November 2023 Worship Services

person holding pastry

November’s Ministry Theme is Generosity

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 Given that the state of emergency has been lifted, they are no longer in effect.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 and place it 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 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: The Year to Save the Earth

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

"The Year to Save the Earth" Join in welcoming back UU composer Jim Scott for a special service of his music — a multimedia, musical message. This is the pre-premier, sneak preview of “The Year to Save the Earth.” Jim’s powerful and poignant songs of Earth and Ecology are illustrated with beautiful and striking images shown on our big screen. Come celebrate our Mother Earth, the challenges, and the hope for the future! Our choir will offer several of the anthems, and there’s many opportunities to sing along. Across four decades, composer, poet, and activist Jim Scott has performed in more than 700 UU Churches. His much loved “Gather the Spirit” and others are included in our UU hymnbooks. Jim was one of the creators of the “Green Sanctuary” program, and he compiled The Earth and Spirit Songbook, 110 songs of ecology and peace. Longtime member of the Paul Winter Consort, Jim co-wrote their celebrated “Missa Gaia/Earth Mass.” He has gone on to create award winning choral works, PBS soundtracks, and nine CDs of original music. Jim received an NEA grant to create and produce “The Year to Save the Earth” multimedia concert. He hopes to take it everywhere. -- Daylight Savings Time ends, so we'll set our clocks back an hour.

Sunday Worship: Holy Land

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

"Holy Land" Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching. The home and meeting place of three of the world's great religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — is held to be a land of peace and it has endured centuries of upheaval, war, and violence. Join us as we reflect upon the Holy Land and we offer the longings of our hearts for justice, stability, healing, and a lasting peace. Join us for worship in-person and online.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Thanksgiving/Thanxgrieving

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

Thanksgiving/Thanxgrieving: Antidotes to White Supremacy Culture (Part II), Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching. We give thanks for the abundance of life and we mourn the harm inflicted upon Indigenous People by settler colonialism and supremacy cultures in this holiday service. We will continue our exploration of the antidotes to white supremacy culture as we live into our commitments to multiculturalism and building the beloved community. Join us for worship in-person and online.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: The Bible

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

The Bible, Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching. Sacred texts provided the foundation for the emergence of our ancestral traditions — Unitarianism and Universalism — within the Christian tradition. They have comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable for thousands of years. Come join us as we introduce and explore the Bible from the historical perspectives of our liberal religious tradition. Join us for worship in-person and online.


November Generous Congregation Recipient: United American Indian Involvement, Inc.

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 the United American Indian Involvement, Inc. (UAII).

The organization’s mission is to promote and support the physical, behavioral, and spiritual well-being of American Indian/Alaska Natives in the urban Los Angeles area by providing comprehensive, integrated services that focus on all age groups and incorporate American Indian/Alaska Native cultures and traditions. 

UAII’s vision is to provide quality physical and behavioral health, education, and social support services that promote healthy lifestyles and individual responsibility in order to strengthen American Indian/Alaska Native communities, now and for future generations. All services will integrate traditions, practices, and beliefs, be culturally sensitive and respectful of American Indian/Alaska Native tribal affiliation.

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


November 2023 Theme: Generosity

Let’s consider that we live in a generous and grace-filled world. We can notice connections between gratitude and generosity, or how ideas about generosity get in the way of justice. We can ponder that generosity’s enemy is a scarcity mentality. We’ll explore and ask questions in worship, small groups, and personal reflection on this month’s theme of Generosity. 

