This reading was delivered on Sunday, December 14, 2014, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills in Somerville, New Jersey by Rev. Jennifer Kelleher.

Direct download: UUCSH_Reading_2014.12.14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Chanukah means "dedication". The festival commemorates the battle between Jewish people led by the Maccabee family and foreign conquerors that were trying to take away their cultural practices and religious freedom. It is a holiday celebrating the dedication to their culture and their G-d. "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation," writes playwright Jonathan Larson. This service explored the history of the Chanukah festival and lessons we might learn from that history as we strive to be creative and compassionate peoples of faith.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.12.14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

The holiday season is now in full swing. In the busyness and bustle of planning, shopping, cooking, preparing, wrapping and partying - often at the request of others: what are you setting aside for yourself? Our service reflected on self-compassion.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.12.07.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Half of all community plate collections in November and December will be donated to the Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children, which has been helping abused, neglected, and homeless youth in our area since 1973. Through its seven programs for youth ages 13 to 21-plus, Somerset Home provides a safe haven and caring support for teens from difficult family situations. By providing assistance such as food and shelter as well as counseling, medical attention, education, recreation, and career and employment counseling, Somerset Home helps hundreds of young people each year to move beyond their troubled past and build a brighter future.

Direct download: Community_plate_2014.12.07.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

In 1620, 102 men, women, children and crew set sail from England to what was known as the New World. History named them Pilgrims. Some came to seek their fortunes; some came seeking religious freedom. None knew exactly what they would find on the other side of the ocean. What might we learn from Thanksgiving’s history about trust?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.11.23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Each one of us is a blessing. Our shared faith affirms each person’s inherent worth and dignity. We trust in basic human goodness. Yet when we face acts of utter tragedy, violence and pain - who and what can we trust? Rev. Jennifer shared her thoughts prior to the Ferguson, MO verdict.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.11.09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher & Chris Buja

Fairy tales and storybooks often end with the phrase, "And they lived happily ever after". What is a life of happiness?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.10.26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Sam Gugino

Guest worship leader Sam Gugino is a member of the Unitarian Society of Germantown, PA. He reflected on the concept of grace from different theological perspectives, including his own as an atheist.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.10.12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Rev. Susan Karlson

Nearly two years since the shock of Hurricane Sandy, with at least six years of recovery ahead, how do we support justice, sustainability and resilience in our response to Climate Change?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.09.28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Do you have a repeat track in your head with a tape that plays over and over, affecting your vision of yourself and the possibilities of your life? What might need to be erased or re-recorded for us to reframe the stories we tell ourselves? How might those stories hold us back or provide a push forward?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.09.21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

What makes us Unitarian Universalists? What is the purpose of our journey? Are we free to believe anything we want?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.08.24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Jen Kitchen

Story plays a powerful role in our lives as individuals, as community members, as citizens of the world. One of the earliest forms of communication, it remains a strong way to connect people across generations and cultures.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.08.03.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Life spark and creativity emerges from amusement and fun. Is play a priority in our lives? As individuals? As a congregation? We gathered this morning in the creation of a playful connection to joyful spirit. Let’s play!

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.06.08.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Louis Sapirman

It may be human nature to seek out those things that are most familiar, most comfortable and embrace them as our own. We will journey together to places where differences are everywhere and in almost everything. It is here that we may learn the importance of appreciating the sameness that exists in us?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.05.11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Jen Kitchen

Each Sunday we speak together words that affirm our intentions as a congregation to help one another. We are a faith that believes deeply in service and in finding one's personal ministry. A continual deepening of personal relationships often comes as we do the good work of this our beloved congregation. What might you find in your personal ministry? What gifts might it bring?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.05.04.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Carol Haag

Rev. Carol Haag told the story of how the English preacher John Murray came to New Jersey, met the farmer Thomas Potter, and gave the first Universalist sermon on the American continent.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.03.16_John_Murray.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Carol Haag

In the early 1960s, the Unitarian Universalist Association was created from a merger of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America. The word order of the resulting association gave Universalists the noun; the Unitarians were relegated to adjective. Why, then, do we so often refer to ourselves as Unitarians? Rev. Carol Haag's thesis is that we are truly Universalists and that Universalism is central to what we have to offer to the 21st century.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.03.16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu once said that peace in the world stems from peace in the heart. Our service explored how we might cultivate peace in our hearts and what we might consider as sources of serenity in our day-to-day lives.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.03.09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Sometimes our lives might feel like we don't have enough: enough time, enough energy, enough understanding. How in these times might we find an opening to abundance?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.03.02.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Michael Thayer

