Author: Michele Dubuc

Sunday Services

10:00am: Live Zoom Worship/ 10:30am: Live Zoom Fellowship

The Worship Service will also be live streamed on Channing’s YouTube channel:   YOUTUBE Channing Memorial Church Newport RI and will be available for viewing afterwards. 

10:45am: Channing Chimes Play, listen from Touro Park (masked and socially distanced)

November 1: Upon What We Can Depend

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Within a very short time our world, which seemed pretty secure, has become filled with uncertainties. Stable relationships between countries have become fragile, a routine election process that has been routine for decades is now fraught with difficulties, man and women who advocate destroying the government have come out of the back woods with their guns. Voices from the right and left and middle all proclaim to have the truth.  What can we depend on?  Bill will look at this question in his sermon this Sunday.  

This is our Fun First Sunday.  This month Rev. Bill is inviting us to show a mask or costume on screen to mark Halloween.  We’ll take a moment to peruse the screens to see what amusement we brought to the service.

November 8: Religion and Spirituality Represented in Film

Dr. Vanessa Ament

Religion intersects with film not only in film content and presentation, but also in the production and experience of film. Seminary classmate of Rev. Bill, author and professor of film, Dr Ament, will discuss the role and place of religion in the movies. 

 Dr. Ament held the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Bell Endowed Chair as Professor of Telecommunications at Ball State University, taught film history, sound and aesthetics and popular culture at Georgia State University and is currently Senior Consultant for Undergraduate Education at UC Riverside. She has written several books on film sound and is a foley (sound effects) artist, singer, songwriter, and performer. 

 This Sunday is our Community Service Second Sunday!  Please bring a non-perishable food donation to the in person Fellowship or drop off your donation to the church office before noon on Friday, Nov. 6th.  You can leave your donation on the covered front porch of Channing House.

November 15: Gifting in Stone

Prof. Robert “Thor” Thorson

Professor Thorson will tell the story of why pink granite, rather than some other material, came to be used for the physical Channing Memorial Church, which envelops the spiritual church.  Reaching back into history, and then into deep time, he will explain how this human gift emerged from a series natural gifts extending eons back in time.

Robert M. Thorson is a member and former board member of of Channing Memorial Church. Since 2007 he has spoken twice a year for his fellow members.  His vitae boils down to this statement, written as a byline for Orion Magazine:  Midwestern native turned Western geologist turned New England academic.  

November 22: The Other half of the Thanksgiving Story

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The Thanksgiving story we learned as children comes from a perspective of the Pilgrims as the main characters.  The story puts the Wampanoag Indians into a supporting role. As part of our endeavor to become more attuned to the multi-cultural aspect of our country’s history, Bill will talk about the Wampanoag’s place in our New England/American cultural story.

November 29: Running Against the Absurd

Dr. John Kaag

This sermon or lecture will address the existential crisis that our society is currently living through. Drawing on figures such as Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre Dr. Kaag will talk us through the possibilities for making meaning in a very difficult world.  Many of us have faced unprecedented challenges in the last year. These challenges will be faced straight on in an honest and philosophically sophisticated way and practical solutions will be offered.

John Kaag is an award-winning author, and Chair of the Philosophy Department at UMASS Lowell. You may remember John, he gave a presentation here for TLC last November entitled: Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: Can Philosophy Save Your Life?


Sunday Services

10:00am: Live Zoom Worship/ 10:30am: Live Zoom Fellowship

Contact the Church Office ( )to be added to our mailing list to receive the Zoom link! 

10:45am: Chiming & In Person Fellowship at Channing


October 4: The Temptation to be Good

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Rev. Bill with consider how we often approach a decision to do something good or heroic and then at the last minute turn away, afraid of what?

