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Sunday Worship starts at 11:00 am Prelude begins at 10:50 am

Join us in-person or watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel here.

  • Proof of COVID vaccines no longer required for entry starting 11/13/22.

  • UUSF will continue with a Sunday Covid Care & Concern Table where people can get information about the latest boosters 

  • We want to make sure we have data so we can create Christmas Services with care and concern for our community. For that reason, we will informally gather booster information. Please respond to this Survey (click here) about your booster status - it will be kept confidential. Or write your boostervv status on an index card at the Care & Concern table and place it in the top slot of the box.

  • Reminder: If you feel sick, stay home. Masks are still required while indoors and during Worship on Sundays.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Text

Ordination of Meg McGuire
Sunday, April 16, 2:00 pm

The First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco invites you to celebrate in the Ordination of Meg McGuire to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

"What Need One?"
Sunday, March 26, 2023

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, Preaching

Shakespeare’s King Lear asked the perennial question, "What need one?" I remember it from high school AP English class. Mrs. Laster, who was a force of nature — and put the class at 8 am to discourage the lazy, the dilettantes, the weak —  drove it home. The question, that is, not the answer.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

"From Special Creation to Kin: How Scientific and Indigenous Understandings Call Us to a New Relationship with Nature"
Sunday, March 19, 2023

Rev. Jamie Hinson-Rieger, Guest Minister, Preaching

For much of Western history, the dominant creation story has placed humans at the apex of the natural order. This Sunday we will look at how the scientific creation story calls us to a different relationship with life, one which is consonant with many indigenous understandings and with Unitarian Universalism as well. 

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

"A Hermit's Life"
Sunday, March 12, 2023

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, Preaching

A part of me dreams of being a hermit -- not all year, but part of every year, and not completely alone but a lot alone. And so I spent part of sabbatical reading about hermit's lives and the pieces that feel most gorgeous

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, Preaching

I have been thinking about the notion of mediocrity and envy, good enoughness (and its power) but also greatness.  As we head into thinking about and raising money for our next year of life together, I'd like to talk about greatness.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

"Some of What I Learned on My Sabbatical: Reclaiming Time and Empathy"
Sunday, February 26, 2023

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, Preaching

The gift of sabbatical is supposed to be about time -- fallow time, time "on the balcony" of your own life, time to rekindle flames that burn low.  What I found was a new thread in an ongoing tapestry I have been weaving about time and my struggles with and against it; and about empathy. The two are related.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

"Mourning and Celebrating"
Sunday, February 19, 2023

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, Preaching

At a recent trip to the DeYoung Museum, to see the exhibit by Black South African artist Lhola Amira, I was made aware of (at least) two parts of the righting of the heart and mind around our shared human history.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

Remembering Donald Heyneman (1925-2022) 
Saturday, February 18, 10:30 am

Donald Heyneman, PhD, touched the lives of family, friends, colleagues, students, and acquaintances with his kindness, warmth, humor, humility, and dedication to making our world a better place. On Saturday, February 18, the 98th anniversary of Don's birth, a memorial service honoring his life will be held in the Sanctuary at 10:30 a.m., and will be live streamed, followed by a reception in the King Rooms.

To learn more about Don Heyneman's incredible life, read his obituary here.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

"Keeping Love Alive"
Sunday, February 12, 2023

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, Preaching

What does it take to keep love alive? What are some skills or practices that help us nurture the best in our relationships with one another? 

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

“Gongxi Gongxi: A Will to Hope in the Lunar New Year”
Sunday, February 5, 2023

Rev. Seanan Fong, Guest Minister, Preaching

The Lunar New Year loudly celebrates the spring amidst the chill of winter. What can a festival so focused on positivity tell us about our not-so-positive experience?

