Newsletter for August, 2018

Aug 2018
News & Announcements: 

September Newsletter Deadlines

The September 2018 issue of the UUSM Newsletter will be published on August 28. Deadline for that issue is Wednesday, August 15 at noon. Please submit announcements to Submit articles to

Women Over 60 Discussion Group is on Hiatus

Please note we are on hiatus for the summer! Contact: Sandra Beebe for updates.

UUSM 2018 Church Camp September 14-16

Come for a Summer September Weekend in the Mountains and share in church community. Enjoy fellowship and food, games and music, hiking, meditation, yoga, workshops and relaxed conversation amidst the great pines, firs, and oaks– all while breathing clean air at 7000 feet. Church camp is located just beyond Angeles Oaks on Highway 38. Arrive Friday afternoon or evening, locate your cabin, relax and check out the schedule of weekend activities. On Saturday, attend workshops, including Reverend Greg’s 90-minute workshop “The Life We Always Wanted”, hike, play cards or games, swim, or just hang out with friends. Sing-along during the cocktail hour or at the talent show after supper. On Sunday morning, join worship service under the trees. There will be good food all weekend long and children get to play together. It’s an easy-going time for the whole family!
Sign up after services in Forbes Hall or online at
Email Camp Registrars Karl Lisovsky or Chela Metzger for more information.
Faith in Action News: 

Victory for the Anaheim Three

The Anaheim Three, who stood up to the Ku Klux Klan at a demonstration in February 2016, won the day in court! The injustice system was forced to back down. The cases of congregation member Hugo Contreras, along with Nichole Schop and Mark Liddel, were resolved at the last of a series of hearings on Monday, July 9.
For the fourth time, anti-racists rallied outside the courthouse, 30 strong with members of our congregation, other UUs, and friends.
In the courtroom, our upbeat and unapologetic multiracial unity was a stark contrast to the somber atmosphere in the room. When it was announced that Hugo and Nikki’s charges were dismissed, we exploded in applause and cheers. Mark pled no contest to the two misdemeanor charges of battery and resisting arrest. The no contest plea can be expunged after a year.
This victory is not without complications. We know that the criminal justice system is racist; the defendant whose charges were not dismissed is a Black man. Nonetheless, this is a victory for workers and anti-racism fighters. After being attacked by the Klan, cops, and courts, we were able to organize and fight back.
Out in the hallway of the courthouse one defendant began to deliver a “thank you” speech to one of the lawyers, then he turned it into a “thank you” speech to the crowd. The lawyer said he was proud to represent these courageous fighters. This victory would not have been possible without all of the support over the last two and a half years: the lawyer recommendations, the fundraising, the petition signatures, the speeches at our congregation and other congregations, and of course the support at the courthouse. Thank you!
Sarah Mae Harper and Hugo Contreras
RE News: 

