Unitarian Universalist Programs
(short descriptions)
by Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd


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    Connie Barlow's Sermon Topics

Michael Dowd's Sermon Topics

Michael's 90 minute presentation

Order of Service & Hymns

♦ Request for Home Hospitality

BIOGRAPHIES to introduce us


Connie Barlow's Sermon Topics


♦ "Stories Big and Small"

  • 20 to 25 minute Sunday sermon

       Suggested description for publicity for SUNDAY SERMON:
    Science writer and UU Connie Barlow will survey how stories big and small — from the evolutionary epic given by science to the stories of hardship borne by our ancestors — are crucial for challenging times.

    NOTE: You may wish to build into your Order of Service an opportunity for Connie to also present a 5-minute "STORY FOR ALL AGES" (if it is customary for the children to attend the first part of your service).



  • Rev. Michael Dowd's Sermon Topics


    ♦ "Religion 3.0: The Evidential Reformation"    (
    audio of sermon presented June 2014 at UU Durango CO)

    Suggested description for publicity for Sunday morning sermon:

    Human cultures have always looked to collective intelligence for discerning facts and values. Is religion up to the task of integrating the best sources of evidence available today?

    Rev. Michael Dowd is the author of the bestselling, bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution, which was endorsed by 6 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, along with noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum.


    ♦ "Climate: The Great Reckoning / Homecoming"    (audio of sermon presented at UU Youngstown OH)

    Alternative title: "Big History As the Great Story — and why that matters in a warming world"; watch VIDEO of this sermon, delivered Nov 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, VA.

    Suggested description for publicity for Sunday morning sermon:

    Michael Dowd draws upon "legacy consciousness" to encourage a commitment to "get right with reality."

    Rev. Michael Dowd is the author of the bestselling, bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution, which was endorsed by 6 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, along with noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum.


    ♦ "Ecology Is the New Theology"

    Suggested description for publicity for Sunday morning sermon:

    Religion, Dowd claims, has always been about helping people collectively to live in "right relationship to reality." Given today's science-based knowledge and the magnitude of humanity's challenges, ecology is necessarily the new theology and the interdisciplinary study of "big history" is the new Genesis. Those who fail to understand that evidence is modern-day scripture, and that the world we live in is an honorable world, betray the future in the most egregious of ways.

    Rev. Michael Dowd is the author of the bestselling, bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution, which was endorsed by 6 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, and by religious leaders across the spectrum.

        30-min SERMON VIDEO:
    "Ecology Is the New Theology"

    In February 2013, Rev. Dowd presented a guest sermon at the UU congregation in Santa Fe, NM.

    Also available in audio format.


    NOTE: You may wish to build into your Order of Service an opportunity for Michael to also present a 5-minute "STORY FOR ALL AGES" (if it is customary for the children to attend the first part of your service).




       

    templates for
    PUBLICITY FLIERS

     

      

     
    Free follow-up multi-media presentation by Michael Dowd
    (90 minutes, for a weekday evening)

    The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness

    DESCRIPTION: Science and religion are not enemies; indeed, they must work together if humanity is to survive the 21st century. Given our impact on Earth's climate, the seas, and other species, humanity is about to experience what could be called The Great Reckoning. The good news is that this will also be The Great Homecoming: the prodigal species coming home to Reality. This presentation will focus on 6 points of agreement held in common by tens of millions of religious and non-religious people across the globe — and how to stay inspired in the face of changing climate and other large-scale challenges.

    ALTERNATE DESCRIPTION: We each have experienced times of trouble that threaten to overwhelm our individual lives. In such times, a vision of possibility is essential. The same holds for the punctuations in history when whole societies face troubles of an immense and uncharted variety. Truly, we have arrived at such a time. Humans, unwittingly, have become a planetary force. We are changing irreversibly the very climate of our world. Henceforth, any actions we take as individuals and societies will be done in the new light of climate change. What vision will carry us forward and inspire us to work together? How shall we frame the need to shed our business-as-usual outlook on life and take on a new vision of possibility that can unite us as a species in joyful self-sacrifice and service? What vision will charge us with a sense of heroic purpose that the future is indeed calling us to greatness?

    Rev. Michael Dowd is the author of the bestselling, bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution, which was endorsed by 6 Nobel laureates and other science luminaries, along with noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum.
     

      


    PUBLICITY PHOTOS      ♦ TEMPLATES FOR PUBLICITY FLIERS


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    "When I first corresponded with Michael over a year ago, I felt certain our congregation would not support a follow-up workshop. Was I ever wrong! People were so inspired and energized on Sunday morning that the workshop on Monday evening was packed. Michael was incredible! I don't recall ever having such a positive response from such a wide diversity of church members." — Barbara Clark, Chair of Religious Education Committee, UU Congregation of Green Valley, AZ




      

    Click for a recommended UU Order of Service.


    Click for BIOGRAPHIES to introduce us at UU events.

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    ORDER OF SERVICE COMPONENTS

    Suggested Hymns and Chalice Lighting

        

    UU hymns we love:

  • #021 For the Beauty of the Earth
  • #331 Life Is the Greatest Gift of All
  • #360 Here We Have Gathered
  • #309 Earth Is Our Homeland
  • #301 Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky (especially for "Death" program)
  • #163 For Earth Forever Turning
  • #123 Spirit of Life (our preferred way to end a service)
  • #203 All Creatures of the Earth & Sky (only verses 1 - 3)
  • #343 A Firemist and a Planet
  • #298 Wake Now My Senses
  • #175 We Celebrate the Web of Life
  • #6  Just As Long As I Have Breath (to accompany the "Death" sermon)
  • #331 Life Is the Greatest Gift of All (to accompany the "Death" sermon)
  •   

    Hymns NOT to choose: Other hymns are perfectly serviceable with our programs, so if none of these work with your congregation, feel free to choose others. However, please do NOT choose Hymn #207, "Earth Was Given As a Garden", as it is very earthy but jars with an evolutionary framework. Also, do not select Hymn #174, "O Earth, You Are Surpassing Fair," as it is a very pessimistic dirge.

