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Rev. Art Severance

Rev. Art Severance has just retired after almost 30 years in Unitarian Universalist ministry and is available for preaching as well as for performing folk concerts or coffeehouses, Workshops, Adult Ed Courses, Pastoral Counseling, Weddings, Memorial Services, Child Dedications, Animal Blessings at standard Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministerial rates. He is open to traveling (for travel expenses), so distance is not an issue, except in the dead of winter.

I preach about a variety of topics—spirituality, politics/social justice, world religions, UU history and present, church dynamics/the challenge of change, psychology and counseling, the liberal religious search, the many spiritual/religious/ psychological meanings of the holidays, and especially about love/compassion and the building of "beloved community." I have served congregations in PA, NJ, CA, CO, TX, NY, and OH for almost 30 years. Because I am also a folksinger, songwriter, I often played my guitar and sang as well. At the last 2 churches I've served, I helped start a church coffeehouse where I performed occasionally.

I love to travel, so distance is not an issue, except in the dead of winter, especially if preaching is combined with a workshop or concert.

A list of sample titles is below.

You can contact Rev. Severance at aseverance [at] uuma [dot] org

Sermon titles:

  • Is There a Future for UUism? For This Church? -Exploring why UUism is not growing as fast as the "none of the abodes" percentage, and why most of our churches aren't growing.
  • Don't Just Do Something, Sit There; Teachings of the Buddha-When UU's are asked in surveys what they would be if UUism wasn't an option, Buddhism is the first choice!"
  • Spirituality for the Theologically Challenged -I describe myself as a Mystical Humanist on the cusp of Emersonian Natural Theism, but I find some of our folks think that one can't be both rational and spiritual; I disagree and so does Emerson.
  • Merging the Heart and the Mind: Finding Our Center (Reflections form the 50th Anniversary of the Merger-2011)-Universalism was often thought of as the heart and Unitarianism as the mind, so how have we changed since the merger in 1961?
  • Finding the Religious Common Denominator-A look at the commonality in various world religions.
  • Universal Ethics-Keep God Out of It-One does not need a God to be good; in fact, belief in a certain type of God often makes universal ethics impossible.
  • If Men Are Mars & Women Venus, UU's are From Pluto-Exploring relationships, gender, communication, based on John Gray's popular book of a similar title.
  • A Liberal Look at the Bible for UU's-It's often difficult for UU's to keep their traditional open mind when it comes to the Bible, yet much of Western literature and culture is based on it.
  • Family Therapy for the Holidays -While I have many different sermons on the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Xmas (the "x" stands for the unknown), this one has to do with "family dynamics," and how sometimes the holidays hurt.
  • How to Shop for a Church-August and January are traditional "church-shopping" times; what are people looking for?
  • Stages of Faith-Psychology of Belief -A kind of "Psychology of Religion 101." "The Tao of Church"-I often feel that UUism and Taoism have many similarities.
  • Why We Sainted Emerson and Why We Shouldn't Have- I think that most of us and our congregations are really Emersonian Transcendentalists; what's wrong with that?
  • The Theology of Mark Twain, who said-Faith is believing what you know ain't so- a sermon of Mark Twain's words.
  • Illness, The Story of Job, and Why Prayer May or May Not Help - What helps during serious illness if you don't believe in God?

2 Hour Folk Music Concert/coffeehouse, Guitar, Piano-original and traditional

Adult RE courses or Workshops- Courses usually six 2 hr sessions: some could be workshops

  • History of UU Beliefs(Past and Present)
  • Brief History of Unitarian Universalism
  • A Liberal Look at the Bible
  • Toward Spirituality
  • Grief workshops
  • UU Gospel Music
  • Exploring Spirituality using the book Spiritual Literacy, edited by Frederic and Mary Brussat

Video based

  • Courses based on "The Teaching Co." Video college level courses-usually I do 2 hour segments-1/2 hour video lecture, 1/2 hour leading discussion, then another 1/2 lecture and another 1/2 hour discussion.
  • "Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism," "Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know";“Comparative Religion” "World Religions, (5 separate courses-Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Religions of China,Religions of India)"; "History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon" ;"The Historical Jesus"; "Into to Old Testament"; "New Testament"; "The Bible and Western Culture"
  • 2 courses using Bill Moyer's Interviews: (View video, then discuss) 1.With Huston Smith “The Wisdom of Faith”(Comparative religion) 2. Joseph Campbell on Mythology
  • "What UU’s Believe: Living Principles for a living Faith(Principles and Purposes)"

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For more information contact cer@uua.org.