Ernie Pipes Lecture Series

An annual lecture series, named in honor of Minister Emeritus Ernie Pipes, which presents speakers on social justice and other topics of interest to our congregation.

May 7, 2022 - 5:30pm

Final Pipes Lecture Series Memorial

The Pipes Lecture Series will have its Finale on Saturday, May 7 at 5:30 pm in the Sanctuary with memorials to three pillars of the lecture series committee, Leonard Adler, Rev. Ernie Pipes, and Marguerite Spears, pictured above. All three died last year within six months of one another. The committee felt it a fitting time to put on this final event. 

Entertainment will be provided by accomplished gospel singer Linda Alvarez, her Mahalia Jackson Tribute Show accompanist, Severn Behnen, who is also Music Director at the UU Palos Verdes church, and William Bryant, Santa Monica College's Emeritus Gospel Music Choir Director. Bryant's early career involved working with Motown artists. 
We plan to record these events for the church 's record and for those who may not be able to attend. Light refreshments will follow in Forbes Hall. 

December 15, 2019 - 4:00pm

We are pleased to announce that on December 15 at 4 pm, the Pipes Distinguished Lecture Series is bringing exceptional organist Jeffrey Parola to UUSM for an organ recital in our sanctuary.
Jeffrey Parola is an accomplished organist, conductor, and vocalist, who recently made his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut in the World Premiere performance of the David Lang sleeper’s prayer for boy soprano and organ.
Our monthly potluck Second Sunday Supper, will be held after the concert in Forbes Hall, on the Third Sunday this month. It will be hosted by the Music Committee, the Choir, and the Pipes Lecture Committee. Everyone is warmly invited to participate.
About the Pipes Distinguished Lecture Series
The Pipes Lecture Fund was established in 1991 to honor Rev. Ernest D. Pipes upon his retirement after 35 years in the Santa Monica pulpit. The founding members of the committee (Leonard & Elizabeth Adler, Ray & Betty Goodman, Patrick McGuire, and Marguerite Spears) collected monies for an annual free Pipes Distinguished Lecture Series of renowned guest speakers. The series has continued yearly since 1991 with one interruption in 2018.
The series began with William Schultz, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and has included luminaries such as Ramona Ripston, Patt Morrison, Arianna Huffington, Michael Dukakis, George Takei, Father Gregory Boyle, and Reza Aslan. It resumes this year with an organ recital — something Ernie has always desired because our organ was hand picked in Italy by the Goodmans to complement the acoustics of our Sanctuary. The committee has also been able to provide money to repair our ailing organ.
Contributions to the Pipes Lecture Fund are welcome to support the tradition of a free, wide-ranging, public lecture series including the topics of public service, government, social justice, religion and ethics, environmentalism, and the media. Please contact the church office to make a contribution.; (310) 829-5436. Anyone who wishes to become a member of the Pipes Lecture Committee or has a suggestion of someone they’d like to hear speak should contact Patrick McGuire.

November 5, 2017 - 2:30pm

The Ernie Pipes Lecture Committee is thrilled to bring you another fabulous weekend this year. We are excited to announce that our minister emerita, the Rev. Judith Meyer, has agreed to come for a Saturday afternoon tea on Nov. 4, and the Pipes Lecture on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2:30 pm in the sanctuary.
The title of Rev. Meyer’s talk for the Pipes Lecture is “Falling Out: Alienation and Community in Divisive Times.” She will offer reflections on life in a red state, especially during this perilous year, and suggest ways to cope with the widening and hostile differences in our country.

Many of you will warmly remember Rev. Judith from her ministry here from 1993 to 2008. She and her husband, David Denton, will be returning to visit Santa Monica from their home in Knoxville, TN. Our minister emeritus, the Rev. Ernie Pipes, for whom the lecture series is endowed, is pleased to have Rev. Judith join us as speaker. For those of you who don’t know Rev. Judith Meyer, we expect you will share our enthusiasm when you meet and hear her.

Parking will be provided.

