At the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, we record our sermons. This page contains the audio recordings of sermons from selected services during the 2018-19 congregational year (July, 2018 to June, 2019).

June 30, 2019
Learnings: My personal experience of the American Baptist Church’s mission nationally and internationally.

Rev. Liz Congdon

Today, hear about what I learned with global servants (missionaries) in countries I visited as well as my learnings in Trenton. “Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down and out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.” ~ Isaiah 1:17 (The Message)

June 23, 2019                              What We Know We Don’t Know: A Celebration of Mystery

Sarbmeet Kanwal

Ancient people were in constant touch with mystery — forbidding forests, roaring rivers and star-studded night skies! We have all but lost that feeling of awe and wonder and with it our openness to continuous learning and growth. It is time to reintroduce mystery into our lives.

June 9, 2019                                 Dedicated To This: Flower Communion Sunday

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst, Michelle McKenzie-Creech and All

This is our annual multigenerational celebration of our dedication to the common good for our community and ourselves. Flowers were brought to share in our annual flower communion.

June 2, 2019                                 What the Body Knows

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

So much beauty and knowledge are housed in our bodies. In our country today, there are renewed efforts to control women’s bodies, and there is a justified distrust in institutions that do not respect the bodies of children especially. What does the beauty and full truth of our bodies tell us as we face these fearsome challenges?

May 12, 2019                                Over the River…

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

This Mothers’ Day and Universal Parents’ Day, let’s look at the role of grand- and ‘other’- parents in supporting all families. The presence of another adult in a child’s life can make all the difference. The presence of children in an adult’s life makes a difference, too. If the human species thrives in multigenerational families and communities, what can we do to strengthen them?

May 5, 2019                                  This is Us: UUCMC Music Sunday

Louise Chernosky and friends

Join us for a Sunday morning full of music and dance from UUCMC’s performing groups. With contributions from For UU (our ukulele orchestra), Core of Fire, Just Folk, Sister Singers, Roots & Wings, and the UU Singers, we will celebrate the way music helps create community at UUCMC.

April 21, 2019                              Easter Happens: A Multigenerational Celebration

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

A hunt for the meaning of Unitarian Universalist Easter will happen in this service.

April 14, 2019                              An Earth Abundant

Rev. Jennifer Kelleher, Guest Minister

Reflections on our natural world and the places we love within it; climate change; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.

A lifelong UU, Rev. Jennifer Kelleher is creator of Meaningful Life Ceremonies, a rite of passage ministry officiating weddings, child dedications and memorial services. Previously, Jennifer served NJ congregations as a parish minister. She’s also been a chaplain for a level-one trauma hospital in Philadelphia.

March 24, 2019                            Dreams for the Journey

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst and Rev. Craig Rubano

As we embark on the possibilities of co-ministry at UUCMC, what dreams and thoughts are emerging? What shall we pack for the journey ahead? What is the destination?

March 17, 2019                            Celtic Spirituality

Rev. Dr. Len De Roche

On St. Patrick’s Day we will look into what makes Celtic Spirituality different and special. Len will talk about Celtic Mythology and St. Patrick.

UU ministers around NJ are participating in a Pulpit Swap today. Rev. Virginia is preaching in Somerville this morning.

Rev. Dr. Len De Roche is the Interim Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Somerset Hills, Somerville, NJ. He is a second career minister whose first career was as a USAF officer. He started his Air Force career flying F-111’s but after breaking too many, he was sent to maintenance to fix them. He ended his service closing bases in England and Germany after the Berlin Wall fell. Len lived 15 years in England and attended two British Unitarian congregations and was involved with the British and Foreign Unitarian Association. Upon retirement, he went back to graduate school and entered seminary and has served the UU Ministry since 1997. Len has specialized in serving congregations that had troubled ministerial endings, needed some organizational restructuring or a change of culture.

March 3, 2019                              Be Brave & Dream Big: Celebrating UUCMC

Rev. Virginia and the UUCMC Stewardship Team

Today we will hear the brave voices of many of our fellow congregants. We are exploring the values and actions that inspire and empower us. Check out the inspiring reflections:

February 24, 2019                     UU Theologies Series: Eco-Feminism

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

This next in our series explores the inclusion of Pagan, Eco-Feminist and Womanist theologies on our UU journey. There is an ever expanding diversity!

