What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

Pastor Fred Toerne was born in 1951 in San Antonio, Texas. There he learned to speak Spanish, and he graduated from Trinity University in that city. 

He graduated from LTSS, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and he was ordained in the Lutheran ministry in 1977. 

Pastor Fred has been interested in the Unitarian Universalist faith and its liberal approach to theology for most of his life. 

Fred served Lutheran congregations in Texas and non-denominational ministries as well as his activities among the Unitarian Universalists in the Inland Pacific Northwest. 

If you need to contact Pastor Fred Toerne, please use his email: pastorfred.toerne@gmail.com

Pastor Fred’s previous sermons can be found by clicking on this link: http://spirithand.blogspot.com/

Notes from Pastor Fred:

A Happy Easter Week to Everybody! 

I hope all our celebrations have been meaningful. One of the great things about being Unitarian Universalists is that we are not limited to any one way of experiencing, sharing, and celebrating faith. 

This year, as you may know already, our Christian members and friends are celebrating Easter this week and next. The Orthodox Easter is April 16 in 2023. Our Jewish members and friends are celebrating Passover, and our Muslim members and friends are celebrating Ramadan. 

We share the privilege of affirming and enjoying all these forms of human spirituality. 

There will be an ad or two on the Superbowl today that I feel constitute a spiritual emergency for our nation. 

Here is the link for an excellent article on the ads from CNN: 


On Sunday November 27, on our NIUU Zoom, the Rev. Mike Bullard gave us the gift of these excellent words: 

The Lessons the Ten Commandments Teach Me

  1. Don’t put your own idea of deity above the universal Divine
  2. Don’t let belongings control your heart. 
  3. Don’t  name  “God”  for your own purposes.
  4. Take time for rest, reflection, connection, and humility
  5. Honor the old people in your midst.
  6. Protect the life and worth of each person.
  7. Don’t use people or mess up their lives.
  8. Don’t take more than your share.
  9. Be very careful that what you say is true.
  10. Don’t be jealous of other people or their stuff. 

A Thought for Election Day, 2022:

I never lose.
I either win or learn.
~ Nelson Mandela

Peace, Fred

One word summary for each of the UU Seven Principles:  

  1. Worth 
  2. Compassion 
  3. Acceptance 
  4. Search 
  5. Democracy 
  6. Community 
  7. Web 

A pagan verse that brings a blessing to all animals, including us: 

Fur and feathers and scales and skin, 
Different without but the same within; 
Many a body but one the soul, 
By all creatures are the gods made whole. 

from Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, UUA President

The way we carry out our ministries continues to unfold, and it remains true that our world needs our Unitarian Universalist message of love and justice. Our world needs brave, bold and loving communities so we can support one another in the struggle for justice, equity and compassion. One way to join your Unitarian Universalist siblings in this work is by organizing to elect leaders who will take action on issues that reflect our values through UU the Vote.

Witch Hunts are on the Rise 

A recent article in a liberal Catholic online magazine has reported on concerns expressed in Germany about witch hunts that are being conducted in widespread areas of the world today. 

It’s significant that high church Christians are expressing this concern. In history many witch hunts were conducted by their progenitors. 

Today there are conservative religious groups of every stripe, including Christians in the U.S. It is all too true that some of those groups are willing to use their political clout to try to destroy their religious competitors. 

As Unitarian Universalists, one of the sources of our Living Tradition is “Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” 

Sadly, many conservative religious groups today would consider those Earth-centered traditions to be forms of witchcraft. 

Witch hunts are on the rise. Are we next? 

Here is a link to the article I mentioned above: 

A Thought from Pastor Fred for July 4, 2022: 

On this National Day in the U.S. I want to say that the nation of the U.S. is a shining example of the Reformation principle: Simul justus et peccator, Sinner and saint at the same time. 

June 27, 2022 

A Few Words about the Fall of Roe v. Wade 

Here is something a lot of people are not thinking about today: Abortion rights in many states include the right to necessary medical care. 

