About Us

The faith we live by in this church searches for truth in our own individual hearts, in our own life experiences, in the many faith traditions and philosophies that nurture us, in the explorations of science. Ours is not a blind faith: It is based neither on creeds, the scriptures of any particular religion, the pronouncements of a church hierarchy, nor the words of any single person. Rather, we submit our beliefs to the test of knowledge, reason, and compassion. Our faith aims to treat all humans irrespective of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious belief with caring and respect. Ours is a faith of deeds and commitment to building humane character and love for the natural world. It is a faith of the free mind and the loving heart.

Announcements

On the Charleston Murders -- posted on - Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Charleston Bible study shooting, unlike other mass shootings the US has recently experienced, cannot be so easily written off as the act of a crazed man suffering from mental illness.  Dylann Roof’s actions are clearly rooted in hatred fostered by white supremacy hate groups that are still active in our country.

Had the shooter been from a foreign country or of a non-Christian religion, his crime would have been quickly labeled as terrorism and an attack on our freedom of religion.  Instead, the result of this tragic event has been discussion on the rights of freedom of speech related to the historically inaccurate confederate flag, and the rights outlined in the 2nd Amendment, which some interpret to allow common citizens to bear and keep fire arms.  However important these discussions may be, they distract from the urgent need to address overt and latent racism that still exists in all parts of this country.

If any good could somehow miraculously result from this tragic event, we as a nation can hopefully finally be moved to have some frank, effective conversations, laws, and actions to combat our social illnesses – at home, in schools, in churches and on social media.  A movement toward respecting each other instead of focusing on our own rights may be the beginning of a healing process.  

A key principle of Unitarian Universalism is the inherent worth and dignity of all.  First Unitarian Church has extended its condolences to the victims’ families.  We would like to invite members of our community to participate in the several existing programs which address overt and latent racism and support respect for all.  One example is the Dialogue to Change groups that grew out of the forums on racism that were cosponsored by The Blade and The Toledo Community Coalition (TCC).

 
Chalice Camp, August 3-7! -- Posted - Friday, June 19, 2015

Chalice Camp is a summer day camp for children entering 1st through 6th grades.  This year we'll be learning about UU History through stories, plays, games, and fun!  Download the brochure:  UUChalice Camp brochure 2015 Final2.pdf

Click here to register your kids!

Click here to sign up to volunteer!  (Note:  you must be an approved First Unitarian RE Volunteer prior to signing up for any of the slots marked "Two Adults Needed."  Click here to download and print that form.)

 

Compassion for the Planet: Earth Day Every Day


Judy Trautman and the Green Sanctuary Committee

"Compassion is planting a seedling under whose shade we may never sit." - Ancient Proverb

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-28-2015)

A People of Faith


"A People of Faith"
  ~ Reverend Beth Marshall


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-21-2015)

Walking in Their Footsteps

"If we do not know our own history, we are doomed to live it as though it were our private fate."

-- Hanna Arendt

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-14-2015)

The Beauty of Low Tide

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

- Anais Nin


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-8-2015)

Coming of Age Sunday

Led by DRE Heather Dinklage, and the Coming of Age Class 

This year, the 7th-9th graders have been pondering life's big questions: Where do good and evil come from? What happens when we die? What is the meaning of life? On this Sunday, our Coming of Age youth share with you their ideas on these topics and more.
Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-31-2015)

A Time to Stand Tall

A Time to Stand Tall

Guest Minister -- Reverend Tom Schade

Is this a new era for Unitarian Universalism?