Why do we listen to each other? How can listeners change the world? Michael Thayer talked about different ways that listeners have had impacts in history, and how our first two UU principles align with listening mindfully.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.01.19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

In the words of the Rev. David Bumbaugh, two of the essential questions which we grapple with as a liberal religious community are: “Whom do we serve? To whom or what are we responsible?” The world is calling. How can we hear what it is asking of us? How will we respond?

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.01.12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

In this service, we reflected together on listening to the song within our own hearts and how it informs our life dreams, yearnings and callings.

Direct download: UUCSH_2014.01.05.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

This sermon was delivered on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2013, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills in Somerville, New Jersey by Rev. Jennifer Kelleher.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.12.24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

"Enlightenment does exist," says meditation master Jack Kornfield. In recognition of Bodhi day – the day the Buddha was said to achieve enlightenment – we explored how we might prepare our hearts to awaken. Together we reflected on how we might integrate that ecstatic awareness into the mundane of our day-to-day lives.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.12.08.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

December is here. Evening comes early and we are beginning to be enveloped in more hours of darkness. This Sunday is the first day of Advent and the fourth day of Chanukah. While they are vastly different times of commemoration they each hold rituals that involve the lighting of candles. In our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition we begin our gatherings with the lighting of a flame. This first Sunday of the winter holiday season we reflected on these symbols of light.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.12.01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher and Chris Buja, DLFD

Thanksgiving is a holiday in which we focus our attention on gratitude. However, the full history of the first Thanksgiving is not the story many of us learned as children. During this multigenerational service, we shared the thanksgiving story from multiple perspectives and reflected together of how this might bring us to a more complex expression of meaning.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.11.24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Melanie Davis

Mid- and older age can provide one's most satisfying sexual experiences, yet harmful stereotypes persist. As a result, adults in long-term care often lose their sexual rights, while lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors often hide their sexuality in order not to offend caregivers. Melanie Davis, PhD, is a member of UUCSH and is the Unitarian Universalist Association's Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education Program Manager. She is a sexuality consultant, author, and adjunct professor; in addition, she is co-president of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.11.17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Many of us spend a good portion of our days or weeks running from one thing to the next. Our lives can often feel a bit hectic and over-scheduled. We begin to feel this even more the closer we get to the holiday season. Together we’ll explore how we might find some breath in between the busy.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.11.10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. While voting rights in the United States are often taken as a given, there are segments of the population who still experience significant challenges casting their vote come election time. What does it mean when we don't see the votes that are not being counted?

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.11.03.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Calling all Zombie Hunters, Ghostbusters, Vampire Slayers and Superheroes: the earth is again under attack and we need your help! Really, why are Zombies everywhere these days?

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.10.27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Gregory Pelley, UU Minister

Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan refers to miracles not as changes in the physical order, but rather as changes in the social order. So let us take a thoughtful and curious look at a couple of miracle stories - one ancient and one new. Perhaps therein we might find a way to do our own miracle-making.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.10.20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

There is a great deal of stigma and prejudice around the serious health concerns of mental illness. Through the sharing of stories we'll reflect together on spiritual community and the role of faith in recovery for individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.10.13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

The physical headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association is moving to a new location. Our denominational leadership seeks to do so in a way that preserves our rich history and allows for greater welcome, accessibility and community building our movement. How might that story inspire our own narrative?

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.10.06.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Donna Renfro

Working against all the 'isms' is a spiritual practice with the power to change us as much as we seek change. We are at a new place in our denominational work on anti-oppression and multiculturalism, continuing the journey to transformation and wholeness, with stops of cultural humility and competence along the way. Donna shared insights from this new program for ministers, and used the world of work as a way to look at how to be good neighbors.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.09.29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Unitarian Universalism is a faith with a rich heritage of justice making. How might we learn from our ancestors, continue to take bold steps forward, and work towards creating a future of greater care and equality?