UPDATE:  The full text of Rev. Judith Meyer's address is available here.  The audio recording is available here

November 4, 2017 - 2:30pm

Annual Ernie Pipes Lecture reception: Sat, Nov 4, Reception begins at 2:30pm and goes until 4pm. Forbes/Courtyard. Please join us on Saturday for a Meet and Greet Reception with our Minister Emerita, Rev. Judith Meyer and special guest David Denton. The formal talk is Sunday, we look forward to seeing you at this more informal event! Parking is provided at the UCLA structure. Contact: Diana Spears,


October 23, 2016 - 3:00pm

Note:  The full text of Rev. Shulz's address is available here.  The audio recording is available here

This 25th anniversary year, the Pipes Lecturer will be the Rev. Dr. William F. “Bill” Schulz, who delivered the first Pipes lecture. Rev. Schulz, a longtime friend of Ernie, has served as president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, executive director of Amnesty International USA, and, until July of this year, as president and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Please note that this lecture follows the Sunday services, which this week will be a celebration of Rev. Pipes' 90th birthday. Please join in the weekend celebration of Ernie and in remembering his wife and partner in ministry, Maggie Pipes, who died in 2012. If you have any questions or thoughts about the celebration, please contact Patrick Maguire. More details in the October newsletter.

October 10, 2015 - 7:30pm

Climate Change!   Global  Warming!  CO2 Emissions!  What is the human relationship  to this phenomenon?  How close is the tipping point?  What  can we do ?  How urgent is it?  Nothing  affects us more as individuals  or as a planet than the  weather. 
On Saturday,  October  10th at 7:30 pm, the Pipes Lecture will present  James Dusenberry  from AL Gore's Climate  Reality Project to answer some  of these critical  questions. 
Don't  miss this opportunity to  refresh  your  understanding of climate change and it's  potential as a life altering phenomenon. 
We also may have some manner  of participation by Mike Farrell on his presentation of Doctor Keeling 's Curve, whose observation first convinced  many of climate  change decades  ago.

October 25, 2014 - 7:30pm

Where the lives of children hang in the balance, Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks continues to shine a light on the big-picture forces that break families apart and the individuals and organizations that help children thrive. 

The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica (UU Santa Monica) is proud to help propel this dialogue on foster care, presenting the 2014 Ernest D. Pipes, Jr. Distinguished Lecture by Ms. Banks. “Foster Care: Behind the Headlines, The Pain and Promise of Broken Families – How We can Help Them Heal” will explore both the socioeconomic pressures that lead families to tragic separations, and the community-based solutions that can turn the failing system around.

“I think it’s important to expand the discussion around the issue of foster care, so we can understand how the system works – or doesn’t work – and why children are stuck in the shadows, fending for themselves,” Banks said. “There are ways that each of us can help support those vulnerable children, and I’m pleased that UUSM is viewing this through a social justice lens and taking the lead in shining a spotlight on their needs.”

The presentation is FREE and open to the public on Saturday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture includes a brief question and answer session, followed by a speaker’s reception with light refreshments.

Location: Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica, 1260 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (map). Free parking will be available in the parking structure on 16th Street just south of Arizona Avenue. Handicap parking is available behind the UU Santa Monica campus.

Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks explores the human issues that shape our collective consciousness. Throughout her impressive 35-year journalism career, her coverage of education, religion, criminal justice and race relations has been honored by the National Council of Jewish Women, the Muslim Women’s League and the California Teachers’ Association. She was on the Pulitzer Prize-winning team reporting on the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and in 2014 the Los Angeles Society of Professional Journalists named her its Distinguished Print Journalist of the Year. A native of Cleveland, Ms. Banks moved to Los Angeles with her husband in 1979. She was widowed in 1993, and raised three daughters (now 29, 25 and 23) as a single mother in Northridge.

The Ernest D. Pipes, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series was founded by UU Santa Monica members who wanted to honor the service of the Rev. Ernest D. "Ernie" Pipes, Jr. when he retired after 35 years. The Annual Pipes Lectures invite the larger community into conversations about issues related to Rev. Pipes’ vast exploration of social, civil, philosophical, religious and worldly concerns. Over the years, 22 distinguished speakers have covered a variety of topics, including corporate greed, civil liberties, health care and boundless compassion. The lecture series endowment remains vital, as does the Rev. Pipes, now Reverend Emeritus at UU Santa Monica. He will be attending the 23rd lecture this month.

