July 2022 Worship Services

Join us Sundays In Person or Online as we celebrate and worship as a community.


We as Unitarian Universalists look forward to being with you in person or in spirit on Sunday mornings. We continue to develop our new hybrid spiritual practice of co-creating beloved community together in person and online in the midst of a global pandemic. Here’s further details. We’re finding ways to spiritually prepare and fortify ourselves and to support others in uncertain times. If you need help getting to the online services, please contact board president Eileen McCormack.

Come to the Sanctuary or join our live online worship service broadcast on the church’s Facebook or YouTube pages on Sunday mornings and be part of the conversation. You can also watch the service live on the UUSM website on the main page (uusm.org). You don’t need to have a Facebook or YouTube account or be logged in to watch on any of the websites. You do have to be logged in to comment and chat with other members of the congregation. The video will also be archived on our YouTube channel and website after the end of the service, so tune in anytime to catch up and worship with your community.

Please join us for a Zoom Coffee Hour Check-In and Conversation after the service, from 11:30 am-12:30 pm. Contact the Zoom Coffee Hour folks for the Zoom link or find it in our private UU Santa Monica Facebook Group. Ask to join.

After careful consideration of the UUA’s most recent guidance and the practices of our neighboring congregations, our COVID Steering Committee decided to reopen our historic sanctuary to vaccinated members and friends. Vaccinations, well-fitting masks, and social distancing are still required, but at this time reservations are not.

July 2022 Theme

This month our theme is Quest, and we’ll explore it in worship, small group discussion, and personal reflection. Stories of quests abound and usually show a protagonist and companions setting out to acquire an important object or to get to a location; along the way they face temptations and other obstacles. While on a quest you encounter new stuff — and there are multiple invitations to notice what is happening around you and in yourself. How are we, personally, as a congregation, and as a denomination, embarked on a quest? What stories do we tell about our quest, our dreams and aspirations, our challenges, failures, collaborations, discoveries, lessons, renewed striving? How do we help each other on our journeys?

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Wandering in the Wilderness

Rev. Michael Walker, preaching
Amy Brunell, Worship Associate

ONE SERVICE AT 10:30 am       

Wandering in the Wilderness is about journeys and quests. About the journey not the destination. Not all who wander are lost.

The Rev. Michael Walker, who was ordained into the Unitarian Universalist ministry at the First UU Society of San Francisco in 2010, after completing studies at the Pacific School of Religion and in internship at the First UU Church of San Diego. For the next 11 years, he provided interim ministry services in Massachusetts, Washington, Pennsylvania, California and Illinois – in that order… Many cross-country moves! He has taken a hiatus from parish ministry to complete requirements for his PhD studies, and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Through his adult life, Mike has been a nurse, Navy veteran, ordained minister, and now a PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, after completing studies and currently working on a dissertation about trauma experienced in religious settings. He has therapeutic experience working with groups, adult and adolescent individuals, and adult couples, in secular and religious settings, including the military, LGBTQ+ and HIV communities, and in private psychological practices. He maintains his connection to the UU movement as a Community Minister.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Exodus Moments

Rev. Liz Murphy, preaching
Sue Bickford, Worship Associate

ONE SERVICE AT 10:30 am    

In a season of immense change, we’ll be turning to one of the classic stories of transition: Exodus. It’s a story of freedom, of fear, of an upside-down world… sound familiar? This Sunday we’ll re-examine this story — which is one of our 6 UU sources — to glean wisdom, hope, and strength. These days are full of “Exodus Moments.” How might we respond to these thresholds with connection to community, with compassionate love, with a conviction for justice?

Rev. Liz Murphy (she/her) is a Chaplain Resident at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, CA. She is also the affiliated community minister at Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church. She previously served as the Interfaith Programs Assistant at the University of Southern California’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, as well as a chaplain intern at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Liz graduated from the Claremont School of Theology with a Master of Divinity in 2020. Originally from Pittsburgh, she lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Hilary.

Sunday, July 17, 2022Rev. Hannah Petrie

At the Center of All Beauty

Rev. Hannah Petrie, preaching
Chela Metzger, Worship Associate

ONE SERVICE AT 10:30 am 

This is a service based on the book by Fenton Johnson on the lessons of solitude and the creative life.

We welcome back to our pulpit the Rev. Hannah Petrie who in her 18-year career has served several full-time parish ministries including Neighborhood Church in Pasadena and UU Church of Studio City. She serves on the board of Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP), as Secretary, and on the Altadena Town Council where she resides.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Let All That You Do Be Done in Love

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels, preaching
Cassie Winters, Worship Associate

ONE SERVICE AT 10:30 am 

“In our social justice work, UUs say we “Side with Love.” Isn’t it interesting that “love” never appears in our Seven Principles? The title comes from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, which is also included as a reading in our hymnal, #713, 1 Corinthians, 16: 13-14. Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

The Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels, a Unitarian Universalist minister working in the Los Angeles area, grew up in Santa Monica. He received a Masters of Divinity from the Claremont School of Theology in 1998 and was ordained and fellowshipped with the Unitarian Universalist Association later that year. During his 24 years in the ministry, he has served UU congregations in La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, and Long Beach. Currently, he serves the UU Fellowship of Kern County in Bakersfield, CA. He lives with his husband in downtown Los Angeles.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

I Owe God a Death!

Rev. Dr. Tom Owen-Towle, preaching
Amy Brunell, Worship Associate

ONE SERVICE AT 10:30 am    

Our American culture remains death-defying and our UU movement failed, a decade ago, to embrace mortality during our re-envisioning process of our purposes and principles. We have work to do. If we earthlings wish to live more robustly and caringly, we must consent to die. As naturalist Wallace Stegner put it, “I owe God a death.”

The Rev. Dr. Tom Owen-Towle is entering his 56th year of ordained ministry and is the author of two dozen books on personal relationships, social justice challenges, and spiritual growth. Tom and his life-partner, the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, are the active parents of four children, seven grand-children, and one great-grandchild.

Tom is a guitarist and parlor magician who, in “refirement,” sings with seniors, mentors youth, and volunteers with San Diego’s homeless. He also lectures and conducts workshops on the core themes of conscious aging and mindful dying. He is honored to be returning to the pulpit of our Santa Monica congregation and preaching on “I Owe God a Death!”

July Generous Congregation Recipient: The Church in Ocean Park

Our practice here at UUSM is to dedicate half of our non-pledge Sunday Offering to organizations doing work in the world that advances our Unitarian Universalist principles; the other 50% of the offering is used to support the life of our church. This month, half of our Sunday Offering will go to another liberal church, the Church in Ocean Park (CIOP). Church in Ocean Park LogoThis 99-year-old church located in the Ocean Park area of Santa Monica had their roof cave in last year during COVID. And the rest of their sanctuary ceiling is at risk of collapse, too.

They need to fix the roof so they can continue their important work. We at UUSM can help them open their doors again. The Church in Ocean Park has long been dedicated to liberal values and work towards a just society. Their social justice actions have included everything from advocating for women’s, LGBTQIA+ and disabled community rights, as well as local actions like Save the Pier and Rent Control in Santa Monica.

To quote the Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithan, speaking to her parishioners: “We can be different. We can be the best of who we are. We each have different lived experiences and different perspectives, but we have some shared values. We don’t want people to be mistreated, and we do want to be safe and we want businesses to thrive. We care about our neighbors and we help each other out. Let’s live out of our values. Let’s live out of our gratitude. Let’s be the best version of us as a community.”

Thank you for your generous support of our beloved community and of the Church in Ocean Park. 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/


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Our service in the world continues.