Author: Michele Dubuc

This summer Channing Memorial Church will be presenting nine diverse and interesting presentations as our Sunday service on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL  The services will be posted at 9:00 a.m. and available for viewing afterwards each Sunday morning from July 4 to August 29.  Subscribe and click the bell icon to receive notifications when new videos are posted!

 Summer Chiming Fellowship: Our Chimers will play the bells at 10:00am on Sunday mornings. The tents are up in the playground area, please bring your own beverage and/or snack. Come enjoy the bell concert and being together after far too long!

 July 4: UU Beloved Community-Building in Response to a Zero Sum Nation    

Rev. Jeannette Bessinger

With increasingly divergent politics and ideologies, the challenges to our nation are coming to a crescendo. We are amid a crisis of separation. We’re standing at a crossroad where we must evolve more effective ways of creating heart-centered community or risk fracturing along the fault lines of a zero sum battle.

This is the first of a 2-sermon series. In this first part, Rev. Bessinger will share lessons on community-building gleaned from growing up in Channing church and her story-based work with over 5,000 Newport County youth in high-risk situations. Part 2nd will be in Fall 2021 in which we’ll consider the ways Unitarian Universalism is uniquely positioned to answer that call as a Beloved Community.

As an interfaith minister and Board Certified Health Coach, Rev. Jeannette Bessinger brings a holistic perspective to her work. Her healthy lifestyle perspectives have been showcased in hundreds of speaking venues and media outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Washington Post, NPR and NBC News.

July 11: A Reporter’s Personal View of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Tim Phelps 

Tim Phelps has spent several years during his reporting career covering the Middle East.  From this up-close, personal perspective he will talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While he recognizes that any criticism of the Israeli occupation brings about outrage, there are important stores to tell such Israeli brutality and how liberal Israelis suffered ostracism from Israeli society for refusing to fight or for speaking out.

Tim has a long career in journalism during which he spent several years in Egypt and Israel reporting on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.

July 18: Writing Your Spiritual Biography

Rev. Dr. Judy Campbell   

A spiritual biography traces your spiritual and religious life – where you started, what you have gone through that may have changed your life or understanding of spirituality and where you are now.  Judy will talk about the process of writing about one’s spiritual journey.

Rev. Campbell is a community minister, author and artist.  She is the author of the Olympia Brown Mysteries, the Viridienne Green Mysteries, several poetry and children’s books.

July 25: Post Traumatic Spiritual Gifts

Rev. Phil Schulman 

In November 2017 Rev. Schulman was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle. He began a long path to recovery. Along the way he found that he had been given priceless gifts which he calls “Post Traumatic Spiritual Gifts” that helped him face everything and recover. Phil will share his story and philosophy of spiritual gifts in the time of crisis.

Rev. Schulman has served congregations in the US Virgin Islands, Florida and, California, Texas, Louisiana and currently provides supply preaching in Texas. He has been deeply involved in eco-peace and justice activism, and working for human rights in field of mental health including developing a peer counseling program to a hospital addiction unit in Shreveport, LA. and directed the creation of a program to reduce the amount of force and violence in a upstate NY county’s mental health crisis response.

August 1: Ourselves and Our History

Notes about special elements of our various restoration projects

Chris Laudon  

Using iMovie and pictures of Channing’s various restoration projects Chris will have us take a peek at parts of our campus usually not seen, or which we may not were remembered. These images and her narrative will show us the connection that come from seeing things easily viewed and those unseen, from what is known or not known, from the remembered to that lost to memory. 


