Speaker: Ayanna Gaines

Being Black and UU

According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 1% of Unitarian Universalists identify as Black or African American. Congregations often wonder what they can do to make themselves more attractive to people from underrepresented groups. However, a majority of UUs have yet to explore what it means to be a member of a minority group within a minority group. This service, featuring Worship Leader Ayanna Gaines, explores what it means to be Black and UU.

Disenfranchisement – An American Tradition

Disenfranchisement is as American as apple pie. People have been disenfranchised for a variety of reasons, from race to religion, from gender to gender expression, from neurodivergence to disability. How can we rid our society of this one tradition that we would rather not pass down to our children?

The Magic of Camp

Join us for a fun-filled service reminding us of the joys of camp and all the ways that it can renew our spirits, create community, ground us and give us the chance to play. After service we’ll be social, engage in various camp-themed activities and snacks and learn more about our cluster camp at DeBenneville Pines. Bring a camp chair and sack lunch.

Memorial Day is Not Just for Barbecues

Memorial Day is often viewed as the unofficial start of Summer. Yet the holiday has much more depth to it than that. Ayanna Gaines dedicates this service to one particular Marine who has passed on: her father, whom she last saw in 1992.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

Sometimes the ultimate act of resistance comes in the shape of living your life. There may be people who dislike you for whatever reason: for who you are, for what you represent, for what you look like, for whom you love. How do you stay alive when others don’t want you to? In these cases, you resist simply by existing. However, this may not be as easy as it sounds. In some way, big or small, we are all resisting.

Tales from Camp: Lessons Learned in the Woods


DeBenneville Pines is a beautiful UU camp in the San Bernardino mountains. This summer saw the first youth camps held since the pandemic began. Ayanna Gaines had the opportunity to serve as a staff member for both elementary and high school camps, and learned many … read more.

Finding your Place

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.” Howard Thurman. The Rev. Kikanza Nuri-Robins helps people and organizations that are in transition — or ought to be. As a community minister, she works as an organization development consultant based in Los Angeles. She spends her discretionary time playing with color and textiles in her studio.

This Year I Resolve to…


It is traditional to make resolutions to change habits and behaviors around the New Year. Yet it is common for people to neglect these resolutions after a while, lapsing into old ways of being. How can we live lives with intention when … read more.

Paper Pilgrims and Indian Feathers


As children, we are taught a very simplistic version of the origin of Thanksgiving. We make Pilgrim hats out of construction paper, and pretend that the Indian headdresses we construct are representative of all Indians. Yet the truth of the holiday is much more complicated … read more.

Soul Music

In 1969, there was a huge music festival that took place in the state of New York. Thousands of people attended. It wasn’t Woodstock. Come hear how the Harlem Cultural Festival touched the souls of the people present, and how music continues to move those who hear it.