Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: LGBT

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 »

A World of Closet Doors

I can’t quite remember the exact day, but in the second week of April in the year 2000, roughly ten students at my high school in the suburbs of Chicago filed into school, dressed entirely in black, and they wouldn’t say a single word the entire day. They came from various cliques in the high school.

A couple geeks, popular students, crunchy granola kids, and general misfits. I was one of them. We only knew each other a little and had no connection outside of a shared after school group and the moment before us. We recognized each other in the hallways, in each others classes, and during lunch.

We’d smile at one another in encouragement as we passed in the halls and go about our day. Upon entering each class we’d hand a small slip of paper to the teacher and to anyone else that asked why we weren’t talking. The rules were simple: Don’t talk and hand over a slip when someone asked why.

That April of 2000 was the first time my high school engaged in the observance of the National Day of Silence. A day every April where people across the country stayed silent, mostly in schools, to protest the bullying experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students. The reactions were mixed. Read the rest of this entry »