Newsletter for March, 2018

Mar 2018
From Our Minister: 

Achieving Balance in Life and in Resources

Dear Friends,

There’s a story of an international businessman on holiday in Mexico, where a fisherman was on his boat with a great many fish.

“How long did it take to catch that many fish?” he asked.

“Not long,” was the reply.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer?” asked the businessman.

“Because this is enough for me and my family,” explained the fisherman.

“So what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, play with my children, take a siesta, and talk to my wife. In the evening, I go to town and visit friends. I play the guitar and sing songs. I have a full life.”

“Well, I have an MBA from Harvard,” explained the businessman. “I can help. You should spend more time fishing. Catch more fish. You can sell the extra fish, make more money, and buy a bigger boat.”


“The money from the bigger boat will buy two or three additional boats. Instead of selling fish to a middle man, you sell directly to processing plants. Then, open your own plant. Then you could live in Mexico City or New York! When the business gets really big, you sell stock and make millions!”

“Wow, millions?!? What happens after that?” asked the fisherman.

“After that you’ll be able to retire on the coast, sleep in, play with your grandkids, take a siesta, and talk to your wife. In the evenings you’ll go to town and play and sing with your friends.”

Friends, I use this story as a way to introduce balance – our theme of the month. And I hope it highlights the irony of giving up presence for profit.

But I also want to challenge us to think about things beyond our personal inventory. I’m talking about how things hang in the balance of our culture and in our national/global society. Specifically, things like love, liberty, safety and justice.

Would you consider the distribution of these resources to be balanced among people? Are they significantly lacking in some communities and stockpiled in others? Might our fisherman choose to work harder if it reduced the suffering in some other family? In some other village?

When we look out at the greatest challenges in the world today I worry greatly about the imbalance between the rich and poor, the haves and have-nots, peoples of different races and different cultures. Between one gender and another – and those courageously moving beyond gender binaries altogether.

One of the key conversations I hope our country begins to move toward – and that we, in this community, begin to initiate – are balancing a variety of resources — like privilege, power, protection, decision-making authority, representation, and responsibility.

By far, one of the biggest conversations I hope we enter into is the balance of self interest vs. human interest. The balance of those holding love and those holding fear. I believe our world needs such conversations.

I believe UUSM is ready to begin them.

To the Glory of Life.

The Rev. Greg Ward


From Our President: 

Making Our Vision a Reality

The Finance Committee, the board, the staff, and numerous members are working on next year’s budget for the church.

We need your help, support, and minds.

We currently project a deficit.

This is the year we hoped to reach a balanced budget.

There is a Finance Town Hall planned to give details as we attempt to develop a budget for next year. Your attendance and participation at the Town Hall and the Annual Meeting is needed.

We also need your financial support in supporting the church in the endeavors as we attempt to make a community that addresses the needs of our church family, and our work to make the world a place that reflects our Vision and our Principles.

I strongly request that you be involved in discussions and decisions that face us. Rev. Greg has brought new possibilities to our community.

Each of us needs to be a part of that development.

Please be an active member in our work together to bring positivity to what seems to be an ever-increasingly chaotic word.

We need each other’s hearts, minds, and souls.

Please join in.

Ron Crane


News & Announcements: 

April Newsletter Deadlines

The April 2018 issue of the UUSM Newsletter will be published on March 27. Deadline for that issue is Thursday, March 15 at noon. Please submit announcements to Submit articles to

Rev. Greg’s Sunday Sermons Available for Purchase

The Rev. Greg Ward’s sermons are now available for purchase at the church office at $10 per publication. All proceeds will be contributed to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund to help those who are in need in our community. If you would like to order a copy of the monthly sermons you can either mail a contribution to the church or call the office and pay with a credit card and the sermons will be mailed to you. You can also stop at the office during office hours to purchase a copy.

Second Sunday Supper - CENA DI FAMIGLIA (Italian Family Dinner) hosted by the Stewardship and Membership Committees March 11 • Potluck at 6 pm • Forbes Hall

We hope you can make it to this informal, community potluck event. It has been described as, “…a chance to meet over good food, bond in conversation as we get to know one another. It is also “an opportunity to develop and deepen friendship and trust.” Bring a side dish or dessert if you can. As always, 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). Contact: Norm Richey.



UUSM’s World Religions Banners Will Soon Include Humanist Tradition

In late 2014, the UUSM board unanimously approved the addition of a banner representing Humanism to the parade of symbols on display in our historic sanctuary. Humanism is a philosophical tradition of reason and compassion; it emphasizes the responsibility of human beings to lead ethical lives that aspire to the greater good of humankind and our planet, without regard to theism or the supernatural. It traces its roots to the ancient Greeks and the Renaissance, and has been an influential and integral theology within Unitarian Universalism for at least a hundred years.

