Newsletter for July-August, 2017

Jun 2017
From Our Minister: 

Growing Goodness

Dear Friends,

Over the course of my two decades in the UU Ministry, there are two things that I have found myself being deeply drawn toward: the call of work that is worthy and the good partners that are indispensable in that work being successful.

Work that is worthy is work that sees and summons a spark — a truth — something that is essential to the possibility of growing goodness in the world. I can tell goodness because, when I find it inside of me or in others, it is constantly linked to happiness, hope, creativity, justice, joy. Some of our ‘work’ is learning to see the latent power in our core truths — because they’re almost always buried beneath layers of old hurt, doubt, cynicism, worry and fear. But an even larger part of our work is finding the courage to remove all the ‘protective’ layering we carefully placed around such truths so that they can come alive. The joy at the heart of the world never wanted to be protected. It wanted to come alive.

It was a great joy to be with you for a weekend. In a very short time, I got a chance to put a few faces to names — a little flesh on the bones of the history I read about in your materials. The real beauty of UUCCSM is not your bylaws or policies or the narrative histories I’ve read. It’s certainly not in the challenges I’ve heard described. Your real beauty is the humanness you bring. Your heartfelt drive to be become your best selves. To imagine your best contributions leading to the best community. Your real beauty is in your aspirations toward becoming a beloved community.

You won me over by presenting me with a great gift — one which you might not even be aware of having offered. On the Saturday and Sunday I was with you in May, I got a chance to hear a half dozen stories about my mother, Celia Ward, from people who knew her (largely from her work at de Benneville Pines in the 70s and 80s). My mother, for a relatively small woman, was ‘large and in charge.’ She was often brash and imposing. She could swear like a sailor. But she could also be quite tender and wise. Some saw her as a great mentor and leader. Some, as a great pain in the #$@&%!. To her children, she was a complex mix of both. Not always in the right proportions with the right timing (I trust I am not saying anything too unfamiliar to anyone who compares the parent they were given with the one they sometimes fantasized about). The stories that I heard about my mother contained an awareness of both sides of her.

Part of my ‘work’ over the last 50+ years has been to look, learn, understand, integrate, and accept the various inconsistent – even contradictory — parts of my mother. One of the great gifts we can be given is to be among people who ‘get’ the complexity we’ve been caught up in.

A Buddhist novitiate once asked his master to tell him about delusion. “You are asking me about the horse,” the master said, “and you are riding on it.”

It is my great hope that I can offer some of the same gifts you have helped to give me: a chance to see clearly some of the complexity from which you have emerged. Because what you hope for is what I hope for: to look, learn, understand, integrate, and accept all that you have been given. And to know it is a great gift. A truth. A spark. To remove the hurt or doubt or cynicism that has been draped upon it. And to see it is being called to do great things. It just needs a people with the courage to see its power and use it well.

To the Glory of Life.
Rev. Greg Ward


From Our President: 

Summertime Help

This Summer is an unusual time for our Church.
We don’t have a sitting minister.
We don’t have some committees functioning with the full complement of members.
For example: Until Rev. Greg arrives, Pastoral care will be provided by members of the congregation and neighboring ministers.
If you have need for Pastoral Care contact Nurit Gordon at the office: 310-829-5436 ext 100 or Ron Crane at his home number (available from the church office).
HELP! Second Sunday Supper for July and August needs hosts, workers, and main courses. Established in 2008, Second Sunday Supper provids nurturance in numerous ways. Please join in our practice of community by giving time, talent, and caring.
Our community thrives when we give service to the Church and to the world at large. What have you given of late? I’m not just talking about fundraising. I’m talking about sharing your time and attention.
We have 340 members. If each of them gave four hours a month of service that would be 1,360 hours. That would be the equivalent of 8.5 full time persons.
Join in and make this The Summer of Living and Giving Generously (and don’t stop when Fall arrives).
Ron Crane
News & Announcements: 


Sanctuary 7pm
Open mike for music, poetry, comedy, spoken word, etc.
Format same as Second Sunday Spotlights
Contact Tom Ahern —

Second Sunday Suppers: July 9 and August 13

Join us for the Second Sunday Supper on Sunday, July 9 and Sunday, August 13, 6 to 8 pm, after the Heart and Soul Comtemplative Worship Services. Happy hour starts at 5:45 pm. We welcome all for this once-a-month informal potluck feast! Meet up with old friends and meet new ones! To save on waste and promote green living, we kindly ask that you bring your own plates, cups, utensils and cloth napkins (we will have extra dishes if you cannot bring your own). This event is the cornerstone of our new Food Ministry program. Sign-up to help online at Contact: Jacki Weber for more information.

