Minister’s Blog


Persephone Days

Scott J. Neely

November 9, 2017

“Contemplating Persephone Days as I tend my tiny patch of Earth helps me appreciate the seeds and roots, confidently holding a place for future life, in their small and fragile constructs, in the dark.”—note from a UUCS member

It has been a joy to listen to many of you this fall reflect on the meaning of seasons. A number of you have shared with me what you feel within yourself as days darken and winter comes; and of how much the warmth and light of this congregation offer you energy, renewed each week, during the colder months.

Persephone Days, as one friend calls this time: this time of quiet, Spring waiting in the Winter earth.

This month in worship we will Share the Plate in support of the Spartanburg Earth Day Festival, begun and hosted by our church. This year’s festival will take place on Earth Day—Saturday, April 21. That is seasons away from us now.

But during these Persephone Days, we can place a seed for Spring itself, holding a place for future life in the dark.


For All Souls

Scott J. Neely

November 2, 2017

In the vast quiet of the Sanctuary, a member of our congregation shared with me the story of how they came to join our church. “When I came through the doors, I knew I had come home,” they shared.

Another member stood with me in the fall sunlight, looking out over the church campus, then up at the great limbs arcing over this place: “I knew I could not be where I was any longer. I could not be in a faith community that said those things but did exactly the opposite anymore. And then I found this. And this is me. This is where I belong.”

Another sat in my office, sharing vitally important efforts at advocacy and community building in Spartanburg and beyond: “This is who we are. This is what we do. I am so proud that this is us.”

A fourth person spoke quietly about how long they had sought a spiritual community. “I needed a place where I could be, a place free of judgment. And everyone has been so warm to me here. I love it.”

A place of authenticity and welcome, a place of actual human love does not emerge on its own in this world. A great deal of thought and labor and failure and renewed effort is required to create such a home for all souls.

Thank you for making this that place. It is an honor to listen to person after person, within our membership and without, express the depth of their experience here—far from perfect; certainly not without pain, disappointment, and conflict—but profound, and profoundly an experience of homecoming.

Thank you for welcoming

every one.