Past SeRMONS & Videos
May 29 “Great Teachers” by Rev. Deborah Bond-Upson
Recall a breakthrough learning moment when something suddenly made sense and we felt lighter or tighter or righter. Our souls were fed, not just our minds. Great teachers bring us close to truth, give us delightful entrée to knowledge, and show us ourselves. Evoking, exploring, honoring great teachers, let us multiply these moments of illuminating soulful learning for ourselves and others.
May 22 “Joy: What's the secret? How Do We Grow It?” by Jeff Gillis-Davis
Boldly growing Compassion, Justice, and Joy. A great vision statement right? But how do we at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu grow Joy within ourselves, how do we spread it among ourselves, and how can we seed it across the island? Ultimately, however, Joy does not only benefit one’s community, or family, it benefits one’s self.
May 15 “Interfaith Spirituality” by Tom Lynch
There is a rich spiritual wisdom literature in almost every religious tradition and they are remarkably parallel in substance. The sermon will point out the knowing and living that wisdom is the means by which we grow our spirituality. A church can and should help us do that. This church can be the start of a movement that can change the world.
May 8 “Lessons and Carols for Mother’s Day” by Eleanor Kleiber
Join us to celebrate motherhood from point of view of those of us knee-deep in small children.
May 1 “Reconciliation: Healing the Broken Heart” by Rev. Karen Harris, M.Div.
The Buddha taught that suffering is inevitable. But our hearts also carry the capacity for healing. What is the alchemical power that transforms our brokenness into wholeness? Drawing on lessons learned from her own greatest adversary, Karen will lead us in a fearless encounter with our own life stories.
April 24 “Dancing On The Enemy’s Grave: Lessons From An Enemy Encounter”
by Rev. Karen Harris, M.Div.
Next week marks the 5th anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, a time when many Americans danced in the streets. What happens when we celebrate our anger? How can each of
us more skillfully negotiate our most challenging relationships?
April 17 “Love And The Limbic Brain” by Karen Harris, M.Div.
We usually associate love with the heart, but modern research suggests that human relationship
is rooted in the limbic brain. This sermon celebrates the mysterious polarities of love and reason, science and religion, head and heart.
April 10 “The Power In You” by Wally Amos
Perhaps best known as the founder of "Famous Amos Cookies," Wally Amos has experienced both life's highs and lows. From them he has discovered one of life's greatest truths: it's not your circumstances that determine your happiness, but how you view those circumstances. Mr. Amos gives us his personal recipe for how to live an inspiring life, by unleashing “The Power In You”, which always begins with ten essential ingredients for inner strength. Mr. Amos will have copies
of his book and, of course, cookies.
April 3 "Let
Service Be Our Prayer" by Religious Education Youth
Join the Religious Education youth as they lead the congregation in an exploration of a recent service activity. What does it mean to serve? How does the act of service become a spiritual moment, and how does a simple act of service grow to become a driver of social change?
March 27 “Building a
Rainbow World” by Rev. Dr. Dorothy Emerson
What does it mean to live at this time in the history of the world? What role might Unitarian Universalists play in creating a hopeful future?
March 20 “What's
Class Got To Do With It?” by Rev. Dr. Dorothy Emerson
Class is one of the last taboo subjects, yet it affects us every day in both overt and subtle ways—
and it stands in our way as we seek to live our UU principles and create Beloved Community.
March 13 “Holy Women
Icons: Giving Iconography a Folk Feminist Twist” by Rev. Angela Yarber
Focusing on the specific art form of visual art, we are introduced to Rev. Yarber’s Holy Women Icons Project—a folk feminist twist on traditional iconography—and learn how a sacred, gendered approach to visual art can be a tool for empowerment.
Focusing on the specific art form of dance, we explore how dance is used in the worship of every major faith tradition as a way of affirming the body.
All of the arts intersect with spirituality and worship. We are introduced to this general theme that will guide us for the next three weeks, while also discussing how “sacred arts” lead us to justice.
February 21 "Sea Change: Reflections on the 1960s" by Dorothy Emerson
The 1960s set in motion culture change that continues today. What can we learn by reflecting on this turbulent and path-breaking era, as we continue to struggle with issues of freedom, equality, peace and love?
