May 2018

Our annual Congregational meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 20th – and you’ll notice a few changes this year. Realizing that there can be a tendency to rush through business so that hungry people can get to lunch quickly, we’re actually going to break for lunch between the end of the worship service (scheduled to end at noon on that Sunday) and the beginning of the annual meeting.

Read More
March 2018

My core theology is this: we need each other. There are things we get from being together in a faith community sharing vulnerabilities, strengths, stumbling, soaring, joys, sorrows, discovering, learning, forgiving, encouraging, learning, and grace -- especially grace -- that don't happen the same way in any other community, in my experience. I think it has to do with expectations, and covenant, and believing in the original blessing of life.

Read More
December 2017

December finds us mid-way through our third year together, and I remain grateful for our shared ministries at Greater Nashville UU. I’ve been reading about gratitude lately, in our personal lives and in our congregational lives, and I was struck by this quote from Peter Steinke’s book, Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach:

Read More
August 2017

As a child growing up in Arkansas, 3 things signified that summer was really, truly here: catching fireflies in old pickle jars (with holes punched in the lids, of course!); sitting on the back porch steps to eat my grandfather's homemade banana ice cream; and endless hours of play, twilight the final call to go inside -- tired, dirty, happy -- for a bath and all our family's good night rituals, including night time prayers, our clean little hands dutifully folded in earnest gratitude for a good day.

Read More
March 2017

        This newsletter arrives a few days into the Lenten season, an important tradition in the Christianity that is a part of our theological heritage, and remains important for many UUs. As The Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells once wrote, “We don’t have to be ‘religious’ or ‘Christian’ to enter into Lent, only human. Since we’re all in that club I invite you to join me in traversing together this season of faith, examination, and hope.”

Read More
January 2017

“Awaken your spirit to adventure; / Holding nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, / For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”

From “For a New Beginning” by John O’Donohu

Read More
November 2016

As we prepared for the 2012 Justice General Assembly in Phoenix, Unitarian Universalist ministers gathered for the 192nd Berry Street Lecture offered by The Rev. Dr. Fred Muir of the UU Church of Annapolis, Maryland (full transcript here: 192nd Berry Street Lecture). Fred’s
lecture, titled “From iChurch to Beloved Community: Ecclesiology and Justice” addressed what he names as our modern “trinity of errors” (a clever reference to the seminal work of Unitarian martyr, Michael Servetus, who challenged Calvin’s Trinitarian doctrine, more info here: Michael Servetus "On the Errors of the Trinity").

Read More
October 2016

Have you ever been trapped in a complaint rabbit hole? Imagine this conversation between friends: I really miss the Wednesday evening dinners we used to have, I wish we could do that again. Okay, me too, any evening will work! But I don’t want to drive at night. Okay, let’s try for breakfast on Saturday morning! But I’m already overcommitted on Saturdays. Okay, how about a Sunday afternoon, after church? But I don’t want to wait around until you’re finished with all of your church activities. Okay, can you think of another option? No. But I really miss the Wednesday evening dinners we used to have, too bad we don’t do that anymore.

Read More
September 2016

On a recent Sunday I preached a sermon, "If Our Church Had a Superpower..." using your responses to an online survey that asked (1) what are the top 3 characteristics of Unitarian Universalists, in your experience, and (2) what superpower you wish for our Congregation....

Read More
August 2016

True story: last week I was on the telephone with a Congregant who was reflecting on our first year together. Just before we hung up she praised the changes that have been happening over the past year: “We’re moving from ‘talking’ to ‘doing’ and that is exciting!”

Read More
Carmen Emerson
July 2016

Principle Reflections - I plan to offer a sermon series on the 7 Principles, for those who’ve asked me specifically about deepening UU identity. Our youth have asked ...

Read More
Carmen Emerson