WORSHIP SERVICES, MAY 2017

May 7, “EMBODYING RESISTANCE: LEARNING ABOUT WHITE SUPREMACY”

 Megan Dowdell, Guest Preacher;

Rev. Matthew McHale and David Early, Worship Associates

Megan Dowdell

White supremacy* is a set of institutional assumptions and practices, often operating unconsciously, that tend to benefit white people and exclude people of color. As people of faith, we are called to understand the ways in which white supremacy culture operates in society, as well as within communities. Our bodies can become our resource in staying present in learning about white supremacy and caring for ourselves as we resist racism and systemic oppression. Join in song, meditation, and spiritual practice, as we journey together toward justice and embodying resistance.

 

*If you are interested or curious to learn more before we gather together for worship, please check out this resource on “white supremacy culture,” which has been a key document in educating to dismantle racism for the past 15 years: http://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/White_Supremacy_Culture_Okun.pdf

 

The Special Music for this Sunday will be “Up To The Mountain,” by Patty Griffon (Kelly Clarkson version), performed by Sharra Romany (vocals), Ramy Romany (guitar), and Christy Marshall (piano).

 

Workshop: Over 400 other UU congregations have also dedicated their Sunday Services on April 30 or May 7 to learning about white supremacy culture and resisting racism within our faith community and in the world. What does it all mean? Come to a 90-minute workshop at 12:15 PM in the Sanctuary to learn more about white supremacy culture and continue the learning begun during worship this morning.

 

Megan Dowdell is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethics and Society at Starr King School for the Ministry, a Unitarian Universalist-affiliated and multi-religious theological school in Berkeley, CA. She holds a M.A. and Certificate in Women’s Studies in Religion from the Graduate Theological Union and is a doctoral candidate in Sociology through the University of California San Francisco. Her current scholarship focuses on the spiritual needs of people coping with chronic health conditions across religious traditions. Her heart is captivated by teaching and working with students pursuing religious vocations that seek wholeness and liberation.

 

In addition to serving Unitarian Universalism in the greater Los Angeles area, Rev. Matthew and Megan previously planned worship and workshops on white supremacy culture together! Back in 2011, they were co-organizers of a regional conference of UU Allies for Racial Equity. So much has changed in the world and the U.S. since that day. Megan is thrilled to join Emerson UU Church in Sunday worship to help build a faith full of people who understand white supremacy and its impact on our bodies, communities, and society, especially in difficult political times.

 

May 14, “BEING YOURSELF, IN COMMUNITY” and FLOWER COMMUNION SUNDAY

Rev. Matthew McHale; Karen Rose, Worship Associate

There is a perceived conflict in our world between two worldviews: whether individual autonomy or collective wellbeing is more important. One of the beautiful aspects of the Flower Communion is that it celebrates uniqueness, diversity and community. This Sunday join us as we explore how to honor the individual and the greater whole.

 

In addition to our annual flower communion, this service will include a child dedication ceremony. Please bring fresh cut flowers for this spring ritual.

 

 May 21, “BEING THE CHANGE”

Rev. Matthew McHale; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Worship Associate

Whether it’s a friend, loved one or a political leader, no matter how much we may care or how hard we may try, we can’t control how other people act or think, we only have control over how we live our lives. Embracing that truth will make us more grounded, less irritated, and more powerful. When things are wrong in our lives and the world, the change we wish to see starts with us.

The Special Music for this service will be Indigo Girls’ “Let It Be Me,” by Emily Ann Saliers, performed by Elizabeth Altman and Liz Owen.

 

 This Sunday we will recognize new members in our congregation

with a welcoming ritual.

 

May 28, “BUILDING AN ALTAR TO LIFE”

Linda Fitzgerald and Bonnie Norwood, Lay Worship Leaders

  

 All are invited to bring a photograph or memento of a loved one who has passed away. Those who wish to may also share a memory of the person. Through our stories and keepsakes, we will together build an altar that celebrates life.

WORSHIP SERVICES, APRIL 2017

April 2, 2017, “A MUSIC-MAKING MORNING”

Jim Scott, Composer/Guitarist/Singer; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Worship Associate

 Popular Unitarian Universalist composer/guitarist/singer will be joining us this morning, along with the Unitarian Universalist Choir of Studio City.  This music-filled service will send you off with a melody in your heart and on your lips.

Emerson Choir and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City will perform “Hope is Alive,” by Mac Huff; “Here Comes the Sun,” by George Harrison, and “I am Waiting” by Jim Scott.

JIM SCOTT

Composer, guitarist and singer Jim Scott brings a warmth and humor with his jazz and world music influenced songs.  He has a prodigious guitar mastery and clear voice, to touch hearts with his messages of peace, justice and the earth. Formerly a member of the Paul Winter Consort, Jim was co-composer of their celebrated “Missa Gaia/Earth Mass” and sang their anthem song “Common Ground.”  He has toured the world, recorded a number of CDs of original music and published a growing line of choral works.  Jim has played at more than 700 UU churches over 30 years of travels, and his songs are in the UU hymnbooks

 

Please plan to stay for the potluck lunch after the service, followed by a concert at 1:00, “Gather the Spirit,” presented by Jim Scott.