Going Forward

The Rev. Greg Ward, a Transitional Minister trained in healing congregations that are experiencing conflict and dissension, begins his contract with UUSM on September 1. During the interim, Vilma Ortiz will coordinate Sunday worship, and Ron Crane will coordinate pastoral care. For other needs, please contact Nurit Gordon, church administrator.\

Newsletter Schedule

The next issue of the UUSM Newsletter will be published on August 15. Deadline for that issue is AUGUST 1 at noon. Submit items to:


On July 16, 1927, Stuart was delivered by a witch doctor in the jungles of the Republic of Panama. At the age of two he was introduced to the Unitarian Church of Memphis, TN (founded 1896). In the early 1940s he was active in their YPRU (Young Peoples Religious Union). In the late 1940s he was a member of the Unitarian Church of Champaign, IL. When he moved to California in 1952 he joined the Laymen’s League of the Santa Monica Church long before he became a member officially in 1961. Stuart served on the Board of Directors for six years; as Chairman in 1969-70. He was the church’s Building Engineer for 40 years under Reverends Pipes and Meyer.
Please join us for cake after the service on July 16 to help celebrate this milestone.

Anderson Courtyard Fountain Has a New Look

Have you seen the fountain in Anderson Courtyard lately? Does it look a little different? Smaller, maybe? For the past ten years or so, it has been not a fountain, but a large flower pot, maintained by members ever since it fell into disrepair over ten years ago.
Recently, that disrepair has gotten worse, to the point where our beloved monument was cracking visibly, crumbling even. And it was unsafe. On Sunday May 14th 2017, Steve White and Karl Lisovsky finally demolished the main part of the old fountain, got rid of the dangerous part, and restored a smaller version of what had been there.
During demolition we realized that we were doing the right thing: in some places, Steve was able to literally pull it apart with his bare hands! New plans are in the works for a replacement. For the moment, we have left a smaller version of the original, still topped by the vibrant fire plant, and still accented by the Marcus family plaque. 

Communicators Wanted!

JOIN US! COMMUNICATIONS TEAM MEETING: Sunday, July 2, 11am–12:30pm

Movie Night!


Picnic Time!

Join us for food, fun, and fellowship at the Annual All-Church Interweave* and Women's Alliance Picnic, Sunday, July 30, 11:00 a.m. (just after the 10 am service), in the church courtyard. We’ll be serving grilled hot dogs (vegan and meat), salads, desserts, lemonade, and iced tea. Donations will be welcome but, technically, it’s free!
roceeds from the picnic will be donated to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) young people. If you have questions or would like to provide a dish for the picnic or help on the day of the picnic, please contact Kris Langabeer.
*Interweave is our church’s group for LGBTQI individuals and our friends and allies
Green Living Committee: 


Our Green Living Committee social justice partner in South Los Angeles needs volunteers for upcoming work days on July 8 and August 12, 9 am to 1 pm. Contact Rick Teplitz for more information.


Splinters from the Board: 





The newly-installed Board of Directors reads their covenant at the annual meeting on May 21. Left to right: Jerry Gates, Kikanza Nuri-Robins, Jacki Weber, Norm Richey, Kim Miller, Patricia Wright, Beth Brownlie, Ron Crane. Not pictured: Emily Hero. Photo: Charles Haskell

The Board That Would Not Quit!

The Board of Directors began its June 13 meeting with four members in attendance, one short of a quorum; but, knowing that a member would be arriving later, we continued. Also in attendance were DRE Kathleen Hogue, Church Administrator Nurit Gordon, Right Relations committee members Beth Rendiero and Vilma Ortiz, and three guests.

Given the lack of a quorum, the president navigated the agenda starting with items that needed only discussion but no vote. Kathleen lit the Chalice.

A new member was recorded, Farideh M. Arianpour, bringing our total membership to 340 congregants. We warmly welcome her!

