Services are held every Sunday from 10:30 am - 11:30 am.
Conversation and coffee follow the service. Please join us!
Our services are diverse in their content and style. Services are led by ordained Unitarian Universalist ministers, respected speakers invited from the regional community, or members of the congregation who wish to express their viewpoint on a spiritual or social justice subject. In addition to the main speaker, you may hear a reading, sing a song, listen to a piano piece, hear expressions of joys and concerns, or join in an open discussion of the ideas presented. The topics of each talk are related to our seven principles.
Sunday services on break for summer.
Chautauqua Institution opens its summer programming June 22, 2019. The UU Fellowship of Chautauqua is pleased to present a group of outstanding speakers on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am in the Hall of Philosophy. Here is a link to the schedule.
June 16, 2019
Opening the Circle - with Emily Garrick
Join us for our last service of the church year, where we celebrate all our congregation has accomplished together and ask - What does it mean to be a UU, both inside and outside of our walls?
The Pursuit of Happiness? - with Frank Corapi
Happiness is to most the goal of life. But happiness remains an elusive emotion as is illustrated by epidemic rates of depression and anxiety in the western world. Many don't understand what happiness really is and it has not been studied scientifically until fairly recently. At our core, humans are created with emotions to enhance survival, but most modern people don't worry about that on a day to day basis. For modern humans, positive and negative emotions have become connected to aspects of life far removed from survival and which may offer clues as to why emotions such as happiness remain so elusive.
June 2, 2019
The Power of the Word - with Ron Skowronski
Are words just a bunch of sounds that we have given meaning to or are they so much more? In this reflection on the importance of "right" communication, our speaker will reflect on not just the meaning we have ascribed to words, but why it is so vital to say what you mean and mean what you say in order to understand each other better.
When you say "love," what do you mean? - with Dr. Jeffrey Victor
Dr. Jeffrey Victor, who taught a course in the psychology of intimate relationships at JCC for many decades, will help you understand what you mean when you talk about “love." What is all this “love” talk about? Love between spouses, love between friends, love for neighbors, and love for your country. And, what about love of God and love of chocolate cake? Does the word “love’ refer to a feeling, a way of thinking or a way of behaving? Does it mean anything you want it to mean?
Of Every Person - with Tom Meara
We will explore some our Principles and how they can be used to guide our response to the events and challenges of our everyday lives.
The Wisdom of Women - with Anne Kenefic
Happy Mother's Day! Today is also flower communion! Please bring flowers for the flower communion ceremony. If you want to bring extra for our newcomers, please feel free to do so.
Love Beyond Belief - with Rev. Michelle Buhite
Rev. Michelle Buhite, minister of the UU Church of Amherst and former member of UUCJ will share how Unitarian Universalism is a path of love beyond belief.
We Shall Overcome - with Rev. John Rex
The powerful words of the song inspire us, but we need better communication to attain that end. We Americans live in a culture of white supremacy, and sometimes we lack even a common vocabulary to talk about it or to tell our stories. Let’s work on that together.
Fragility and Resiliency - with Rev. Alison Wohler
This year we will celebrate Earth Day and Easter in the same Sunday service. My service will be an exploration of how well these two approaches to our lives on Earth fit together. We, and all living things, are at once both fragile and strong. It will be so nice to see you again!
Bet the Farm - with Linnea Carlson
We will be discussing the importance of local food and answering the question 'why can't delicious, inexpensive healthy food be available for everyone on Earth?'
Messages Through Music - with Janine Chimera
This Sunday morning will be a musical expression of messages for our times. How do we choose to live during times of challenge? Live music will be used as a means to inspire the longest journey we have, from our heads to our hearts. I will also share a couple of songs written in my own process of that journey.
Holi: The Hindu Celebration of Spring - with Emily Garrick
Holi is a Hindu holiday celebrating the banishment of evil and the coming of Spring. In this sermon, I will talk about the origins of the holiday, as well as my experiences celebrating it in India. Come to learn about the holiday, as well as to hear what lessons we can take from it as UUs.
Science, Religion and Project Blitz - with Renate Bob
Why are some religious conservatives so anti-science, and how does Project Blitz fit into their agenda?
My Life As A Woman Religious - with Anne Kenefic
My story of spending 13 years as a Woman Religious and how it influenced my life.
Friending Life (on Earth) - with Kristin Chambers
Kristin Chambers' January reflection was called "Friending Death." In contrast, for her March reflection, she'll discuss how the values and proposals contained in the Green New Deal align with at least three of our principles and also challenge us to do a better job friending the life of our fragile planet.