 

April 9, 2017, “GROWTH DOESN’T ALWAYS COME EASY”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; David Early, Worship Associate

There’s a tendency to think about personal growth as a sort of new beginning, and all-around positive experience. In reality, such transformations most often arise out of something old falling apart. In the face of difficult and disorienting changes, positive growth is far from assured, and it can be easy to fall into resentment. How can we orient ourselves towards growth instead?

 

Sharra Romany, accompanied by Christy Marshall, will perform the Special Music, “The Climb,” by

Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe.

 

April 16, 2017, “EGGS, RABBITS, CHOCOLATE…AND RESURRECTION?!”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Linda Fitzgerald, Worship Associate



 

Easter—the death and resurrection of Jesus—is Christianity’s most important story, but its observance is deeply infused with pagan elements celebrating Spring and fertility, and it has become increasingly commercialized. So what does Easter mean for us as Unitarian Universalists, anyway?

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by Christy Marshall, will sing, “Alleluia” by Ralph Manuel.

 

  

April 23, 2017, MULTIGENERATIONAL EARTH DAY SERVICE

Emmalinda MacLean, Director of Religious Education;

Don Ordway, Worship Associate

In celebration of Earth Day, join us for a multigenerational, interactive retelling of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, the beloved classic about cherishing the natural beauty of our world.  This is a “partial-planning pageant,” meaning that the main speaking roles have already been cast, but there will also be lots of opportunities for impromptu participation by both children and adults.  We’ll need everyone’s help to bring the world of the Lorax, the Once-ler, the swomee-swans, the bar-ba-loots, and the humming fish to life!

The Special Music for this Sunday will be “Down to Earth,” performed by Elizabeth Altman and Paul Mahdavi-Bernstein.

 

 

April 30, 2017, “ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: IT’S ALL CONNECTED”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Melissa Marote, Worship Associate

When we think about the environment, we often think about being in nature, the forests, the mountains, the ocean. Likewise, environmentalism is often narrowly focused on the protection of our natural world. What’s often lost in this perception is humans. We forget our interdependence with the natural world, and overlook the ways that environmental/climate impacts disproportionately burden poor communities and Communities of Color. This Sunday we remember that the struggles for justice and the environment are inextricably connected.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by Christy Marshall, will sing, “All Things Are Connected” by Mary Lynn Lightfoot.

 

WORSHIP SERVICES, MARCH 2017 

March 5, 2017, “TRAGEDY, DEATH, PESSIMISM, AND DESPAIR”

Rev. Steven Wilson, Minister, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Braintree, MA; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Worship Associate

 

Have you ever walked into a church service hurting, and found that the optimism that flowed from the choir and pulpit failed to soothe?  If so, this is a service for you.  Need a good cry?  Come!  Come assured that your sadness will not be lonely today.  Today we will be healed by a good honest cry and the peace and even laughter that “can” come from that journey.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by Christy Marshall, will sing, “Love is the Spirit of this Church” by Paul Ayers.

 

Rev. Steve Wilson comes to us as the Settled Minister of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Braintree, Massachusetts, and as the long-time, part-time minister of the Bernardston Unitarian Congregational Society in western Massachusetts.  He is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Theology, where he was an Oxnam Scholar and received a Master in Divinity degree with a concentration in Social Ethics.

 

 

March 12, 2017, “RADICAL HOSPITALITY”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Karen Rose, Worship Associate

A sense of connection and belonging is an essential component of any religious community. How might radical hospitality help us find the balance between a tight-knit sense of community and making space for new people? And how might it transform us as a community and as individuals?

 

March 19, 2017, “DARING TO DREAM, DARING TO DO”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; David Early, Worship Associate

 

As Unitarian Universalists, we are dedicated to creating a more just and equitable world. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that in some comfortable, safe and surefire way? Yet creating change requires taking risks—organizing, marching and speaking out, often in the face of daunting odds or strong opposition. This Sunday we’ll find inspiration in the stories of risk-takers and explore spiritual practices to ground and inspire us for this challenging and necessary work.

 

March 26, 2017, “RISK BEING WHO YOU ARE”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Linda Fitzgerald, Worship Associate

 

All too often, we hide parts of ourselves, whether due to societal pressure or the fear of conflict, judgment or rejection. We spend so much of our lives living out of alignment with who were really are. Yet, when we take the risk of showing up as our whole self, we may find a sense of relief, like a weight has been lifted, and it can open up the possibility for those around us to be who they are.

The Special Music for this service will be “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles, performed by Amber Norwood, Elizabeth Altman, Paul Mahdavi-Bernstein, and David Early.

FEBRUARY 2017 WORSHIP SERVICES

February 5, 2017,

“BUILDING BRIDGES, NOT WALLS”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Worship Associate

One of the most vital tasks of any religious community is welcoming in the stranger, the immigrant, the refugee. During a time when walls are being built between people, how might we be a community that breaks down walls and builds bridges of connection and support?

