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Ministry & Worship

Upcoming and Archived Sermons.


 Below are video and audio files of some of the sermons. A typewritten written copy of some of the sermons is also included.  





                                                              Rev. Art Severance




Sermon Archive - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


June 21, 2015  A Father's Day message "Forgiving the Past, Working Toward a Future"  Rev. Art Severance


                                                      Here is a typed copy of the sermon: (Forgiving the Past..)

                                                      Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.





May 10 , 2015  "The Gospel According to Mom"  Rev. Art Severance


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.




April 12, 2015 "What Counts"    Rev. Art Severance  


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.





March 22, 2015 "The Psychology of Religion"    Rev. Art Severance


Here is a link to a typed copy of the sermon: (The Pschology of Religion)



March 8, 2015  " Heaven,  Hell and Mystery"     Rev. Art Severance


 Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.






March 1, 2015  "Creating Your Own Religion"    Rev. Art Severance

  Here is a link to a PDF of the readings and the sermon. The title changed slightly to Creating

     a New Religion.                ( Creating A New Religion )


     Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.    








December 21, 2014  "From Paul Revere to Pavlov; Does This Season Ring a Bell for You?"

                                                                                                                       Rev. Art Severance


    Below is a Youtube video of the sermon. 





November 16, 2014 "Compassionate Communication"  Rev. Art Severance


      Here is a link to a typewritten copy of the sermon: Compassionate Communication


     Below is a Youtube video of the sermon. 









October 19, 2014 "Stages of Faith: Psychology of Belief" Rev. Art Severance


          Here is a link to a typewritten copy of the sermon: Stages of Faith: Psychology of Belief


         Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.






September 28, 2014 "Ask the Minister"  Rev. Art Severance


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.









September 7, 2014 "The Ingathering of the Water"    Rev. Art Severance 

                                                         Here is a typewritten copy of the sermon: ( PDF Copy )


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.






August 10, 2014  "The Theology of Summer"    Rev. Art Severance 


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.




June 15, 2014  "Why Father's Day is Different Than Mother's Day"    Rev. Art Severance

                                                                                                                                         Sermon: (Audio)



June 1, 2014  "In Search of Harmony"   Rev. Art Severance


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.





May 25, 2014  "The Myth of Memorial Day"   Rev. Art Severance


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.





May 18, 2014   "In Whom We Trust"   Rev. Art Severance


How can we learn to trust in a world which seems to thrive on deceiving us? Why do we especially worry when someone says, ‘trust me’?

Trust has to be earned, but it takes a willing heart to risk that.


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.






April 13, 2014   "The Jesus Between The Lines"  Rev. Art Severance

The old statement about "reading between the lines" seems appropriate when we religious liberals and seekers search for meaning in the historical, mystical, mythological and metaphorical figure of Jesus. In the first three centuries, there were many different interpretations and understandings of Jesus and no central religious authority. We are asked in every age, "Who do you say that I am?" 

 In the first three centuries, there were many different interpretations and understandings of Jesus and no central religious authority. We are asked in every age, "Who do you say that I am?" 


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.








April 6, 2014  "Paying the Dues for Being Human and Religious"


           From the sermon ......."If love comes to you, invite love in,  and generosity, abundance, and joy  is sure to follow. Let love in and live life as if it were the only chance you had......."

                                         Rev. Art Severance


Here is a typewritten copy of the sermon:   (PDF copy)

Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.





March 30,  2014 "Minds Matter",  Guest Minister,  Rev. John Rex


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.






March 23,  2014 ""Taking Steps to a Compassionate Life" Based on the book "12 Steps

To a Compassionate Life" by Karen Armstrong. Exploring how to become personnally more compassionate."

Are you ready to sign the "Charter of Compassion"?

                                                                 Rev. Art Severance 

Here is a typewritten copy of the sermon ( PDF copy )


Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.



Here is a video of the reading of the "Charter for Compassion" which was shown during the service. 



In following video Karen Armstrong talks about the need of a "Charter for Compassion",

the need to "change the conversation", the "Golden Rule " and the "task of our generation."






March 16,  2014 "Religion as Search Rather Than Find; Heresy Means Choice"

                                         Rev. Art Severance

 Below is a Youtube video of the sermon.




March 9,  2014 "When It's Wrong To Be Right", Guest Minister, Rev. Pamela Rumancik

 Prior to the sermon Rev. Pamela Rumancik played a Youtube video of

 George Carlin comparing Baseball and Football.  

                                                                          Sermon:   "When It's Wrong To Be Right" ( Audio


March 2,  2014 "Fragility Is Life",  Guest Minister, Rev. Joseph Cleveland

                                                                                                 ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                                                 ( Audio Part 2 )


February 16, 2014 "Love; If Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, Unitarions are from Pluto" 

An exploration of how love and communication are inter-related.

                                                                  Rev Art Severance: ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                  Rev Art Severance: ( Audio Part 2 )

                                                                    Typewritten copy: ( PDF )

February 9, 2014 Happy Darwin Day - Science and Religion  

                                                    Rev Art Severance: ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                                    ( Audio Part 2 )

                                                    Rev Art Severance: Typewritten copy (PDF)



January 26, 2014 Weaving the Tapestry of Liberal Religion, or is it Sewing a Crazy Quilt?

