2016-17 Church year
Flower Communion Sunday
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval June 11, 2017
We bring our regular church year services to a close with our annual Flower Communion Sunday. We celebrate the earth’s reassuring abundance and our capacity, in each moment, to choose joy.
Religious Education Sunday
Liza Earle-Centers and Rev. Joan Javier-Duval June 4, 2017
In this annual celebration, we recognize the gifts and contributions of our children, youth, and religious education volunteers. Four of our high school seniors will participate in a “Bridging Ceremony.”
Preaching to the Corn
Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long May 28, 2017
Are we embodying perfection– or possibility? Pick ONE.
Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long is the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval and
Participants of the “Our Whole Lives” Program May 21, 2017
Many of us have been taught that talk of sex and sexuality is to be avoided, at best, or is immoral, at worst. Our liberal faith can instead teach us how to honor our bodies and our sexualities as sacred aspects of self. How might we embrace an affirming theology of “good sex”?
Embracing Our Full Humanity
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval May 14, 2017
Our diversity as human beings is embodied in the variety of ways our minds and bodies work. Yet, our cultural practices and systems often exclude people who don’t fit the “typical” range of physical, mental, or emotional abilities. What would it take to truly recognize, honor, and include the humanity and gifts of all people?
The Cultural Embodiment of Racism
Rev. Danielle DiBona and Rev. Joan Javier-Duval May 7, 2017
This Sunday, we will join with over 550 other Unitarian Universalist congregations in interrupting our “business as usual” worship service for the UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn. In this service, will explore how racism is not just a matter of individual privilege and actions but is also embodied in our culture as a whole. And, we will explore what we all can do about it (regardless of your racial identity).
A Physician’s View of Suffering and Healing
Dr. Jeremiah Eckhaus April 30, 2017
A reflection on the universality of human suffering and healing from a Unitarian Universalist, Buddhist-inspired physician. Jeremiah Eckhaus is a board certified holistic family physician who has practiced medicine for 14 years, currently at Integrative Family Medicine-Montpelier. He is the Vice President of the Medical staff at the University of Vermont Health Network- CVMC and co-chair of the Community Alliance for Health Excellence, a population health community collaborative. He is also an Associate Professor of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth.
Hear the Earth’s Cry
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval April 23, 2017
We have a sacred connection to the earth that can sometimes be easier or more convenient to ignore. How do we attune ourselves to the needs of a planet in distress and ecological crisis? How might we embrace our role in bringing our world into balance?
Joy Comes in the Morning
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval April 16, 2017
The author of this ancient psalm declares a hopeful truth when he writes: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” During this time of holy days, we consider the ancient stories of Passover and Easter and what they can teach us about human struggle, liberation, and healing.
To Be Healers
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval April 2, 2017
Each of us is called to be a healer in a hurting world. This can feel like an overwhelming task at times especially when we face our own pains and struggles. We can wonder, “Am I enough? What do I have to offer?” How do we respond to this call to heal the world?
Risk and Commitment
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval March 19, 2017
James Baldwin once wrote, “To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger.” When we invest our money, we are warned that there is an element of risk—we might gain a good percentage return on our investment, or we might lose it all. How does that apply to investing in our values? What do we risk when we commit ourselves to our values? What do we risk when we commit ourselves to our church community? What do we risk when we don’t? What might we gain?
Sanctuary in Risky Times
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval March 12, 2017
In a time when protections for vulnerable populations are being taken away, how are we called to create sanctuary? What risks do undocumented people, Muslims, the LGBT community, and other vulnerable groups face everyday? And, what risks are we willing to take to unite in solidarity with our neighbors?
Risking Our Whole Heart
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval March 5, 2017
We learn from the painful experiences in life to avoid emotional hurt and shame. We learn to protect ourselves by keeping the whole of our selves from others. But, what if vulnerability is a key to unlocking the fullness of life? How do we find the courage to engage in the risky endeavor of living with our whole hearts?