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker, will sing “Covenant” by Christy Carew Marshall.

 

February 12, 2017 

“THE WITNESS AND THE WILDERNESS: THE SELF IN RELIEF”

Essy Hart, Guest Speaker; Don Ordway, Worship Associate

Different types of spiritual work require and replenish different resources for our work in the world. We may find that our wild, Pagan joy is restored in the reflective witness of the Buddha.  Our willingness to pray may be unearthed in surrender to a deep desire to dance. Trusting the higher self is a practice. We come into focus when we lean into whatever makes us quake, whatever allows for transformation and awakening.

This morning we will explore the power, mischief, and sacred nature of contradiction. Essy Hart will provide the music for this service.

 

February 19, 2017

“LOVE HAS NO LABELS”

Rev. Matthew McHale; Karen Rose, Worship Associate

Our identities—gender, sexual orientation, race, class, age, and ability—are an important part of who we are, helping shape the ways in which we experience and move through the world. Yet, we are often told that we should think of ourselves, not by our individual identities, but as members of the human family. Can we honor each other’s common humanity, while celebrating the diversity among us?

Under the direction of Scott Rieker and with accompaniment by Christy Marshall, the Emerson Choir will sing “Seasons of Love” from Rent by Jonathan Larson.

 

February 26, 2017

“SPRINGING INTO ACTION”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Melissa Marote, Worship Associate

Over the past several months Emerson has been springing into action. We have experienced a surge of energy activity, inspired by the beginning of a new ministry, and in defending our religious values of justice, equity, and inclusion. It has been an exciting time for our church community. What enables our congregation to be vibrant—to stand for justice, to provide healing, comfort and support; to provide opportunities for spiritual reflection and growth—is the generosity of this community. It’s all of you sharing of your time, talents and treasure.

This Sunday is the kickoff for our annual stewardship campaign, and we hope you will join us for a church potluck after the service at 12:00.

JANUARY 2017 WORSHIP SERVICES

January 1, 2017

“PROMISES, PROMISES”

Terry Hassman-Paulin, Worship Associate
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Each new year provides another opportunity to begin anew. We can wipe the slate clean and start all over. Join in this interactive service to define the promises you’re going to make to yourself, your family, your church, the wider community, the country, and even the planet. Resolve that 2017 will be the year you keep the promises you make!

For our Special Music, Lynn Prager will sing “Promises, Promises,” by Burt Bacharach.

 

January 8, 2017

“A PROPHET OF THE PEOPLE”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Linda Fitzgerald, Worship Associate

abraham

When we talk of prophets, many of us think of the messengers of God in the Hebrew Bible—larger than life people, who stood up for and spoke out against Kings—and offering visions of a better society. Yet, Rebecca Parker says, “It is a mistake to see [the prophet] as an isolated, heroic individual. It is better to see [them] as the crest of a wave.” How might we individually and collectively be part of the upswell?

 

 January 15, 2017

“RECLAIMING KING”

Rev Matthew, Minister; Don Ordway, Worship Associate

martin-luther-king

Over time, Martin Luther King has been tamed in our collective consciousness, to be remembered and honored solely as someone who nonviolently struggled for civil rights for Black people, and he has become revered by almost all Americans as a great hero. But that sanitized version of King obscures the reality that he was deeply divisive at the time, particularly as he expanded the scope of his radical love, becoming an outspoken critic, not just of racism, but also poverty, militarism, and materialism. This Sunday, we reclaim the radical King, and explore how King’s message can impact us today.

January 22, 2017

“THE PROPHETIC IMAGINATION”

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Melissa Marote, Worship Associate

hands-around-the-world

The liberal understanding of what it means to be prophetic is to decry the injustices in our society, but it often overlooks the critical need to offer alternatives to the dominant paradigm. At the beginning of a new presidency, how can we not only fight against injustice, but also use our imagination to nourish and evoke consciousness and perception different than the dominant culture?

 

January 29, 2017

“WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PROPHET IS A JERK:

A Buddhist Meditation on the Book of Jonah”

Rev. James Ford; David Early, Worship Associate

Rev James Ishmael Ford-5

Reverend James Ishmael Ford

These days we find ourselves called to speak truth to power. This can be a daunting task for a large number of reasons. Our guest speaker, Reverend James Ford, finds the Book of Jonah a strange and wonderful tale with lessons that might be helpful for all of us in these hard times.

 

The Reverend James Ishmael Ford served as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister for 25 years. He is Minister Emeritus of the First Unitarian Church in Providence, Rhode Island. Today he serves as community minister affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach. He is also the first UU minister to also be ordained a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and currently guides the Blue Cliff Zen Sangha, which meets at the Long Beach church. His most recent book is If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break.

