February 2024 Worship Services

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February’s Ministry Theme is Justice & Equity

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 Given that the state of emergency has been lifted, they are no longer in effect.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. 

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Our Fire of Love

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

Our Fire of Love. Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching; Chela Metzger, worship associate. Let us honor the Şeb-i Arûs of Pir Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé who joined the ancestors on February 9, 2016, but still lives in the hearts of generations of liberal religious leaders, with memories, songs, and poetry. The former Provost of Starr King School for the Ministry and beloved Sheikh to Revs. Jeremiah and Amelia and friend of Rev. Kikanza, the impact of his life continues to be felt profoundly by many souls near and far. A tireless advocate throughout his life for those living in the margins, we will call his transformative presence in service to love, justice, and equity into our sanctuary this Sunday. Join us for worship in-person and online. Join us for worship in-person and online.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Internal Justice

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

Internal Justice. Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins, preaching; Cassie Winters, Worship Associate. Are you holding yourself responsible for things you cannot control? Do you beat yourself up with guilt over decisions you have every right to make? Do you call yourself names for doing things you would quickly forgive if someone else had done them? If your answers are YES! perhaps you might benefit from more justice directed toward yourself. Let's talk about internal injustice and what you might do about it. Join us for worship in-person and online.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: The Love-Dependent Web

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

The Love-Dependent Web. Rev. Joshua Lewis Berg, preaching; Patrick Meighan, Worship Associate. Let us worship together calling up the sacred and the spiritual in the question, "How do we spin, strengthen, and upkeep the love-dependent web of all existence?” Pastor Joshua Berg graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School and is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister in Preliminary Fellowship with the UUA. Pastor Joshua preaches and officiates life-cycle events all over Southern California. He currently works full-time as a chaplain at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and lives in Burbank with his wife and two daughters. Join us as for worship in-person and online. 

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Our Unitarian Universalist Association

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

Our Unitarian Universalist Association. Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching; Susan Hendricks, worship associate. We are one lighthouse for the liberal religious spirit among over a thousand Unitarian Universalist congregations! We covenant to work together through the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) to promote our 7 Principles and advance the religious, educational, and humanitarian causes of our unique religious tradition. Join us this morning to learn more about our national movement and the interdependent web of transformative change of which we are a part! Join us for worship in-person and online.


February Generous Congregation Recipient: Equal Justice Initiative 


Our practice here at UUSM is to dedicate half of our non-pledge Sunday offerings to 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 Equal Justice Initiative. Founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and bestselling author of Just Mercy, EJI is a private nonprofit providing legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons.

The organization challenges the death penalty and excessive punishment and provides re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people. Working with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment, EJI is committed to changing the narrative about race in America. 

Thank you for your generous support of our beloved community, and Equal Justice Initiative. 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.


February 2024 Theme: Justice & Equity

Our Soul Matters theme invites us to consider Justice & Equity in our world, our communities, and our lives.

May we remember the wounds of the past that bleed into the present so that we may heal and grow into the future together, whole and wise. May we remember and be free at last. ~ Jabari S. Jones, is a Black, queer, forty-something, non-binary person residing on unceded Abenaki land in Vermont. They are a student of Radical Dharma, a professional baker, and a novice gardener.


On Black History Month Is about Seeing America Clearly

One thing I’ve learned is that at the core of white privilege is the entitlement to amnesia and ignorance. To forget that America was founded on stolen land, stolen labor, and genocide, and that we live in a society structured by this history, is to embrace an identity rooted in a false innocence and a flight from truth and healing. This is the rot at the root of the nation. Before his inauguration as the 46th President, Joe Biden memorialized 400,000 U.S. deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, saying: “To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation.” So my prayer is for myself, as well as for this country at a crossroads. ~ Jabari S. Jones


On How to Hold on to Hope & Commitment in a World Overrun by Injustice

Hope is contagious! ~ Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation.

Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future, when it will be far riskier — and much, much harder. ~ Suzy Kassem is an American writer, poet, philosopher, and multi-faceted artist of Egyptian origin.

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. ~ Paul Hawken is an American environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, economist, and activist.

There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it. ~ Amanda Gorman is an American poet and activist — who attended New Roads, a private school in Santa Monica, for grades K–12. 

For me, finding hope is not some philosophical exercise or sentimental notion; it is a prerequisite for my survival. ~ John Green is an American author, YouTuber, podcaster, and philanthropist.

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do. ~ Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was an American journalist, social activist and anarchist who, after a bohemian youth, became a Catholic without abandoning her social and anarchist activism. Locally, the Los Angeles Catholic Worker organization carries on her work. 

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. … The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory. ~ Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was an American historian, playwright, philosopher, socialist intellectual, and World War II veteran.


On Mindfulness and Social Justice 

I would never suggest that meditation, prayer or positive thoughts are a replacement for action. But I know I need to connect to something bigger, repeatedly, to have energy to keeping acting. ~ Sharon Salzberg is the author of Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World and related podcasts; in 1974 she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts.

Is There a Role for Meditation in the Fight for Social Justice? (Essay) ~ Sara-Mai Conway is a writer, yoga and meditation instructor living and working in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Her writing and teachings are informed by her personal practice and Buddhist studies. 

Mindfulness for Activists: How to avoid burnout while fighting for justice (Article) ~ Patricia Ullman is a Buddhist teacher and the author of Eight Steps to an Authentic Life: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times. She is also a meditation instructor and has spent her professional life in law, mediation, restorative justice, and nonprofit leadership.

Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition (Podcast) ~ Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad is an author and a visiting professor of Buddhism and Black Studies at Union Theological Seminary. In this conversation with Lion’s Roar Associate Editor Pamela Ayo Yetunde, she talks about her book on the connection between the wisdom and practices of Buddhism, and the Black tradition of radical activism.


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Our service in the world continues.