One Wild and Precious Life
Presented by the UCM Worship and Arts Committee February 26, 2017
The poet Mary Oliver asks, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Members of the UCM community from across the lifespan offer their responses to this important life question.
Identity is (Only) Skin Deep
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval February 19, 2017
Understanding one’s own racial identity is an important part of cultivating relationships of mutuality, respect, and solidarity. In this service, we explore how race shapes who we are and how we relate to others.
Who’s a UU?
Liza Earle-Centers and Rev. Joan Javier-Duval February 12, 2017
From time to time, you might be asked, what is a Unitarian Universalist? For many of us, this is a difficult question to answer. In this multigenerational service, we explore together what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.
Becoming Who We Are,
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval February 5, 2017
Just when we think we know who we are, circumstances change and our identities shift. This is true on both the individual and communal level. How do we respond when life changes and our identities transform? How do we become more and more who we are?
Coming from a Place of Love
“Finding Your Way” A Reflection by Nancy Schulz
Welcoming Congregation Committee and Rev. Joan Javier-Duval January 29, 2017
This worship service explores moving into an uncertain future from a place of love. The LGBT community is one of the vulnerable groups on high alert regarding what may lie ahead. With classic songs and positive words, we’ll address the need to guide one another, especially our young people, with compassion and understanding, through the complex challenges of this new age.
Journey Toward Economic Justice
Deb Robinson January 22, 2017
In previous years, our nation has made remarkable progress toward gender justice and sexual identity justice. We have also made some progress toward racial justice, though we still have much to do on this issue. This sermon looks at the process used in these journeys to give us some guidance on how we can move toward a more just economic structure.
Repairing the Breach
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval January 15, 2017
The Rev. Dr. William Barber II is a leading prophetic voice on the moral issues of our day. His book, “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear” is the UUA Common Read of the year. In our service on this Martin Luther King Day weekend, we reflect on Barber’s call for people of faith to be “ repairers of the breach ” and to work towards the good of the whole.
Living in Prophetic Tension
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval January 8, 2017
We begin a new year boldly with the exploration of the theme of prophecy. Prophecy seems to call us right into action. Yet, living prophetically also requires grappling with grief and despair amidst our urge to act decisively and boldly. How can we hold this tension as we choose to live prophetically? What spiritual practices will it take for us to truly live into our calling to be a prophetic community?
An Abiding Presence
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval December 11, 2016
What is it that sustains us during times of tumult and chaos? In what can we have faith in times of great uncertainty? Let us explore these questions together.
The Gift of Presence
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval December 4, 2016
Our simple presence can be a great gift to those around us. Our presence, fully offered, can be powerful and healing. How do we cultivate a presence that witnesses and accompanies others even in difficult times?
Showing Up At the Table
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval November 20, 2016
This Thanksgiving holiday, many of us will gather at the table with family and friends bringing with us offerings of food and drink, conversation and laughter.
We also gather at the “table” of community on a daily basis offering one another comfort and solace, joy and connection. What gifts do you have within you to bring to the table? How can you offer those gifts to the world in these challenging times? Join us for a service of reflection, gratitude, and re-commitment.
The Space Between Stories
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval November 13, 2016
We often find ourselves in the space between stories as an old story ends and a new story is yet to begin. After Election Day, we will be in such a space as a nation. We also find ourselves in this space in our personal lives. How do we navigate together these uncertain but also creative spaces as we both grapple with the stories that have past and work to shape new narratives?
Living Our Unitarian Universalist Story
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval November 6, 2016
The story of Unitarian Universalism offers us good news as we seek to live lives rooted in love, justice, and hope. Let us connect with the larger story of our faith for inspiration.
Diwali: The Festival of Lights
October 30, 2016
A multigenerational service celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali. Together, we will reflect on the significance of this holiday and participate in traditional Hindu rituals to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval October 23, 2016
Political division and lack of civil dialogue seem to be dominating our public life. It can be difficult to find true understanding across our differences. How are we called to treat one another in a climate of deep division?
