Neighborhood Weekly News
December 14, 2017
This Sunday's Service

Dec. 17th Family Christmas Service
9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Rev. Lissa Gundlach preaching with Matt Vasko, Director of Religious Education and our Neighborhood Chorus directed by Stephen Grimm
Before you leave town for the holidays, bring the whole family to a festive Christmas service with all your favorite carols!  

This will be Rev. Lissa's last Sunday in the pulpit before her parental leave. 

Learn more about the leave schedule and our consulting minister Rev. Rebecca Benefiel-Bijur below and on our website by clicking here.

Upcoming Services

Dec. 24th Christmas Eve
10:00 a.m. Contemplative Service with Rev. Christina Shu
5:00 p.m. Family Christmas Eve Service
8:15 p.m. Bell Choir prelude
9:00 p.m. Candlelight Christmas Eve Service 
Dec. 31st New Years Eve 
ONE SERVICE ONLY at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur, Family Leave Minister

The Open Door

It is said that the past describes us-- but it does not define us. As we gather in community on the threshold of a new year, Rev. Rebecca will offer reflections on UU sources of wisdom and courage for the days ahead.
Upcoming Events:

December 11 - December 17
  • Sunday, December 17: Family/All Community Christmas Service, 9:30 & 11:30 a.m., Sanctuary
  • Sunday, December 17: Writing as a Spiritual Activity, 12:30 p.m., Music Library  
  • Sunday, December 17: Neighborhood People of Color Meeting, 1:00 p.m., NH Living Room
  • Sunday, December 17: Young Adult Group, 1:00 p.m. NH Upper Room 
December 18 - December 24
  •  Tuesday, December 19: SOS: Sailors of Sadness, 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 24:  Christmas Eve Service with Rev. Christina Shu, 10:00 a.m., Sanctuary
  • Sunday, December 24: Family Christmas Eve Service, 5:00 p.m., Sanctuary
  • Sunday, December 24: Bell Choir Prelude, 8:15 p.m., Sanctuary
  • Sunday, December 24: Candlelight Christmas Eve Service, 9:00 p.m., Sanctuary
December 25 - December 31
  • Monday, December 25 - Monday, January 2 Church Office CLOSED
  • Sunday, December 31: ONE SERVICE with Rev. Rebecca Bijur, 10:00 a.m., Sanctuary 
Visit our web calendar for more upcoming events. 
Holiday Schedule
The Neighborhood Church Staff wish you and your loved ones Happy Holidays!

The church office will be closed from Monday, December 25 to Monday, January 1st and will reopen on Tuesday, January 2nd. Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Congregational Life
A Message about our 2018 Music Search Committee from Rev. Lissa:

Our Music Search Committee is appointed and at work. A number of well-qualified, enthusiastic church members volunteered to serve on our committee to search for new music staff to succeed our beloved, talented Music Director Stephen Grimm, who will retire at the end of June 2018.   We are so grateful to all who volunteered, even though this generous response made for difficult choices.   We tried to achieve-in a group of manageable size--a balance representing our church family: representing our diverse racial and ethnic identities, musicians and non-musicians, long-time and newer members, parents, women and men.

The nine members who have agreed to take on this vital work are James Coomes, Julie Crooks, Clyde Derrick (Board chair, ex officio), Nanette James, Esther Martin (Board liaison member), Martin Mathews, John Odell (co-chair), Angelia Robinson (co-chair), and Dinandrea Vega.  The Board and I are deeply grateful to each of them for making this major commitment of time and expertise.      
The committee enjoyed a warm initial meeting on December 3.   After getting acquainted, we discussed the nature of the search and the types of positions to be filled.  We reviewed the nature of the music program during the past two decades and the valuable contributions of church members and staff. We considered a draft calendar for their entire process and agreed on next steps to take immediately, including a discussion of how to bring the rest of the congregation into the process through congregational surveys, small group sessions and direct feedback. The Committee plans to meet twice monthly, and to keep everyone informed with blogs and e-bulletin reports. I will be participating remotely during my parental leave to help the search move forward on an appropriate timeline. Your co-chairs John O'Dell and Angelia Robinson will be the direct points of contact throughout the search.

Your feedback is essential to the Committee's work.  Now and later, please feel welcome to send any and all suggestions about the future of our music program and this search process to the committee using this email address: The co-chairs will be checking this email address and sharing feedback with the Committee. We all look forward to our work together, and to creating a vibrant future for our church's music program. 

CLICK HERE to read on to learn more about our dynamic team of co-chairs, members and board representatives.
A message from our Senior Minister:

Dear Neighborhood, 

My last Sunday in the pulpit will be December 17th. I'll be beginning my parental leave Friday December 22nd and returning before Easter. Revs. Christina Shu and Peter Farriday will be leading our 10 am and 9 pm Christmas eve services. During my leave, our ministry will be in the good hands of our staff, your outstanding Board of Trustees and Consulting Minister Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur, most recently minister to the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica. I will not be performing my regular duties or be available for pastoral appointments or meetings, but I will be participating remotely in the Music Search Committee and helping with any critical emerging needs of the church. I know you will really enjoy your time with Rev. Rebecca, who is an engaging preacher, passionate social justice leader and caring pastoral presence. Please read a message below from Rev. Rebecca. 
Thank you for your support at this exciting time. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me to discuss. I look forward to Christmas at Neighborhood, a time to celebrate and welcome the child.
Rev. Lissa 
From Rev. Benefiel Bijur:
Dear Neighborhood, 

