Sunday Service at 10:00 a.m. All are welcome!

48 2020-02-09 worship closing

Welcome! We look forward to meeting you when you visit Live Oak. Whether you are brand new to Unitarian Universalism or moving here from a UU community in another city, or even if you are returning after years away from Live Oak, you are welcome. Our worship services take place each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary at 820 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta or remotely on Zoom.

23 2000 Welcoming Congregation

This Sunday's Service

May 28, 2023 

Kristin Ingalls & Jeanne Northsinger

Summer Memories ~

A Contemplative Service

Join us this Sunday for our multi-platform weekly service in the Sanctuary at 820 North Fairview Ave., or on Zoom. Meeting ID: 991 200 709

Upcoming Services


June 4, 2023

Kendra Wise

Seedkeeper's Gift


Worship in the Unitarian Universalist context means different things to different people. The Unitarian Universalist Association Commission on Common Worship stated in 1982:
“Worship is a human activity. Though it is often defined as an activity to placate and get in touch with divine powers, it need not have any supernatural implications. The origin of the word 'worship' is in the Old English weorthscipe, meaning to ascribe worth to something, or even to shape things of worth. We worship, then, whenever we ascribe worth to some value, idea, object, person, experience, attitude, or activity, or whenever we give form or shape to that which is of worth.”
At Live Oak, we worship in many ways with our weekly Sunday morning gatherings as the heart of our communal life. Our worship speaks to the myriad of experiences in our lives, reminds us that we live as part of the interdependent web of all existence, and challenges us to live out our UU principles. Live Oak’s Worship Ministry creates and supports worship life that engages the mind, touches the heart and invites people to a new depth of spiritual development.

What to Expect

Ours is a shared ministry so each service includes components that are led by our minister or guest sermon-giver, by our Worship Associates, and by individuals who serve in leadership roles at Live Oak. Like many other congregations, our services include music, a story for all ages, a sermon, meditation, and the sharing of joys and sorrows. What makes our congregation unique, however, is the content. The Unitarian Universalist approach to spirituality is not based on a creed or received revelation, but rather through the search for the gathered wisdom of humankind; from other religions, from the arts and sciences, and from reason and intuition. Each spiritual journey is unique and there is space for differences.

Special Live Oak Customs

Toward the beginning of the service we invite our guests to introduce themselves if they so choose.

Sometimes during the service something special happens that we want to recognize with applause. Usually we show acknowledgement by raising and rotating our hands without interrupting the quiet space of the service but sometimes clapping wins out (especially if the youth of our congregation have contributed in a special way).

Also, because there are several members of the congregation who are highly allergic to fragrances, we try not to wear strong perfumes or colognes.

At the end of the service we stand and hold hands while singing a closing hymn. In most congregations that’s where things would end, but we usually sit back down to enjoy a last gift of music.

After the service, we gather on the patio for coffee and conversation and on some Sundays there are special events following the service.

We call it Religious Exploration and we have a fun and engaging program for Pre Kindergarten-Grade 12, as well as childcare for the youngest children. The children almost always join us in the sanctuary for the first part of the service, generally leaving after we collect food items to share with the Goleta Headstart Program. We sing them out of the sanctuary as they leave for their classes and you are, of course, welcome to join your child’s class as he or she acclimates to the new people and surroundings.

We also have a “Gurgling Gallery” for families with babies & toddlers who might want to stay with their parents during the service. It is a small room with rocking chairs that is attached to the sanctuary; it has a large window to see the service and speakers to hear the service, but is a place where the noise of little ones doesn’t matter. You are always welcome to use it.

Find your way to the Visitor Table and you will be greeted and given a bag with information about Unitarian Universalism and about Live Oak UU Congregation’s programs. You will also be invited to fill out a visitor information card with your contact information and your choices for future communication (weekly newsletter of activities, etc.) Finally, you will be encouraged to make yourself a name tag so others can easily greet you and get acquainted. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, especially of the people who are wearing a “Greeter” ribbon; that’s why they are wearing that tag!

No. Dress up if you like, come in jeans with holes in the knees, wear your biking outfit. It really doesn’t matter. On balance, most of us just wear typical southern California casual.

Why Become a Live Oak Member?

