Previous Services

Recent Services | 2024 | 2023 | 2022 Service Recordings | 2021

For Unto Us A Child is Given

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


In the Christmas story, angels tell Joseph and later the Shepherds, “Do not be afraid.”  Something wonderful but challenging is happening, the old order is disturbed.  If we wish to change our lives or change the world around us we must accept risk, suffer uncertainty, and go to the place (as the carol describes) where “hopes and fears are met.”

Be Not Afraid

By Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


In the Christmas story, angels tell Joseph and later the Shepherds, “Do not be afraid.”  Something wonderful but challenging is happening, the old order is disturbed.  If we wish to change our lives or change the world around us we must accept risk, suffer uncertainty, and go to the place (as the carol describes) where “hopes and fears are met.”

Re-Dedicating the Temple

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


The story of Hanukkah tells us that once the temple had been defiled by Antiochus, and won back by the Maccabees, it needed to be re-dedicated to the true principles of the faith. When we’ve lost our way. When we’ve suffered through conflict, and come through. Part of healing is to name and claim our true selves again.

Serving Our Houseless Neighbors

 A Lay Led Worship Service


“Service is our prayer” is an important part of our Unitarian Universalist covenant. Every Tuesday morning from 7:30 AM till noon, a devoted group of volunteers—many from UUCSC—spend time serving the houseless folks in our neighborhood.

Several of the volunteers will share their thoughts on helping their neighbors.  Join us to learn more about how the program has affected the lives of both the volunteers and our guests.

As always, we’ll have wonderful music from our UUCSC musicians and singers!

And Then There Was You

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


After weaving together several strands from several sources that form our inherited identity, at last we come to the most recent and surprising strand: each of us. The inherent worth and dignity of every person means that each one of us adds something important and new. You are not just the legacy of your ancestors. You are yourself. And Unitarian Universalism would not be who we are without you.

An Honest Reckoning

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


I like to say that Unitarian Universalism is a “reality-based” religion. I mean both that we honor science and are skeptical of supernaturalism, and also that we wish to build our faith from the truth, even if it’s a hard truth. The American Thanksgiving holiday is a good example of how we work to correct stories of our past, and find both initial pain and ultimately liberation in the process.

The Bread Communion

A Lay Led Worship Service


The ritual of breaking bread together is one that has been shared by the human family in various forms for millennia: giving thanks for the harvest, and a prayer that the Earth will sustain life once again. Today we offer a Bread Communion that is based on a service frequently held at Emerson UU Church in Canoga Park. A special component of the service will be the sharing of breads from different lands and traditions and baked by several of our members. The UU Choir of Studio City and some singers drawn from the choir will do a reprise of music from the Interfaith Thanksgiving held earlier in the week. Come and savor this time of Thanksgiving. Be uplifted and sustained!

We Are The Heretics

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


The UU historian Earl Morse Wilbur named the core principles of Unitarian Universalism as “Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance.” Freedom means freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to choose. Both the Unitarian and Universalist theologies were named heresies by the early Christian church. The freedom to counter orthodoxies is a cherished part of who we are.

One Person, One Vote

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


One way to define our identity is to name our core principles: we are what we value. On the eve of an important mid-term election, I’m moved to name democracy as a core UU principle. Democracy grows from the same liberal principles that shape our liberal religion. On the Unitarian side, democracy honors the worth of every person. On the Universalist side, democracy recognizes that eventually we are all in this together.

I Owe God A Death

Rev. Tom Owen-Towle


Our American culture remains death-defying, and our UU movement failed, a decade ago, to embrace mortality during the re-visioning process of our Purposes and Principles. We have work to do.   If we earthlings wish to live more robustly and caringly, day by day, we must consent to die. As naturalist Wallace Stegner put it: “I owe God a death!”

Re-Enchanting the World


By the time the Unitarian and Universalist theologies were incorporated into religious institutions of our own, much of our faith had become overly rational, lifeless, and dry. Emerson and the Transcendentalists imagined a new Unitarian religion free from the church pew, free from the Bible and the preacher, communing with nature, encountering the divine directly in the world around us and in our own minds. Our identity includes both strands: the rational and the mystic, the scholastic and the ecstatic.

The LAY-LED SERVICE hosted by Chris Kirchner


On Our Own

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


Is Good Enough... Enough?