August 8:Laugh for Life

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Launching for a Zen story of three laughing monks, Bill will invite us to think about the importance of being able to laugh, even in troubling or personally challenging times.  This will be an outdoor service in Touro Park, please bring your own chair.  There will also be a modest picnic afterwards with hotdogs (meat and meatless) and some side dishes outside the Parish Hall. See page 7 for more information  [NOTE:  In the event of rain this service will be swapped with the August 15 service ]

August 15: Ocean Justice: Joining Social Equity and the Response to Climate Change

Lisa Colburn

The push for social equity and our response to climate change intersect in the ocean space. As sea level rises and storms intensify, it is urgent to consider who is most at risk and how our response might favor the most advantaged and place burdens on the disadvantaged people in coastal communities.  We should engage as broadly as possible in efforts of ocean conservation and fairness must be a central consideration as we seek solutions. Lisa Colburn, a member of Channing Church works as a fisheries anthropologist.  This presentation will examine the concept of climate justice in relation to coastal communities.

August 22: The Formation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

Tom Beall

2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the merger of the American Unitarian Universalist Association and the Universalist Church of American to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.  History buff and long-time church member, Tom Beall will take a look back at this event that resulted in the formation of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

August 29: Unitarians in India

Tom Howard 

India’s religious landscape includes a Unitarian Association – the Brahmo Samaj, founded in 1828 by Rammohun Roy, the Unitarian Christian Church of Chennai, in Madras, founded in 1795 and the Unitarian Church of the Khasi Hills, founded in 1887 by Hajom Kissor Singh.  Within a radius of 50 miles in the highlands of the Khasi hills in northeast India live 98 percent (over 9000 people) of the country’s Unitarians. Congregation member, Tom Howard, will introduce us to the Unitarian Church of the Khasi Hills with this presentation.

September 5: No worship Service Labor day Weekend

Sunday Worship Services

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

Chiming on Sundays 10:45am-11:15am, please enjoy from in and around Touro Park! 

(email to be added to our mailing list and receive the Zoom link)

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. 

June 6: Letting Love Guide Us: Our Connection with All Beings 

Rev. Mary Margaret Earl

We are connected to the animals, and compassion often guides our relationships.  But some systems disconnect us from the animals. Here, we consider how we can reawaken our connection and widen our circle of compassion. 

The Rev. Mary Margaret Earl is a longtime UU minister whose ministry has focused on social justice. She served for a decade in the homeless community in Providence, and currently serves UU Urban Ministry, a Boston faith-based organization committed to racial justice work. She also is a longtime vegan concerned about the suffering of animals. Today, she visits in her role as a volunteer for Rhode Island Vegan Awareness.  Members of RI Vegan Awareness will be available during in the post-service Fellowship time for discussion.


June 13: Play and Transcendence

Rev. Bill Zelazny

If we allow ourselves to get deeply involved in a play experience we move into a special, even sacred, playground where only the present moment matters, one’s history, future, concerns, and problems vanish. Deep play, as this ”all in” involvement is called, is that form of play that puts us in a rapturous mood and awakens the most creative, sentient, and joyful aspects of our inner selves. In other words, the kind of mental, emotional, and physical experience that most people think is reserved for religion or spiritual enlightenment.  Maybe plan it is a kind of spiritual experience.  This Sunday, a week before summer officially begins, Bill will look at how play can be a transcendent experience.

Second Sunday Collection: All are invited to make a gift of non-perishable food, cleaning products, or toiletries (especially travel size!) which will be taken to local agencies. Items can be left in the marked container on the Front Porch of Channing House.

June 20: I Have Always Wanted to Know….

Rev. Bill Zelazny

There are four types of questions:  Yes/No questions; Wh-questions, Choice questions, Tag-questions.  All of them are asked for the purpose of acquiring knowledge.  On this Sunday let’s have some fun with a “question box” service. Ask questions about those things you’ve been curious – some aspect of Unitarian Universalism, U and U history, faith, spiritual journey, religion, or whatever (but no political questions, please).  Bill will try to answer them and if he does not have the answer, he will try to research an answer. 

To participate in this Q & A with Bill you will need to send your questions to him via the church email – — by Thursday, June 17.

