Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, Maryland

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Our Sermons


Scroll to the bottom of this page to listen to a past Sunday sermon.

Upcoming Sermons & Services

All in-person gatherings at UUCR are suspended until further notice. ALL INFORMATION BELOW IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. View the latest "All-UUCR" emails here for ongoing updates re: virtual gathering.

Beloved Community: Our Spiritual Theme for the month of February 2021

Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom (virtual worship space opens at 10:15 a.m.)


Youth Worship

RE High School Youth

Sunday, February 28 — Our annual tradition of welcoming our Youth to lead worship is a welcomed delight! Come join them as they share reflections around experiencing community under COVID-19. This special and always powerful worship will include their personal learnings and what it means to be alone and together in this time of pandemic. 

Past Sunday Services

May Your Lives Preach Louder than Your Lips
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, February 21 — "May your lives preach louder than your lips." This quote from an early 19th century Unitarian minister, Rev. William Ellery Channing, is often a coda from Rev. Rebekah. What does this truly mean for our spiritual lives? With strife and cultivated divisions all around us, and even in our families, what does this look like with our call to live our values of justice and compassion? Special music by guest musicians Emily Jaworski & Tad Koriath.

Share the Love
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, February 14 — In this culminating Sunday of the 30 Days of Love Campaign, we are invited to Share the Love in a Big Way! To live our faith is to love it so much, we share it widely and invite more to join us at the table. This is a perfect Sunday to welcome friends and those who may be seeking a spiritual community. Yes, beloveds, #UUvangelism at its finest. Share the love! So many are hurting and isolated right now, and this Beloved Community has room to welcome them in. Led by Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage, with special music by Khalid Alzouma. 

Shake Up the Nation
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, February 7 — Mahatma Gandhi said, "In a gentle way, you can shake the world." As we reflect on this week's theme of "Restoration and Reparations" from the 30 Days of Love Campaign, how do we engage this process within ourselves and our community? What part does forgiveness play in restoring wholeness and reparations from the past?

Reflections on Imagination
Worship Arts Team
Sunday, January 31 — Please join the Worship Arts Team for a lay-led service around the theme of Imagination. Special music by guest singer-songwriter Crys Matthews.

All Hail the Kween
Ministerial Intern Mathew Taylor
Sunday, January 24 — The Winter Solstice marked our astrological shift and that great shift has begun. We have been in stasis; what happens when we emerge?  How will we claim who we are becoming? Join Ministerial Intern Mathew P. Taylor on this "Tiara Sunday" to claim your sovereignty with music inspired by the Queen herself,  Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. (Don't forget to bring your tiaras!)

King for A Day
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, January 17 — The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led with wisdom and grace, and gave our world a blueprint for building Beloved Community. In this time of global pandemic and societal upheaval, we know that how we show up, care for each other and ourselves, and continue comes down to how we embrace life, or abiding the further fracturing of the interdependent web of which we are a part. Dr. King challenged and called us to the highest good, with the true faith that is it possible to heal the divisions of our country. What is our part? What if we were Dr. King for a day? Special music offered by HALO and members of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries. Led by Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage.

Lamentation & Divine Rage
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, January 10 — We watched, the country watched and the world watched the events at the Capitol unfold in shock, dismay and horror. We are in mourning for the hopes we held for this time. In the first of two services, we will hold space and consider this occasion for lamentation and rage, as we wonder together how we face this moment.

Dreamed into Being
Ministerial Intern Kirk Freeman
Sunday, January 3 — “Nature never hurries,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Atom by atom, little by little, it achieves its work.” As we enter into a new year and a new monthly spiritual theme of imagination, we will explore the creative impulses at work in the universe and within our lives. Special music offered by multi-instrumentalist, singer, and composer Hal Walker.

