Sermons

This is a full list of sermons presented at UUCCSM since mid-1999. Links to sermon texts are included when made available by their authors. Audio recordings are also available for most sermons presented after September, 2007 by our staff ministers and others directly affiliated with our church (just click the speaker icon next to each sermon where it's available*). Audio from guest speakers is posted only when we have their permission to share it.

Hard copies of sermons by Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae are available in the church office. Contact office assistant Sibylla Nash at office@uusm.org if you have a request.

"Leaving Room for Hope: Sermons for Uncertain Times," a book of Minister Emerita Judith Meyer's sermons, is available here.

[*Please Note: if you do not see an audio speaker icon below each of the individual sermons on this page, click the small lock-shaped icon next to the page's URL in your address bar, and in the drop-down menu that pops up, make sure "Flash" is set to "Allow." Then re-load the page, and you should be able to see the audio players. Sorry for any inconvenience - we are working to fix this issue.]

August 30, 2020 - 10:00am
TBD (Online Service)
Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae
 
 
 
 
 
Our Developmental Minister is on a well-deserved vacation. Tune in again soon for his sermon topic.
August 23, 2020 - 10:00am
What Matters? (Online Service)
Michael Eselun
 
Moving together through these challenging times, we find ourselves, perhaps on a daily basis, reassessing our priorities. We have a lot of questions these days. UCLA Oncology Chaplain and popular guest speaker, Michael Eselun will share reflections on the question, “What Matters?” We look forward to his return to our pulpit.
 
Michael Eselun serves as the chaplain for the Simms/Mann‐UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology. Two-time TED-X speaker, Michael speaks extensively to healthcare professionals, patient populations, and faith communities across the country. He’s also worked as an activist/educator addressing anti-LGBTQ bias in the larger community for over 30 years. Michael was recently inducted into the UCLA-Semel Institute Eudaimonia Society, in recognition of having lived a meaning-driven life. He has four volumes of CDs available for purchase through his website, www.michaeleselun.com.
August 16, 2020 - 10:00am
Great Expectations (Online Service)
Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins
 
If you don’t expect anything then you won’t be disappointed. But you might be surprised. Under promise; over deliver. If you don’t want, you won’t get. Managing expectations is an important life skill. How can it be a spiritual practice?
 
The Rev. Dr. Kikanza Nuri-Robins is a consultant to people and organizations in transition. She works with non-profits and faith-based organizations around the country helping them address issues of leadership, communication, and cultural competence. Her most recent book is “Fish Out of Water” and she is currently collaborating on a book about gender identities. She is a member of our UUSM community. www.KikanzaNuriRobins.com
August 9, 2020 - 10:00am
The Poetry of Grace (Online Service)
Rima Snyder
 
Rima SnyderGrace means different things to different people. We will explore poems that depict grace as a diving blessing, an inner state of being or a guide for how to live. What does being in a state of grace mean? How does this relate to daily life?
 
Rima Snyder has been a member of UUSM since 2006. She is a member of the choir and a former worship associate. In the past she has served on the Music Committee, the Nominating Committee, and the Hunger Task Force. She loves poetry and will be doing a small group ministry group in the fall on poetry as a spiritual practice.
August 2, 2020 - 10:00am
Just Feel (Online Service)
Rev. Liz Murphy
During this moment in our lives and in our world, so many things have been simplified — our schedules, our routines, our plans. Yet, the realities of these changes and movements are anything but simple. We are overloaded with content, programs, questions, anxieties. This Sunday, we will “just feel” together. We will take a moment to open ourselves up to the many emotions springing up for us in this moment. Let us reconnect with our bodies and our spirits, individually and as a church community.
 
Liz Murphy is a recent graduate of the Claremont School of Theology and is a candidate for ministry with the Unitarian Universalist Association. She’s currently the intern minister at Throop Unitarian Universalist Church. She previously worked as a chaplain intern at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and as the Interfaith Programs Assistant at the University of Southern California’s Office of Religious Life. Originally from Pittsburgh, she moved to Los Angeles in 2017 with her wife, Hilary. You can contact Liz at ThroopInternLiz@gmail.com.
July 26, 2020 - 10:00am
Allies and Advocates (Online Service)
Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins
As we seek to live into our values for social justice, many with very good intentions often end up saying nothing, or saying the wrong thing, when they are called to lean into a conversation. Today we will talk about what it means to be an ally and an advocate — for an individual and for a cause. We will also talk about what you might say when what you are saying isn’t working.
July 19, 2020 - 10:00am
The Rainbow Sign (Online Service)
Rev. KC Slack
What does our covenantal faith mean for our relationship with the wider world? What is our duty regarding justice? What happens when we fall short of that promise?
 