Kit Shaw, Co-Chair of the Stewardship Committee, described the committee’s effort to help RE raise money to hire a part-time assistant for Kathleen. A Spirit Grant of $15,000 has been awarded the Church for this position contingent on the RE committee raising a matching amount in the next six months, by Nov 1, 2017. This must be “new” money, and not money the Church already has in accounts. The $15,000 must also be in cash and not in pledges. The total of $30,000 would fund this part-time position for the next three years.

Kit outlined plans to raise money to meet the $15,000 matching grant, which include direct solicitation of congregation members via letter, three Friday movie night fundraising events, and Sarah Robson’s generous offer to provide SAT tutoring in math, with fees going to the match. The Stewardship and RE Committees will continue to explore other fund-raising events.

There was discussion of the Communications Team, which is working on updating its plan to enhance information-sharing within the congregation, including electronic communications, and will be asked to present a report at the July board meeting.

A quorum was achieved at 7:23 with the arrival of Board member Jerry Gates at which time the Consent agenda was passed.

President Ron Crane, with organizing help from Kim Miller, is pulling together a group of experienced members to be a Pastoral Care Group during the summer months. Linda van Ligten is also organizing a group of members to provide Care Net services such as rides, bringing food, etc.

There was extensive discussion regarding Second Sunday Supper (SSS), with unanimous support that SSS not cease during July and August. Norm Richey volunteered (thank you Beth Rendeiro) to ask the Heart to Heart Group to take this on for July, and Ron will find a sponsor for August. The suppers for September and October are already scheduled. The goal for the next few months is to re-establish the SSS committee to plan and arrange the schedule.

Norm reported that Rev. Rebecca wrote a White Paper on the history and progression of the Heart to Heart program from the time of her arrival, when the program had become inactive, to the present. Norm will make this paper available to board members and encourages all to read it. It will also be available in the office for those who wish to have a copy. Heart to Heart is a very active and important program offered to congregants. About 60 to 70 people participate each year with participants self-reporting changes in how they are able to listen with more depth and awareness, and thus feel more connected and accepting of other congregants.

Before this meeting, the board approved via email two urgent requests from the Facilities Committee. The board unanimously approved the use of up to $2,000 from the Facility Reserve Fund to repair a leak in the plumbing system, and to remove asphalt/concrete at the alley. On an 8 to 1 vote, the board approved the use of $550 from the Facility Reserve Fund to upgrade the sun shade in the children’s area.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Norm Richey


RE News: 

Join the Religious Education Team

The Religious Education Program at UU Santa Monica is a cooperative program that relies on adults in the congregation to teach RE classes. We ask families with children in the RE program to contribute as well. This allows us all to join together in a ministry that helps to guide our children in their spiritual journey as Unitarian Universalists through the teaching of our UU Principles and beliefs, world religions, leadership and social justice issues.
Teachers participating in the RE program engage in a soulenriching spiritual practice that serves as an important part of our religious community. Many have found this to be a mutually rewarding experience, in which teachers and children explore Unitarian Universalism and their own beliefs and understandings together. Teaching enables adults to join children on a communal path to spiritual growth. AND it is FUN!
By teaching in the RE program, parents demonstrate to children the value of cooperation and commitment. Children will recognize the importance that parents attribute to the spiritual development and learning of all the children in the UUSM community. Teaching also offers you the opportunity to contribute your own special skills and talents to our community.
Teachers are supported with training, curricula, and materials by the RE Director and the RE Committee. With teams of four, teachers typically are in the classroom twice per month. New teachers usually work with experienced teachers for the first couple of months.
This coming year we need even more help. We have a thriving population of children and youth! We will be offering Spirit Play for children 3 to 5 years of age, and offering our Coming of Age Program in addition to our other ongoing classes. Find out more soon!
Please consider signing up to teach. We need to hear from you soon so we can schedule training. Contact Kathleen at uusmdre@ or 310-428-7103.
I am so very grateful to all of our dedicated teachers who continue to contribute their precious time, effort, and resources. I appreciate this congregation’s commitment and support of all our RE classes for children, youth and adults. Thank you to all, and we look forward to working with you!
Kathleen Hogue 

Let the Force Be With You!

Join Jessica Dunn, Patrick Tape, and RE Director Kathleen Hogue in our Star Wars themed Summer Program with a UU twist for children of all ages. It continues each Sunday through the summer! This program brings spiritual/ethical lessons from Star Wars into a cohesive program that focuses on the colors of Lightsabers and the UU Principles. All young “Padawans” meet in the cottage with their teachers (Jedi Masters) following the Time for all Ages in the service. 

