Worship & Sermons

WORSHIP

Sunday services are held in our church sanctuary at 10:30am and are livestreamed on our YouTube channel. Advance registration is required to attend in person, and masks are required at all times in our church buildings. An outdoor 30-Minute Fellowship (weather permitting) and fellowship on Zoom follow the services.

Join us for services at 10:30am on Sundays, from the Sunday after Labor Day through Father’s Day. Experience elements of the world religions, including our Christian roots and humanism. Find inspiration in choral and instrumental music (including organ), congregational singing, a time for children, readings, an offering, and meditative silence. Hear a sermon on social justice, spirituality, dealing with life’s challenges, or other issues. The children’s choirs may sing. We may celebrate a holiday, act out a skit, hold a coming-of-age ceremony, or hear a member’s Journeys of Faith. Services end around 11:30am and are usually followed by Coffee Hour.

For a relaxed service with music from the jazz tradition, come to a Jazz Vespers. Our Christmas Eve service and Christmas Candlelight service are community traditions.

Sermons

Watch some recent sermons from Reverend Rebecca:

https://bit.ly/sermon-recordings

Self-forgiveness as a Pathway to Belonging

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan We speak often of being a welcoming congregation, open and affirming to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or religious beliefs. We have gone so far as to integrate our commitment to creating a...

Listen

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan I met Stephen Pevar in 2001 when I began working as the Director of Development for the Connecticut American Civil Liberties Union. It was the time of the Patriot Act. The enormity of 9/11 was still reverberating in the air. People...

Love Is the Doctrine of This Church

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan   Did you ever wish you were given a rule book to life? Maybe you were the kid wondering how to fit in at school or who your people were. Did you long for that rule book when you were facing a life-changing decision you thought...

A Flower Inside Us All

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan   It appeared seemingly out of nowhere. We were hiking in what is known as the Alpine Desert, 5,000 meters above sea level on an inactive volcano in Tanzania. Yes, I’m sharing another story about Mount Kilimanjaro. It is, after...

Ongoing

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan It took me five months, almost to the day, to realize that this pandemic is actually happening. For months before that I would pinch myself periodically and say, “What?! This can’t be happening.” Even as I rearranged my entire life,...

A Walk to Remember

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan Our reading this morning included the opening words of John Lewis’s eulogy, delivered by Barack Obama, words from the gospel of James, Chapter 1. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,...

A Wish for You

A Wish for You

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan We’ve had to make some critical, potentially life-changing decisions for this church over the last few months. When we closed the building in March, in response to COVID-19, someone said to me, “That means we won’t come back until next...

Our Spiritual Home

Our Spiritual Home

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan What does it mean to be a church? Some would say a church is a body of people who adhere to certain creeds or confessions of faith such as the Nicene Creed or the Five Pillars of Islam. Unitarian Universalists have seven principles,...

Quiet

Quiet

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan   I come from a family of musicians as well as writers, academics, farmers, and mothers – wonderful mothers and grandmothers. Singing camp songs, discussing theater, and debating politics are fundamental to the Bryan heritage.   Still,...

The Other Pandemics

The Other Pandemics

  Earth Day Remarks  By Brent Mitchell    The Other Pandemics  I did not want to give this talk. When first approached about an Earth Day service, I proposed a comparison of the early resistance to Darwin’s theories of evolution with climate change denial today....

Suffering Explored 

Suffering Explored 

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan “Go ahead. Let it out, honey. I am not afraid of your pain.”  It had been six months since my last drink. Twenty-five Friday evenings without any red wine. My emotions were as present as I had ever felt them. It felt like I was going...

“Together We Rise” – Easter Reflection 2020

“Together We Rise” – Easter Reflection 2020

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan We are not going to survive this, this time, on our own initiative. Quite an Easter message, right?  We need one another to get through, rebound, and ultimately recreate life, however it will be after this pandemic. Of course, we need...

Seeking Not Running

Seeking Not Running

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan Thank you, Diane, for your beautiful and moving Journey of Faith. You have given us a huge gift, and I wanted to be sure we took the time and learned from that gift. I’m sure many of us can relate to your story of religious upbringing,...