We welcome back the Rev. KC Slack, who serves as minister of our neighboring UU Church of the Verdugo Hills, and continues their work as a hospital chaplain, their work as a sex educator, and as an individual spiritual director. In addition, KC is a UU scholartivist (scholar, artist, activist, and spiritual leader). They’re about all multiple everything: bi/pansexual, polyamorous, and pantheistic. Their work blends their mystic UU Pagan faith (don’t worry, they’ll happily tell you too much about it if you ask), ministry, radical politics, heavy theory, joy, art, and living a queerly fabulous life in LA.
 
Born and raised in small-town North East Ohio, our guest preacher comes from a large extended family and what they will tell you are “very rust belt” roots. The grandchild of factory workers and the child of factory managers, KC received a B.A. in Political Science from Case Western Reserve University. After graduation in 2016 from Starr King School for the Ministry, KC completed a year-long Clinical Pastoral Education residency at a mid-sized hospital in Burbank. KC was highly regarded by their peers and supervisors, as well as by medical and administrative staff throughout the hospital. They brought their broad education in world religions and their knowledge of liberatory theologies to their patients and classmates, and worked within the peer group to help future chaplains better understand how to care for LGBT+ patients.
July 12, 2020 - 10:00am
Buddhism, Zen, and a Call to Justice (Online Service)
Rev. James Ishmael Ford
What Buddhism and particularly Zen say to people today seeking ways to engage not only the deeper matters of the heart, but the heart of justice?
 
The Rev. James Ishmael Ford has been a Unitarian Universalist parish minister for 30 years. He is Minister Emeritus of the First Unitarian Church of Providence. In his early retirement he continues to serve, currently as consulting minister for the UU Church in Anaheim. James is also a Zen Buddhist priest, guiding teacher of the Empty Moon Zen sangha, and is the author of several books addressing Zen and Buddhism.
 
 
July 5, 2020 - 10:00am
Lift Every Voice and Sing (Online Service)
Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins
A Quest for Freedom. Have you chosen a quest for love or a quest for freedom? What is the cost of each path? Today we will talk about what freedom means spiritually, and how your choices have led to greater or less freedom for your spirit.
 
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” – often called “The Black National Anthem” – was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), an American author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist with the NAACP.  In 1899, it was set to music by his brother, John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), American composer, singer, and editor of song collections during the Harlem Renaissance.  The inspiring piece was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, FL, as part of a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900, by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.  Published widely, it is included in our UUA hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition, as #149.
 
The Rev. Dr. Kikanza Nuri-Robins is a consultant to people and organizations in transition. She works with non-profits and faith-based organizations around the country helping them address issues of leadership, communication and cultural competence. Her most recent book is Fish Out of Water, and she is currently collaborating on a book about Gender Identities. She is a member of our UUSM community. www.KikanzaNuriRobins.com
June 28, 2020 - 10:00am
"Beyond the Water's Edge" (Online Service from UUA General Assembly)
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval
Please join us - and hundreds of UUs around the country - for the largest Unitarian Universalist worship gathering of the year.
 
This powerful, communal worship experience, a highlight of our denomination’s General Assembly, will stream at https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2020/sunday-worship at 10:00 am PDT.  (Note:  The link to the UUA stream will also be shared on our UUSM Facebook page on Sunday, though we will not actually be able to stream the video there.)
 
The Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, minister of the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, VT, will preach, the Rev. Mykal O’Neal Slack will serve as a worship leader, and Benjie Messer will be the music director for this special national UUA service. The worship service will include a collection for the Tomaquag Museum, an indigenous museum featuring an extensive collection and archive of Southern New England tribal communities.
 
For information about the full General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, visit uua.org/ga. The program will be held online; you can register to be a Virtual GA Participant for an exciting array of meetings, lectures, and workshops June 24 to 28. Registration is not required for several events, including the Sunday morning worship.
 
Also, PLEASE NOTE:
 
ANNUAL MEETING AT 12:00 noon online
The GA service will be followed by our Annual Meeting Presentation at noon by church leaders on Facebook and YouTube. Details will be emailed and mailed to members of the congregation.  Plan to join in online as we gather on June 28 for our 93rd anniversary. More information coming soon.