                                                    Reading: "Weaving Wisdom", Keith W Goheen   ( Audio )

                                                    Sermon: Rev Art Severance ( Audio Part 1)

                                                    Sermon: Rev Art Severance ( Audio Part 2)

                                                    Rev Art Severance: Typewritten copy (PDF file)



January 19, 2014 "Martin Luther King and His Legacy: Can we pick up his Mantle?"

                                          This service was lay-led by Marlana Rice

                                                                           Marlana Rice  ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                                                   ( Audio Part 2 )


January 12, 2014 The Tao of Our Purposes and Principles


                A Story For All Ages "The Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff

                                                                     Read by Victoria Crago    ( Audio )


                      "The Tao of Our Purposes and Principles" 

                                   By Rev. Art Severance and read by Jerry Kent ( Audio part 1 )

                                                                                                              ( Audio part 2 )


January 5, 2014 "Forgiving the Past, Co-creating the Future"


                Reading: The Story of Grudgeville, by Barbara Marsham,

                                                               read by Victoria Crago ( Audio )

                Sermon: " Forgiving the Past, Co-creating the Future,  Rev. Art Severance

                                                                                                 Part 1 ( Audio )

                                                                                                 Part 2 ( Audio )

                                                                             Typewritten  copy ( PDF file )                                              

December 24, 2013  Christmas Eve service. 


                                     "Do You Hear What I Hear?" UUCA Choir  ( Audio )

                                      Opening Words, Rev Art Severance  ( Audio )

                                     "Softly Appear UUCA Choir  ( Audio )

                                     " Ode To A Rationalist on Christmas", Rev Art Severance ( Audio )

                                     "So The Children Come"   UUCA Choir and Rev. Art Severance  ( Audio )

                                     "We are the dwelling place..."  Rev. Art Severance ( Audio )

                                     "O Holy Night" Kathy Moriarty, Guitar and Amy Malachowski ( Audio )

                                     "Sing Noel Noel" UUCA Choir ( Audio )

                                     "Homily" Rev. Art Severance ( Audio )


December 15, 2013 Father Christmas, Santa, Thor, Coca -Cola, and a Desanctified  Saint" Rev. Art Severance


                                                          Rev. Art Severance ( Audio Part 1 ) 

                                                                                          ( Audio Part 2 )    

                                                                Typewritten copy ( PDF file )  


December 8, 2013 “Transforming Scrooge" Rev. Art Severance


Perhaps one of the most famous and beloved Xmas stories (outside of the Bible) is “The Xmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, a British Unitarian! Using a recent psychological approach to the story, we can explore the various meanings we might find in it today, especially considering the church is going through tough financial times.


                                        Sermon: Rev. Art Severance  ( Audio )

                                                            Typewritten Copy  ( PDF file )


 November 24, 2013     "I’m Thankful The Pilgrim Church Became Unitarian” 



The Church of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts voted to become Unitarian

in 1805 and is now UU. 


Indeed, about half of the Pilgrim churches in Massachusetts became Unitarian,

the other half were Congregational (now United Church of Christ). This cultural

holiday has universal religious overtones whether you believe in a supernatural

being to who you should (must-or else) be thankful, or you believe that life is a

process of nature, of which we are a part.



                                                                 Rev. Art Severance     ( Audio )     

                                                                           Typewritten copy ( PDF )

 November 17, 2013  "Family Therapy for the Holidays”


                                                                Rev. Art Severance.    ( Audio )


                                 Typewritten copy of reading and sermon: ( PDF file )


 November 10, 2013  "How to Behave in Church"  


                                  Teaching a Healing Chant by Lydia Walker

                                                                  Rev. Art Severance  ( Audio )

                                  Reading: Ten Commandments for Church Behavior

                                                                  Rev. Art Severance  ( Audio )

                                  Sermon: How to Behave in Church

                                                                 Rev. Art Severance  ( Audio )

 November 3, 2013 "Welcoming Justice, Equity and Compassion at our Tables

                                                     and in Our Hearts" 

                                       - Kim Diana Connolly, a member of our congregation.


                                                                                                ( Audio )


October 27, 2013 The Myth, Magic and Metaphor of Halloween

       Reading:   A poem by Billy Collens read by:

                                                           Rev. Art Severance      ( Audio )

                          Sermon: The Myth, Magic and Metaphor of Halloween

                                                           Rev. Art Severance    ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                                              ( Audio Part 2 )

                          Typewritten copy of Reading and Sermon: ( PDF File )


October 20, 2013  “Help, Hope, & Home: No Hell” -

                                                                   Rev. Art Severance 

                    Reading: "Please Don't Grow Or Change - 

                                                "Lessons On How To Self-Distruct"      ( Audio )


                    Sermon: “Help, Hope, & Home: No Hell”      ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                      Rev. Art Severance       ( Audio Part 2 )      

                                      Typewritten copy of Reading and Sermon:  ( PDF File )


 October 13, 2013  "Animal Blessing Service: Who Domesticated Who?"

                                                             Rev. Art Severance 
                                    Reading: How Can a Rabbit Be a Unitarian?  Rev. Art Severance
                                                              Read by Victoria Crago                     ( Audio )

                                                                                                         Sermon:  ( Audio )


 October 6, 2013  Creative Interchange as Seeking for Meaning” - Philosopher

Henry Nelson Weiman, Coined the term, "creative inter- change" as part of his

definition of the purpose of religion, which is at its heart about relationship, and more

 specifically communicating in such a deep and open way that it becomes a religious

 experience. This is a part of "process theology," which many Unitarian Universalist

thinkers helped develop.