From Grass Roots to Fungal Networks - with Rev. Renee Ruchotzke
Using what she learned on her sabbatical about Permaculture, our UUA Primary Contact will share her insights about how lessons from nature can inform how we can live out our vision of Beloved Community.
The Coddling of the American Mind - with Frank Corapi
(based on a book of the same title by famous social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and free speech activist and author Greg Lukainoff)
Good intentions and bad ideas are setting up young adults for a generation of failure. These good intentions run the gamut from a desire to protect our children to the goal of creating strong virtues in them. In the process, we are not teaching them how to face, and embrace, life’s challenges. To use a metaphor, we are creating candles rather than flames. The wind blows out a candle, but makes a flame stronger.
This will also be a New Member Sunday. Any guests interested in signing the membership book can do so during the service on that day. There will also be a potluck lunch following the service on that day.
February 17, 2019
Service is Cancelled Due to Ice
Corporations may not be "People" but they are "Persons" - with Greg Rabb
Mitt Romney was noted for saying that corporations are people. He was wrong. But they definitely are “persons” and have been since the 19th century, long before women were considered persons in American law. The talk will explore how this happened and what effect it has in today’s world.
The History and Uniqueness of the UU Beliefs - with David Winner
We invite all to learn the history of the Unitarian Universalists.
Speaker - Ron Skowronski
Topic to be announced.
January 20, 2019
Service is Cancelled Due to Weather
Friending Death - with Kristin Chambers
This talk will offer a reflection that explores our feelings about being mortal and the opportunity we New Yorkers now have, through Physician Aid in Dying legislation, to make our actual process of dying less frightening and more humane.
Well-Intended Mistakes about Jews - with Jeffrey Victor
The purpose of this sermon is to help us to better understand our Jewish friends and relatives. The sermon corrects some well-intentioned, although mistaken beliefs, about Jews and the Jewish religion. The perspective is that of a sociologist, who can help to clarify the complexities of an unfamiliar culture and religion. Dr. Jeffrey Victor, Professor of Sociology, JCC retired.
All year, a number of dedicated volunteers work to make this congregation what it is. During this service we will take the time to honor the work of our building and grounds volunteers, religious educators, worship leaders, pastoral care volunteers, and many others.
Following the service, we will share a catered meal together.
December 23, 2018
The Enzyme of Faith - with Rev. Steven Aschmann
Christmas Traditions - with Barbara Winner
I will explore some of the more popular traditions associated with the celebration of Christmas, such as the origin of the Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, and the children's favorite, Santa Claus.
Justice Across Borders - with Janet Forbes
For thousands of Central Americans making the dangerous journey north to escape gang violence, gender-based assault, and increased militarization, the road away from danger is paved with injustices. Recognizing the difficulty and duration of this journey - and believing that human rights should be recognized before, during, and afterward - this year's Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Guest at Your Table theme is Justice Across Borders. This service will launch UUCJ's Guest at Your Table campaign.
Please click on the link, below, to watch a video clip from the UUCS for background information about this year's GAYT effort regarding the issue of justice across borders.
Caring for Creation: Seeking Nature's Truths through Science, Philosophy, and Faith - with Becky Nystrom
The exquisitely-wondrous tapestry of Life weaves its ancient story of beauty, mystery, and miracle in the fabric of time and space, and here we are, in the midst of it all. How shall we know this story? Faith, science environmental ethics, and indigenous wisdom provide parallel paths of discovery, as we seek to comprehend the immense complexity of nature's physical realm and experience and steward its sacred revelation of divine creativity. May we more intentionally seek to encounter and experience the wonders of Creation, learn its lessons, receive its blessings, and better care for this precious blue planet and all who dwell upon it, with a heart of gratitude.
What Do You Believe?
Communicating Across the Divide - with Simone Sellstrom
Join us for a conversation about bridging the ideological divide in your relationships. Simone Sellstrom, Assistant Professor of Communication at JCC, will address harmful behaviors we engage in when confronted by opposing viewpoints and helpful strategies we can use to enhance our civil discourse.
Torture is a Moral Issue - with Renate Bob
An informative talk on Guantanamo and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and a review of the restored edition of "Guantanamo Diary" by Mohamedou Ould Sahli.
Recorded Service - with Reverend Alison A. Wohler
This is a previously recorded service from July 2014 held at Chautauqua Institution. The theme of the service is the 7th Principle: Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of which we are a part. It focuses on our environment and preservation of worldly living for all.
The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer - with Dr. Jeffrey Victor
What social forces have increased economic inequality in our country since the 1960s? Why do young people have fewer opportunities today than their parents did in the 1960s? How does economic inequality affect our politics? This issue touches our UU values concerning the equal treatment of all people and our value of democracy. Dr. Jeffrey Victor will try to offer a clear explanation for this complex concern. There will be time for discussion after the sermon. Dr. Victor is a retired professor of sociology from JCC, where he taught for 52 years.
