Newsletter for November, 2017

Oct 2017
From Our Minister: 

In the Epic Battle of Fear vs. Love, Creativity Wins

Dear Friends,

I am a “mushroom cloud baby.” By this, I mean I grew up seeing pictures of devastation too frightening to forget. Images of the holocaust, nuclear detonations, war, assassinations… were traumatizing. They thwarted my development. They paralyzed and palsied my creativity. And they led me to construct a picture of the world where goodness, beauty, truth, order, and possibility were scarce.

I yearned for hope. I dreamt of understanding, cooperation, creativity, peace, trust, and love. But all these things hinged on the human capacity to share (time, attention, resources, information) in the face of scarcity. In short, I grew up amidst the epic and timeless battle of Fear vs. Love. And though I wanted love, I refused to be naïve. And though I found some comfort in fear, I refused to be cynical.

I thought I was making progress. At one point, I thought that by the end of my life, I would be able to say that I spent my life choosing Love. But then the world began to speed up.

New ideas became real and accelerated the rate I had to process information. Computers, phones, and communication felt encouraging. But drones, new weapons, and cyber crime felt worrisome. I often felt exhausted. And I knew I wasn’t alone.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt tells us that from the very beginning of time until the year 2003, humankind created five exabytes of digital information (an exabyte is a 1 with 18 zeroes after it). Today, more than five exabytes of information is produced every few minutes … It’s no wonder we’re exhausted.

But here’s the good news: this information is becoming decentralized (learning cannot be curtailed by autocratic governments or corporations), de-monetized (shifting advantage and power from the rich), and democratized (in today’s hyperlinked world, solving problems anywhere solves problems everywhere). And one of the greatest pieces of news: creativity is on an exponential rise.

In the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, the learning hierarchy placed science at the top, humanities in the middle, and culture and arts at the bottom. In today’s technological revolution, however, creative ways of using information are the ultimate resource.

What does this mean for U? and U? And UU? It means the emerging cultural climate will favor progressives. Innovators. Cultural creatives (these are all us, if it wasn’t obvious). Those with open hearts to see the need and open minds to apply resources in new ways. It will favor the resilient and adaptive communities who are willing to not only try new things but who are willing to fail brilliantly (that is, learn from failures, adapt and improve).

What does this mean for UUSM? It means we find ourselves surprisingly in a place of abundance rather than scarcity. It’s a time of investment rather than hesitancy, apprehension, or withdrawal. It means that there’s never been a better time to turn toward one another, share our ideas, information, and bet on the future of Going Forward Together.

To the Glory of Life.

The Rev. Greg Ward


News & Announcements: 

Remembrance Vespers

UUSM’s annual Remembrance Vespers will be held on Sunday, November 5, at 7 pm in the sanctuary. Under the direction of Dr. Zanaida Robles, the UUSM choir will sing selections from “”Requiem” K.626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. During this special evening of music and spoken word, we will turn toward that which we hold sacred, sharing our experience of love, loss and healing. 


Heart & Soul: A Contemplative Worship Service
Second Sundays, 5 to 5:45 pm in the sanctuary

Heart and Soul services are led by Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins, Joyce Holmen, and Karen Hsu Patterson. With singing and instrumental music, poetry, statements and questions, silence and sharing, we’ll explore monthly worship themes.

Sunday, November 12: What Does It Mean to be a Community of Abundance?

Second Sunday Supper
Sunday, November 12 - Hosted by the Stewardship Committee

Please join us at 6 pm in Forbes Hall for this informal potluck dinner together with UUSM members and friends. It’s a great way to get to know your fellow congregants better!






Attendees should bring a main dish, side dish, salad, or dessert to share. You can help – join our Kitchen Cabinet and help with cooking (the day before), setup, or cleanup. You know that the most fun at any party is in the kitchen! Sign up at Children are absolutely welcome! 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: Jacki Weber for more information.

