Identity: Whole and Holy by Rabbi Maralee Gordon

On Sunday February 5, 2017 retired Rabbi Maralee Gordon presented the sermon Identity: Whole and Holy at Tree of Life exploring the wisdom of Hillel the Elder and the words “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” Click on the link below to read her inspirational sermon.

Rabbi Maralee Gordon’s Sermon

 

 

 

Heading Toward Hope and Healing

Sunday October 2, 2016

Rev. Sean Dennison

Life is a journey and sometimes we travel together and sometimes we travel apart. The most important thing is to keep moving toward hope and healing. In his last sermon as minister of Tree of Life, Rev. Sean will celebrate how far we’ve come and wish us well.

The House That Music Built

By Rev. Sean Parker Dennison

Once upon a time, there was a congregation. It had been around for many years, 150 to be exact, and in that time it had a lot of names and did a lot of work, and sometimes it thrived and sometimes it struggled. In the times that it thrived, buildings were built and good works were accomplished, and sermons were preached, and people were happy.  And in the times that it struggled, there were always people who kept on, doing what they could to keep the building from falling apart, helping with Sunday services, and holding onto hope. And every time the congregation struggled, it also grew stronger, more tenacious, and eventually, more loving.

Through all this, there was one constant. The people of the congregation loved music. They sang and they played and they listened and they learned and they loved the music that came from their own hearts and they loved the music that they made for each other. Not only that, they offered whatever music they could to those outside the congregation, and they did it in a way that spread music and love and justice beyond their own walls.

They became a Paradise people, committed to bringing a little bit of heaven right down to their tiny corner of this earth. They worked hard, they practiced hard, they had fun, and music held them together. The walls of the congregation rang with music and the hearts of the people were full of music: from the saddest songs that made them cry to the ones that made them laugh and shout and smile and dance together through times of folly and times of fantastic success.

When nothing else was going well, they relied on music to restore them, to keep them connected and to keep them going. They found amazing musicians to lead them, to teach them new songs, to show them how to practice, how to lay aside their differences and sing together, to create harmony.

They learned that music was not just something for fun, not just an extracurricular activity, but was the core of who they were when they were at their best, a way to build relationships that sustained them all, a way to BE the congregation they wanted to be. In a real way, the congregation was made of music: of the songs, but also the singing; of the way they worked together, even when things sometimes went wrong.

Together, they sang. They played. They listened. They learned. They composed and arranged and soloed and jammed and invited everyone to come, be a part of the music. Come to the coffee house, to Cabaret Church, to choir practice, to the concerts, and come every Sunday, to sing the hymns, to listen to the offertory, to soothe and encourage and uplift the soul.

In each generation, the congregation learned a new song. A new leader came forth and showed them the way. In a very real way, music held the congregation together and helped it thrive. Today, we are not the house that only one person built. We are the house that music built. So when you see someone here that has made your heart sing, has built this congregation with their commitment, talent, and hard work, who has played an instrument, or run the sound system, or sung a song, remember that they are part of what built this congregation, they are a part of the house that music built.  Take a minute and tell them thank you.

Bridge to Hope (AIM)

Sunday June 12, 2016 10:45am

Please join the AIM Committee and Intern Minister Michelle Lattanzio as we explore the role of faith communities in building “Bridges to Hope.” In this service, we will examine the ways in which our faith can help hold people dealing with mental illness and their families and friends in grace and love, and the sources of hope and healing we can extend to our beloved community. We hope you will join us for a supportive and informative worship experience! We will also take our Second Sunday offering for Environmental Defenders.

Tis a Gift

Sunday June 5, 2016 10:45am with Rev. Sean Dennison

Today’s service will honor our Music Director, Thomas Steffens, as he prepares to retire after 26 years of service to the congregation. We will celebrate Tom’s talent, gifts, and dedication and how they have helped Tree of Life thrive. After the service we will celebrate with a potluck lunch (please bring a prepared dish to share). Members are asked to stay for our Annual Congregational Meeting where we will elect our new officers and approve a budget for the 2016/17 fiscal year.