Upcoming Events

Worship Services 

Sunday,  April 1


Rev. Bill Zelazny

You will often hear me say at the end of a Sunday service “A blessing on us all.” I use that phrase to wish everyone well as we depart.  But what is a blessing?  We can easily agree that it’s a very positive thing, but when we try to pin the concept of blessing down to a definition, it suddenly seems surprisingly slippery. What can it mean in a UU setting?  On this Sunday what is observed in the Christian world as Easter, Bill will offer some ideas about the concept of blessings.

Sunday, April 8

Repainting, Replanting, Beginning Again                     

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Playwright and poet, Bertolt Brecht, once said, “Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are”  Sometimes things happen in our lives — Jobs change, marriages end, stuff happens. We need have to repaint our self portrait, replant roots and begin life anew and find a new direction. Where do we start?  This Sunday Bill will talk about new beginnings.

Sunday,  April 15

What Would Rev. Channing Think?

Professor Robert Thorson

Social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and yes, selfies — nudge us into becoming the “paparazzi of our own celebrity.”  We feel good when we post, but are we really gaining popularity, making  friends and getting in with a group? Hardly. Instead, we’re all alone, our conversations muffled by the silence of hand-held screens. Perhaps it’s time to resurrect Channing’s “self culture” that calls us to seek validation from inside ourselves and discover our powers to be social, to reach out to others, to think, reason and acquire truth.

Robert Thorson, member of Channing and popular Sunday speaker,  is a geologist specializing in archeological and cultural geology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. His latest book is The Guide to Walden Pond: An exploration of history, nature, landscape and literature. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 2018) 

Sunday, April 22

Let’s Stop Trashing Our Oceans!

The Green Congregation Committee & Susan Adie

Join us for a service about valuing our oceans and their inhabitants, and stopping the massive pollution by humans with plastics and other trash.

A ceremony to welcome individuals who wish to become members of Channing Memorial Church will be held during the Sunday service on April 22.  Becoming a member entails signing the membership book, witnessed by a member of the Membership Committee.  Individuals unable to attend the service may make arrangement to sign the book at another time. Persons interested in becoming members are asked to contact Rev. Zelazny at minister@channingchurch.org

Sunday, April 29

Connecting the Dots

Rev. Dr. Kathleen Green

Isolation is on the rise and the need for connection is urgent. Regardless of religious affiliation, human beings are hardwired for connection. As a Unitarian Universalist minister and the Executive Director of the Yale Humanist Community, Dr. Green will speak from her experience and ongoing research on the need for connection.

The Rev. Dr. Kathleen A. Green is Executive Director of the Yale Humanist Community and a Silliman College Fellow. .   She is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister who received her Mdiv from Meadville-Lombard Theological School and her DMin from New York Theological Seminary. Her doctoral dissertation focused on collaboration between humanists and religious adherents in interfaith engagement.  Dr. Green also serves on the faculty of Claremont Lincoln University’s Master of Arts in Interfaith degree program. She resides in Old Lyme, CT.








Worship Services 

Sunday, December 3:  Rev. Bill Zelazny

The Joy and Challenge of a Family

Families are where we connect ourselves in relationships to past, current, and future generations.  Our families are where we experience our biggest triumphs and our deepest vulnerabilities.  This Sunday Bill will look at the psychological and spiritual aspects of families.

We will also acknowledge several individuals who have decided to become official members of Channing Memorial at Membership Signing Ceremony.

Sunday, December 10: Rev. Bill Zelazny

What’s in it for Us in Gift Giving?

It’s that time of the year when people’s attention is focused on the holiday ritual of gift-giving. Shoppers are scurrying about looking for the right gift for the special people in their lives.  Advertisers have been busy creating a culture of giving, preparing for finding that right gift,”   building expectation of what it will mean when a person receives a gift.   But the act of gift-giving can offer the giver benefits too.  Bill will explore the benefits of gift giving to both receiver and giver

This is our Family Sunday.  Families are invited to have their children stay for the whole service.  Rev. Bill will present the Message for All Ages. Childcare is available for the youngest children in the Parish Hall and a quiet crafts table in the sanctuary for children who may become a bit fussy at having to sit in the pews. 

 After the service Channing members and friends will have an opportunity to write letters for the Amnesty International’s 2017 “Write for Rights” campaign in recognition of Human Rights Day.  See “Write for Rights” article on page 7.  

Sunday, December 17: Jessica Thomas & Rev. Bill Zelazny

The Longest Night of the Year

Solstice has long been a time of both foreboding and hope as the longest night gives way to the sun. Come help us welcome the sun back as we take a moment to acknowledge the joy that we have and make plans for a bright future.

Sunday, December 24: No Morning Service!

 Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: A Celebration with Words and Music

4:45    Carol Singing

5:00    Worship Service

The Channing Choir, Rev. Bill Zelazny and members of the congregation will offer a service for all ages and all religious backgrounds of secular and sacred reading, carols and anthems.  The service will conclude with the traditional singing of Silent Night in a candle lit sanctuary.  There will be open carol singing starting at 4:45. Childcare available for children 4 and younger in the Parish Hall.

Sunday, Dec. 31: Rev. Ed Hardy

How is Your New Year’s Resolution for Forgiveness?