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

“A Religious Center With a Civic Circumference: Unitarians in San Francisco Since 1850”

Sunday, January 29, 2023, 10:50 am, Worship Service Livestream

Rev. John Buehrens, Guest Minister, Preaching

Our past Senior Minister returns to our pulpit to speak about the history of our congregation, a project he has been working on since his retirement five years ago. The publication process has been complex, and it is still is not entirely clear that the book itself will be available for sale that day, but it will be relatively soon. He will then lead an adult RE course on the phases of UU history in SF.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

“Gaining Vision at the Edge of the Miraculous”

Sunday, January 22, 2023, 10:50 am, Worship Service Livestream

Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Guest Preacher

At this time of year in the Jewish community we read the text of the Burning Bush. Can Moses’s response  to that encounter inform how we might vision our lives as we  in the every day face barriers and fears that block us? Do the miracles of this textual tradition – a burning bush,  a well of water, a parted sea, teach us that we are always standing at the edge of miraculous and if we look deeper can find inspiration to go forward with blessing?

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video

“Gaining Vision at the Edge of the Miraculous”

Sunday, January 15, 2023, 10:50 am, Worship Service Livestream

Richard Davis Lowell, Guest Preacher

Their voices roll down through history -- cutting through like the thunder before a storm -- warning us, reminding us, showing us by the lives they lived/live that prophetic words can be met by life-changing deeds and that the future is not yet written, that there is another way.

Ukrainian President Zelensky did that recently on a podium before the most powerful audience in the world.. and so did Martin Luther King some 60 years ago through his letter from inside a Birmingham, Alabama jail.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video


Sunday, January 8, 2023, 10:50 am, Worship Service Livestream

Michael G. Pappas, M.Div., Guest Preacher

Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, we realize that there is no turning back to what we once thought was normal. San Francisco has always been a destination for those who want to be their authentic selves and dream dreams. Sunday's sermon will speak to the challenges and opportunities of this time of recalibration and how people of faith can and should be a part of the equation for charting a vision for a brighter future. 

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video


Sunday, January 1, 2023, 10:50 am, Worship Service Livestream

Rev. Laura Shennum, Minister of Congregational Life, preaching

We will gather to reflect on our past year, then set intentions for the upcoming year. This will be ritualized through a Fire Communion.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video


Sunday, December 25, 11AM Worship Service Livestream Only

Christmas Day will be a day of gratitude and joy as six Bay Area UU churches collaborate to create a virtual service only. You can snuggle up in your favorite PJs and a warm beverage to reflect on blessings from this year and how they will carry you forward into the new year joyfully. Senior Minister Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern will host a virtual coffee hour after the service. 

Tenderloin Tessie will be feeding the hungry on Christmas Day, so the UUSF office and church will be closed to the public on the 25th. Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners, an all-volunteer organization, has fed the San Francisco community on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas for over 40 years. They work hard to provide a plentiful meal, a smile, and a gift to all of their customers in a friendly environment. Every holiday, they serve a thousand people.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video


Saturday, December 24, 4:45 pm, Christmas Eve Worship Service Livestream (online and in-person)

A service of candles, song and story!

Please join us for a retelling of the story of Christmas, for carols and candlelight and an invitation for the spirit of the season to take hold of us!

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video


Sunday, December 18, 10:50 am, Worship Service Livestream (online and in-person)

We will gather as a full community to build connection through the ritual of creating the greens for our sanctuary. In honor of the sacredness of each person born, we will create stars that highlight each of us that are present. Join us for a lovely tradition of joy and merriment.

Recent and Upcoming Worship: Video


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, preaching

Cleaning out a box of old papers, the other day, I came across a chapter -- part of a chapter -- of a book from Theologian Stanley Hauerwas that felt very current.  It was about the "wanting" at the center of our lives. 



Sunday, December 4, 2022

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, preaching

We will spend hours basting a turkey or readying the house for guests, but often not even a few minutes preparing ourselves to be with them.  Having just, perhaps, had some time with family, biological or chosen, and maybe preparing to be with family in the Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa seasons ahead, let's talk about family.  How to be with Family: A core spiritual discipline of the holidays!  