In Each Other’s Hands

In Each Other’s Hands

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan Thank you, Alex.   My remarks this morning are entitled “In Each Other’s Hands.”  Placing my hand down on the page, holding the paper with my elbow, tongue stuck out in focused attention and effort, I would carefully draw with my right...

“Values, Mission and Ends. Oh My!” 

“Values, Mission and Ends. Oh My!” 

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan Thank you, Julie, and thank all of you who participated in helping to articulate the values, mission, and ends of our beloved congregation.   Thank you for believing in and caring about this congregation and its future. Thank you for...

How Will I Know: The Art of Discernment 

How Will I Know: The Art of Discernment 

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan The text message came through as I walked out the door of our home. “There’s a Letter to the Editor in this morning’s paper. You should read it.”   And so it began, the unexpected bend in the road, an unanticipated Letter to the Editor...

Neurodiversity and Self-Compassion

Neurodiversity and Self-Compassion

  By Rev. Helen Murgida, Ed.D.    Welcome! This morning I will share my stories of working with neurodiverse students in the field of education and how this has shaped me as a compassionate caregiver. These reflections have helped me to articulate where I stand...

Perfect in Our Brokenness

Perfect in Our Brokenness

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan ​“We all love you, that’s not the problem. Now you just have to love yourself...” words from a truthful friend in recovery. “That’s a lot of diplomas and awards on that wall behind you,” said a person interviewing me to be a minister....

There is More to the Story

There is More to the Story

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan Tomorrow is the thirty-fourth year that we have honored the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. The idea of commemorating Dr. King’s legacy began in 1968, four days after his assassination, when Representative John Conyers...

Dialoguing across Differences: Is It Possible?

Dialoguing across Differences: Is It Possible?

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan Is dialogue across differences possible, in today’s political and polarized climate? The short answer is yes — yes if there is a shared common goal or purpose for the conversation and we connect to the worth and dignity of the other...

“UUs Don’t Believe Anything” and Other Misperceptions

“UUs Don’t Believe Anything” and Other Misperceptions

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan “UUs Don’t Believe Anything” and Other Misperceptions I’m going to start this morning by giving you the headline, or the end of the sermon, at the beginning. There is so much to be said and so little time. Trying to answer the question...

Unfolding

Unfolding

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan “God is not inevitable.” I was sitting in meditation when this thought came to me. “God is not inevitable.” It brought me great joy. I felt like a light had been turned on in my mind, leaving years of spiritual seeking, questioning,...

Threads

Threads

  By Rev. Rebecca Bryan If someone had told me that pain was a prerequisite for joy, I wonder whether would I have still chosen joy. Or would I have settled for something mediocre? Would I have settled for feeling somewhat alive, for finding a little hope, for...

Lost in Non-Translation

Lost in Non-Translation

  Listen to Rev. Rebecca's sermon "Lost in Non-Translation" by clicking on the FRS &U podcast play button to the right. Questions to ponder, discuss and hold... When were you made to feel welcome by someone who did not know you? What happened, and how did you...

In Honor

In Honor

  By Rev. Rebecca Bryan It is indeed my honor to serve as your minister. This is a wonderful congregation with deep and rooted history, both in not only our association and denomination but also here in Newburyport and the surrounding towns. I take this call...

Whose Welcome?

Whose Welcome?

  How welcoming can make you more deeply welcoming   By Rev. Rebecca Bryan Last June, we voted as a congregation to become a Level 2 Sanctuary Congregation. This means that we covenant, or promise, to support the Main Street Congregational Church in Amesbury,...

From Trash to Treasure

From Trash to Treasure

  By Rev. Rebecca Bryan We were in the process of blending our families after remarriage, four children and two adults. Always one for the importance of rituals and wanting to find a way to commemorate the transition, I had lugged us all down to the local...

As We Move Forward

As We Move Forward

  By Reverend Rebecca Bryan  When I began studying to be a Unitarian Universalist minister nearly ten years ago, I was oblivious to issues of race. I certainly would have told you that I was not prejudiced; in fact I dated the one black boy in my high school and...

The Powerful Question

The Powerful Question

  Watch the video recording of the sermon. By Reverend Rebecca Bryan  “The risk with Unitarian Universalism is that you skate. You skim from cause to cause and theology to theology, but never go deep. That may be interesting and even fun; however, what happens...

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