The View: PUC's weekly newsletter
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September 10, 2015
Please send View submissions  to 
by noon on Wednesday.

Sunday Service 10:30 a.m.
Child care is available starting at 10:00 a.m.
Join us for some radical hospitality after the service!
Our Theme This Month Is
Our Theme Next Month is

In the Interim

On one of the various listservs to which I belong someone asked for prayers on behalf of people in a particularly stressful moment. What surprised me was how several people responded expressing their opinion that such things are of no use, and offered suggestions for what the person should do instead.

I was, frankly, shocked. This is putatively a group of people with a bit better than average insight into the human condition. Silly me. And it set me to thinking, a little. Don’t want to do too much of that, of course. Not good for one’s health, it appears.

Still, I find myself reminded of something I read about the Christian Orthodox Church. It appears while they have no official position on the state of the dead, or whether or not one’s prayers might be useful for the dead, nonetheless, they pray for the dead. I kind of like that.

And, I think, it speaks to how we should meet those of our sisters and brothers in distress. Someone asks you to pray for them. Does it really matter if you don’t think prayers are efficacious? What matters is that you show you care. (And, perhaps, maybe, not likely, I find it unlikely, but who knows, really, the prayers might be answered.)

Bottom line, is how do we want to live with others? Do we want to be someone like that cartoon that made the rounds of social media a few years ago, where off scene someone calls out, “It’s two in the morning, come to bed.” And the person sitting at the computer replying, “No. Somewhere on the web someone is saying something that needs correcting.”

What’s the rule? Oh, yes. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? You need two of the three and in the best of worlds all three to speak to those in distress. But, two will do it.

So, someone asks you to pray for them. If you can’t bring yourself to say, yes, which is the best answer, although that forces you to try a prayer; you can always say I will carry my hope for you in my heart. Hopefully that would be true. 

Save the advice for later, for an appropriate moment.

Everyone will be better off.

Free advice. Hopefully given at an appropriate moment.


See you at church,

Road Closure Notice

Palos Verdes Blvd. will be closed between Riviera Village and Palos Verdes Dr. North this Sunday from 5:00 a.m. to noon.

This Week's Sermon

A Gathering of Waters &
“Hello I Must Be Going”

We inaugurate our new church year with our traditional Unitarian Universalist gathering of the waters. All are invited to bring some water forward, and each is asked to offer a single word of aspiration for our coming year. (Okay, we’re UUs, if it’s two or even three no one will be counting.)  Our interim minister James will share a homily with the traditional UU interim first sermon title, “Hello, I Must Be Going.”
Reverend James Ishmael Ford & Kim Gosney

A Message from James About
This Sunday's Service
(Click anywhere on Pacific Unitarian Church above.)
Next Week's Sermon

"Wishing You a New Year:
A Meditation on Rosh Hashana"

One of the things James likes about Rosh Hashanah is how it occurs near the beginning of our tradition Unitarian Universalist church year. He thinks the ancient traditions of Rosh Hashanah contain some pointers that might be useful to us on our liberal religious way. Come and
see what you think.

Reverend James Ishmael Ford,
PUC's Interim Minister

Who's That?

To contact people named in The View please see the PUC Directory which is available in the Members Section of the PUC website.  If you need the password for the Members Section, or if you do not have access to a computer, contact the PUC Office for help accessing it.  The phone number and office hours are listed each week at the very bottom of The View.
Come join friends in the PUC Library on Sunday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 and join the Joys and Sorrows Circle.  The Circle gives a compassionate space for sharing and listening.  Organized by Sandy McNeil.  
To have your joy or concern appear here, send it to 
or call the PUC office.  For information on how to do so, scroll down to the
end of The View.
If you have a pastoral concern, or know of someone in need, please contact our Minister of Congregational Life Kim Gosney at (310)504-4919 or email

Sunday Hospitality

It takes many hands to
make a Sunday.  Special thanks
to all of our volunteers!

Jean Tordella
Peggy Tigerman

Welcome Table
The intrepid
A. Mystery

Kevin Gallagher
Alana Garrigues

Top Chefs
Debi Robinson

Split-Plate Offering This Sunday

They travel from the Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery in India to share the message of compassion. In 1950, when Chinese Communist soldiers occupied and attacked Tibet, the monks fled to keep their religious freedom and traveled over the Himalayas and now live as refugees in their current home.

This Sunday, September 13, we will take a split-plate offering for the monks who have traveled to visit us from October 5 through 11 to build a Sand Mandala in our hall. Please give generously to their work of bringing the message of reflection and peace to everyone they visit.


Did you know that the people who coordinate our volunteers are almost all volunteers themselves?  Throughout the summer these dedicated souls have scrambled to fill spots in Sunday morning hospitality - greeters, ushers, welcome table - as well as everything in Religious Education from teaching to helping with individual events.  With our church year beginning there is still much help needed. 

So help our languishing volunteer coordinators.  Think about your availability and willingness to help.  Can you pitch in once a month? Once every other month?  On the full moon?   If you look deep down and find you have the will to serve your congregation, even occasionally, write to and realistically describe your availability, the type of role you can see yourself filling, and name any role/s you know for sure you don’t want.   If you want to ask a question about a specific role before saying you are interested, go ahead and ask about it - no strings are ever attached.  If you indicate you may be willing, a position will be suggested and you’ll be asked if you mind if your name is forwarded to the person who organizes that type of volunteer.  

We can almost guarantee that you aren’t too old, too young, too busy, too new, too gorgeous, or too allergic to fun to pitch in. 

You are needed.
You are wanted.
You matter at Pacific Unitarian Church.


