(440) 653-3476 krolenz@uuma.org

Sermons & Services

Links and PDF’s of recent sermons and worship services

Sermons as Interim | Transitional Work

Sermons and the crafting of worship services are the most public aspect of the interim ministry.  The corporate act of worshipping together is a collective spiritual practice which I take seriously, and which also brings me great joy.  Sermons are the opportunity for the interim to reflect on the great themes of life, death and everything in between; issues arising in the congregation and in the world at large; to provide a space to rest, reflect and breathe together; to know that we are not alone in this human experience.

The sample sermons listed below represent different aspects of my interim ministry.  I have included some of Kathleen’s greatest hits (i.e, the sermon I preached in Tulsa, OK on Stealing Jesus continues to get notice and recognition), but I’d encourage you to look at the breadth of these sermons.  Some are prophetic, some pastoral, some directly related to the work of the interim time.  Others are personal as I connect my story with the larger story of the congregation’s lives.

As your interim, my task is not to entertain or perform.  I don’t presume to have “the” truth.  However, I do believe it’s the minister’s job to speak the truth as I understand it, acknowledging that my truth may be shaped by your comments and critiques!  Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been with members who took issue with a point I made in the sermon.  In other words, the best sermons are formed within the context of a conversation between minister and congregation.

My most satisfying worship experiences have been in collaboration with other colleagues and lay leaders, with issues and concerns in the church and the wider world, and this mysterious Muse that touches all art – the suprise, grace and gift that comes with creating something from nothing.

Sermons and Services

Sermons from 2020-2022, delivered at the All Souls Church Unitarian, Washington DC

April 17, 2022
Earth, Remember Resurrection
An Easter sermon linking the Christian concept of resurrection to Climate Justice and the need for climate action.  (Click here for PDF)

March 27, 2022
Who Do I Say That I Am?
(PDF) In recognition of Trans Visibility Day and as a protest against the anti-trans legislation currently circulating around the country, I shared this service with three non-binary members of All Souls.  My comment is only an introduction to the three speakers, but ionteresting side note: An excerpt from my introduction was lifted and featured as an anti-trans talking point from Liberty University Think Tank.  You can view the rant here.

February 27, 2022
Who’s Afraid of CRT?
Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?  Everybody, but for different reasons.  I explore why. Click here for a PDF of the sermon.

November 14, 2021
When Monuments Fall
Monuments are coming down, but what should replace them?  This sermon reflects on the idolatry of greatness and changing the dominant narrative of who “deserves” to be memorialized.  (PDF)

February 14, 2021
The Splinters We Carry (PDF only)
This sermon was written to address two of the developmental tasks of interim ministry: history and identity.  It addresses the underlying trauma caused by the conflicts surrounding the departure of their Associate Minister in 2017.

Sermons from 2018-2020, delivered at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, MD

September 18, 2018
Is Forgiveness the Only Option? (PDF only)
In June 2018, a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette Newspaper, killing five staff members.  One of the members, Wendi Winters, was a member of the UU Church of Annapolis.  She served on my interim search committee and was deeply beloved.  This sermon addresses the theological implications of forgiveness as well as part of my on-going pastoral ministry with the congregation through that terrible tragedy. 

Can We Talk About White Fragility?
UUCA was engaged in an all church read of Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility.  This is a sermon about the struggles to deal with white fragility among white people.

Listen to podcasts of sermons delivered at UU Church of Annapolis (UUCA) by clicking here.

Noteworthy Sermons from Previous Congregations

Stealing Jesus with link to Youtube Video, first preached at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, February 10, 2013, Tulsa, OK
A sermon about how the fundamentalists have stolen Jesus and why religious liberals should steal him back.

Who Needs a Scapegoat? – (PDF only) The sermon that caught the attention of Academy Award Winning Director and Author Alex Gibney, which was featured in his film, “Catching Hell” as part of ESPN’s Thirty for Thirty Series.  The film is about the role of the scapegoat in sports.  My sermon begins with a story about Steve Bartman, the Chicago Cubs fan who interred with a ball and allegedly cost the Cubs the game – and a shot at the World Series. Gibney found the sermon on the internet and asked if I’d be willing to be interviewed as the religious/spiritual perspective on the role of scapegoats. My portion of the interview can be seen about 2/3rds of the way into the film.  Sermon was preached at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, Rocky River, OH. October 2008.

The Sum of All the Parts – Award Winning Richard C. Borden Sermon, 2003. Cash prize: $10,000.00.

A Tough Act to Swallow. A sermon preached at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, TX while serving as their sabbatical minister in residence, Fall 2017. A sermon about Jonah and the Whale, the United the Right Rally and me.

The World Called and I Answered. 25 Year Speaker for the Class of 1983.  At the 2018 General Assembly in Kansas City, MO I was chosen by my classmates to represent the class of 1983.  This sermon, “The World Called and I Answered” was inspired by the poem by Rita Dove (who is from my hometown of Akron, OH and resides in my now home-town of Charlottesville, VA.)