The Rev. Tom Schade is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister. He served the First Unitarian Church in Worcester, MA from 1999 to 2012, when he retired to Ann Arbor where his spouse had taken a job. He is a graduate of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University inDallas, Texas. He writes a blog "The Lively Tradition" at www.tomschade.com where he writes about the intersection of Unitarian Universalist theology and current events.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-24-2015)

Spiritual Growth in a Contingent World

Led by Bob Rudolph, Chaplain Emeritus

In his New York Times column entitled "The Power of Marriage," David Brooks uses the term "culture of contingency" to describe an aspect of contemporary culture-our tendency, as he sees it, to end a commitment when it no longer "meets our needs." This Sunday's sermon explores the implications of the "culture of contingency" not only for marriage but for spiritual growth.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-17-2015)

Teachings of the Insentient

Guest, Reverend Wayne Arnason
"The Earth is our Mother" is Native American wisdom, which permeates both popular culture and our activism for environmental justice. This Sunday, we will go deeper into this metaphor to appreciate its freshness and understand its limits. The sermon title comes from a Buddhist text that offers us a different take on what it means to fully engage with what the earth has to teach us.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-10-2015)

What Strength Does Unitarian Universalism want from you?


What Strength Does Unitarian Universalism want from you?"
  
The seven virtues of the liberal spirit. 
Guest minister, Reverend Tom Schade


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-3-2015)

The Future Awaits

Presented by Reverend Ken Phifer

One of the most popular songs we UU's sing is #145, "As Tranquil Streams". The words remind us to honor the past, to learn from and promote our heritage, but one of the key lines tells us that "the future waits thy liberating ministry." I want to share some thoughts about the present human condition and what our liberating ministry might look like in such a time.  

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-26-2015)

RE Sunday


Led by Heather Dinklage, DRE  

with the UU Kids as her worship associates.

Join us as children and youth lead the service in celebration of all we do in Religious Education.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-19-2015)

Mediating Faith

Led by Reverend Tim Barger

Rev. Tim will talk about mediating faith--as a reporter, a faith leader, and a religious individual--and look at how the spirituality of each of us, lived in relation to other people's different holiness, might affect our ways of being religious.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-12-2015)

Occupy Jerusalem, circa 33 AD

Led by Reverend Renee Ruchotzke & Heather Dinklage, DRE

In the first century, Roman political and economic oppression was met by the non-violent resistance of Jewish prophets. What lessons might we learn for today's oppressions?"

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-5-2015)

Be Still and Know

Led by our guest Sr. Terry Cortes-Vega  

What might we learn about ourselves and others, if instead of rushing around so much, we were able to slow down, quiet our minds and open our hearts? If we rested in that still space now and then, what would the Great Teachers want us to learn, to know? When would not knowing be helpful?  

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-29-2015)

Two Sons, One Wise Father

Guest minister, John Carrado

"my father was a true father -- he loved me.

and because he loved me, i loved him:

First, as a child, with the love that is worship;

then, as a youth, with the love that gives battle;

as man, with the love which understands."

~ e.e.cummings

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-22-2015)

The Radiant Future


Led by Reverend Larry Hutchison
What might we hope for this year? What feathers of hope perch in our souls? How will we occupy the future? The news we hear seems predominantly, purposeless excitement and needless worry. In the "radiant future," we will explore possibilities, hope, and dreams.


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-15-2015)

Buried Treasures

Reverend Renee Ruchotzke  

How might our faith communities be places where the gifts of the people are multiplied?


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-8-2015)

Benedict's Way of Love


Led by our guest minister,  Rev Evin Carvill-Ziemer 

In the 6th century CE, St. Benedict wrote what has become known as "The Rule of St. Benedict", followed by Benedictine monasteries to this day. From St. Benedict's teachings arose a way of being some call radical hospitality: Radical hospitality not only in the monastery's hospitality of guests, but as a way of moving in the world for each one who follows these teachings, a way of love

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-1-2015)

Stealing Jesus

Unitarian Universalists have an ambiguous and complicated relationship with Jesus. We may be okay with "God," but when it comes to "Jesus," we may feel that his message has become so compromised as to render him irrelevant for the 21st Century. The Jesus we know has been stolen from that place, and from the place in history that he deserves. Who stole Jesus, and why? And, should we try to steal him back?"