February 14 "Don't Be Nice, Be Kind" by Dorothy Emerson
Sometimes being nice can mask real feelings and separate us from others, while being kind releases positive energy that can ripple out and make a difference in the world. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, this service focuses on the spirit of love and goodness in each of us and explores how that spirit can serve as a springboard for action.
February 7 "Radical Hospitality" by Rev. Dorothy Emerson
What does it mean to be welcoming? What is “at the root” of the practice of hospitality?
January 31 “Climate Change: Can’t Stand the Heat? Get INTO the Kitchen!” by Steve Lohse
Why discuss Climate Change separately from issues of class, race, peace, and the economic inequities that underlie all? Informed by good science, we already connect the carbon in the
air with the economic system that put it there. Inspired by good Principles, let us now transform our economic system from failing to affirming Economic and Climate Justice. The service will be followed by a screening of “This Changes Everything,” the movie based on Naomi Klein’s book.
January 24 "The Mother of All (American)
Religion" by Jaco ten Hove
Our Unitarian roots go way back to the Puritans, but their version of “religious freedom” needed some improvement, so that’s what we did, and continue to do. Our spiritual heritage in this
country is also a key to the American story that has led us all into a flourishing, if demanding diversity.
January 17 "The UU Journey to…and from Selma" by
Barbara ten Hove
In honor of the recent 50th anniversary of the March on Selma, Alabama, this service will explore the circumstances that led many Unitarian Universalists there in 1965 and that still echo among
January 10 "Being Embodied" by Adam Dyer
In this final message, Adam Dyer will share practical ways to incorporate the consciousness of “Embodiment” in a spiritual life. You will be invited to participate in exercises of ritual and celebration that connect the physical, mental and spiritual self to a more thoroughly conscious
way of being.
January 3 "Race, Class, Culture and
Bodies" by Adam Dyer
In this second message, Adam Dyer will spend time exploring how our physical presentation in
the world compels us to find spiritual grounding as a justice loving community. Drawing on his work with the Equity Ministry, he invites us to challenge how we see ourselves and others in
terms of race, class and culture.
December 27 "An Introduction to Embodiment" by
Over the course of three weeks, Adam Dyer will share concepts of embodiment with the community. In this first message, he will speak of how true “Embodiment” is not just about the physical body, but it is about spiritual motivation, personal agency, and how we see the world through our personal and collective lenses.
December 24 "Lessons & Carols, Music & Light" Featuring
Dennis Graue and The Spirits
Join the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu’s wonderful musicians who will be playing the beautiful Holiday music this year on Christmas Eve with new and old arrangements of timeless music in a presentation called 'Lessons and Carols.'
December 20 "A Unitarian Holiday Pageant" by
the Youth of FUCH's Religious Education Program
Join us Sunday to celebrate the holiday season in full, joyous, and fantastical splendor. A cast of tens will engage you in a thoughtful and fun celebration of the many perspectives, beliefs, backgrounds and cultures we share. Come prepared to sing a little, laugh a little, and support the RE Youth as they delight you with this holiday pageant.
The Nature of the Call" by Rev. Nayer Taheri
Forgiving self and forgiving others is one of the most painful spiritual processes that bring
essential challenges in one’s life. In this sermon, Nayer will talk about the act of forgiveness as
an act of deep desire for relationship with what we have left unresolved
November 29 "The Freedom to Live Our Values" by Ka‘imi Nicholson
Do you know anyone who doesn’t want Compassion, Justice, and Joy? Then why don’t we have them, yet? Ka‘imi will explore what has been keeping our shared values from creating positive change in the world and how this is now changing. Please also join us for heavy pupus and conversation after the service and for a Fifth Sunday Skype Event with “Sacred Economics”
author Charles Eisenstein at 12:00 noon!
Kat Brady is a lifelong community justice advocate whose deeply-held values of aloha and
mālama ‘āina drive her passion for positive social change. As Coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons, Assistant Executive Director of Life of the Land, Vice President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and a Board member of the Ka Lei Maile Ali‘i Hawaiian Civic Club, she advocates for environmental, cultural, and social justice policy changes that truly serve the needs of our diverse communities.
