Upcoming Events

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary followed by Fellowship Coffee Hour in the Parish Hall

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

Sunday, February 5: Trust-A Building Block of Life

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The Rev. Justin Schroeder once said, “We know that DNA is the building block for all life. But more than just DNA is needed to build and sustain a fruitful, healthy, and vibrant human life.  Trust — trust in ourselves, in other people, in institutions — is a foundation all building upon which we can build a life strong enough to carry us through heartbreak and setback.” This Sunday, Bill will explore the several aspects of trust and how each is part of the foundation of a good life.

Sunday, February 12: Being Loving Can Be Hard

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Pulitzer Prize winner poet, Franz Wright, wrote in his collection of poems Walking to Martha’s Vineyard, “How is it that I didn’t spend my whole life being happy, loving other human beings’ faces.”  His question reminds us of the human tendency to fall short of our highest aspirations, especially when it comes to love. Being loving can be hard, and we often fail to do it well.   On this Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we’ll take a stroll through the various scenes of love in our lives.

Fika Fellowship after church Feb. 12th! The Social Action Team would like to invite you for a Fika on Sunday, February 12th after church in the Parish Hall. What is a Fika? In the Swedish tradition, a Fika is a moment to take a break for a cup of coffee with a delicious baked good to go with it. More than just a coffee break, a Fika is a magical time to slow down and spend time together. We will be providing traditional Swedish baked goods and collecting donations for the UUA disaster relief fund, our February Share the Plate recipient.

Sunday, February 19: A Magnifying Glass on a Dangerous Idea-Christian Nationalism

Rev. Bill Zelazny

We have just finished a round of elections where the idea of Christian Nationalism was part of the political discussion.  Christian nationalism is the notion that America is a nation by and for Christians alone. It is a contributing ideology in the religious right’s misuse of religious liberty as a rationale for circumventing laws and regulations. It leads to discrimination, or calls to discriminate, and at times use violence, against religious minorities and the nonreligious.  It is a dangerous, non-democratic, political and social phenomenon.  This Sunday, Bill will talk about this concept and its implications for everyone, especially people who identify themselves as theologically liberal.

Sunday, February 26: Talking with Each Other

Members of CMC

The Worship Committee is working to create a service that we will do something that Channing people really like – provide an opportunity to talk with each other.  This Sunday we will hear about life events from congregation members that were significant to them or taught them a lesson or gave them new insight.  Come to the service to learn more about your friends and congregation neighbors.

AN INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE! Do you have an insight about life? A profound experience that got you thinking in a new way? A humorous episode that came just at the right time?  A very meaningful event in your life that you fondly, or not so fondly, recall today years later? Don’t be afraid to share your story with the congregation.    Contact Rev. Bill (minister@channing.org) or Judie Porter for more information and volunteer to be a speaker


Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary followed by Fellowship Coffee Hour in the Parish Hall

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

 Sunday, January 1: Brunch and a Few New Year Thoughts

This Sunday we will celebrate the start of a New Year with a Channing Church New Year’s bunch at 10:00 in the Parish Hall.  Bring some food (do you have a New Year’s specialty?) to share. After we eat Rev. Bill will lead us in reflecting on a new year. We will also play a Resolution Game – come up with a resolution you think some world leader might make (serious, not so serious, outrageous)

Sunday, January 8: Music, Music, Music!

Cory Pesaturo

Guest presenter, Cory Pesaturo, is revolutionizing the accordion and accordion performance.  He holds world championships on acoustic, digital and jazz accordion.  In 2017 he became a Guinness world record holder when he played a 32 hour and 14-minute accordion concert.  Cory is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of music in Boston – one of only two accordion graduates.  This service will be a fun and inspiring way to start your new year! An amazing musician and speaker, you’ll want to see him play and hear his talk.  Music starts at 9:30am.

