Past Sermons

Please explore this archive of past sermons. You can stream the sermons using the audio player controls or you can download the audio file by clicking on the MP3 file name below the audio player.
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt

Liberal religious people have made a mantra of love—a natural outgrowth of our Universalist heritage. Yet we find ourselves in an increasingly unloving country and world. What if we have been mistaken? Where and how might our faith lead us next? It’s time for a critical reappraisal of our most cherished value.  

The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt is president and professor of Unitarian Universalist Ministry and Heritage at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

At the heart of the beloved community is love, always love. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a practice: a shared practice of affection and care. On Homecoming Sunday we return to our regular Sunday worship schedule with two services at 9:30 and 11:15, and celebrate and recommit to the center of our church community.

Sunday, September 1, 2019
Rev. Norman Allen

Join Rev. Norman Allen as we explore the “Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures,” which serves as the First Source of our Unitarian Universalist faith. We’ll remember the spiritual  foundations of our movement, consider the miracle of our very existence, and dare to ask the unanswerable questions.

Rev. Norman Allen is a longtime member and was ordained by All Souls last March. He serves as minister to Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Camp Springs, MD, and is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. An award-winning playwright, Rev. Norm has used drama and comedy to explore theological concepts in such works as “In the Garden” and “Nijinsky’s Last Dance,” both winners of the Helen Hayes Award. His work for the stage has been produced around the world, from Prague to Tokyo. His essays and commentary have appeared in the Washington Post, Smithsonian, and Yes! and published online at OnBeing, Tikkun, and Tin House.

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Tony Coleman

Reflecting on a watershed U.S. Supreme Court decision, this Sunday we will consider reasons why we might confront difficult histories, whether they be national or intimately personal. Join us to explore how encountering our pain might be a means of discerning our purpose.

Tony Coleman will join our ministry team in 2019-20 as a 24-hour/week Minister of Congregational Care. Originally from Memphis, Tony and his family moved to the DC area in August 2018 when he began studying at Georgetown University Law Center. Before moving here, Tony spent the better part of 13 years in New England graduating from Williams College and Yale Divinity School. Most recently, Tony worked in education while also serving as a pastor and hospital chaplain. Tony writes, “I am thrilled to be joining All Souls’ ministry team for the upcoming year. I cannot wait to learn more about the people and stories that give this community life!”

Sunday, August 18, 2019
Rev. Rob Keithan

There’s a lot about life that we don’t get to choose. From the mundane challenges (like whether the metro is on time) to the major (like the presence of systemic oppression), much is beyond our control. This sermon will reflect on what we can change—ourselves.

Sunday, August 11, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

The Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams once said, “An unexamined faith is not worth having.” Join us this Sunday as we share with one another our probing questions about the spiritual life. Instead of a traditional sermon, Rev. Hardies will answer questions submitted by congregants ahead of time on topics such as spirituality and religion, doubt and faith, ethics and current events. Please e-mail your questions to Gary Penn (gpenn@allsouls.ws) no later than Sunday, August 4.

Sunday, August 4, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies and honored Japanese guests

As we mark the anniversary of the United States' atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we will welcome A-bomb survivors to share their testimony from our pulpit. Together with Rev. Hardies, they will witness to the devastating effects of war and the promise of peace.

Sunday, July 21, 2019
Rev. Anthony Jenkins

In the spirit of both July 4th and Juneteenth, Rev. Anthony Jenkins will lead a service centered in the trustworthy life of Harriet Tubman. Together we’ll consider her lifelong spirit of interdependence, and the many lives entrusted to her over the years as abolitionist, activist, faith leader, freedom-fighter, and U.S. Army Special Forces ("Black Ops").

Rev. Jenkins currently serves as assistant minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, MD. A native of Washington DC, he has also called PA, VA, upstate NY, and southern MD home. He holds a B.A. in Music (Performance) from Morgan State University and has made his living as a freelance bassist in the DC/MD/VA metropolitan area for the last 19 years. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, IL. Rev. Jenkins served for five years as a bassist in the 257th Army Band (DC), before commissioning into the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in 2014; he will transition to active-duty Air Force chaplaincy this coming fall. He has also served as a chaplain at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital in Baltimore. He, his wife Sarah, and their son Tobias live in the Forest Glen neighborhood of Silver Spring, MD.

Sunday, July 14, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Our attention—our ability to see and carefully notice the world—is on of our most important spiritual powers. Yet a lot of monied and powerful interests seek to distract and control our attention. How can we resist the colonization of our attention and remain whole spiritual beings?

Sunday, July 7, 2019
Christin Green

Many of us have anxiety surrounding a lack of productivity. Self-care or a necessary nap can be mistaken as selfish or wasted hours: Don't I have something more important to do? Retirement can result in depression: Who am I if I'm not my job? This line of thinking signals a dangerous attachment and addiction to productivity. Join guest preacher, Christin Green, to explore how to recognize this and how we might shift our perspective.