July/August 2017 – Adult RE

Summer Common Read & Discussion Group: “Thank God for Evolution”
Few issues have revealed deeper divisions in our society than the debate between creationism and evolution, between religion and science. Yet from the fray, the Rev. Michael Dowd has emerged as a reconciler, finding faith strengthened by the power of reason. With evidence from contemporary astrophysics, geology, biology, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology, Thank God for Evolution lays out a compelling argument for how religion and science can be mutually enriching forces in our lives. Praised by Nobel laureates in the scientific community and religious leaders alike, Thank God for Evolution will expand the horizon of what is possible for self, for relationships, and for our world. Come to either or both discussions.
Wednesdays, July 5, July 19; 7 pm to 9 pm; Room 3 
We have a few books available for purchase ($5.00)
Contact Kathleen Hogue, or James Witker
Summer Film Series “Standing for the Future” featuring Michael Dowd
Each movie starts at 6:30 pm, with a discussion afterward.
Saturday, July 8: Standing for the Future (Film 2 of 3): “Reality Is Lord: A Scientific View of God on a Rapidly Overheating Planet” We each have experienced times of trouble that threaten to overwhelm our individual lives. In such times, a vision of possibility is essential. What vision will carry us forward through such times and inspire us to work together? What vision will charge us with a sense of heroic purpose that the future is, indeed, calling us to greatness? (50 min) Sanctuary
Satruday, July 22: Standing for the Future (Film 3 of 3): “Grace Limits and Big Picture ‘Apocaloptimism’: The Coming Great Reckoning as Great Homecoming” Given our impact on Earth’s climate, the seas, and other species, humanity is already beginning to experience The Great Reckoning. The good news is that this is also The Great Homecoming: the prodigal species, after squandering our inheritance, coming home to Reality (God). (55 min.)
Forbes Hall, upstairs.
Contact Kathleen Hogue, or James Witker
It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again
Based on acclaimed author Julia Cameron’s program: It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again. This program using actionable, simple steps focuses on: “Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.” This is for those seeking to navigate changes, or help create changes in one’s life. Self-discovery emerges from attendees’ personal writing, which is done daily, and is only for yourself. This writing is done first thing in the morning and is called “Morning Pages,” a concept created by Cameron in her initial bestseller on creativity, The Artist’s Way. Each class also suggests other optional activities of self-discovery which attendees may do during each week. Each activity, in conjunction with morning pages, deepens the journey of discovery of new part of one’s self, and/or, of new ways of living. “An Artist’s Date” (exploring playfulness) Short Walks, Memoir writing, Acts of self-kindness are just a few of the optional activities.
Join us Sundays for an 8-week course June 25, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Aug 6, 13; 12 pm to 2 pm; Forbes Hall, Room 3. Bring a bagged lunch! Contact Cathy Wolfson or Kathleen Hogue,
Spirited Seekers Is on hiatus until September 3, 2017!
Facilitator: Sarah Robson
An Enjoyable Dive into Who and What We Are
This ongoing, once a month class is presented to help participants master specific meditation skills. We endeavor to answer the questions Who am I? (attitudes and beliefs) and What am I? (Essence or True Nature). This class will include meditations that explore participants’ spiritual goals. The monthly group meetings will also focus on insights gained throughout the month. It is expected that participants have a regular meditation practice.
July 3, August 7; 7 pm to 9:30 pm; Room 1 Facilitator Bill Blake
Want to have fun, work with dynamic people, make connections and help plan programming? Want to help others by providing them with the tools to become who they want to be? Join the Adult RE Committee (ARE Committee). We generally meet every first Friday of the month at 7 pm in Forbes Hall, Room 1. All are welcome to come to the meetings and ask questions, offer feedback and ideas, or join the committee! Please contact Kathleen ahead of time for last minute changes of the meeting date: Kathleen Hogue


Sarah Robson will be offering SAT math workshops for young adults of families who are members of the UU Church. Each weekly session will be 2 hours in duration. The tutoring rate is suggested at $20-$30 / hour for the service, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds. But note: this is a fundraiser. All proceeds go towards matching the Spirit Level Foundation Grant for our DRE Assistant! So come, enjoy a summer of math! Exact time and dates TBD, based on interest, the best time for those interested, and room availability. Contact Sarah Robson for more information.