Registering for the Year & Picking Kids Up from Class

Please make sure that you have turned a paper copy of registration in at the Welcome Table, to me directly, or into my mailbox in the office before sending your child off to class this coming Sunday. (Children will start with adults in sanctuary and leave after the story. Only children birth through preschool should start in childcare.) There is important info for you in those registration forms, and info we need, also. Please be sure to put your child's current grade in school, if applicable.

This Sunday, the 13th they will be working together with their classes to create a classroom covenant for how they will work respectfully together, and establishing simple routines. 

 One of the routines is that teachers cannot release anyone other than the high school group until a parent or designated person comes to the classroom. Please pick up your children before getting in the food line. That way, our teacher volunteers can eat with their friends, also. Ask your friends who don't have children, and I'll bet they will save you a seat. Please don't make the teacher come looking for you. Teachers have already sacrificed their own enjoyment of community and the worship service; please respect that and pick your kids up right away. They will be excited to see you and tell you what they did in class.

Information including the schedule for classes through the rest of 2015, and brief descriptions of curriculum will be coming out of class with your child on Sunday. Look for it, and feel free to ask questions, or add your name to the list of willing classroom helpers.

It is going to be a busy season, and our RE team is excited to learn and have fun with the kids!

Love and Wonder,
Vicki Gavel, Director of Religious Education

RE Teacher Training & Orientation
This Saturday September 12
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  

PUC Campus

RE teachers, please plan to attend this very important training and orientation.  You should have your invitation, and I need your RSVP to plan childcare and your lunch. Please let me know if you did not get the invite, and please RSVP.

Playing in the Sage

Tours of Pacific Sage Preschool have become a welcome way to fill time (that otherwise flows at glacial speed) while waiting for our licensing process to move forward.  When these new families come to tour, I have begun noticing something interesting happens.  As they get out of their cars, scurrying to collect belongings, children and thoughts, they are stopped for a few moments before actually entering the gate.  In that moment, they are pausing to look up at the two beautiful and twisty coral trees that frame our new school entrance. (Coral trees, it seems, have many magical and medicinal properties and in India are listed as one of the five trees in paradise.) 

I can hear their cars arrive so I am there to open the gate and welcome them in. But I wait, too. I wait for that magic moment with the “Guardians at the Gate”. When they walk in, with a relaxed pace and breath, there is always a variation of… “This is so beautiful!” or “This is really nice!”  Breezes and squirrels seemed timed to rustle leaves, and everyone is smiling as we take time to acknowledge the giant Pepper Tree (alive with bees at the moment), the Chinese Elm and our Olive Tree. It is apparent we are all in a different place now…and ready to begin telling the story of their child and Pacific Sage Preschool. 

Thinking that this might only happen with new families, I was happy to see the same moment overtake the Fire Inspector who came Tuesday to do our fire clearance.  The school was set up and arranged as if we were waiting for the children to arrive at any second. From the garden and all through the rooms, as he looked for exit signs and fire extinguishers (and I gave him parts of the school and PUC’s story), he smiled and said, “This is a very beautiful” or “This is very nice.”

Of course…we passed inspection!

Now, if we can just lure our Licensing Analyst up here…


Pacific Sage Preschool


PUC Game Night
This Saturday September 12
Classrooms 1

PUC's Game Night is a favorite PUC event for some some folks.  Come join us for an evening of fun and fellowship.  It's a great time for adults and kids.  Bring a favorite game or two and, if you like, snacks to share. Children under 12 years old must bring their adult.  Classroom 1 is the one closest to the library.

Women Reading and Responding Book Club
Third Monday of Each Month
Next Up: September 21
11:00 a.m.

PUC Library

Looking forward to having you join us! Contact Robin Arehart if you have any questions.

September: To Play the Fool by Laurie King
October:   If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life by James Ford, our new interim minister
November:  Paris by Edward Rutherfurd, a novel about Hemingway
December: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx


End of Life Decisions: A Panel Discussion
This Saturday September 12
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Torrance Memorial’s Hoffman Conference Center

As part of the Endowment Committee’s relationship with Harris Financial Managers, PUC members and friends are eligible to attend monthly seminars on various financial planning topics.  Some of the topics to be discussed by a panel of experts include Advance Healthcare Directives, palliative care, and the “human dimension”. Torrance Memorial’s Hoffman Conference Center is located at 3315 Medical Center Drive, Torrance. For registration information call 310-517-4728.


Gentle Yoga Class for All

11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m.

Henriksen Hall

A class designed for all levels, shapes, and ages.  We will focus on a gentle practice through movement to help unblock your flow of energy and increase your mental and physical flexibility while releasing stress and enhancing body awareness.  Poses and exercises build strength, relieve pain and stress, and improve balance.  Questions:

Suggested Donation: $15/class.  Taught by Debi Robinson.


This Sunday's Flowers 

Deep in their roots,
all flowers keep the light.

Poet Theodore Roethke

Please sign up for your turn to bring Sunday's Flowers on the Flower Calendar inside the door of the PUC Office.

This Sunday's flowers will be provided by Marty & Bill Knipps

PUC's calendar of events can be found here.

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For Sunday morning announcements contact Kim Gosney

We are located at
5621 Montemalaga Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

 Office Hours

                Sunday            9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
                                        The office is closed during the service from 10:30-11:30.

                Monday           Closed

                Tuesday         10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.           

                Wednesday    10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

                Thursday        10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

                Friday             10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

                Saturday         Closed

Click here for Directions

Contact Us:

Office: (310) 378-9449    Fax: (310) 378-1508 

Copyright © 2015 Pacific Unitarian Church, All rights reserved.

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