June 27: Joining Thousands of UUs in Sunday Worship

This Sunday we will join thousands of UUs from around the country at the UUA General Assembly Sunday Service.  (There is no CMC service this Sunday) As in past years, there will powerful choral music and an inspirational sermon.  There is no fee to view this General Assembly event.  Recognizing the importance of shared ministry and the many innovative approaches to worship created by congregations during the pandemic, UUA President, Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick Gray, selected the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis to serve as worship leaders for this year’s GA Sunday Morning Service.

Please join us on Sunday, June 27, 2021 at Noon Eastern for the largest annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists in worship. The service will be streamed on GA Online Events and on the UUA’s YouTube channel; members of the public are welcome.

Sunday Worship Services

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

(email to be added to our mailing list and receive the Zoom link)

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. 

May 2: On Becoming….”Oh No”…Older

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Morrie Schwartz, professor and writer, and the subject of the book, “Tuesdays with Morrie” once said, “It’s very simple.  As you grow, you learn more.  If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two.  Aging is not just decay, you know.  It’s growth…”  Researchers have come to know that our traits are ever shifting, and by the time we’re in our 70s and 80s, we’ve undergone a significant transformation…We do not stay the same person all our lives.  This Sunday Bill will reflect on the transformation that occurs as we grow into being a new person as we age.

Linda Beall Chiming at 9:30am and 10:45am, please enjoy from in and around Touro Park.

May 9: A Musical Celebration for Mother’s Day

Samuel Fargo Hollister

Mr. Hollister will play several pieces invoking motherhood and the sentiment of mothering. 

Samuel has played at Channing Church several times in the past. He is currently studying conducting at Peabody Conservatory where he is also opera accompanist. He was the founder of the Aurora Collaborative, Collaborative Pianist at Interlochen Center for the Arts.  Samuel has conducted in Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and around the United States.  He is also a photographer.

 Please Note: This will be a YouTube Service only, premiering at 10:00am and available for viewing afterwards. There is no Zoom Fellowship this Sunday. Christine Ariel will be playing the Chimes at 10:45am, please come and enjoy from in and around Touro Park!

May 16: Hope in Times of Trouble

Rev. Lauri Smalls

In the Book of Isaiah, we read:But now the Lord who created you, O Israel, says: Don’t be afraid. . . When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up….” Rev. Bill is truly pleased that Rev. Smalls, the minister at Community Baptist Church, has accepted his invitation to speak to Channing Church from the heart of her religious tradition about the source of faith, the reason for our faith and the purpose of our faith.  

Rev. Smalls is the Transitional Pastor (interim minister) since January 2019 at Newport Community Baptist Church.   She has served in several ministries at Community Baptist Church, and as a member of several of the church’s boards and committees. Lauri is also the Executive Director of Turning the Corner Residential Program, overseeing 6 group homes for juvenile males and is the Vice President of M.B. Management Co. Inc., a family-owned business, located in Providence.  In her spare time she has sung in several choirs and has recently started acting the Mixed Magic Theater in Pawtucket Rhode Island

Cynthia Skelton Chiming at 9:30am,  Jim Freess Chiming at 10:45am, please enjoy from in and around Touro Park.

May 23: “Ya Do when the Spirit says do..” Creativity and spiritualty in ordinary time. 

Rev. Dr. Judith Campbell 

This is the final service in our year’s exploration of the arts and spirituality. Judy says, “The creative spirit lives and breathes and moves where you least expect it is..EVERYWHERE…and in EVERYONE.”  Reflect on art, creativity and spirituality with Judy this Sunday.

Rev. Campbell is a minister, author, artist, and children’s book author.  She is the author of the Olympia Brown Mysteries, the Viridienne Green Mysteries and several books of poetry. She holds a PhD in Arts and Religious Studies with her thesis exploring the spiritual/mystical dimension of creative experience and praxis. She offers writing workshops nationally and internationally, currently on Zoom. Rev Campbell has served as minister at the UU Society of Martha’s Vineyard and community minster at several churches in southeast Massachusetts 

Janna Pederson Chiming at  10:45am, please enjoy from in and around Touro Park.