Sunday, January 15: Power, the Three-Part Brain and Personal Agency

Jeannette Bessinger

In my last year of theological study in social change at Starr King School for the Ministry (a UU seminary), my concepts about personal power have transformed. In this service we’ll explore models of power based on elemental archetypes we can actually draw on when we need to show up strong in challenging situations. And we’ll look at some ways we might work with the hardwired functions of our three-part brains to disengage the governors that can disempower us from the inside.

Sunday, January 22: Sixty Years After M. L. King

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Sixty years after Dr Martin Luther King campaigned for racial equality some things have changed, and some things are pretty much the same.  This country continues to struggle with race, but in ways different from what Dr. King was battling.  As our annual tribute to Dr King Rev. Bill will look at the race issues facing us in the 2020s.

Sunday, January 29: Facing Fears            

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Our fears serve a great purpose. The can prepare us to face a threat as adrenaline rushes through our body, so we can physically respond with speed and strength. But sometimes our fears are concerns made up by anxious minds.

UU Navy Chaplain notes that often religious paths can help us cope when we are afraid. Some can give us inner fortitude to charge ahead and some help us cope by cultivating the inner life so our the spirit is strengthened to face anything that happens in the material world.   Rev. Bill will help us look at how to face our various fears.


Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary followed by Fellowship Coffee Hour in the Parish Hall

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

Sunday, December 4: I Can Hardly Wait 

Rev. Bill Zelazny

According to the religious festival calendar we’ve now begun Advent. But what the heck is Advent? It is a time of waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus. But what about us who do not hold to the traditional story of the birth of Jesus in a stable? Rev. Bill thinks that Advent is relevant to all of us.  Today we will talk about what this religious event means in the Christian calendar and how it can also be a symbol for the waiting everyone has to do in their lives.   During the service we will light the first candle of an Advent wreath and learn about the meaning of the candles.

Sunday, December 11: A Gift to Oneself: Looking Back

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The end of the year is a time for reflection. It’s important that we look back and reflect on the past year.  While we all have ups and downs there are a few specific types of memories we should look at which are probably most useful for us to better prepare for the future.  Bill will look at what is suggested as the most useful things for us to reflect on as we get mentally and emotionally ready for the next chapter of our life.

Sunday, December 18: Celebrate the Holiday with Music

The vocal group SummerSong will celebrate the holidays at Channing with music and words about Hannukah, the winter solstice and Christmas.  The words and music will be uplifting, entertaining, and fun, and will include a sing-a-long or two so everyone will get to join in the merry-making.

Saturday, December 24, 5:00PM

Christmas Eve: Reflection and Beauty

Rev. Bill Zelazny,  Janet Grant & Guests

The sanctuary will be decorated, the candles will be lit, the readings assembled, the music ready to be performed all for a beautiful evening service to usher in  Christmas. Our Christmas Eve service is for adults and children with members of Channing Church providing scripture and secular readings, guest musicians, a choir singing modern and traditional anthems, and congregation carol singing, all concluding with the lighting of individual candles and singing Silent Night in the darkened sanctuary.  Come, bring family and friends for our very special Christmas Eve service.

Sunday, December 25: A Day of Rest


Sunday, January 1

A preview: We will hold a breakfast gathering with a short service in the Parish Hall at 10:00 

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary followed by Fellowship Coffee Hour in the Parish Hall

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

Sunday, November 6: What to do When the World had Gone Crazy         

Rev. Bill Zelazny

By nearly every objective measure, the world is a better place than it has ever been in modern history.  So, why does doesn’t it feel that way? It seems as though the world is spinning out of control.  People of all ages are saying and doing stupid things.  So is the world really worse, or is it just that we’re more aware of all of the bad things than ever before?  And, regardless of which it is, what can we do to make our lives seem less like we are living in the world of the Mad Hatter?  Let’s talk about this on the Sunday before the mid-term elections.

Sunday, November 13: Relationships are Essentially a Spiritual Matter

Rev. Bill Zelazny

We are about to enter the annual traditional six weeks with family and friends of merriment and congeniality or tension and potential minefields – the holidays where we are often with many people, some of whom get on our nerves. Let’s take a little while this Sunday morning to think about making and keeping healthy relationships, whether for the holidays or all year.