Our Song to Sing
Matt Meyer October 16,2016
We can imagine a world with more equity and compassion, but the journey to get there is long. How we do celebrate ups and downs on the road while we travel? Where do we find joy in the community that assembles along the way? Join us for a service of rhythm and song as we celebrate this beautiful and complicated faith journey together.
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval October 9, 2016
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s first mission was rescuing refugees from the Nazis in Europe. Today, we again face a refugee crisis all around the world and the moral challenge of deciding how to respond. Is it possible to create a climate in which refugees are welcomed and embraced in our communities?
From You I Receive
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, October 2, 2016
Asking for help doesn’t often come easily. We are afraid to burden others. We can feel vulnerable acknowledging the ways we need others. Yet, helping and being helped also makes love real and affirms our interdependence. How can we learn to face those fears and ask for help?
Rooted in Place
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, September 25, 2016
A connection to a particular place offers many of us a sense of rootedness and belonging. Whether we’ve lived here 25 years or 2 months, the particularity of place can ground us more fully in the here and now and in ourselves. How can “place” keep us grounded and connect us more fully to ourselves and others?
Finding Home Within
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, September 18, 2016
We live in a culture that is constantly challenging our connection to our deepest selves. The speed of our lives and the constant noise all around us can make it difficult to hear the call of our inner voice. Yet, being connected to our innermost selves, to the soul within, is vital for spiritual wholeness. Let us reflect on how we stay rooted from the inside out.
Ingathering Sunday, “Watering Our Roots”
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, September 11, 2016
On this our Ingathering Sunday, we come back together to ground ourselves in community. We bring together the water we have gathered during our summer journeys – those that have taken us afar and those that have kept us close to home. We also acknowledge the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and reflect on how community can offer a sense of rootedness during life’s troubling times as well as its joyful times.
2015-16 Church year
Wonder, Grace, and Gratitude…RE Sunday
Sally Armstrong, DRE and Friends June 5, 2016
Our annual multigenerational service celebrating the past year in Religious Education… a chance to sing our favorite songs once again before summer break, an opportunity to honor and thank our amazing volunteers, and time to mark the transition of our departing Director of Religious Education.
Creativity as a Spiritual Practice.
Reflections of UCM Members and Friends May 29, 2016
This service explores the endless possibilities for creativity in us all. Come prepared to enjoy a smorgasbord of creative reflections, dance, singing, poetry, and activities in a service meant to inspire new ways of thinking about what it means to be creative.
Creating Communities of Resilience
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval May 22, 2016
Together we participate in the meaningful and life-giving work of creating community. We have known the power of community to keep us connected and offer us love and strength in hard times. Given the social and environmental challenges we face on a global and local level, how do we create communities that can respond with love and resiliency to the needs of our world?
Creation and the Divine Feminine
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval May 8, 2016
The divine feminine appears in religions all across the world and throughout history. It honors the creative, compassionate, and nurturing life-force within the universe. What truths might we discover in recognizing and honoring the divine feminine?
Coming of Age Sunday
May 1, 2016
Don’t miss this very special service featuring “This I Believe” statements from our Coming of Age Youth. Coming of Age is a yearlong, uniquely UU, rite of passage offered to youth in 7th and 8th grade. Throughout the year the youth, adult facilitators and guides have explored a variety of topics including some of life’s BIG questions. Come, listen, and have your heart warmed as these marvelous young people give you a snapshot into their beliefs.
Maeve McBride April 24, 2016
On the heels of Earth Day, Maeve McBride will explore the parallels of the current climate crisis and being witness to her mother’s terminal illness. As we celebrate Mother Earth in this season of rebirth, we also mourn the losses of previous seasons, species, and loved ones. How are we called to act in this time of crisis? How could ferocious love of people and the planet bring about our own joyful resurrection?
We Are the Ones
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval April 10, 2016
It can be easy to despair in the face of the realities of our current political climate and our enormous global challenges. how do we draw from the resources within and around us to stay grounded in the here and now as engaged participants in the world?