May 30: Reflections on Memorial Day

Dr. Margaret Polski

Margaret is a member of Channing Memorial Church, currently serving on the Board of Trustees.  She is Associate Professor U.S. Naval War College War Gaming Department.  Prior to this position, she has held various positions engaged in analysis and research for senior military leaders and their staff in the United States and overseas.  Margaret is a graduate of Indiana University, Harvard University and University of Minnesota.

Jim Freess Chiming at 10:45am, please enjoy from in and around Touro Park.

Sunday Worship Services

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

(email to be added to our mailing list and receive the Zoom link)

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. 

April 4: We Are Not Less Because of Our Hurts

Rev. Bill Zelazny

A major theme in Christian circles at Easter is the wounds that were reported to be on Jesus body after the resurrection.  The idea is that even after the resurrection the wounds remained to show is continuing connected to humankind.  Unfortunately, in our society of wanting perfect bodies having wounds – physical, emotional, mental – often is interpreted as making an individual somehow less of a person.   Bill will explore this fallacy for his Easter Sunday sermon.

Bring an Easter egg, chocolate bunny or marshmallow Peep, flower or Easter card to show others during the time of congregation sharing during the Zoom service.

Linda Beall Chiming 9:30-10:00am and 10:45-11:15am, Please stop and listen, masked and socially distanced, from in and around Touro Park.

 Easter Sunday Tulip Drive By: On Easter Sunday, drive by or walk by the church at 11:00 a.m. to receive an Easter tulip to celebrate the holiday. Rev. Bill and some board members will be on hand to give out the flowers and say hi to everyone. Drive in the east driveway entrance and leave by the west exit.  

April 11: The Promise of Faith in Dispiriting Times

Rev. Jeannette Bessinger

Rabindranath Tagore tells us “faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” Faith exists in the liminal spaces of our consciousness, floating somewhere between belief and hope, between the mind and heart. In faith, we continue to gather together within a society fractured by deeply divided beliefs. Faith allows us to raise our children on a planet rife with environmental challenges. Faith drives us to work at change, with no sense of what will come tomorrow. Faith fills the gap between relying solely on our own efforts and trusting blindly that “everything will work out perfectly”. It can give us strength when we’re weak, courage when we’re afraid and stamina when we feel like giving up. In the most practical way, faith lights our way forward in times when it’s too dark to see the next step on the path.    Rev. Bessinger has been our guest several times in the past. 

 Cynthia Skelton Chiming 9:30-10:00am, Janna Pederson Chiming 10:45-11:15am, Please stop and listen, masked and socially distanced, from in and around Touro Park.

Second Sunday Nonperishable Food Collection: All are invited to make a gift of non-perishable food, which will be taken to a local food bank. Items can be left in the marked container on the Front Porch of Channing House.

April 18: A Natural Connection

Rev. Bill Zelazny

What is it in nature that makes us feel more connected to life than perhaps when we walk the city streets or even sitting in a church, temple or meditation room? Why do we feel comforted, healed, and enlivened in nature?  This Sunday, Bill will take a look at the power in nature to enhance our spiritual connection with life.

Been attending Channing Church Sunday services or participating in other programs for a while?  Like Unitarian Universalism?  Why not now become a member of Channing Church? On April 18 Rev Bill and the Membership Committee will conduct a ceremony during the service to welcome individuals who have indicated they wish to be a formal member. The ceremony will be done via Zoom with members participating from their home.   If you are interested in becoming a member contact Rev. Bill through the church office: by Wednesday, April 14.

Jim Freess Chiming 10:45-11:15am, Please stop and listen, masked and socially distanced, from in and around Touro Park.