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


The experience of pilgrimage as a spiritual discipline

Rev. Anne Gardner, guest speaker.


A recent transplant to southern California, The Reverend Anne Gardner currently runs the chaplaincy program at nearby Harvard-Westlake, a private independent high school. Prior to accepting this most recent call, she spent twelve years as the Director of Spiritual and Religious Life at Phillips Academy, Andover, a boarding school located outside of Boston. 

A minister and freelance writer, her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Providence Journal, NPR, and the National Catholic Reporter, among others. Gardner has also recently published her debut book, And So I Walked, which recounts her experience of walking the famed Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile journey across the width of northern Spain. 

Reverend Gardner will speak about the experience of pilgrimage as a spiritual discipline.

We Are Unitarian Universalists

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


Expanding the circle of relationships beyond our congregation, we are also members of a larger faith embracing Unitarian Universalists of other congregations, and Unitarians and Universalists from previous generations. What they believed and the lives they lived in the name of our faith, defines who we are today.

We ARE This Community


The spiritual question of identity, refers both to the personal question, “Who am I?” and the broader question of humanity, “Who are We?” We are self-defined as individuals, with gifts and characters of our own, and we are defined by belonging within networks of relationships. For our service of Ingathering we recognize that one answer to the question of Identity is that we are the particular group of people who choose to be with us on this day.

I Am What I Do

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


For this Labor Day weekend, continuing our liturgical theme of identity, I’ll talk about the common practice, at least in American culture, to define ourselves by the work we do.

By Way Of Introduction

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels


As we begin our exploration of the spiritual question of Identity, “Who am I?” you might be curious to know something about me. What’s my story? What’s my theology? What are my ministerial credentials? What are my personal passions? Why is it, when we’re asked to introduce ourselves, that some pieces of our lives seem important and others not?

A special component of this service will be the induction of several new members to the UUCSC community. What a wonderful way to begin the new church year! Please join us.

Re-Member Me

Rev. Rick Hoyt-McDaniels returns to Studio City as our official Interim Minister.


Some of you will remember me from many years ago when I served an internship with your congregation. Others will recognize me as a UU minister in the area or as an occasional guest in your pulpit. And to some, I’ll be meeting you for the first time. Now, I return, from “Intern” to “Interim” meaning even those who “knew me when” will need to meet me again in a new role. We will be talking this fall about the ways we create, discover, and share our identities.

Born Anew to a Living Hope

Sermon by Chaplain Joseph B. Courtney


Chaplain Josephy (Joey) Courtney, chaplain at local Campbell Hall, will preach live on the topic “Born Anew to a Living Hope.” He will focus on hope as a spiritual practice – something we work at each day.  As always, the service will include inspiring music, poetry, a video for “Growing Minds” and a land acknowledgement. Come, join us. Be uplifted and renewed.

Sermon by Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, President of UUA


You are invited to hear our UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray share her views on building community, feeling a sense of belonging, and providing a sense of “home” to our church family. She shares some personal memories of why Unitarian Universalism is important to her life and that it gave her a strong sense of belonging and direction.

As always, the service will include a variety of readings and uplifting music. Come, be a part of this life-affirming experience.

A Trip Down Memory Lane at UUCSC


Stephanie (Steffi) Prather, one of our long-time members, will share memories of UUCSC in the 1970s and 1980s. She has a wealth of memories, including some fabulous photos, of the parties, gatherings, and special events of the past. UUCSC has long been a hub of activity with lots of friendships, camaraderie, and community. 

Caregiving: Compassion in Action


Nearly one in five Americans – roughly 53 million people – are providing unpaid care for an adult or child with medical or mental health needs.  An additional 1.3 million people work in “formal” personal care roles at subsistence wages – a job category that is forecast to expand 33% in the next decade.

Former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, observed that “there are four types of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, who are caregivers, who will be caregivers, and who will need caregivers.”

The 2022 Music Worship Service


Music has shaped cultures and societies around the world, passed down from generation to generation. It has the power to alter one’s mood, change perceptions, and inspire change. Join us this Sunday when we explore some of the ways music affects our lives.  We’ll feature the works that our choir has performed during the year, a show stopping piano solo performed by our accompanist Anna Solodilova, and a classical art song by John Bergquist. We’ll include readings and images to complement the music.

Come, let the music envelop you!

