reverend kacela

Here, you will find the Reverend Xolani Kacela’s thoughts on his journey to ministry, the Unitarian Universalist faith, and his sermons. We hope you enjoy his positive and hopeful messages.

Listen to our minister talk about Unitarian Universalist beliefs and religious practices.

Listen to the sermon delivered by Reverend Pratima Dharm, Monte Vista Unitarian Universalis Congregation, CA, at Rev. Kacela’s installation service on October 6, 2019.

All materials posted on this site, unless otherwise identified, are owned by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces or the Unitarian Universalist Association and are subject to copyright. Sermons and reflections are owned by the minister or speaker. If you wish to use any part of the materials posted in this page, contact

December 29, 2019
Aw Shucks, Finding Awe in a Troubled World

Mary Anne Ford with SA Robert Floyd
At the end of 2019, we shake our heads about the year coming to an end. How can we find awe/hope for the future in the new year to come?

December 15,
Christmas Service

Rev. Xolani Kacela with SA Haney Pearson
Merry Christmas, everyone. We’ll reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ birth and the celebration of life we all experience.

December 8, 2019
Where’s Waldo (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Mary Anne Ford with SA Elisa Sanchez
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s thoughts contribute a great deal to modern 2019 Unitarian Universalism thought. How can we today, in a digital age, find meaning in the works of Waldo, the name that Ralph Waldo Emerson preferred to be called?

December 1, 2019
Poetry Service

Rev. Xolani Kacela with Brooks Lewis
We’ll explore how poetry affects our inner lives and spirituality. We’ll be revisiting Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” along with selections honoring the International AIDS Day of Remembrance.

November 24, 2019
Thanksgiving Service

Rev. Xolani Kacela
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day. Making meaning of Thanksgiving through the ongoing practice of gratitude.

November 17, 2019
Attention and Mindfulness

Rev. Xolani Kacela with John Seeley
What happens when we begin paying attention to one another in a mindful way? Bringing mindfulness into focus in a different way.

November 10, 2019
Veterans, PTSD, and Moral Injury

Rev. Xolani Kacela
Inside the world of military veterans and an exploration of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and moral injury. How might Unitarian Universalists relate with veterans in our families and congregations, and with their own experience of trauma. All veterans are invited to wear or bring service items to the service in commemoration of Veterans Day.

November 3, 2019
Remembering and Celebrating Our Departed Loved Ones

Eliza Sanchez with Kathy Eagle
Members are encouraged to bring photos or mementos of their dearly departed. The congregation will also be given an opportunity to share their loved one’s name and a sentence about them.

October 27, 2019
Gender Equity

Sally Atkinson and Caitlyn Stein
“Gender Equity” was the focus of this year’s Unitarian Universalist United Nations Organization (UU-UNO) Intergenerational Seminar. Caitlyn Calway Stein and Sally Atkinson participated as representatives of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, and will reflect on lessons learned during the conference.

October 20, 2019
Sermon On the Amount

Rev. Xolani Kacela
We kickoff our annual stewardship campaign by exploring the meaning of giving for the future. How can we extend more generosity to the church to ensure our congregation’s mission is sustainable and fulfilled in our community? This is one of our #1 imperatives.

October 13, 2019

Rev. Xolani Kacela with SA Joy Goldbaum
The path to extending forgiveness is often long and hard. Rev. Kacela and Joy Goldbaum will reflect on forgiveness and what it means for their lives. Special music by Roy Zimmerman. Note: this sermon was won by Joy at the 2019 auction.

October 6, 2019
The Art of Being Human

Sherman Z. Logan jr with SA Haney Pearson
If we were asked to define ourselves, what descriptors would we use, our gender, our race, our religion, our socio-economic status? They may indeed serve as accurate descriptions of certain aspects of our lives. But we are more than that; we are human beings. What does it mean to be human?

September 29, 2019
Universalism Day: What Can We Learn from Our Universalist Ancestors?

Rev. Xolani Kacela
We’ll take lessons from the 1st American Universalist minister, the Reverend John Murray. How does the 18th-century religion apply to and inform us today?

September 22, 2019
The Wisdom of Defying Expectations

Maggie Locatelli with SA Robert Floyd
Many times clarifying our expectations of ourselves, one another, and the world around us may be useful. Today’s service will focus on the ways our expectations can hinder us, and the importance of defying them, or at least not grasping them.

