October 2023 Worship Services

gray rock formation on green grass field under gray cloudy sky

October’s Ministry Theme is Heritage

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 Given that the state of emergency has been lifted, they are no longer in effect.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. 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: St. Francis Day & Blessing of the Animals

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

Revs. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae & Amelia Mu'mina Marie, preaching
Cassie Winters, Worship Associate
Join us for our annual service celebrating St. Francis Day — the Patron Saint of Animals and The Environment in many traditions — and the Blessing of the Animals. We honor the interdependent web of all existence and especially those animals who share our homes and planet in this multigenerational service. You are invited to bring your friendly furry friends (or a picture of them) to church with you to receive a blessing as they bless us all with their presences this morning. Join us for Sunday worship in-person and online.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: What Is Ministry?

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

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching; Karen Hsu Patterson, Worship Associate. Ministry is at the heart of our liberal and liberating identity as Unitarian Universalists, and it is something we share among the gathered community. Everyone is called to the service of ministry in our tradition, but how do we define ministry and understand it in contemporary times? We will explore such questions together and also commission the members of our new Committee on Shared Ministry and learn more about their service to our congregation.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Mission and Vision Renewal

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

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching; Patrick Meighan, Worship Associate. The mission and vision of a congregation are like the chart and compass that help us live into our collective commitments and aspirations as a beloved community. They help to keep us from being static and move us in the direction of continual growth and transformation. Renewing mission and vision statements is something congregations do to keep the living tradition alive and fresh and to ensure everyone is on the same page--or at least reading the same book--when it comes to why we exist and what we hope to achieve together. This work is one of our developmental ministry priorities this year and your input will be invaluable. Come learn about this exciting new endeavor and how you might be a part of this next step in our developmental progress.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: The Songs of Your Soul

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

Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins, preaching; Sue Bickford, Worship Associate. What does the Universe call you to do? What is it that causes your soul to sing? If, indeed, each of us is here, on earth, for a particular reason, what might that one thing be? And how differently would you experience your relationships if you felt called to be in them? This morning you are invited to explore the yearnings of your heart and the songs of your soul.

Event Series Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship: Día de los Muertos

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

Revs. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae and Amina Mu'mina Marie, preaching; Vilma Ortiz and Johnny Canales, Worship Associates. The season of the ancestors has arrived and we feel their presences in our hearts. In this autumnal multigenerational service honoring El Día de los Muertos (The Day of Dead) we will celebrate the season of Allhallowtide and the spirits that are said to now commune with the living. You may bring a photo of a loved one you have lost to set among the marigolds of our Ofrenda. Our annual Garden of Eternity Service will follow the regular Sunday service at noon to remember those who have died in the past year and all those who now have memorial bricks placed in our beautiful Garden of Eternity.


Camp De Benneville Pines FundOctober Generous Congregation Recipient: Camp de Benneville Pines

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 Camp de Benneville Pines.

At the heart of our Unitarian Universalist camp, we strive to create a vibrant community where youth and adults alike can discover, explore, and embrace the transformative power of UU values. We are asked to imagine the joy of empowering the next generation of UU leaders, fostering an environment of inclusivity, social justice, and spiritual growth. Your support ensures that our camp remains a beacon of light for individuals seeking a nurturing and supportive community. Together, let’s ignite a passion for UU values that will continue to guide and inspire for generations to come.

Thank you for your generous support of our beloved community and Camp de Benneville Pines. 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.


October 2023 Theme: The Gift of Heritage

Let’s explore and ask questions in worship, small groups, and personal reflection on this month’s theme. This theme asks us to think about the difference between relatives and ancestors. From Soul Matters: “Relatives give us our brown eyes and bowed legs; ancestors bestow a legacy. Relatives are those we tell stories about; ancestors call us to carry stories forward. Relatives live on in our DNA; ancestors live in the whispers of our hearts. Our relatives allowed us to be here; our ancestors tell us why we are here. The difference comes down to values. Values we use to construct not just our stories but ourselves.”

The past is never dead. It’s not even past. –William Faulkner

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. –Mark Twain

Some people are your relatives, but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values. –Ralph Ellison

In times like these, I look to the past. I come from people not meant to survive, and here is our bloodline, stronger than ever. –Brittany Packnett

Walking. I am listening in a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands. –Linda Hogan

To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves. –Alice Walker

When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found. They forgot where they came from. –Carl Sandburg

When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far. –Brandon Sanderson

When we lie about the past, we steal from the future. –Abigail Bengson

My father used to say that stories are part of the most precious heritage of humankind. –Tahir Shah

The Dead are our nearest neighbors. –John O’Donohue

We are a collage — a remix — of our ancestors. We have spiritual DNA, as well as physical, and our lot in life is to answer the questions posed by the people who came before us. –Austin Kleon

I became aware of the fateful links between me and my ancestors. I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors… It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished. –Carl Jung

Whereas history pleads, “Protect what we put into place!” Heritage urges, “Know the plotline of which you are a part.” History is what happened; Heritage is a story still unfolding. History tends to trap us in tales about what they did; Heritage inevitably gets us talking about what we are called to do. –Rev. Scott Tayler

If something did go terribly wrong in human history – and given the current state of the world, it’s hard to deny something did – then perhaps it began to go wrong precisely when people started losing that freedom to imagine and enact other forms of social existence, to such a degree that some now feel this particular type of freedom hardly even existed, or was barely exercised, for the greater part of human history. –David Graeber

There’s a tension in me. I’ve lived with what Toni Morrison calls the white gaze… while I was writing This Here Flesh, I had to keep asking myself, “Who’s in the room with you, Cole?” I’m almost embarrassed to say how many times the answer was some white intellectual man that didn’t care about me… these kind of specters, these haunts were just looming over my writing and I had to kind of keep exorcizing the room and say, “No, I know who I want in the room with me. I want my ancestors. I want my own voice, my own soul.” –Cole Arthur Riley, on the heritage of the white gaze

Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage. –Ta-Nehisi Coates

This is the thing: If you have the option to not think about or even consider history,… that’s how you know you’re on board the ship that serves hors d’oeuvres and fluffs your pillows, while others are out at sea, swimming or drowning, or clinging to little inflatable rafts that they have to take turns keeping inflated, people short of breath, who’ve never even heard of the words hors d’oeuvres or fluff. –Tommy Orange

The mission of your life should be to leave a better world behind than what you inherited. –Sri Ravi Shankar

You are remembered for the rules you break. –Douglas MacArthur

God’s love remains your heritage –Anonymous Christian minister

Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon –Full poem found HERE
I am from the forsythia bush / the Dutch elm / whose long-gone limbs I remember / as if they were my own. / I’m from the know-it-alls and the pass-it-ons… / I’m from He restoreth my soul… / I am from those moments– / snapped before I budded…

Remember the Sky by Joy Harjo –Full poem found HERE; Video reflection HERE
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give you form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother’s, and hers…
Remember the earth whose skin you are…
Remember you are all people and all people are you…


UUSM flaming chalice, round logo

Our service in the world continues.