February 10, 2019                      When the Dirt Shows

Rev. Rob Gregson

Policing across the country, and within the state of NJ, is in crisis. Years of mistrust and high profile police abuse cases–often captured on smartphones and social media–has landed many Americans in alternate universes of “Black” vs. “Blue” Lives Matter. Relying on the new report, The Force, about policing across NJ communities, Rev. Gregson calls on UUs and allies to speak up locally so that everyone–minority citizens and the police themselves–are safer, less prone to violence and working together for a common good that, in many ways, has never existed before.

Rev. Gregson is the current Executive Director of UU FaithAction NJ (formerly UULMNJ), the advocacy and social justice arm of all 21 NJ UU congregations. He served previously as Director of the British Unitarian nonprofit, SimpleGifts in E. London UK, and first settled minister at First UU Fellowship, Hunterdon Co. NJ. He and his two teenage children live in South Orange, NJ.

February 3, 2019                        Toleration 2.0

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

This month marks the 450th anniversary of the Edict of Torda. This first edict of toleration issued for a brief period in Transylvania by the Unitarian King John Sigismund left its mark on western culture and is part of our story. Where has this impulse toward religious tolerance taken us to today?

December 9, 2018                     A Pattern of Miracles

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

Today we will explore the miracle of Hanukkah and any other miracles that might be hiding in plain sight.

November 18, 2018                     I’ve Got Peace at the Table: A Multigenerational Service

UUCMC Junior and Senior Youth, Michelle, & Rev. Virginia

This Thanksgiving, we will focus ourselves on both need and gratitude. Our Youth had a transformative experience at Family Promise’ Cardboard Box City. We will hear their stories and make meaning of them around our shared table.

November 11, 2018                     UU Theologies Series: The Transcendentalist Shift

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

Until the arrival of the Transcendentalists, Unitarianism and Universalism were fully centered in Christianity. What happened then changed then the way we speak of God or the Universe ever since. Natural Theism, Humanism and an expanding pluralism have their roots in this critical movement.

November 4, 2018                     Ready, Set, Vote!

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

This much-anticipated midterm election has very high stakes. Today, we will review the basics of democracy and prepare ourselves for its fundamental practice. Somehow, together we will prepare ourselves for what follows Election Day this Tuesday.

October 28, 2018                        I Have All I Need

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

One of the reasons we need sanctuary is to create a safe place for our grief to unfold. Today, we will consider different versions of the 23rd Psalm as a text meant to offer that kind of protection. On this Sunday closest to All Souls, we read the name of those in our community and in our lives who died this year.

September 23, 2018                   Just As Far As the Eye Can See

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

What we see and understand with eyes and mind always has limits. Our perceptions are colored by our experience we see through different lenses. How can we really see around the next bend or beyond our very human limitations?

September 16, 2018                   Sunrise, Sunset

Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

As we covenant with our Family Ministry teachers, parents, children and youth we reenact the enduring cycle of life: birth, youth, growth, ageing, death. What does the Jewish tradition teach us about where we are on this trip around the sun?

August 5, 2018                            The Prophetic Call of Disabled Bodies

Craig Rubano, Summer Minister

“Ableism” is the centering of temporarily able-bodied people while simultaneously devaluing those with disabilities. A recent report from the UU Ministers Association presents findings on how to create more accessible environments in which all can learn from and affirm the experiences of those with disabilities. Is our lived theology consistent with treating those with disabilities as people with inherent worth, dignity, and essential life perspectives for us all?

July 22, 2018                              Lessons: Oh, what I have learned on mission teams and working with refugees from Burma.

Rev. Liz Congdon

It has been my privilege to be on mission teams to the Philippines, Haiti, Rwanda, Egypt, Thailand, Lebanon, Malaysia, Republic of Georgia, and the Hopi and Navajo nations in the American Southwest. Text: Isaiah 1:16b-17 (The Message) “Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Matthew 11:29 (The Message) Jesus said “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Rev. Liz Congdon retired as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Trenton, NJ, a diverse inner-city church with people from Uganda, Nigeria, Liberia, Haiti, Jamaica, China, Korea, Malaysia, Burma and Thailand as well as America. Long ago she retired from hospital nursing and public health administration. Liz serves as the Co-coordinator of the Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET) and is the Community Service Coordinator for MOSAIC (Mobilizing Our Students for Action to build Interfaith Community), the teenage faith education, community service, and leadership development project. She enjoys traveling and time with her four daughters, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.