April 25: Rethinking and Renewing our Commitment to all Resources and Efforts

Mr. David McLaughlin

This Sunday is our annual Earth Day service.  The national Earth Day theme this year is “Restore Our Earth”. David McLaughlin, Director or Clean Ocean Assess will present a multigenerational review of our limited resources amidst increasing demand,  and the importance of faith for our ecological future. In his sermon he will take a broad look at Earth Day, infuse some of the work Clean Oceans Access is doing, and touch upon the importance of faith and community to keep our focus into the future.

Dave is the Executive Director and co-founder of Clean Ocean Access, a local environmental group dedicated to improving ocean health since 2006. Dave has a degree in mathematics from Florida Institute of Technology, a graduate of Rogers High School and lives in Newport, an avid wave rider, with founding roots bodysurfing in Hawaii in the early 80’s.

 Janna Pederson Chiming 10:45-11:15am, Please stop and listen, masked and socially distanced, from in and around Touro Park.

Sunday Worship Services

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

(email to be added to our mailing list and receive the Zoom link)

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)

March 7: UU Five Smooth Stones Revisited

Rev. Bill Zelazny

As David went to fight Goliath, it is written that he picked up five smooth stones for his sling shot and put them in his pouch.  Over the centuries the stones have been given symbolic meaning to name what David carried in his heart that day – Faith, Trust, Courage, Obedience, and Praise (of God).  These values are what should guide the life and faith of a Christian or Jew.  Unitarian Universalists also have five smooth stones to guide us according to Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams – Believe that revelation is continuous; Understand that mutual and free consent is the foundation of right relations; Do work to make a just and loving community; Express our faith to and in society; Live in hope.  This Sunday Bill will take another look at these often recited UU tenets.

March  14: The Practice of Connection

Rachel Balaban and John Burnham

Channing member Rachel Balaban will describe and lead us through the different connections that can make us feel whole and bring meaning, engaging us in seated movement together. Her husband, John Burnham, will assist in leading the service as a conversation that explores Rachel’s work as a teaching artist. Not only does she lead classes for dancers with movement challenges including people with Parkinson’s disease, but Rachel also creates intergenerational community in the dance studio through her Brown University courses called “Artists and Scientists as Partners.”


March 21: Songs of Life and Living

Jon Dember

A beautifully woven written tale is an effective way to make sense of the world, and also transmit a deep, complex message. But culture journalist, Josue Brocca, in an article about popular songs, reminds us that any artistic discipline can be used for storytelling. For him one of the best is music. He notes that “for a brief moment, the music and lyrics become a part of us, and in this way, we let ourselves be flooded by powerful words and emotions” which can open new perspectives on life issues. Traditional country/folk music artist, Jon Dember, is returning to our sanctuary this Sunday with a collection of songs that will express a wide range of emotions and human conditions.  

Jon’s has worked in residential energy efficiency, building, house renovation and historic restoration. He plays multiple instruments and does contra and Cajun/zydeco dancing.  He is a member of Farm Dogs, which he formed in 2004, that has played for past services at Channing.  

March  28: Seeking to Fill that “God”-sized Hole

Rev. Bill Zelazny

We are all searching for something. What that something is may differ between people, but it typically can be described as a nagging sense that plagues our thoughts of something big that is undone, unfinished, or not possessed that will make our life perfect and fulfilled. St. Augustine described it as “…humanity’s innate desire for the infinite…”  This restlessness is a metaphor for seeking something larger than ourselves.  Some people call it the God-sized hole in our spirit. Today, Bill will explore this notion of yearning for something more — the positive and negative side of that emotional, psychological and spiritual quest. 

Special Service! March 28, 6:30pm, Via Zoom: 2021 Seder Observance

Once again, our Church members and friends will be able to participate in a Passover Seder together, albeit now via Zoom.   The Haggadah – which is the ancient retelling of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt with ritual and prayers — will be read.  We will sing the Passover songs and eat the foods from the Seder plate that we will each prepare.  