This Sunday is known as Francis of Assisi Day in some religious traditions.  It is a day where churches, even UU churches, do a “blessing” of the animals to recognize the importance pets and animals have in human lives.   We’ll do our version of a “blessing” of our pets, virtually.  During the service you will be invited to show the congregation on camera your pet(s) or picture of your pet(s)

October 11: Spaciousness & Compassion vs. the Spiritual Bypass

Rev. Jeannette Bessinger

The eminent psychotherapist John Welwood coined the phrase “spiritual bypassing” to describe a common behavior he witnessed in Buddhist communities, a kind of “premature transcendence: trying to rise above the raw and messy side of our humanness before we have fully faced and made peace with it.” Spiritual bypassing is a byproduct of trying to separate the spiritual from the human experience. Elevating the “spiritual” above the “human” can hinder our path toward both personal awakening and unity with others.

We’ll unpack the term and explore some ways that compassionate presence in the face of uncomfortable feelings and situations can help us avoid spiritual bypassing in ourselves and in community.

 We have restarted our 2nd Sunday food collection even though our services are virtual.  How?  Bring a non-perishable food donation to the face-to-face fellowship time, or make arrangements to drop off your donation to the church office before noon on Friday, Oct. 9th. 

October 18: That  Ol’ Time Spiritualism

Rev. Bill Zelazny

As a Halloween “treat”,  Rev. Bill will explore Spiritualism and how it became a part of  the beliefs system for a significant number of late 19th century and early 20th century Universalists , along with over 8 million other people in the US. This is a UU history sermon with a creepy twist.

October 25: What about Visions as Part of a Spiritual Journey

Rev. James I. Ford

Rev. Ford, who presented two sermons during our summer series will return this Sunday for a talk about  experiencing visions as part of one’s spiritual and meditative journey. 


September Worship & Fellowship

Sunday, September 6: No new service posted today

A pause to catch our breath and prepare for our future services  

Live Zoom Worship! September 13, 10:00am: Keep on Moving Forward

Rev. Bill Zelazny

We are a resilient group and CMC is going to keep on moving forward this year.

Starting Septembers 13, we will offer live Zoom Worship! The service will be approximately a half hour, beginning at 10:00am. There will be a 10 minute pre-service greeting time starting at 9:50am with open chat. 

Watch for an e-mails  from Channing Church with information about how to join the service.  If you would like to be added to our e-mail list please let us know at 

In gathering Water Ceremony, 11:00-11:10am/Chiming at 11:15am: Our ceremony this year will be a drive-by/walk-by ceremony.  Bring a small amount of water from your home to pour into the bowl.  We also are conducting a non-perishable food collection for the ML King Center.  The ceremony and food collection is from 11:00 – 11:10  a.m., in front of Channing House.  Drive down to the church, coming in from Bellevue Ave, and turn into the east driveway entrance.  Rev. Bill will greet you and offer you the bowl in which to pour your water. Or you can walk up the drive to pour your water into the bowl.  A volunteer will be there to collect your food gift as you leave.  Then stay for a chiming concert at will begin at 11:15.  Gather in Touro Park, maintaining appropriate social distancing and wearing face masks, or course, to listening to  Chimer Jim Freess give you a special in-gathering gift of bell music  

Live Zoom Worship!  September 20, 10:00am: Starting Anew

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Even everyday life can enable us to renew our commitment to ourselves and to the larger world.

Starting September 20th there will be a post service Zoom Fellowship starting at 10:30am.  BYO coffee and snack.  At the church there will be in-person outdoor fellowship while the chimes play from 10:40am-11:10am.  

Watch for an e-mails  from Channing Church with information about how to join the service and participate in the fellowship time. If you would like to be added to our e-mail list please let us know at 

Live Zoom Worship! September 27, 10:00am: Learning to Pray

Rev. Amy Freedman

Prayer or “vocalized” meditation can heal, expand, calm, empower, guide our minds and hearts

Live Zoom Fellowship at 10:30am. At the church there will be in-person outdoor fellowship while the chimes play from 10:40am-11:10am.  




Web Channing Sundays

Our Sunday Web Services will continue through the summer. The service is posted each Sunday by 9:00am on Channing’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and is available for viewing anytime afterwards. Each service will include a chalice lighting, message/homily by a guest presenter, meditation time and closing.  Music will be provided by Janet Grant and others. Technical support is provided by Jeff Thomas and John Burnham.

