Ayanna Gaines

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 valuable lessons, which she would like to share.

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 we can’t get ourselves to the gym?

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 than we are led to believe. How can we reconcile … Continued

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.

This I Believe

This I Believe is based on a popular radio program from the 1950s. We take time to listen to the beliefs of our congregation members. This I Believe shows us that although there is one light, there are many windows.

Black Lives Do Matter

The Black Lives Matter movement came to national prominence in 2016. While the phrase is used as a rallying cry for those working for change in our society, it can also be looked at from a more personal perspective. Worship Associate Ayanna Gaines examines what happens when someone forgets that their own minority racial identity matters. If Black Lives don’t Matter, then what of the lives of those living them?

Hidden Labor: The Work That Americans Won’t Do

One service at 10 am
George W. Bush once noted that immigrants in the United States often do the labor that “Americans won’t do.” These jobs often include menial labor such as picking strawberries, cleaning hotels, bussing tables and mowing lawns. However, it is not only immigrants that do this work; other non-majority peoples such as African Americans and indigenous people do this work, often without recognition or thanks. This service will look into the importance of invisible labor, touching on issues such as what it means to be an American.

The Theology of Neil Gaiman

1 Service at 10 am ONLY
Author Neil Gaiman is a prolific author in several genres. Yet a common thread in many of his works is the idea of good and evil, and whether there exists an ineffable Plan. What is good? What is evil? Can they be differentiated? Is there a Heaven and Hell? What is the great Plan? Ayanna Gaines will explore these questions through the lens of some of Gaiman’s writings.

The Theology of Neil Gaiman

10 am service only
Author Neil Gaiman is a prolific author in several genres. Yet a common thread in many of his works is the idea of good and evil, and whether there exists an ineffable Plan. What is good? What is evil? Can they be differentiated? Is there a Heaven and Hell? What is the great Plan? Ayanna Gaines will explore these questions through the lens of some of Gaiman’s writings.