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (2-22-2015)

Person of (Com)Passion : First UUSJ Angels


The annual Social Justice sermon examines how to be Persons of Passion about Compassion. UUSJ Angels comment on several real-life vignettes.


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (2-8-2015)

Shame on You

"Shame is a failure of being; guilt a failure of doing."

~ Ronald Potter-Efron

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (2-1-2015)

Make It So

It is we who must be keepers of the flame.

It is we who must carry the imperishable fire.

It is our watch now!

-- Tom Owen-Towle

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (1-25-2015)

This Journey Not of My Choosing

"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost."

-- Dante Alighieri


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (1-18-2015)

A Year After the Deluge

There is often in people to whom "the worst" has happened an almost transcendent freedom, for they have faced "the worst" and have survived it.

-- Carol Peterson, The Hero Within


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (1-11-2015)

Brimming with Possibilities


On this first Sunday of the new year, our worship will explore what  being a person of possibility might look like.  How do we embody the principles that guide us, what choices do we make, what do we include and 
what do we exclude?  


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (1-4-2015)

Newer Than News

"The duty of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" -- Finley Peter Dunne

"The Church is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable" -- Reinhold Niebuhr

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (12-28-2014)

Christmas Eve Service

"Christmas is not so much about opening presents as it is about opening your hearts"

 -- Janice Maeditere

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (12-24-2014)

Winter Solstice Service

Diane Lee Moomey writes: "Again did the earth shift. Again did the nights grow short, and the days long. And the people of the earth were glad, and celebrated each in their own ways." Within our wonderfully diverse congregation, we celebrate the full spectrum of winter holidays. On this, the shortest day of the year, we celebrate the Winter Solstice and honor our connection to the change of seasons.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (12-21-2014)

Christmas Music Sunday

Christmas_StarOverManger

"Oh Bethlehem, Blessed is the hour, the Saviour comes to you."

-- Carols and Lullabies: Christmas in the Southwest, Conrad Susa


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (12-14-2014)

The Goddess Within


One of the benefits of the rise in spirituality in the recent past, has been a re-exploration of the goddess and what role she can play in the lives of people today.  You might be surprised to discover how connected we are to these ancient stories, in ways we never imagined. Who is the goddess within you? 



Click the Services link for the audio of the service (12-7-2014)

Advent Sunday

Advent is a season that is celebrated by some of our congregations, but not by others. This Sunday we will lift up both a more traditional interpretation of Advent alongside a more modern interpretation. While there are differences in language, you may be surprised at how much the two have in common.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (11-30-2014)

We Remember, We Honor

Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun and left the vivid air signed with their honor.

-- Stephen Spender


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (11-02-2014)

Getting to Know You

Part of our commitment to this spiritual community is getting to know one another through sharing our own stories. As many of our brief interactions do not lend themselves to deep or meaningful conversations, this morning's service offers the opportunity to get to know several familiar faces a little better. Participating are members and friends who contribute in ways that make the congregation both more interesting and run far more smoothly. Consistent with the month's theme for worship, being a Person of Yes includes getting to better know some of the people in our lives.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (10-26-2014)

Saying Yes to Something Beyond Ourselves


Every week in the context of our congregational covenant we recite the words, "and service is our prayer". While our intentions are good, few truly take those words to heart, devoting their lives and risking all that is sacred in order to serve something greater than themselves. When service becomes a calling, as it does for all connected with military service, how does that impact not only their lives, but the lives of their families and communities? What might we do as a religious community to be of support? 

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (10-19-2014)

Safe Harbor


On this holiday weekend when the ethics of immigration are on many of our minds, we will explore what it means for us as a religious community to be a true sanctuary, a safe harbor. We do so many things well, might there be ways we can draw on our strengths as a Welcoming Congregation to broaden our commitment to opening our doors more widely to all people. 


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (10-12-2014)

Who Sweeps the Stable?


"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor."

