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Susan Veronica Rak's Blog (17)

Recent Sermons

Many of you have requested copies of recent sermons... you can find them at "Sermons" on the Worship menu, or here

I especially highlight the post-Candidating sermon "Now What?"... and soon you'll find Rev. Abbey's sermons there as well!

I appreciate your continued engagement with our worship services and the preaching I do!

Rev. Susan

Added by Susan Veronica Rak on May 8, 2016 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Black Lives Matter follow-up and Resources

The unanim ous vote to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to hang a Black Lives Matter banner outside our church is worthy of celebration.  I am filled with gratitude for all who worked so thoughtfully and diligently to bring this to a vote, and to the congregation who supported the motion.

The discussion on Opportunities for Congregational Action that…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on March 1, 2016 at 4:01pm — No Comments

a commentary on current events...

I write this dry-eye and sickened at heart.  No “thoughts and prayers” will ever be enough.

In January 2011, after the mass murder at Virginia Tech, I wrote a blog post called “Men with Guns”.  Then some of the questions were “What happened, who is to blame… should the university have “shut down” sooner?  What kind of strong police response would have helped?  What have we learned?”

It’s this last question that haunts me, as we approach the third (third!)…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on December 3, 2015 at 10:13am — No Comments

Sunday November 22nd - travel alert!

This Sunday is the Philadelphia Marathon... although the main runners should be finished by the time our Service starts (11 AM), there will be travel disruptions for anyone driving.  Please plan accordingly.

We hope you'll still be…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on November 20, 2015 at 10:00am — No Comments

el Día de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) this Sunday!

We will celebrate el Día de Los Muertos at First Unitarian Church, creating a festive altar of remembrance called an ofrenda It  brings those who have died, people whom we remember and cherish, into our circle by adding a picture or small memento to the ofrenda

It does not matter if  the death was recent or their…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on October 29, 2015 at 3:01pm — No Comments

Blessing of the Animals - Reminder!

Just a reminder that our Blessing of the Animals service takes place this Sunday, October 4th, at 11:00 AM in the Sanctuary.

All pets are welcome -- furry, scaly, feathered, four-legged, two-legged.  If your animal companion can’t join you at the Service, please feel free to bring a photograph or other representation - even a stuffed toy - to be part…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on September 29, 2015 at 4:19pm — No Comments

Reminder: NO Worship Service this Sunday, September 27th

due to the travel restrictions placed on the city because of the Papal Visit and the use of our facilities by people coming in to see Pope Francis, we will not hold a Sunday Service of Worship.

However, some members of First Unitarian Church who have better access to Center City will be on the premises for any who visit this Sunday, and offering…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on September 23, 2015 at 5:30pm — No Comments

2 Important Reminders

This Sunday:  Water Communion.  Everyone is invited to collect a small sampling of water from a place that is special to you and bring it with you on Sunday September 13th.  This can be from your summer travels or from your own back yard; from an ocean shore or a rain puddle.  There will be a time to collect a small amount of water from each participant. (And if you forget, not to worry - we will have some available so all can participate.)

Friday, September…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on September 8, 2015 at 5:44pm — No Comments

Juneteenth 2015

Today is Juneteenth - June 19, 1865 marks the day when the last slaves in America were freed.

We will honor this important day in American history as part of this Sunday's Service.  Our celebration is deepened by the violence that one man brought to a whole community, perhaps even the whole nation, in the killing of nine people at a meeting (a prayer meeting) at Emanuel  African Methodist Episcopal Church in…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on June 19, 2015 at 4:16pm — No Comments

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Unitarian Universalists

Several people spoke to me after the Service this past Sunday about the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Unitarian Universalists” I shared with you.  They came from a workshop given by Gini Courter (former Unitarian Universalist Association Moderator) that I took part in a few years ago.   I am so glad that struck a chord with you all! Here they are.

  1. live with integrity. To do this you have to know yourself, be clear on your values.  Words…

Added by Susan Veronica Rak on April 23, 2015 at 11:31am — No Comments

1stUU "vision" Sunday - March 22nd, 10:00 AM

 We hope many Members and friends of 1st UU will be able to come early and spend time enjoying one another's company as we engage this important work.  Please try to arrive by 9:45 AM - coffee will be available; our "workshop"/conversation begins promptly at 10:00 AM (it will be a lead-in to our 11 o'clock Worship Service).

These "conversations in community" are an essential part of creating a clear, vibrant and true picture of who and what First Unitarian…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on March 17, 2015 at 3:29pm — No Comments

Bridges to Cross - thinking about Sunday's sermon

Did you get to see the movie "Selma"?  It is worth watching - a fine film.  Although it is certainly not a documentary, it seems to me more an impression of those fateful days in the Civil Rights Movement - still an important story that is rarely told in this way.

So to add to that, here is a moving, insightful short documentary (A Call from…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on March 6, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Ministerial Musings... January 2105

The theme for ministry and worship in this first month of the New Year is "hope".

“Hope is

folding paper cranes

even when your hands get cramped

and your eyes tired,

working past blisters and

paper cuts ….” (from Origami Emotion, by Elizabeth Barrette) 

Hope has so many meanings... some grounded in our everyday existence, and others as…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on January 6, 2015 at 12:35pm — No Comments

A note about this Sunday's Service (7 December 2014)

Like many of my colleagues in ministry, I am wrestling with how to address the issues that trouble our hearts in these days leading up to the winter holidays.  This Sunday's sermon, "Comfort and Joy", focuses on festivity and celebration as a means of strengthening our spiritual lives.  But how can we even think about this at such a time?

We struggle to comprehend the news coming to us from Ferguson MO and Staten Island NY and…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on December 4, 2014 at 3:33pm — No Comments

another "Ferguson" reflection...

Dear friends,

We have been rocked by the news of the past 24 hours regarding events in Ferguson MO. So much has been written about the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in August, and the demonstrations and violence and witness events that followed.

Many of us are heartbroken over the seeming failure of our justice system in not indicting the man who shot an unarmed teenager and killed him. But the "system" worked, as it often does, in a way that seems unjust - if…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on November 25, 2014 at 4:34pm — No Comments

a Reminder about Sunday November 2nd...

On Sunday, November 2nd  our service will include the Mexican celebration of el Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead.  Part of the celebration includes creating a festive altar of remembrance called an ofrenda

The ofrenda will be decorated with traditional elements (flowers, candles, fruit, and pan de…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on October 22, 2014 at 3:06pm — No Comments

Ministerial Musings - October

"Life is an adventure in forgiveness." - Norman Cousins

October's ministry theme is Forgiveness - not always an easy topic. Somehow the arrival of Autumn and the changing landscape, with leaves of various hues coloring the hillsides and roadways, streets and backyards of our neighborhoods, signals a profound shift for us.  The leaves will soon fall to the ground, leaving branches stark and bare.  Change is happening all around us - so it is right for us to change as…


Added by Susan Veronica Rak on September 25, 2014 at 11:24am — No Comments

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