Author Archives: UUCS

SOCIAL JUSTICE ZOOM Meeting 7 pm, Wed. Mar. 3 rd .

All are welcome. Topics: volunteers for quintuple dip, little free libraries, consciousness team, SC Aquarium litter sweep project, and more.

Email socialjustice@uucs.org for if you have an agenda item to add and for Zoom Meeting ID and Password.

Another Quintuple Dip: Period Products in honor of International Women’s Day & Much More

Get your St. Patrick’s Day face masks here! Sunday, Mar. 14 th 3:00-5:00 or Tues. Mar. 16 th 10:00-12:00. Drive through, drop off, and you can receive a free face mask! We’re collecting for the Spartanburg Period Project, which will get our donations of feminine hygiene items to a variety of local organizations serving women and girls in need. We’re also collecting gently used children’s books for the 3 Little Free Libraries (LFL) we are supporting, as well as our regulars: food for TOTAL ministries and newspapers for Animal Allies. On Sunday only, we will host a litter sweep for the SC Aquarium project (more info below). Your participation and contributions are greatly appreciated!

Books your children or grandchildren have outgrown are great for the LFL’s. However, if you would like to purchase books to support our three Little Free Libraries serving children in African American and Hispanic neighborhoods, here are a few suggestions from our very own children’s librarian, Joyce Harrison. All are available on Amazon and most are paperback.

Hispanic Titles to consider:

  • Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States – Spanish Ed. – Carlson and Hijuelos
  • Abuela – Dorros
  • Be Bold! Be Brave!: 11 Latinas Who Made U. S. History – Reynoso
  • Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes – Thong
  • Dreamers – Morales
  • Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You – Sotomayor
  • We Are Water Protectors – Lindstrom
  • Nino Wrestles the World – Morales

African American Titles to consider:

  • I Am Every Good Thing – Barnes
  • I Need You to Know: The ABC’s of Black Girl Magic – McClain-Muhammad
  • Hair Love – Cherry
  • Full, Full, Full of Love – Cooke
  • Hair Like Mine – Perry
  • I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids – Garcia
  • Lola at the Library – McQuinn
  • The Boy Who Became King: LeBron James – Curcio

Litter Sweep: Upcoming Litter Sweeps:  Making Neighborhoods Beautiful

Spruce up nearby streets by removing litter and recording the data for the South Carolina Aquarium.  Data empowers policy changes locally and throughout our state and we all benefit from clean streets and neighborhoods.  Work independently or while wearing masks and distanced with a partner.  Data collection sheets, clipboards, pens, garbage bags and grabbers will be supplied.  Bring gloves!  Routes will be designated and on sidewalks.  Meet at the Henry Place cul-de-sac to gather materials and walk to nearby designated sites.  Return materials and filled garbage bags to UUCS when done.

Time:  3:00 – 5:00 on Sunday, March 14 th . Rain date:  March 16th from 10:00 – 12:00.  Contact Joyce Harrison (864-680-9720) for additional information.

If you’d prefer to collect litter in your neighborhood either day, please email me (Joyce
Harrison, sptbgwalker@gmail.com) and I’ll send you a data collection sheet. You can then send me a copy of your completed data sheet for inclusion in our Aquarium data submission.

It’s starting to feel like Spring some days. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every week. More folks are being vaccinated, and gratitude for many is running high. I want to thank you all for the generous pledges you have been giving for the next church year. We are coming to the conclusion of the Generous Giving & Generous Service annual fund drive and if you haven’t yet pledged, please consider doing it this week.

We are getting the final cost projections for the elevator and hope to sign the contracts this month.

Weather permitting we will start having some of our services in the back yard of the church on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the coming months. And I am very happy to say on April 18th Brannon Carter and his team are going to run the auction after the church service.

Please continue to wear your masks everywhere, keep your family and friends safe and practice social distancing. Don’t hesitate to call on any board member if you need something. Soon we will be able to come back together. I want to see every one of you there.