-- Mark 10:21

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (10-05-2014)

On Being an Ecumenical Atheist

Being described as an ecumenical atheist by an Anglican cleric gave this Unitarian Universalist pause for reflection. What is an ecumenical atheist? Is this stance congruent with the Principles and Purposes of our faith tradition? How can an adherent to secular humanism and/or atheism think about other religious beliefs? It will be an interesting journey.  
Click the Services link for the text of the sermon (9-28-2014).

A Challenge to Forgive

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in a new book authored with his daughter Mpho Tutu, writes: I would like to share with you two simple truths: there is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one undeserving of forgiveness....In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others. Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again." (from The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World).

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (9-21-2014)

Sacredness of Water

In light of the recent water crisis in the Toledo area, we will focus our attention on the sacredness of all water,and its importance in our lives.


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (9-14-2014)

Blessings of the Animals



 The animals in our lives share more than our homes. They share our hearts as well. This morning we invite you to bring a token representing the animals that share your life -- a photograph, a leash, a favorite toy.


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (9-7-2014)

Behind the Kitchen Door

In his now famous "Letter from the Birmingham Jail, l962", Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, wrote: "We are bound by an inescapable garment of mutuality, whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." In food establishments across the country, men and women are working diligently in positions that do not offer the most basic level of sustenance. Many of us have worked in such positions, some among us currently work in such positions to support themselves and their families. Come hear stories, thoughts and reactions from those who have read "Behind the Kitchen Door." Perhaps we can take one step toward making the invisible seen, appreciated and properly compensated.


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (8-31-2014)

Intergenerational Labyrinth Service

We step into the labyrinth -- metaphorically, exploring its history, symbolism and uses. It is but one way to physically express a growing spirituality. In the words of Parker Palmer, "Action, like a sacrament, is the visible form of an invisible spirit, an outward manifestation of an inward power."


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (8-24-2014)

An Incurable Wound

Any number of thoughtful men and women have explored the idea that the events in our lives impact the shape of our work, our art, the ways we love and the choices we make. This morning's service will examine the possibility that some wounds, while they may never heal, help us grow.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (8-17-2014)

Make Haste to Be Kind

What does it mean to put our faith in action? How can we let our spirituality infuse our daily lives? What are some challenges to making spiritually-informed choices about and within everyday situations? How do we know when we have operated from a place of spirituality?  I want to explore some of the ideas that asking such questions raises for me and perhaps for you as well. -- Elliot Adams


Click the Services  link for the audio of the service (8-3-2014)

Play Ball!


I want to tell you about my love of this game, why and how it matters to me and tens of millions of others and might even matter to you, and why my daughter once told me that baseball is a metaphor for life and I told her she had it backwards, life is a metaphor for baseball!

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (7-27-2014)

The Dharma Teachings of John Lennon

A look at several of John Lennon's song lyrics to delve into some of the deeper spiritual meanings they contain. 

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (7-20-2014)

Engaged Buddhism; Be Free Where You Are

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, teaches that "Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves." We will explore the life of Thich Nhat Hanh and his continuing journey of service to others in order to help all living beings find peace and happiness. His example has led a group of us to the Toledo Correctional Institution where we meditate and share the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh in order to help these men find freedom within its walls. Whether or not we are confined in prison, we can experience less suffering and more freedom here and now by practicing mindfulness. Participants in this service are: Pat Buchanan, Karen Christie and Lynn Lyle, who are students of Thich Nhat Hanh and have been meditation practitioners for a number of years. 


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (7-13-2014)

The Self-emptying Heart

This Sunday's sermon explores the spiritual dimensions of living with a mental illness-either as a sufferer or as a family member of a person with a brain disorder-and of providing supportive companionship.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (7-6-2014)

Coping and Caring


Life is sometimes very hard. Disappointments abound. Sadness sweeps over us. Tragedies happen. Losses mount up. How do we deal with these dark moments of life? Are there ways of handling such situations that can help us to survive and even prosper?

