Who We Are
The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica was founded in 1927. We are a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The covenant we share with other Unitarian Universalist congregations is known as our "Purposes and Principles."
We affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in our society at large
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part
Our UU History is Courageous and Life Affirming
The Unitarian tradition draws from the congregational church of Puritan New England, an experiment in religious democracy and a distinctively American faith. Even earlier, Unitarian movements in central Europe struggled for the freedom of religion, and for the belief in one God.
The Universalist faith came to the U.S. from England. Universalism comforted many with its vision of a loving God, who saved all souls from damnation. The Unitarians and the Universalists, desiring to share the inspiration and the resources of their separate institutions, merged in 1961 to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The Santa Monica Church
Our church is a vital and influential liberal religious resource for Los Angeles. Our worship services, religious education for children, young people and adults, intergenerational activities, and social action projects attract thoughtful individuals who seek an environment for religious growth.
We are an inclusive community. We encourage and value the participation of ALL people who share our philosophy, regardless of age, race or sexual orientation. We have many small groups to help people focus on their own interests or identity.
We are a non-credal church. We do not require allegiance to religious dogma for membership. Unitarian Universalism promotes tolerance and religious freedom, values that are central to our tradition.
We are an intentionally diverse religious community, embracing atheists, theists and persons of many different religious backgrounds, all sharing a desire to worship, learn, serve and celebrate together. We gather together as Unitarian Universalists.
We care about children and young people. Our religious education program offers relevant and engaging curricula presented by teachers who are trained and supported by our Director of Religious Education.
We offer child care for infants and toddlers during the worship service and for all-church events. We also sponsor intergenerational activities throughout the year so that families may participate together in the life of our church.
Our governance is democratic. We follow the tradition of congregational polity, in which each local congregation is responsible for its own business and management. Our leadership is elected each spring at the annual meeting. Our minister is called to lead us by a vote of the congregation.
Our Minister, the Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur is a 2009 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, and was formerly Acting Assistant Minister at First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Previously, she served for two years as a part-time Intern Minister for The First Parish Church of Stow and Acton in Stow, Massachusetts.
We have two Ministers Emeriti -- the Rev. Ernest Pipes, Jr., who served this congregation from 1956 to 1991, and the Rev. Judith Meyer, who served from 1993 to 2008.
Membership in our congregation is a participatory activity. When you join us, you are eligible to vote, to serve on committees and to become fully involved in the life of our church. Please read the pamphlet, Shall I Join, Thoughts on Becoming A Member, for more information.
This church is for you if you:
- Want a religious home where diversity is appreciated and celebrated;
- Value the inherent worth and dignity of individuals;
- Appreciate the freedom to explore and develop your own religious philosophy;
- Support a place where intergenerational connections are nurtured; and
- Believe that social action is a religious obligation.