Unitarian Universalists have a very important job to do when it comes to responding to the needs of a hurting world. What are some of the underlying beliefs which support our moral and financial commitments to maintaining an intellectual and spiritual sanctuary where everyone is welcome? Once again Leslie Kee, the minister of the UU church of Casper is our guest.
Change for Change benefits the Laramie Youth Crisis Center; Claire Moloney
R.E. Sunday
Social Action Meets after the service

Devotion to the divine has empowered women in India to defy cultural norms. The sixteenth-century female princess-turned saint, Mira Bai, surrendered herself to the divine power of Krishna, becoming an ascetic, or sadhu, and renouncing worldly concerns to worship on her own terms. Mira composed songs and poetry to Krishna and defied Hindu orthodoxy by dancing to the sensuous melody of his divine flute. Mira Bai’s unconventional life serves as an enduring model of radical, and transgressive, devotion by Hindu holy women in contemporary India, as these sadhus empower themselves as spiritual leaders. Based on fifteen years of fieldwork in northern India, Dr. Antoinette DeNapoli, Department of Religious Studies of UW, discusses the ways in which the female sadhus imagine, establish, and negotiate the uncommon spiritual authority of their religious roles. Constructing a life narrative in terms of devotion, destiny, and detachment emboldens these sadhus to carve out an authoritative female world within Hindu ascetic renunciation.

John Murray, one of the founders of American Universalism said, “You may possess only a small light, but uncover it, let it shine, use it in order to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men and women. Give them not Hell, but hope and courage. Do not push them deeper into their theological despair, but preach the kindness and everlasting love of God.” This theology of hope is a part of the Unitarian-Universalist living tradition to this day. Rev. Kelly Dignan, minister if the UU Church in Greeley, will share John Murray’s story and help us apply a hope to our own lives.

Note: Due to the snowstorm in the Denver area, this sermon was delivered on YouTube. 

Our special, guest minister, Reverend Jackie Ziegler, who is visiting from the UU Church in Prescott, Arizona, will offer her insights on those times in our lives when we find ourselves in an unexpected place, a place we did not seek and often times do not necessarily welcome. Yet, there we are and one way or another we need to deal with it. Our guest minister will reflect with us on such difficult life places and experiences. So please come give a warm welcome to Rev. Ziegler as she explores these important and relevant questions—and as she comes to know about who we are as a Fellowship as she explores ministry positions in the West.

Rev. Leslie Kee explores the correlations between Unitarian Universalism and the ideas of Chris Stedman, author of the book Faithiest.  Both perspectives contribute intriguing insights on how an authentic middle ground can be created where processes for an innovative interfaith dialogue can take root and grow. Rev. Kee is the minister of our neighboring UU Church in Casper and always a welcome guest in our pulpit.

During the fall of last year, University of Wyoming anthropology student Jayme Culwell conducted an ethnographic study of the Fellowship. The focus of the study was the Fellowship’s religious beliefs and practices. During this service she will discuss the study and her conclusions.

Our special guest minister, Reverend Doak M Mansfield, visiting from the UU Church in Tampa, Florida, will offer his understanding of our progressive faith and the challenges facing Unitarian Universalism. What is our core message? What do we have to say to searchers that inspire, bless, and affirm? What is our ‘gospel’ for a broken and hurting world? What are our methods, ways of being? How do we live out our message? Please come give a warm welcome to Rev. Mansfield as he explores these questions with us.

The Fourth Principle of the UUA holds that each of us has a right to a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”  The owners of the Hobby Lobby stores claim that certain forms of contraception violate their religious beliefs, and the United States Supreme Court has recently affirmed their right to decline paying for those forms of contraception for their employees.  But does that belief, even if sincerely held by the company owners, trump the contrary belief of those employees?  Ken Chestek will discuss the always troubling intersection of law and religion in light of the Hobby Lobby decision and our Fourth Principle.  Ken is a UUFL member, UW Law Professor, and co-author of a new textbook, Your Client’s Story: Persuasive Legal Writing.

Universalist Galen Guengrich, in his book God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age, rejects traditional concepts of God in favor of notions of God that can square with science. But why even engage the concept at all? This service will explore some of Guengrich’s ideas, as well as our faith’s invitation to a constructive theology. This morning’s service will be led by Rev. Gretchen Haley, the Associate Minister at the Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado where she has served since 2012.

Believe it or not, your program committee came up with this idea BEFORE the recent events involving police and black men/youth. The national conversation provides a compelling backdrop for a “sharing Sunday.” We ask you to tell about a time in your life when you confronted, witnessed, or experienced injustice—how did it feel, how were you changed, what did it mean, what did you do (or fail to do)? Perhaps you have a story of protest, an occasion in which you spoke, or wrote, or stood, or sat, or marched, or sang, or otherwise expressed opposition (or maybe even support). Bring your memory and an object, if one is appropriate, to share in a 2 or 3 minute vignette. Among these stories we’ll weave hymns of protest and power to form a quilt of principled words, images, and songs.