About UU Santa Monica The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica was founded in 1927 and is affiliated with the national Unitarian Universalist Association. The UU Santa Monica community embraces many beliefs and many backgrounds. UUs celebrate unity in diversity, affirming the supreme worth of all persons, held together through love and a spark of divinity that resides in us all. The community is also a Welcoming Congregation, welcoming all persons and families regardless of sexual orientation.

With one of the largest UU Religious Education programs in Southern California, UU Santa Monica supports both youth and adults in their search for understanding, insight and inspiration. The church is an active center for social justice, peace and sustainability. For a full calendar of events visit or connect with the community on Facebook @UUSantaMonica.

March 9, 2013 - 7:30pm


Opening the Heart of Compassion:
Steven D. Goodman, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Core Faculty
Asian and Comparative Studies/Philosophy and Religion Department
California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco
PARKING: 1311 16th Street (two blocks away, between Arizona & Santa Monica Blvd.
Special event attendant on duty at entrance. No cost; exit at any time.)

Ernie Pipes Lectures

2017 Rev. Judith Meyer, UUSM Minister Emerita:  “Falling Out: Alienation and Community in Divisive Times.”
2016 Rev. Dr. William Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, President and CEO of the UU Service Committee: "Seeing the Garden, Not Just the Wall”
2015 James Dusenberry, from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project: “Climate Change! Global Warming! CO2 Emissions!”
2014 - Sandy Banks, Los Angeles Times Columnist: “Foster Care: Behind the Headlines, The Pain and Promise of Broken Families – How We can Help Them Heal”
2013 - Steven D. Goodman:  “Opening the Heart of Compassion: Buddhist Reflections”
2012 - Reza Aslan, Author and Academic:  “Islam In The 21st Century”
2011 - Father Gregory Boyle, Executive Director of Homeboy Industries and anti-gang activist: “The Power of Boundless Compassion”
2010 - George Takei, Actor/Activist:  “Embracing Change”
2009 - Tim Rutten, L.A. Times Journalist and Commentator:  “Does News Have A Future?”
2008 - Mike Farrell, Actor/Activist:  “Where Do We Go From Here?”
2007 - Dr. Gary Small, UCLA Center on Aging:  “Strategies For Living Better Longer”
2006 - Michael Dukakis, former Governor of Massachusetts; 1988 candidate for U.S. President: "The Health Care Crisis, 45 Million And Counting”
2005 - Tom Plate, UCLA School of Public Policy: “America and China, Odd Couple or Fatal Attraction?”
2004 - Erwin Chemerinsky, USC School of Law:  “Civil Liberties And The War On Terrorism”
2003 - Arianna Huffington, Chief Editor of Huffington Post:  “How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America”
2002 - Charles Haskell, M.D., Chief Ethics Officer, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: "Health Care Ethics”
2001 - Margo Reeg, League of Women Voters of California:  “Make Every Vote Count”
2000 - Robert Sheer, L.A. Times Journalist and Commentator: “Sex, Politics, and Sheer in the 21st Century”

1999 - Kennard Lipman, Ph.D., University of Judaism:  “The Dancing Cosmos:  What I Learned About God from Buddhism”
1998 - John B. Anderson, former member of U.S. Congress; 1980 candidate for U.S. President: “Why A Livable World Requires A Restructured and Empowered United Nations”
1997 - Rep. Anthony Beilinson, former member of U.S. Congress: “Politics:  Past and Future Perspectives”
1996 - Patt Morrison, L.A. Times and KCET Journalist and Commentator:  “Bumper Sticker Politics and Hair Spray News”
1995 - Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California: “Equal Justice Under The Law”
1994 - Rev. Peter Kreitler, Episcopal Minister, Historian/Educator:  “The Environment and the Church”
1993 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith, M.D., Expert on community violence: “Adolescent Violence and Its Impact On The Community”
1991 - William Schulz, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association:  “Religion In The 21st Century”