All posts by John DiLeo

Musings on Stewardship – What does good look like?

Share this page...

Speaker & Worship Leader:- John DiLeo

Musings on Stewardship – What does good look like?
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.


John DiLeo © 26 May 2024

After today’s service, we’ll be holding our Annual General Meeting. In three weeks, Jonathan Mason will be leading our service and kicking off our annual pledge drive. The fact these events were coming up got me thinking about our church’s finances, and more particularly about what we’re doing with what we have and what our members give.

Continue reading Musings on Stewardship – What does good look like?

The Threats to Our Community

Share this page...

Speaker & Worship Leader:- John DiLeo

The Threats to Our Community
Listen, or download the MP3

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.


At the end of October, I travelled to Washington, DC, to present training at and attend the OWASP Global AppSec Conference. On the Sunday before the conference, I had the opportunity to attend the first ThreatModCon, a one-day mini-conference focused on threat modelling.

At that event, I was privileged to hear a presentation by Avi Douglen. Avi is a leader of the OWASP Israel Chapter, and a member of OWASP’s Global Board. He’s a security consultant and threat modelling practitioner, and is one of the signatories of the Threat Modeling Manifesto, created and published in 2020.

Avi’s presentation is titled “The Threats to Our Community,” and I’m going to share with you much of the content from that talk.

As I listened that day, it became clear to me that the threats he spelled out – and the countermeasures he recommended – would apply to any community that relies on mutual trust and respect to function. Communities like ours. So, I asked for a copy of his slide deck, to use in a future talk at my church – he was surprised by the request, but agreed immediately.

In October, Avi spoke for an hour – I’m going to try to do his ideas justice in less than 20 minutes. We’ll see how that goes.

Before I begin, I need to provide a general content warning. While I won’t be going into details of any, I will be naming many abusive behaviours. If this could be triggering for you, I welcome you to remove yourself from this space to protect your well-being.

(John talked impromptu to the slideshow, so no script this week, the slideshow is available in this PDF).


Meditation / Conversation starter

  • Taking into account all aspects of our life together, what can we do to identify and respond to threats to this community’s well-being?

Links

Welcome includes:- As We Proclaim Worth” by Dan Lambert

Opening words:- Being Sanctuary by Jo VonRue and Linette Lowe

Chalice Lighting:- We Come Together without Creed” by Maureen Killoran

Closing Words:- Be About the Work” by Andrea Hawkins-Kamper

Mystery

Share this page...

Speaker & Worship Leader:- John DiLeo

Mystery
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below or download the PDF

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

Today, I’m going to read a sermon, originally presented by Bruce A. Bode. It’s titled Living with Contradictions. After the reading, I’ll follow up with a few comments.


John DiLeo © 20 August 2023

As we were driving home from last Sunday’s service, I was thinking on what I should talk about this week.

During that service, we celebrated Clay’s years with this church as our paid minister, and we acknowledged that phase of our community’s life was coming to a close.

During the Notices that day, Ted reminded us all of the need for members to step up and fill the void Clay’s retirement has created. We can no longer sit back and let him come up with all the ideas week after week, because – simply put – it’s not his job any more.

The ‘theme’ or ‘slogan’ that popped into my head during last Sunday’s drive home was simple: “One Community – Many Voices.”

Continue reading Mystery

Dealing with grief

Share this page...

Speaker & Worship Leader:- John DiLeo

Dealing with grief
Listen or download the MP3

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 26th March 2023


Today, I’m reprising – nearly in its entirety – a service I led in September 2019. At that service, our guest speaker, Jean McElhaney, presented a talk titled “How can awareness of death enrich life?”

We reached out to Jean, to see if she might be willing to join us again today, but we were unable to get in touch. I considered simply playing the recording of her talk from our website, but ended up going in a slightly different direction: I’ll be playing a recorded TED Talk from 2016, on a similar topic.

What makes life worth living in the face of death” by Lucy Kalanithi
given at TEDMED 2016

Links

Welcome:- “Sanctuary of the Soul” by David R. Chapman

Opening words:- Spirit of Life and Hope” by Clarke Dewey Wells

Chalice Lighting:- In the Mystery of Life About Us There is Light” by George Kimmich Beach 

Song:- “Spirit of Life” by Carolyn McDade,
Performed by TheGWVibes DC, USA.

