News & Announcements

Sep 2020

Generous Congregation Recipient:
Community Services Unlimited: Paul Robeson Wellness Center

We come together for more than ourselves. This month 50% of the offering will be donated to the Community Services Unlimited: Paul Robeson Wellness Center.  Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU), is a 501c3 established in 1977 and headquartered in South Central Los Angeles. Since then it has created community programs and organizing campaigns like the early Safe Seniors to the more recent Free Medical Screening Program and the most recent From the Ground Up.
UUCCSM volunteers have helped CSU to refurbish the Veggie Bus classroom and seed library and to remodel the Paul Robeson Community Wellness Center. The Center includes a produce market, cafe, catering kitchen, community center, and programs promoting environmental and social justice and health.
CSU’s mission is to foster the creation of communities actively working to address the issues of unsustainable resources and unequal impact. We are committed to supporting and creating justice-driven, community-based programs and educational initiatives which foster dialogue and raise awareness.  Thank you for your generous support.

September Generous Congregation Supports Community Services Unlimited

The COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement have brought to the fore the extreme inequalities that impact the health and lives of black and brown communities in Los Angeles. Food deserts — areas where residents have limited access to a variety of healthy foods — were already problematic in low-income areas of Los Angeles. Since the stay-at-home order closed thousands of businesses across the county, many permanently, food banks have been inundated with requests from working-poor households experiencing loss of income. Standing in line for food has become a daily, full-time job for some.
Community Services Unlimited, based in South Central Los Angeles, has been working to build a healthier local community since 1977. CSU helps local families apply for food aid via CalFresh. But their primary focus is to work against the injustices of a food system steeped in unsustainable charity and based on poor-quality and unhealthy foods. Founded on community self-reliance, CSU coordinates local food production. Among many health initiatives, CSU distributes organic produce, much of which is grown on their urban farm. During the school year (not this year) children tour the farm and colorful Veggie Bus, learning how to grow food at home, and why healthy, locally grown food is so important.
Over the past five years, UUSM’s Faith in Action Committee has supported the ongoing health and environmental justice efforts of Community Services Unlimited. UUSM volunteers provided expertise and connections to raise funds to convert an old school bus into the Veggie Bus learning center, and pitched in with some hands-on labor. UUSM was pleased to connect CSU leadership with the Los Angeles Chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBCLA) and the Self Help Credit Union (where substantial UUSM reserve funds are invested) as they undertook a substantial renovation of CSU’s Paul Robeson Community Wellness Center (PRCWC). The center includes a produce market, cafe, catering kitchen, and community center, and created a model for sustainable development and self-sufficiency. The PRCWC and the urban garden are the base of operations for CSU’s work in the community.
Many of CSU’s programs have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, but they continue to provide healthy organic produce at affordable prices from their Expo Park garden and other local organic producers. UUSM members have organized a Santa Monica drop-off point for CSU produce bags, which enables congregants and friends to receive a weekly bounty of organic fruits and veggies grown by local farmers. These weekly deliveries to Santa Monica support CSU’s ongoing programs, including discounted produce sales to households in South LA. It also gives us a chance to greet some of our (masked) church friends every Friday afternoon as we pick up our produce. (If you are interested in ordering a weekly organic produce bag at the Supporter rate, first email and then sign up on the CSU market site choosing the UUSM Private Drop Site).
Generous Congregation
Our practice here at UUSM is to dedicate half of our non-pledge Sunday offerings 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.
UUSM’s Generous Congregation supports our church community. And together, we uplift the reach and impact of vital organizations doing work we could not do on our own. This month, half of our Sunday offerings will go to Community Services Unlimited. Your support will help provide healthy organic food and preventive health services, while building the South LA community’s capacity to address issues of unsustainable resources and unequal impact.
Please consider supporting the mission of our church, and the great work of Community Services Unlimited. To give right now, text “$10 GCC” to 844-982-0209. (One-time-only credit card registration required.)