September 15, 2019
Ingathering Sunday — Bienvenidos a Todos!

Rev. Xolani Kacela with SA Elisa Sanchez
We begin a new church year as a gathered, beloved community. We’re swinging wide the doors of the church by celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Elisa Sanchez will lead us with a reflection and Catherine Massey will lead us in music from Hispanic Unitarian Universalist traditions.

September 8, 2019
Expect Great Things

James Caufield and Katya Gonzalez with Maggie Locatelli
Expectation seems to be an overarching phenomenon that manifests in many ways, for instance as faith and belief, as hope, and as bias. Indeed, most of life seems to be built upon expectations–psychology shows that even the empirical data we select and recall depends upon our expectations. So in some ways science has shown us how unscientific we are. And maybe this is not a bad thing! I’ll try to say why it is reasonable to expect unreasonably good things.

September 1, 2019
Our Expectations Make Us Who We Are

Rev. Xolani Kacela with SA Haney Pearson
Our September theme is “expectations.” This sermon reflects on words by the early Unitarian Henry David Thoreau who calls us to make “conscious endeavors.”

August 18, 2019
The Importance of the Search for Truth and Meaning

David Carlson with Rev. Xolani Kacela
Based on the book “MISTAKES WERE MADE (but not by me)” we’ll see how important the search for truth and right relations are to our church.

August 11, 2019
Unitarian Universalist Faith and Democracy Today

Rev. Xolani Kacela with Service Associate Haney Pearson

Read important Draft Statement of Conscience from the Unitarian Universalist Association

What is the state of democracy today in our congregations and the broader Unitarian Universalist movement? How can we assure ourselves that we are doing our part in the democratic process? And what about “world community?” We’ll explore the 5th and 6th Unitarian Universalist principles. 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

August 4, 2019
Celebrating Our Fourth Principle: The Search for Truth and Meaning

David Steele and Kathy Eagle

As Unitarian Universalists we are called upon as individuals to search for our own truth and meaning to guide us in our relations with one another. With this freedom comes responsibility. In this service we explore the meaning of “truth,” the meaning of “meaning,” and why our faith tradition does not mean that “anything goes.”

July 28, 2019
Get a Hold of Yourself!

Rev. Xolani Kacela with Service Associate Katya Gonzalez
The more you know and live out your own values and spiritual convictions, the more you should be able to appreciate others’ values and spiritual convictions, then celebrate and encourage them on their path; especially when different than yours. A few ideas from my forthcoming book.

July 21, 2019
Justice, Equality, and Compassion in Human Relations

Haney Pearson with Service Associate Brooks Lewis
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect! This truth is a natural outgrowth from our first 2 principles. Why else do we work for justice and equity? NOTE: This audio contains a spoken interpretation by Brooks Lewis of “Get Up Stand Up.” The song was written by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and originally appeared on The Wailers’ 1973 album Burnin’. Haney Pearson’s reflection follows.

July 14, 2019
Is Everyone Really Worthy

Rev. Xolani Kacela with Service Associate Christine Ramsey
The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person? Who would have thought that in 2019 so many basic assumptions about liberation and freedom for certain human identities would still be in question? We liberals thought we’d all be living as equals. There is still much work to do. NOTE: This audio contains a lead-in reflection by Christine Ramsey followed by Rev. Kacela’s sermon.

July 7, 2019
Losing Our Home

James Caufield with Service Associate Katya Gonzalez
Respect for the Independent Web of all Existence of Which We Are a Part. Our seventh principle tells us we should take care of our planet. That has not been going so well– climate change is a huge problem. It’s hard to summarize, but James attempts to explain the basics, and put our current situation in perspective.

June 30, 2019
What Does Humanism Mean Today?

Rev. Xolani Kacela
Revisiting an award-winning sermon by Rev. Dr. Barry M. Andrews that explores the meaning of humanism and its various forms and how we might use it as a means of good and positive change.

June 23, 2019
The Beauty of Nature

Cassandra Calway with Service Associate Brooks Lewis
There is beauty all around us all we need to do is stop and take it all in.

