A New Banner on Arizona Ave.

Love is the Spirit of This Church

Some of you may recall how, a number of years ago, UUSM put up a banner along the ivy on Arizona Ave. that expressed our church’s support for Black Lives Matter. This was still early in the BLM movement, but the movement had already gathered quite a bit of notoriety — opposition in some circles and support in others. 

Our congregation supported the movement from the very beginning, and that banner was just one expression of this support. Numerous sermons and RE lessons complemented it and generally reflected solidarity by UUSM for BLM. 

It did not take too long, however, for the banner to be vandalized, defaced, and torn down. Not to be deterred, and hoping that the act was an oddity — something random — folks at UUSM replaced the banner with another, identical, one. That one too was similarly removed.

Around then, an op-ed appeared in the Los Angeles Times claiming that Santa Monica was perhaps less progressive and inclusive than the City would like people to think it was. The article got extended commentary in the Letters to the Editors, one of which was from Karl Lisovsky relating our experience with the banner incident.

The time has come for us to re-assert our values with another banner in that same location. Gretchen Goetz did the artwork for this public statement using language emerging in UU circles, replacing the traditional but somewhat antiquated “Love is the doctrine of this church” with “Love is the spirit of this church”, a change that Amy Brunell brought to our awareness. The same artful flavor graces this banner as our Welcome banner, the one that stands at the front doors on Sundays.

Our gold flutter flag displayed on Sundays at the corner of 18th and Arizona Ave. still proudly proclaims that Black Lives Matter and we “Side With Love.”