The second Sunday of the month is our Nonperishable foods collection for local food pantries.

The Social Action Committee (SAC) is pleased to announce our annual Brunch for the Bus will be held following church on Nov 13th.  Come enjoy a delicious brunch with all donations raised going to support bus transportation for four agencies serving the homeless, Lucy’s Hearth, McKinney Shelter, Housing Hotline and Turning  Around Ministries.

 Sunday, November 20: The Discipline and Ethics of Gratitude

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The Rev. Galen Geunerich, senior minister at All Souls Church (UU) in New York City, written that he has a problem with how we often define or describe Unitarian Universalism by emphasizing the secular concept of freedom and not believing in things that orthodox Christianity holds to be true. Rather, he thinks Unitarian Universalism should be defined and described by the term gratitude. Rev Bill thinks this is an interesting perspective and will explore this idea that our faith should be based on the religious idea of a discipline and ethic of gratitude for “all that is our life”

Sunday, November 27: Poetry: Emotions, Memories, Experience

Linda Beall & Others

Poetry expresses emotions, evokes memories, opens the heart to a spiritual or religious experience, or can draw a person into a sensory experience.  Last year’s poetry service on Thanksgiving weekend received so many nice comments that we wanted to do it again this year!  On this Sunday, members of the congregation will share their favorite poems and why those poems are meaningful to them.   Come to a Channing Church Sunday poetry fest.

Poetry readers are welcome. If you are interested in participating, contact Linda Beall

Sunday worship at 10:00am in the Sanctuary

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

 Sunday, October 2: Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table              

Rev. Bill Zelazny

In Psalm 23 we read “ [The Lord} prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemy.” This is a praise psalm about the grace and protection received from God.    Whether or not we believe we are protected by God in our daily living, the reality is that there are mental and emotional enemies – anger, greed, ego and entitlement, intolerance, workaholism and others — that are always waiting to get control us — to get a seat at the table of our life so to speak.  So, come and join Bill at the table to see what guests we probably do not want to invite to sit with us and what we can do to keep them away from our table.

Sunday, October 9: Gaia:  Our Unitarian Universalist Interconnected Web

Rev. Paul Sprecher

The Gaia theory posits the Earth is a self-regulating complex system involving the biosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrospheres and the pedosphere.  The name comes from Gaia, the Greek goddess of the earth – that is, Mother Earth.  And our mother is under relentless attack. 

We can’t fix that all by ourselves — but still, we can each do something, as our Seventh Principle obligates us to do.

 Rev. Paul Sprecher retired from his seven-year ministry at First Parish in Bridgewater in 2021.  Previously, he served as minister at Second Parish in Hingham and as Sabbatical Minister at the Murray Church in Attleboro and Chatham Meeting House.  In other lifetimes, Rev. Paul taught seventh and eighth grade US History and English for at the Collegiate School for Boys in New York City and later as Vice President for Technology at the American Stock Exchange.

 The second Sunday of the month is our Nonperishable foods collection for local food pantries.

Sunday, October 16: I’m Here for You….Kinda

Rev. Bill Zelazny

“I am here for you no matter what you need.”  We may say something like this when a friend or family member is going through a rough patch. But relationships are complicated, and we may not be ready to mentally or physically take on such a commitment, or maybe we. We just need to be truthful to ourselves and others. This Sunday, let’s take a look at the complexity of relationships and our feelings about them.

Sunday, October 23: What Does it Mean to be Human?

Rev. Bill Zelazny

This is probably one of the major “ultimate questions” we have about life.   Jumping off from an  essay on this topic by the Rev. Owen Peterson, Bill will reflect on this question and they will ask you about your thoughts on this topic during a Congregation Conversation in the service.