The most basic loss for many women will be the right to D&C, dilation and curettage. For many women, it is a necessary medical procedure following a miscarriage. The ignorance and lack of compassion of many men on this subject is breathtaking to me. 

It’s also deeply personal. 

If Roe had fallen soon after it was decided, with all the present implications against good medical care for all women, my daughter might not have been born. 

Her mother had a miscarriage between the successful pregnancies that brought our son and daughter into this world. She had a D&C, and she recovered safely and successfully. Without the D&C, she might not have survived the experience. The least I can say is that it might not have been possible for her to conceive a child, ever again. 

I could say a lot more, but I’ll stop here for now. 

Here is a link to an article that substantiates the things I have said in these few words: https://www.mother.ly/life/motherly-stories/roe-v-wade-overturned-miscarriage/

Here is a link to another article, this one with a deeply personal, sad story: 


June 13, 2022 

I have some thoughts regarding our congregational meeting yesterday, June 12. 

Our frustrations reached a peak at meeting time. No one was able to access our Zoom account because of technological challenges with internet service at the Harding Center. There will be more news coming soon about new opportunities for us to look at our future together. 

As a result of the meeting, I am filled with new hope for the direction we will take together. 

I have three thoughts that feed my hope: 

First, I felt great love among us, for each other and for our beloved community. 

Second, many people stepped up and volunteered to give their best efforts in making our work and our witness together strong. At the same time, deep gratitude was expressed for so many of our members who are and have been offering their abilities to serve the whole. 

Third, I could feel the strong commitment to keep us together in all the ways we are able for the good of us all. 

With those three thoughts – love, volunteering, and commitment – I can see and feel a bright future for us together. It will be up to us to shape that future and make the most of it. 

From Tracey Sutton and me: 

Where do we go from here? 
NIUU Semi-Annual Meeting

The time has come for us to re-envision how we manage all that is NIUU. How we meet, how we organize, and we move forward. Please join us for our semi-annual meeting on June 12th at 10:30am on Zoom or in person at the Harding Center. We will not be having a Sunday Service prior to this meeting as it will require our full attention and participation. The NIUU board requests that you consider the questions: Where do we go from here? What is required of us as a UU congregation? What does it mean to you to be a member of this beloved community? How do we continue to seek truth in love and support for one another? Together we will explore these questions and share our unique perspectives. 

My personal story from Carla Dvoracek’s beautiful service on May 22: 

On Palm Sunday of 1957 I was five years old. I would turn six near the end of that summer. My father had an aching shoulder, so he stayed home from church. I stayed with him, while my mother went on to church. I was alone with my father when he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. 
Needless to say, my life changed tremendously that day. 

In many ways, courage was born in me on that day. I had new circumstances and many changes to deal with. My Kindergarten teacher took me into her home that night. I awoke the next morning to the sound and sight of a bird singing just outside my window. The birdsong brought great hope to me, and I have found that hope and courage go together. 

Many kinds of changes came into my life in those days. Hope and courage strengthened by love were my mainstays. I believed that I could feel my father’s presence near me, and I still believe the same. My faith was strengthened, and I’m sure that the experience contributed greatly to my career choice of ministry. The kind of minister I have sought to be, trying to accept people where and as they are, was also a result of my early introduction to a need for courage. 

A major and unexpected change came about. I spent that summer with my mother’s family in the mountains of North Carolina. To get there, I flew by myself  across the country. It took courage to kiss my mother goodbye and get on that airplane, but with the help of kind flight attendants, the trip wasn’t nearly as scary as it might have been. I was met at the airport in North Carolina by loving family members, and my courage in setting out was well rewarded. I had a wonderful, memorable summer on the family farm, and I came to think of that place as home fully as much as any place I have ever lived. 
The most important theme of courage as I needed and learned it was that courage would always be impossible without the help of others. 

Pastor Fred’s previous sermons can be found by clicking on this link: http://spirithand.blogspot.com/