DECEMBER 2016 WORSHIP SERVICES

December 4, 2016

STAYING IN IT

KC Slack, Guest Preacher; David Early, Worship Associate

difficult-conversations

As people concerned with the inherent worth and dignity of every person, who value the interdependent web of all existence, we often find ourselves in awkward, difficult, and uncomfortable situations. We struggle to stay in community together, we struggle to have difficult conversations with friends and family members, we struggle to keep our commitments to justice, and we struggle to keep our commitments to our own well being. Each of these struggles requires presence – requires us to “stay in it” – and remaining present, even through the awkward moments, is a practice.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by collaborative pianist Christy Marshall, will sing, “I Dream a World” by André Thomas.

K.C. Slack is a candidate for Unitarian Universalist Ministry. She is a student at Starr King School for the Ministry and is doing her chaplain residency at Providence Hospital.

 

December 11, 2016

BEING PRESENT TO ALL THAT IS

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Rhod Zimmerman, Worship Associate

 red-rose

To live is to experience both great joy and profound heartbreak. This Sunday we open ourselves both the beauty and the brokenness of this world, and in so doing begin to experience the presence of the holy.

 

December 18, 2016

HOLIDAY PAGEANT

Rev. Matthew McHale, Emmalinda MacLean, Director of Religious Education


three-kings-of-orient

This year’s multigenerational winter holiday play will re-enact the biblical Nativity story, but in a very UU sort of way. Children, youth, and adults will be able to participate easily in this “no-rehearsal” pageant: when roles are announced by the narrators, anyone can raise their hand to jump up, receive a costume, and join the performance!   We will need a team of adults to serve as “stage managers” who can help with props and costumes before and during the actual service; please contact Emmalinda (EmmalindaDRE@gmail.com) if you would like to help.  Come and enjoy our always-enjoyable holiday celebration!

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by pianist Christy Marshall will sing, “Pass on the Light” by Cliff Hardin.

 

December 24, 2016

CHRISTMAS EVE

5:30 All Ages Service: Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Don Ordway, Worship Associate

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8:30 Adult Service: Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Rhod Zimmerman, Worship Associate

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Over the past century, Christmas has become an increasingly commercialized holiday, focused around buying people presents. On this Christmas Eve we gather to remember that the some of greatest gifts we can give or receive is spending quality time with friends and family.

 

This year, Emerson will have two Christmas Eve services: an all-ages service at 5:30, and a service of stories, lessons and carols at 8:30. There will be special music at 5:30, and at 8:30 the Emerson Choir will perform, “Christ was born,” arr. by Scott Rieker; and “Winter’s Night” by Frode Fjellheim.

Please bring cookies to share with the rest of the congregation to the service that you plan to attend.

 

December 25, 2016

CELEBRATIONS OF THE SEASON

Marsha Smith and David Early, Co-Worship Associates

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Each of the holidays of the season will be commemorated at this ecumenical service—Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, and Kwanzaa. We’ll share readings, stories, and music of the holidays. Everyone is welcome!

WORSHIP SERVICES, NOVEMBER 2016

November 6, 2016

IT’S DEBATABLE: SHARING OUR STORIES

AND VOTING OUR UU VALUES IN 2016

Rayna Hamre, Guest Preacher; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Worship Associate

Rayna Hamre
Rayna Hamre

Unitarian Universalists have a proud heritage and many stories to share about exercising our citizens’ right to vote. In this crucial election year, we will take this Sunday before the election to remember the past and center in the present, as we prepare for upcoming U.S. political transitions. Join us to celebrate stories of our Fifth Principle: The Right of Conscience and the Use of the Democratic Process Within Our Congregations and in Society at Large.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by collaborative pianist Christy Marshall, will sing “Candle of Hope,” words and music by Douglas E. Wagner.

 

November 13, 2016

WHAT NOW, AMERICA?

Rev. Matthew McHale, Settled Minister; Melissa Marote, Worship Associate

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After the campaigns have ended, the polls have closed, and votes have been counted, what lessons can we learn from this election? After perhaps the most toxic and divisive election in our country’s history, how can we find reconciliation and healing? After campaigning and voting to get politicians elected, how can we continue to help bring about the changes necessary for a more just and equitable society?

The Special Music for this service will be “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar; offered by Briana Bandy and Hap Palmer.

 

November 20, 2016

THREE STORIES OF OUR TIME

Rev. Matthew McHale, Settled Minister; David Early, Worship Associate

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The stories that we tell shape how we understand the reality in which we live. Stories have the power to make us complacent, leave us in despair, or make us hopeful about future possibilities. Are things just fine as they are? As the fabric of our society and our ecological systems unravel, is all hope lost? Or are we on the verge of turning towards a way of life that is more just, peaceful, and sustainable?

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by collaborative pianist Christy Marshall, will sing “Of Time and Memory,” words by Edwin Muir, music by Scott Rieker.

 

November 27, 2016

A THANKSGIVING COMMUNION

Traci Davis and Bonnie Norwood, Co-Worship Associates

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The ritual of communion began as a time set aside to welcome everyone to a communal table to share food and give thanks. Several members of our Emerson community have graciously offered to bake bread that we will share during our service today to celebrate this season of thanksgiving, the gifts of the earth, and the gifts of our own hands and hearts.