Time for all ages:- The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst

Meditation:- Living Brings Us Closer to Dying” , by Helen Lutton Cohen

Closing words:- The Purpose of This Community is to Help Its People Grow” by Erik Walker Wikstrom 

Getting Through the Night

Share this page...

with John DiLeo

Getting Through the Night
Listen, or download the MP3

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

Todays sermon:- a reading of Getting Through the Night” By Mary Wellemeyer


Meditation / Conversation starter:

  • Do you think I’m being overly pessimistic, or will things really get that bad?
  • However bad things do get, how can we prepare – individually and as a congregation – to get through it?
  • What can we do – again both individually and as a congregation – to help others get through it?
  • What should we be doing to break this cycle?

Links

Welcome:- includes Welcome Home” By Rachel Rott

Opening Words:- Call from Beyond” By Susan Maginn

Our songs today are from Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” a performance by the Temple University Symphony Orchestra and Temple University Combined Choirs on April 1, 2016. The performance was filmed at Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadephia, and was conducted by Andreas Delf.
Opening Song:-O Fortuna” from start through to 2 minutes, 45 seconds.

Chalice Lighting:– This Chalice Is Lit for You” By Tara Humphries

Song:- “Spirit of Life” by Carolyn McDade,
Performed by members of All Souls Church Unitarian, Washington DC, USA.
Intermediate Song:-Tanz” from 14:02 – 15:43

Todays sermon:- a reading of Getting Through the Night” By Mary Wellemeyer

The New Yorker article referenced in the sermon is: “Eviction: The day they came for Addie Polk’s house,” by Peter J Boyer, published 24 November 2008.

Closing Song:-Dulcissime-Ave formosissima-O Fortuna” from 54:18 – 58:41

Closing Words:- We have a calling in this world” By Jean M Rickard

Whose holiday is it, anyway?

Share this page...

with John DiLeo

Whose holiday is it, anyway?
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below or download the PDF

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 30th October 2022

When I signed up to lead today’s service, I figured it would be easy to come up with things to say. I mean, after all, there’s no shortage of writings and opinions around the Church’s appropriation and subjugation of non-Christian customs and occasions.

Continue reading Whose holiday is it, anyway?

Why Do Birthdays?

Share this page...

with John DiLeo

Why Do Birthdays?
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below or download the PDF

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 2nd October 2022

As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, the themes and musings present in the services I lead tend to reflect things that are on my mind at the moment. In this case, it happens to be birthdays. Mine is this coming Tuesday. It also happens to be one of those “milestone” birthdays – I’ll be turning 55.

Continue reading Why Do Birthdays?

Because We Can!

Share this page...

with John DiLeo

Because We Can!
Listen, or download the MP3

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

Today’s talk was a reading of The Answer I Wish I’d Given” By Erika A. Hewitt


Meditation / Conversation starter:

These questions can be answered either individually; or as a Unitarian Community; or as a wider society:-

Continue reading Because We Can!

Am I Doing This Right?

Share this page...

with John DiLeo

Am I Doing This Right?
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 14 August 2022

I grew up in a rural part of Connecticut, in the northeastern United States. My home town, Plainfield, was small, the population was almost entirely white Europeans, and – as far as those in authority in my life were concerned – everybody was cisgendered and straight.

As was the social norm of the time, when someone we knew was gender non-conforming, we were all expected to act as though that fact didn’t exist. Our parents referred to their gay and lesbian relatives and acquaintances as ‘eccentric,’ and to their life partners as ‘roommates.’

We were indoctrinated to the “fact” that being cisgendered and straight was the one true “lifestyle choice,” in much the same way we were indoctrinated to believe our mainstream Christian sect was the one true religion.

Continue reading Am I Doing This Right?

Freedom from what, exactly?

Share this page...

with John DiLeo

Freedom from what, exactly?
Listen, or download the MP3

Read below, or download the PDF

Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 30 January 2022

For much of my life, my conscious perspective on ‘freedom’ was always in terms of “freedom to.” As a child enjoying nearly every privilege one could – an able-bodied White, Christian, cis, hetero male of European descent, born to a reasonably stable two-parent household, and living in a quiet, small, lily-white town in rural Connecticut – “freedom from” wasn’t something I ever thought about.

Continue reading Freedom from what, exactly?