Author: Michele Dubuc

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.

Sunday, May 5: Live into a New Way of Thinking

Rev. Bill Zelazny, Ginny Spaulding, and Tim Phelps

All people and organizations are constantly going through change. Sometimes they are small adjustments and sometimes major transitions.  Channing Church will be going into a time of change in the next year. Bill thinks this quote from Father Richard Rohr, the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation — “We don’t think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” — is perhaps a good perspective for grounding us during this important time in our history. Bill, Congregation President, Ginny Spauling and Board member, Tim Phelps, will talk about the upcoming changes and the process we will go through living into this change. 

Sunday, May 12: Mothering  Principles for Everyone to Live

Rev. Bill Zelazny

A man who has not raised children looks at Mother’s Day and sees there are many principles of mothering that can apply to everyone’s life.  On this Mother’s Day Bill will explore these universal “mothering” principles.  

The 2nd Sunday of the month is our nonperishable foods collection for local food banks.

Sunday, May 19: Words Matter: Watch Your Mouth      

Rev. Dianne Daniels 

When I initially entertained the concept of becoming a minister, I knew that my own use of words would be important – it could mean the difference between a person finding a soothing balm for their spirit, being “called out” on a challenging subject, or turning away from a spiritual walk that could help to free them from their pain and suffering.

Words do indeed Matter – to a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence, to a person’s livelihood, to the status of an important relationship. Whether they are words we say to ourselves (often the toughest) or words we say to others (often “throwaway words” hurt others the most), Words Matter.

Rev. Daniels has found refuge and inspiration in Unitarian Universalism for more than 20 years and is a 2022 graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry. Rev. Daniels provides guest preaching services to UU churches in the region.

Sunday, May 26: Finding Zen

Presented by Jeff Thomas

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.

Several years ago, Jeff Thomas became a 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. While at Channing, Jeff has given a guest video presentation on “Cosmic Spirituality” and a slide show on the climate crisis. He graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and moderates an internet-based talk show where panelists engage in thoughtful discussion on a variety of topics.

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.

Sunday, April 7: Remembering Our Interdependence

Rev. Bill Zelazny 

Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper “inter-are. ” Interdependence is not a mere theory or interesting philosophy. It impacts our lives directly every single day. By deepening our awareness of interconnectedness, we can create a far more harmonious and healthy society and live far more satisfying lives.  Today Bill will explore the concept of our interconnectedness.

Sunday, April 14: The Anatomy of Prestige: Guest Presenter: John Prevedini                                        

In his presentation, composer, educator, and public speaker John Dante Prevedini will discuss the complex phenomenon of prestige from the perspective of three questions. Where does prestige come from? What are the positives and negatives of prestige in the world? And what can we do to help reshape the prestige landscape for the better?”

John Dante Prevedini, DMA, MBA is a contemporary classical composer, educator, and public speaker based in New England and active around the world. Drawing upon a variety of fields of knowledge, his overall work aims to examine unconventional facets of everyday life through a multidisciplinary lens.

The 2nd Sunday of the month is our nonperishable foods collection for local food banks.

Sunday, April 21: Earth Day: Caring for Our Land, Caring for Our Earth

Presented by Cris Offenberg

“Caring for our Land, Caring for our Earth” is the theme for this year’s Earth Day service. We will welcome Aquidneck Community Table (ACT) Board member and Master Gardener Cris Offenberg to the pulpit. The service will celebrate ways ACT is working to build a healthy food system for our island while demonstrating respect for the land. ACT is also our Share the Plate recipient for March and April.

Our Guest Speajer, Cris Offenberg, is a long-time board member of Aquidneck Community Table (ACT.) Cris is a seasoned Master gardener and a practicing attorney at Silva, Martland and Offenberg in Middletown.

Sunday, April 28: Who Inspires You?

Margaret Polski & Peter Freeman

The word “inspiration” comes from the Latin word “inspiratus,” which means “breathe into.” While this word has a theological basis that refers to the influence of a divine entity on a person, for UUs, it refers to being stimulated or moved to do or feel something. Peter Freeman and Margaret Polski will lead a conversation about inspiration and some of the people who inspire.

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.

Sunday, March 3: 20 Questions (Sort of)

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

We’ve not done an “ask the minister” service in a long time so this Sunday we will engage in our version of the 19th century game of 20 questions.  Congregation members will be invited to ask Rev. Bill any questions they wish about Unitarian Universalism, religion, faith, facing life issues, etc. and he will endeavor to answer it.