Leslie Beuvais and Friends in Concert


















Exploring Our Shared History

On Sunday November 12, Rev. Greg is calling on many leaders to gather in Forbes Hall, at 1 pm after the second service, to share with him – and all of us – the benefit of their insight. UUSM is blessed to have long-time members who have first-hand experience of key milestone events that helped shape our collective character. We also have many retrievable archived documents which describe key moments where the church faced a choice, what choices the church has made, the impact those choices had on the people then, and the way such choices might have influenced who we are now. Every person, and every church, has a choice about what it wants to change about itself in order to become what it feels called to be – but only if it takes the intentional step of becoming conscious of its own history and habits that helped shape it. This is not just for ‘leaders,’ but for anyone who has any interest in knowing a little more about who – and why – we are the way we are.

Garden of Eternity Remembrance and Celebration Ceremony - Sunday, November 5 at 12:30 pm

UUSM’s Garden of Eternity is a very important part of the church. Beyond being an annual ceremony and ritual…beyond raising a little money for the church… it does something that every strong community needs: it allows us all a moment to bring our past, present, and future together. We invite all who wish to come to help us commemorate and consecrate new bricks into the church’s memorial site. We seek to install a foundation of love into our collective lives that their love and influence instilled in us as leaders. In this simple ceremony in the garden, their investment in helping us understand love and justice finds a home in this community.  

The 2017-2018 UUSM choir enriches our Sunday worship services, and will perform at the annual Remembrance Vespers on Sunday, November 5. 








Hosted by the Art Committee Sunday, Nov 19, following each service -- DON’T MISS OUT! 

Art includes clay, glass, jewelry, paintings and more. Our regular artists and a few new ones will offer a selection of items for your enjoyment and/or for gifts. There is always a beautiful and interesting assortment of things to choose from. Contact: Bettye Barclay.

Beverly’s Treasure Table will be back with lots of ritzy glitzy items at great prices including: A SURFBOARD! Custom Infinity gun between 7 1/2 and 8 ft long. Glassed on fins in thruster configuration. Minor dings on the nose and tail along with some pressure dings on the deck and bottom. Bag and leash included. $100 (one-fifth the usual selling price! What a deal!)

Other Items Include:
• Original Movie Posters from Argentina
• A Bejeweled Jacket
• Original Art
• and much, much more!

Beverly Alison is still on the treasure trail at this time, so call for pick-up of items you have for the treasure table. 

THANKSGIVING FEAST - All-Church Potluck - Saturday, November 18 - 6 p.m.

Sign-up in Forbes Hall after services starting November 5 or contact Kathy Cook. All are welcome. You will be asked to bring traditional food and choose a volunteer job. We also need several people to cook turkeys. If you sign up and then are unable to attend, please notify Kathy Cook so there will be room for others.


Faith in Action News: 

Member and Allies Face Trial for Anti-Klan Protest









UUSM member Hugo Conteras and allies Nikki Schop and Mark Liddell face misdemeanor charges of battery and resisting arrest for protesting a Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim in 2016. As has been demonstrated most recently in Charlottesville, VA, the Klan and other white supremacists are armed and dangerous. We must continue to oppose their presence in our communities.

Their trial is set to begin on Monday, November 27, and is estimated to last two weeks. We will need supporters both as spectators inside the courtroom and protestors outside the courthouse. There will be a fundraiser and planning meeting on Saturday, November 4.

For more information, please contact Sarah Mae Harper at, or stop by the Faith in Action table after services.

Save the dates:
• Saturday, November 4 at 6 pm – Fundraising potluck and planning. Contact Sarah Mae Harper for the location.
• Monday, November 27 at 8 am – Trial begins at the North Justice Center, 1275 North Berkeley Avenue, Fullerton, CA

Sarah Mae Harper

Panel Discussion About Racial Injustice - Saturday November 11 at 7 pm

Faith in Action presents “An Uncomfortable Truth: Time to Talk About Racial Injustice,” an interactive panel discussion that will take place on the evening of Saturday, November 11 in the sanctuary, in partnership with the local chapter of Organizing For Action (OFA). The event will be moderated by OFA’s organizing fellows and will feature distinguished guests:

\• Jennifer Williams, professor of African American and Gender Studies at Loyola Marymount University.
• Donzaleigh Abernathy: Author, civil rights activist, actress, and daughter of civil rights pioneer Ralph Abernathy.
• Charles Swain Esq. Civil Rights Attorney and filmmaker.
• Dr. Penelope Facher, Psychotherapist.
• Professor Marne Campbell, Professor of African American Studies and History, Loyola Marymount University.

