAC Illinois and the Illinois House of Representatives. Dr. Hammond's current research focuses on how contraceptives modify transmission of HIV virus. Cassing and his husband, Scott Fehlan, became members of the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation in 2011.

Following Dr. Hammond's remarks, the letters of real women expressing their thoughts and feelings around reproduction and abortion are read anonymously by members of the Reproductive Justice Committee. They are Beth Dowell, Jan Johnston, Shirley Lundin, Merritt Kanan and Jen Packhauser. Duane Dowell gives the UU perspective and history on reproductive rights.

The theme for July is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Jul 24, 2016

Sermon delivered on July 24, 2016 by Minister of Faith Development Rev. Emily Gage. "As I hear news that feels to me so overwhelming that it makes it hard to know how to keep going, I wonder about how we keep holding onto hope. And then, I think of Pat Summit, in sheer determination and finding some sort of faith out of despair: 'Right foot, left foot, breathe, repeat.' That’s how we keep going."

Guest musician for this service was Isabella Andries, a senior at Trinity High School who is currently an active member of the UTUUC Youth Group.

The theme for July is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Jul 17, 2016

Sermon delivered by Rev. Colleen Vahey on July 17, 2016. In September 2015, Colleen joined the Unity Temple staff as our part-time Faith in Action Coordinator. She is an ordained UU minister who, over the past twenty-five years, has served as a hospital chaplain, a religious educator, a college lecturer and assistant minister. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Colleen has also lived in Australia, Switzerland, France, and Czech Republic. Colleen and her partner enjoy time with their three children and three animal companions. Her spiritual practices include prayer, walking and spending time in nature. 

In this sermon, Rev. Vahey explores renewing our spiritual grounding as we engage in the struggle for justice and compassion.

The theme for July is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Jul 10, 2016

This service was presented on July 10, 2014 by the Unity Temple Mental Health Awareness Team (MyHAT). Members of the team who offered their reflections here are, in order, LeeLee Ward, Aaron Grace, and John Tandarich. The Co-Chairs of MyHAT are Bonnie Jordan and Janet Holden. Other members of the MyHAT Planning Team are Joan Greene, Joan Vanderbeck, Alice Ocrey,  Beth Fisher, Lurana Brown and Kimberly Knake. MyHAT's mission is to welcome people living with mental illness and those who care about them, creating a community of acknowledgement, acceptance and understanding.  We do this through education, co-sponsoring activities with the local affiliate of the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI), and being present at coffee hour once a month. One of our major initiatives is our Anti Stigma Campaign/  By signing our Interest List at coffee hour or by contacting us, you will periodically receive information about mental illness that has appeared in the media. It is educational and timely as well as being a barometer of how mental health is being presented to the public. We ask, if you can, to respond to the creators of the stories/broadcasts, either in a positive or negative way as appropriate, to support or correct the information that is being put out by the media. The team can be contacted at myhat@unitytemple.org.

The theme for July is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

Jul 3, 2016

Sermon delivered by UTUUC member Christine Steyer on July 3, 2016. Soprano Christine Steyer was a recent winner of six national awards, including The American Prize in Art Song and The Johnny Mercer Award. Christine received critical acclaim for her operatic portrayals of the Marschallin from Der Rosenkavalier, the title role in Madama Butterfly and Violetta in La Traviata. She has performed roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago in Street Scene, Sweeney Todd, Cunning Little Vixen and Manon Lescaut. Her recent concert engagements include the Poulenc Gloria, the Brahms Requiem and Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s 9th, Rossini’s Petite Mass and Mendelssohn’s Cantata 42. A frequent recitalist, Christine sang concerts of Russian and American music with pianist Philip Morehead. Christine Steyer is the artistic director of Bellissima Opera and is currently heading The Transcendence Triptych project – an operatic celebration of individuals who transcended the racial divide.

Christine's sermon is preceded by a reading given by Sybil Madison-Boyd and a reflection by Rich Pokorny. Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg tells about the final of the 3 operas in the Transcendence Triptych which is one created by students. Paul Geiger presents additional information about The Transcendence Triptych project.

The theme for July is how to take a path of growth. To read about our theme-based ministry, please visit http://www.unitytemple.org/faith-development/soul-connections on our website.

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