Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Month: September, 2017

Becoming a Beacon

I’ve never shared with you all the story of the first time I was in a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I think it’s fair if I’m asking you to remember those wonderful, peculiar, sometimes frightening, often settling and unsettling moments for yourselves these past few weeks.

I’ve also been asking you to consider what your most loving hope is for this, your church home – the hopes that come to us in the quiet moments, the singing moments, the reflecting, praying, hoping moments when we gather together. We each have our unique stories – and no matter how long you’ve been a Unitarian Universalist, there is something that brought you here this morning.

Now, I’ve been a Unitarian Universalist for more years than not, I speak the language, my year revolves around the customs and flow of church, and I can’t imagine my life without the fulness of this tradition that is our historic Unitarian Universalist faith.

And I remember the first time I sat in a Unitarian Universalist congregation so clearly, I can still hear the piano playing, the minister speaking, the smell of the wood in the sanctuary, the creak of the chairs. It was upon being invited by my best friend to join him and his family for a Sunday service at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, Illinois. Read the rest of this entry »

Something Surprising, Something Beautiful

Our reading for this morning was titled The Grout by Marcus Hartlief.

There is a great story about a church that was falling apart.  It comes to us from the Rev. Molly Phinney Baskette – a wonderful name for a minister.  And the story originates when she was serving First Church in Somerville, Massachusetts, a United Church of Christ congregation.  She begins the story very simply.

The church was a mess.  Membership was bleeding, the grounds, the very little bit of grounds they have mind you – were unkempt, the church was crammed with junk in every nook and cranny, no one took care of the church other than an overworked custodian, and it was dark, damp, in need of repairs, and not a place you’d want to be on Sunday morning.

No one put away the dishes in the kitchen – they expected the holy spirit to do it for them, tables were never put away, floors were never swept, the list went on and on.  Outside of this unending list of things that didn’t happen, one thing was clear, the people of First Church in Somerville either didn’t have pride in their church or they failed to remember that they were the church and, as a result, that it was theirs to take care of. Read the rest of this entry »