May 2024 Worship Services

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May’s Ministry Theme is Pluralism

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 Given that the state of emergency has been lifted, they are no longer in effect.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

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

This worship service is designed to celebrate our students’ Coming of Age journey and allow them the chance to share about their discoveries. The CoA Youth have designed and will lead this service. The Coming of Age Class (Becoming/Soul Matters) is a crucial part of the Unitarian Universalist community web because it encapsulates the UU quest for spiritual growth and curiosity. It builds curiosity and compassion in young people as they embark on their own understanding of themselves and the world, while facilitating strong bonds with each other and their leaders. Join us for worship in-person and online. The Generous Congregation Recipient this morning will go to Camp de Benneville Pines, the UU retreat center in the San Bernardino Mountains that our youth love to experience together.

Sunday Worship: Our Better Angels

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

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching. Angels, boddhisattvas, and other heavenly beings appear in many of the world's diverse religions. From celestial helpers to enlightened beings, they appear again and again in different forms in the sacred stories and myths of humanity. What might we have to learn from these ancient narratives and wisdom? Join us as we explore these questions and others on this Mother's Day and in honor of the celebration of birth of the Buddha later in the week. Join us for worship in-person and online.

Sunday Worship: Is It Non-Binary, Or Not?

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

Rev. Dr. Kikanza Nuri-Robins, preaching; Cassie Winters, Worship Associate. Life is complicated, and sometimes confusing. When we try to oversimplify things, we lose the nuances and subtleties that often make the biggest differences. In the Western World, we are taught to think rationally, logically and in a binary fashion. Often, however, the answer to the question, "Is it this or is it that?" is "Yes." Come and reflect on the value of resting in ambiguity. What might we learn from the Paradoxes of the East? Join us for worship in-person and online. Join us for Sunday worship in-person and online.

Sunday Worship: Flower Communion

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

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching; Karen Hsu Patterson, Worship Associate. We join with Unitarian Universalist congregations across the country and around the globe in honoring the annual Flower Communion ceremony. This ceremony, created by the Rev. Norbert Čapek of Prague, Czechoslovakia, and introduced to the United States by his partner Rev. Mája Čapek, helps us to celebrate beauty, nature, human uniqueness, diversity, and beloved community. Please bring a flower or two with you to share with the congregation this morning. Join us for worship in-person and online.


May Generous Congregation Recipient: UU the Vote 

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 UU the Vote.

This program targets lists of potential voters in states and counties where their voices have traditionally been marginalized or even suppressed. UU Santa Monica has a proud history with UU the Vote. We were named an official Good Trouble Congregation after the 2022 election. This year, under the leadership of Brad Hutchinson, we will be busy writing postcards until November 1. On each postcard, we provide information for where a registered voter can go to vote, either in person or vote by mail. And we encourage them to vote early to avoid any potential last-minute interruptions on Election Day. Stop by our table in the Courtyard after services to learn more.

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


May 2024 Theme: Pluralism

Britannica Dictionary definition of PLURALISM : a situation in which people of different social classes, religions, races, etc., are together in a society but continue to have their different traditions and interests.

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

Pluralism isn’t just diversity; it’s something we create out of this diversity. ~ Diana L. Eck

To see the other side, to defend another people, not despite your tradition, but because of it, is the heart of pluralism. ~ Eboo Patel

Storytelling [and telling multiple kinds of stories] is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary… We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom. We cannot demand that anyone try to attain justice and freedom who has not had a chance to imagine them as attainable. ~ Ursula K. Le Guin


Who You Are Enriches Us All

We say “Welcome” to your joy, your hope, your pride.
We say “Welcome” to your grief, your fear, your anger.
And the parts of you that are not yet ready to be seen and heard —
Welcome to them as well… ~ Rev. Monica Jacobson-Tennessen


For Mother’s Day:

Come together in praise and thanksgiving
All of us have been mothered in our time,
All of us have mothered… Today we sing the songs of so many… ~ Mary J Harrington

On this day of honoring mothers, we must acknowledge the complexity of the relations in our lives, especially family relations, those most powerful influences. In witness of that power and whatever feelings are awakened in us, let us bring our hearts and minds into focus on the holy and the good.  Let us be together in the spirit of prayer and meditation. ~ Rev. Jonalu Johnstone


For the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education:

This landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling declared that separating children in public schools on the basis of race is unconstitutional. Who at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund wrote the brief for this and other vital school segregation cases? Constance Baker Motley, a woman with strategic legal skills and a fierce dedication to civil rights. At great risk, she argued cases in Southern states to integrate colleges that literally barred the doors to Black students. Early in his presidency, Lyndon B. Johnson appointed her as the the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge. Her autobiography, Equal Justice Under Law, is an eye-opener, too, about sexism in the civil rights movement. The intersectionality of racism, classism, environmentalism, housing, and land use was highlighted by presentations at a UU gathering in Ventura April 26-28. One speaker leads a group promoting rights of immigrants, workers, and youth of color: CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy).


For Memorial Day:

Spirit of Life…
Send peace for the soldiers who did not make the wars
but whose lives were consumed by them…
For the wounded ones, and those who received them back,
let there be someone ready when the memories come… ~Rev. Barbara J. Pescan
Full piece at


For the interdependent web of all existence:

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 the virtual General Assembly in June 20-24, 2024


UUSM flaming chalice, round logo

Our service in the world continues.