Guest in Your Pulpit - Rev. Darrell Berger

Guest in Your Pulpit

Rev. Darrell Berger. I was born east of Toledo, Ohio where the farmland meets the shore of Lake Erie. I was a philosophy major at Vanderbilt University and a preaching major at Vanderbilt Divinity School. My first full-time parish ministry was Red Hill Universalist Church in Clinton, NC (1974-78), then The First Parish in Scituate, MA (1978-89) and The Fourth Universalist Society in New York, NY (1989-99). Half-time consulting ministries at the First Unitarian Church of Essex County, Orange, NJ (2008-14) and The Unitarian Church of Staten Island, NY (2014-19) followed.

CUUPS (the Covenant of UU Pagans) initiated including earth-centered spirituality as our seventh Source. I was a member of its original board of directors. I now identify as a Transcendentalist, which is a pagan in a coat and tie. I am fluent in world religions, humanism and our Judeo-Christian tradition.

The Staten Island church invited me to return from September through December of 2022 to fill a temporary clerical vacancy. I so enjoyed unretiring that I now seek further preaching opportunities.

My primary avocation has been baseball writing. I wrote many columns and book reviews for Baseball Hobby News, the leading baseball memorabilia publication, and two books with former players, Yankee Roy White and Phillie Mitch Williams. I am also an amateur historian of gospel, blues, folk, country and rock music, and a guitar player of modest skill. I live mostly retired in the Poconos in northeastern Pennsylvania with my wife and two dogs. I’d be happy to drive anywhere to and around New York City including north and central New Jersey, eastern PA, Lehigh Valley and the Hudson Valley.

Possible Services

I don’t have a backlog of greatest hits sermons that I repeat. I want to speak with someone from your worship committee about what your congregation needs to hear now. I speak from notes. Sometimes a note might be “resurrection: explain.” Or “origins of arc of history bends toward justice.” My sermons are conversational and vary in style from high rhetoric to humor and informality. Whatever gets the thought or feeling across. Below are the sermons I delivered at The Unitarian Church of Staten Island in the fall of 2022. I had fun creating them and they were well-received.

  • Transcendentalism and the Civil War, which helps people understand UU role in Abolitionism and how todays' situation does and does not reflect previous conflicts.
  • If We make it through December. Based on a holiday song by Merle Haggard from 1973. It is about hard times, families and how Oakies from Muskogee are not dumb and ignorant.
  • That’s Why they Play’em. A quote from baseball manager Sparky Anderson: the outcomes of history were not assured and the future not determined. We are players in our national story, not fans.
  • Think Outside the Pew. Many churches, including UU, are experiencing dwindling membership and resources. Our future lies in a thorough revisioning of what a congregation is and does.
  • Witch Hunt. There are two kinds. One is a false accusation of the innocent. The other is the patriarchy hunting strong women. Today we have both.
  • The MTA. The hit folk song from 1959 was about a real political contest that resulted in the very first red-baiting before Joe McCarthy, when teachers took loyalty oaths and being gay got you fired. Will we ever return to those days?
  • Prisoners. I first visited a prison in 1973 and continued throughout my ministry. Here are some of the people I met.
  • O Come Emmanuel. Emmanuel means “god with us.” What does it mean to have God with us?
  • The Passion of Frosty. Frosty was my first exposure to the possibility of reincarnation and also to the Golem, the superman of the earth who is created to protect the Jewish community. I have an old photograph of my dad and I standing proudly by our own Frosty.

These topics were developed specifically for a particular congregation and a particular time. The sermon I develop for your group will be similarly created.

Availability: Will travel 100 miles one way from Dingmans Ferry, PA. Available in Fall, Spring, Summer, or willing to provide virtual services.

Contact: Email Rev. Darrell Berger at