Christin Green is a recent graduate Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC (May 2019). She is the adopted daughter of two women who raised her in a suburb of Kansas City, MO. Christin transplanted to Washington, DC, in 2008 to earn a Master of Arts in Women's Studies from The George Washington University. After completing her Masters, she decided to stay in the area and pursue nonprofit work. The continuing search for purpose led her to attend seminary. Upon graduation, Christin accepted a chaplain resident position in Newark, DE, at Christiana Care Hospital from August 2019-2020. She looks forward to sharing her time and talent as a musician, a poet, a lifelong learner, and a UU minister in formation. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019
Members of the 8th Principle Transformation Team

This Sunday will be the second in a series of periodic worship services designed by the ASC Transformation Team and working groups along with church staff. Each service raises key spiritual questions and needs that the Team’s ongoing work has identified. This Sunday’s theme is Reconciliation. The Transformation Team and Trust & Reconciliation working group will hold two facilitated reflection circles which will begin 20 minutes after the service ends. The Longfellow Room is reserved as a reflection space for people of color only, and the Eaton Room will be available as a reflection space open to everyone.

Sunday, June 16, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Sometimes we see another person—a stranger—commit an act of open-hearted generosity and we think to ourselves: “I wish I could be as generous as that. I want what she’s got. This morning we’ll explore generosity as a path to enlightenment and to the fullness of our humanity.

Sunday, June 9, 2019
All Souls Youth
Sunday, June 2, 2019
All Souls Choir, directed by Jen Hayman

"Step by Step: the Ruby Bridges Suite," by Darrell Grant, tells the story of the brave girl who faced the hatred of a menacing mob to walk into school and her future. The All Souls Choir and guest musicians will perform the piece during the worship service. They will also perform it on Saturday, June 1, and both 1 pm and 4 pm, at the National Museum of African History and Culture (tickets at nmaahc.si.edu).

Sunday, May 19, 2019
Members of the 8th Principle Transformation Team

Paula Cole Jones, Peter Montgomery, and Derek Robinson discuss the 8th Principle and the All Souls Transformation Team's work for racial justice within our community.

Sunday, May 12, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

This Mother’s Day we honor the ties that bind us, generation to generation. One of those ties is the mercy and grace we extend to one another when we have fallen out of right relation. This morning we explore our capacity to be merciful to one another, and celebrate the larger Mercy in which all our lives are held.

Sunday, May 5, 2019
Rev. Rob Keithan

The recent violent attacks against Muslims in Australia, Christians in Sri Lanka, and Jews in California, as well as efforts by conservative activists in the United States to use religion as a means of denying access to birth control or services to LGBTQ people, make it clear that religious freedom is not a universally shared value. This sermon will explore one of the tensions behind the struggle for religious freedom (and many other things): how do we have humility towards others when we think our perspective is the right one? It will draw insights from an unexpected place: the music of George Michael, complete with an intergenerational performance featuring members of our children’s and adult choirs!

Sunday, April 28, 2019
Rev. Dr. Joanne Braxton

Have you ever been kissed by a mountain or a tree? This is a sermon about the possibilities of renewal and transformation found in Nature as Creation, on our physical and spiritual being throughout the life cycle. What happens when we are deprived of Nature? In the Sol Duc River, in the great Pacific Northwest, different species of salmon swim upstream in every season of the year, not only to spawn, but to die and fertilize the earth. Through awareness, intentionality and presence we may nurture our own well-being and become a part of the continuing work of Creation and Transformation, and perhaps a New Deal for the Earth and our chosen communities of resistance.

Sunday, April 21, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Resurrection doesn’t happen overnight. Not even in the Bible. Not even on Easter. The process of reclaiming life from the jaws of loss, sorrow and despair takes time. It happens gradually. This Easter we celebrate resurrection as a journey and a spiritual discipline, rather than a once-and-done event. Please join us for this joyous Easter service!

Friday, April 19, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Join us as we commemorate Good Friday with a hauntingly beautiful service of music, scripture, silence, and candlelight. As we remember Jesus’ crucifixion, we mourn the brokenness in our world and in our own lives. A simple communion will be shared. 7:30 pm.

Sunday, April 14, 2019
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

Creation is at risk. Enormous changes are needed, but many forces of resistance stand in the way. It can be dangerous to hope—as the people who followed Jesus learned, long ago. They welcomed him into Jerusalem with joyful hope on Palm Sunday and witnessed his crucifixion a few days later. What forces of resistance killed Jesus? What “crucifying powers” are putting creation at risk today? How do we grapple with resistance as we seek to courageously participate in creating a just and sustainable world now?

Sunday, April 7, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Do you sometimes feel despair for the future of our planet? You’re not alone. Over the next two Sundays we’ll explore what spiritual resources we need to confront the challenge of global climate change with heart, spirit and hope; while avoiding the pitfalls of apocalyptic thinking.

Sunday, March 31, 2019
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies

Do you sometimes feel despair for the future of our planet? You’re not alone. Over the next two Sundays we’ll explore what spiritual resources we need to confront the challenge of global climate change with heart, spirit and hope; while avoiding the pitfalls of apocalyptic thinking.

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