Newsletter for April, 2018

Apr 2018
From Our Minister: 

To the Glory of Life

There is a phenomenon studied by philosophers, biologists, social scientists, economists… and, if we wise up and rise up, churches.
What I’m talking about is the concept of emergence – our theme of the month. It explains how when simple things learn to combine, cooperate, communicate and organize, new overarching properties begin to emerge beyond all logical sequential patterns expected from individual parts.
Take, for example, ants. Small brains. Limited tools. Individually, possessing low levels of complexity. But, together, they form colonies revealing complex combinations of differentiated roles, coordinated responsibilities,  sophisticated communication, and amazing adaptation to challenge.
Same with bees. Individually limited in size, strength, dexterity, and intelligence, they combine to form hive mentality. They adopt a clear purpose, draw and reorganize strategic territorial lines, wage war, defend the hive.
And birds. A single starling flying alone can appear disoriented and confused. But thousands together change speed and direction in mid-air with split-second, precision synchronization, creating breathtaking choreography. Same with many species of fish.
This is emergence. But how does it work?
Atoms combine to form molecules. Molecules form proteins. Proteins form cells. Soon, an awesome emergent property arises: life itself. Simple organelles within a cell are all, by themselves, lifeless. Yet, their coming together produces life.
But life does not appear to be the ultimate emergent property. Cells go on to produce organs, organs produce individuals, who produce families, which produce communities, which produce cities, which produce nations, etc..
Conscious awareness emerges from the interaction of our senses. And through combining areas of awareness we have the emergent properties of language, stories laughter, music, meaning, and love.
Emergence is a phenomenon of design born not from any one thing, but from the coordination of separate things
to form group properties with the capacity to address larger collective needs.
Human beings have shown, however, that ignorance, stupidity, fear and greed can also be compounded into emergent properties of racial profiling, misogyny, systemic division of opulence and poverty, global warming, mass shootings, chemical weapons.
Churches, I believe, are laboratories created to see if people working together can intentionally, intelligently, creatively cultivate the emergent property of shared positive purpose above and beyond our capacity to destroy ourselves. Churches are just now waking up to recognize a purpose beyond finding a route to heaven. It’s about making heaven an emergent property of combining all living things together harmoniously.
I believe that community organizer Saul Alinsky offered a blueprint for churches for social emergent principles in his brand of community organizing when he talked about organizing people and organizing money for peace and justice. It is possible that when we make listening, sharing, cooperation, trust, communication, organization, investment, and coordination our practice, our emerging properties becomes safety, justice, love, hope, happiness, and peace.
This next month we are all taking a step in the right direction, to begin investing in one another. It’s our faith, inclusivity, generosity and hope – with and for one another – that’ll allow our best to emerge.
To the Glory of Life.
– The Rev. Greg Ward
From Our President: 


We are behind in payments of 2017 pledges. We do not have enough increases in 2018 pledges to balance our church operating fund.
There will be a Town Hall meeting on April 15 to explain a proposed strategy to resolve our recurring deficits.
The Board of Directors presents a budget proposal at the Annual Meeting that the congregation approves for the coming year. This year’s Annual Meeting is Sunday, May 20. Unless we receive pledged amounts, and even increases in pledges, the Board will be charged with reducing the operating budget, which means that cuts likely will be made. These cuts are not conducive to the momentum we have experienced this past year.
You and I, and all members of the church (friends are not exempt!) can front run the solution by increasing your current giving, and becoming current on your present pledge, to forestall program and staff cuts.
It is time to both cut bait and fish.
Ron Crane
News & Announcements: 

May Newsletter Deadline

The May 2018 issue of the UUSM Newsletter will be published on April 30. Deadline for that issue is Wednesday, April 18 at noon.
Please submit announcements to Submit articles to

Second Sunday Supper in April - Sunday, April 8, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm - Forbes Hall

Please join us in April as we continue our long tradition of a monthly potluck, this month hosted by the Heart to Heart Circles committee, who will provide the main dish. Attendees are asked, if possible, to bring a side dish,
salad, or dessert. 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.

Help Save Second Sunday Supper!

For nearly a decade, Second Sunday Suppers have been an integral component of UUSM congregational life, particularly valued by new and potential members, those who often eat alone, and all who simply enjoy one another in fellowship over food. UUSM member Kim Miller is currently sustaining this program through May 2018, but at that point the program may be retired in the absence of leadership and coordination. If you are interested in helping strengthen community through Second Sunday Supper, now is the time to step up! Contact: Jacki Weber or Kim Miller.