Fishing as a Spiritual Practice

For me, the call to religious leadership has always been powerful. From my first visit to a UU congregation, where I helped out in the K/1 classroom, I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life. I could help people, but even with all of my love and passion for the work, I have come to recognize the need for self-care. It has taken many years, and I still struggle with balance. As it says in the Safe Congregation Handbook, “Modeling self-care is a religious practice, and like all such practices, it is a daily commitment and challenge.”
Self-care is important for mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. Practicing self-care can help us avoid overload and burnout and reduce stress which causes and worsens many physical ailments. In addition to the effect it has on our relationship with ourselves, stress also affects our relationships with others. We cannot expect to be in healthy relationships with others if we do not have a healthy relationship with ourselves, and we most certainly cannot be effective leaders in our congregations. “Stress can destroy much more than just our physical health. Too often, it eats away at our hope, belief, and faith,” says Charles F. Glassman.
Prayer, gratitude, exercise, meditation, and journaling are some of my spiritual practices. Fishing is another. “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after,” said Henry David Thoreau.
In February 2017 I decided to take a five-day self-care, meditative fishing trip to the Colorado River that divides Nevada and Arizona. A part of my journal entry for the first day of that trip echoes Thoreau’s observation.
Fishing requires determination. Often that determination requires one to get up very early. I got up at 5 am and was out at the river by 6. As I left my car, a woman was coming up from the riverbank. She was soaked. When I asked her if she had a morning swim in the beautiful Colorado, she said she had actually been fishing, but only for a short time. She described to me how a man and a two-year-old boy had been in a raft that had tipped over. She had jumped into the river and saved the little boy. What an interesting morning so far!
As I prepped my line I realized I had left my bait at the hotel room. A fellow fisherman was kind enough to share some worms with me. It is very interesting how people of different backgrounds, beliefs, genders, and races share and help each other when they are fishing. People share bait, tackle, snacks, drinks, fishing secrets, and even their catches. Neither my fellow fisherman nor I had any luck catching a fish that morning. There were plenty of fish in the river, but as we baited, casted, reeled, the rather large, uninterested fish swam right on by, often within inches of me wading in the water. Fishing takes a great deal of patience. Most of the time one is caught up in various thoughts of nature, self-reflection, the existence of God, love, and the purpose of life.
I jumped up to grab my rod when I felt a painful tug just above the inside of my right ankle. I looked down and saw that I had caught a fish, but not on my line and not a real fish; it was a lure caught in my leg. I had no clue where the nearest fish hook removal experts could be found. My GPS led me to three locations on both sides of the Colorado River that were closed. As I drove, instead of worrying about my foot I thought about the elusive fish and the book I’d sat down to read while fishing, White Like Me, in which author Tim Wise tells us that we inherit the legacy of our families and we inherit the legacy of our race whether we like it or not. Fishing is part of my legacy, I thought as my foot bled.
About 45 minutes later, feeling a little drained and loopy, I pulled into a gas station and was told there was an urgent care facility about a half mile away. I was no longer thinking of fish, race, or the big questions of life by this point. I was only thinking of the ANCHOR hanging from my foot. When I walked in and they saw my predicament, the good people of the facility did not laugh. They were very kind and quick. After assessing, numbing, and removing the lure, the doctor asked if I wanted to keep it and use it the next time I went fishing! Following a tetanus shot, a prescription for antibiotics, and more laughs, I went back to my hotel room. I thought about my day, though by now it was only 10:30 am. Proof that fishing is a spiritual practice!
I leave you with the words of Sophia Lyon Fahs: “Life becomes religious whenever we make it so: when some new light is seen, when some deeper appreciation is felt, when some larger outlook is gained, when some nobler purpose is formed, when some task is well done.”
Kathleen Hogue


Music News: 

Music Director Zanaida Robles Moving to Pasadena Congregation

“This is a church that prides itself on being a singing congregation,” says Zanaida Robles, Director of Music for UUSM. “Music enriches the spiritual experience, and helps create worship that reaches people.”
Zanaida announced in late June that she has accepted the Director of Music position at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena and will be leaving UUSM at the end of August. She also holds a full-time position as the director of four choirs at Harvard-Westlake School.
Leading UUSM’s music program for the past two church seasons has been a time of growth for Zanaida, both personally and professionally, as well as for the church’s music program, and for the choir itself. “Choir rehearsal time has been most precious to me. It is a time of spiritual awakening. The community has really broadened,” says Zanaida. She lauds the commitment of the members of the UUSM choir, who rehearse for two hours each week and for the hour before each Sunday service.
UUSM’s section leaders are a major church asset, Zanaida says. “They are like an all-star baseball team and are the envy of the town.”
Zanaida has deep appreciation for the UU canon of music in our hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition, and its 2005 supplement, Singing the Journey. “It is imperative that we maintain our understanding of music,” she says, noting that a UUSM favorite, “Blue Boat Home,” is an adaptation of an historic Welsh hymn known as “Hyfrydol.” She appreciates the way that the UU canon “bridges traditional and contemporary music, spiritual but unfettered by dogma.”
As she leaves for Neighborhood Church, Zanaida urges UUSM to continue its commitment to the music program. “Lives are changed,” she says. “The heart is there. Good people make good worship.”
– Abby Arnold