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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, preaching

My dad did a commercial decades ago. It is one of the stories you might hear us retelling when we gather around the table which we are still lucky and blessed enough to do.  But, all laughter aside, the joke calls us back to some of what is essential to a life grounded in gratitude.



Sunday, November 20, 2022

Rev. Laura Shennum, Minister of Congregational Life, preaching

Forgiveness can be a sticky topic, especially when we refuse to grant forgiveness to ourselves or others. Let us gather this morning to hear a story about how messy and sticky it can get. Then, we can choose to participate in a forgiveness ritual to help us leave that stickiness behind. If you are attending virtually, please have a rock or stone with you as you watch.



Sunday, November 13, 2022

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, preaching

Someone asked me on the way out of service this fall what I meant, as a Unitarian Universalist, when I said the word "faith." Let's look at what faith is (is not) and the role it plays in our lives -- the blessing and the danger of it.



Sunday, November 6, 2022

Rev. Southern and Mari Magaloni Ramos, preaching

This is the time of year of the Pagan celebration of Samhain, and the Christian (no doubt borrowed and adapted!) witness to All Souls and All Saints, and to the celebrations of Día De Los Muertos in Mexico and across Latin America.  All of these community and religious ceremonies and sacred times begin with the Samhain idea that at this time of year the veil between the living and the dying is thinned. It is a season, therefore, for reaching across that veil and pulling those we have loved and lost, their spirit and their legacy, more intentionally into our world for a while.

Rev. Southern and Mari Magaloni Ramos will lead a service this Sunday, in honor of this season, in which you are invited to bring the name of someone you lost and a couple of sentences about them. Feel free to bring a photo or a memento with you. You can even bring a favorite food of theirs (and after the service we can share that at social hour).  The service will be participatory.  To prepare please think of how you would finish these sentences:

I call out the name of _________________________________,  who was [fill in their relationship to you — parent, friend, teacher, neighbor] ____________________________________ to me.
I give thanks for [fill in something about them, their spirit, their part in your life. Please keep it short — one sentence — so that others can share too] ________________________________.



Sunday, October 30, 2022

Rev. Margot Campbell Gross, Minister Emerita, preaching

The saga of our relationship with the nightly raccoons, as a metaphor for learning to live with the troubles in life.



Sunday, October 23, 2022

Carmen Barsody and Sam Dennison, preaching

What makes Fools “faithful”? More than anything it is a willingness to hang in there, even when it seems like not much is changing. Futility, rather than fuel, seems to be what’s on people’s minds these days, but the Fools are committed to the faithfulness of fidelity and steadiness, keeping on even when it seems rather ridiculous to do so. Carmen Barsody and Sam Dennison, two long-time Faithful Fools, bring us their reflections on what it takes to keep on keepin’ on. As Faithful Fools ready to celebrate 25 years of reflection and engagement, and Carmen and Sam will share their 25th year questions and insights with us.



Sunday, October 16, 2022

Rev. David Sammons, Minister Emeritus, preaching

For months we struggled with the confinement required to avoid Covid, then the numbers went down and we began to move around again. Some said it felt 'Alive' again. What does being alive mean now that many of us now have more freedom?



Sunday, October 9, 2022

Rev. John Buehrens, preaching

Woody Guthrie sang, “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the Gulf Stream waters.” Yet Indigenous Peoples’ Day, observed on the second Monday of October (but not as a holiday), suggests that we acknowledge the unceded rights of this continent’s first peoples. Doing so might even shed light on some of our society’s deepest problems. John Buehrens is both our past Senior Minister and a former President of the UUA. He will also reflect on his recent visit to Alaska, where descendants of the Inuit, Aleut, Athabascan, Tlingit, and other peoples constitute 22% of the population.



Sunday, October 2, 2022

Rev. Dr. Daniel Kanter, Guest Minister, preaching

Exploring hope and despair in the context of the work the Dallas UU community has done for reproductive dignity and what you might ponder as you consider your callings to make a difference.