Sure, anyone can attend, anyone can worship, can reap the benefits of our Religious Education program or Youth Group, can share the joy of Sundays in this community, can join our Covenant Groups and other circles, but what does a capital-M Membership mean?

Well, there are the little benefits of membership:

  • Voting rights at our congregational meetings (help decide the BIG issues)
  • Ability to serve on the Board of Trustees
  • Use of Live Oak space for parties or gatherings that are open to the other members of the community.
  • Be counted among the U.U.s who are served by our Pacific Southwest District and our Unitarian Universalist Association, including being on the distribution list for the excellent UUWorld magazine

And then there are the BIG BENEFITS:

  • Becoming a member is about aligning your actions with your beliefs. It’s saying to yourself, your family, and this community that you agree with the actions and values of Unitarian Universalism, and are committed to trying to live these values.
  • Becoming a member is also about making visible your sense of belonging to this congregation. It’s an entering into covenant with us, and an expression of commitment to our shared future. It is a heart and spirit decision.

Join us on this spiritual journey. Walk down the path to Membership with the three steps:

  • Path to Membership – We ask all newcomers to attend our Path to Membership class, which is offered two or three times a year. Path to Membership is a great way for newcomers to get to know one another as we share thoughts about our own spiritual paths and grow in knowledge about our congregation and about Unitarian Universalism. (You can register for Orientation by contacting administrator@liveoakgoleta.org.
  • Sign THE BOOK – It’s decision time! You attend worship. You’ve gone through Orientation. You consider this Live Oak community your spiritual home. Are you ready to make a commitment to this congregation? If so, make an appointment to sign the Membership Book and add your name to the Charter Members who started our congregation on May 4, 1986.
  • Stewardship – Take a look at what this community means to you, to Goleta, and to the world. This congregation is supported solely by its members and friends. We ask people to make a generous yearly financial commitment in the form of a stewardship pledge.


11 2019-09-08 Teka Penteriche, John Douglas


The Live Oak UU Choir usually performs in two Sunday services per month, as well as in special services. Choir rehearses Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 in the sanctuary. Our repertoire includes a wide spectrum of musical styles (hymns, classical, standards, ballads, pop, world music, etc.). John records parts tracks to assist singers in practicing on their own; this is especially helpful when choir members need to miss a rehearsal. Choir takes a hiatus during the summer. If you enjoy singing and would like to join us, we welcome you.

Contact: John Douglas jed805@gmail.com

sangha bowl, candle (1)

Live Oak Sangha

Weekly on Tuesday evenings

7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Live Oak in the Sanctuary

Everyone is welcome!

(Sangha is virtual until reopen)

bhuddist lotus

Beginners, long time practitioners, and people who have never meditated but think they might like to explore a Buddhist practice in the context of Unitarian Universalism are invited to join us. Our Sangha began practicing in 2004. We base our practices upon the Thich Nhat Hanh tradition. We start with a check-in, 20-minute silent sitting meditation and 10 minutes of walking meditation, followed by 30 minutes of dharma study. We may have another short silent sitting meditation and then our closing.

During our Dharma time we study together from a common book, with occasional articles of interest or discussions of our individual practices. These include Thich Nhat Hanh and many other teachers’ works. We also sometimes participate in retreats or special events in the area. Everyone is welcome!

Earth Centered Spirituality

Earth-Centered Spirituality at Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation (1)

The Earth, The Water, The Fire, The Air, Return, Return, Return, Return!

At Live Oak, reverence for the natural world and recognition of seasonal changes are woven into the fabric of nearly every Sunday service through music, words, or ritual, and sometimes provide the focus for our services as well. This is in keeping with the Unitarian Universalist source of “Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” Our shared principles encourage direct experience of mystery and wonder as we honor the interconnected web of all existence and the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

Blessed Be!

Group coordinators:
Christina Cabeen
Jeanne Northsinger

Live Oak’s Earth-Centered Group was created to nurture and share Earth-centered spiritual perspectives, foster knowledge of Pagan practices, create rituals for growth and healing, and be a place for kindred spirits to connect, learn from each other, and have fun. We have circles on relevant topics and celebrate Pagan seasonal holidays based on the interest of members. Most rituals and circles are open to everyone, with sites selected to fit the accessibility needs of interested participants.

TIP: Click or tap image for full size.