Water, Body, and Spirit


Based on suggestions from Frank Dungan, the Worship Team and Tech Team have developed a service called “Water, Body, and Spirit” that explores the relationship between water, the body, and our spiritual selves. It also touches on the current severe drought in the West and how we as citizens can address this issue. This theme is supported by beautiful music, readings, and images.

The Future of Religion

A sermon by Rev. Keith Kron


Come hear Rev. Keith Kron’s thought-provoking sermon on the future of religion. Do you agree or disagree with his analysis? Rev. Kron is the Director of the Transitions Office for the Unitarian Universalist Association, helping congregations and ministers as they navigate the ministerial search process.



Our guest speaker this Sunday, Melissa Gould, will speak on the topic of “Transitions.” In her young life, she has experienced many transitions, including the death of her husband at an early age. Melissa Gould’s memoir, Widowish, is an Amazon best seller, a Goodreads Top Book of 2021, and has been named one of BookAuthority’s 100 Best Grief Books of All Time. Join us for an uplifting service. 

Father’s Day & Juneteenth


On June 19th, we’ll celebrate two holidays–Father’s Day and Juneteenth. Our church community will reflect on fathering, fathers, and the commemoration of the effective end of slavery in the United States.

Pride Sunday: Celebrating Our Unique Stories


Come and celebrate Pride Month with us at our intergenerational service this Sunday with speakers Jordan Brodie and Shannon Corder!

Volunteer Appreciation Day


Sunday, June 5th we will take the time to honor the volunteers who make UUCSC run.

They are the fuel in our tank and deserve our appreciation.

Memorial Day: To Honor and Remember


Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. We will trace back to the origins and true meaning of the holiday.

The 8th UU Principle

Eighth in a Series of Services on the UU Principles


The Unitarian Universalist Association has been exploring the addition of an 8th Principle to the seven UU Principles that provide guidance to the way we live our lives. We will explore the nature of this 8th Principle and how it might impact our perspective on racism. The service will include an interview with one of the co-writers of the proposed 8th Principle, Paula Cole-Jones, as well as music and readings that relate to the 8th Principle.

The Unitarian Universalist Tree of Life

Visiting minister Rev. Rayna Hamre


The Tree of Life has a rich and ancient history in many cultures. Let’s explore our UU Tree! Join us for a fresh look at how trees and the natural world can speak to us as a symbol of love and hope across the generations. 

Rev. Rayna Hamre is very happy to be returning to UUCSC. She has served as a UU lay leader and as a Director of Religious Education prior to her ordination in 2018. While new to ministry, she is a long-time Unitarian Universalist. Rev. Rayna holds a Master of Divinity degree and an MA in History. Her social justice activities include serving as a County appointed Commissioner on the Board of Community Action Partnership Orange County and serving as a member of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice OC. She also leads meditation and dream exploration classes, and provides ritual training for students exploring a mystical path. She believes that Unitarian Universalism is at a turning point, and caring for each other and the world is a priority during these challenging times.

Mother’s Day: Memories; Honoring All Mothers

Guest Speakers: Terry Hassman-Paulin, Gwen Sengpiehl, Renee Segall, Aviva Heston, Marilyn Shield, Rich Suter, Frank Dungan


On this day, we remember and honor all mothers–not just our biological mothers but also those who have “mothered” us. These include a multitude of folks–our teachers, mentors, aunts, grandmas, foster moms, adoptive moms, stepmoms, and many, many others.

Understanding Ramadan and Eid


Join us to hear Mohamed’s story and learn about the festival Eid. Today marks the end of Ramadan which is the holy month of worship, study of the Quran, prayer and fasting. Eid is a joyous celebration for Muslims and marks the end of fasting with meals and festivals.

Mohamed Ibrahim grew up in Egypt where he earned his Doctorate in Architecture and where he then worked as a Professor of Architecture. After he moved to Massachusetts, he joined a large Architectural firm and currently works on large corporate projects in Boston and western Massachusetts. He will be joining us via Zoom from his home in western Massachusetts.

Earth Day, Living Our 7th UU Principle


The seventh worship service in our series on the UU principles, this service focuses on the 7th Principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Since this Sunday falls very close to Earth Day (on April 22), we will celebrate the holiday and explore the many ways that we can be shepherds of Planet Earth. Our Building & Grounds Committee will share the important work they have done over the years to protect and sustain our UUCSC grounds. Please plan to attend–either in person or via Zoom.