November 15 "Building the Beloved Community
by Paula Cole Jones
The Beloved Community is the living result of the work we do to ensure multicultural integrity, racial justice, and inclusion. At this time of many challenges and opportunities, how are Unitarian Universalists called today to build and engage in The Beloved Community?
In this sermon Nayer will talk about the spirituality of voluntary giving and will bring stories of this practice from Jewish and Islamic traditions. She will examine this spiritual practice in our UU history.
November 1, "May I Ask, Whose Calling:" by Rabbi Peter Schaktman
The functional distinctions between today's congregational rabbi and settled minister are few. But it wasn't always that way. These leadership roles -- the rabbi and the priest or minister -- arose for very different reasons and have developed in very different ways. Rabbi Peter Schaktman, Rabbi of the Oahu Jewish ‘Ohana, will explore some of these differences and how they inform questions regarding what leads
someone to the ministry, what kind of person is so called, and how the nature of that call impacts upon the clergy-congregation relationship..
October 25 "Fear: Finding Our Creative Response" by Rev. Nayer Taheri
Rev. Taheri’s main focus in ministry is understanding the many ways we try to make meaning of life’s suffering. In the second of the five sermons that she will share with First Unitarian from now through December, Nayer offers her thoughts and experience of fear and examines the ways in which fear could become a nourishing food for soul.
October 18 "No Organized Religion in 2100?!?!" by Charlotte Morgan
Are we hearing the death knell of organized religion? Has organized religion lost its impact and appeal? Do we have any models of a future society without organized religion? Join Charlotte Morgan as she examines these questions and speculates about the future. Be prepared for irreverence, humor and provocative views. There will be a Talk Back period.
October 11 "Falling Leaves" by Rev. Nayer Taheri
Rev. Taheri will share a series of five sermons from now through December during her remaining short stay in Hawaii. In the first of her five sermons, Nayer will examine how the hard work of justice and equality may bear fruit more passionately and sustainably through a conscious awareness of our own approaching and inevitable death.
October 4 "Who Does It Serve?" by Rev. Deborah Bond-Upson
Raised in a Unitarian family, nurtured by Unitarian Churches, trained in a Unitarian seminary, interned at two of our churches, and 30 years later I was ordained by this Church. What
happened in the gap between internship and ordination and since? What are the shapes of ministry in this age? How do we each minister to each other? What do we need in ministry to sustain and grow this beloved community?
September 27 "Lay Minister Ordination & Personal Stories" by New Lay Ministers
Have you ever wondered what calls our Lay Ministers to serve our Congregation? Come and find out on ! Please join us for a very special morning as we ordain the new Lay Ministers that we elected at the Annual Meeting. Following a brief and moving ceremony presided over by our "elder" Lay Ministers, our new Lay Ministers will share their personal stories with the Congregation. You don't want to miss this one!
September 20 "A UU Yom Kippur" by Martina Queenth
In Judaism, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah are sacred, intentional times for reflection – the
High Holy Days. Join us for this Unitarian Universalist service as we think about the concepts of charity, remembrance, and forgiveness.
by Russell Castagnaro
Join us as congregation member and longtime Worship Associate, Russell Castagnaro, presents a home grown sermon on how your voice matters.
Rev. Kyle Lovett talks about her perspective on ministry - why she became a minister and what keeps her and supports her in her calling. Please join us as we listen to her experiences and see how we can apply what she has learned as we seek our own way in finding a minister.
August 30 "Inner Peace and Maturity" by Masago Asai (Social Justice Fifth Sunday)
August 2015 is the 70th Anniversary of the August 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Global peace relies on building our inner peace and maturity, so that nothing like this ever happens again. Second generation Nagasaki survivor Masago Asai's presentation will
include an original short DVD, “Nuclear Destruction: The Human Folly,” a 15 minute sermon, and
a hula dedicated to peace, “Pua Lililehua.”