    Suggested CHALICE LIGHTINGS: (choose among them)

  • We light this chalice as a symbol
    of our connection to the stars in the sky,
    to the warmth and light of the Sun
    and of our own bright place in the Universe.
      — by Sarah Skovlund and Cindy Johnson, Redwood City CA UU Fellowship

  • We light this chalice in deep respect
    for the mystery and holiness of life;
    in honor and gratitude for those who have gone before;
    with love and compassion for those who dwell among us;
    and with hope and faith for the generations to come
      — by Rev. Ken Jones

  • We call upon the power which sustains the planets in their orbits, that wheels our Milky Way in its 200 million year spiral. We call upon this power to imbue our personalities and our relationships with harmony, endurance, and joy. Fill us with a sense of immense time so that our brief, flickering lives may truly reflect the work of vast ages past and also the millions of years of evolution whose potential lies in our trembling hands."
      — by John Seed, Australian deep ecologist

  • May the fire that has illumined the Universe since the beginning, and lit up the stars, ignite a flame of possibility in our hearts and minds today.
      — by Connie Barlow

  • Other Elements of the Order of Service

  • Because we prefer to be formally introduced before appearing at the podium or pulpit, we suggest the service leader read the Opening Words. Click here for our suggestions for Opening Words, categorized by each of our sermon titles.

  • If your congregation includes the children for the first part of the service, please know that each of us enjoys doing a 5-minute STORY FOR ALL AGES while the kids are still there.

  • We like to do a "Reading" (a very short quotation) of our choice just before the sermon (or sometime after opening words). Just list "Reading" in the order of service, and we will decide on one to match whichever sermon topic is used.

  • We enjoy doing the Closing Words.

  • Especially if our biography is not included in the Bulletin handed out with the Order of Service, then please draw from Connie's or Michael's short biographies to ensure that she or he is introduced during the Announcements or Welcoming part of the service.

  • Generally, whoever in your congregation is in charge of that day's service handles the announcements, "Joys and Concerns" candle lighting ritual, and Offertory — rather than us. Here is a possible way to lead into the Offertory:
    "Unitarian Universalists know that the story of evolution/creation is not yet over. Evolutionary change at all levels — cosmos, planetary, life, culture — will continue into the future, and we humans bear a responsibility for how the story will continue on Earth. In support of our own evolving [fellowship/church/congregation], the offering will now be given and received."

  • Click here for brief BIOGRAPHIES in PDF that can be used to introduce Connie Barlow and/or Michael Dowd at UU events.

    Although Connie doesn't need to be personally involved in Order of Service planning for a regular adult service, she does like to talk personally with whoever is coordinating a Stardust Intergenerational Service or "Death Through Deep-Time Eyes". Contact her by email at:

  • Click to RETURN TO UU Programs Main Page.



         
    Home Hospitality Request

    Click here for a handy list of information on our HOME HOSPITALITY NEEDS. We intend this list to supply prospective hosts with all the information they need to feel comfortable in extending us an invitation.

      



    PUBLICITY PHOTOS


         Click here for a list of
    UU BEST PRACTICES
    that Connie & Michael have come upon
    during their visits to
    UU churches and fellowships.

      



  • Click here to see a 2004 article on Michael and Connie's itinerant Great Story teaching and preaching ministry: "Preachers of a New Pentecost", written by Carter Phipps and published in What is Enlightenment? magazine.

  • Scores of newspaper articles and radio/TV interviews have appeared on our ministry since the publication of Michael's book. You can access these via his book website: ThankGodForEvolution.com.

      

    Praise for Michael's 2008 book from UU ministers      full list of endorsements

  • "This is a book I would gladly (and securely) recommend, not only to members of my own humanist-inclined congregation but to my evangelical relatives as well!" — REV. MICHAEL SCHULER, SENIOR MINISTER, FIRST UNITARIAN SOCIETY OF MADISON

  • "Michael Dowd's marvelous use of scientific information, religious metaphor, humor, and sheer delight in his subject(s) carries us to new places where evolution and the deep stories of religion converge. His book is a gift for our time." — REV. LAUREL HALLMAN, SENIOR MINISTER, FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH OF DALLAS

  • "Dowd has given us a bridge across one of the major chasms of our times: religion and evolution. His passion for both science and religion is contagious. Reading his book, one can see that the discourse itself has just evolved to a whole new level!" — REV. MARLIN LAVAHNAR, SENIOR MINISTER, ALL SOULS UNITARIAN CHURCH, TULSA
  •    Rev. MICHAEL DOWD, a former pastor and author of Thank God for Evolution, and CONNIE BARLOW, an author of popular science books, embody the marriage of religion and science as husband and wife. They view themselves as emissaries of a worldwide ecumenical movement that draws from the contemporary wisdom of those on the growing edge of science and meaning.

  • brief UU BIOGRAPHIES for introducing Michael or Connie at UU events

  • Michael Dowd's biography and publications list.

  • Connie Barlow's biography and publications list.

  • PUBLICITY PHOTOS.
  •     

    New Dimensions Radio interview
    with Michael / Connie

      

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    WWW www.TheGreatStory.org