How Current Politics Threaten Our Environment - with Twan Leenders
Twan Leenders, President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, will discuss some of the challenges our natural diversity faces these days, and long-term consequences that may result from the removal, or degradation of long-standing environmental protections. In the current political climate, legal protection of rare species is increasingly difficult to secure. In addition, the critical habitats and the natural resources that these last survivors depend on are now also threatened by political actions.
Do Yourself a Favor - Eat Healthy Food - with Barbara Winner
Many of us today are obese, chronically ill, and slowly dying because of the food we eat. Health care costs continue to climb. Could the culprit possibly be our poor diet? To find out what is healthy, I will explore what the healthiest and longest-lived people in the world eat.
ALICE Families - with Amy Rohler
Nationwide, there are a growing number of individuals and families who are working, but unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation. Amy Rohler, Executive Director of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, will discuss a series of new, standardized measurements, through which United Way is quantifying the size of the workforce in each state that is struggling financially, explore some of the reasons why, and explain how this data is directing United Way's efforts in Chautauqua County.
The Very Real Horror of Involuntary Servitude to Lynching to Mass Incarceration: the New Slavery? - with Greg Rabb
Inspired by recent visits to the newly opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, the service will "draw connections across generations of Americans impacted by the tragic history" and present reality of continued racial inequality. To quote novelist Chester Himes: "The real horror comes when your brain must face the fact that we as a nation don't want it to stop. If we wanted to, we would."
Let's Take a Walk Around Golden Pond - with Ron Skowronski
In this reflection on Henry David Thoreau, Ron Skowronski will reflect on his own struggles to find the God of his own understanding. Thoreau struggled to reconcile himself to such an idea in a world of conflict and pain. He will challenge us to reflect on why this is even more important now than ever before. Once done, one might find the results pretty amazing.
Let's Think Together About Freedom in Religion - with David Winner
This will be an update on a radio broadcast sermon given by Rev. Christopher Raible on April 13, 1958.
Water Ingathering Service - with Anne Kenefic
First service of the fall. Please bring water from your summer travels.
A History of the Welcoming Congregation - with Anne Kenefic and Emily Garrick
This is the last service for the summer. Chautauqua opens.
The Protestant Reformation - A Personal Reflection - with Ruby Wiles
The protestant reformation—What it means to me.
Who Am I Supposed To Be? and Flower Communion - with Anne Kenefic
An exploration of who we are. (Don’t forget to bring flowers)
The Origins of Moral Conscience - with Dr. Jeffrey Victor
Dr. Jeffrey Victor is a former Professor of Sociology at Jamestown Community College, where he taught for 52 years. Jeff Victor has delivered more than 30 sermons to the UU Congregation of Jamestown. This one is his favorite. He uses psychological and sociological research findings to try to answer a fundamental question: Why do some people and not others have a deeper moral conscience, when it comes to a crisis of having to choose between good and evil? The answer may be surprising. It is not any particular religion, not even Unitarian Universalism. It is something deeper than any religion and may even be found in people who have no religion?
The Gender of God - with Emily Garrick
Is God a man, a woman, or something else entirely? We will explore the gender of the divine through the lens of Western religions.
A Cloud of Ancestors - with Rev. John Rex
Today’s technology gives us the means to trace our DNA and to develop a family tree online that may bring us closer to knowing about many of our ancestors and to appreciating our place in the interconnected web of all existence.
If You Are Not in the Obit — Have Breakfast - with David Winner
It has often been said that we are an old congregation. Does that mean we are too old to do anything? Let’s take a look at examples of those who are in their nineties for encouragement on aging.
A Modern Day Quaker Meeting - with Grace Perezdelagarza
Topics to be explored: How/when did Quakers start? What is the origin of the name, Quaker? Evolution of Quaker thought. Different Quaker groups, today. Typical Fredonia meeting for worship.
Grace grew up on a Chautauqua County farm and has lived in Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Canada, and on a Native American Reservation. She is bilingual in Spanish. Grace has worked for American Airlines, Chautauqua Opportunities, Dunkirk Adult Learning Center, tutored for Dunkirk AFL-CIO, and now works for social services. She has been active in three dozen volunteer groups over the past 42 years. After attending various Quaker meetings from 1964-1974, she joined Fredonia Meeting in 1974.
Teachings from a Buddhist Monastery - with Rev. Theresa Kime and Barbara Winner
Spiritual retreats can surprise us and give us unexpected insights. I will share some of mine from a 10 day retreat I once took, led by Pema Chodron and held at Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia.