The summer guest presenters include Tom Beall, Ginny Spaulding, Rev. James Ford, Maryellen Doherty, Jeff Thomas, Tim Phelps.   There will be no YouTube service on September 6th (Labor Day weekend).  Weekly email announcements are sent out on Fridays with the service details. Please contact our church office at  if you would like to be added to our email list. 

After you click “Subscribe,” click on the little bell to the right of the Subscribe button and you’ll receive email notifications when new videos are posted.


Here is a link to our Summer Catalyst Newsletter:  Summer 2020 Catalyst Newsletter



Web Channing Sundays

We will not hold in-person services in the sanctuary until at least Fall. During the month of June , Rev Bill expects to continue our Channing Church Sunday Web Service posted each Sunday by 10:00am on Channing’s YouTube channel: .  If you “subscribe” and click the little bell icon you will receive notifications by email as new videos are posted. The 15-20 minute service includes a homily, chalice lighting, music, and meditation.    Bill’s homily theme for the week is posted in our Friday email (contact to be added to our email list).    Music is provided by Janet Grant and others.  John Burnham provides the technical assistance. 

For the latest news and events check our June monthly Catalyst newsletter here:







Web Channing Sundays

We are unsure when we will be able to hold in-person services in the sanctuary. During the month of May, Rev Bill expects to continue our Channing Church Sunday Web Service posted each Sunday by 10:00am on Channing’s YouTube channel: .  If you “subscribe” you will receive notifications by email as new videos are posted. The 15-20 minute service includes a homily, chalice lighting, music, and meditation.    Bill’s homily theme for the week is posted in our Friday email (contact to be added to our email list).    Music is provided by Janet Grant and others.  John Burnham provides the technical assistance. Rev. Bill invites you to email him ( ) suggestions for homilies, readings or meditations for the upcoming weeks.

For the latest news and events check our May monthly Catalyst newsletter here:








Web Channing Sundays

For the next several weeks we can anticipate the church being closed for regular Sunday service.   However, for the duration. Rev. Bill Zelazny will continue to provide an abbreviated service with a homily posted  Sunday mornings on You Tube, please go to: 


April 5: Looking at Jesus in the UU Tradition

This week begins Holy Week in the Christian calendar with its focus on the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the last meal he and the disciples shared and his crucifixion.  We UUs don’t talk about Jesus much, but Jesus is an important part of our U and U church history and his teachings are valuable to many UUs today.   Bill’s homily will look at how Jesus fits into our heritage and in current times.


April 12: Easter and Transformation

You do not have to believe in the resurrection of the dead to appreciate the power of transformation that Easter symbolizes.   Today, Bill will help us look at the message of transformation that is represented by the Easter story.


April 19: What are You Thinking?

Bill would like to provide a venue for members of Channing Church to share with each other our thoughts about the coronavirus. He invites you to send him, by Monday, April 13, your thoughts, reflections, poems about what you or society are experiencing in this time of living with coronavirus.  Keep it relatively short.  He will assembly your reflections and incorporate them into his homily this Sunday


April 26: The Road Not Taken

Everyone has regrets, but we almost always think of our regrets as the mistakes that we think we’ve made. But, in truth, as the old adage says: it’s not the things you do in life that you regret, it’s the things you don’t do.  Today Bill will reflect on the life issue of the road not taken and the question “are you going to change anything today or tomorrow?” when you think about life’s regrets.







Worship Services 

Sunday, March 1: Rev. Bill Zelazny

Revisiting Feminist Theology

In the later part of the 20th century a new theological perspective began to emerge in Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, that reconsidered the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies from a feminist perspective.  In the second sermon in his series on types of theology, to honor women’s history month Bill will revisit feminist theology, and look at its development over the past fifty years.

Sunday, March 8: John Prevedini

Modern Grace

What does “grace” mean in modern life? How do we achieve it? And what place does it have in a world thirsting for justice?