Stay Safe,

Linda Leible

Celebrating Women’s History

“The inclusion of female divine names and images in worship and ministry empowers our work of peace and justice in the world by helping to break down patriarchal structures that keep so many people in poverty and oppression.” (Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton)

I once shared an image of the Divine Feminine with a group in dialogue about gender, race, and religious difference. This image is rooted in deep scriptural and faith community traditions, but it is very different from the normative male images of divinity to which many people in the group were accustomed:

Saint Sophia, by Mirta Toledo
Saint Sophia, by Mirta Toledo

The response was moving. Some people experienced deep recognition and elation. Others were very disturbed. It was evident that for everyone the image was unexpected and impactful. Images are powerful—they are a mirror, an echo; they tell us something about ourselves and our world, whatever our beliefs may be.

Of course, images of the Divine Feminine are foundational for human cultures around the world and throughout time:

Kuan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Kuan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Isis, Egyptian Goddess of Life, Death, & Magic
Isis, Egyptian Goddess of Life, Death, & Magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then there are images of great complexity, that push us beyond the usual boundaries of our accepted reality:

Ardhanarishvara, the god Shiva & goddess Parvati fused
Ardhanarishvara, the god Shiva & goddess Parvati fused

“Viewing deity as including and transcending female and male releases all genders to experience a deeper spirituality as we have greater freedom to fulfill our potential in the divine image.” (Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton)

When I shared with the UUCS Worship team and members of our congregation that we would be focusing on the Divine Feminine during this month, I was again moved—many people shared with me stories, images, and books about their encounters with the Divine Feminine, and the transformative power of those encounters in their lives. I would like to invite you to join in this dialogue as well. If you have stories, images, practices, or experiences of the Divine Feminine you would like to share, please reach out to me over the course of this month ( minister@uucs.org ). I would very much like to hear them.

For those of us who identify with a divine power, these stories, images, and practices can be challenging and liberating about who divinity is, and what our connection to Her can be. For those of us who do not find meaning in divinity, these images can still be challenging and liberating, a mirror revealing the power that human beings can access within ourselves to dismantle systems of oppression, symbolized in images from fellow human beings around the world.

For all of us, these images are an invitation—to be challenged, to be liberated, to discover a power for liberation of which we are all a part.

“With all the injustice and violence in our world, we often feel overwhelmed and wonder what we can do. We all want to make a difference…. We contribute to transforming our world through including female names and images of the divine. I invite you to speak and sing Her name, to experience Her transforming power.” (Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton)

Scott

This Sunday, a major leader in our community and state will be our guest speaker. The Honorable Brenda Lee Pryce, who served in the S.C. House of Representatives for District 31 from 1995 to 2005 and co-author of South of Main on the history of Spartanburg’s Southside before and during urban renewal, will lead our Sunday service. Please watch here.

Exactly one year ago, as Black History Month concluded, we moved into a reflection together on what it means to be a neighbor in the South Converse neighborhood (“To Be A Neighbor” and “South Converse“). Those reflections were interrupted by the on-set of the pandemic. (Although the videos of these services are incomplete, it is very moving to see the choir singing, and all of us gathered in person, right before the pandemic hit in the March 1 & March 8, 2020, Sunday service videos.)

In the year that has passed, we have striven to strengthen our connection with the Southside, building relationships, making and distributing hundreds of masks just for this neighborhood, helping with get-out-the-vote efforts, joining in community projects, litter pick-ups, and meetings, and much more. We are trying to listen, to learn again what it means to be a neighbor in this place, conscious of history, dedicated to making life more livable for every person here.

A year since the start of the pandemic, former Rep. Pryce will speak with us about this neighborhood and about our shared future. She has been a vital leader for us all, whether we know it or not. On Sunday, she will lead us again.

Please welcome her with your presence, even in our virtual format.

Thank you–

Scott

When we are frustrated, when we cannot make things work as we think they should, when unfairness overwhelms, when the world does not care:

a word of gratitude, even for the smallest thing,

can relax our shoulders, can open our minds, can help us shift to possibilities and a way forward.

Shift–

Scott

A workshop presented by Garry Snipes and Lisa Mowery, who will provide clear and simple recommendations to realize a good death when our time has come, and to be able to support others in their dying process. An opportunity for dialogue will be an important part of this course, so that we can all learn from each other.

The 5-part workshop will take place:

  • Wednesdays from 12:00-1:15 PM via Zoom
  • March 17, 24, 31,
  • April 14, 21

See the flyer for further information.

