Ralph Waldo Emerson once spoke of preaching as "life, passed through the fire of thought." Preaching, to me, is an act of community building that unites the congregation in common conversation that begins in worship but carries us into coffee hour and out into the world to live our faith throughout the week. My preaching is engaging, refocusing our intentions back to what matters most in our lives: What breaks our heart and brings us joy? How can we be our most authentic self? How can our relationships be more loving? What is the deepest purpose for our lives, and for our church? How is the beauty and the brokenness of the world calling for our care and service this week? In my sermons, I use story, song and texts to keep the resources of our Unitarian Universalist tradition in conversation with contemporary life.  Preaching is a great honor and a great responsibility which I take very seriously as a creative art form. It is a place where I cast the aspirations of our faith's transforming power and uncover sources of joy and hope for our lives in a world desperately in need of healing.

I invite you to read some of my sermons preached over the past years at All Souls by clicking on the following link:


My sermons are also available as All Souls Sermon Podcasts, on itunes at

Here are a few additional sermons by theme:

Covenant: Love is the Doctrine

Earth-centered traditions:  Spring Shifts

 Pastoral Care: A Culture of Caring

Prayer: Heart Without Words

Stewardship: In the Flow

comments and praise

After “We Remember, May 25th, 2014.”

We were moved by your sermon - it had the elements of the day of remembrance and gave hope and love a space. Our friends Bob and Jane Clay loved it, many at coffee hour were discussing it (Victor felt it was right on for the day and for our church) and when we got home it was the topic of a long discussion with our daughter Dana.

Thank you for being our minister. Love.
— George Collins, All Souls member and leader of Monday Night Hospitality
I just wanted to thank you for a great sermon today and for starting it off with a mention of Monday Night Hospitality and Heart & Soul. You gave all of us there this morning something to think about and to be proud of being a part of this great community as we move forward together.
— Tara, All Souls member and Heart and Soul Board Member
Lissa, You did a beautiful job today of connecting your own personal naming, to our own, to that of the war dead, specifically, the Civil War and how we’re all tied to the losses incurred from its awful carnage. Very thoughtful, you were, and touching. I was truly moved.
— Marilyn Mehr, All Souls member and former member of Board of Trustees
Dear Lissa, I meant to thank you last week for your sermon showing courageously that lgbt rights are human rights. Obviously, from the applause, the audience “got it,” but the words still needed to be spoken and you did it beautifully! Thank you.
— Marilyn Mehr, All Souls member and former member of Board of Trustees
I did not have a chance to congratulate you on your sermon last Sunday. Happiness …..a worthy pursuit…I am lucky to have it with me as much as I do. I love the church of the New York Times….I must go there…..before or after All Souls, of course !!!!
Lots of love,
— Marilynn Scott Murphy, All Souls member and member of Board of Trustees