As a Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Northlake is a progressive, inclusive community made up of people with many different backgrounds and beliefs. We are guided by moral principles, such as the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and we draw inspiration from many sources, such as history, science, literature, the arts, nature, and world religions. Our appreciation of diverse perspectives means that we welcome many speakers to our podium, and they share a wide variety of messages.
We invite you to listen to any of these sermons as a sampling of what you might experience on a Sunday morning at Northlake. These recordings include only the sermons – our service is also filled with instrumental music, singing hymns together, listening to a children’s story and inspirational readings, and sharing of our Joys and Sorrows.
(To play or pause any recording, click the triangle under the description. If you want to be able to rewind or fast-forward or to download the recording, then click on the >>>)
September 2, 2018 – Carl Schwartz – Northlake member – Robinson Crusoe
Carl says “I first read Crusoe in Junior High or earlier, as an adventure story, of Crusoe meeting the challenge of a shipwreck. A re-read, much later, surprised me. “You can call me Master”, this was Crusoe’s first words to his new companion, – not friend, co-worker, or fellow castaway. Let’s look at that.” (Recording begins with a reading of this passage of Robinson Crusoe.]
July 22, 2018 – Dave Thompson – Northlake member – Irresistible
Social media and other technologies can link us together in powerful, even addictive, ways. How do we achieve balance in our relationship with technology?
July 15, 2018 – Rev. Jim VanderWeele – Northlake’s Interim Minister – Finding Balance
Finding one’s balance is not an end in itself. One good reason to search for balance is that being in a balanced state opens the door to new opportunities. Balance produces a life that is less fractured, and it is in a more significant structure that a course of life appears that is filled with life, love, and beauty.
July 1, 2018 – Rev. Jaelyn Pema-la Scott, Buddhist community minister – Worship Without Sacrifice
What are we willing to give up to live into our religious principles? In 1925, Mahatma Gandhi enumerated 7 social sins that in his opinion were the cause of a corrupt society and community. Worship without sacrifice, was the 6th of the 7 social sins, and is the mark of religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, and religiosity. We can choose to live a worshipful life, one that is full of simplicity and a generosity of spirit. The worshipful life is the spirit that will help us on our long journey towards wholeness and justice.
June 24, 2018 – Melody Moberg, guest speaker – Liberating a too small God
As Unitarian Universalists, we draw inspiration from six rich sources. Inspiration doesn’t always unfold as we expect. Melody Moberg, Life-long Unitarian Universalist seminarian and Religious Education Director (at University Unitarian), shares ways Christian and Hindu teachings cracked open her concept of the divine.
June 10, 2018 – Rev. Jim VanderWeele – Northlake’s Interim Minister – The Key is In the Lock
Christian author, Israelmore Ayivor, writes, “You have the right to suppress yourself, oppress yourself and depress yourself. You also have the right to impress yourself. And let yourself feel happy too!” This quote is both critical and kind, confrontational and inspirational. It honors the fact that there are bars that hem us in, but it also invites us to notice when the key is sitting right there in the lock.
June 3, 2018 – Warren Jessop, Northlake Member – Untaught, Unknown, Unnamed.
Music of many different origins, history, and cultures is an integral part of our worship tradition. On Music Sunday, we’ll explore the theme of Liberation as we experience the richness and history of spiritual and gospel music. (Recording opens with the congregation singing This Little Light, and ends with an excerpt from the Four Fathers performance of Precious Lord Take My Hand.)
May 13, 2018 – Janelle Durham, Northlake member – The Embodiment of Motherhood
Our theme for May is Embodiment – a tangible or visible expression of an idea, quality, or feeling. There is no more literal embodiment than pregnancy and the birth of a baby. On Mother’s Day, Janelle Durham (doula, childbirth educator, mom and daughter) will talk about all the joys, challenges, and complexities embodied in parenthood and our relationships with our own parents. If you prefer to read the script for the sermon, it can be found at: https://janelledurham.com/2018/05/25/sermon-embodiment-of-motherhood/.
May 6, 2018 – Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Embodied Living
How do you cultivate meaning in your life? Is there a program you follow, a way or method you wish to feel taking greater priority in your life? We begin looking at embodiment by paying attention to a special day in May, a day that is “your day.” On this day, pay attention to the way your inner self inhabits you and the way these inner sensitivities are expressed in the words you share. Then ask yourself how well have you coordinated intentions and actions on “your day”? And, what lessons can be learned when you pay close attention to intent and action?” (Note: in this recording, you’ll hear the audio from this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM3yagKHkIw)
April 29, 2018 – Carl Schwartz, Northlake Member – How Many Fingers?
George Orwell’s novel 1984 was written in 1949. It was set 35 years in to the future, hence the title, 1984. It predicts a dark future with an all pervasive “Big Brother” powerfully controlling all aspects of life. Orwell posits a continual state of war, to use up surplus manufacturing capability and point public concern away from domestic politics, and the state’s total control over the means of communication and information. This moved to changing past records to conform with present leader pronouncements, to which there are some uncomfortable analogies today. However we, not just at Northlake, but in our local Kirkland community, and indeed across America, can heed Orwell’s warnings and can, and do, work for a much more positive, open, and enriching society. Also, a future that is guided by not the least of our affirmations but by all the positive values already in place in our community and nation.