Please join us for this exciting opportunity for education, dialogue, and collaboration with local activists who share our congregation’s commitment to justice and equity. A reception in Forbes Hall will follow the discussion.

More about OFA: Organizing For Action ( began as the organization to elect President Obama in 2007-2008 but has evolved into an independent, non-partisan, grassroots movement working for progressive change on many fronts including racial justice, reproductive rights, healthcare and climate change. It has 250 chapters nationwide in which experienced volunteers work with and mentor young people with the goal of mobilizing the next generation of progressive organizers and social justice leaders.

Principles and Practice of Non-Violent Resistance

UUSM members are invited to enroll in a day-long workshop presented by CLUE-LA to develop a shared practice of non-violent resistance on Saturday, November 18 from 9 am to 3 pm. Pre-registration is required. Please sign up at the Faith In Action table after services on November 5 or 12.

Non-violence is a philosophy, a spiritual practice, and a strategy. Beginning with framing in the Unitarian Universalist faith, the training will focus on the six principles of nonviolent direct action, and the six steps of a nonviolent campaign. Components include values exercises, historical examples, and responding to violence. The workshop was developed by clergy and lay members of CLUE’s Santa Monica committee, building on the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We ask you to make a commitment to attend the full workshop, which will strengthen our congregation’s solidarity and power as a force for justice.

Raising Awareness about Accessibility

We have done much to make our church campus more accessible and friendly. The sloped entrance from the Anderson Courtyard, the ramp behind the cottage, and the bathroom spaces in the cottage and Forbes Hall all improve access. However, we still have many barriers to full inclusion for persons with special needs and disabilities. As an example, many important church activities are planned without considering how to ensure accessibility.

You can help by looking around as you are involved in the church. Would a person with limited vision, with a walker or wheelchair, with limited hearing, or cognitive limitations be able to participate fully? Do you have a need that is not being addressed? What can be done to improve access?

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


Splinters from the Board: 

Board Establishes Priorities for the Upcoming Year

The board met in the Sanctuary on October 10 because of plumbing repairs in Forbes Hall. All board members, Administrator Nurit Gordon, Rev. Greg, and eight guests were in attendance in the pews. Rev. Greg lit the chalice, with a reading from the “Book of Qualities” on the notion that trust is the mother of love.

Rev. Greg explained his role at board meetings in the context of developmental ministry. His intention is to focus on vision, and to cultivate a sense of process that leads to people who are eager to be with each other. He explained that a single minister, focused on developmental goals, cannot at the same time perform all the broad ministerial responsibilities that are expected in a church of our size. There will be an evaluation of the ministry in January 2018. The board approved an addition of $20,000 to the 2018-2019 budget to hire a ministerial intern to assist in developing a Pastoral Associates program, so that the congregation can meet the needs for pastoral care with the help of well-trained and organized volunteers.

Jacki Weber reported on the follow-up to the 2017 board retreat, which included a review of action items and recommended follow-up. The board established priorities for the coming year: (1) clarify roles and responsibilities, (2) develop and adopt a comprehensive safety policy, (3) develop and adopt a covenant of right relations, (4) develop a pastoral associates program, (5) develop a worship associates program, (6) develop a membership program, (7) examination of UUSM history, and (8) optimize the stewardship program.

The board approved a job description for the new Religious Education Assistant position, based on the template of the Liberal Religious Educators Association.

Patricia Wright reported on the status of this year’s pledge drive to support the core operations of our church. The Stewardship Committee has scheduled six house parties, Rev. Greg is training facilitators, and the board is encouraged to attend. The board agreed to covenant to optimize the stewardship program.

Beth Brownlie reported that the Forbes Hall plumbing repair project is moving along, and the board thanked Nurit for overseeing the logistics involved.