 

OCTOBER 2016 WORSHIP SERVICES

October 2, HEALING THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATENESS

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Marsha Smith, Worship Associate

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As human society developed, we erected numerous barriers between us and the rest of the natural world, fueling the illusion of separation. This illusion is a spiritual sickness that has enabled humans to do terrible harm to the planet and to ourselves. This Sunday we heal our sense of disconnection by reconnecting with the interdependent web of life, so that we can help provide the healing that our earth desperately needs.

The Special Music for this service will be an original song composed and performed by Paul Mahdavi-Bernstein, “A Part, not Apart.”

October 9, RECONCILING OUR SPIRITUAL HISTORIES

AJ Blackwood, Guest Preacher; David Early, Worship Associate

As Unitarian Universalists, many of us come a previous tradition that we found to be painful or at a minimum uncomfortable.  We often move on from our previous faith traditions, leaving with unresolved questions, pains, or struggles. Often, this pain comes up in our conversations, interconnectedness with others, and our interfaith dialogue.  This Sunday we will explore the importance of healing our spiritual pain, not only as a means to reinvigorate our own personal spiritual needs but also as a way to engage the larger UU community and our siblings in faith from other traditions.

AJ Blackwood is serving Neighborhood Church and the UU Church of the Verdugo Hills as a ministerial intern for the 2016-2017 school year.  He is a Unitarian Universalist candidate for the ministry and holds a Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology where he served on the Worship Council and was the administrator of the Center for Sexuality and Christian Life. Additionally, AJ holds a Bachelor of Art in Philosophy with a specialization in Comparative Religions from the University of California, Irvine.  He currently serves as the chair of the Progressive Interfaith Alliance – a social justice-based interfaith organization.

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The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and with accompaniment by Peter Shannon, will perform “Bambelela” (“Never Give Up”), a Swazi children’s song.

October 16, FROM FRAGMENTATION INTO WHOLENESS 

Jo Green, Guest Speaker;  Don Ordway, Worship Associate

Jo Green
               Jo Green

 

Healing means to make whole. Our world today seems to be fragmenting into individual silos of thought, opinion, belief and bias. How can we bring together these fragments of our world and create a new whole? Join us this Sunday to see how we can be cogs in the machine that puts our world together again, to make it whole.

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The Special Music for this service will be “Glory Bound” by Ruth Moody, performed by Emersonians Briana Bandy, Mia Forbes, Hap Palmer, and Rhonda Richard.

October 23, COMING OUT, AND COMING INTO A CIRCLE OF LOVE

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister; Linda Fitzgerald, Worship Associate

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Over the past few decades, the LGBTQ community has made tremendous strides for equality. Yet, there is still much work to be done. One of the most important factors has been LGBTQ folks coming out to friends, family, and the public, which remains a vital tool for social transformation, as well as personal healing. But coming out comes with risks, which is why we need religious communities that are welcoming, safe, and affirming for LGBTQ folks.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by collaborative pianist Christy Marshall, will perform “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper.

 

October 30, HONORING DEATH, CELEBRATING LIFEA Multigenerational Día de los Muertos Service

Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister, and Emmalinda MacLean, Director of Religious Education

All ages are invited to our annual Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” service to remember our loved ones who have died and provide comfort and healing to those still living. Can a holiday built around death, help us face our own mortality with ease and grace and appreciate the lives we have?

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Bring a picture or a memento of a loved one who is departed to add to our ofrenda.

SEPTEMBER 2016 WORSHIP SERVICES

 

September 4, THE MEANING OF WORK

Don Ordway, Service Developer; Linda Fitzgerald, Lay Worship Leader

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Using excerpts from the book Working by Studs Terkel, readers will explore the meaning of work, as we celebrate our national holiday, Labor Day.

Special Music will be “Millwork” from Working, the Musical, with music by Stephen Schwartz, sung by Tamarah Ashton.

 

September 11, TROUBLED WATERS, WATER COMMUNION SUNDAY

Rev. Matthew McHale, Settled Minister; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Lay Worship Leader

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Our annual Water Communion marks the beginning of our church year. This will be Rev. Matthew McHale’s first time preaching as Emerson’s settled minister! It also marks the end of a summer punctuated by a string of shootings, natural disasters, and a vitriolic election season. How can we navigate these troubled waters together? Come welcome Rev. Matthew and bring a small sample of water from your summer vacation for our water communion.

 

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by Peter Shannon, will present “As torrents in summer” by Edward Elgar. The congregation and choir will sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel.

 

Following the service will be a “Try-It-Out” choir rehearsal. Come and stick a toe in the water. You’ll experience the joy of community singing!

 

September 18, WE COVENANT TOGETHER

Rev. Matthew McHale, Settled Minister; Melissa Marote, Lay Worship Leader

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The dominant culture teaches us to think of ourselves in individualistic terms. But that perspective obscures the reality that the human experience is deeply relational. As Unitarian Universalists, we create covenants to articulate how we wish to be with each other. When we covenant together, we are creating relationships of love, trust, and forgiveness. It is in those relationships, like those developed in our Small Group Ministries (which are also known as Covenant Groups) that we can see and be seen by each other, and experience more deeply what it is to be human.