Sunday, March 10: Issues Facing Modern Women

Guest Presenter: Ms. Erica Baker

If you read women’s history you will regularly see that they had to face many challenges from health issues to discrimination. Women in today’s society may not have exactly the same trials, but women still face many challenges.  This Sunday Ms. Baker, the Newport Women’s Resource Center clinical manager, will discuss issues modern women face.   Other NWRC will be available for conversation during Fellowship time.

The 2nd Sunday of the month is our nonperishable foods collection for local food banks. This month we are collecting foods high in protein like tuna, peanut butter, canned and dried legumes, canned chicken breast, and beef jerkey. 

Anne Hutchinson: The Woman who co-founded Rhode Island and told the Boston Puritans they were going to Hell

Presented by Tim Phelps

In 17th Century Boston, a woman dared to challenge the ruling theocracy by preaching first to women, then to an increasingly large mixed audience, that the Puritans were mistaken in their theology. Expelled from the colony in the midst of a snowstorm, she walked while 8 months pregnant to Providence and then by boat to Portsmouth, before being massacred by Native Americans she had tried to befriend.

Sunday, March 24: Facing the Dragon’s Lair

Rev. Bill Zelazny                  

This Sunday in the Christian tradition, a week before Easter, is called Palm Sunday with the story that Jesus entered Jerusalem in celebration, though he supposedly knew very bad things were going to happen to him in a matter of days.  This kind of situation is not confined to Jesus.  Most of us have had to do something, even though we know there most likely was going to be great problems ahead – the “dragon’s lair.”  Bill will talk about how we deal with facing the dragon’s lair when that is our fate. 

Sunday, March 31: Allowing Transformation

Bill Zelazny                           

Author, Cynthia Occelli has written: “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” On this Easter Sunday, Bill’s sermon will look at how we must allow for transformation of all types in our lives if we are to live a full and complete life.

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.


Sunday, February 4: Giving

Presented by Margaret Polski

Giving can be defined as giving from the heart without any expectation of something in return. But giving is an art that encompasses and uses all parts of ourselves including our head, our heart and hands to make a positive difference in our world. What are the ways we give to each other in our congregation and what does giving mean to us?

Sunday, February 11: Power and Rightness of Self Love

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

When people talk about Valentine’s Day our minds go to the love between people.  But the love celebrated on Valentine’s Day can also be the love of oneself.  American author, Parker Palmer, has said “Self-care (and self-love) is never a selfish act. . . Anytime we can listen to our true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”  On this Sunday before Valentine’s Day Bill will help us explore the idea of the power of self-love.  

The 2nd Sunday of the month we collect nonperishable foods for local pantries. 

Sunday, February 18: Love and Music

Jan Navarro, Bill Zelazny  & Guests

Music and love have always shared a powerful connection.  Music can illustrate emotions and connect us with past, present and future like few other   things.  Composers, throughout the ages, have used music to express feelings of love, sorrow, joy and distress.  This Sunday we will explore the dimensions of love through music and poetry.  

Sunday, February 25: Cancel Culture:  A Useful or a Toxic Tool?

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

The term “cancel culture” is thrown around by politicians and influencers. Initially used within Black culture it soon spread to the general society.  But what is cancel culture?  Is it a negative, personal attack used to destroy a person, business or institution, or it is a tool in democracy to hold people and institutions accountable?  This service will look at this cultural phenomenon to help us understand its origin, use and impact.  

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.


No service on Sunday, December 31

Sunday, January 7: With Trepidation or Boldness

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

On a winter walk we come upon a frozen stream, a bit wider than we can jump across.  Do we walk cross the frozen stream with trepidation or self-confidence?  We can ask the same question about our continuing walk through life.  Which shall it be for us?  Bill has often asked himself that question.  Let’s think about what that may mean for us as we walk into 2024.

Sunday, January 14: Power and Rightness of Self Love

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

American author and social activities, Parker Palmer, has said “Self-care (and self-love) is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to our true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”  On this Sunday at the beginning of the new year, Bill will help us explore the idea of the rightness and the power of loving oneself. 

 The 2nd Sunday of the month is our nonperishable foods collection for local food banks.

