LGBT Courage

“The Courage to Be Yourself,” Bob Ryder

This morning as we continue our series on “What does it mean to be a people of courage?” we’ll consider the courage of LGBT people as part of the observance for LGBT history month, and National Coming Out Day this past Thursday.


CNN AC360:  (CNN Published on Jun 26, 2015) [Read more…]


“What Does it Mean to be a People of Courage?” Susan Ryder

Luke 18:1-5
Then Jesustold them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”

Galatians 6:9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. [Read more…]

Keep Democracy Alive

“Keep Democracy Alive,” Bob Ryder


The (purpose) of the state… is to lead men to live by free reason; that they may not waste their strength in hatred, anger and guile, nor act unfairly toward one another. — Benedict Spinoza [Read more…]

Known in the Breaking of the Bread

“Known in the Breaking of Bread,” Richard Watts

I begin with a story from the early years of New Covenant Community.  [Read more…]

Days of Awe

“The Days of Awe,” Susan Ryder

Leviticus 23:26-28 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Now, the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you: you shall deny yourselvesand present the Lord’s offering by fire; and you shall do no work during that entire day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.

Matthew 5:23-24 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sisterhas something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,and then come and offer your gift. [Read more…]

That New Car Smell

“That New Car Smell,” Bob Ryder


“The journey is the destination.” Anonymous proverb

“If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb [Read more…]

The End?

“Life’s Big Questions – The End?” Susan Ryder

Mark 3:1-6 Jesus went to the synagogue and a man was there with a withered hand. They watched Jesus to see whether he would cure the man on the Sabbath, so that the Pharisees could accuse him. Jesus told the man to come forward. Then he said to his detractors, ‘What is lawful on the Sabbath – to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?’ The Pharisees were silent, and he looked at them with anger for their hardness of heart.  So he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ The man stretched it out, and his hand was instantly restored. The Pharisees went out and conspired with the Herodians to destroy him. [Read more…]


Joint Worship Service with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal
Sunday, August 19, 2018

After remarks from Rev. Mary Moore, Susan Ryder shared these thoughts:

I might as well point out the obvious as I begin my remarks – the word Covenant has a prominent place in the name of our congregation. When our founding mothers and fathers first came together in 1991 to consider forming this congregation, they were very thoughtful in their discernment about what to call this new kind of spiritual community they were birthing. Referencing the covenant between God and humanity from the Old Testament, and the new covenant offered and mediated by Jesus in the sharing of the bread and cup in the New Testament, Gwen Pruyne suggested that the word “covenant” be part of our name. Sharing that a covenant is a promise, a vow, made between individuals and groups of people, Gwen thought covenant was an ideal description of the promise those original 12 founders were making to one another as they created what became this progressive Christian community. Part of that covenant was that they would serve the larger community, as well as each other, by honoring and sharing the teachings and mission of the radically inclusive and compassionate historical Jesus. They made a promise to work together toward a common goal – not one based on a set of creeds they agreed to, but based on a vision that bound them, and those of us who joined later, on the journey forward. [Read more…]

Meaning of Life

Life’s Big Questions: A Meaning of Life OR The Meanings of Life,” Bob Ryder


Q. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.(Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Norman Maclean – “A River Runs Through It ‘Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me… “Norman, you like to write stories.” And I said, “Yes, I do.” Then he said, “Someday, when you’re ready… you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why.”‘ [Read more…]

What is Truth?

“Life’s Big Questions: What is Truth?” Bob Ryder

John 18:33-38    Pilate entered the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are you asking this for your own reasons, or did others tell something you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your people and the chief priests have handed you over to me. Now, what have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being prosecuted. As it is, my kingdom isn’t here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘That’s how you chose to look at it. The reason I was born – the reason I came into the world – is to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’ [Read more…]