                                                                                                      Rev. Art Severance

                                                                                          ( Audio )

                     Typewritten copy of Reading and Sermon ( PDF File )



September 29, 2013  “The Prophethood of All Believers: Ethics for NonBelievers”

                                                                                                              Rev. Art Severance

                                                                                            ( Audio )

                                        Typewritten copy of Reading and Sermon ( PDF File )

September 22, 2013 " Robert's Rules of Rituals"

                                                            Rev. Art Severance 

                                                                              ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                              ( Audio Part 2 )

                                                   Typewritten Copy ( PDF file )


September 15, 2013 "Why Church?, Why Religion?, Why Ministry"

                                                                                      Rev. Art Severance 

      Brief side note about how long one should meditate.  ( Audio )                 

      There just may be some truth to this answer.                                                                

                                                            Sermon                 ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                                          ( Audio Part 2 )

                                                              Typewritten Copy( PDF file )


September 8, 2013    "Reflections on the Water: Water Service!"

                                                                                       Rev. Art Severance 

                             Meditation:  A 75 second guided meditation exploring

                                               why we are here, at this church.....  ( Audio )


                             Learning and sharing  a calming travel song.    ( Audio )


                              The UU traditional start of the church year, the gathering

                              of the stories about sacred water, from vacations, pilgrimages,

                              and sometimes just the home faucet. Actually rather recent as

                              traditions go, but like the lighting of the chalice every Sunday,

                              a tradition that would seem strange to delete. 


                                 The Sermon - Reflections on Water ( Audio )

                                                           Typewritten copy - ( PDF file ) 


August 18, 2013  "Psychology of Church; Examining the System"

                              The UU traditional start of the church year, the gathering

                              of the stories about sacred water, from vacations, pilgrimages,

                              and sometimes just the home faucet. Actually rather recent as

                              traditions go, but like the lighting of the chalice every Sunday,

                              a tradition that would seem strange to delete.


                                                                                       Rev. Art Severance

                                                                         ( Audio part 1 )

                                                                         ( Audio part 2 )

                                                   Typewritten copy ( PDF file )


August 11, 2013  "You, Me, And The Universe: Religion as Relationship"

                                       Rev. Art Severance

                                          Typewritten copy - ( PDF file )




August 4, 2013 This Sunday Rev. Art Severance intrduced himself as

                          our Developmental Minister.


                              A Reading: The Marks of a Healthy Congregation

                              By Peter Steinke, read by Rev. Art Severance  

                                             ( Audio )

                               Sermon: "A Temporary Sheperd Herding Cats"

                                     Rev. Art Severance 

                                             ( Audio part 1 )

                                             ( Audio part 2 )

                                   Typewritten copy     ( PDF file )


July 7,  2013  "Lessons Learned"


                       Rev. Len De Roche presents some interesting and

                       very helpful lessons in his farewell sermon.

                              - In church there is no good reason to win anything.

                              - Ideas are't as important as relationships.

                              - Ask the right question.

                              - Keep it simple.

                              - There are differences in generosity.

                              - Effects of an edifice complex.

                              - In buying into the critic, one may help

                                       criticism grow.

                                                                           ( Audio )


June 30,  2013   This Sunday sermon, "Power Up", by Gemma Lanthier

                           can be located by selecting Preaching by Parishioners

                           under Worship and Ministry on the menu at the left.          


June 16,  2013  "Father No's Best"  Rev Len De Roche

                                                                ( Audio )


June 2,  2013   "Pride Sunday" The progress toward equal rights has moved 

                         progressively faster.  Rev. Len De Roche celebrated these milestones.

                                                                                            ( Audio )


May 12, 2013 “I Remember Mama” - Rev. Len takes a nostalgic look at a 50’s TV program

                         based on a novel called Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes.


                                                                                                                   ( Audio )


 April 28, 2013      “ There Be Dragons Here”  - Rev. Len De Roche has always

                                 been fascinated with maps. Early maps marked unknown

                                 areas with the statem “ There be dragons here.”

                                 Rev. Len showed that the mind is like that too.  


                                                                                                        ( Audio )

                                                                                Benediction     ( Audio )  



April 21, 2013    “WWJD - What Would Jesus Drive?” - On the day before Earth Day

                                      Rev. Len De Roche asks this perplexing question.


                                                                                 ( Audio  ) 


                              Meditation: A meditation/prayer on Boston


                                                                                 ( Audio )


 April 14, 2013    "View from an Immigration Attotney" 

                                                                     Michael Marszalkowski

                                                                              ( Audio part 1 )

                                                                              ( Audio part 2

April 7, 2013       "Being Fed Spiritually" , Rev. Len De Roche

                                                                         ( Audio


March 31, 2013    Easter Sunday, Rev. Len De Roche

                                                                         ( Audio )


March 24, 2013   "UU've Been Framed"

                                                      Jerry Kent  ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                         ( Audio Part 2 )

March 17, 2013  "Celtic Spirituality"

                             Sermon by Rev. Len De Roche and read by Jerry Kent

                                                                                     ( Audio )