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, published monthly.
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. The sermons will be left for you in the front office for pickup.
You can also stop at the office during office hours to purchase a copy.

Congratulations to Rev. Greg!

Rev. Greg’s sermon “Why the Right Get It Wrong and the Left Just Don’t Get It,” was selected as this year’s winner of The UU Ministers Association Social Witness Sermon contest. Rev. Greg was invited to deliver this sermon as part of a worship session this June at General Assembly 2018 in Kansas City. The Sermon was lauded by the Commission of Social Justice and is available on our website.



Garden of Eternity Memorial Day Weekend Engraved Bricks Sale

Our next brick installation at the Garden of Eternity will take place on Sunday, May 27, Memorial Day weekend.
We will be honoring your loved ones and some of our past members who are no longer with us, and who were very committed and generous with our church. Engraved bricks are on sale until Monday, April 23 at
$450 per brick, and $375 per brick, when you order two. Please contact Nurit Gordon at 310-829-5436 ext. 100 or log on to the website to complete an order form and submit it to the office.

Annual Reports are Due April 15

Attention all Committee Chairs, Congregational Leaders, and Staff:
No two years in our congregation’s 91-year history have ever been the same, so be sure your group’s contributions to the life of our community are represented this year! We are now gathering the reports of all committees, programs, and staff for publication in the 2017-18 Annual Report on Programs. If you are the chair of a committee, are a leader of a church program or group, or are on our church staff, your report is needed.
Some reports are required by our Bylaws; the remaining reports help create a window on the past year’s activities and some of our plans for the future. The Annual Report is also a great resource for newcomers and others exploring where UUSM has been, and where next they might want to add their special energy and ideas.
In order to assemble, edit, and print the Annual Report prior to the May 20 Annual Meeting, individual reports must
be submitted to Communications and Volunteer Coordinator, Jackie Schwab, by Sunday, April 15. Please email reports to: with the subject line “2017-18 Annual Report on Programs,” and add your committee name in the subject line, as well.
• Name and purpose of the committee
• Committee members’ or leaders’ names and roles
• What was your focus or goal in the past year? How did you do in achieving those goals?
• What are your goals for next year?
• Other suggestions: Average attendance at your programs? Your logo and/or a photo? How does this program reflect one or more of the seven UU principles?
• Please limit your report to no more than 500 words.
If you are no longer the chair of a committee but received Jackie’s March 15 email about the Annual Report, please let her know right away whom to contact and the name of the committee or program.
Please contact Administrator, Nurit Gordon, if you have any questions:
Thank you for your commitment to this congregation! We look forward to hearing from you.
Joyce Holmen


Faith in Action News: 

The Struggle Continues for the Anaheim Three

On February 26, seven congregants, our Director of Religious Exploration, Orange County UUs, and friends came out to the North Justice Center in Fullerton to support Hugo Contreras, Nichole Schop, and Mark Liddell in their ongoing legal battle, and to mark the second anniversary of the events in Anaheim. They are still facing misdemeanor battery and resisting arrest charges from opposing the KKK in Anaheim in February 2016. A lively group chanted and picketed, before going inside to support the defendants. A final continuance was granted in order to allow time to schedule witnesses. As long as the unfair prosecution of anti-racists continues; while violent white supremacists walk free, we will be there.
We are still pushing for the Orange County district attorney to drop the charges. Please sign and share our petition widely: The trial is now scheduled to start on Monday, July 9 at the North Justice Center in Fullerton. We will have a rally outside at 8 am. Carpools will be arranged at the Faith in Action table. Save the date: Monday, July 9 at 8 am, North Justice Center 1275 North Berkeley Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832.
For more information, stop by the Faith in Action table between services or contact Sarah Mae Harper.
Sarah Mae Harper

The Homeless Street Care Project

This is just a reminder that there is 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. If you have not already donated, the box will be there until the end of April. Flyers listing what we still need are available at the donation box.