Sunday, September 25, 2022

Rev. Laura Shennum, Minister of Congregational Life, preaching

What is it about the human condition that is normal? And what is normal anyway? By taking lessons from our time in the pandemic, from my time as a hospital chaplain, and from our collective experiences as humans, we can explore how normal is not a concept to compare ourselves to others, but rather a way to build a shared understanding of what it means to be human. This shared understanding can then be the cornerstone to create a lifespan religious education program. 



Sunday, September 18, 2022

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, preaching

What is the purpose of a life, of life. It's always been the question religion was tasked to answer. Part of the work of answering that question involves the tasks of life, of each life and even its stages of tasks. As we step into a new church year perhaps we can ask where we think we are in this work so each of us can step intentionally, and more deeply, into that work.



Sunday, September 11, 2022

Revs Vanessa Southern and Laura Shennum, preaching

This week is a joyous regathering: virtually and in person we will come back together for our official start to a church year. Children will join us in worship and we will sing and speak in words and ritual of our journeys apart and what we bring back with us. 

Please bring a celebratory dessert food/baked good/yummy thing to share after service at our social hour, as we welcome Rev. Laura Shennum (and all of us back) to the UUSF community!



Sunday, September 4, 2022

Rev. Millie Phillips, Guest Minister, preaching

For our annual Labor Day service, Rev. Millie Phillips celebrates a struggle that ebbs and flows, but has never died; the struggle for economic survival and dignity on the job. Playing off the multiple meanings of the word "labor," do we have the courage to do what it takes to give birth to " a new world from the ashes of the old?" Whatever the obstacles, increasingly, working people, especially young and marginalized workers, are rediscovering the power of union organizing and are putting the movement back into the labor movement.



Sunday, August 28, 2022

Richard Davis-Lowell, Worship Associate, preaching

August 28th is the 59th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Racial Equality.  It's keynote address by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. has become the most famous speech in modern history.  Echoed in his remarks that day were the paraphrased words of an early Unitarian minister, Theodore Parker; that the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice.

Earlier this summer, the remarkable achievement of the Webb telescope began challenging humanity to look deeply into the past in order to make sense of today and what is to come. Indeed, in so many ways, we won't ever create the future of our dreams without understanding the past. 

Join us as we explore Dr. King's inspiration in the words of a radical Boston minster, how those words convinced a cultural icon to continue to go "where no man had gone before" and finally, how we're learning, through science, that there is indeed an arc in the universe and that it bends towards truth.



Sunday, August 21, 2022

Charlotte Maitreya Cramer, Guest Preacher

This Sunday, join Guest Preacher Charlotte Cramer exploring the concept of perfection and how it influences our lives and society. Perfection is everywhere in our country, and it has impacted how we treat one another and ourselves. What is the mindset and healing that is needed to work against the strong drive towards being perfect? How could overcoming perfection foster a more wholesome and healthy life, and society?



Sunday, August 14, 2022

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, preaching

Life is made up of ordinary days.  And they are often some of the best days we have.  A sermon musing on the ordinariness of a sweet life.



Sunday, August 7, 2022

Rev. Sonya Sukalski, Guest Minister, preaching

When threatened some of us fight - even "breathing fire" if provoked, others freeze or retreat.  We all know life is better when we are not stressed all the time, but some seem more resilient and able to shake off strife and difficulty than others.  Recent brain science points to the limbic system as the place filtering our experience and deciding whether to act on a threat or choose to go with the flow of life.  Rev. Sonya Sukalski has found that resetting the switch that sends the mind, body and spirit into rest and digest chemistry rather than fight or flight to be a satisfying spiritual practice.  Her practice includes elements of prayer, meditation, movement, and employs theology UUs might find useful and life-affirming.

