Our Greetings to You
Welcome to the web site of the Universalist National Memorial Church, "a liberal Christian church in the heart of the city." We hope to answer your questions, spark your curiosity, and encourage you to visit with us in person.
Our church building is at 16th and "S" Streets, NW, where the Washington, DC neigborhoods of Dupont Circle and Logan Circle meet. Sunday worship starts at 11 a.m.
Without much thinking, you could rattle off all of the things for which you are thankful. Go ahead! Speak out a few! Most people believe that rolling hills, beans in the pot, good health, family - and you could continue for a while - are all thankworthy. But how often do you think of those experiences that are devastating, earth-shattering, or mind-numbing? Have you ever given thanks for a heart attack, cancer, an accident, drug use ... or being shipwrecked, being flogged, or in prison? The list could be lengthy, but the Apostle Paul says, "If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness."
I sat in amazement as I listened to an old friend tell me how thankful he was that he was the one in the family who had to have his bladder removed, that he had lost a leg, that he had a colostomy and several other procedures and illnesses from which the rest of his family was spared. He was grateful for those experiences because they brought him to God and because the other individuals in his family did not have to suffer as he had.
It is very easy for me to grumble and complain. As I examine my past, I am able to identify those occurrences that were very difficult at the time. However, with some time perspective, I can realize the hand of God in them - and I give thanks. God used them for my good.
~ Shalom - and a happy Thanksgiving to you, Pastor Jim
What Do We Really Mean by Love?
Sermon preached by David Burton on February 24, 2013
Here at UNMC, as in most Christian churches, love is mentioned often. For example, engraved in stone on the sanctuary wall behind me are the words from the First Epistle of John "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." In the three synoptic gospels, Jesus enunciates the two great commandments. First, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" and, second, "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." These commandments have clear antecedents in the Torah. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
My task this morning is to more closely examine what we mean by love -- what love is and what it is not. This is a broad and complex topic - more multi-faceted than is usually articulated from liberal Christian pulpits. I assure you with absolute certainty that I am not going to be able to do the subject justice. And, as is virtually certain, in our liberal Church, that you will disagree with some things I say. But I would like to think I can at least provide some food for thought.
I want to make two fundamental points this morning. First, love is a duty or an obligation. Duty is word not spoken too often from contemporary UU pulpits and our religious tradition is the poorer for it. Second, love, properly understood, is complex and complying with this new commandment is not susceptible to simple rules or a one-dimensional or monochrome understanding. Understanding love is an exploration - a life-long exploration in fact. Understanding the duty that we owe to others, to God and, in a sense, to ourselves is the central question of how we ought to live our lives.
December forums: Atheism & Pacifism
Mark your calendar for two fascinating events in December at UNMC:
Saturday, Dec. 7, 7-9 pm - Religious Faith vs. Atheism
Deacon Perry King of UNMC and Don Wharton of DC Region Atheists and Washington Area Secular Humanists will confront the opposing views and explore areas of common ground that might form a basis for shared action.
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2:30-5 pm - Pentecostal Pacifism with author Jay Beaman
In the period leading up to World War I, Pentecostal and Holiness denominations held views on non-violent resistance similar to those of Adin Ballou, Unitarian and Universalist minister and founder of the utopian Hopedale community. During the war, a large segment of conscientious objectors came from these denominations. After the war, though, the denominations abandoned these ideals in favor of the principles of just war and nationalism. Join us for a fascinating look at American cultural and religious history as author Jay Beaman discusses his books Pentecostal Pacifism and Pentecostal and Holiness Statements on War and Peace..
Latest round of repairs completed
The scaffolding is down! Waters Craftsmen has finished the job of replacing capstones to prevent future water incursions and has fixed damaged windows. Repairs have also been made to the men's rest room downstairs, and a new thermostat is in the works to help keep the sanctuary comfortable for winter worship.
Come enjoy our beautiful, historic building as it serves not just the congregation but also a variety of national and community non-profit groups!
UNMC bookstore benefits PDF
Through Amazon.com's affiliate program, a small portion of the sales price of any item that you purchase after clicking the link below will benefit the church's Pastoral Discretionary Fund, which the minister can use to address unmet needs of church members and the wider community.
Here's how the Amazon.com affiliate program works:
When you click any Amazon.com link on the church web site, you'll be taken to the appropriate page on the Amazon.com site, and Amazon.com will note that you arrived there from the church web site. Any purchase that you make -- books, music, household items, clothes, etc. -- will result in a small percentage going to the church, designated for the Pastoral Discretionary Fund.