 

September 25, A COVENANTAL COMMUNITY

Rev. Matthew McHale, Settled Minister; Rhod Zimmerman, Lay Worship Leader

 

A covenant is a promise about how we will strive to be in relationship with one another. But part of striving is the reality that we will not always succeed. When we fall short of our values and intentions, break our promises, disappoint each other, or end up in conflict, a covenant also calls us to come back together, to practice forgiveness and reconciliation, to make amends and return to right relationship.

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Over the next few months, Emerson will be developing our own Covenant of Right Relations—an agreement between everyone in the congregation about how we wish to be together—to help ensure that Emerson is a welcoming, respectful, safe, and vibrant spiritual community.

AUGUST 2016 WORSHIP SERVICES

August 7, 2016

Let Love Define Family®

Rich Valenza, Founder & CEO, Raise a Child, guest speaker;

Terry Hassman-Paulin, Lay Worship Leader

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The presentation will include a blend of inspiring true stories, moving real-life experiences, and hard facts about why Los Angeles County is in desperate need of more foster, adoptive, and weekend host parents for the 35,000 children in our foster care system.

 The Special Music will be “Orphan Girl” by Gillian Welsh, performed by Sharra Romany (vocals), Shawn Quinlivan (vocals and guitar), Jeff Bandy (bass), and Briana Bandy (viola)

 

August 14, 2016

RIDING ALONG WITH KRISHNA

Mehrdad Haghi, guest speaker; Traci Davis, Lay Worship Leader

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Mehrdad Haghi

The Bhagavad Gita is widely considered to be the heart of Hinduism, and Mahatma Gandhi considered it his spiritual reference book. What can the Gita teach UUs about facing fear, living a worthy life, and finding purpose in what can sometimes feel like a cruel and meaningless world?

A former member who served Emerson as Worship Trustee and Choir Director, Mehrdad Haghi now lives in Orange County and is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Safety Officer for the College of Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona.  He still considers Emerson to be his spiritual home.

 

August 21, 2016

REPELLING EVIL WITH WHAT IS BETTER*

Dr.. Rose Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, Guest Speaker; Don Ordway, Lay Worship Leader

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Rose Aslan, Ph.D.

Following the six-month series at Emerson on Islam, this service will move from the large picture to the personal experience of a Muslim living in America now. Dr. Rose Aslan is Assistant Professor of Religion at California Lutheran University and a member of the Islamic Society of West Valley.

Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music, will be offered as the Special Music. The guest performers will be Sage Khan (voice) and Asif Ali (tabla).

* The title of the talk refers to a passage from the Koran.

August 28, 2016

NEW ECONOMICS FOR WOMEN

Mary Alegria, Center Manager, New Economics for Women;

Melissa Marote, Lay Worship Leader

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New Economics for Women (NEW) is a nonprofit community development corporation. For 30 years, NEW has been dedicated to the economic security of women, especially immigrant women, in low-wealth communities. Their programs and investments focus on creating culturally relevant whole family financial education, affordable housing, and community engagement as the primary tools needed to overcome economic insecurity. NEW aims to be a leading voice for advocacy on public policy issues affecting immigrant women in low-wealth areas.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker, will sing “Blackbird,” by The Beatles.

JULY 2016 WORSHIP SERVICES

July 3, 2016

TRIPTYCH

Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company; Brian Nelson, Lay Worship Leader

The celebrated Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company returns to Emerson to present a sermon through dance.  In the middle ages, women were not allowed to express religious faith except in highly circumspect fashion.  TRIPTYCH, choreographed by Kate Hutter, gives voice to the voiceless in a remarkable work of movement and passion.

 

 

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July 10, 2016

THE EVOLUTION OF A CHURCH LADY

Spike Dolomite Ward, Guest Speaker; Melissa Marote, Lay Worship Leader

Spike Ward will share the story of how one woman (Spike) went from being totally turned off to religion to serving on the Ministerial Search Committee for Emerson UU Church. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hopefully pull out your checkbook, sign up for a committee, and write a letter to your Congressman.

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Spike Dolomite Ward

 

Click the link below to hear Spike’s amazing story!

 https://youtu.be/AJFVcunAwqU

 

July 17, 2016

ARE YOU MAD AT THE RIGHT PEOPLE?

Rhod Zimmerman, Guest Speaker; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Lay Worship Leader

Rhod Zimmerman, longtime member of Emerson UU Church, former Emerson Board President, and recent member of the Ministerial Search Committee, reflects on the influence of the media and powerful individuals on our thinking. He asks the question, “Who are you mad at and just how mad are you?” Come to hear Rhod’s thought-provoking talk.

Robert Morgan Fisher will offer “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen as the Special Music for this service.

 

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Rhod Zimmerman

July 24, 2016

PILGRIMAGE

Michael Eselun, UCLA Oncology Chaplain; Marsha Smith, Lay Worship Leader

Popular guest speaker and UCLA Oncology Chaplain, Michael Eselun will explore the idea of pilgrimage—our pursuit of inspiration and enlightenment. Internal journeys and external journeys—and some in-between.