Art and Our Environment - with Peter Tucker
How can we help to support diminishing species in our local environment? Professor Peter Tucker will introduce an interdisciplinary project that targets five species native to our region. How is this art? The talk will answer that question, too, and printed material will provide information for any of us who'd like to become creatively active in the project. Peter Tucker
is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts & New Media at SUNY Fredonia.
LET’S “TALK STORY” ABOUT HAWAII - with Steve Aschmann
The Islands of Hawaii have a tremendously spiritual culture! The motto of Hawaii comes from King Kamehameha III: "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness." Retired UU minister, Steve Aschmann, will share his cumulative insights from delving into conversations and exposure with friendly Hawaiians from these enigmatic islands. He will share a special focus on the Island of Molokai: "Do not try to change Molokai, let Molokai change you!"
Roll the Stone Away - with Tesni Taylor
Sometimes we need to visit the tomb to remind us of our humanity, but we can get trapped inside. How do we leave again, whole and healthy, rising again to a new day?
A Heretic Reflects - with Rev. Ron Skowronski
In this reflection, Rev. Ron Skowronski will invite us to further consider the impact of religious thought upon civil and cultural progress. He will endeavor to tie together ancient and “modern” points of view. He will also focus on Unitarian and Universalist progress in order to answer his own question, Can one be a “Religious Humanist”… ?
In a spiritual and intellectual journey that has spanned over 40 years, Ron Skowronski has been a candidate for the priesthood for the Church of Rome. He was an ordained Spiritualist Minister for 15 years. He is currently ordained through United Centers for Spiritual Living ( Science of Mind ) and is now and has been associated with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation located in Fredonia, New York for the past 6 years.
Creativity and Transformation - with Rev. Renee Ruchotzke
Congregational life can provide opportunities for growth and deepening as individuals and as communities. How might our congregation work faithfully to co-create such a community?
Rev. Renee Ruchotzke serves NE Ohio congregations as a part of our larger Unitarian Universalist Association. She is our primary contact with the UUA and the region. She serves as dean of the online UU Leadership Institute and blogs at Growing Vital Leaders on the UUA Website. She lives in Kent, OH with her spouse and two cats.
Unfortunately, our recording of the March 18, 2018, service failed. The link, above, is to a podcast that Rev. Ruchotzke says is essentially the same talk that she gave to us.
March 11, 2018
Palestine: “Nakba”- “al Nakbah:” “Tell what you saw” - with Greg Rabb
Nakba or “catastrophe” refers to the 1948 Palestinian exodus when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes following the establishment of Israel in 1948. Greg Rabb will “tell what he saw” as a result of his study tour through the sponsorship of the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) in May 2017.
What's Love Got to do With It? - with Audrey Dowling
An introductory look at Loving Kindness- the science behind it, the religious implications from many religious sources, the benefits, social justice implications and a short simple practice.
February 25, 2018
Food - The Most Basic Social Justice -with David Winner
Having nutritious food is the most ignored social justice. Why is this?
February 18, 2018
Roots & Fruits - with Tesni Taylor
Reaching back to our Roots and our founder, Rev. Townsend, can we build a congregation that is vibrant and Fruitful for the next 133 years?
February 11, 2018
The Gift of Doubt - with Anne Kenefec
Doubt has gotten a bad reputation. This is an exploration of how doubt is good for us and can help us grow.
February 4, 2018
The Most Important Number On Earth - with Donald Dowling
... by Fred Small, it is a talk related to our seventh principle, " The Interdependent Web of Life." As we approach the time of the re-birth of life, we should examine our role in that process.
January 28, 2018
Afraid to Fly, Doomed to Die - with Tony Taylor
January 21, 2018
Reflections of an Octogenarian: Social Justice, the Murals of Maxo Vanka - with Reni Bob
The Persistence of Racism & Spiritual Reparations-Heron Simmons
Racial Justice has to involve addressing the wounds of our violent and oppressive past. We engage in spiritual reparations whenever we seek to respect the other, especially the other with whom we have a history. Consider the recent vandalizing of the Black Lives Matter sign at the Amherst/Williamsville UU Church. Being allies with oppressed peoples is not an empty gesture. It is an opening of the heart to their position in the world and an opportunity to draw nearer to another. The principle underlying this is that it is inherently valuable to be connected with as much of the human family as possible.
Presenter: Heron Simmons-Price, Professor of Political Science, Canisius College; Member of the UU Church of Buffalo
Life in a Cult - with Barbara Winner
What is life like in a high-control cult? My husband and I were in such a group for most of our adult lives. I will outline some of the identifying marks as well as what that means for those on the inside.