Sunday, October 30: I’m Not Who You Think I Am

A. O. Gutierrez

The ancient Celts divided the year into two halves, the light half and the darker half, and held four celebrations to mark the changing seasons.  Of these four sacred times, Samhain was perhaps the most significant as it is thought to have represented the Celtic New Year.  Through music and words, our guest speaker, A. O. Gutierrez, will talk about the fairy faith, mostly in Ireland, and its relation to modern beliefs.


No Service Sunday, September 4th.  Enjoy a Labor Day Weekend outing or picnic!


Sunday, September 11: UUs are Called to be Priests and Prophets                      

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams believed all Unitarians (Unitarian Universalist) were called to be “priests” – honor and celebrate the spirit for ourselves and others —  and to be prophets – call forth and point the way for people to bring justice to all.  Although we may have heard this before, let’s use this first service of the new church year to revisit summons of our faith. 

Everyone is invited to bring a token from their home – a flower, a leaf, a pebble, a house picture or other small item — to place on our celebration table to represent the bringing together or our secular and our religious worlds.

Picnic time!   After the service we will have our traditional annual “start-of-the-year” picnic in Touro Park (the Parish Hall if it is raining). Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share, or if you prefer, bring a personal box lunch.

On this opening Sunday we celebrate being back together with music by special musical group Home Brew.  Music will start at 9:30 with a pre-service concert.   Bring a friend to enjoy the music and engage in our service.

Sunday, September 18: Everyday “Holy” Spaces

Rev. Bill Zelazny

A quiet spot in the park, our house, the family summer cabin, our flower garden, the church sanctuary are places that have become sacred or “holy” to us.  These special places shape and our spirit and affect our soul.  This Sunday, Rev. Bill will explore the spirituality of space.

This sermon is a lead into a Learning Center program about special spaces in and around Newport and Channing Church.  See the article on Page 6 for more information.  Invite a friend to the service and the TLC program to learn about the power of space.  

Enrollment for the 2022-23 children faith development program will take place after church in the Parish Hall

Sunday, September 25: Our Life Should Preach More Loudly than Our Lips Rev. Bill Zelazny

The title is a quote from William Ellery Channing.  This sermon is a reflective pause for us to consider what this means, and what it takes for a person’s life to bring a positive message to the world. 




Summer Worship Service Break:  Summer recess – no Sunday services June 26 – July 31. 


Sunday, August 7: The Spirit is Moving

Rachel Balaban

The service will take place in Touro Park, weather permitting. Alternate location will be the Sanctuary.

Gather in Touro Park for our first summer service during which Rachel Balaban will lead us in a series of gentle movement activities to exercise the body and open the mind and heart to the spirit.

Sunday, August 14: Walking Mediation and a Bit of Poetry            

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The service will open at the Portuguese Discovery Monument. Please be at the monument by 9:55 a.m.

Walking meditation is not just moving the legs to get from one point to another. It is an intentional activity where participants observe, reflect, meditate as they move along the path.  Our path will around Brenton Point Park where we can feel the ground, see the flowers, plants and kites, hear and smell the ocean and the sea gulls. We will not talk during the mediation walk.  We will stop occasionally to hear a poem read by a participant.

Congregation members are invited to bring a favorite poem or short inspiration reading.  A recorder, flute, guitar or other similar “light” instrument is also welcome. The service will open at the Portuguese Discovery Monument. We will walk around the Park, weather permitting, stopping occasionally to listen to a poem and spend a few minutes absorbing the environment. The alternate location in the case of rain will be in the sanctuary. (a light sea mist will not cancel the outdoor walk)  Please be at the monument by 9:55.

Sunday, August 21: Stepping out of the Shadow – Talking about Spiritual Experiences

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The service will take place in the Parish Hall

It may not happen often, but when it does, we know it – the moment is different.  We use words such as “swept up,” “caught,” “opened,” “engulfed in something mystical,” “other worldly” to describe the event.  This Sunday, in a small-group type discussion format we will talk about our spiritual experience(s) or particularly moving life events that have happened to us.

