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Floating Hearts


In the midst of all the setbacks and surges of late December and January, it seemed like there was a need for something joyful, connecting, and meaningful in February. We are still living in the haiku-form limits of life, but we think you will see our program for the month that stretches to joyful places in the midst of all of that. 

This past February, we wanted to talk about what we love, and what we serve with love in our lives. Having lost the great Sidney Poitier, the title of his movie, “To Sir, With Love” came to mind so we adapted it to name our program, “To Sir(ve), With Love” which seemed so appropriate too since Poitier’s life was also so much about service to what he loved! 

We hope it helps your minds and hearts turn toward whatever it is that draws us each joyfully, into the world to serve love with our lives and to serve with love! 

With love, in service, 
Vanessa and Alyson

To Sir(ve) with Love: Programs


Thursday, February 10

Bob Bacon, attorney and member, will share with us how he got introduced to the issue of the death penalty and the work of advocating both to get people off death row but also for an end to the death penalty. Bob has dedicated himself to this work for 31 years now. He has also been a member at UUSF since 1994. Let's hear about why he devotes his life to this work, how he is sustained in it, and what that has to teach us about how to engage the hard work love sometimes calls us to. Vanessa Southern, facilitating.


Monday, February 14

Robert Lavett Smith, poet and member, will share with us how he got introduced to poetry and to the particular form of the sonnet and why he fell in love with it as a form. In fact, Bob has been writing a poem a day since December of 2019 and sometimes more than one a day. Usually, at least one of these is a sonnet. Appropriate for Valentine's Day, he will also share two of his favorite love sonnets, one by Shakespeare and one he wrote. Bob's most recent works include "Sturgeon Moon", "The Widower Considers Candles" and a collection of his early poems. He has been a part of UUSF, first as a visitor and then as a member, since moving to the Bay Area from New Jersey in the fall of 1987. Vanessa Southern, facilitating.


Thursday, February 17

One way to see how fast the Universe is expanding is to measure the apparent recession speed of galaxies at a range of distances from us. Phil Marshall, Staff Scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and member of UUSF, works on finding and using a particularly rare class of galaxies whose distances can be inferred by the way they are acting as "gravitational lenses." Astronomy is about figuring out how to do things like this - and it's that happy process, followed by the joy of representing the results to an excited public, that makes Phil's heart sing. Alyson Jacks, facilitating.

Phil Marshall is a scientist at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park. He does astrophysics research on measuring the accelerating expansion of the Universe, and serves as Deputy Director of Operations for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, whose telescope is currently under construction in Chile and whose camera - the world's biggest! - is being built at SLAC.


Monday, February 21, 7-8pm

Many of us have practices we call spiritual, from meditation to yoga, from journaling to walking in nature. These are some of the things we do to calm our bodies, quiet our minds, and open our hearts. A guide, or spiritual director can: reflect with us on the journey we are taking; help us deepen our practice, and guide us along our chosen way. Come join this conversation with our Minister Emerita, the Rev. Margot Campbell Gross, when we explore:

  • What is spiritual direction?

  • How is it different from therapy?

  • What is involved in spiritual direction?

  • How does one find a spiritual director?

Margot Campbell Gross retired from the San Francisco UU church in 2004. She is a graduate of the Shalem program for Spiritual Directors. Vanessa Southern, facilitating.


Thursday, February 24

For the last three years, church members Mari Magaloni Ramos, Michael Bossier and Cal Ball have produced a comedy Radio Show called the Mike and Mari Show, sharing their love of comedy, satire, improv and humor. Along with writing and producing a comedy radio show, each of them have worked in a variety of artistic venues including improv, comedy writing, music and music production, and much more.  Come hear their stories of the power of laughter and what it has to teach us  Alyson Jacks, facilitating.

Mari Magaloni Ramos is a conservatory trained comedic character actor and Stand up comedian. She was a member of the in-house sketch comedy troupe at Caroline’s on Broadway in NYC, a finalist in the national Laugh Across America Comedy Competition, the first woman to win the local Rooster T Feather’s Comedy Competition, and she traveled with Will Durst’s Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show. She now works with Michael Bossier and Cal Ball on The Mike and Mari Show. 

Michael Bossier has been performing since Comedy was in black and white. He has performed everywhere from La Cage aux Folles to The Sunshine Saloon in Fremont. His comedy work ranges from Director of The Comedy Store Players to the role of Mike in The Mike and Mari Show.

Cal Ball is a musician, producer and recording artist. As a bass player he has played with a variety of artists including Buddy Miles, Marty Balin, and Sylvester. As a member and co-producer of musical group Cactus Choir, he was a staff songwriter for EMI Music Publishing and recorded albums for Atlantic, Universal Music Group, and Curb Records. Currently, Cal is the producer of The Mike and Mari Show, a satirical sketch comedy group featuring the writing and performances of Mari Magaloni and Michael Bossier. Cal plays guitar with The Mike and Mari Show house band, The Tiger Club and with musical director Baxter Robertson, co-produced the band's album "Mephisto Island".


Monday, February 28

Many of us have heard of professional coaches. Unlike sports coaches who work with teams and athletes, professional coaches work with people of all backgrounds and stages of career, helping them set and achieve their goals or make changes in their lives and careers. But what is coaching? Hanna Clements-Hart, member for 10 years and an executive coach for 13 years, will give us a peek into this world and why she loves it. Hanna has worked with hundreds of individuals and dozens of companies and organizations such as Google, Twitter, Coursera, and the Packard Foundation. During this session, Hanna will share her own professional journey from New York law firm attorney to Bay Area independent coach. She will provide insight into the coaching approach, her training, and how she continues to learn and grow on the job. We’ll learn about what inspires her and what trips her up, and Hanna will also share one or two of her go-to coaching exercises. There will also be a chance for questions in this conversation on executive coaching. Vanessa Southern, facilitating.

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