Register by email at lisamowery@me.com.

Look how beautiful this is: https://sparkandfire.com/billtjones/

We can do so much, so well, when we strive together–

Scott

For the week of February 8, 2021:

Thirty Days of Love

Look at some ways the UUA has for extending lovingkindness out into the world over the next month. There is something there for all ages—videos, books to read, Zoom workshops.
https://sidewithlove.org/thirty-days-of-love

• Week One: Living Our Values in the World (January 17 – 23)
• Week Two: Hospitality and Inclusion (January 24 – 30)
• Week Three: Educating for Liberation (January 31 – February 6)
• Week Four: Restoration and Reparations (February 7 – 13)

Poetry and Readings for Inner Strength, Peace, Hope, Healing, and Beauty

A Small Needful Fact (Ross Gay)

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.

General Spiritual Resources for Families

Soulful Home https://www.soulmatterssharingcircle.com/uploads/9/4/5/0/94501751/0221_sh_beloved_community.pdf
Soulful Home for February: Beloved Community

Parenting In A Time of Social Distancing

https://www.highlightskids.com/asks/share-with-us/HaH-do-kind-things
Do Something Kind for Others

Music for All Ages

Social Justice Inspiration

When We Are Singing (Social Justice Choir Songbook)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkKzP541jCQ

RE Connections for All Ages for Week of February 8, 2021

A Long Strange Trip: A History of Unitarian Universalism

Wednesday evenings 7-8:30 – continuing through March 17th

This is the first adult enrichment program of the year, a Zoom watching of a video series produced by the UUA that will be facilitated by UUCS member Jim Scanlan. The series presents a history of liberal religion beginning with the early Christian era, followed by the development of Unitarian and Universalist faiths, through the merger of the two faiths to the present. We will watch 6 1-hr videos during 6 consecutive weekly sessions. After each viewing, there will be 30-min of discussion.  Wednesday evenings 7-8:30 in February, continuing through March 17th

Please join us! Email ae@uucs.org with your request to join our Wednesday evening ‘Long Strange Trip’ series.

Celebrating Black History Month

“Deep human stuff in a political environment.” (Bill T. Jones)

I have so often heard these words: “You should be grateful.” Or, “They should be grateful.” Words often spoken to “put someone in their place”, especially in moments of protest, of advocating for oneself, of expressing concern for what is wounding, of expressing outrage for what is breaking the world. Words meant to silence and subdue. Words of power, and not shared power—power for oneself over others.

What if, rather than demand gratitude of others, we each practiced gratitude ourselves?

Gratitude is a powerful practice. It asks of us mindfulness and humility. It has the power to shift our minds and our feelings. It illuminates possibility. It can bind broken relationships. It can rebuild a world.

This has been a year of pandemic, of protest, of deceit, of loss, of grief, of strain. We have heard ugly comments, comments of power, and not shared power. We have felt concern. We have felt outrage.

What if, in the brokenness of this moment, we practice gratitude? And by cultivating gratitude in ourselves, we cultivate possibility in the world, to rebuild the world.

This month, we will practice gratitude. We will be still, we will feel, we will radiate. We will experiment with ourselves, to see what power gratitude offers us, for rebuilding our world.

And in our practice of gratitude, with mindfulness and humility, we will practice gratitude in celebration of Black History Month,

gratitude, for the sheer humanity, the sheer beauty, the sheer presence of the people of Africa and the African diaspora in our world,
gratitude, for the peoples and continent who gave birth to us all at the origin of our human being,
all people ultimately born of Africa,

gratitude, for those of us who identify as Black,
gratitude, for those of us who share this world with these our siblings,

gratitude for so much that sustains us,
for so much on which we depend and for which we are indebted,
for so much taken, and even so for so much still so generously given that we do not deserve,
gratitude for so much that has made our lives possible
but for which we may never have expressed thanks.

If, with mindfulness and humility, we practice gratitude, who might we become? What might we discover our human being to be? And then, what might we do? What world might we help to build?

“Goodbye binary. Hello future. I’m dreaming…I’m dreaming….” (Bill T. Jones in The Process of Becoming Infinite)

–Scott