Coming Soon: Chalice Circles at UUSM

Chalice Circles are opportunities to explore ideas and delve into our beloved community this year.
As diverse as our community is, so too are the Chalice Circles being offered by your fellow congregants starting this fall. The Chalice Circle options are: Spirit in Practice, CommUUnity Connections, Poetry as a Spiritual Practice, Transitions and Passages, Anti-Racism: Telling Our Stories Toward a Beloved Community, Council Meeting, and A 7-Principled Perspective of Current Events.
Each circle will meet monthly from October through June on the Zoom platform.
Registration is open during September. Please send an e-mail to requesting the circle(s) in which you would like to participate. Registration closes September 30.
Spirit in Practice
This Chalice Circle explores and nourishes the many ways in which regular disciplines, or practices, can help us connect with the sacred ground of our individual being. Spirit in Practice affirms religious diversity while seeking unity in our communal quest for meaning and wholeness. Topics will include personal and communal practices, mind and body practices, and justice practices amongst others.
Co-facilitators: Patricia Wright and Cynthia Cottam
Date and time: Third Tuesdays, October through June, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
CommUUnity Connections
This Chalice Circle is a place to connect with our community by listening deeply, sharing our feelings, perspectives, and personal connections to a variety of topics. These topics may include our human connection to nature, personal growth, love, spirit, our inner narrative about current events, and connecting deeply with each other.
Co-facilitators: Wendi Gladstone and Margot Page
Date and time: Second Thursdays, October through June, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Poetry as a Spiritual Practice
Join us to explore the ways in which poetry can enrich our lives and deepen our spiritual practice. We will discuss topics like Beauty, Observing Nature, Social Conscience, and others. We look forward to sharing together.
Co-facilitators: Rima Snyder and Dorothy Steinicke
Date and time: Fourth Wednesday, October through June, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Transitions and Passages
With monthly ministry themes as a starting place, we will explore the transitions and passages in our lives and the ways they have expanded the depth dimension of our lives.
Co-facilitators: Denise Helton and Bettye Barclay
Date and time: Third Thursdays, October through June, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Anti-Racism: Telling Our Stories Toward a Beloved Community.
This Chalice Circle offers the opportunity to engage together in the lifelong spiritual work of anti-racism and anti-oppression. We will do this by telling our own stories and exploring our relationship with race and racism. We will explore white identity and unearned privilege. We will look at how racism acts as a barrier to building beloved community. Together we will build a brave space so we may talk about the uncomfortable reality of racism in ourselves and in the larger community.
Co-facilitators: Sue Stoyanoff, Dorothy Steinicke and Audrey Lyness
Date and time: Second Wednesdays, October through June, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Council Meeting
This small group ministry provides a space for people to be seen and heard in a facilitated practice for connecting to ourselves and our community through listening and speaking with intention. It is an opportunity to explore our growing edges, understand our shadows as protective responses to challenges. Through deep listening and sharing we will practice connecting with ourselves and one another while expanding and deepening our community.
Co-facilitators: Jo An Peters and Grace Edgerly
Date and times: Third Mondays, October – June, 7:00-9:00 pm
A 7-principled Perspective on Current Events
Featuring ways to explore current events, our group aims to maintain helpful and influential perspectives on today’s news cycle from pre-election through the election and post-election phases and beyond. Grounded in UU principles, we hope to manage what we take in through media in a way that fosters spiritual health and growth.
Co-facilitators: Tom Peters and Leon Henderson-MacLennan
Date and time: Fourth Sundays, October through June, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

Come Kick Off the #UUtheVote Campaign Sept 13

Dear Friends,
The UUSM Board of Directors has committed that we will do all we can to fulfill our UUA’s #VoteLove pledge in November: we are fully committed to mobilizing the electorate and UUs in support of dignity and justice for all through our democratic process. 
And we invite you to join us on Sunday, September 13 at 11:30 a.m. as we gather online to organize for the remaining weeks before the election.
Already ready to sign on? Join the Santa Monica UU the Vote Team today!
You don’t need to be told about the importance of the November election, or to mail back your ballot early. But you might be wondering what else can you do to move the needle on the election, and who are the people you can do it with?
Well right now, you can take the #VoteLove pledge to mobilize the electorate and UUs. It states our faith’s values, that we are unequivocally: Pro-Migrant, Pro-Democracy, Pro-Equity & Liberation Movements, Pro-Human & Civil Rights for All, Pro-Reparations, and Pro-Sustainability.
Then join UUSM as we:
  • Act alongside advocates and issues that have direct and material impacts on the communities with which we have declared political solidarity.
  • Get Out the Vote through phone banks, text banks, postcards, and voter registration drives.
  • Have values-based conversations with our UU community and networks about our values and what we are voting for in 2020.
  • Participate in learning and political education to responsibly and effectively engage and organize in anti-racist and pro-democracy movements.
  • Share our resources with people and communities most deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the decades-long campaign of voter suppression.
  • Turn out with resources, time, and support to fight against authoritarianism and in support of communities of Color, poor people, people with disabilities, immigrants, and Trans and Queer people in our congregation and community following the election.
  • Vote!

UUSMers are already phone banking, writing postcards, and working with civic and faith-based organizations like the League of Women Voters, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, and the UU Justice Ministry of California.

Now we’d like to invite you to join us as we plan to mobilize as a community in the precious remaining weeks before the election.
Please join us September 13 after the Sunday service at 11:30 am as we explore how we can all best #UUtheVote! RSVP here.
In solidarity,
Beth Brownlie
UUSM Board of Directors President