It has taken some time to move the plan for this banner from aspiration to reality. A dedicated group of us, including some who were instrumental in the design and implementation of the existing banners (thanks to Ron Crane, Joyce Holmen, David Olson, Carol Ring, Pam Teplitz, and Mark Warkentin) to identify the most appropriate design and ensure aesthetic consistency. We are happy to report that the process is nearing completion. In the next few months, the Humanist banner will join the other world religious traditions on the walls of our congregation, helping to honor and welcome the contributions of non-theists to our community of love and justice beyond belief.

James Witker

Need a Photograph for the Directory?

All church members are listed in the church directory, along with their photographs. If you are a new member, or a longtime member whose photo needs refreshing, Charles Haskell welcomes you to his home studio for your headshot. Contact Charles to set up an appointment.

Annual Reports by Committee and Program Leaders Due Soon

Each year our Annual Reports, in many voices, offer detailed perspectives on the life and times of our church. They can educate and inspire current and future members and leaders. And your committee or program deserves to be included this year with a write-up that’s due April 16.

Joyce Holmen

ARE YOU AWARE? Walking Distances Present Barriers

From cottage to sanctuary to Forbes Hall to the Mural Room to the parking structure. Up steps and stairs. And down. There is a lot of walking we may need to do at church. This is hard for some of us.

Those who find distance a challenge and come to church by car need to be able to park in the spaces behind the church on Sundays. The parking for persons with disabilities in the parking structure at 16th is too far away. Some in our community have felt burdened or stayed away due to this barrier.

You can help by looking around as you are involved in the church. Can you park in the UCLA parking structure and leave a space free near or behind the church? Do you have a need that is not being addressed? What can be done to improve access for you, or someone you know?

You can help by talking with the Disability Support Group and others in the Church about ways to improve support for persons with disabilities in our church community or by sharing your concerns and needs. Not sure whom to contact? Look for Mark Christiansen, Michael Young, Steve Young, or Sylvia Young.

Steve Young, for the Disability Support Group

The Homeless Street Care Project

There is now a donation box in Forbes Hall where you can leave items such as blankets, underwear, socks, and toiletries to fill care kits for 100 needy people. Flyers listing what we still need are available at the donation box.

UUpcoming Event



Faith in Action News: 

Roy Zimmerman ReZists!

Political folksinger Roy Zimmerman brought his ReZist tour to the UUSM sanctuary on Sunday, February 11, with performances at both worship services, and a community fundraiser that filled the church that evening. Zimmerman’s songs, available on YouTube, iTunes, and CD, speak to the issues facing our country, including gun violence and marriage equality. The Rev. Greg Ward made Roy Zimmerman the beneficiary of the newly-inaugurated Entrepreneurial Ministry Project, to recognize “inspired individuals following an entrepreneurial call to cast a vision, call out shared values, wake people up, and get people involved in changing the world.” 

Spirit of the Sixties: Then and Now

Photojournalist and peace activist Francesco Da Vinci will offer a talk and multimedia presentation about his struggle as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, hosted by the Peace & Social Justice Committee on Saturday, March 3, at 5 pm in the sanctuary. He is currently producing a documentary film about his story, the lessons of the 1960s, and how they can be applied to today’s divided America. Discussion will follow the presentation.

James Witker

Valentine's Day Protest












On Valentine’s Day, UUSM members joined CLUE organizers, clergy, and other community supporters to walk the picket line with workers at the JW Marriott Le Merigot hotel as they continue their struggle for fair treatment. The day concluded with an Ash Wednesday blessing at the shore. 


Splinters from the Board: 

Board Tackles Budget Challenges

The board met in Forbes Hall on February 13 with nine board members, Rev. Greg, and nine guests in attendance. Jerry Gates lit the chalice with the thought that although we are different, our efforts are united.

There were no new members this month. The current membership is 314, with 17 members lapsed since the January board meeting.

Rev. Greg spoke of working hard and feeling tired but not giving up. A majority of the targets he has set (Worship, Pastoral Care, Staffing, Leadership Development, etc.) are on track or ahead of schedule; and Membership and Adult RE are making progress. But tiredness is likely to continue until there is a way to address (with the understanding and commitment of the whole congregation) the magnitude of needs that require the work of more than staff and, historically, just 15% of the congregation, to meet.

A lengthy discussion of the budget process and the projected minimum deficit of ~$60,000 for FY ’18-19 followed. Treasurer Kim Miller provided a comprehensive report on the deficit and possible scenarios to address it. Patricia Wright provided the status of the Committee on Money Reserves since its inception. A Town Hall meeting on the budget will be held on Sunday, March 18.

