August 2023 Worship Services

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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 Given that the state of emergency has been lifted, they are no longer in effect.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. For those with a handicap parking tag, several spaces are also available onsite, via the alley west of 18th St., as well at 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. 


Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Stories We Leave Behind

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

"Stories We Leave Behind" is the theme by Chaplain Bronwen Jones. Inspired by the lives of her oncology patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, she explores the notion of legacy, that we create our legacy whether we want to or not. Every moment we are alive has the potential to be remembered by our loved ones and friends, our colleagues and peers. It is a subject rich for contemplation and creativity. We can harness our awareness of what is most important to us and have some potency in how we are remembered. Worship Associate: Jo An Peters.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Inspiring Songs for Centering Love

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

Inspiring Songs for Centering Love. Listen to the music, where the song lyrics are incorporated into the sermon itself. Feel free to sing along during this Soulful Sunrise. Each song represents an emotional/spiritual turning point in our lives when, in wisdom, hope, and faith, we may collectively turn to embrace love as a personal centering act of caring, sharing, serving, and forgiving. Johnny Canales, MDiv, MTS, Lay Community Minister, is an accomplished musician and a member of our congregation. Patrick Meighan, Worship Associate.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: The Great Invitation — A Meditation on Queering Religion

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

In April, James was officially designated a "Distinguished Alumn" at his seminary, the Pacific School of Religion. When he visited, he witnessed some of the consequences of the steep decline in mainstream religions, especially Christianity. He also witnessed some things that gave him hope for a vital and useful spirituality in our perilous times. We welcome back the Rev. James Ishmael Ford, who is a Unitarian Universalist minister, a Zen teacher and retreat leader, a blogger, and an author. He is minister emeritus at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI. For the past three years he has served as a consulting minister with the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles. He is also an active member of the teaching circle of the Empty Moon Zen community. Sue Bickford, Worship Associate.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Your Body Is Welcome Here

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

Amy Brunell explores the topic, "Your Body Is Welcome Here." We have been led to believe that only certain bodies are healthy and therefore valuable. We have been inundated with what "health" looks like. If we do not match the ideal, then we are called lazy, considered uneducated, and lacking self-care strategies. In addition, many of our Liberal folks still struggle with the unconscious bias of tattoos and piercings! Now our Trans folks, including children, are being attacked and denied medical care and acceptance. Let's gently consider some of the bias of bodies we may encounter or we ourselves have. Johnny Canales, Worship Associate


August Generous Congregation Recipient:
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Our practice here at UUSM is to dedicate half of our non-pledge Sunday offering 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, half of our Sunday Offering will go to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).  

UUSC advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies. The work is grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power and dignity. UUSC’s mission began in 1939 when a Unitarian couple, Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp, took an extraordinary risk, helping refugees escape Nazi persecution in Europe. For over 80 years, UUSC has maintained a steadfast presence on the frontlines of social justice movements around the globe. Please look here for more about this important work.

Thank you for your generous support of our beloved community and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). To give $10 right now, text “$10 GCC” (or another amount) to 844-982-0209. (One-time-only credit card registration required.) Or visit


August 2023 Theme: Abundance

Let’s explore and ask questions in worship, small groups, and personal reflection on this month’s theme, Abundance. 

Abundance is not a result you create. It is an existing state you recognize. We ask for long life, but ’tis deep life, or noble moments that signify. Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Abundance is not the result of unlimited opportunities or resources. It is manifested by limitless thinking, a courageous spirit, and a grateful, receptive heart. ~ Anthon St. Maarten

Air is your most basic need and it’s available in abundance. You don’t have to hoard it or fight for it. May all your needs be fulfilled like that. ~ Shunya

Family was even a bigger word than I imagined, wide and without limitations, if you allowed it, defying easy definition. You had family that was supposed to be family and wasn’t, family that wasn’t family but was, halves becoming whole, wholes splitting into two; it was possible to lack whole, honest love and connection from family in lead roles, yet to be filled to abundance by the unexpected supporting players. ~ Deb Caletti, The Secret Life of Prince Charming

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. ~ Lily Tomlin

Honor your desire for a new life. Say yes to the small inklings of interest and curiosity that present themselves each day. ~ Lynn A. Robinson

Just as there are no little people or unimportant lives, there is no insignificant work. ~ Elena Bonner

Live from abundance; Utilize with economy; Share in advance. ~ Geoffrey M. Gluckman

May our effort, confidence and concern for others be the altar from which we pray for personal abundance. ~ Laura Teresa Marquez

No one needed to say it, but the room overflowed with that sort of blessing. The combination of loss and abundance. The abundance that has no guilt. The loss that has no fix. The simple tiredness that is not weary. The hope not built on blindness. ~ Aimee Bender

We are fluent in the story of our time marked by catastrophe and dysfunction. That is real — but it’s not the whole story of us. There is also an ordinary and abundant unfolding of dignity and care and generosity, of social creativity and evolution and breakthrough. How to make that more vibrant, more visible, and more defining? ~ Krista Tippit’s On Being project

We are that. An intuition, a sliver of god consciousness in our hearts, pointing toward a bigger reality. We are that, says a little acorn pointing toward an oak tree. We are that, says Buddha pointing toward the moon. We are that, says Jesus pointing toward a lamp.~ Rev. Arif Mamdani, Cycle of Life and Prayer [excerpt] 


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Our service in the world continues.