The board recognized and affirmed the revised charter of the Communications Team. UUSM board meetings are open to all members, and are held on the second Tuesday of each month. Minutes of each meeting are posted on the UUSM website, in the “For Members” section.

Patricia Wright


RE News: 

Are You Drowning in the Wake?

“Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
God’s gonna trouble the water…”

— Fisk Jubilee Singers

Unitarian Universalists are accustomed to dealing with the enduring issues of racism, poverty, discrimination, oppression, and war. We have a clear answer on how to deal with these issues through the practice of our UU Principles. But what about when other bad things happen? Things like devastating floods, hurricanes, fires, and mass shootings are harder to grasp because we feel powerless in their wake.

Many in our society focus on the why of suffering. Some believe in Providence – the idea that a higher power sustains us and influences each of our destinies. Others follow the way of the Buddha, believing that to live is to suffer. While still others believe that suffering is a result of evil.

As Unitarian Universalists we do not share in a single theology of pain, evil, or suffering. Instead our religion’s liberal optimism creates a focus on the alleviation of suffering rather than understanding of its cause.

There is little or nothing we can do to prevent these large scale disasters. Sure, gun laws need to be changed and climate change needs to be addressed, but for the most part, we are left to deal with the wake of the storms, i.e. the suffering of others.

Are you drowning in the wake of the suffering of the world, disturbed by the sheer depth of the waters; consumed with waves of grief and sadness, and don’t know what, or even if, you can do anything about it?

As children, growing up in Tennessee, my sisters and I often swam in the nearby lake. I remember that one of the games we played involved pushing each other down into the water. The goal was to fight your way back up to the surface. It is a good description of how I have been feeling lately, as if I am constantly struggling to prevent the current (which is pain, suffering and grief) from dragging me down and keeping me under. What keeps me above the surface? It is hope and the belief in human compassion.

Human compassion leads us to action. We may not be able to go fight fires, or rescue people from floods, hurricanes, and shootings, but there are still things we can do right here at home. Edward Everett Hale put it this way: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

Here are some things you can do:

Donate Blood: Even if it does not help the far away victims, it is helping someone in need right here in our own community. The Red Cross has an online registration process.

Give to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund: In addition to supporting victims of hurricanes and floods, the Disaster Relief Fund supports congregations affected by the fires in California.

• You can help fire victims by donating food, blood, clothing, money, and shelter:

• You can also keep marching peacefully for change, writing to your government officials, and standing up for your beliefs, and yes, prayers also help; they give us hope.

How to keep from drowning in despair:

Limit exposure to media coverage. For children, and adults, exposure to repeated images can be confusing, disturbing, and re-traumatizing. This includes not only television news reports, but social media, as well.

Talk to others about how you are feeling and listen to them, as well. Remember to listen carefully to children when they ask questions. Be sure to first understand what is leading to their questions. Be reassuring and honest, while striving to meet children at their level. Encourage them to ask questions and share feelings.

Stay connected to your faith community. Next to our basic human needs of food, water, and shelter, the thing we most desire is connection. Our church is a place where we can come together to share not only our sadness and grief, but also our hope and compassion. It can be helpful and comforting for children to see the adults they love supported and cared for, as well.

Seek professional help when needed. If you or a child in your family seems to be having a difficult time coping and feels a sense of hopelessness, seek help from a mental health professional. It is perfectly normal - for children or adults - to need help in dealing with disasters that are happening so often and on such large scales.

Wayne B. Arnason says: “Take courage. For deep down, there is another truth: you are not alone.” As RE Director here at UUSM I am deeply committed to the happiness and wellbeing of each and every one of you. Please know that I am always available for any of you if you need to talk.

Kathleen Hogue





The UU Common Read: “The Third Reconstruction”

Lifespan Religious Education Adult Programs presents the 2016-2017 UU Common Read, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, by the Rev. William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Copies of the book (168 pp) are available for sale at the Lifespan R.E. table.

Each year the Unitarian Universalist Association chooses a “common read.” All Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to read this book, and the UUA provides reading guides and context for congregational consideration.

