These are sermons by Rev. Joe Cherry.
We also have sermons by
Rev. Grace Simons, who retired in 2011.
Our Guests, who include clergy, lay people and
a rocket scientist.
Sticking Together in Mercy:
Rev. Joe first wonders if he can change the question of the Pentecost from
the Miracle of Speaking in Tongues, to the Miracle of Hearing Each Other.
He then talks about our community, where we strive to hear each other, despite
our differences, and tells us:
"To be a congregation that changes the lives of the people of Stanislaus
County, we must let them know about us, and we must be strong. To be strong,
we must come together, even if sometimes we bump into each other, like a
room full of toddlers learning to walk."
(May 19, 2013)
Rev. Joe speaks tells us to love our real mothers, not the image of the
perfect mother. He urges us to celebrate the work and generosity of our
mothers by helping to heal the world with love.
(May 12, 2013).
Unemployment and Spirituality:
You still have worth and dignity even if you don't have a job. Cherish yourself.
Rev. Joe has been fired and lived through it. He gives you some tips for coping.
(May 5, 2013)
Wonder Woman tells little girls and boys that they have gifts, that they are
important, that they can make a difference in the world; even if they don't
fly and can't deflect bullets with their bracelets.
(April 21, 2013)
How Much Do You Love?:
Was Jesus gay? Who was the beloved disciple? What will the courts decide
about marriage equality? Have you been in a situation where you have
loved too long, too deeply, too completely? So much that you cannot face
a truth about the one you love? Powerful questions.
(March 31, 2013)
Theology of Evil:
Rev. Joe tells us how a mass of poor decisions, none of them
specifically evil, can coalesce into a body of evil. He mentions
Thomas Hobbes, Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, and a straight elderly
lady who stood on the side of love at an LGBT square dance club in
(February 3, 2013)
What Makes A Minister?:
Rev. Joe decribes the long journey a person takes to become a
Unitarian Universalist minister, with examples from his own quest.
(January 20, 2013)
Defining Our Terms:
We are not the church where you can believe anything you want; we are the church
were you believe that which you must, even if those beliefs can sometimes be
(January 6, 2013)
Images of God:
What does God look like? Where do Unitarian Universalists look for God?
(December 9, 2012)
Give Me that Olde Time Religion:
Rev Joe has the urge to share our liberal faith's good news of both our own
capabilities and our responsibility to make Earth a little bit more like the
Heaven we imagine, just like the circuit riding ministers of the 19th century.
(December 2, 2012)
A More Perfect Union?:
Rev. Joe starts with the current secession movement, moves gracefully to
the Civil War, then talks about discord in our fellowship. He suggests
a solution: The best way for us to practice democracy is for us to honor
each other, to expect the best from each other, and to be willing to give
more credit to our fellows than we perhaps want to.
(November 18, 2012)
Where Are We Going?:
Rev. Joe discussed the coming paradigm shift in UUism. While we have no dogma,
we have, as a denomination, been discussing reverence, which some hope - and
some fear - will mean more discussion of God.
(September 30, 2012)
The Water is Wide:
On In Gathering Sunday, after the Water Ceremony, Rev. Joe used the traditional
song to remind us we have a long, complex journey this year, as we pick a new
minister, and we should row together.
(September 9, 2012)
Rev Joe discusses the works of Chris Stedmen and Allain de Botton, both religious
atheists. That is not a contradiction in terms.
(August 19, 2012)
A Fierce Grace:
Eunice Waite Cobb (19th Century Universalist): [faith] "gives a substance of joy and
bliss which nothing earthly ever gave, and which nothing of earth can take away."
RuPaul (21st century drag queen): "If you can't love yourself, how the Hell are you
gonna love anybody else?
Rev. Joe: "Allow grace to enter your lives. Allow grace to be expressed through your
actions. Through grace we can help bring forth a world more just, where all are
celebrated for who they are."
(June 10, 2012)
Jazz and Other Theologies:
The key to good improvisation is to know all about the structure of the
song you're playing, to know the key, the tempo, the melody, and
then to step out onto the ledge and let your spirit speak.
(June 3, 2012)
Old Members and New members:
On the day of our Annual Meeting, we celebrate our long term members and
welcome new members into our fellowship. There was a sharing of stories, and a
sermon about the bonds that tie us together.
(May 20, 2012)
This holiday sprung into its modern existence from Social Gospel
practitioners around the turn of the 20th century. Unitarians, Methodists and
Temperance folk each had a hand it its creation. It was a West Virginian
woman, Ann Jarvis, who continued the work of her own mother that brought us
what we think of as Mother's Day. Any holiday can be hard for some, and
exciting for others. Days that celebrate family can be particularly difficult
for some and extremely joyful for others.
(May 13, 2012)
Rites of Spring:
All around us in nature there are new little lives, just beginning. The foal,
the calf, even the little ducklings are taking their first, sometimes
tentative steps into their own existence. We humans take longer to mature
than most other animals. What can that mean for us?
(May 6, 2012)
Rev. Joe reflects on the shootings at Prescott Estates / Whispering Woods, on
what a church can do to help in times of trouble, and on our false nostalgia
for the "good old days".
(April 15, 2012)
Easter is central to the faith of our Christian friends. What can
we glean from this story of Jesus for ourselves? What improbable
beliefs do we UUs have?
(April 8, 2012)
Coming in June is the Justice Focused General Assembly of the Unitarian
Universalist Association of Congregations. Members of the congregation
asked Rev. Joe to give a sermon on Immigration and teach the UUA's 6-part
class on Immigration Justice, to help prepare us for the important work
that immigration justice requires.
(March 25, 2012)
It's Springtime around the world. How do some other people of faith explore and
celebrate the turning of the seasons, the sprouting of new life and the passage
of time? How can we benefit from their wisdom?
(March 18, 2012)
In today's world of complicated business relationships, it's hard to be a good consumer.
What are the spiritual implications of trying to be(come) and ethical consumer? How much
do you know about the products you purchase and what they say about you?
(March 4, 2012)
Do you know the theory of 100 Monkeys? Change is a-coming and I think that
we might be the 99th monkey in the chain. What part will be yours to play
in bringing about the next great era of humanity?
(February 19, 2012)
Pig Skin and Life Lessons:
Twenty-Two men in pads on a patch of sometimes actual grass; what can this
game teach us about our lives? Among other things, you can do things you
didn't think you were capable of, groups that laugh or cry together become
more tightly knit, and men can have close friends.
(February 5, 2012)
What Am I Doing Here?:
How Rev. Joe came to question some of the tenets of Christianity,
which was the start of a long journey that brought him to be our
(January 29, 2012)