PJ's & Poetry
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, December 27 — At this annual UUCR tradition, we gather together for a very informal, casual service to share a love of poetry. Make your pancakes ahead of time, put on your coziest pajamas and slippers, and grab your favorite poem to share (on camera live, or shared in the chat, or read by Rev. Rebekah). All ages welcome; bonus points if you bring props to go with your poem! Justin Furnia on piano.

The Liberation Theology Story of Christmas
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Thursday, December 24 at 8:30 p.m. — " A child is born and brings a message of revolution to the world. With each child comes the call again to co-create our world anew. How would Jesus be born in our world today? Come and let us join together for this special Christmas Eve service at 8:30 p.m. with carols, special music, and a little Liberation Theology to light our journey ahead. A Joint UU Choir and MUUSICA will be featured. Join our 8:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Service here. Virtual worship space opens at 8:15 p.m.

Christmas Eve Multigenerational Worship with Pageant
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage and Carla Miller, Director of Religious Education
Thursday, December 24 at 4:30 p.m. —  One of the most joyful celebrations of the winter holidays at UUCR is the annual pageant presented by our children and youth. This year will be no exception, as part of our 4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Service! We are delighted to bring you a virtual pageant, retelling the Christian story of Christmas. Traditional carols, special music from our choir, and Rev. Rebekah's message provide a fully multigenerational Christmas Eve worship experience!  Join our 4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Service here. Virtual worship space opens at 4:15 p.m.

BLUE Vespers
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Wednesday, December 23 at 8:00 p.m. —  For many people and families, the holidays are a time of joy and connection. For many of us, the holidays are reminders of loss, disconnection and challenges. BLUE Vespers is a space for honoring the Holidays and not centering how we "should" be joyful and celebrate at this time. Bring your tears and sorrow, they are welcomed here. Just being together offers a balm to weary spirits. Join our Vespers service here on Wednesday evening.

What a Wonder, the Winterland!
Ministerial Intern Mathew Taylor and Wheel of the Year
Sunday, December 20 —  "What a Wonder, the Winterland!" During this time of year there are several holidays or Holy Days that we celebrate. We invite you to this service with Mathew and The Wheel of the Year Group as we bring you a Winter Solstice filled with story and song. For the month of December, Justin Furnia offers a live musical prelude. Special music by Unfolding.

Lights of Wonder
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, December 13 — For our Jewish kin and those at UUCR who celebrate, we gather together to reflect on the miracle story of Chanukah. How do the Lights of Wonder call us to Stillness? With the mounting loss around us, we have lost many bright lights of our time. When lights of wonder go out, how does Stillness hold us? For the month of December, Justin Furnia offers a live musical prelude. 

Growing Up
Jim Blue, UUCR Member
Sunday, December 6 — It's not just about getting taller, or older, and not just for younger people. We can continue "growing up" all our lives. The UUCR Chamber Ensemble will be featured. For the month of December, Justin Furnia offers a live musical prelude. 

Slower and Slower
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, November 29 — Have you heard about the Slow Movement? Slower and slower everything. Living, eating, moving. Lily Tomlin wisely shared, “For fast acting relief, try slowing down.” In our last Sunday in the month of our spiritual theme of Healing, we consider the pace of things in the quest for wholeness.

Gratitude and Heartbreak
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, November 22 — Nietzsche wrote, "One must have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star". How else can we possibly explain the state of our lives as other than semi-chaotic? So where's the dancing star? With our spiritual theme of the month, Healing, what enduring lessons come from friction and heartache?

Let It Be Enough
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, November 15 — With each morning, life begins again. At the end of the day, "Let it be Enough" is the prayer of our hearts. In this time of uncertainty and challenge, of connection and separation, how do we find and honor our enough-ness? How do we honor the enough-ness of others?