Staying Where Your Feet Are
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval and
Sally Armstrong, DRE April 3, 2016
During this Multigen service we will explore what it means to be present in the here and now with a reminder that each of us…whether 6 or 106 can only live one day at a time.
The Promise of Life after Death
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval March 27, 2016
What happens after we die is one of the greatest mysteries of human existence. The Easter story, with its celebration of resurrection, brings this question sharply into focus. Could it be that death is not the end of the story? This Easter, let us reflect on the ways new life can spring forth from death even in our darkest moments.
Finding Meaning in the Great Unknown
Rev Joan Javier-Duval March 20, 2016
Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” These questions give shape to our lives as spiritual beings wired for meaning-making. Science helps us to investigate the world and arrive at some answers. And, yet, the universe and our place in it remains quite mysterious. How do we find answers and make meaning within the great mystery of the unknown?
Mysticism for the Rest of Us
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval March 13, 2016
Mysticism is an ancient form of spirituality found in many religious traditions that draws from direct personal experience of some greater mystery. It is often associated with extraordinary experiences of the sacred only available to a select few. Yet, moments that put us in touch with wondrous mystery can be available to all of us in any moment. What can mysticism offer us as spiritual seekers today?
Teach the Children Well
Rev. Kate Braestrup March 6, 2016
In which I consider the messages that we as religious liberals are offering to the children in our lives about the fears we live by and the dreams we would feed to them.
Faith in Love’s Imperfection
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval February 28, 2016
We all long to receive and give love. Yet, living in loving relationship can be messy and heart-breaking. Can grappling with and accepting love’s imperfections lead us to the love we seek?
The Amazing Mathematical Properties of Love
Sally Armstrong, DRE February 21, 2016
The song says: “Love is something if you give it away you end up having more.” How can you give something away and still have more? And…how do you give love away in the first place? Join us as we explore these ideas in the first Multigenerational service of the year.
Give All to Love
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval and UCM Stewardship Committee
February 14, 2016
In the spirit of love, so many individuals give generously of their time, talents, and treasure to support the Unitarian church of Montpelier. This Sunday, we celebrate this generosity and consider the spiritual dimensions of giving as we kick off our pledge drive for the 2016-2017 church year.
A Universal Love
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval February 7, 2016
“Do not push them deeper into their theological despair, but preach the kindness and everlasting love of God.” John Murray’s famous words encapsulate the essential message of early Universalism. Universalists have continued to this day to proclaim a hopeful belief in the power of an all-inclusive love. How does this message inform our lives and spiritual journeys today?
“Built in Our Image”
Rev. Mark W. Harris January 31, 2016
How do our buildings create our congregational ethos? How is our UU faith reflected in our buildings? This is a look at the impulse to create houses of worship that struggle with traditional notions of authority and espouse freedom and democracy. On this 150th anniversary, we will look at what of us is in our building.
“Dedicating Ourselves for Another 150 Years,”
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval and the 150th Anniversary Committee
January 24, 2016
Living Out King’s Legacy
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval January 17, 2016
On this Sunday before Martin Luther King Day, we will explore King’s continuing legacy of radical justice-making and the implications of his message of human dignity and Beloved Community on our lives as people of faith today.
Transforming Toward Wholeness
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval January 10, 2015
Personal transformation can involve becoming something or someone seemingly different from who you once were. But, it can also mean becoming even more fully who you are. What would it look like to transform even more deeply into a sense of wholeness?
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval December 24, 2015
We welcome Christmas into the world and into our hearts during this “Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols.”
Sally Armstrong, DRE December 20, 2015
Enjoy a festive and spiritual dose of holiday cheer on this final Sunday before Christmas in this multigenerational worship service.
We Welcome All
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval December 13, 2015
The first line of our mission statement reads, “We Welcome All.” To welcome all we must recognize, honor, and navigate the differences amongst us along with all that we hold in common. How do we go about engaging difference as a way of living with hospitality? This Sunday, we will also welcome into our community the newest members of UCM.