Consider these questions before the service: Do you think you’ve had a spiritual experience/ very moving event and where did it happen? Have you feel the presence of the ‘Holy’ and where did it happen?  Have there been times in your life that you could call peak experiences that perhaps opened you to something greater than yourself? Why do we tend to be spiritually shy, that is what make it hard to speak about such experiences or the that ways we connect to the sacred?”

We will meet at 10:00 in the Parish Hall so that we will be able to sit in a circle to talk with each other.

 Sunday, August 28: Lessons Water can Teach Us

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Water can just rest quietly, tumble over cliffs, flow, bubble, crash over the land in a deluge, swirl in an eddy.  But it can also teach us about life.  Today, Rev. Bill will explore an ancient Buddhist teaching about what we can learn from water.  We will meet in the sanctuary.



Sunday Worship in the Church Sanctuary at 10:00am

Masks are recommended for Channing services and activities.

The services are also presented live on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL  and available for viewing afterwards.

 Sunday, June 5: The Good Enough Samaritan

Rev. Dan Hotchkiss

Most of us try to be good people. We engage in acts of kindness and we do our best to be constructive citizens. But the more fully we face up to the scope of our world’s challenges, the more exhausting being good can be. How can we live well enough? 

The Rev. Dan Hotchkiss is a UU minister and author of Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership and a consultant.  He served as interim minister at Channing in 1999–2000.  Over the last 20 years, Dan has consulted with Christian, Jewish, and Islamic leaders in more than 33 faith traditions. Before coming to Channing, Dan managed ministerial placement for the UUA and served parishes in New Haven and Boca Raton. Dan has two adult sons and is active in the Middleboro UU church, where his wife Susan serves as music director. 

Classical guitarist Victor Main will  be performing before and during the service. The special music starts at 9:30am. 

Sunday, June 12: What’s at the Core — The Challenge of Unitarian Universalist Theology

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Launching from an essay by the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, author and past-President at Starr King School for the Ministry, Bill will look at the question is there or not a center of Unitarian Universalism theology If not, then what is there? What might be the value or hinderance of theological pluralism within our faith

This week is our 2nd Sunday Nonperishable Foods Collection to be brought to local food pantries.

Sunday, June 19: Do You Have a Question for Me?

Rev. Bill Zelazny

This Sunday will be a service of spontaneity, creativity and collaboration.  It’s our annual “question box” sermon when we will have a Q & A conversation focusing on questions that come from congregation about 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’ll make one up. Actually, he will do some research to get an answer.  As is often said, the is no such thing as a stupid question. If we do not know something, then a question is in order.  Come to see what develops this Sunday.

Summer Worship Service Break:  June 26 – July 31

Summer recess – no Sunday services. Services will resume Sunday, August 7th with four interesting and unique services, both outdoors and indoors.

Watch for information in the Summer July/August Catalyst!


Sunday Worship in the Church Sanctuary at 10:00am

Masks are recommended for Channing services and activities.

The services are also presented live on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL  and available for viewing afterwards.


Sunday, May 1: Unbecoming Who You Are Not

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Albert Schweitzer once said, “The path of awakening is not about becoming who you are. Rather it is about unbecoming who you are not.”  This is the first sermon of a two series about different aspects of beauty.  Bill will invite us this Sunday to consider what it may mean for us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to waken to the beauty of who we are.

Sunday, May 8: To Make Life Beautiful for Others

Rev. Bill Zelazny

This is the second message of our series on aspects of beauty.  In the midst of the beauty of blooming flowers and budding trees let’s pause to consider how we can add beauty to our lives by making life beautiful for others.

We will hold a flower communion during the service where each person attending will receive a flower representing the beauty of each one of us.

 This Sunday is our 2nd Sunday Nonperishable Foods Collection

Sunday, May 15: What Gives Life Meaning   

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Psychologists and philosophers’ contend that seeking happiness for purely happiness’ sake can be fleeting and disappointing. It’s having meaning and purpose in life that leads to happiness. Medical researcher, Jorunn Drageset, posits that there are four main experiences that encourage meaning and purpose in life.  Bill will take a look at these and other idea of about what gives life meaning.  Maybe you’ll find the answer you’ve been seeking.