August 23 "Food, Glorious Food" by the RE Program
This is the return of the wonderful tradition of a "Food Service." All attendees are asked to bring a potluck dish to share, and to have it be a dish that has significance to them, whether it is from cultural background, or a special, specific moment in time--a comfort food for the soul, if you will. Join us for a Sunday morning celebration of Food, Glorious Food. If Comfort Foods are not a spiritual experience, then we don’t know what is!
Dr. John Hall, retired UH professor and author of “A Hiker’s Guide to Trailside Plants in Hawaii,” presents Hawaiian conceptions of the cause and treatment of disease, the supernatural, and the use of herbal concoctions, based on “Hawaiian Herbal Medicine: Kahuna La'au Lapa'au" by June Gutmanis.
What are sound health recommendations for how much seafood and omega 3 fatty acids to eat
for heart and brain health? Dr. John Kaneko channels his inner UU to link ethical eating with omega 3 fatty acids. The type of seafood you eat matters, and the conclusions may startle you!
Four years ago Lisa and Jeff and 2 year-old Owen welcomed triplet infant boys to make their
family complete. There are universal lessons to be learned from the stress and sweat of
day-to-day child rearing. What insight emerges when you find yourself hip-deep in diapers, feedings, time outs, sibling squabbles, your marriage, and your professional life?
and some radical insights.
and Charlotte Morgan present heartfelt and sometimes humorous accounts of their spiritual journeys.
July 12 "Learning About Sex in Hawaii" by Sonia Blackistone
the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu.
July 5 "Digging Deep into Joy" by Rev. Dr. Catherine Ishida
Compassion, justice, and joy are beautiful banners to lead us through life. Sometimes we want
to hold these flags high and wave them with vigor. Sometimes we need to dig deep, plant our
flag poles, and let the wind wave for us. What does it mean to live by our values, and how is
that different, or not, from ministry? Let’s reflect on ministry together.
and rabble-rousers religiously speaking?
June 28 "Reclaiming Prophetic Witness" by Liz Flannery and Steve Lohse
Is conservative Christianity the only valid religious voice in our national policy, or do religious liberals have a place in the public square? In fact, religious liberals are more numerous than many realize! Join Liz and the participants of our April Book Study, "Reclaiming Prophetic Witness," as
we explore how to lift our spirits, inspire our voices, and reclaim our liberal religious language to bring our Principles to bear on the issues of our time.
June 21 "Words to Action" by Rev. Jonipher (last Sunday)
With what words can I impart to a congregation I've served for the past four years? Perhaps a legacy is best carried out in action rather than words. After all, it was once said that our rituals are works of love.
June 14 "Give Light & People Will Find a Way" by Rev. Jonipher
When engaging in social justice work, we often think the solution lies in whatever clever strategy we have up our sleeves--the latest in community organizing methodologies or sociological trends and facts. But what if our only job is to shed light on the issue and give away our light?
June 7 "Causing Trouble" by Rev. Jonipher
At the General Assembly in Providence last year, Sister Simone Campbell said that part of the religious experience is to "cause trouble." Are we to stir up the pot just to stir it up or is there a rhyme or reason and a strategy for doing so? Can trouble lead to justice?
May 31 "Converting to Compassionate Action" Social Justice Sunday by Ka'imi Nicholson
Ka'imi will tell the story of her conversion from being a compassionate person to becoming a "passionate compassionate activist," and will conclude with exploring the importance of applying compassion as an activist, with great potential for lasting impact. Perhaps we can agree that principles of fairness and democracy unite almost all people and that we all have a role to play in creating practical changes that will bring our society closer to these ideals. May Ka'imi's story inspire us all.
May 24 "Converting from Students to Teachers" by the Religious Education Youth
(Multi-generational Service) Our kids in the pulpit!
Please join us for an exciting multi-generational Service as the youngest among us (supported by the Religious Education Team) lead us in worship.
May 17 "What is a Religious Experience?" by Rev. Jonipher
Is there a difference between spiritual and religious? What sets an experience apart from the mundane? Come hear bits and pieces of Rev. Jonipher's own religious conversion and see if you can resonate.