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.09.22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

This service provided reflections on the Jewish High Holidays, which will have just come to a close, and explored themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, resilience and new beginnings.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.09.15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

This service was centered around a ritual frequently offered in the autumn at many Unitarian Universalist congregations around the country: Water Communion.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.09.08.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Ann Perry and Mark Allison

In the summer of 2013, Mark Allison and Ann Perry went on a six-week journey following the Lewis and Clark "Corp of Discovery" trail up the Missouri River in search of the Northwest Passage. Ann and Mark shared the lessons of faith and love that they experienced along the way after covering over 8,800 miles through 24 states, 4 national parks, 4 Native American reservations, and numerous national forests.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.08.25.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Karen White

Karen White of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers spoke about increasing the minimum wage and also spoke about other benefits that are needed to help workers be both productive employees and responsible family members.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.08.18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Linda Milkes

This service centered around the power of music and how it satisfies many of our needs and can have significance in our lives.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.08.11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Jen Kitchen

Jen Kitchen shared her thoughts about improvization, Unitarian Universalism, and life.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.08.04.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Melanie Davis

Learn how to be a more compassionate and effective helper in times of personal and larger-community crises.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.07.28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Nancy and Raymond Brungard

This service on Hope has been presented by Nancy and Ray Brungard and also included their musical performances.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.07.21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Michael Thayer

Mike Thayer spoke about the massive changes that have taken place in American public education over the last decade and a half, and described some of the possible outcomes for our society and our democracy. In particular, he addressed how these changes mesh or conflict with UU principles.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.07.14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Aaron Hershkowitz

Aaron Hershkowitz shared with us the thoughts and beliefs of ancient philosophers on death and the afterlife.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.07.07.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher

Our lives are full of transition, never static, and often in places of growth and transformation. How might we approach transition with open hearts and possibility? How might we embrace transformation in our personal lives and also in our faith communities. This service reflected on personal growth and shared ministry.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.04.28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Ann Perry and Melanie Davis

Discover how to experience congregational work as an integrated element in a fully rounded spiritual life. Meditation, ritual and prayer are a side of spiritual life, but service is its heart. This worship service explored the concept that service to the community is spirituality in action. Our president and vice-president shared their stories of how to balance service to our UUCSH community with living out personal missions.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.03.24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Tracy Sprowls-Jenks

Guest minister Rev. Tracy Sprowls-Jenks spoke about Ralph Waldo Emerson and translated his lessons into a gift for us today. On the way, we learned something about Transcendentalism, nature and human nature, and how we should be in the world.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.03.10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Joe Jiuliano

Can the 2000 year-old stoic philosophy be relevant to modern Unitarian Universalists? UUCSH member Joe Jiuliano explored this topic and shared his thoughts.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.03.03.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Future Leaders at Somerset Hills (FLASH)

This service was presented by our Future Leaders at Somerset Hills (FLASH) high school youth group. They shared their perspectives and thoughts on Unitarian Universalism and what our congregation means to them.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.02.24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Craig Hirshberg

Democracy is often confused with politics. But there are very clear, substantial values that Unitarian Universalists bring in our participation in the body politic. In this service, Rev. Craig Hirshberg, Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey, our UU presence in Trenton, explored our UU values upholding our actions as we engage in current legislative issues.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.02.10.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Beth Putnam

Maybe it's happened to you, you speak your heart's desire for a world with justice and equity, where we follow the path of human dignity and a world community, and those around you scoff. They say that's not how people or the world work. Here's a look at why peace, love and understanding aren't so funny after all.

Direct download: UUCSH_2013.01.13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Doug Ford

In this service, Doug Ford shared his thoughts on New Year's resolutions and how they have evolved over time.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.12.30.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

UUCSH

In this service, the children, youth, and adults of UUCSH performed the traditional holiday pageant. This year's pageant drew inspiration from many sources. These included the books "The Runaway Latkes" by Leslie Kimmelman and Paul Yalowitz, "Hanukkah Ha-Has" by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg, and the Central Baptist Church of Wayne, Pa. and its "Inclusivity Nativity." Music was provided by UUCSH's youth musicians, the children's choir, and the adult choir.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.12.16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

UUCSH

In this service, the children, youth, and adults of UUCSH performed the traditional holiday pageant. This year's pageant drew inspiration from many sources. These included the books "The Runaway Latkes" by Leslie Kimmelman and Paul Yalowitz, "Hanukkah Ha-Has" by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg, and the Central Baptist Church of Wayne, Pa. and its "Inclusivity Nativity." Music was provided by UUCSH's youth musicians, the children's choir, and the adult choir.