Sunday, May 22: Choir Sunday!!!

This year’s service will be a celebration of coming back together, of joy and fun.

The Choir is ready to sing some of your favorite music – songs that will put a smile on your face and in your heart.

This is Channing’s annual service of music and inspirational thoughts. 

Be sure to attend! 

Sunday, May 29: What Food Can Teach Us About the Nature of Life

Rev. Jeannette Bessinger

As humans, our relationship to food is multi-layered and complex. It’s a source of both ongoing challenge and deep fascination and pleasure. Eating is a lifelong conversation between food, or its lack, and our tissues, energy, hormones, feelings, thoughts, culture, core beliefs, history – and trajectory. It can be lifesaving, banal and mindless, or even a place of powerful spiritual practice. Join us for a Sunday morning’s exploration of food and life.



Sunday Worship in the Church Sanctuary at 10:00am

Masks are recommended for Channing services and activities.

The services are also presented live on the CHANNING YOU TUBE CHANNEL  and available for viewing afterwards.


Sunday, April 3: Faith-An Act of Cosmic Defiance

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Author and songwriter, Nice Cave, once said faith as an “act of cosmic defiance, of subversive optimism, of unconditional and insubordinate love.” Rev Bill will look at this notion, that having faith in ourselves and in our lives when the universe is indifferent to us and perhaps even seems to be seems to standing against is the greatest act of courage and beauty a human can perform.

Sunday, April 10: Church and the Challenges of Today

Rev. Bill Zelazny

The church, writ large, and our church face a lot of challenges in today’s world and culture.  This Sunday, a few days before the dinner in Jerusalem with 13 men that is considered in the Christian world as that founding of the ”church” Bill will discuss the issues facing the church and us today and how we might respond.

The 2nd Sunday of the month we collect nonperishable foods for local food pantries. Items can be left in the “SAC Donations” bin in the back of the church.

Sunday, April 17: UU Version of Atonement

Rev. Bill Zelazny

Christians understand Jesus’ death and resurrection as the way sinful humans were reconciled with the divine God.  Orthodox theology teaches Jesus’ death was atonement for humankind’s sins.   UU however understand the concept of atonement a bit differently.  Universalist minister, Hosea Ballou, presented his theology in the early 19th century, that became the Universalist and subsequently Unitarian Universalist perspective with his Treaties on Atonement.  For his Easter Sunday sermon, Bill will revisit this theological concept of Atonement from our contemporary UU perspective.

Prior to the service we will have the pleasure of a half hour of jazz sponsored by Julie Herrick.  This special music will start at 9:30am.

Sunday, April 24: Celebrating Our Connection to the Earth

We Unitarian Universalists have a vision of a world in which reverence, gratitude, and care for the living Earth are central to the lives of all people.  Each year we renew our focus on protecting the earth with an Earth Day Sunday.  This Sunday our Social Action Committee, through the work of Beth Milham, will bring Jonathan Stone, Executive Director of Save the Bay to our pulpit.  His sermon theme will be waterway pollution especially with plastics.

Our Speaker: Mr. Stone grew up in suburban Boston.  He had degrees from Brown University and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business Administration. He moved to Rhode Island in 1989, and promptly joined Save The Bay as a member. Jonathan enjoys a deep connection to the Bay, where he regularly swims, kayaks and fishes. Taking the helm of Save The Bay has given him a unique opportunity to play a leadership role in protecting Narragansett Bay and inspiring the next generation of Bay stewards.  During his tenure, Save The Bay has successfully challenged ill-conceived and damaging infrastructure projects, sounded the alarm on changing climate conditions, completed dozens of habitat restoration projects, achieved major legislative victories, expanded Save The Bay’s environmental education programs, and strengthened its financial foundation.