Rev. Sonya Sukalski has always been curious about how people think about what is most important in life – following this interest in studying Cognitive Linguistics, Germanic Languages, and Adult Wellness Education before moving to the East Bay to attend Starr King School for the ministry.  During seminary, Sonya had a short winter job in 2005 with the UU Justice (formerly Legislative) Ministry calling California congregations to send valentines to the governor in support of marriage equality.  Sonya later helped develop the Young Leaders Project and SALT programs with UUJMCA.  She has served a variety of sabbatical and family leave ministries with the Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Chico, and Livermore congregations, and was the minister for the UU Fellowship of Tuolumne County from 2014-2020.  Sonya enjoys nature, backpacking, yoga, playing the piano, and recently, playing with her 2 year old nephews.  During the pandemic, a chance conversation brought how formative the brain chemistry and wiring of the limbic system is throughout our lives, and she has spent the last year working to reset her own limbic system.



Sunday, July 31, 2022

Mari Magaloni Ramos, Worship Associate, preaching

In March of 2020, the late John Lewis called on everyone to "get into good trouble, necessary trouble and redeem the soul of America" as he spoke from the Edmund Pettis bridge in Selma Alabama commemorating the tragedy of Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965.  Join us on Sunday July 31st for a special service led by worship associate Mari Magaloni Ramos: “Good Trouble”
Our collective values of democracy, privacy and bodily autonomy are under active attack and we have suffered setbacks. And as is always the case, it is our BIPOC and LGBTQ folx that will be most negatively impacted in the coming years if we do not act.  One of the most powerful things that we can do to stem this tide is to support and motivate our fellow Americans to vote. We can do that by meeting hate and grievance with love and beloved community.

So join us after the service for a letter writing party!  We’ll talk about how we become a Good Trouble Congregation  and write letters to voters in battleground states located in underserved, marginalized communities.  Sandwiches and refreshments will be served and kids are most welcome!



Sunday, October 2, 2022

Rev. Daniel C. Kanter, Guest Minister, preaching

Our Sunday service will explore hope and despair in relation to the work the Dallas UU community has done for reproductive dignity and how you might think about your own callings.



Sunday, July 24, 2022

Rev. Margot Campbell Gross, Minister Emerita, preaching

This is the question we ask ourselves at major pivotal points in our lives: graduation, career choice, retirement. “What am I going to do?” is also the question we ask ourselves when there are decisions to be made about: relationships, medical options, questions of moving and choosing where we will live..
I find it useful to distinguish between what I can do, and how I can be in the world. I will try to explain what that distinction means to me, and how I have found it helpful in making my choices in life.



Sunday, July 17, 2022

Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, preaching

A sermon on welcome -- on the sacred value of welcome. This is a sermon I preached as one of my first five years ago at UUSF and the foundation holds. But there are insights too about what this virtue asks of us, brought to light in the conversations out of the racial reckoning of the last two years or more. 



Sunday, July 10, 2022

Rev. Mr. Barb Greve, Guest Minister, preaching

Rev. Mr. Barb reflects on 51 years of practicing Unitarian Universalism. Oh how we have (and have not) changed. Imagine with Barb as he shares his dreams for our next 51 years.

Barb Greve earned his Masters of Divinity at Starr King School for the Ministry. At present he serves as a hospice chaplain with Vitas Healthcare. From August 2017 – June 2020 he served as one of the volunteer Co-Moderators to the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and currently serves on the board of Meadville Lombard Theological School. In addition to having served as an intentional interim/consulting director of lifespan religious education to multiple Unitarian Universalist congregations, Barb has served on the Faculty of The Chaplaincy Institute (teaching Prophetic Voice & Social Transformation), as the Chair of the Starr King School for the Ministry’s Board of Trustees, is a founding member and served on the Steering Committee of Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together (TRUUsT), is a founding member and served on the Steering Committee of the Guild of Interim Religious Educators.



Sunday, July 3, 2022

(Originally broadcast on Sunday, December 6, 2020)

"The Perfect Body and the Ladder" is about the personal and the political uses of the body, timed perfectly to rebroadcast as we prepare to unveil our sweet bodies in the lighter clothes and freedom of summer.  It's a lovely service and we invite you to sit with the questions it raises and the invitation to include our bodies (and others') in the deepest work of honoring and cherishing.

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