This page contains recordings from a few sample services. You can find lots more sermon recordings on Northlake’s podcast page. Or use your favorite podcast app to listen to recent sermons – find links at the bottom of this page.
About Our Services
We invite you to listen to any of these recordings as a sampling of what you might experience on a Sunday morning at Northlake. Our services are filled with instrumental and choral music, singing hymns together, listening to a children’s story and inspirational readings, sharing of our Joys and Sorrows, and Lessons for Life – a sermon on our monthly theme.
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.
Recordings of Sample Services
(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 >>>)
Heaven: It’s Not What You’d Expect. Speaker: Reverend Nancy Reid-McKee
Reverend Nancy summarizes this sermon by saying: “Instead of dying and going to heaven, our work is to recognize that we are already in heaven and to act accordingly. We will explore what we expect from heaven.” The message addresses many key ideas from Unitarian Universalist theology. The recording also includes our choir performing an original composition by our music director David Duvall, titled “Look Around”.
Getting to Know You. Speaker: Reverend Nancy Reid-McKee
This sermon was presented in spring 2019 by Nancy Reid-McKee who was on the final day of her candidating week at Northlake UU. At the congregational meeting held immediately after this service, Nancy was called to be Northlake’s next minister! This sermon is a great introduction to Nancy, and to Northlake. Nancy’s description of the sermon: “As we explore the possibility of the congregation calling me to be the next minister at Northlake, I have spent a week learning about you and exploring the journey of the congregation. The sermon will examine what I have found, and my thoughts and dreams for a possible future together.” (If you would like to hear more from Nancy, click here for her sermon titled What Makes Us Whole.)
Come in and Rest. Speaker: Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s former Interim Minister
The monthly theme was Sanctuary. In this recording, you will be welcomed into our sanctuary, then Margaret Rogers will tell a children’s story about umbrellas as a portable sanctuary that can be shared. This is followed by a “Breath Meditation” by Samuel A. Trombore and a reading – “We Are All Longing to go Home” by Starhawk. At 12 minutes into the recording, the sermon begins. Rev. Jim Vanderweele uses umbrellas as a metaphor for sanctuary. His description: “Those who know the struggles of life move to a deeper knowledge of the trials faced in such times. There should come, if the trials of life are appreciated, a realization that we all seek the comfort of a place of sanctuary. “Come In and Rest.” This invitation to sanctuary, so welcome when needed, and celebrated when one is able to offer it, sets the stage for a look at the personal importance of sanctuary to each of us.”
Music and Northlake. Speaker: Dave Thompson, Northlake member
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”, a 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.
Living Joyously – Crystal Zerfoss, UU Ministerial Intern
The monthly theme was Joy. The recording begins with a poem by Mary Oliver, titled “Why I Wake Early.” The Time for All Ages has us singing “If you’re joyful and you know it” and then we sing out children out to class. The piano interlude was inspired by Ode to Joy. Crystal’s description of the sermon: “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.
Military Service, Vulnerability, and the Arts – Trish Brownlee, Northlake member
Veteran, artist and Northlake member Trish Brownlee explores the narrative of “Thank you for service.” This deep and challenging service asks others to have a spirit of curiosity, even when the questions result in answers that are difficult to hear or see. Through artwork and storytelling, Trish invites us to examine the role we have to play in war and connecting to our military veterans during this Memorial Day weekend. [Recording includes readings of “Walking the Crooked Path” by Thomas Rhodes and “The World is Too Beautiful” by Eric Williams, and a performance of “Pallar Anders Visa” written by In Flames, performed by Steve Brownlee.] You can see the artworks that were displayed on Northlake’s walls here: https://trishbrownlee.weebly.com/shadowboxes.html.
Truth in Transition – Martin Emilio, Northlaker
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. A transgender journey from Amelia Grace to Martin Emilio.
Jazz Funeral for the Year Just Past – Speaker: Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s Interim Minister
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.
Untaught, Unknown, Unnamed. Warren Jessop, Northlake Member
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.)
Worship without Sacrifice. Guest Speaker Rev. Jaelynn Pema-la Scott, Buddhist community minister
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.
Live Loving, Love Living – Jim VanderWeele, Northlake’s former Interim Minister
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.
Living Life on One Leg – Janelle Durham, Northlake Member
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.