March 3, 2013  "Sermon on the Amount",   Rev. Len De Roche


                                                                                  ( Audio )


February 24, 2013  "Our Refugees In Buffalo" ,  Dr. Anna Ireland


                                                                         ( Audio part 1 )

                                                                         ( Audio Part 2 )



  February 10, 2013  "Everything Possible - Ruminations on Valentine's Day and Love"


                                                                    Rev. Len De Roche

                                                                               ( Audio )


February 17, 2013  "The Lincoln-Unitarian Connection"  Rev. Len De Roche

                                                                              ( Audio )


January 13, 2013    "The Maelstrom" Rev. Len De Roche

                                                                          ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                          ( Audio Part 2

December 16, 2012    "The Unitarians Who Saved Christmas"   Rev. Len De Roche

                                                                               ( Audio )


December 9, 2012  "The Green Man and Christmas" Rev. Len De Roche

                                                                              ( Audio )


December 2, 2012    "The Condom Controversy" Rev. John Rex

                                                                             ( Audio part 1 )  

                                                                             ( Audio part 2 )


November 25, 2012   "Deeds, Creeds, and Principles"  Rev. Len DeRoche 

                           reflects on the difference between deeds, creeds, and

                           principles theologically and politically, and discusses the

                           relationship with the occupy and tea party movements. 

                                                                                  ( Audio part 1 )

                                                                                  ( Audio part 2 )

                                                                                   (Audio part 3 )


November 11, 2012   "We Remember Armistice Day" Rev. Len DeRoche

                           reflects on "War to End All Wars" and the origins of 

                           Veteran's Day.                                ( Audio part 1 )

                                                                                   ( Audio part 2 )

                                                                                   ( Audio part 3 )


November 4, 2012    "Best Politicians Money Can Buy"  Rev. Len DeRoche

                           discusses how money corrodes our democracy.

                                                                                ( Audio part 1 )

                                                                                ( Audio part 2

                                                                                ( Audio part 3 )


 October 21, 2012       "Beloved Community" Sunday, Rev. Len De Roche, 

                          discussed why the work of the a Right Relations Committee

                          is important to the development of a healthy and blessed community.

                                                                                                            ( Audio )


October 72012        "Living with Labs" After the blessing of the many happy animals 

                                  welcomed in todays service, Rev. Len De Roche addressed the 

                                  question "What do dogs and animals have to do with religion?".

                                                                                                       ( Audio )

September 302012 " The Myth of Sisyphus."  Rev. Len De Roche spoke of this Greek myth and

                                  explored its relevance to individual and community life.

                                                                                                       ( Audio )

September 23,2012      "Does Religion Matter?" With churches and synagogues losing

                            relevance to most family life, Rev. Len De Roche addresses

                            the question whether religion matters.


                                                                                                       ( Audio )

September 162012   "Interim Period."  Today Rev. Len De Roche will explain the

                            difference between Interim Ministry and Settled

                            Ministry and what he's learned about us so far.

                                                                                                       ( Audio )

September 92012    This Sunday we welcomed back the Bar-Room Buzzards, a much loved

                          and well-known Buffalo Dixieland and blues band, who led the music for

                          the service. There was no sermon but Barbara Kent and Rick More shared

                          a few reflections and thoughts.

                                                                                   Barbara Kent ( Audio )

                                                                                   Rick More     ( Audio )


September 22012  "Ingathering of  the Waters"  During this service, which included the annual

                          water sharing ceremony, Kim Diana Connolly reminded us that water is a

                          human right, and that many millions of people in the US and countless

                          others throughout the world live without access to safe, affordable, and

                          adequate water for their basic human needs.

                                                                                                       ( Audio )



August 192012  "Unitarian Universalism and Me."  Our minister, Rev. Dr. Len De Roche

                      introduces himself to the congregation by telling us about

                      his journey through U.U. congregations.





The sermons listed below are primarily those of Reverend Tim Ashton who served our 

congregation until July 2012.




June 242012  "The Valedictory Sermon" 


                  Sunday Rev.Tim Ashton delivered  his valedictorian (farewell)  address.

                  The audio file is large and is presented in two parts. 

                                                                                                   ( Audio Part 1 )

                                                                                                   ( Audio Part 2 )      


June 172012 "Father's Day  and Flower Communion"  


                Rev. Tim Ashton led a celebration of two martyrs and "fathers of our church,"

                Michael Servetus and Norbert Capek. Czech Unitarian minister Capek

                created the UU tradition of Flower Communion which was celebrated today.


                                                                                                                 ( Audio


June 32012 "Unitarian Universalism and the Civil Rights Movement."  

                Sermon:   "Unitarian Universalism and the Civil Rights Movement."   

                                    Rev. Tim Ashton explores our UU involvement in the Civil  

                                    Rights Movement and the following conflict among us.


                                                                                                                ( Audio  )

May 272012 "Memorial Day "


           Sermon:  "A Time to Remember." Rev. Tim Ashton discusses the history

                           and implications of Memorial Day.


                                                                                                                               ( Audio )


May 202012 "New Member Sunday"  


          Sermon: "New Member Sunday." On this day we celebrate everyone who became a member

                        since last spring! In his sermon, Rev. Tim Ashton places Unitarian

                        Universalism into the larger tradition of member operated organizations which

                        dates back to ancient Greece. What is the significance and value of membership?