A lengthy discussion on the role of stewardship in addressing the deficit, culminated in a motion and the commitment of the board to have courageous conversations with the congregation and to make a three-year plan to develop a culture of high expectations and commitment.

UUSM board meetings are held on each second Tuesday and are open to all members. For more details, contact one of the board members or read the minutes and materials of each meeting, which are posted on the website in the “For Members” section.

Patricia Wright


RE News: 

Moving Toward Credentialed Status

My credentialing work is well underway. This process takes time and it takes support from you! For me it involves a great deal of reading, writing, reflection, and even more education. This is going to make me a stronger leader in doing the work that we all do together.

Some benefits to the congregation are:

• A stronger, more vital religious education program and multigenerational ministry

• A religious educator with demonstrated knowledge and skill in the many areas of religious education leadership, such as program administration, Unitarian Universalist history, religious education philosophy, anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism, and right relations and professional ethics

• Assurance that the religious educator has met professional development standards and is held accountable to professional ethics guidelines by the UUA

• The potential for enhanced collegial relationships among staff members

• A religious educator with the professional confidence that comes from knowing that s/he has been evaluated and recognized by the UUA as a professional religious educator, and

• Recognition by the UUA as a congregation that supports and values professional excellence.

This will continue to be a journey full of accomplishments, joys, and opportunities for congregational support. One of the ways you can show your support is by showing up for church services, children’s classes, OWL, and adult and multigenerational gatherings. See below for our next event. I appreciate this congregation’s commitment and support in continuing education and professional development of its staff members. I am looking forward to many years of shared ministry here at UUSM.

Kathleen Hogue

March Madness:  March 17 6 pm in Forbes Hall - Cost: $25

Dress in your jersey, stripes, hats, and shoes. This party will be fun no matter which team you choose. We will have pizza, wings, sandwiches, and more. Whatever your taste you will definitely score. Bring the kids, they’ll have fun too, with lots of activities for them to do. Come watch the game and be a team player. Funds will go toward paying our RE Assistant. Tickets: Kathleen Hogue

New Adult RE Offerings for March 2017

Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism

Join me as we read and discuss this new and remarkable little volume of provocative, inspiring, and heart-warming essays that just might challenge your view of Humanism – whether you consider yourself a Humanist or not. Contributors include luminaries of Secular Humanism and Unitarian Universalism such as Edd Doerr, Michael Werner, Chris Stedman, Rev. David Bumbaugh, Rev. Kendyl Gibbons, and Rev. William Murry.

From the publisher:
“In this highly anticipated collection, Unitarian Universalist Humanists present their faith perspectives in 23 engaging and thought-provoking essays. The contributors, both lay and ordained, demonstrate why Humanism has been one of the bedrock theologies of Unitarian Universalism for the last hundred years. They reflect on what it means to be a religious Humanist today and how they see the movement evolving in the twenty-first century. They explore Humanist history, beliefs, approach to life, social justice, community, and religious education. Together, these voices proclaim a passionate affirmation of a rich and dynamic tradition within Unitarian Universalism.”

We’ll meet for three to four sessions. Dates, times, and locations will be decided by the group participants at the meetings. Sign up and purchase the book at the Adult RE table and/or contact James Witker.

“Building Your Own Theology: Ethics meets the 5th UU Principle”

Over two workshops, we have focused on eight dimensions of moral decision-making: authority, motivation, responsibility, situation, intention, relationships, values, and character. In this workshop, we strive to discuss the 5th Principle of Unitarian Universalism in the context of these dimensions.

The 5th Principle stresses the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. Let us explore this principle in the context of the elements of moral decision-making both in the abstract and in specific scenarios generated by BYOT’s author, coverage and interpretations of current events, and workshop participants!

Don’t worry if you have not participated in past BYOT Ethics workshops – the only prerequisite for this gathering is interest.

Facilitator Leon Henderson-MacLennan. Scheduled for Sundays March 4, 11, 1 pm to 3 pm Location: Room 3 For questions, contact Dorothy Steinicke.

Music News: 

Choir News

The UUSM choir will participate in a Jason Shelton workshop with the Studio City Unitarian Church on March 10, and will sing jointly with Jason and the Studio City choir on Sunday March 11 at the Studio City UU Church.

The Rev. Jason Shelton is a composer, arranger, conductor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, workshop, and retreat leader. He is the Associate Minister for Music at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, TN, where he has served since 1998. His compositions, familiar to people who worship in UU congregations, have been performed in churches and concert halls throughout North America, and his workshops for choirs, musicians and ministers are helping to redefine music ministry in the liberal religious tradition for the 21st century.

Cynthia Kelly