John Dante Prevedini is a Unitarian Universalist contemporary classical composer, educator, and public speaker. Drawing upon a variety of fields of knowledge, including linguistics, the fine arts, the physical sciences, religion, and philosophy, Dr. Prevedini’s overall work aims to examine unconventional facets of everyday life through a multidisciplinary lens.

CANCELLED Sunday, March 15: Rev. Bill Zelazny

Wisdom: Knowing what to control and what to let go 

A wise person once said, “Don’t worry about things you can’t control because you can’t change them, and don’t worry about things you can control because you can change them.”  This idea expresses an aspect of ancient Stoicism. This Sunday Bill will have us look at the how the wisdom of the ancient stoics might have a answer to our rush-about, demand to be “concerned about everything” modern world.

Channing Memorial Church will not hold worship services or other events  as suggested by the state leadership and the UUA.  This closure is not mandated and at this time no one within the Channing community has been directly impacted.  This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution to help mitigate the potential impact of large gatherings and to protect our community’s health and well-being. We are engaging in this closure in an effort to delay the possible spread of this contagion by keeping people away from each other. We all have a role to play in keeping each other safe and healthy. 

 Sunday, March 22:  Jeff Thomas

Finding Zen                         

Zen is simply everyday life lived with awareness. It is a practical and spiritual method of living that can bring simplicity, balance of nature, and clarity into our daily lives. This Sunday, Jeff will share what he has learned about Zen philosophy & practices. Additionally, Jeff will talk about how Zen can provide guidance in working through strong emotions, such as fear or anger, to reach a sense of tranquility.

Jeff Thomas is a new member of Channing Memorial Church. He was attracted to the principles of Unitarian Universalism and the compassionate and caring spirit that the U.U. community fosters. Jeff grew up between Aquidneck Island and Florida. He studied Communications at St. Petersburg College. One of his favorite hobbies is moderating and producing an internet-based talk show where panelists engage in thoughtful discussion on a variety of topics such as music, climate change, and Zen.

Sunday, March 29: Captain Thomas R. Beall, U.S. Navy (Retired)

What are your core values?  Do you live by them?

In a time when even our political leaders seem to lack honesty and a moral compass, our individual core values may be the only thing we have to ground ourselves and live morally upright lives.  We will explore this idea during this service.

Captain Beall commanded U.S. Navy sailors at Guantanamo, an experience that taught him a lot about the fundamental importance of core values.







Worship Services 

Sunday, February 2: Guest : Julie Mallozzi

Life Lessons from Film Making

Filmmaker Julie Mallozzi will speak about what she has learned through her work creating social issue documentaries.  Her recent film CIRCLE UP in particular provided many life lessons about forgiveness, justice, and accountability; about trying to be restorative in everything you do; and about defining your own success rather than letting others define it for you.

Julie Mallozzi is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores the ways cultural traditions from around the globe intersect, hybridize, and are turned to new social purposes far from their original context.  Her films have won awards at numerous festivals, been broadcast nationally on public television, and screened widely in educational and community contexts.  Mallozzi received her BA from Harvard University and her MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. Mallozzi has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Boston University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Harvard University, where she is currently a Lecturer in Art, Film, and Visual Studies and Administrative Director of the Film Study Center.

After the service,  Julie will introduce a 14-minute viewing of her film “Circle Up” and respond to your questions. “Circle Up” is about mothers seeking true justice for their murdered sons— justice that involves not revenge and mass incarceration by forgiveness, accountability, and community healing.

Sunday, February 9: Rev. Bill Zelazny

Resilience is a call of the Spirit

Some people in this congregation have come through a difficult time and some are about to enter a difficult time, but most of us are just trying to have the strength and courage to make it through one more day or week or year. And all of that takes the emotional power of resilience.  A colleague of mine once said that “Resilience cannot be about merely recovering from one trial or another. Resilience is also a proactive skill and a way of life…” And this proactive living skills is in its own way spiritual.  This Sunday Bill will explore the notion of resilience in living and its spiritual character.