                                                                                                                                ( Audio )

May 132012 "Mother's day"  


          Sermon:  Looking beyond the ubiquitous candy and flowers, Rev. Tim Ashton honors

                         our foremothers and uncovers what was originally at the heart of this holiday.


                                                                                                                                                     ( Audio )                                                           


April 222012 "Earth Day"


            Sermon:  "Faith and the Earth." The protection of the Earth for future generations is an

                            echo of the directive: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

                            This morning we are asked to think about how different faith traditions strive

                            to preserve the earth for their future neighbors.

                                   Robert Ciesielski, chairman of the Sierra Club (Niagara group).            ( Audio )

                            Responses to a few questions:   
                                   Robert Ciesielski, chairman of the Sierra Club (Niagara group).            ( Audio )

   April 152012 "Holy Curiosity"


           Sermon : "Holy Curiosity"  In the absence of a unifying creed,

                                what connects us in our religious community?

                                Intern Minister, Linda Thomson reflects on how Holy Curiosity can help

                                form people with disparate beliefs into a congregation.      ( Audio )


  April 82012  Easter  


                   Sermon: Easter - The Guarantee

                                             Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


  April 12012  "Humor and Religion"  


                   Sermon: "Humor and Religion"  Rev. Tim Ashton will explore whether and where there

                                             may be room for humor in religious beliefs.      ( Audio )


 March 252012 -  "Love Surrounds Us"


         Sermon: Rev. Tim Ashton ponders how love is at the center of our U.U. community

               and welcomes our K-1 R.E. class as they share lessons from their curriculum

               "Love Surrounds Us."                

                                                                             Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


March 182012 -  "The work of VIVE"


         Sermon: "Vive, a temporary refuge for those yearning to be free."

                                                   Angela Jordan Mosley, Ececutive Director of VIVE    ( Audio )                            



March 112012 -  "Running in the Rain"     Rev. Tim Ashton discusses the life philosophy set forth in Garth Stein's Novel The Art of Racing in the Rain.


         Sermon: "Racing in the Rain"     

                                                          Rev Tim Ashton   ( Audio )


March 42012 -  "Religion: Action or Contemplation"                     


         Sermon: This week Rev. Tim Ashton explores how and why UU's become socially and politically engaged.  


                                                                Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


February 262012  - "Is Spirituality Rational?" 


Explore the relationship of the spiritual and the rational as our 2nd&3rd grade Religious Ed class will share with us what they are learning about our 3rd U. U. principle ("Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations").


     Sermon: "Is Spirituality Rational"?        Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


February 192012  - "Education for Action" 

Changing minds changes the world. Our groundbreaking church school curriculum " About Your Sexuality" (1970) brought sexuality education into our churchs with open talk about sex and the range of human diversity. Sexuality education and liberation remains at the cutting edge of world change.


     Sermon: "Education for Action"     Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio 



January 152012 - "Martin Luther King Sunday" 


Greg Galluzzo, the executive director of the GAMALIEL FOUNDATION, was the  speaker. Rev. Tim Ashotn led the service. The Gamaliel organization, based in Chicago, is the growing center of a community-transforming network of grassroots organizations. By teaching everyday people how to organize themselves into effective groups, Gamaliel community organizers help ordinary citizens discover their own power and gain the ability to change what needs changing in their own back yards and far beyond. (Barak Obama was trained in Gamaliel organizing principles in Chicago.)


     Sermon: "Martin Luther King - Free at Last"

                       "......he drew us out of ouselves and caused us to have hope, to believe and to act! "    

                                    -  Greg Galluzzo  ( Audio )


January 82012 - "Purpose Versus Perfection" 


Do you read the weekly UU advice column in the Buffalo News? You didn’t know that an important UU “preacher” gets a three column, seven inch spot each week? Yes, that person is Lisa Earle McLeod, fellow UU from Georgia, lecturer, coach, and consultant. One week she noted it is important not to confuse purpose with perfection. Advice, focus on what really matters to you.



                                       Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio )



Dec 11 - "Kwanzaa and the Ethical Life" 


Kwanzaa, the African holiday created here in the United States in the mid-twentieth century, is becoming a favorite winter holiday for Unitarian Universalists because it involves no miracles, no divine revelation, and is centered ethical living and community building. Question for the morning: without a divinely sanctioned law, what grounds Unitarian Universalist morals and ethics?


                                       Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio  )


Dec 4 - "What's Left of the Winter Holiday's for Me?" 

After I put aside rampant commercialism, with the miracles behind me, the Virgin Birth and an inexhaustible can of oil no longer grasping my imagination, understanding that no one has the slightest idea when Jesus was actually born, and coping with the intolerance of the Maccabean kings, what’s a person to do when the special holidays come up on the calendar? 


                                     Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio )               

November 27th - "Let MY People Go"


Seminarian (minister-in-training) Michelle George invites us to consider dilemmas of choosing between what benefits us vs. what benefits others. She'll offer biblical and historical examples and asks how these examples speak to us now and the UU call to social justice? And who are YOUR people, really?


                    Michelle George ( Audio )


November 13th - Star Wars: A Philosophy of Good and Evil

This fantasy auction sermon explores the "theology" of Star Wars. If you never went beyond the first Star Wars, now numbered as IV since three pre- quels were added, you may think of the series as simplistic, black- and-white, good-guys/bad-guys approach to the question of evil. Star Wars V and VI offers a complex universalism of moral intent, well suited to the liberal‟s vision. 