The Special Music for this service will be “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, arranged by Roger Emerson and performed by David Early, Philip Kuretski, Rhonda Richard, and Mia Forbes.

 

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Chaplain Michael Eselun

 

July 31, 2016

FAITHFUL FREEDOMS, RESPONSIBLE CHOICES

Rev. Lee Marie Sanchez, Guest Speaker; Don Ordway, Lay Worship Leader

The stories of faith and the freedom to choose create a colorful and complex picture. The range of emotions and experiences they express help us to see why it is still extremely important to protect the rights of all women regarding reproductive justice.

The Special Music will be offered by Amber Norwood, performing “You Don’t Know Me” by John Madara and David White.

 

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Rev. Lee Marie Sanchez

 

 

JUNE 2016 WORSHIP SERVICES  

June 5, 2016

BUILDING BRIDGES TO THE FUTURE

Rev. Mike Young, Interim Minister;

Emmalinda MacLean, Director of Religious Education

This will be a day of celebrations—a “Bridging Ceremony” to honor our graduating seniors—Olivia Calvi, Teddy Wada, and Dustin Washburne—as well as to thank all the volunteers and assistants who’ve served this year’s Religious Education program.

 

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Graduating seniors Dustin Washburne, Olivia Calvi, and Teddy Wada (not shown) will be celebrated during the Bridging Ceremony on June 5.

 

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker and accompanied by collaborative pianist Christy Marshall, will sing “La biche” by Paul Hindemith.

We are all very excited as we look forward to the 2016 – 2017 Emerson Church year.  We will be welcoming our new settled minster, Reverend Matthew McHale, and we want to begin our journey from a place of financial wellbeing.  The budget you will be voting on at the congregational meeting after the service is still in need of your support.  To further close the shortfall of pledges for this fiscal year so that we may balance our budget, a second offering will take place at this service. You will have the opportunity to increase your pledge to the financial health of Emerson UU Church. Your generosity is welcomed and appreciated.

Please plan to attend the important congregational meeting that will follow the service.

 

June 12, 2016

THE PAST AS PROLOGUE—OUR UU HISTORY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE

Rev. Mike Young, Interim Minister, with Barbara Moore, Heather Medvitz, and Ivar Ringdahl

 Our UU ancestry is rich with clergy and lay leaders who have shaped the social and political landscape of America. We will lift up some their prophetic voices and their lives of action to serve as models for us in these times of great challenge and change.

The Special Music for this service will be “Nana Was A Suffragette” by Jules Gibb, offered by Heather Medvitz, Elizabeth Altman, Mia Forbes, and Philip Kuretski.
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June 19, 2016

JUNETEENTH

Rev. Mike Young, Interim Minister; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Lay Worship Leader

Even before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this was the day celebrated by the Black community.  It is the date of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.  In light of the many incidents that have prompted “Black Lives Matter,” it remains an appropriate celebration and reminder.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker, and accompanied by collaborative pianist Christy Marshall, will sing, “The Storm is Passing Over.”

FAREWELL PARTY After the morning service, we will have a gala celebration to thank Rev. Mike Young for his two years as our Interim Minister and to wish him and his wife Nancy a safe and joyous return to Hawaii, where they will enjoy their well-deserved retirement. The theme of the party is “Luau Beach Party.” Wear your grass skirts, leis, and Hawaiian shirts. We’ll dine on tasty Hawaiian-style food. Since this is a potluck, please bring food to share.

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Rev. Mike Young and Nancy Young

 

JUNE 26, 2016

LITHA, THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

Marsha Smith, Terry Hassman Paulin, and Traci Davis, Co-Lay Worship Leaders

Welcome in summer through the Pagan ritual of Litha, or Midsummer, the celebration of the Summer Solstice. Enjoy readings, chants, and music associated with this Earth-based holiday.

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Marsha Smith will lead the Wiccan ritual of Litha.

WORSHIP SERVICES, MAY 2016

Sunday Services

Our Sunday Services begin at 10:30 a.m. and last about an hour. Every service is followed by a social hour of friendly conversation and light snacks in our Pavilion. Every First Sunday of the month there is a free potluck lunch after the service.

 

May 1, 2016

A LETTER TO OUR CHILDREN

Amelia and Scarlett Marote

Melissa Marote, Lay Worship Leader with Amy Haist and Elizabeth Altman

In the 1990s Marion Wright Edelman wrote “The Measure Of Our Success,” a short book in the form of a letter to her son. Inspired by that book, three Emersonian mothers will read their own letters to their children. (This service was originally intended for Mother’s Day, but we’ve moved it to this week because of Candidating Week.)

Melissa Marote, Amy Haist, and Elizabeth Altman will share letters to their children.

 

May 8, 2016

A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY FOR THESE TIMES

Rev. Matthew McHale, Ministerial Candidate;

Terry Hassman-Paulin, Lay Worship Leader

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This is the first of two Sunday services led by our ministerial candidate, the Rev. Matthew McHale. Please be sure to attend this most important service to welcome Rev. Matthew.