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-29-2014)

Still Under Construction

William James identified "the belief that there is an unseen order" as characteristic of the life of religion in its "broadest and most general terms possible." What could that mean to us in the 21st century, when religion is a part of some of the most heroic and heinous of human acts and activities? 

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-22-2014)

Flower Communion Sunday

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not  a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.
 

      Martin Niemoller,  20th century minister, theologian and  philosopher

What do we fight against? Our fight is against lies, mendacity, deceit, bullying, and everything that belittles, enslaves, or would destroy a human being.

-- Norbert Capek

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-15-2014)

Upon This Rock

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single person contemplates it, bearing within the image of a cathedral."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-8-2014)

Hitting the Bumps in the Road

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep."

-- Scott Adams

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (6-1-2014)

The Seen and the Unseen


"We belong because we choose to belong. We belong because others have chosen to welcome us, and include us, and make space for us.  We belong, because inherent to this faith is a belief that there is room for all who come in friendship, in freedom, and in peace."

-- Julie Stoneberg, UU minister.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-25-2014)

Why RE Sunday?


"Being Part of a Unitarian Universalist Community means being on an adventure of discovery."

Rev. Jim Robinson, Unitarian Universalist minister

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-18-2014)



The Sacred and the Profane

"The manifestation of the sacred ontologically founds the world."

-- Mircea Eliade

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (5-4-2014)

Are We a Church for All People?

"There is power in knowing

My struggle is your struggle

And yours, mine."

Dan Wilkins

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-27-2014)

Intergenerational Easter Service

"Awry in an otherwise orderly hedge

Forsythia flaunts a golden edge

Of sunshine, and thus by flouting reason

Embodies the spirit of the season."

-- Dorothy Parsons East

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-20-2014)

Traveling Roads Not Taken

"The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone."

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Little Foxes, 1871


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-13-2014)

A Journey Not a Destination

 "We arrive together here, travelers on life's journey,

Seekers of meaning, of love, of healing, of justice, of truth.

Numerous are our origins, our paths, and our destination.

And yet, happily, our ways have joined together here today."

-- Andrew Pakula

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (4-6-2014)

Water over the Bridge

"There is a brokenness

out of which comes the unbroken, a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable."

-- Rashani

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-30-2014).

Words Through a Prism

"Words and idioms are as indispensable to our thoughts and experiences as are colors and tints to a painting."

-- William Chomsky, professor and grammarian



Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-23-2014).

Love Prepare Me

Love prepare me to be a sanctuary,

Pure and holy, tried and true.

With thanksgiving I'll be a living

Sanctuary for you.

-- Billy Jonas

 Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-16-2014).

Noah's A.R.K. 2014

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.  Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes.  All is a miracle." -- Thich Nhat Hanh

"Blessed are the weird people -- poets, misfits, writers, mystics, heretics, painters, troubadours -- for they teach us to see the world through different eyes."  -- Jacob Nordby

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-9-2014).

Kindness, Gratitude, Compassion

Ours is a simple faith.

Life is a short embrace.

Heaven is in this place, every day.

Hope is the ground we till.

Make each day what you will.

Thankful for dreams fulfilled, every day.

Click the Services link for the audio of the service (3-2-2014).

Healing with Compassion

"The planet does not need more successful people.  The planet needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds." 

 -- H.H. The Dalai Lama


"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.  Help someone's soul heal." -- Rumi


Click the Services link for the audio of the service (2-23-2014).

Ordination of Timothy Knox Barger

First Unitarian Church

Sunday, December 8, 2013

 

 

  Click the Services link for the audio of the service (12-1-2013).


Service Info

Our worship services are held each Sunday at 11:00 a.m., followed by a vibrant coffee hour in our Fellowship Hall. We have Lifespan Faith Development programs for children and adults September through May.  We will be glad to see you here!

Location

First Unitarian Church of Toledo
3205 Glendale Avenue
Toledo, OH 43614-2423
419-381-6999


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