September 2023 Worship Services

3D painting of Welcome

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 Given that the state of emergency has been lifted, they are no longer in effect.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


Sunday Worship: Misplaced Love

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

Pastor Stephen "Cue" Jn-Marie, preaching. Misplaced Love destroys the balance of the universe and throws everything off track & out of whack, it inhibits us from loving our neighbor effectively! We welcome Pastor Stephen "Cue" Jn-Marie this morning. Cue is the Pastor and founder of The Row LA  – “The Church Without Walls” founded in 2006, in Downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row community. Pastor Cue is also a faith-rooted organizer with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), since 2015 and is co-lead organizer of the Black Jewish Justice Alliance (BJJA) as well as Co-convener of the Black and Brown Clergy and Community coalition and is dedicated to helping address issues of public policy that are affecting the most vulnerable citizens and residents in the City & County of Los Angeles. Sue Bickford is our Worship Associate.

Sunday Worship: Ingathering and Water Communion

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

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae and Rev. Amelia Mumina Marie, preaching. "Shall we gather by the river... the beautiful, beautiful river?" asks the hymn we sang at the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly and will sing again this morning — a reflection upon all people gathering at the river of life. Like General Assembly, a time when congregations from all across the nation join together in worship, this annual service is a time for us to come together to inaugurate a new church year. We will pour libations of water and offer our hopes and dreams into the well of our common life. You may bring a small container of water that is sacred to you for the ceremony. We will also warmly welcome our newest members, so be sure to join us on this special Sunday morning! Johnny Canales is our Worship Associate.

Sunday Worship: Opening the Book of Life

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

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, preaching. We are greeted by the Days of Awe — the Jewish High Holy Days — with the arrival of Rosh HaShanah. This is a time for finding clarity within oneself and peace with one's neighbor and the divine. Join us as we reflect on this sacred time and read the chapters we've each written in the Book of Life. This weekend many in our congregation will be on retreat together at Camp de Benneville Pines.

Sunday Worship: Sept. 24 Welcoming Wonder

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

Rev. Amelia Mumina Marie, preaching. Our new Ministerial Specialist for Religious Education and Community Life invites us to welcome wonder as we get to know her a little better and celebrate her new multigenerational ministry with us this morning. Chela Metzger, Worship Associate.


September Generous Congregation Recipient: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE)

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 Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE).

The power of advocacy: CLUE cultivates a network of more than 900 religious leaders, partnering with allied community organizations and labor unions to advocate for better working conditions, and with lawmakers to establish policies that improve a lot of workers and their families. Building a just and sacred society: CLUE brings together clergy and lay leaders of all faiths with the marginalized, the unheard, and the least protected — low-wage workers — in the cause of a just economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.

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


September 2023 Theme: The Gift of Welcome

Let’s explore and ask questions in worship, small groups, and personal reflection on this month’s theme. This theme touches on welcoming change, on including us all, on our wholeness, yet also on our paths to grief, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

We are all longing to go home to some place
we have never been—a place half-remembered and half-envisioned…
Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter,
voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power… ~ Starhawk, The Longing for Home

Universalists are often asked to tell where they stand. The only true answer to give to this question is that we do not stand at all, we move. ~ Lewis Fisher

It’s the community’s job to figure out how we can stretch into the so-called margins to broaden our understanding and the ability to be inclusive. Inclusivity is not “How do we make you a part of what we are?” but “How do we become more of what you are?” ~ angel Kyodo williams Sensei

To become an anti-racist faith community, the key question for a white/white majority community is not “How do we get people of color to join our faith community?” It is, instead, “How can we make a prolonged, spiritually rooted, engaged commitment to uprooting white supremacy within our community and take ongoing collective action to challenge it in society?” Our goal is not to have white people sit alongside a person of color so as to affirm that those white people aren’t racist. Our goal is to build and be part of beloved community, united to end structural oppression and unleash collective liberation… Our goal is to join our hearts and minds to the task of destroying white supremacy in every worldview, policy, law, institution, and governing body of our society… ~ Chris Crass

The situation facing trans and gender non-conforming people in the United States right now is really bleak. And I really want to have an earnest plea that people stop framing this as a minority issue and reframe this as a universal attack on self-determination. Every one of us should be able to determine our own gender. No one else should be able to tell us what we should look like, how we should act, and what we should do with our bodies. So we need you to show up in this moment, not just out of an ethics of allyship. That doesn’t feel like enough for me, but out of an insistence and your own dignity, your own capacity to transform, your own love of self. ~ Alok Vaid Menon

Don’t leave your broken heart at the door…/  Don’t leave your anger behind… /  Bring them with you, /  and your joy… ~ Angela Herrara

You don’t need to know people in order to grieve with them. You grieve with them in order to know them. ~ Valarie Kaur

For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed? ~ bell hooks

The distinction is this: forgiveness opens the possibility of reconciliation with another, but it does not necessarily lead to reconciliation, and it is certainly not the same thing as reconciliation. One can forgive and not reconcile.  … Reconciliation has conditions attached to it, but forgiveness does not. What forgiveness does, at most, is to provide a place where trust can be earned and reconciliation made possible. ~ Rev. Bruce Bode


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Our service in the world continues.