Sunday, January 21: Inequality Harms Us All

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

In the months before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s focus was on poverty and economic injustice. Keith Payne, a social psychologist at the University of North Carolina, argues that humans are hardwired to notice relative differences. When we’re reminded that we’re poorer or less powerful than others, we become less healthy, more angry, and more politically polarized….The presence of extreme inequality destabilizes a society.”  On this M. L. King Sunday, Bill will talk about how financial and social inequality ultimately harms not just people of color, but all people.

Sunday, January 28: What Might it Mean to Cross a Spiritual Threshold

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

We know when we come to a door threshold.  We probably even know when we come of a life threshold .  But what does it mean to cross a spiritual threshold?  The Rev. Karen K. Johnston says that spiritual thresholds, like psychic thresholds are not grand entrances.  But we know when we have crossed one by the quality of life and a shift in our senses.  UUs do not often talk about things like spiritual thresholds, but we all cross them at various times in our lives.  Today, Bill will explore the notion of crossing a spiritual threshold. 

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.

Sunday, December 3: When Our Cultural Identity and Spiritual Values Collide…

Rev. Jeannette Bessinger  & Samuel Hollister

Historically, having a strong cultural identity is associated with human thriving. But when elements of that collective identity clash with our individual spiritual or ethical values, where can we find rootedness in “who we are”? Through the dual lenses of Scorsese’s movie of Grann’s novel Killers of the Flower Moon and the ongoing fighting in Gaza, we’ll explore, with language and music, some ways we can navigate the grey zone between “us and them”, “good guys and bad guys”.

Rev Jeannette Bessinger: Jeannette is an ordained interfaith chaplain, certified Spiritual Companion, and Board Certified Health Coach, bringing a holistic perspective to her 20-year health ministry. As the current Director of Spiritual Development for Westminster Unitarian Church, she is enjoying working deeply with a UU community across the full span of chronological ages.

Sunday, December 10: There Be Miracles, even in a UU World

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

According to tradition, during the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolt, there was only enough oil to light the Temple’s menorah for one day, but somehow miraculously burned for eight days. The festival of Hanukkah commemorates this event. This Sunday, with the assistance of Irene Glasser and the Channing Choir, we will mark this ancient Jewish festival but then expand our look at the idea of miracles. Yes, there are miracles even in the UU world view.  

The 2nd Sunday of the month is our nonperishable foods collection for local food banks.

Sunday, December 17:  Science and Mystery Walk Hand in Hand

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Some people think Science is the only guide to living and some hold that Mystery is what guides life.  Our UU Sources says both give UUism form. Ursula Goodenough calls this the Covenant with Mystery – a both/and approach. 

Sunday, December 24 

Christmas Eve 

10:00 AM No morning service. Sleep in, spend time with the family, have a quiet cup of coffee, finish wrapping Christmas presents. 

5:00 PM — Christmas Eve at Channing Church          

Rev. Bill Zelazny & Friends

The sanctuary will be decorated, candles lit, traditional and new readings presented, anthems performed by the choir, carols sung, a short homily presented and “Silent Night” holding candles sung in the darkened sanctuary. All the elements needed for a beautiful traditional Channing Church Christmas Eve for adults and children.  A perfect way to start the Christmas celebration.  Come, bring family and friends to share this Christmas Eve with you.

Parking is available in the Elk’s parking lot, Please place the bright orange parking permit on your dashboard where it is clearly visible. Permits are located on the table to the right as you enter the church.  

No service on Sunday, December 31


Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.

Sunday, November 5: Concepts of Faith

Rev. Bill Zelazny

When people talk about faith most are probably thinking about Western Christian faith.  But religious faith has broader implications and application.  This Sunday Bill will lead us in an exploration of the concept of religious faith that goes beyond just a belief in a Western God entity. 

Sunday, November 12: Fascism American Style

Rev. Bill Zelazny  

People with a progressive or left leaning political view are claiming that fascism is on the rise in the USA. Other, primarily conservatives of libertarians say that is not the case, but rather the Alt-Right is just a more robust conservative political/social perspective but not fascist.  As the 2024 political campaigns start to get into full-swing Bill will help us look at this social/political phenomenon that has become part of our political discourse. 

 Jon Dember, a folk music musician, whose music has roots in British and American county music, who plays the button accordion, will be our guest musician.  Jon formed the group, Farm Dogs, who play around the area at farmer’s markets and festivals and has played for our services several times in the past years.

 The 2nd Sunday of the month is our nonperishable foods collection for local food banks.