March for Science – Saturday, April 14, 9 am to 4 pm
Interfaith Solidarity March – Sunday, April 29, 2 pm to 6 pm
May Day March – Tuesday, May 1, TBA
Green Living Committee: 

Get Involved with UUSM’s Green Living Committee

The Green Living Committee will host a special Earth Day Service on April 29 on the theme of “Committing to Respond in a Changing Climate: Acting Amid Despair,” led by Green Living Committee Chair Alison Kendall in
partnership with Worship Associate James Witker. The service will explore meaningful actions we can take, from the personal to the political levels to address climate change, featuring ideas, recent environmental actions, and projects by UUSM members in the Green Living and Peace and Social Justice groups. The service is the culmination of Climate Justice Month, and will examine the high cost to future generations of inadequate action to address climate change.
Ideas and opportunities to act will be featured in the Green Living and Climate Action Fair, to be held from 10 am to 1 pm in the courtyard off Forbes Hall. Green Living Committee members and local environmental groups will provide information on a wide range of Green Living and Climate Action topics. Come stroll among the displays and learn about sustainable food, edible organic gardening, drought tolerant landscaping, home energy conservation, green remodeling, electric cars, bicycling. There’ll be information on sustainable mobility. carbon fee and dividend policies, and Santa Monica’s local climate action and adaptation plans. Hands-on activities for youth and others will be included.
We invite you to celebrate Climate Justice Month by completing one of the Carbon Footprint Calculators below at the start and end of the month. Be sure to answer honestly and commit to respond to climate change by taking at least three actions during the month, so future generations will be able to enjoy the gifts of living in harmony with nature and our beautiful Mother Earth.
Cool California Calculator for Households or Businesses
Carbon Calculator for Kids or Adults:
Let’s compare your scores on April 1 and April 29. We will have Green Living Committee members ready to help you record the results of your green living and climate actions on April 29.
In gratitude for the wonder and interdependence of all living beings and our beautiful Mother Earth,
Alison Kendall, Green Committee Chair
The Green LIving Committee participated in CSU's Veggie Bus Workday, 10/20/17

Another Sustainable Quality Award for UUSM

The Green Living Committee is proud to announce that our UUSM community has won a third commendation from the Sustainable Quality Awards: for Excellence in Stewardship of the Natural Environment. The judges recognized
Innovation. Our Green Building Education Program is available to visitors, staff and the public (published on our website). Our sustainable building practices included a retrofit of all lighting in the sanctuary and offices to LED Lighting.
Commitment. Our Good Neighbor Policy details how we promote alternative transportation methods: bus, walk or bike. Our Sustainable Procurement Policy, FIA film screenings, and work with our partners at CSU Community Services Unlimited in developing the Veggie bus – these all show our commitment to our Seventh Principle.
Documented results. We reported measurable results in the reduction of energy use – both at the church and in the homes of members who have made changes because of our green building education practices.
The awards, developed in partnership between the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, City of Santa Monica and Sustainable Works, recognize local businesses who demonstrate excellence in helping Santa Monica continue to move toward a more sustainable future. “Through this celebration, we hope to drive innovation and motivate others to also invest in sustainable practices, and ultimately the future of a sustainable Santa Monica,” said Laurel Rosen, president of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce. “The city of Santa Monica is proud to honor and applaud each and every one of these businesses’ dedication to maintaining the quality of life in our community.” The annual awards ceremony will take place April 26.
We had two winning submissions in 2010 for Excellence in Social Responsibility and Stewardship of the Natural Environment. Next year, we plan to apply for the Grand Prize Award. We will need to demonstrate excellence in all three domains: Sustainable Economic Development, Social Responsibility, and Stewardship of the Natural Environment.
Credit is due to all the Green Living Committee members who inspire sustainability here at church and practice it at home, and to all our members who carry our Seventh Principle out into the world.
Beth Brownlie
Splinters from the Board: 