                   Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


November 6th - "Peace of the Action" 


Peace activists, Cindy Sheehan of "Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox" and Brian Wilson, author of "Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of Brian S. Wilson" were in our pulpit today. Cindy Sheehan became an anti-war activist upon the death of her son in Iraq. After Bush's refusal to meet with her a second time, she occupied the entrance to his ranch in Texas. Brian's journey is also breathtaking. He was run over and nearly killed by a munitions train while engaging in a nonviolent blockade in protest of weapons shipments to El Salvador. Their talks expressed their concerns for the future of our world community. 


                    Cindy Sheehan ( Audio )

                    Brian Wilson ( Audio


October 16th -  Jack Kevorkian and Karen Armstrong

World religions expert, Karen Armstrong, identifies compassion as the core value shared among the religions of the world. Though reviled by many religious leaders, does assisted suicide offer compassion in dying?

                    Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


October 9th - "Clapping in Church"

Actor Kevin Spacey commented during a Bob Edwards interview: "Oddly applause isn't my favorite sound. Silence is - to have 1000 people on the edge of their seats, like we have at the Old Vic, tells you more, that they're totally engaged in what's going on." Once I heard this wonderful quote, it seemed like it was time to tell you the truth: what does the minister really think about clapping?


Rev. Tim Ashton (Audio)


September 25th - "Are Gay Rights and Abortion Rights Different?"

In an op-ed piece by Tom Keane called "Game Over: Gay marriage will eventually be the law of the land." He commented that abortion still makes people "uncomfortable." "While the argued harm of abortion is ending a potential life, it's hard to see what damage" same-sex marriage could cause. How has the moral ground shifted? Is choice still the center of the argument? Does abortion also need to come out of the closet?


                                                                                                                Rev. Tim Ashton (Audio)

September 18 - "God and Faith at the Unitarian Church"


The old joke used to be this: you only heard god mentioned at the Unitarian church when the custodian dropped his hammer on his foot. What does that stereotype  mean? Does it still apply? Perhaps god is not something that you believe in. Maybe the word god is a descriptor of a sensitivity or understanding about the nature of the world or universe. Clearly a UU church is home to atheists, agnostics, and theists. What do we share in common? Faith?


                                                                Rev. Tim Ashton (Audio)


July 24 -  "Non-Violence"


Careful attention is required by wise minds searching for ways that non-violence can be applied to our dangerous world.


                Peter Diachun  ( Audio )


June 26 - "The Social Network"


Flower Communion - Every flower has a beauty that stands on its own, but there is also the beautiful bouquet. We are connected in a social network of instant communication, but we live in a society which is insensitive to the needs of the less fortunate. How are we to rearrange this brave new bouquet?


                Scott Harrigan (Audio)


June 19 - "Father's Day"  


A Father's day message.                Rev. Tim Ashton (Audio)


May 29 -  Memorial Day - "American Exceptionalism Revisited: Looking Beyond The Limits of Power"


Memorial Day began as an effort to heal the wounds of hatred between the North and the South after the unexpectedly brutal and barbaric Civil War.  Considering the budget battles in Congress, we seem to need a new Memorial Day to heal the current disastrous wounds in our political life.  Here is something to contemplate:  is the exemplar of popular American exceptionalism Jesus or Moses?  The image may make all the difference and offer understanding.

As has become a tradition, we will stop to remember our war dead and recognize those who serve or have served in our military.  We will also remember and recognize those who have stood against war and bloodshed. 


                                        Rev. Tim Ashton  (  Audio )


May 22 - "Stewards of the Earth"

This fantasy auction sermon will explore:

  • The concept of "Stewards of the Earth"
  • Who made us (humans) the stewards?
  • How is it decided who are the the "top" stewards that control the others?            

                        Rev. Tim AshtonAudio )

 May 8 - Mother's Day - "The Assault Continues"

I was tempted to call this sermon “Get Back in Your Burqa: the Attack on Planned Parenthood Is Obviously Not About Cutting Costs.”  I’m developing an appreciation for the frustration of feminists my age and older.  Like racism, sexism is not over.  Cultures change slowly.  It always comes down to birth control and abortion; access is freedom.  In my worst mood, I see it this way:  if you can’t turn back the clock on everyone, at least poor women can be financially enslaved, but that is only the first step.  The best gift on Mothers Day is equality.               Rev. Tim Ashton (Audio)


April 24  -  "An Easter Message"           Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


April 3 - Eat,  Pray,  Love   Maybe religion isn't complicated.     Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio)


March 27 -  "The Cadre of Caring and the Parish Nurse"

This Fantasy Auction sermon is a conversation about how we care for one another in our congregation.  Given our size and diversity, it is time to be more organized about providing help to our community when we are in need, crisis, or lonely.  It is time for a plan and a system of communication.  


                                                                                                         Rev. Tim Ashton  Audio )

March 13th -  "Do You Get Happy at Your Church"

 I remember trying to explain Unitarian Universalism to my Black Baptist neighbor in our largely African-American neighborhood.  Finally she asked, I think in some frustration with my intellectual talk, “Do you get happy at your church?”  That question had not occurred to me; I was completely flummoxed.  So what are we doing on Sunday morning in our Chapel?  


