where are we going?

28 Mar

Where are we going?  A stewardship sermon by the Rev. Dawn Cooley

Delivered at First Unitarian Church, Louisville, KY on March 18, 2012.

Listen to the sermon here.  Please note, there is an error in the sermon.  I said that the Bowling Green church has twice the pledge budget that First U does.  This is incorrect!

Notes/Outline (which may or may not follow what I said 🙂 )


  • Feels good to give to a good cause – human beings wired biologically for altruism
  • Eggs from story part of a miracle and embody a miracle
    • life just waiting to happen
    • Egg, once fertilized, can only become one thing – where it is going is obvious
    • Not so easy/obvious with a church
  • Where do we come from; what are we; where are we going?
    • November: Where do we come from (soteriology) – what brings us here, keeps us coming back, feeds, nurtures, makes you feel whole?
    • December: What are we? What is our mission in the world? What do we want to incarnate? (missiology)
    • Now: Where are we going?  Our ecclesiology – how do we structure ourselves as a church in order to live out our mission?

What is our mission?

  • Draft: First Unitarian Church is building a compassionate community that values our differences; serving our larger community in love; witnessing for a liberal religion with faith in humanity; guiding ourselves and the next generation in hope, love, and peace.
  • After much feedback, team will be meeting to process and incorporate the feedback you have given this month (not too late to fill out a form by volunteer desk!)
  • Eager to hear!  On the right track.

Our Responsibility to Fulfill our Mission

  • Can’t just write it an forget about it.  Embody it.
  • As we do, it will transform us, and our church community.
  • Capacity to transform the town/world:
    • Ripples from our vote to request minister to not sign marriage licenses last fall
    • Saving influence in people’s lives
  • So many people have described feeling saved by Unitarian Universalism.
  • Thousands of people here in this area yearn for a liberal religious home.
    • Empty space inside they want to fill.
    • Place where truth can be spoken – video last night
    • We are called to be the best we can be, live our mission as fully as possible.
  • What about you?  Has First U been a saving presence in your lives?  Has it been a miracle? If so, shake your eggs.
    • Every-time you hear miracle, shake those eggs!

Practically speaking, how do we fulfill our mission?

  • How do we build a church that is capable of fulfilling our mission?
    • Resources!  Time, commitment, money
  • Budget is a Moral document. It shows what treasure.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson:

A person will worship something–have no doubt about that.

We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts-but it will out.

That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and character.

Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.

  • What are we becoming?  What do we treasure?
  • Dan shared – 12 minutes per day is 2.5%
  • Let us be like an egg – an embodied miracle that knows how to do what must be done, how to become what it must become.
  • Budget reflect our desire to live our mission – not just to fund the building and staff but to bring us into who we can be.
  • For many people, finding First U has been a miracle.  Who else is out there looking for us?
  • Bring a friend Sunday next week – maybe you can help a miracle happen in someone else’s life.

Magnifying our Miracle

  • Theme of our stewardship campaign this year.
  • Dinner last night
  • What are some of our miracles?
    • Staff?
    • Children
    • Youth (it was UU youth that saved me once upon a time)
    • YOU!
  • For so many people, First Unitarian Church is a miracle. I have faith that it could be a miracle for so many more, too.

Faith in Ourselves/Mission

  • Faith in our mission, in who we can be (growing behind the shell, you can’t even tell!)
  • Faith because, in part, I know other churches do it (Bowling Green, smaller, larger budget)
  • Faith in our miracles – each of you!
    • Our feet carry days of old into new: We are moving forward – no turning back.
    • Dreaming shows us the way.
    • Wonderous our faith – GROUND us.
  • Faith that for so many people, First Unitarian Church will be a miracle in their lives.


  • Are we all that we can be right now?  Epitome of First U? Full embodiment of our mission?
  • Still forming, growing.
  • May our stewardship campaign this year remind us of how First U is a miracle in our lives, and may we affirm that lovely altruistic feeling by helping to magnify our miracles so that we can better live our mission as a saving, transforming, miraculous force in peoples lives.

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