 At this moment of global crises, when humanity is facing problems so vast they seem almost insurmountable, what we can accomplish as individuals seems insignificant in comparison. But when we come together, joining with one another in the struggle for love and justice, we can make an impact. As a religious community, what role can we play in the healing and transformation of our local community and the wider world?

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker, will sing the anthem “Roots and Wings”; words by Sherri Porterfield and Marilyn Rhea; music by Sherri Porterfield.

 

Link to the Youtube video of Rev. Matthew McHale’s sermon on May 8:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miBY0rKSC7w&feature=youtu.be

 

May 15, 2016

JOINING TOGETHER

Rev. Matthew McHale, Ministerial Candidate; Linda Fitzgerald Lay Worship Leader

This is the second sermon offered by our Ministerial Candidate, the Rev. Matthew McHale.

Whether it’s relationships with friends, family members, partners, or between a minister and a congregation, healthy relationships require work—a lot of it. They take attention and intention, communication, patience, respecting differences, making amends, and striving to show-up as our best selves. As the congregation decides whether to call Rev. Matthew as our settled minister, we explore what making the decision to join together means, in our personal lives and as a church community.

Amber Norwood and Elizabeth Altman will offer Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”

 

Special Congregational Meeting will be held after the service to vote on whether to call Rev. Matthew as our settled minister.

 

May 22, 2016

THE HUMAN TOUCH WHO NEEDS IT

Rev. Mike Young, Interim Minister; David Early, Lay Worship Leader

The ambiguity in the title is intentional and a part of the point of the sermon.

This is the most famous sermon idea Rev. Mike ever did.  First written in 1965, it has been published in five books, one Disciples of Christ Sunday school curriculum, and won a high school speech contest in Minnesota.  Rev. Mike still get occasional requests for copies.

The Emerson Choir, under the direction of Scott Rieker, will sing “Can’t Let You Go.”

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“Song of the Angels Flute Orchestra” will perform at 3:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

 

May 29, 2016

BUILDING AN ALTAR TO LIFE

Traci Davis and Marsha Smith, Lay Worship Leaders

All are invited to bring a photograph or memento of a loved one who has passed away. Those who wish to may also share a memory of the person. Through our stories and keepsakes, we will together build an altar that celebrates life.

The Special Music will be “Arlington,” by Nicky Mehta, offered by Elizabeth Altman, Rhonda Richard, Mia Forbes, and Hap Palmer.

 

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Amber Norwood and Elizabeth Altman, shown above, offered the Special Music at a recent service.

 

 

 

WORSHIP SERVICES, APRIL 2016

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April 3, 2016
IF SEX ISN’T RELIGIOUS, NOTHING IS
Rev. Mike Young, Interim Minister; Terry Hassman-Paulin, Lay Worship Leader

The finest piece of work that the UU denomination ever did was the “About Your Sexuality” curriculum (now called “Our Whole Lives”). When it came out, we had to hand-carry it across state lines. Fully science-based, the U.S. Postal wouldn’t let us mail it.

The Special Music this Sunday will be “Follow Your Arrow” by Kasey Musgraves, offered by the Old Folkies plus David Early, Jeff Bandy, and Briana Bandy.

April 10, 2016
THE CARE AND FEEDING OF MINISTERS
Rev. Mike Young, Interim Minister; Melissa Marote Lay Worship Leader

As early as April 8th we may know who the candidate to be the new called minister might be. The congregations I have served have taught me some things about keeping them—and keeping them healthy.

Rev. Mike will calm us with meditation music, performed on his flutes.

You are invited to a celebration of Emmalinda MacLean and Eric Rosloff’s upcoming marriage. Stay for a potluck lunch in the Pavilion to honor the soon-to-be newlyweds. The potluck will be from 12 noon until 3:00.

April 17, 2016
THE TREE OF LIFE: AN INTERGENERATIONAL EARTH DAY PAGEANT
Emmalinda MacLean, Director of Religious Education

Children, youth, and adults are invited to worship together as we celebrate our connection to the interdependent web with this playful, theatrical, participatory service. Together–with no rehearsals–we will tell the story of The Great Kapok Tree, and how the animals of the rainforest came together to save it from destruction.

Emmalinda is looking for four stage managers who can help with costumes during the pageant. Contact her if you can help.

Robert Morgan Fisher will offer our gathering music, “Nature’s Way” by Randy California, and the anthem,”Don’t It Make You Want To Go

Home,” by Joe South and “Gentle Arms of Eden” by Dave Carter.

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Robert Morgan Fisher

 

April 24, 2016
A MORNING OF MUSIC AND SINGING
Scott Rieker, Emerson Choir Director,
and Nancy Holland, Studio City Choir Director
David Early, Lay Worship Leader

Enjoy the combined choirs of Emerson UU Church and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City. With some poems interspersed by Rev. Mike Young.

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The Black Phoebes (l-r: Jeff Bandy, Shawn Quinlivan, Briana Bandy, and Janice Minasian) performed the “Special Music” on March 13, 2016.

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