I'm honored and delighted to serve as your quarter-time Consulting Minister while your Senior Minister is on parental leave.  This is a special time in the life of your Senior Minister and her family - and in the life of your vibrant, historic congregation as well. Thank you for welcoming me to the Neighborhood family!  
During our time together, I will focus on worship leading, pastoral care, and support for your Board and staff, including your annual stewardship campaign. My first Sunday with you will be December 31, and my final Sunday preaching will be March 11th.
In addition to my consulting ministry with you, I serve as part-time Director of Development at Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). CLUE's mission is to organize, educate, and mobilize the faith community to accompany workers and their families in the struggle for good jobs, dignity, and justice. I live in Santa Monica with my husband and three children. You can learn more about me and my ministry at -- and I look forward to learning more about you in the new year. 
Much heart,
Rev. Rebecca Benefiel Bijur


December 24th,  10 a.m., Rev. Christina Shu, preaching, 
5 p.m. Family Service w/ Matt Vasko 
        9 p.m., Rev. Peter Farriday, preaching

December 31 -Rev. Rebecca preaching

January 7th Rev. Rebecca preaching

January 14th-MLK Sunday, Rev. Rebecca preaching

January 21st-Board of Trustees Led Service

January 28th-Rites of Passage Sunday  

February 4th-Black Futures Sunday-Rev. Nikia Robert, guest preacher

February 11th-Rev. Rebecca preaching

February 18th-Rev. Rebecca preaching

February 25th-Rev. Rob and Janne Eller Isaacs, guest preachers

March 4th- Rev. Rebecca preaching

March 11th- Rev. Rebecca Preaching 

March 18th- High School Service
March 25th - Rev. Lissa plans to return 
Net Zero @ Neighborhood Update 
by Frank Colcord

At its annual meeting last May, the Church voted unanimously (and with much enthusiasm) to become a Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emitting Congregation, and to spend the 2017-2018 church year:

1) Developing a master plan with timeline and budget recommendations for review by the Board of Trustees and, if feasible, presented for approval by church members at the next annual meeting.

2) Conducting on-going education of the congregation and encouraging action on all steps that would create a Net-Zero church.

Since that vote, the Net-Zero @ Neighborhood Committee formed to facilitate this effort, with representatives from the Board, Church staff, and Green Council. In the following weeks and months, the Committee will publish a series of posts on this blog and the e-newsletter to update you on our progress and ways to participate.

The most important way to get involved is mark your calendar for a workshop at Church to kick-off our Net-Zero effort. The workshop is facilitated by representatives from Pachamama Alliance, a terrific organization doing climate and other 7th Principle type work worldwide. Having participated in one of these workshops already, I can say you'll not want to miss it. They are an eye-opening, educational, and inspiring-and a terrific reminder of our interconnectedness with people and planet. In short, it is a terrific motivator for our Net-Zero efforts.

The Pachamama Alliance workshop is scheduled twice. Look for details soon on signing up for one of these:
* Saturday, January 13th 9:00-1:30pm
* Sunday, January 28th 1:00-5:30pm

CLICK HERE to continue reading Frank's update!


The Coffee Committee is looking for able bodied church members (or those considering joining) to serve coffee after the second service (i.e. 12:30 pm - 1 pm).  The pay is good (free coffee) and there is the opportunity to interact with other members.  

To find out more and perhaps join our group, contact Tom Petersmeyer (818-248-6383 cell/ text or email at

Neighborhood Church is a caring congregation. The Pastoral Care Team and minister are here to help you in times of crisis or need and to rejoice with you in times of celebration. We can provide meals, rides, run errands, and offer one-on-one support.  Please contact Sue Iri , Pastoral Care Coordinator, if you or someone you know needs assistance.

Our parental leave minister, Rev. Rebecca Benefiel-Bijur, will be available for pastoral care visits and counseling sessions for members on a limited basis. Sunday worship is a time when we witness the joys, sorrows, and life-transitions of the congregation. Do you have a life event (birth, marriage, illness, death, milestone or celebration) which you would like shared in the order of service or lifted up in the prayer? Email Rev. Rebecca at:

Neighborhood Church Remembrances

We remember Ruth Anderson, long time member of Neighborhood Church, who passed away this year. Her obituary can be found online here.

Religious Education

Social Justice
NPOC Meeting with Neighborhood Church Board Members
Sunday, Dec. 17, 1:00-2:30 pm
Neighborhood House, Living Room

Our Neighborhood Board has heard the cry for more diversity in hiring and is considering adding language to church bylaws or church hiring policies to reflect this. Board President Clyde Derrick and other Board members will attend the general meeting from 1:00-2:00pm so we can discuss and give feedback as a group. From 2:00-2:30 NPOC will hold its regular check in and fellowship time for People of Color. 

Alternative Gift Market
A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this year's Alternative Gift Market a success-onsite volunteers, crafters, nonprofit representatives, and especially the SHOPPERS. We raised $7500 for 11 worthy causes! Several Church members regretted they could not attend on December 10, so we're extending the event another week.

Several Church members regretted they could not attend on December 10, so we're extending the event another week.
Here is how the "post-Market" will work:

1. In-Person Donations
Come to the Social Justice table this Sunday, December 17, after either service. Shopping lists will be available, along with info inserts about each nonprofit and holiday greeting cards to give your recipients. Payment can be made by cash, check, or VISA/MC.

2. Washcloths
The Neighborhood Knitters will be on the patio between and after services Sunday to sell their famous washcloths. The cloths are handmade from 100% cotton yarn, making them not only beautiful but also extra absorbent and hard working.  This will be your last opportunity this year to stock up for yourself or find that one-of-a-kind gift. The washcloths will be discounted this Sunday at  $4 each or $10 for three. They will not be available next year, so get 'em while they last! Proceeds go to Affordable Housing Services.

3. Online We are also extending the market online this year if you are not able to join us in person. CLICK HERE to visit the Online Alternative Gift Market!

If you have any further questions, contact Stephanie at

Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church
301. North Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103
626.449.3470 |
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