Direct download: Holiday_Pageant_2012.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

UUCSH Music Committee

This service was hosted by the UUCSH Music Committee and organized and written by Nancy Brungard. All readings and musical selections reflected and celebrated our seven UU principles, affirming and promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.12.02.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Rev. Dr. Heidi Swarts

Guest minister Rev. Dr. Heidi Swarts has lead this service about peace, consistent with the Coalition for Peace Action's 33rd Annual Interfaith Service and Conference on Peace which was held in Princeton later that day. UUCSH was a co-sponsor of this event.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.11.11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Jacqui Williams, Allyson Diane Hamm

As we dream about our next minster, we might unconsciously be narrowing the field. This service set the tone for the afternoon workshop titled, Beyond Categorical Thinking. Jacqui Williams and Allyson Diane Hamm (Representatives from the UUA) shared information from their lives as a way of helping us understand what it is like to be among marginalized identities. The purpose of the day was to promote inclusive thinking and help prevent unfair discrimination in the ministerial search process.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.11.04.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Carol Levin

Some of us may remember trick or treating for UNICEF. It is less common today, but the needs of children throughout the world are still striking. This service looked at the hopes and dreams and current realities of the world's children. In the second part of the service Melanie Davis and Linda Lovero-Waterhouse introduced our new UUCSH website and discussed ways to use social media to reach out to our community and beyond.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.10.28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Rosemarie Newberry

Have you considered what characteristics are needed in order to be a human? Is it just a body, or is the ability to communicate, think, rationalize necessary? The Rev. Rosemarie Newberry expanded the definition and told us about people that have helped her understand the answer to this question.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.10.14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Dr. Tulsi Maharjan

In this service, Rev. Marcia Marino was joined by Dr. Tulsi Maharjan, President of the Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition, along with members of the Coalition as they join together in unity to celebrate International Day of Peace.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.09.23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Ann Perry, UUCSH President

When we think of growth we tend to focus on numerical growth only. There is so much more to the growth of a healthy spiritual community than numbers. UUCSH has joined a 3-year growth initiative entitled "Growing Stronger", specifically designed for congregations of our size, who have the commitment and motivation to grow in strength, in influence and in numbers. This service reviewed this program, the areas of growth, our goals and priorities in each growth area, and what you can expect to see over the coming year. Learn about Maturational Growth, Organic Growth, Incarnational Growth, Associational Growth, as well as Numerical Growth and how growing our congregation in each of these areas will strengthen our community and spiritual home.

Direct download: UUCSH_1212.09.16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Dr. Anthony P. Johnson

It is customary to fold the flag on a veteran's coffin into a triangle and present it to the family. The late veterans whose funerals Rev. Johnson has conducted have been a varied lot, ranging politically from Communist to Republican and religiously from Unitarian Universalist to Baptist. Rev. Johnson has shared his thoughts on seeing the folded flag as representative of often complex lives in difficult times.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.05.27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Rev. Linda Goonewardene

How can we honor and celebrate the people in our lives who function as mothers on various levels? Can we learn from other people such as Hildegard of Bingen, Margaret Sanger, and Alice Walker? Guest minister Rev. Linda Goonewardene shared these Mother’s Day reflections with us.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.05.13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:34 PM

Chris Buja, Director of Lifespan Faith Development

Religious education for children and youth at UUCSH has been a tremendous source of pride and attraction for many over the past 15 years. The interim time is an opportunity to reflect, revive, and recommit to RE as an integral part of UUCSH's service to the wider community. This service explored what about RE is so important to children, youth, and adults and how to grow this ministry for another 15 years.

Direct download: UUCSH_2012.04.29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Jon Galluccio, Vice Chair, Garden State Equality

During this service we will hear about Jon's work for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender (GLBT) equality and for Marriage Equality. We will learn about what needs to happen next to override the veto in NJ and how we all can make a difference.
Direct download: UUCSH_2012.03.25.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Aaron Hershkowitz

Aaron Hershkowitz shared with us the thoughts and beliefs of ancient philosophers on death and the afterlife.
Direct download: UUCSH_2011.11.27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 PM



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