The Zoom link and list of Seder plate foods, including a recipe for Charoset (nut/apple chutney) will be sent out before the event.  Irene Glasser and other members of Channing Church will lead the Seder. 

Sunday Worship Services

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

(email to be added to our mailing list and receive the Zoom link)

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)

February 7: Universalism is at the Heart of a Beloved Community    

Rev. Bill Zelazny

We will bracket Black History month with two perspectives on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s concept of the Beloved Community.  On this first Sunday of Black History month Bill will looking at how Universalism is woven into this concept and then how it stretches our imagination to look past our church walls, look past the people who think and act like us. 

February 14: Peace and Love in the Midst of Turmoil: Meditations to Lift the Body, Mind and Spirit

Ginny Spaulding

In the middle of times filled with fear, turmoil, and anger how can we stay centered, happy and focused on the positives? What can we do to feel complete, helpful and hopeful? Meditation can provide a way to stay centered and instill a feeling of wellbeing and love. On this Valentine’s Day, join Ginny for an introductory practice journey of two meditations designed to promote an internal sense of well-being and an outpouring of loving kindness towards self and others.

Ginny Spaulding is a Channing member and board president, nurse practitioner, psychologist, mother, sister, and loving friend. She has practiced meditation for a number of years and attended trainings with Pema Chodron, Jon Kabat Zinn, Saki Santorelli and other meditation masters from Buddhist and Mindfulness traditions. 

February 21: What is Our Place as a Progressive Religion in Today’s World?

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The world has changed a lot since the Unitarian Universalist Association was formed sixty years ago and the thirty-six years since the modern Purposes and Principles were promulgated. We can ask, is the underlying philosophy of modern UUism as expressed in the  Purposes and Principles still relevant and what is our religious place in the world that has changed so much?  Bill will help us explore questions about our relevancy today and into the future.

February 28: Lurching Towards Beloved Community:  Successes, Failures, and Other Tales

Rev. Meg Riley

Rev. Riley will talk about work being done at the UUA and other organizations to bring about a better society for all people.  

Rev. Meg A Riley retired in 2020 after 38 years as a UU religious professional.  She held a variety of positions in congregations and with the national UUA headquarters, most recently as Senior Minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.  In July of 2020 she became co-moderator with Charles DuMond, of the Unitarian Universalist Association. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.



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)

January 3: Re-storying Our Lives

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Bill has been interested in the phenomenon of how we tell our life stories and how that telling shapes who we believe we are.  On this first Sunday of a new year Bill will explore the idea that how we arrange the plot points of our life into a narrative shapes who are.

Fun First Sunday! New Year’s Eve is a relatively few hours past, but we can still mark the start of a new year with a bit of silliness. Bill invites everyone on put on their New Year’s hat or bring out the noise maker for a few minutes during the service to show off the New Year’s spirit.

January 10: Coming Home

Anna Smith

Anna Smith and her husband, Jake, have returned to Newport and Channing after having been away on an adventure for seven years. Anna will be sharing with us  her definition to the word “home”, and what it means for them to “come home.”

 Anna Smith is an artist. Her life has been her canvas — she has been an interior designer and a residential builder.  She is a Reiki Master-teacher and always, a volunteer.  For the past seven years Anna and her husband of 61 years, Jake, have been traveling the world.                 

 This Sunday is the Margit Baum Committee’s annual drive to collect nonperishable protein. Your donations this year will go to support Coexion Latina. Suggestions for contributions include (but are not limited to) beans, canned stews, soups, boxed macaroni and cheese, Spam, peanut butter, canned tuna, nuts, etc. We encourage you to use your imagination. Any other food donations would certainly be appreciated as well. Please drop off items on the porch of Channing house the morning of Sunday, January 10th, or earlier in the week.