May 10 "The Conversion of Julia Ward Howe" by Rev. Jonipher
One of the leading figures during the time of the Civil War, Unitarian activist Julia Ward Howe
was a feminist before that word was even invented. She was also the originator of a day now known as "Mother's Day." What was her conversion story like?
May 3 "Spiritual Freedom" by Rev. Jonipher
The founding of both great religions, Unitarianism and Universalism, was based on spiritual freedom. Our conscience, not an outside hierarchy, guides our beliefs and principles. What does spiritual freedom mean today? And how can we continue to reform our thinking?
In April, we tackle the realm of metaphysics and consciousness. Is there a role for science in religion and vice versa?
April 26 "Who Was Darwin?" by Rev. Jonipher
One of the most misunderstood characters of the 19th Century was a Unitarian named Charles Darwin. While he never claimed to be an atheist, he did help us redefine our notion of that which we consider divine and certainly, the way we view the cosmos and its constant state of evolution. Come explore the myth of this scientist who also happens to be a spiritual person.
April 19 "Science and Religion" by Jeff Gillis-Davis
Two varieties of spiritual experience. Religion and science both seek to explain nature and in
doing so both can be spiritual. Religion places one or more gods as controller of nature. Science, however, is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not. Which of these ways fulfill your spiritual needs?
April 12 "Mind/Body Connection" by Rev. Jonipher
Is consciousness merely about the few inches between our ears or is it more than the neurons firing off, shaping our perceptions of the world? How can we construct a relational the@logy that
is holistic and makes sense for us today?
April 5 "Redemptive Relationships" by Rev. Jonipher (Multigenerational Service)
This Easter, explore what redemption means these days as we go back to the basics in life. What if the fundamental foundation of being supposes it's all about relationships? Is there a way we can "redeem" broken relationships? Is resurrection still possible for our world?
In March, we explore the realm of pastoral care and counseling. Is this a function that only Lay Ministers need to worry about or how can we as a Church be our "sibling's keeper?"
March 29 "Pastoral Care as Justice" by Rev. Jonipher
Oftentimes, people come into our church wounded from the injustices they experience in their daily lives. But instead of diving into the social justice work immediately, how can we provide a place of restoration for the peaceful warrior? How can we see providing pastoral care as integral
to our justice work?
March 22 "Transitions" by Rev. Jonipher (Multigenerational Service)
Every time change occurs, we have to realign every cell of our being, yet we know that change happens all the time. How can we provide a safe haven and a container for care in a rapidly changing world while adapting at the same time?
March 15 "I Saw Something Nasty in the Woodshed: Glamorizing Brokenness" by Richard Valasek
Some few (and all of us to some extent) respond to trauma by locking down, holding on, rigid in responses. We will explore some of the ways to let the world back in, to fall in love (again?) with this wild and mysterious business of living; to swing and swim, move and flow with life. The disruptive social, environmental and cultural changes we face confront us with challenges of a
new order of magnitude. As a church, what is our responsibility to promote resilience in our community, to be responsive to these future challenges?
March 8 "Healing from Spiritual Violence" by Rev. Jonipher
Some of us who have found Unitarian Universalism after growing up in a more rigid upbringing find it refreshing because of the freedom from dogma and creed. How can we heal from the violence brought about by fundamentalism while engaging in the task of spiritual formation at
the same time?
This special Service will be our kick-off to Women's History Month along with a fond review of the caring community within our Church.
In February, we'll explore human relationships and sexuality.
February 22 "Senior Sex" by Rev. Jonipher
One of the last frontiers of human sexuality seldom talked about is what happens when one gets older. Is sex reserved only for those who are young and virile? What intimacy issues do senior citizens deal with? Come join us for what should be a scintillating discussion.
February 15 "Love and Marriage" by Rev. Jonipher
This institution has changed tremendously since the "free love" movement during the 1970s.
What does the "Modern Family" look like? Is it as seen on TV? What are some myths and facts
about being married and having a family and what's Unitarian Universalism got to do with it?
February 8 "Musical Celebration of Love" featuring Tracy Spring
Join us for a musical celebration of love.
February 1 "Are Our Lives Whole?" by Rev. Jonipher
find it through awareness of our own bodies and our relationships to other bodies around us?