Sustainability Fund Established to Encourage Financial Support

The Board met in Forbes Hall on March 13 with seven Board Members present and two members absent. Rev. Greg was present, along with approximately 10 congregants, and lit the chalice with a short reading.
There are two new members this month, and one deceased member which brings our total membership to 314.
The Communications Team reported results of a recent congregational survey. Communication via the newsletter is one of our critical tools for reaching our stakeholders. The board moved to add a study of our newsletter and other communication tools as an initiative for the 2018-19 church year.
Regarding Stewardship, Jacki Weber summarized a new Campaign for Sustainability, a plan to address our large
projected deficit for this coming year. The board of directors needs direction from the congregation: will we increase 2018-19 revenue through increased pledges or will we rely on expense cuts and tapping reserves instead? Rev. Greg and Jacki preached on the subject on March 11 from the pulpit and mailed a copy of the sermon, along with a financial overview of UUSM, to all pledging Members and Friends. It is being followed up with a financial presentation on March 18 and the announcement of a hoped-for Sustainability Fund to match pledge increases by congregants. Jacki requested the Board to authorize $20,000 from the Ministry Equity Sharing Reserve.
These funds could then be paired with restricted contributions from congregants, ultimately providing upwards of $80,000 for a Sustainability Fund to match pledge increases beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year. She urged a future discussion about replenishing the Ministry Equity Sharing Reserve. The UUSM Board unanimously approved the action to withdraw $20,000 from the Minister’s Equity Sharing Reserve to create the seed money for Sustainability Fund to provide an incentive for generosity in the congregation.
Kim Miller mentioned that although we are now focused on the new Campaign for Sustainability, the Town Hall meeting in April will focus on the 2018-19 budget.
Norm Richey gave a brief report on the work of the Membership Committee, and the Board recognized the 2018 Charter of the Membership Committee.
The Board unanimously approved a motion of $3,000 to be used from the Capital/Building Reserve Fund to fund two urgent Forbes Hall projects: women’s bathroom faucet repair and lounge chair upholstery.
Emily Hero announced that she is resigning from the Board after serving four years. The President and Board Members thanked her for her dedication and contributions while on the Board.
Norm Richey
RE News: 

Let’s Grow Together: Opportunities Abound

In Rev. Greg Ward’s article, he talks about investing in one another. “It’s our faith, inclusivity, generosity and hope –
with and for one another –that’ll allow our best to emerge,” he writes.
But how can we know what will emerge? When we plant seeds, how can we be sure what those seeds are going to grow into? We can hope! We can do our best to invest in our church by being involved. One thing is for certain: if we do not show up, then nothing will grow.
I am encouraging you to show up. Here’s how:
• Encourage children to come to RE classes
• Attend Second Sunday Supper
• Attend a Heart and Soul Service, which takes place on the second Sunday of each month
• Volunteer to help out with a story for all ages in our worship service
• Check out our new Women Over 50 group that begins April 3
• Join us on April 29 for our Faith in Action Sunday as we plant a community garden
• Attend our annual meeting on May 20, and vote!
• Sign up to teach in our summer children’s RE program.
When you get involved, you have the wonderful opportunity to make connections with others. You never know what to expect, or what you will discover about one another or yourself. You may find you have special gifts or talents. You could form lifelong friendships. As it says on the Soul Matters website, “Being a people of emergence involves doing all we can, trusting the process and keeping an eye out for unexpected opportunities to emerge.”
Kathleen Hogue

Having a Great Time Learning about Humanism in Adult RE

I am grateful to James Witker for the hard and meaningful work that he does for the Faith in Action Committee and
different discussion groups he leads. I had the opportunity to take a class from James recently where we read and discussed the book, “Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism.”
Through reading and group discussion of this book, I became more familiar with the Humanism aspect of Unitarian
Universalism. I learned the concepts and ideas of Humanism, and how they are reflected in our faith. I learned that Humanism is a powerful tool that can be used to deal with so many difficult issues, which we encounter in today’s world, from never-ending wars to global warming. It was a great opportunity to explore my beliefs in the context of the current period in history. Though many people in our church are familiar with Humanism, a class with James can open your mind to new ways of thinking. I look forward to his next offering in Adult Religious Growth and Exploration.
Jila Tayefehnowrooz
Music News: 

CHOIR NEWS - Choir Attends UU Musical Festival

The UUSM choir joined with other UU choirs in Southern California for a Jason Shelton Workshop during the weekend of March 10 and 11. Following the workshop, the choir performed in a concert at the Studio City UU Church where they sang Jason’s music. Jason Shelton is a UU minister, composer, and choir director from Nashville. We will be singing many of his new songs that have been composed for UU churches in our future services.
On Sunday, all the choirs joined in singing with the Studio City Church choir and their choir director, Dr. Nancy Holland. The worship service led by Jason Sheldon was titled, “The Song in Our Hearts.”
Cynthia Kelly
Sunday, April 8, 2018 • 7:30 pm (Doors open at 7:15 pm)
Suggested donation $15 to benefit the UUSM Music Fund
Starring: Leslie Beauvais, Barrett Tagliarino, Thomas Ahern, Kenneth Alexander, Delaney and Brad Hutchinson, Betsy Grant, Teri Bond, Kai Landauer, and a few surprises!
Come to Second Sunday Supper and wrap up your weekend on a high note. Stay for an evening of entertainment that will knock your socks off – and benefit the UUSM Music Fund. We will perform everything from Broadway and jazz standards to original singer-songwriter music, to blues, pop, folk and classical selections. Something for everyone to love!