April 22, 2018 – Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Earth Day: Dominion or Nurture
In an intergenerational service, we join UU churches around the country in celebrating Earth Day Sunday and Climate Justice Month with a look at our responsibility to ensure our planet’s future. Rev. Jim’s message looks at the most offensive word in the Bible: dominion. This service will be held in conjunction with the Meaningful Movies program on “How to Change the World” shown on Friday night, a film that features a small group of friends who sail into a nuclear test zone and whose protest captures the world’s attention.
April 15, 2018 – Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Recalibrating Our Resources
Sometimes abundance is a blessing; other times, too much of it is suffocating. Most of the time scarcity feels like a desert, but at other times it is the key to freedom. In this service you will examine personal attributes, recalibrate their significance, then reflect on any area that may have surprised you, especially as the attributes are viewed together. You will also consider whether there are areas that might need further recalibration. (Begins with a reading of “A Wild Love” by Rilke.)
April 8, 2018 – Zackrie Vinczen, Seminarian – Deepening the Well and Drawing Support
ln Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 we are reminded, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up the other…” In this sermon, we will explore how we can be of support to people in our lives in a way that challenges the solipsistic view of the rugged individual and gives us courage to face the world with confidence.
March 11, 2018 – Mike Lisagor, Finding True Happiness is a Risky Business
Do you believe in the possibility of lasting happiness? Or does this seem like something forever out of reach, a dream on the distant horizon? According to Aristotle, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” But just what is happiness? Is it the fulfillment of our every wish and desire? Is it the absence of suffering? Is it possible to achieve happiness without taking risks? We will explore true happiness from a personal, Buddhist and psychological perspective. (Learn more about Mike at http://www.romancingthebuddha.com/)
February 25, 2018 – Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Maintaining Our Partnerships
Many causes and groups, many programs need assistance. But what can you do? How can you best offer your support? And also avoid overdoing it. In this social justice message on perseverance we consider the importance of balance, of joy, and of maintaining a deep sense of one’s inner needs and boundaries. We look at a method that reaches out as it also reaches in.
February 18, 2018 – Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Building Our Partnerships
When things get difficult, when the road seems too steep to climb, it is good to remember the presence of our friends, our family, our potential companions or assistants. In this relational message on perseverance, we note that not all of us can perform as soloists. Some of us fare better in a choir or a band. Such a combo can lift up a greater sound together than any of its members could do alone.
February 11, 2018 – Warren Jessop, Northlake Member – 10 C’s of Ministry
“If I were a member of a congregation about to seek a new minister, what qualities would I like to see in that person and what priorities would I assign to those qualities?” David Pohl, a previous director of the UUA’s Department of Ministry, has asked that question and proposed a “top ten list” that we will take a look at.
January 28, 2018 – Northlake Members – Requiem for those lost in 2017
We remembered interesting, impactful, and often prophetic people (poets, scientists, artists, musicians, etc.) who contributed significantly to our world before dying in 2017. Speakers and subjects were: Warren – on Dick Gregory; Doug – on Solomon Deressa; Margaret on Jim Key; Tracy on Glen Campbell, and Beth on Bruce McCandless. Click here for the slides that accompanied the presentations.
January 7, 2018 – Jim VanderWeele and Northlake Members – Jazz Funeral for 2017
This service followed the format of a New Orleans Jazz Funeral. It offers an opportunity to enjoy the description of these rites of passage, and to ceremonially let go of items that troubled us in the year just passed. We were so pleased to have the Portage Bay Big Band join us for this service.
December 3, 2017 – Dave Thompson, Northlake member and Music Coordinator – Music and Northlake.
This was a Music Sunday, so the recording includes not just the homily, but also snippets of the musical numbers. In order: Hymn #368 “Now Let Us Sing”, sung by congregation; “Earth, My Body” musical round sung by our children and the congregation and led by Jenny Mason; Interlude: “Vocalise” by S. Rachmaninoff; Krista Jaffre, cello & Maria Khavin, piano; Duet: “The Prayer” by C. Bayer Sager & D. Foster; sung by Jackie Boreson & Dave Thompson; Homily: “Music and Northlake” by Dave Thompson. Choral Offering: “Frostiana” by R. Frost and R. Thompson. (The Road Not Taken, Come In, Stopping by Woods, A Girl’s Garden, Choose Something Like a Star); Solo: “Beautiful City” by Stephen Schwartz; sung by Jackie Boreson.
November 19, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Lining Up Our Dominoes
As many of us prepare to spend time with family members, some who have values and ideas we share, others who walk a different path, it is good to take a moment to consider our approach to dealing with those around us, and to do so before we say, “Hell-o, it is so good to see you again,” as we await the fireworks that may soon follow. [Note to the listener: During this sermon, Reverend Jim was setting up long chains of dominoes…]
November 12, 2017 – Carolyn Koehnline, Guest Speaker – Clearing Clutter for What Matters
Why clear our clutter, when so many other priorities and distractions clamor for our attention? Intentionally clearing away what is no longer relevant or resonant from our homes, heads, hearts, and schedules can allow growth and clarity. As we release the clutter, more time, space, and energy become available for what truly matters. Clutter coach, Carolyn Koehnline, will share her gentle, creative, approach to this challenge. [To learn more about Carolyn and her work, go to www.confrontingclutter.com/.]