January 25 "Whither the Civil Rights Movement?" by Rev. Jonipher
Since the founding of the great democratic experiment in the Western Hemisphere known as America, this country has been tainted with the sin of racism. Some have tried to correct this with the abolition of slavery and through the civil rights movement, but today, racism still
exists, though in more subtle, yet equally sinister ways. How can we continue where Dr. King
January 18 "The Challenge of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." by Richard Valasek
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13) Celebrating the work of Rev. King
in song and words and renewing the vision of justice.
January 11 "Prophecy 101" with Dr. Josh Searle-WhiteWhen someone says the word “prophet,” the next words that often follow are “of doom.” But does speaking with a prophetic voice really mean talking about how things are falling apart? What about talking about the best in us about how we might move to the next levels of aliveness, health, and maturity? Let’s talk about who prophets are, what they might say, and – most important – whether they are, in fact, us.
January 4 "Prophecy for 2015" by Rev. Jonipher
and shed a light on the injustices we face? How can we ourselves become "prophets" crying
out in the wilderness? Come hear some of Rev. Jonipher's "prophecies."
December 28 "Science and Humanism: Roadblocks to God?" by Charlotte Morgan
Can we believe in science and humanism and still find the Divine? Long time member of FUCH, Charlotte Morgan will provide an entertaining and stimulating exploration of this subject.
December 21 @ 9:15 am "From Bondage to Liberation" by Rev. Jonipher
What's holding us back spiritually and how can we release the ties that bind so we begin the New Year with a greater degree of freedom?
December 21 @ 11 am "Would You Like to Hold the Baby" Christmas Pageant
December 15 "Freedom from Resentment" by Rev. Jonipher
Oftentimes, our spiritual maturity is stymied by our unwillingness to let go of the past--be it a hurt caused by someone else or a resentment we've been carrying around for years. How can we foster an attitude that will liberate our thinking and free our emotions to begin again in love?
December 7 "Financial Freedom for the Holidays" by Rev. Jonipher
It seems like everyone wants your cash this time of year. What would the Gospel According to Suzy Orman say? Better yet, how do UUs spend their money in accordance with their values? Come liberate your pocket books
Rev. Jonipher joined a group of UUs from the mainland for the UU College of Social Justice's journey to help build a sustainable community in Haiti. Come find out what the lessons were from this trip, how it relates to social justice, and sustainable eating.
November 23 "Soul Food: Small Group Servings" by Rev. Jonipher
What would it take for us to get our spiritual nourishment on a daily basis? Are we satisfied just by being Sunday UUs or is there more to being intellectually and spiritually fed? Come find out what Chalice Circles can do to boost your spiritual life.
November 16 "We Are What We Eat" by Rev. Jonipher (New Members Sunday)
From organic to localvore, non-GMO to gluten-free, we are becoming more conscious that what we eat affects our physical and emotional well-being. But is there an ethical dimension to eating as well? When we eat out, for example, do we know what goes on behind the kitchen door? What we eat can have an impact on what our world becomes.
Combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming from many different sources. We consider the importance of this ubiquitous element and how its necessity unifies all people.
November 2 "`Ono Pono" by Rev. Kyle Lovett
We have the pleasure of welcoming Rev. Kyle Lovett who will be sharing her take on ethical eating - 'Ono Pono!
October 26 "Conflict Transformation Tips Part 2" by Rev. Jonipher
From nonviolent communication, paraphrasing, to active listening, what are some ways to diffuse and tame the beast that is conflict? Come hear this two part series.
October 19 "Conflict Transformation Tips Part 1" by Rev. Jonipher
October 12 "Don't Avoid, Create, or Perpetuate" by Rev. Jonipher
We often associate conflict with negative feelings and would rather not deal with it by sweeping it under the rug. Rarely does this solve anything, however, so how can we face conflict instead of avoiding it while not intentionally creating it or perpetuating it once it takes place?
October 5 "A UU Yom Kippur" by Martina Queenth
As UU's we can approach Yom Kippur as a process of introspection leading to change. We turn towards the spirit, towards other people in our lives, and turn towards our true selves as we focus on our personal behavior and on our lives in our community.