Hospitality as Spiritual Practice
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval December 6, 2015
The holidays are often a time when we play the roles of host and also of guest. Can we find space within the holiday busyness to pause and appreciate the gift of offering and receiving hospitality?
“Prayers from the Parliament of the World’s Religions: Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity”
Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy November 29, 2015
The Parliament, which meets only every three to five years, convened in Salt Lake City, Utah in October. Rev.
M’ellen attended as part of a Sufi delegation. In this worship service, Rev. M’ellen will share stories, reflections and prayers from the Parliament.
The Legacies We Leave Behind
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval November 22, 2015
We are gifted and challenged by what we have inherited from those who have come before us. We will be exploring how we understand our own legacies and how they might shape those who come after us.
Covenant: A Gift from Our Ancestors
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval November 15, 2015
As Unitarian Universalists, we are part of a sacred chain of religious ancestors who have passed down a rich tradition and history. One of our inheritances is the gift of covenant. How does the notion of covenant inform our life as a religious community today?
Remembering Our Ancestors
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval November 8, 2015
We are each part of a larger story of those who came before us and those who will come after us. Remembering our past and grappling with the difficult truths that the past might contain is a part of living and shaping our life stories.
What the Heck is a Saint Anyway?
Sally Armstrong, DRE November 1, 2015
Unitarian Universalist don’t often consider saints. What are they anyway? Do UUs even have saints? What does it mean to be called to live as saints? Who are the saints in our lives? Together we will explore these questions as we honor the saints who came before us, those who live among us and those we hope to become.
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval October 25, 2015
As Unitarian Universalists we engage in a constant process of re-imagining and re-inventing religious language and spiritual practices. One of the practices that can often be the most challenging is prayer. When we’ve given up on old images of God or the Divine, prayer as a spiritual practice can be left without meaning. What would it look like for us to re-imagine prayer in our liberal religious tradition?
Imagining Our Way to Beloved Community
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, October 18, 2015
Exercising our moral imagination is a spiritual practice that holds the potential for transformation. Recent events across the country – from Ferguson to Cleveland to Charleston to Houston – have shown that racism and its violent effects still pervade our nation. How can we use our moral imagination to understand and support the movement for racial justice in this country?
Download October 18 Sermon Text (due to technical difficulties this week – audio sermon is not available)
“What is…What if…What can be”
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval October 11, 2015
George Bernard Shaw writes, “Imagination is the beginning of creation.” What new possibilities and realities could we realize if we engaged the full potential
of our imaginations?
Fluent in Faith
Rev. Jeanne Nieuwejaar October 4, 2015
Although our deepest experiences of the spiritual are felt in a place beyond words, language is a necessary tool to capture and hold those experiences and to communicate them. But religious language is challenging for many in our liberal faith…
No Sermon Text Available
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval and the 2020 Vision Task Force, September 27, 2015
This fall we begin the process of creating together a five year vision statement for the Unitarian Church of Montpelier. We are invited to connect with our hopes and dreams for our religious community and to imagine who and what we might become in the next 5 years. This Sunday, we will begin our journey of imagination together.
No Sermon Text Available
From Fragments to Wholeness
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval September 20,2015
We can sometimes live as if we are isolated, separate beings. Yet we long to be more fully connected to others. How might we move from a place of isolation to deep connection and discover wholeness in the process?
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval September 13, 2015
On this our Ingathering Sunday, we welcome our newly settled minister, Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, as she leads us in our annual Water Ceremony. We bring together the water we have gathered during our summer journeys – those that have taken us afar and those that have kept us close to home. We both re-connect with one another and forge new connections as we begin together this new chapter in our congregational life.
Download September 13 Sermon Audio
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval May 10, 2015
In this sermon, I will reflect on the creative possibility of our Unitarian Universalist religious community. Let us explore together how building loving community, within our church walls and beyond, can allow us to feel blessedly alive.
Download May 10
Following Life’s Call
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval May 3, 2015
The search for meaning and purpose in our lives does not always lead us down the most obvious paths. How do we nurture our souls in solitude and in community so we can move towards life’s beckoning call?
Download May 3