January 17: Hope – Love – Faith

Mrs. Victoria Johnson 

This Sunday, Mrs. Victoria Johnson will be our guest presenter. She describes her talk this way:  “I will speak through the building of the Middle Passage Port Marker memorial, to the need to honor all who arrived in our fair city 400 years ago — Native Americans, Africans, Jews, Irish  Italians. With a few moments of thought I will try to describe our virtues and vices through Hope, Love and Faith.  It is time for us to all work together to be One Newport.”

Mrs. Johnson is a well-known community leader in Newport. In 1996 she became the first Black high school principal in Rhode Island.  Currently she is the Co- Chair of Newport Middle Passage Port Marker Project.   She is a member of the Newport Community Baptist Church and is a diligent advocate of justice for Black people in Newport and the country with her membership in the Newport and national NAACP.

January 24: The Liberal and Conservative Mind-set

Rev. Bill Zelazny

This country is divided along a fault line of liberal and conservative political and social philosophies.  Understanding these two belief systems is a pretty tall order, but this Sunday, four days after the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Bill will tackle this project by looking at the moral and philosophical foundations of what has become in modern times diametrically opposed viewpoints.


January 31: From Where Does Hope Spring?

 Rev. Dr. Nina D. Grey

Our January 31 service arrives as we are nearing Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, and, as in the classic movie Groundhog Day, we are experiencing an ever-repeating sameness. We suffer even if we aren’t sick from Covid. Friends, family, and others we know may have gotten sick, and some may have died. Alone in my apartment I sometimes feel lonely or afraid. You might too. We miss our old lives and we worry about our nation. And even with the hope of the vaccines and a new administration, there is a lot we do not know about our future. This Sunday, in this hard time, we ask “What does or might sustain us? What are or can be the sources of our hope? From where does hope spring?

Rev. Nina Grey is the Minister Emerita for the First Unitarian Society of Chicago where she had served as the senior minister from 1999 to 2011.  She went on to serve the Unitarian Fellowship of Boseman, MT from which she retired in 2016.  Prior to Chicago, she served churches in Keene, NH and Philadelphia, PA (Germantown).  In retirement, Rev. Grey is active in various social justice initiatives to include climate issues and voting rights. Dr. Grey received her M.Div from Andover Newton Theological School and DMin from McCormick Theological Seminary.   


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)

December 6: Four Spiritual Paths

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Unitarian Universalist minister, Peter Tufts Richardson, identified four primary paths through which people express their spirituality.  People’s psychological make-up tends to drawn them to a particular path. Bill will explore the core elements of each type of spiritual journey and will look at why one path feels more right than with another for individuals.

This is our Fun First Sunday and Bill invites us to show each other our most meaningful holiday decoration.

December 13: Music and Spirituality

Lois Vaughan

Jazz pianist Lois Vaughan will talk and play about her personal experiences with spirituality and music.

This is Channing’s Community Service Second Sunday for which we collect non-perishable foods and other items to be taken to a local food pantry. Donations can be dropped off at the Channing House front door on Friday, December 11, before noon or on Sunday morning before noon. 

December 20: Holiday Lessons and Carols

Janet Grant, Rev. Bill Zelazny, and Guests

A celebration of the Holidays with words and music. Music by the Newport String Project, Janet Grant and Channing Church members.  Readings for the season presented by Rev. Bill and several Channing Church members.  We will also exercise our voices by singing some Christmas carols.

December 24: A Quiet Christmas Eve

Bill and Channing Church staff will present an informal Christmas Eve service to be broadcast on YouTube, with the reading of the traditional nativity story, candle lighting and carols.  Carol lyrics will be sent out by email ahead of time. 


December 27: And on the Seventh Day They Rested

An opportunity for everyone to sleep in late on a Sunday.  There is no service on Sunday, December 27.  

Holiday Chiming

Christmas Eve:  3:00-4:00pm, Cynthia Skelton and Janna Pederson Chiming

 Christmas Day: 11:00am-11:45am, Christine Ariel and Linda Beall Chiming

 Please stop and listen, masked and socially distanced, from in and around Touro Park.



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.