                                           Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio )


February 27th - "Remorse"



Here is the Fantasy Auction sermon question:  We (Unitarian Universalists) pride ourselves on being a visionary and guilt free religion, but adherents to guilt based religions compare Unitarian Universalism to driving with no rear view mirror so we don’t have to see the bodies of the people we have run over.  Do we lose our sense of remorse when we abandon guilt?

                                           Rev. Tim Ashton  ( Audio )


 February 13th -  "Valentine Sunday"



“What Is Love and Where Does It Begin?” – Self-love, loving others, knowing yourself and what you need?    Sabina Ramsey ponders this:  If love begins with self-love, can love include self-sacrifice?   Sabina’s Fantasy Auction sermon question: How do these ideas square with Unitarian Universalism?  


                                Rev. Tim Ashton Audio )


January 30th - "God at the Unitarian Universalist Church"


                        Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio )



January 23 -  "Anger Management"


 It is so easy to focus on “Tea Party” madness, but road rage was here first.  Do you get worried about yourself when you have an angry day?  How do we learn to keep our tempers?


                                          Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio )


January 16th -  "The Specter of Difference"



Folks get mean when times get bad; terrorists threaten, screening devices search to exclude.  Martin Luther King preached the universality of the human condition. How do we hold onto his message? 


                                            Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio )


January 9th -  "The Good Soldier"


 I have been  challenged with a very provocative sermon topic for this Fantasy Auction sermon.  Do Americans blame our wars on our soldiers?  Is this in part why it is so hard for them to reintegrate when they come home?  Anshin, the Buddhist monk who recently visited with us, said that violence is the product of all the people of a society, not the soldiers.  They are just one manifestation.  How do we deal with war and properly recognize the work of soldiers?


                                   Rev. Tim Ashton ( Audio )






January 10, "Worship!" Why Do We Use that Word?
Such a word in our times may bring to mind the image of “bowing and scraping,
offering sacrifices to an idol, or the effort to cajole the gods to gain favor or exemption from bad fate or punishment. – Rev Tim Ashton (audio)

January 17, Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday
The great leader of the civil rights movement forced the transformation our society. Yet many puzzle how Thomas Jefferson could have kept slaves. At the same time there is nostalgia for a past that seemed so much more civilized and well ordered, yet a past so firmly founded on racial inequality. – Rev Tim Ashton

January 24, Is Love More Than an Idea?
Chris Barry for his Fantasy Auction sermon requested a reflection on this idea: Some believe that love is a power, perhaps the power which holds the Universe together. Is love the concrete attraction of the elements of a molecule?  – Rev Tim Ashton (audio)

January 31, Conversation and the Art of Relationship
In conversation people gradually and gently enter into each other’s lives. A relationship grows; and, this is the “dangerous” part, we become gradually responsible for each other. Conversation may be a defining element of a church community and humanness. – Rev Tim Ashton (audio)


February 14, First Love

– Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


February 21, Just Because You Can...

Just because you can accomplish something, should you?  – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


March 7, The Fall of the Evangelical NationIn her book of the same name, author Christine Wicker documents the continuing decline of the evangelical churches. It’s probably hard for you to believe this. Did you think it would come so soon? – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)

March 14, Life Is Not Fair
The kids are learning that life is not fair, but in the end, things will work out if you just give it time. Perseverance is more effective than evil actions and thoughts. In the midst of the Great Recession, I hear a lot of adults pondering these same ideas.
– Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


March 21, VIVE Buffalo
The Rev. John Long from the board of directors at VIVE will be at our pulpit to share with us the work that VIVE has been involved with throughout the years. Our youth groups have been active with them as well as some of our congregantion.  They  have recently welcomed 25 orphans from Haiti and will be opening a dormitory for them. – Rev. John Long


March 28, Jesus, Who Was He?
Here's the question that Marie Evans passed from a letter she received: "The figure and teachings of Jesus are too often broken down, adapted, and then shaped to fit people's own particular needs and desires. Who was the real, walking, talking, preaching Jesus, and what lessons can we take from him today?"
– Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


April 4,   Easter: the Reminder of Continuity
Is it an illusion that we die? We see the flowers in the garden. Year after year they are there. They disappear and reappear and seem the same. It this why flowers and animals are so comforting? Why don’t we feel the continuity?  – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)

April 11,  What Do Unitarian Universalist Ceremonies, Rituals, or Sacraments Mean?
Victoria and Will Crago are bringing the twins to be dedicated. Of course, the questions arise. Why do we do these rituals? What difference do they make? If we follow the question far enough along, we must finally ask, Why do we come to church? – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


April 18, The Wisdom Tradition
T.S. Eliot said, "Where is the knowledge that is lost in information? Where is the wisdom that is lost in knowledge?" Once  it was religious philosophy that was supposed to disclose the ultimate nature of reality. Science bulldozed those fragile structures. What's left? Perhaps something much more useful; the accumulated wisdom of how life should be lived. – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


May 9, Mothers Day – We Are Not Victims
Mothers Day in its original expressions was a liberation and reform movement. In the tradition of effective liberation movements, Mothers Day was centered on empowerment. Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


October 31, 2010  - An Atheist Faces Death Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


September, 2010 - Resilience Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)


September 19, 2010 - Founding Fathers Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)