November 5, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – The Ebb and the Flow
Do you have good times and times that are not so good? Are there forces that sometimes lead you to think you are caught in a muddle? Or, a puddle? You are not alone. Many people fail to live up to their ideals. Let us explore the relevance of this unsteadiness for ourselves and also for others.
October 15, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – When We Make Mistakes
Personal and cultural (collusional) mistakes often lead people toward troubled times. Rev. Jim lifts up a practical guide to inner freedom found in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It offers a skill set for anyone and everyone who are still seeking a better life than they have. Welcome to a relationally oriented message on healing, a service to be followed by three Adult RE classes on The Four Agreements.
October 1, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Healing: It Takes Work
In a spiritually oriented message on healing, we look at potential revisions to our approach to our bodies, our minds, our health, and our community through a commentary on texts, poems, and stories.
September 24, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – A Circle That Takes Them In
Rev. Jim examines “Outwitted,” a poem by Edwin Markham for its view of an open mind, open heart, open borders, and an open life, allowing Markham’s push for a better way to bring us to a better relationship with our Earth.
September 17, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – 1967 – 2017: From the “Summer of Love” to Answering the Call of Love
Looking back at a critical shift in our nation’s history, 1967, we consider whether if we had “done this instead of that” things might have worked out better. In a relational service Rev. Jim reflects on choices once made, measuring them against the invitation of “Answering the Call of Love.” (Opens with celebrant Jenny Mason sharing a reading.)
September 10, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – When the Waters Rise
You have seen photos of Hurricane Harvey’s waters and, in many cases, felt the undercurrent of angst or obstructions. On a Sunday where Northlake takes an offering for the UUA/UUSC Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund we will look together at a special tool that can help calm our inner spirits.
August 27, 2017 – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister – Live Loving; Love Living
Reverend Jim enters the Northlake pulpit with a story about himself and his ministry as viewed through his once-in-a-lifetime visit to the academy where Rumi taught poetry, philosophy, and twirling–now known as Rumi’s tomb. Come, come, whoever you are to an hour of worship and awe.
August 6, 2017 – Crystal Zerfoss, UU Ministerial Intern – Inspiring Awe
A shooting star careening across the night sky. A sincere religious conviction stirring truth deep within your soul. A newfound scientific discovery answering age-old questions about our natural world. Join us on a journey of inspiration as we explore the awe and wonder that moves us in our questioning and grounds us in our knowing.
July 9, 2017 – Erika Ebbeson, Northlake Member – the Martial Art of Unconditional Joy
Be good to yourself. If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?’. -Kobi Yamada.
This question lives at the heart of ancient, whole health practices. How do we, as ‘beacons of Love and Justice’ best fuel ourselves in any given moment? Through any kind of weather? Curious about how to live, fueled by Joy, no matter what? Good! Come share in that rich kindling as we dig deeper into these questions and the question mark itself.
July 2, 2017 – Crystal Zerfoss, UU Ministerial Intern – Living Joyously
The theme for July is Joy. Our lives are filled with so many tasks and responsibilities, thoughts and feelings, activities, concerns, and sleep. How do we seek out joy in our lives? How do we take time to sink into the feelings of joy when they arise? Join us as we explore the ways in which joy strengthens, enlivens, and moves us to be fully human.
June 4, 2017 – Martin Durham, Northlake attendee – Truth in Transition
If you approach events with a narrative in mind, then you interpret them through that lens. In that moment, that is true. But, looking back on those events through a new lens, a new truth can come to light. Transformation never ends, it only changes; yet in that change is truth. The journey from Amelia Grace to Martin Emilio.
May 14, 2017 – Marian Stewart, Northlake’s Minister 2008 – 2017 – Women Who Persist
On this Mother’s Day we honor all women – and the spirit of persistence. While some may believe that this quality is new, or even political, persistence is a trait of spirit, will, and gut that has been well-honed over millennia. It is also spiritual.
March 26, 2017 – Marian Stewart, Northlake’s Minister 2008 – 2017 – More than Attitude
Is Unitarian Universalism more than those bright yellow shirts with the L-O-V-E letters across the front? Are we deeper than being on the front lines of justice-seeking? What is at the core of who we are? What guides/motivates/sustains us? If we peel away the d-i-y, believe-anything-you-want perceptions, is there a common core that is deeply spiritual, profoundly human, and able to transform the world – and us?
March 12, 2017 – Janelle Durham, Northlake Board President – Living Life on One Leg
Identity has many layers: our self-image – how we perceive ourselves, our projected image – how we present ourselves, and our external identities – how others perceive us based on their own experience and biases. Many influences shape our identity – some are circumstances beyond our control. But much of our identity is based on the choices we make and the actions we take – how we choose to respond to those circumstances.