Rev. Barber’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention brought him to national attention. That same year, he addressed a general session at the UUA General Assembly in the morning, conducted a workshop in the afternoon, and, in the evening, spoke at the GA State of Emergence Public Witness Rally. Videos of some of these speeches are available on the UUA website.

Rev. Barber is pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, of the Disciples of Christ, in Greensboro, NC. He served for over ten years as president of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP, until this year when he stepped down to focus on his nonprofit organization, Repairers of the Breach, Inc., and to lead a renewal of the Poor People’s Campaign. Repairers is a nonpartisan and ecumenical organization focused on a progressive agenda rooted in a moral framework, bringing together clergy and laity from different faith traditions with “nones” who are guided by the same moral principles. The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Mass Meetings, is co-led by local grassroots organizations to address issues of systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and ecological devastation in the states. On September 19th, several of us had the opportunity to visit McCarty Memorial Christian Church in Los Angeles to attend Rev. Barber’s inspiring Poor People’s Campaign meeting, which was co-sponsored by CLUE and other local groups. A video of this speech, as well as those given across the country, is accessible at

In North Carolina, Rev. Barber built a “state-wide interracial fusion political coalition” of civil rights groups, immigrant rights activists, unions, and LGBT+ advocates, groups with sometimes conflicting interests and values. What they had in common was a desire to resist state-sanctioned discrimination, whether it be against workers, people of color, women, poor people, or queer folks. Accordingly, in the summer of 2013, Rev. Barber led this fusion coalition in Moral Monday rallies at the North Carolina statehouse to protest redistricting and voting rights restrictions, as well as attacks against social programs protecting these groups. The Moral Monday movement contributed to the supplanting of the Republican incumbent with a Democratic governor, and supported litigation that successfully challenged, up to the U.S. Supreme Court, voter access restrictions.

The Third Reconstruction serves both as a memoir and as a detailed, pragmatic guide to building and sustaining a social justice movement. From the UUA website: “Drawing on the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, while making room for other sources of truth, the book challenges us to ground our justice work in moral dissent, even when there is no reasonable expectation of political success, and to do the hard work of coalition building in a society that is fractured and polarized.”

Please join us on Sunday, December 3 from 1 to 3 pm in Forbes Hall, Room 4, to discuss the 2016-2017 Common Read, The Third Reconstruction, and consider how Rev. Barber’s book may apply to UUSM’s own justice work. Portions of the GA speeches will be viewed during the class.

Audrey Lyness

A truly moral agenda must be anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, transformative and deeply rooted and built within a fusion coalition. It would ask of all policy, is this policy Constitutionally consistent, morally defensible and economically sane. We call this moral analysis and moral articulation which leads to moral activism.” —The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Adult RE Offerings for November 2017

Continuing Group: “An Enjoyable Dive into Who and What We Are” 
This on-going, twice-monthly class is presented to help participants master specific meditation skills. We endeavor to answer the questions Who am I? (attitudes and beliefs) and What am I? (essence or true nature). This class will include meditations which explore participants’ spiritual goals. The group meetings (1st and 3rd Sundays) will also focus on insights gained throughout the month. It is expected that participants have a regular meditation practice. 

NEW TIME AND LOCATION SUNDAYS, November 5 and 19 Location: Patio Area Time: 9:30 to 10:45 am Facilitator: Bill Blake 

New Ongoing Group: “Open Meditation” 
You are cordially invited to a new meditation group called “Open Meditation.” Whether you are a beginner who is just curious about meditation, or whether you have been meditating for many years – you are welcome. Meditation at its root is a natural and deeply human practice. We are not teaching a particular form of meditation or doctrine. You don’t need to know anything, do any particular activity, or believe in anything. We will have brief readings, two 20-minute periods of sitting, a walking meditation, and time for journaling and sharing. You can drop in when it serves you, or come regularly. If you are late, just come in quietly and join us. If you have questions, speak with either Beverly Shoenberger or Carol Ring at coffee hour, or contact Bev.

Friday, November 17 Location: Forbes Hall Time: 7 to 8:30 pm Facilitators: Beverly Shoenberger and Carol Ring