The Peace of Wild Things
 Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson 

We’ll explore the meanings of Earth Day, Spring, Joy, and Resistance through the poetry of Wendell Berry, who invites us to recenter our lives around what has true value, and not be distracted by consumerism, power, and control. ​

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What does it mean to celebrate Easter today? As skeptics, humanists, believers, and wonderers, how might we “practice resurrection” for our time? 

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What does it mean to celebrate Easter today? As skeptics, humanists, believers, and wonderers, how might we “practice resurrection” for our time? 

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Sometimes, transformation happens when we hit the bottom, and decide to live. When we are “way overdue” but are “starting anew.”  We’ll discussion the process of a recovery as a potential road-map for all of us - whether we struggle with addiction or not - in our journey of learning “how it feels to be free.”  
 
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Transformation in Time: Moving Past Belief and Unbelief
Rev. Dr. Mark Belletini

Rev. Dr. Mark Belletini served the Rockford Church as both Intern and Summer Minister in the year 1977. He since has served three of our congregations, San Francisco and Hayward CA, and Columbus OH, the last two for 18 and 17 years respectively. He retired in 2015 and is now Minister Emeritus, living in Columbus and preaching at our various congregations. He has taught both practical and academic classes at both of our major seminaries, Starr King School, and at Meadville Lombard. He has served the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations by helping to chair our our credentialing body, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, for 8 years.

For years he chaired the commission which produced the (now-aging) hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition. Skinner House published his two books, Sonata for Voice and Silence, and Nothing Gold Can Stay (a book on grieving) Mark was in the first generation of ministers who were clear about their gay sexual orientation when called and ordained in 1979. He has an adopted son, Tony, completing university up in Cleveland. He's been fortunate enough in life to have traveled, for which he is very grateful.

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The Risk It Took To Blossom
 Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

Elizabeth Appell wrote “and then the day came when the risk to remain tight, in a bud, became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  When it comes to become our fullest selves, how do we measure and act on the risk to remain in a bud or to blossom? What might help us take that risk to come alive?  

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"Ourselves, Our World, Our Stories"
 Rev. Scott Aanseng
We can keep on having half-conversations about who’s right and who’s wrong, and further feed the brokenness that threatens to tear us apart. Or we can see each other as part of a larger We--a We that is broken, but a We that is in this brokenness together. 
Rev. Scott Aaseng has sought to bring together congregational ministry and work for justice in the world since his early days as an activist on church college and seminary campuses in the U.S. and South Africa in the 1980s. As a Lutheran pastor on the southwest side of Chicago, he helped found a community-based youth development and organizing initiative, and went on to do multi-state organizing with the American Friends Service Committee. Since finding his UU grounding at Third Unitarian in Chicago, he has served UU congregations in Oak Park IL, Quincy IL and Hobart IN, and now leads the growing Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI).

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"Risking a Theology that Matters" Rev. Lucas Hergert  
 Does Unitarian Universalism have a shared theology--one that can make a difference in our world? This sermon will explore the ways our progressive religious vision offers hope in times of challenge. 
 
Bio: The Rev. Lucas Hergert is the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, CA. He has been there for eight years and is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. Lucas has served our faith in a number of ways, and is currently a nominee for the UUA's Commission on Appraisal. He holds degrees in philosophy and religious studies. 
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Rev. Matthew Johnson
​To become who we wish to be - the truly beloved community, diverse in age, expression, race, class, and theology - we will need to be more comfortable than some of us are with messiness. We will need to risk our assumptions and transform our habits. Thoughts and stories about the complicated journey to where we might be bound. 

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What does it mean to have a human identity? What make us us?  Science-fiction (and, increasingly, science-reality) poses this question in part through the encounter with Artificial Intelligence. Could a computer program be human? What might be the religious and spiritual implications of such an idea? 

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