Healing: Ourselves and a Nation Divided
The UUCR Worship Arts Team
Sunday, November 8 — On Sunday the first Sunday after the election, the Worship Arts team leads us a participatory service focusing on this month's theme of Healing: personal,  familial, societal, and more.  Please join us!
Threads of Healing
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, November 1 — As a people of faith, we are tied to our past and to those who will follow us. Threads of life, of love, connect us to our ancestors. With gratitude, we remember our beloveds who are no longer with us this Sunday at our annual All Souls service. 
That, That! I Want More of That!
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, October 25 — Do you hear voices sometimes? I do. Well, maybe not voices but spirit whispers that say, "Stop and Listen." Spirit whispers that make me pause and take note. Are you on a path that is not yours? Are you called to something or someone that won't let you go? Are you being nudged to say, "Yes, I'm here - send me!" or is spirit warning you with, "Danger, danger Will Robinson"? Listen; we are being called to listen. October 25 is also New Member Sunday! On this day, we formally recognize and welcome the newest members of UUCR with our Director of Communications & Membership, Adrian Graham.
Who We Listen to Is Who We Become
Mathew Taylor and Kirk Freeman, Ministerial Interns
Sunday, October 18 — We often say, "you are what you eat". It is also true that who we listen to, we become. Led by our Ministerial Interns Mathew Taylor and Kirk Freeman, in this special service featuring a diverse range of multigenerational speakers, we will explore their messages and challenges for us.
Harvesting a Deeper Way of Living
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
Sunday, October 11 — When we plant the seeds of compassion, justice grows. As we seek justice on earth, and justice for the earth, how are we harvesting a deeper way of living? What are we feeding and what are we starving? Come and drink deep in our time of worship with special guest musician, Laura Congdon on the handpan.
Vote Love, Defeat Hate
UUCR Worship Arts Team
Sunday, October 4 — The Unitarian Universalist Association has invited all UU congregations to participate in a special UU the Vote worship service, drawing together voices from across Unitarian Universalism as we ground together in our faith and roll up our sleeves to bring our values to the public square in the 2020 elections. The UUCR service will incorporate elements provided by the UUA, including a homily by UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, with live components featuring UUCR’s Get Out the Vote activities. In this service, we aspire to provide hope, inspiration, and encouragement, so that our collective spirits can be bolstered for the work ahead.

Click here for more details on summer services

September 27 — "Naps As a Form of Resistance" with Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
September 20 — "Renewing and Beginning Again" with Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage
September 13 — Ingathering & Water Communion with Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage, Incoming Settled Minister
Septebmer 6 — "Renewal Is an Inside Job" with Dr. Laura Shay, MTS, Guest Preacher
August 30 — "Chronos and Kairos" with Dr. Laura Solomon, Guest Preacher
August 23 — "Peace in Our Time?" with Greg C. Carrow-Boyd, Guest Preacher
August 16 — "Balancing the Scales"  by Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage shared by Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel, settled minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County in State College, PA
August 9 — "Peaces" with Christin Green, MDiv, Guest Preacher
August 2 — "A Complicated Bounty" with Tyler Coles, MDiv, Guest Preacher
July 26 — "Surprised by Joy" with Rev. Kimberley Debus, Guest Preacher
July 19 — "Learning to Say Goodbye" with Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, Interim Senior Minister
July 12 — "It Takes Practice" with Matt Meyer, Guest Preacher
July 5 — "Getting Into Position" with Christin Green, MDiv, Guest Preacher

Beyond the Water's Edge: General Assembly Sunday Morning Worship
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval(link is external), Unitarian Church of Montpelier (VT)
Sunday, June 28 — Join UUCR at 9:45 a.m. on June 28 for welcome and check-in before we leave our Zoom Sanctuary, going together virtually to join more than 6,000 Unitarian Universalists at General Assembly for a shared worship at 10:00 a.m. You will not want to miss this!

Father's Day
Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, with UUCR Members
Sunday, June 21 — A Collage of Voices from the UUCR community - Kirsten French; Mark Stiles; Ricardo, Michael, and Henry Carvajal; Ginny Folsom; Ken Ambrose; Brian Haugen - reflecting on fathers. Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles will add her reflections on "Pride and Protest."

