Fractals, Universalism, and Liberating Love

Donna Zimmerman, BBUUC Chaplain, presents
A sermon written by 
Rev. Sara Smalley, 
Minister of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield (MN)
“Fractals, Universalism, and 
Liberating Love”
Kris Kines, Worship Leader
Dr. Gary Smart, Accompanist
Timothy Edwards, Violin, Special Music

“Love, real love, transformational love, truly Universalist love, means we change fractal patterns. This is dangerous to the status quo, in our lives, in our communities, in our nation, in our world…”

About our Speaker

Donna Zimmerman is a long-time resident of Jacksonville who had a “timeout” for a mere 18 years in Dallas, where she found the UU church there.  Her background is in social services, and she was the Executive Director of Lutheran Social Services of NE Florida where she started several programs, including the first HIV/AIDS services in the region provided by a professional organization.   She is retired and spends her time on the Worship Committee and as a Chaplain on the Pastoral Care Team.

About the Sermon Author

Rev. Sara Smalley has served as the minister of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield since 2021. Her spiritual path is guided by wonder, joy, authenticity, and a fierce belief in the power of community: Life is hard, full stop. But we don’t have to go it alone. The gift of a spiritual community is that we get to show up as our true selves — with our grief and our doubts, our joys and our hopes — and be welcomed as we are. 

With this sort of spiritual home base, we can then move through our daily lives more aware of our connection to others and to the Holy, however we name it. I believe the point of being a part of a religious community isn’t isolated to one hour on Sunday mornings; it’s how it inspires us to act in our lives and in the world the rest of the week.

My sermons are often about both individual and collective healing and liberation — the spiritual practices of amplifying equality, telling and hearing hard truths, and cultivating soul-deep joy. I speak the language of both atheism and theism, and consider my sermons to be an ongoing conversation with the congregation. Though my most-often quoted writers are probably Mary Oliver and adrienne maree brown, I have also been known to quote Ted Lasso and TikTok videos from time to time. 

About our Guest Musician:

Timothy Edwards began his violin studies in the public schools of Detroit before studying at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM) and the University of Michigan (MM). He has performed extensively, holding positions as section performer, principal, and concertmaster at the Des Moines Metro Opera, Flint Symphony, and Toledo Symphony, with substitute positions with the Detroit Symphony and Jacksonville Symphony. Timothy enjoys a vibrant teaching studio and has served as a Humanities Adjunct Professor at the Florida State College of Jacksonville.