December 6, 2009;  Kwanza
From a humanist’s perspective, Kwanzaa comes close to being the perfect holiday. Kwanzaa is the preeminent example of creating religion for ourselves. Kwanzaa celebrates the ethical center of community life.
As Emerson said of the nineteenth century, “Our age is retrospective.
It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature fact to face; we through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should we grope among the dry bones of the past?” Looks like we have finally taken Emerson’s advice. – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)

November 11, 2009, Religion in the Electronic Age
Accessibility to information: has it changed our relationship with religion? Has it changed religion it self or our expectations?
– Rev. Tim Ashton (audio)

October 18,2009,  I Accept the Universe
Margaret Fuller was reported to have said these words. To which Thomas Carlyle retorted, “By God, She’d better!” My question is this: How do we make peace
with the Universe? Atheist, agnostic, theist, existentialist, humanist. Such turns of fate befall us. How beautiful, inspiring, cold, detached, and crushing as it may be, each of us has to try to pick up the pieces and go on. Is that what religion is about? How do we “praise the mutilated world” in the words of poet Adam Zagajewski. What do we do when we are hurt and crushed? – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon)

October 11, 2009 - War Does Not Work
Maybe the alternative to war isn’t pacifism, but there is increasing evidence that forcing others to do things never really solves problems. The situations in Afghanistan and Iraq form perfect examples. Torture is another case in point. With such notable interest in market economies, why is Big Brother supposed to be so helpful in political matters? – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon)


You can see UUCA activities listed in
our monthly events calendar.


May 31, 2009 - New Member Sunday
A special thanks to all the new members who have joined our congregation over the past year. And, a look at all the joy and responsibilities, that a committed connection can bring to those who engage with us.
- Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon)

April 19 - Al Parker, Seneca historian, speaks on the meaning of Earth Day and the native culture of our area. (audio sermon)

April 12 - Easter, 'April is the Cruelest Month of All'

Poet T.S. Eliot stated in The Wasteland that there were three responses to life: attachment, detachment and disinterest. For Eliot the danger was disinterest, take it or leave it, life in a fog of self-sbsorption. To the disinterested the thunder of living rain was disturbing, unsettling. The living force requires a response. - Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon)

April 5 - Palm Sunday; Beware the Heroes' Welcome! The crowds sang hosanna and then they turned Jesus in. The story brings up perennial questions. should we say what we think? Why not go home when things get dicey? So I ask, What would a pragmatist do? Considering what would work well, the pragmatic approach, might have been a better way to manage. Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon, written)

March 22 - Living Our Lives for Ourselves Karen Kuhn's question for her Fantasy Auction sermon is this: why are we doing what we are doing? Are we living our own lives or are we still trying to make our parents or someone else happy? It's time to take charge of our own lives and finally grow up. Perhaps that's what becoming a UU is all about. Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon)

March 15 - Passover, the Pagan Equinox and the Celebration of Spring Measuring the flow of time may be the most elemental religious & communal activity of the conscious being. We are aware of our brevity. Each spring we celebrate the wonder of new life and rue the passing of time. How do we affirm life in the face of death? Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon, written)
March 1 - An Unusual Teacher from Palestine Yes, I could say Jesus, but I won't. I want all of us to think outside of the box. As with our deist ancestors (for example, Thomas Jefferson), I am intrigued by the teachings of Jesus because of their moral truth and unusual perspective. Can we find a very unexpected Jesus who was nearly hidden from sight in just two generations after his death? This man may yet speak to our age. – Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon, written)

February 15 - Erotic Spirit It is usually called a pulpit exchange, but it makes a lot more sense to call it a minister exchange. Rev. Joel Miller, minister of the UU Church of Buffalo, will speak in Amherst, and Tim Ashton, our minister, will speak at the UU church downtown. Rev. Joel Miller (audio sermon, 2.57MB)

February 8 - Why Doesn't Anyone Talk About Children on Valentine's Day? Certainly children are often the result of love (even if they aren't one's biological off spring), and caring for children is surely one of the supreme monuments to the power and sacrifice that love calls forth in us. So for Valentine's day, I plan to address Shawn Whitecar's fantasy auction sermon topic and question, "How do we raise good UU children?" Aren't they among our greatest expressions of love? Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon, 2MB, written version)
January 25 - They Don't Have Any Crucifixes! - But we do have 'Joys & Sorrows.' Sharing the stories of what hurts & demoralizes us is essential to worship. To know that we are not alone or cast aside for what can seem like our private failure brings healing & perspective. We can listen with intention, caring and love. And such listening can make all the difference. Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon, written)
January 18 - Pop Culture, Big Business & the End of White America/ Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday - We are continuing from the Kwanzaa sermon -- I want to return to an idea from Leon Wynter's book American Skin Pop Culture, Bug Business and the End of White America. Much as we sometimes resent mass culture, it has been one of the agents of the transformation of America, communicating across class & racial lines. Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermon, written)
January 11 - I'm Glad I'm Different! - Becoming a Unitarian Universalist isn't usually a 'conversion' experience. The experience of finding one's first UU church is more like 'coming home' or better, 'coming home to the home you always wanted.'. It is a great experience to reach the middle of one's life and say, "I'm glad I'm different; and now I know where I belong!" Rev. Tim Ashton (audio sermonwritten version)

Golden Compass (audio sermon, written)

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