Flower Communion - Community Compassion
Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage, et al.
Sunday, June 14 — On this day when we observe the traditional Unitarian ceremony of community called Flower Communion, we will offer thanks and appreciation for the leaders in our community, especially those who have offered pastoral care and helping hands, and those who have been volunteer teachers. Toward the end of the Zoom service, those who are nearby are invited to drive through the church parking lot to give and receive flowers.

Music Sunday - Compassion in the Time of COVID-19
Sarah Jebian, Director of Music, et al.
Sunday, June 7 — The landscape of how we make music together has changed for the foreseeable future. As musicians all over the world frantically learn how to do what they do in a virtual reality, it is time to practice radical compassion - for ourselves and others. Sarah and Justin, along with other UUCR musicians and singers will explore the theme of compassion by allowing a glimpse behind the scenes of how we make music...especially in this new era of COVID-19. The Choir will make its virtual debut!

Ordained for the Thresholds
Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles
Sunday, May 31 — Religious community offers support to people throughout their lives, crossing thresholds from one stage to the next, onward to the final crossing. Rev. Linda offers a homily, reminding us of our calling to this ministry.

Memorial Day Sunday & Legacy Sunday
Rev. Dr. Rebekah A. Savage, et al.
Sunday, May 24 — We remember and honor those who have served, as well as those who are no longer with us from this UUCR Beloved Community. As a part of honoring, Sherry Dittmann will share about UUCR's Legacy Society as we celebrate those who have chosen to have enduring blessings towards our shared future. May we be worthy of their legacy.

Crossing Thresholds - A Bridging Service
Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles; Carla Miller, Director of Religious Education; Adrian Graham, Director of Communications & Membership
Sunday, May 17 — UUCR honors high school seniors who will cross a figurative "bridge" as they graduate. Sean Hickey offers a reflection on being a young adult who crossed the bridge from UUCR youth to young adulthood and leadership. And we welcome our newest members.

Arise, Mothers!
Sunday, May 10 — A number of UUCR congregants share their reflections on this Mother's Day. And Rev. Linda Olsen Peebles offers a homily about the responsibility of all who cross the threshold from being those who are nurtured to becoming those who offer nurture. What are mothers and nurturers called in these times to rise up to cry out to the world?

Where Is Your Shovel?
Sunday, May 3 — The Rev. Rebekah A. Savage, our Candidate for Senior Minister , will reflect on our spiritual theme of the month, Thresholds.

"Thresholds". What do we gain in this time of spiritual transition?
Liberating Our Relationships
Sunday, April 26 — The Rev. Russ Savage , a longtime beloved UU colleague in the DC region, joins UUCR today to offer an inspiring message.

Earth Day
Rev. Rebekah Savage, et al.
Sunday, April 19 — Our worship theme for the month is, ironically, “Liberation”. On this day, we are reminded that liberation for us is inextricably linked to our interdependent web of all existence. We celebrate the bursts of spring, and mourn the mounting hardships around us.

Easter Sunday
Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, et al.
Sunday, April 12 — Through story and song and community connections, we remind each other that our burdens can be lifted and our lives can offer meaning to one another.

Bold Journey, Safe Harbor
Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, et al.
Sunday, April 5 — Even in this strange time of quarantine, physical separation, suspension as “life-as-usual” – the cherry blossoms bloomed! Our congregation has come together online and through phone calls and pastoral outreaches. In the midst of fear and anxiety, it is good for our souls to be liberated by the promise of love and spring returning and the continuing commitment we all feel with one another.


Past Sermons

Read or listen to a recent Sunday sermon below, or visit our archived sermons for more. Transcripts are saved as PDFs, and mp3 audio can be played online.


Drawing the Circle Wide - Who's in Your Circle?

Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles


Looking Back from (Nearly) Eighty

Jim Blue, UUCR member



Rev. Rebekah Savage
  • lifelong spiritual discovery
  • beloved community
  • a just world