The flame we kindle in the chalice of faith / Holds blessings of warmth and light and life-giving energy. / It shines forth a beacon to guide us all home / It lights up our longings to connect and to share / It possesses the power to shape a world / where equity and compassion reign supreme. / May this warmth and light and life-giving energy / celebrate the blessings we have claimed, / and help us extend them in hands and hearts / that offer these blessings to all. ~ Rev. Suzelle Lynch, “Celebrating Blessings”

“When there are strings attached to our giving, it can change the way we relate to each other… giving and receiving gifts with strings feeds into the consumerist culture in which relationships, love, looks, and everything else can be bought and sold and bartered for the right price. It’s like coming to church and asking, “what’s in it for me?” rather than “how can I serve?” Unitarian Universalist minister Richard Gilbert describes a time when he was asked about his religion. He explained that he neither feared hell nor sought heaven. He believed in “the importance of being good – for nothing.” Gifts without strings is a way of being good – for no reason… ~ Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees, “Gifts with Strings”

Plant more than you harvest, sun and water, earth and seeds. Plant more than you harvest, give the earth all that it needs, give the earth all that it needs… / Clear the meadows and the highways, but plant stout trees between. Let the forests hold the hillsides, cover the earth with green, cover the earth with green… / Some seeds fall by the wayside, but some will make it through, On the water or wind or a loving hand, the cycle starts anew, the cycle starts anew. ~ Jim Scott,

As we light this chalice, with its freely shared light and freely shared warmth / Let us be reminded of the many things that are freely shared with us / And that we freely share with others / May we lean into generosity shared from the heart / That can warm those around us. ~ Rev. Michelle Collins, “Freely shared”

I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” ~ Toni Morrison

A simple change of perspective can revolutionize the way we move through life.  Instead of focusing just on what we want, we can choose to focus on what we want to give… In our personal lives, to live in the spirit of abundance means growing our gifts rather than compensating for a lack we see or that is seen by others.  It means building on our strengths, rather than trying to eliminate our weaknesses.  It means asking ourselves, “What do I want to offer?” rather than “What should I get in return?” ~ Rev. Elizabeth Stevens

Generosity is an activity that loosens us up. By offering whatever we can – a dollar, a flower, a word of encouragement – we are training in letting go. ~ Pema Chodron

From you I receive, to you I give, / Together we share, / And from this we live. ~ Rabbis Joseph and Nathan Segal (#402 in our hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition)

There seems to be such a thing as beauty, a grace wholly gratuitous…We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it…  If the landscape reveals one certainty, it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down eons of emptiness. ~ Annie Dillard

…I’ve been thinking about the patience / Of ordinary things, how clothes / Wait respectfully in closets… / And towels drink the wet / From the skin of the back. / And the lovely repetition of stairs. / And what is more generous than a window? ~ Pat Schneider

If we are prepared to interrogate our privilege, we will conclude that philanthropy is not only about giving back, but it may be also giving up something, so that we can have an America where opportunity does exist for all. ~ Darren Walker


Lively and important discussions within the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) are currently underway about the proposed revisions to Article II of the UUA’s Bylaws; here’s two perspectives on generosity provided by SoulMatters, with links for further exploration:

  • Article II Proposal – its wording on the Value of Generosity: “Generosity. We cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope. We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Our generosity connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.”
  • Article II Commission Reflection – Arguing against the amendment to add “gratitude” to our values, the Rev. Cheryl M. Walker explained the commission felt that “the ultimate goal of our gratitude is generosity.”   Starting at 2:34:50 and ending at 2:36:25.

The final version of Article II, as amended by the June 2023 General Assembly, must receive a simple majority vote to move forward. The Article II Study Commission has six months following that Assembly to incorporate and clean up any amendments passed by the delegates, and send it back to the Board of Trustees to be placed on the June 2024 General Assembly agenda for a final vote. But where did this come from? It’s part of deepening our faith through anti-racism and anti-oppression work; please see the report from a two-year commission appointed by the UUA Board in 2021: 


In November we also honor the Transgender Day of Remembrance with these prayers:

Spirit of Life… We know that you know that transness is life and that You accept us and all the ways that we are, not as part of being human but as a multiplicity of expressions of love… Soften the hearts of those who are causing their own suffering by clutching their transphobia so tightly. Show them the way back to their own humanity…  ~ Rev. Theresa Ninán Soto

May we come to a time when we cease to shame children around gender roles and expression, where we allow for freedom and exploration of identity and expression, and to a world that operates from love ~ Rev. Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe; full piece at


UUSM flaming chalice, round logo

Our service in the world continues.