Most New Year traditions have us make new resolutions to accomplish some project or to become a better person in the year to come. And what we learn from this is mostly how poorly we keep New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve often thought New Year’s Day would be better spent by reflecting and acting on forgiveness. Desmond Tutu said, “Without forgiveness there is not a future.” How does our future look? If we look back do we see the trail of our life over the past year littered with things we need to be forgiven for, things done to us we need to forgive; things done by us we for which we need to ask for forgiveness?

Rev. Ed Hardy has recently retired from First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he served for many years.  The Plymouth Parish has roots going back to the very early 1600’s, to the English dissidents who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, seeking freedom of worship.  The church that they founded on the town square in Plymouth is home to the oldest continuous congregation in New England. Rev. Ed was our guest minister twice in 2016, and we now welcome him back. 








Sunday, October 1: Rev. Bill Zelazny

Forming and Expressing Our Core Beliefs

We Unitarian Universalists find our religious beliefs by direct experience of mystery and wonder, words and deeds of prophetic women and men, and wisdom from the world’s religion. This Sunday Bill will explore how we develop and express our personal theology which, borrowing the title of a book of prayers by A. Powel Davies, he sees as our Language of the Heart.

Bill will be offering a three part class, Building Your Own Theology” on October 11, 25 and November 8 to explore this topic of developing and expressing our personal theology about the “Big Questions” of life such as what is holy, sin and salvation, death and immortality, how do we account for evil. Sign up for the class during coffee hour at The Learning Center Table.

Sunday, October 8: Rev Bill Zelazny & Judith Porter

Our Pet Companions and What They Teach Us About Life

In honor of Francis of Assisi who was born on October 4th, Judy Porter and Bill will look at how our pets influence our lives and what they teach us about living and dying.

As part of our Time of Sharing on October 8, members and friends of the congregation who would like to remember or honor a family pet, living or dead, will be invited to place a photograph of the pet on our “Pet Honor Table” at the front of the church.

Sunday, October 15: A secular sermon by Robert M. Thorson

We Have Taken Up His Ideas

For many, Henry David Thoreau, was just another dead white male author who wrote about Nature and contributed to America’s literary canon. For some contemporary UUs, he was a prophetic voice for what we now believe. “We have taken up his ideas,” preached the Reverend Howard Dana earlier this summer at First Parish Unitarian Church in Concord, Massachusetts. “Because he would not come to us, we had to come to him.”

Sunday, October 22: Jeannette Bessinger

Reclaiming Love’s Fierceness in Times of Crisis

An exploration of the “dark mother” energy missing from Christian theology

When disaster hits – hurricanes, fires, threats – and we face our darkest moments of loss and pain, we often feel trapped, not only by the circumstances but by a paralysis of denial and fear for our future. In the heart of times like these, we have a powerful opportunity for spiritual and emotional liberation.

When we’re feeling the most stuck, we can call on a kind of Fierce Love to help cut through the illusions that keep us trapped in pain and anxiety. This Fierce Love, embodied as different versions of a “dark mother” in many world faiths and mythologies – Kali, Hecate, Persephone – is largely absent from the Christian tradition, and not easily available to us. Through her, we’ll explore how the deepest darkness can lead to the brightest light.

Sunday, October 29: Rev. Bill Zelazny

A Look at God

Let’s walk into some challenging territory for many Unitarian Universalists. Continuing with October’s theme of theological issues for UUs, this Sunday Bill will spend some time talking about the concept of God.

Sunday, September 3: Rev. Tom Schade

Our Golden Calf: The mechanism of injustice in contemporary America.  

Rev. Tom Schade returns to lead his third service at Channing.  Rev. Schade retired in 2012 after serving for 13 years as minister of First Unitarian Church of Worcester, and lives in Providence.

Sunday, September 10: Rev. Bill Zelazny

Creating a “WE”

This is In-gathering Sunday and what better way is there than to take a look at who we are in our faith tradition and congregations.  Yes, Unitarian Universalism is the religious home for fiercely independent individuals, free to explore and follow their own spiritual paths.  However, it is also all about community. Bill will discuss building and maintaining community, our “we”, while also honoring our belief in radical individualism in religious expression.

As part of this service we will conduct our traditional water ceremony. All are invited to bring a small container of water from a place of importance to you—home, vacation site, hiking trail—to blend with the water of other Channing members to represent the forming of our special community.

The annual congregation potluck picnic will follow the service  

Sunday, September 17: Rev. Bill Zelazny

We Were That, But Now We are Different

This sermon continues Bill’s exploration of Unitarianism Universalism that started with his August 27 sermon. Unitarianism has experienced several theological paradigm shifts. Bill will look at the five major theological paradigms that guided Unitarianism during the past 200 years.

Channing Community Fair (after the service): Meet the many faces of the the Channing community, sample a few delicious snacks, and join in to add your skills and talents to the mix of activities, service, and programs that make up the “we” of Channing Memorial Church.

Sunday, September 24: Rev. Bill Zelazny & Irene Glasser

Let us celebrate Rosh Hashanah  

Channing member Irene Glasser and Rev Bill will lead the service in honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Join us through music and words as we greet the year 5778 and wish for a sweet New Year for ourselves and for peace for the world. Our fellowship following the service will feature some Jewish pastries that are traditional for Rosh Hashanah.