All Things New/ Easter Sunday

Rev. Rebecca Bijur


Although Jewish and Christian teachings are celebrated as one of the six sources of Unitarian Universalism, and many of us were raised as culturally Christian and/or in Christian congregations, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we will wake up on Easter morning feeling “ready” for what this day might hold. That’s OK; we’ve got you. 

Join Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur, Choir Director John Bergquist with the choir, as well as guest “reflectors” Alanna Brown and Rich Suter for a special hybrid service about hope, joy, and transformation.Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur is raising three children with her husband, Jonathan, in Santa Monica, CA. She serves as Community Minister of the Emerson UU Church of Canoga Park and works with St. Joseph Center to advance social and economic equity for people experiencing homelessness in Venice, CA.

​​True to Ourselves: Two Unitarian Women

Rev. Rayna Hamre, guest speaker


Unitarian Universalists bring many gifts to our congregations. Two Unitarian women, Frances Watkins Harper and Julia Ward Howe shared their literary talents with the world during the fight for abolition and women’s rights. Engaging with their consciences and their love for democracy, both lived to see the end of slavery, but not voting rights for women. Let’s explore how each of us can share our profound and deep UU values by embracing art and inspiration to live out our Fifth Principle, as these two Unitarians modeled for us. 

Rev. Rayna Hamre has served as a UU lay leader and as a Director of Religious Education prior to her ordination. She is a long-time Unitarian Universalist who grew up in the Orange County area. Rev. Rayna holds a Master of Divinity degree and an MA in History. Her social justice activities include serving as a County appointed Commissioner on the Board of Community Action Partnership Orange County and serving as a member of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice OC. She also leads meditation classes, dream exploration, and provides ritual training for those exploring a mystical path. She believes that Unitarian Universalism is at a turning point, and caring for each other and the world is a priority during these challenging times. 

Celebrating Our Guiding Principles


This is the fourth in a series of worship services that celebrate our UU Principles. Sunday, we will look more deeply at the Fourth Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning and how this principle impacts our behavior every day.

​​“Equality” and “Inequality,” What Do Those Words Mean?

Dr. Alanna Brown

Feb. 20, 2022

Alanna Kathleen Brown, Ph.D., a member of UUCSC since 2010, is sharing with us today what she learned about equality and inequality in a National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar Fellowship she received back in 1975-1976. Although initially a specialist in the fields of Shakespeare and Victorian Studies, Alanna would develop as a scholar in the field of American Indian Literature. 

So Many Books, So Little Time


A celebration of UUCSC’s Women’s Book Discussion Group. For 45 years members have met to debate literature in all genres written by women. They have traveled the world, studied history, found escape, and provided support to one another in difficult times. In Sunday’s service members will share some of the discoveries they have made along the way.

Crises we have known:  How sharing our stories makes us stronger


The Senior Fellowship of UUCSC is presenting the service “Crises We Have Known: How Sharing Our Stories Makes Us Stronger.” In this service we will share how the Senior Fellowship was created and how it functions to help us build community with the church. One key element of growing closer and providing support to each other is how we share our personal stories in our discussions. Through sharing our stories we grow stronger in covenant and connection with each other. During the service, members of the group will demonstrate this by sharing their stories of how they survived difficult crises and came out stronger as a result.

The Illusion of Our Separateness

Guest Speaker:  Rev. Molly Brewer


This Sunday we will welcome a guest speaker, Rev. Molly Brewer, co-ordained as a UU minister by her home church of Allen Avenue UU, as well as the First Universalist Church of Auburn. Rev. Molly will preach on the topic of our interconnectedness and how in our church community–and within society at large–we need one another to thrive.

Our 3rd U.U. Principle


 The acceptance of one another and the encouragement of spiritual growth. We acknowledge the interdependence of our relationships with each other and our lifelong spiritual growth individually and together in community. 

Justice, Equity, and Compassion

Celebrating Our Guiding Principles: A Series with Antoinette Scully


“As Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday approaches, we are called to celebrate, not with a cake and candles, but by our 2nd UU Principle of Justice, Equity and Compassion to respond to his directives to speak up, stand up, and take action.”

The Cultivation of Joy


Inspired by The Book of Joy, a publication by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, our guest speaker will talk about “The Cultivation of Joy.” Goodness knows, we are all eager to put a little more joy in our lives.