June 19, 2019
Beauty and Soul

Service Associates Maggie Locatelli and Karen Hall
Thomas Moore wrote: “For the soul, then, beauty is not defined by pleasantness of form but rather as the quality of things that invites absorption and contemplation.” This service will explore what beauty means spiritually.

February 24, 2019
Black Women and the Sacred

“Since the beginning of chattel slavery in this country, black women have been magically making something from nothing, conjuring up lives for themselves and their families with nothing but crumbs, dust and ashes…” I will look at some ideas with our special guest Ms. Patricia Gray, a clinical ortho-bionomist.

Listen to the sermon.

January 20, 2019
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday – What’s Possible?

The struggle is not over. Though many elements of Dr. King’s dream have been realized – the Civil Rights legislation, integrated schools, an MLK holiday, and a black president – there is still work to do. What do you care about and what are you willing to do?

Listen to the sermon.

January 13, 2019
The Possibilities are as Open as Our Imagination

The poet says, “Listen carefully…” When you listen, what do you hear? What do you see in the new year? Where does your imagination take you? Let’s continue to dream big!

Listen to the sermon.

December 23, 2018
The Best Christmas Gift

We’ll sing a lot of Christmas carols and have a joyous service that explores the Unitarian Universalist meaning of Christmas.

December 16, 2018
Home for the Holidays

We all have memories of coming home for the holidays. It can be an especially joyful time, but not always. Let’s look at a few ideas.

December 9, 2018
Blue Christmas

We will reflect upon the loss and grief that we carry with us in our daily lives. We’ll remember loved ones who are no longer with us while keeping an eye on a hopeful future.

November 25, 2018
Gratitude in Poetry

Mary Oliver’s poetry is familiar and inspiring for many, especially Unitarian Universalists. Let’s take a look at Wild Geese as window for understanding why and how she helps us navigate the human condition.

Listen to the sermon.

November 18, 2018
Thanksgiving Service

We’ll explore the meaning of Thanksgiving through the lenses of gratitude, generosity, and covenant. The sermon will arise from the history of Massasoit Sachem or Ousamequin (c. 1581 – 1661), who was the sachem or leader of the Wampanoag tribe. This Sunday’s message is delivered by the Reverend Xolani Kacela and Susan Freudenthal, Director of Religious Education.

Listen to the sermon.

November 4, 2018
This is No Time for a Casual Faith

Unitarian Universalists have a history of standing on the side of justice. What are we doing now when our principles are under attack? Rev. Xolani is away fulfilling his military service so lay leaders Elisa Sanchez (first speaker) and Jane Asche (second speaker) deliver this Sunday’s message.

October 14, 2018
Dreaming Fast and Big

As we kick off our annual stewardship campaign and canvass, let us explore a few ideas about giving and benevolence.

Listen to the sermon.

October 7, 2018
May We Convey Love In All We Do

What does it mean when we Unitarian Universalists say we “side with love”? How do we make love a transformative force in the world? How do we make it real? We’ll explore a few ideas. This sermon also begins a series on “How to Love.” Video summary of sermon.

Listen to the sermon.

September 30, 2018
Where There is No Vision, The People Will

Rev. Xolani was away attending a Unitarian Universalist Association meeting in Dallas, Tx. Please listen to our dynamic guest minister, the Rev. Warren Robinson, Pastor of Owen Chapel A.M.E. Church of Alamogordo, who also happens to be a great singer!  Rev. Robinson’s sermon will take a close look at the importance of having a vision and the consequences of not having a vision.

September 23, 2018
Yom Kippur, Day of Attonement

Why is atonement important? What does it mean for our spiritual lives and human development?

Listen to the sermon

September 16, 2018
Truth or Consequences

The sermon will offer a glimpse of our newly settled minister. He will tell some stories from his life and explain how he found the freedom to make some unexpected choices. Video summary of this sermon.

Listen to the sermon.

September 9, 2018
Why is Hispanic Heritage Month Important?

Elisa Sanchez explains who are Hispanics and what they bring to the table. Our 2nd principle calls us to “Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.”  How are we as Unitarian Universalists stepping up to achieve our 2nd principle.

September 2, 2018
From Me to We

This sermon explores how our individual pursuits form our collective identity. It also lays out Rev. Xolani’s vision for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces and how we all can participate in shared ministry.

Listen to the sermon.