This Sunday we are taking a special collection to help fund our Community Meals program that is low on cash.  See the article about Community Meals on page 2 of the Catalyst

Sunday, November 19: The Gratitude Generosity Loop

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Research has shown that gratitude can lead to generosity. In a sense, gratitude seems to prepare the brain for generosity.  Perhaps this is why researchers have observed that grateful people give more — our brains create a gratitude-generosity loop. We are thankful for the generosity shown to us, and that thankfulness inspires our own compassion and generosity. On this Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, Bill will look at this psychological, emotional phenomenon. 

Monday, November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance in the USA.  During and after the service members of Channing Interweave will lead a commemorative time to honor the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence in this past year. 

Sunday, November 26: Attention is a Finite Resource-Don’t Waste It

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Our attention determines the direction toward which we focus our minds.  The universe is ours to explore as we wish.  But there are forces – business, government, social justice organizations and other’s – that work hard to commoditized it. Getting our attention is now a multibillion-dollar industry.  If we pay attention to what is happening, we will find that our attentional powers are constantly under attack and those powers are limited.  This Sunday Bill will invite us to pay some attention to who we allow to have ownership over our consciousness.

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.

Sunday, October 1: Flowing with the Flow

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Most of us are taught from a young age that we need to push ourselves, work hard to make things happen. That approach is one way to live.  But there is often a negative cost to our mental and physical health living like that.  But, what if we approached life with the mindset of “going with the flow?” As a person who has lived much of his life “pushing”, Bill has been thinking about and trying to practice this way of living.  This Sunday he will explore this very different way of approaching living.

Sunday, October 8: Skeptical Science

Rev. Paul Spreacher  

What is the relation between science and religion?  Why has it become so common to find “science” as contested ground in our contemporary culture wars — over masking, vaccinations — and what should be taught to children in our public schools?

Rev. Paul Sprecher is a past minter at First Parish in Bridgewater. MA.  Since his retirement he has become a climate activist at Linden Ponds, a Senior Living Community in Hingham, MA, as well as in the town of Hingham.  Previously, he served Second Parish in Hingham.  He has served interim ministries at Murray Church in Attleboro and at the Chatham, MA Meeting House.  In other lifetimes, he was a middle school teacher at a boys’ prep school in New York City and Vice President for Technology at the American Stock Exchange.

Sunday, October 15: LAGBT+ Justice–Yesterday and Today

Presenter: Monique Paul

National Coming Out” day is celebrated on October 11th. It was necessary when it was created and it is still needed now, more than ever with the anti-trans, anti-gay initiatives.  Monique will talk about the good it has done over the years in the fight against discrimination and prejudices of our society as a whole and how it has helped people become their “best” selves for themselves, their families and society in general.

Monique Paul, is a 67 yr. old Transwoman from Coventry, R.I. She Transitioned 12 years ago after, as she describes it, denying her authentic self for over 50 years. She retired in 2022 after 25 years as a lab tech with Fujifilm Electronic Materials. Ms Paul has been involved in the Transgender Community for many years, joining TGI Network of R.I. 11 years ago, and currently serving as its President. She is also working with the RI Commission on Prejudice & Bias speaking to Police Cadets throughout the State. As a hobby she has been involved with the scuba diving community since the 1970’s.

TGI Network of Rhode Island, is a statewide organization providing support, education, and advocacy for the TGI (transgender, gender diverse, and intersex) communities in Rhode Island and surrounding areas.   

Sunday, October 22: Ancestors that Travel Beside Us

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Alberto Ríos, in his poem “A House Called Tomorrow” wrote “You are a hundred wild centuries…/bringing with you/ In every breath and in every step/ Everyone who has come before you.” This Sunday, a week before All Souls Day, when we honor the memory of our ancestors Bill will talk about how our ancestors shaped their world and now our world. 

Everyone is invited to bring a picture of an ancestor – parent, grandparent, uncle — to place on an Altar of Remembrance to join us for this service.

Sunday, October 29: A UU Look at Halloween

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Marking a day pertaining to the dead and their potential connection (or interference) with the living goes back centuries.  Today it has become more of a candy eating, partying day for children as well as adults.  Some cultures want to scare away the dead on this day and some invite the dead to reconnect with the living.  Bill will look at this holiday with a UU eye to see what it means for people of all religious and spiritual (and maybe ghostly) interests.  

