December 2019 Worship Services

Join us each Sunday as we celebrate and worship as a community.

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Sunday, December 1, 2019

“Al-Rahman: The Infinite Compassion ” 

Dr. Ghazala Anwar and Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, preaching
Cassie Winters, Worship Associate


This morning we will be led in worship by Dr. Ghazala Anwar. Dr. Anwar is one of the leading queer/feminist Islamic Quranic scholars in the world and a practitioner of Sufism. She will share some of her life’s journey and encounters with the divine in the Islamic mystical path with us. Dr. Anwar is one of the first women to lead mixed-gender people in prayer in the modern era and remains controversial for her work to this day. Our special service will include Dr. Anwar leading us in the Islamic Call to Prayer, Quranic reflection, and an opportunity to learn some simple sufi zhikr (chanting).


Sunday, December 8, 2019

“Transcending Mystery and Wonder”

Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, preaching
Rima Snyder, Worship Associate


Our first source of faith is transcending mystery and wonder which renews our spirits and opens us to life. This week we will explore the monthly theme of awe in worship and consider what the world’s religions teach us about connecting to the transcendent dimensions of life and being transformed by them.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

“A Home for the Holidays”

Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins, preaching
Abby Arnold, Worship Associate


We are officially in the Season of Unmanaged Expectations. Nostalgia, Hallmark Movies, and our own hopes and dreams create for us a vision of celebrations that involve, at least metaphorically, home and hearth. Each year we hope and plan and wait, and each year, we are disappointed in some way. The disappointments are so frequent, that it is rare and necessary to exclaim, “This is the best [fill in the blank] ever!” Spending an ordinary day on a holiday is anathema to so many of us that we embellish the stories of what we did to celebrate. On this Sunday, we will talk about what home is, and what it means to have a home, especially for the holidays.

The Rev. Dr. Kikanza Nuri-Robins is a consultant to people and organizations in transition. She works with nonprofits and faith-based organizations around the country helping them address issues of leadership, communication, and cultural competence. Her most recent book is Fish Out of Water, and she is currently collaborating on a book about Gender Identities. She is a member of our UUSM community.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”

Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, preaching
Natalie Kahn, Worship Associate
Joyce Holmen, assisting


We honor the Yuletide season with this special service commemorating the Winter Solstice and Hanukkah. We are invited to greater introspection as we consider what it means to live through the cold and dark seasons of our lives and of the wintertime.


Christmas EveTuesday, December 24, 2019
Christmas Eve

Three services will mark this Eve, so come one, come all!

Join us for fellowship and refreshments after every service.  Follow the signs to ample parking at the UCLA Hospital parking structure on 16th Street, just south of Arizona Avenue.



“Children’s Pageant”

Our children and youth bring their wisdom and light in this holiday service led by Cleo Anderson, Director of Religious Exploration.

TWO SERVICES: 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm

“Candlelight Service”

Led by the Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, Director of Music Saunder Choi, Director of Religious Exploration Cleo Anderson, and Worship Associates Abby Arnold and Rima Snyder. Join us at either 6:00 or 8:00 pm for the lessons and carols of Christmastime as we celebrate this holiday with our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight service.


Sunday, December 29, 2019


Michael Eselun, preaching
Kikanza Nuri-Robins, Worship Associate


What’s an ecotone?  It is a transitional area of vegetation between two different plant communities, such as forest and grassland. The influence of the two bordering communities on each other is known as the edge effect. Michael Eselun will explore personal ecotones, those liminal spaces in which we sometimes find ourselves on life’s mysterious journey — thresholds that are neither one reality or another, and yet they may open a path to our deepest truths. Possibly even the sacred.

Michael Eselun has served as the chaplain for the Simms/Mann‐UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology for the last 10 years. Highly regarded as a keynote speaker, he speaks extensively to healthcare professionals, patient populations and faith communities across the country. He weaves stories with vulnerability, insight, and humor — stories to wrap around the deeper questions of life, mortality, and meaning. Michael has also worked as an activist/educator addressing anti-LGBTQ bias and homophobia in the larger community for over 30 years. He was recently inducted into the UCLA-Semel Institute Eudaimonia Society, in recognition of having lived a meaning-driven life. He has two TED talks available on-line via YouTube. A member of our UUSM community, he will have CDs available for purchase during Coffee Hour.


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