Sunday, February 16: Rev. Bill Zelazny

The Big Love

The box of chocolates or the flowers or the card, or the charge card receipt for the quiet dinner that were the visible symbol of eros love, sexual love, may still be sitting on the table or buffet. That kind of love is very important for everyone.  But today, while we are still in the aura of Valentine’s Day, Bill invites us to consider what he names “The Big Love”, the kind of affection that is a call to action for us to let Love guide us in all that we do.

During Fellowship on Sunday, February 16 we will hold our Annual Chocolate Fest.   Bring a homemade or store-bought favorite chocolate dessert, candy or other decadent offering to share at Fellowship. The Chocolate Fountain will be flowing so anything that can be drenched in chocolate (fruit, marshmallows, graham crackers, gummy bears, maybe even broccoli!)   No need to sign up…just come with your surprise chocolate offering and join in the fun. 

Sunday, February 23: The Great Treasure of Unitarian Universalism and Channing Church

Our faith comes out of six religious and spiritual sources.  They are described in that long paragraph few of us ever read that follows the Statement of Purposes and Principles.  They, in effect, say, that people with very different theological and spiritual perspectives can join together in religious community and live in harmony.   This melding of diversity is Unitarian Universalisms and Channing Memorial Church’s treasure. Bill and members of our congregation will look at the six Sources this Sunday as we consider the power and potential this treasure bring to this congregation.


Worship Services 

Sunday, January 5: Rev. Bill Zelazny

A Question Basket

Research has shown that by asking questions we improve our emotional intelligence, as well as our intellectual intelligence.  So, let’s perhaps improve both and have some fun with an open question basket service where you get to guide what we talk about during the sermon time.   Been itching to ask that questions about Unitarian Universalism, the UUA, human existence, Bill’s favorite soup? (Please no political questions).  This is the Sunday to ask and Bill will try to answer them and if he does not have the answer, he will try to research an answer.  Everyone will be given a card when they come in on which to write their question. They will  be collected right after the opening hymn. Bill will answer as many questions as he can within the allotted sermon time.

Sunday, January 12: Virginia Spaulding, PhD

Joy through Generosity

Path to Enlightened Stewardship

“Living is giving. We live life best as we give our strengths, gifts, and competencies … We are called to serve, not survive. Our giving makes a difference in our families, our community, and our faith.” –( from Kennon L. Callahan). Stewardship is more than just giving money.  This Sunday we will examine the broader meaning and implications of stewardship for our lives.

Ginny Spaulding is a member of the Channing Board of Trustees and has a private counseling practice in Newport.

Sunday, January 19: Rev. Bill Zelazny

In the Midst of it: Southern Unitarians and Universalists in the Civil Rights Era

Unitarians and Universalists in Southern cities were in the midst of the fight against segregation, often engaging in heroic efforts to confront this social evil, sometimes at the risk of attack to their person and their churches.  On this Martin Luther King Sunday Bill will recall for us some of the episodes of U and U churches doing what they could to combat segregationist attitudes and practices.

Sunday, January 26: Rodney Davis

Taking a Stand Does Not Mean Standing Still

What does it mean to take a stand? Why should I? What does it require for me to really do? These questions often run through our minds when we are approached to get involved with some issue or cause. Yet we are seeing more and more people standing on the sidelines and not engaged in the fight. Long-time community leader and activist, Rodney Davis will address this issue with the sermon: His talk will address some of the challenges that we face and how we can be courageous in these critical times.

Newport native, Rodney Davis, has worked with the educational reform organization, Big Picture Learning, the group that created the Met School and a network of 200 schools around the globe. In 2019, he was selected as a Diversity Leadership Scholar with College Unbound and is pursuing a degree in Organizational Leadership and Change.  He served as president of Rhode Island Pride for 20 years and president of the Rhode Island Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights.  He continues to be actively involved in community advocacy and education.  He lives in Coventry RI with his partner Brian Mills.