April 2024 Worship Services

April’s Ministry Theme is Interdependence

Join us in-person and online on Sundays at 10:30 am. All are welcome! We as Unitarian Universalists in Santa Monica look forward to being with you.

COVID Update May 2023: The congregation’s Pandemic Policies and Protocols were adopted specifically in response to the pandemic. Given that the state of emergency has been lifted, they are no longer in effect. Masks are optional, but always acceptable and welcome. If you or someone in your household is not feeling well or have tested positive for COVID, please stay home; you can still join us via our Facebook or YouTube live-stream worship. 

Parking at the UCLA parking structure at 1311 16th St. is available to people attending Sunday services. The entrance is from 16th St. between Santa Monica Blvd. and Arizona Ave., on the SE corner of Arizona and 16th; ask the attendant for a UUSM parking permit to place on your dashboard. For those with a handicap parking tag, several spaces are also available onsite, via the alley west of 18th St., as well as in the UCLA structure.

Worship Online:  We livestream our service from the sanctuary. Join us by clicking the WATCH NOW button above where the video is live every week beginning at 10:20 am, or watch on YouTube or Facebook. You don’t need to have a YouTube or Facebook account, or be logged in, to watch the service. You do have to be logged in to comment and chat with other members of the congregation. 

Explore past services on our Sermons page, available 24/7. Tune in anytime to catch up and worship with your community. We encourage you to light a chalice or candle at home, mediate, and sing along. 

Sunday Worship: Stewardship Sunday

Sanctuary 1260 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA, United States

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching
Sue Bickford, worship associate
The springtime brings bright new blossoms, heavy storm clouds, cleansing rains, and our annual stewardship campaign to support the life of our beloved community. Thank you for all that you give—time, talents, heart, and financial gifts—to sustain our liberal religious community and its mission in the world in the good times and the difficult times. Our stewardship team has been working diligently and we will receive some of the many exciting opportunities of their work this month as we also plan carefully for the future and the positive difference we can make in our world in the year before us. Join us for worship in-person and online.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Exploring the Power of Passover for All of Us

Sanctuary 1260 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA, United States

Rabbi Laura Geller, preaching
Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, worship associate
This special guest service will explore some of the key themes of Passover, focusing on how Passover touches the historical, the political, the spiritual and the emotional dimensions of what it means to come out of a narrow place and how it challenges us to to ask what it means to say dayenu, I have enough. Rabbi Geller will offer a special workshop after the service on "Getting Good at Getting Older" and she will have copies of her latest book available. Join us for worship in-person and online. 

We are honored to be joined today by the distinguished Rabbi Emerita for Temple Beth Emanuel in Beverly Hills. Ordained in 1975 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, she became one of the first female rabbis in the nation. She served 14 years as Hillel Director at the University of Southern California and 4 years as director of the Los Angeles branch of the American Jewish Congress. She engages in the study of Jewish meditation and of women's spirituality. Her awards for community service include ones from the ACLU of Southern California, the LA County Commission on the Status of Women, and our state legislature. Join us for worship in-person and online.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Our Liturgical Year

Sanctuary 1260 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA, United States

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching
Karen Hsu Patterson, Worship Associate
Just like the cycles of the seasons and of our lives, our liberal religious community moves through a liturgical year of annual celebrations and honorings and monthly themes. These help us to attune ourselves with nature, religious observances, and the ebb and flow of life as a community of fellow sojourners. Join us in person or online as we learn more about the liturgical year that has evolved over nearly a century and is our unique expression of our Unitarian Universalist faith.


Rainforest Action Network round logoApril Generous Congregation Recipient: Rainforest Action Network

Our practice here at UUSM is to dedicate half of our non-pledge Sunday offerings to support the life of our church and the other 50% to organizations doing work in the world that advances our Unitarian Universalist principles. This month we’ll share our Sunday Offering with Rainforest Action Network (RAN). This environmental organization preserves forests, protects the climate, and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns. RAN works toward a world where the rights and dignity of all communities are respected and where healthy forests, a stable climate, and wild biodiversity are protected and celebrated. Thank you for your generous support of our beloved community and Rainforest Action Network. To give $10 right now, text “$10 GCC” (or another amount) to 844-982-0209. (One-time-only credit card registration required.) Or visit uusm.org/donate.


April 2024 Theme: Interdependence

Our Soul Matters theme invites us to consider the Interdependence of our world, our communities, and our lives.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. ~ Rachel Carson

Being Human Means We Are of This Earth. / May we recognize and abandon / the familiar attitudes and practices that do not serve the whole… / Being human means we are of this earth… / we are the Sun and the moon and the stars. / We are all that we see…   ~ Sweethome Teacup    Full reading 

Dear Mother, wherever there is soil, water, rock or air, you are there, nourishing me and giving me life. You are present in every cell of my body. My physical body is your physical body, and just as the sun and stars are present in you, they are also present in me. You are not outside of me and I am not outside of you. You are more than just my environment. You are nothing less than myself… ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Love Letters to the Earth… and an excerpt

…I brought myself to be with you, hoping that by inhaling the compassion, the courage, the hope found here, I can exhale the fear, the selfishness, the separateness I keep so close to my skin. I cannot live another moment, at least not one of joy, unless you and I find our oneness somewhere among each other, somewhere between the noise… . ~ Kristen L. Harper    Full reading

Children ask, “Where do I come from?” It is singularly appropriate that such questions about birth should be talked over in a church school, for, from the dawn of religious faith until the present, the birth of babies has ever aroused religious emotion. In the presence of a newborn babe one feels in touch with a life-giving Creative Power greater than all humanity. ~ Sophia L. Fahs, Editor of Children’s Materials for Beacon Press; excerpt from “Beginnings of Life and Death: A Guide Book for Teachers and Parents”  Note: For many years, the “Beginnings” books and others she edited were core curricula for Unitarian Sunday Schools. As a professional educator, practical theologian, and author for more than 80 years, Sophia L. Fahs strove to create a theology that restored human emotions and human experience to their rightful place as foundational building blocks for an enlightened liberal faith. The modern, 216-page Tapestry of Faith program for adults is available here: What Moves Us: Unitarian Universalist Theology.

There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there–good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea–God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along. ~ Sen. Elizabeth Warren


On Passover:

“The Artichoke on the Seder Plate” The seder plate holds the main symbols of a traditional Passover seder– the shank bone, egg, karpas, charoset, and maror. The Kabbalists of the Middle Ages added hazeret, another kind of bitter lettuce. And in recent years feminists have added an orange on the seder plate to symbolize women’s leadership roles and full empowerment in Jewish life. The artichoke however is a new development. What is an artichoke? Surely a work of God’s imagination! Many petals, with thistle and a heart. To me this has come to represent the Jewish people. We are first of all, very diverse in our petals…. ~ Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, excerpt, Five Interfaith Passover Readings


On Earth Day:

To save the climate, we have to reimagine capitalism ~ TED Talk by Rebecca Henderson

As surely as we belong to the universe
we belong together.
We join here to transcend the isolated self,
to reconnect,
to know ourselves to be at home,
here on earth, under the stars,
linked with each other. ~ Margaret A. Keip 


We honor the interdependent web of all existence. With reverence for the great web of life and with humility, we acknowledge our place in it. 

We covenant to protect Earth and all beings from exploitation. We will create and nurture sustainable relationships of care and respect, mutuality and justice. We will work to repair harm and damaged relationships. ~ Unitarian Universalist Association UUA Article II Proposal – for consideration at General Assembly in June 2024


UUSM flaming chalice, round logo

Our service in the world continues.