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

Services are live streamed on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL and available for viewing afterwards.

No Service Sunday, September 3rd.  Enjoy a Labor Day Weekend outing or picnic!

Sunday, September 10: Remember, Revelation is Not Sealed

Rev. Bill Zelazny

“Revelation is not sealed”, is an affirmation long spoken by Unitarian Universalist. It is a conviction that religious teachings and practice, like the sciences, are not closed as the once and for all truths.   The same can be said about UU congregation life – what was and is now may not be what is needed in our future. On this In-gathering Sunday, Bill will invite us to have an open mind and open heart to potential changes to expand and renew our church.

Our UU faith is part of our everyday life, not just on Sunday mornings.  To symbolize the connection between our church and our everyday living, members and friends are invited to bring a token from their home – a flower, stone, leaf, picture, knick-knack, small vile of water – which we will place on a table to give us a visible representation of the connection of everyday life to our church life.

We will also welcome our new Music Director, Jan Navarro, and say goodbye to our pianist, Conor Kennedy, (at least as a regular musician) in this service.  A reception for Jan and Conor will be held in the Parish Hall immediately after the service.

 Sunday, September 17: A Question of Religion-Who am I?

Rev. Bill Zelazny

This is the first of a multi-part series on the big questions of life that we all face.  This Sunday Bill will explore a basic question “Who am I?”  We start off being defined by other people and gradually come to be individuated. But who is this individuated being?  Do we change or adjust our understanding of ourselves as the years past?  What role does religion have in giving an answer to that question?  Let’s think about this together this Sunday.

Sunday, September 24: A Question of Religion: What Does the Universe Mean to Me, and What am I to it?

Rev. Bill Zelazny

This is the second service looking at one of the big questions of life.  WOW!  The universe is so huge, unimaginably huge and I am so tiny, insignificantly tiny.  But there has to be a connection.  Bill will look at this religion question of our existence, maybe even having a few answers for us to consider.

Community Fair after Church! Our congregation functions because of the involvement of its members making things happen.  Following the Sept. 24th service we will hold our annual Community Fair where we can learn about the many committees, programs and projects that are the life of our church and find the one or two that make our hearts glad in which we wish to participate.    

Sunday Worship Services 

Summer Worship Service Break : June 25 – July 30

Linda Beall will play the chimes at 9:30 on July 2, 16, and 30.  Please enjoy from a shady spot in Touro Park!

Sunday, August 6, 12:30pm, Ports. Historical Society HQ

Meeting W.E. Channing in Portsmouth

Rev. Bill Zelazny

William Ellery Channing, the “Father” of American Unitarianism and for whom our church is named was born and raised in Newport loved his family farm in Portsmouth. Throughout his life he spent entire summers at Oakland Farm.  Sundays would often find him preaching or simply talking about religion and life with the farmers and fishermen who attended the non-denominational Christian Church at Portsmouth, today the Portsmouth Historical Society headquarters at the corner of East Main Road and Union Street. Rev. Bill will talk about Channing life’s and philosophy in the very church on East Main Road at which Channing spent many Sundays. 

NOTE:  The service begins at 12:30 p.m. Stay afterwards for a tour of the historical society’s many exhibits of nearly 400 years of life in Portsmouth.

Sunday, August 13, 10:00am, in Touro Park

Awaken the Spirit with Movement

Rachel Balaban & Rev. Bill Zelazny

Movement is great to energize the body and the spirit. Gather in Touro Park for a service, lead by Rachel Balaban, of  gentle meditative movement that honors your mind, your body and your energy force The service will take place in Touro Park, weather permitting, Rain location will be the Sanctuary.  Bring a chair.

Sunday, August 20, 10:00am

A Sunday Morning Walking Meditation

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Back by request, we will do a walking mediation service.  Join Rev. Bill at the Portuguese Discovery Memorial at 9:55am for a silent, intentional, mindful meditative walk along the ocean, paying attention to how all our senses are being touched by nature.  The service will be cancelled in the event of rain.

Sunday, August 27, 10:00am

A Wisdom Lesson from the East

Rev. Bill Zelazny

In the Parish Hall

Last summer an ancient Taoist story offered us a life lesson about what we can learn from water.  Join Rev. Bill in the Parish Hall to consider some other lessons from ancient eastern stories that may help us to better enjoy life.   

No Worship Service Labor Day Weekend (September 3rd)