Author Archives: UUCS

Dear friends,

After more than 10 years of faithful service and more than 300 Sunday services, our beloved Keith Plumley has decided it is time to step down as Director of Music. Keith has given all of us more than we will ever know,

  • filling our services with beauty
  • planning and organizing music, musicians, worship, and much more when no one else was looking
  • developing our choir into a strong and enduring musical team that shows us all what we can create when we work together
  • and simply caring for each of us.

He will be sorely missed. Speaking personally as only one example, Keith has been an essential guide for me these last three years, teaching me the worship and music traditions of a religious movement to which I am an outsider. We all owe him an enormous debt of thanks.

Keith has asked for his last day to be October 30. Ever humble, he prefers we not shine the spotlight on him too much—but we will honor him, in gratitude for what he has given us. Please reach out to him with your appreciation, and please watch for more information on how we will celebrate Keith’s legacy at UUCS.

With gratitude,


(September 17, 2020)

Congregational Dialogue: The Work of Consciousness

At our Annual Meeting in June, our congregation voted on a powerful new approach to Social Justice:

  • Once/quarter, we will gather as a congregation to do the work of consciousness through workshops and dialogues on becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppression, multicultural congregation. From this commitment to consciousness, four teams will work on four distinct projects in the areas of Immigration, Voting, Ecology, and Being a Neighbor.

We will host four congregational dialogues this year on becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppression, multi-cultural congregation. These will take place following Sunday services from 12:15 – 1:45 pm. These will be in a virtual Zoom format:

    • Oct. 4
    • Dec. 6
    • Feb 7
    • May 2

These sessions will strengthen how we work together and how we serve our community. They are for all of us as a congregation; they will change us all. Please plan to attend.


(September 16, 2020)

Voting Action Team:

Look for our new wayside pulpit signs and banner, coming soon. The deadline to register online to vote is Sunday, October 4, 2020, or in person, Friday, Oct. 2nd. We’ll be moving from a focus on getting people registered, to getting out the vote. For the most inspiring presentation on the importance of voting and getting out the vote, watch Rev. Barber lead this program by the poor people’s campaign:

MASK NEWSWe’ve made over 3,500!

In June, we donated over 200 masks to the Navajo Nation, so we rejoice especially in this news of its great progress in controlling Covid 19, from an NPR interview, (and the credit given to mask-wearing):
Our 16 member sewing circle has passed the 3,500 mark in our mask making!

Upcoming giveaway: PASOS event Saturday, Sep. 19th, PASOS event, with voter registration, census help, flu shots, and more in Boiling Springs. We will donate most of the masks we have for that event.

Recent giveaways:

Sep. 5th Mexican store: about 50 adult and youth/children
Sep. 1st and 10th Hope Center for Children: about 40 adult and 30 youth/children
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children

Why do we keep sewing?

For them—all the people we will never meet, who wear our masks and protect others from illness
For you—all our family and friends who are safer
And for ourselves—sewing can be a meditation and a way for each of us to know that we are contributing, saving lives, from the comfort of our homes.
Would you like to join us? Email for more info.


(August 25, 2020)

We’ve scheduled a general social justice meeting for Wed., Sept. 2nd, 7 pm, via zoom. We’ll go with q other month again, 1st Wed., 7 pm, so you can put that on your calendar. I’ll ask Anne to send a zoom link Wed. via email. IF you are reading this in the Happenings and want to join the meeting, email me at so I can add you to the social justice email list.

Agenda: Update on Consciousness team, Voter team, Good Neighbor team, with everyone’s contributions throughout. Schedule team meetings.
You can get a head start on the updates on the voting outreach with LWV, the good neighbor/ mask project and the places they have merged, below. You can see how immigration is covered in both these projects. And we’re saving ecology for when the weather cools down a bit! Please contribute your ideas and actions– See you Wed.

Voter Registration Action

Nonpartisan Door Hanger

The voter registration nonpartisan door hangers created by Barbara Dorsey, Joan McPherson, and their friend, Andy Aulde have opened a lot of doors! See attachment “Door Hanger,” (English side). We shared these at the dedication of the Grimke Mural with LWV members and church members, and they spread from there. The first thousand were gone before I could turn around twice, the second and third thousand, to be delivered Friday, are mostly committed already. with perhaps some left over. Our emphasis here is reaching underserved neighborhoods and people often overlooked. Take a look at where they’ve gone and bring your suggestions to our meeting.

Developing List: Jeraldine Mack, 20 for black barber and beauty shops, Ruth Littlejohn 20, Susan Turregano, 110 ( put in food bags at Total Ministry), Lou Sartor 20 (Soup Kitchen, she will print more on paper as needed AND let folks use computer there to register), PASOS 100, 20 for Inman Mexican store, about 75 paper for Cierra Fowler for Little Africa township. Cierra, also, as Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authoritiy, 600 to put on all public housing apartments, Vera Jeter Jones, 40 for Black churches, Pam Stoll has given 100 to Kenneth Myers for S Converse Neighborhood, Ann Waddell, 20 (Upstate Grad Advisor/Upstate AKA Sorority, and she will print more as needed). Ana Walker (works for ex-felon program). Next up, ethnic restaurants! We’ll save some for Sept 19th, a Latinx event in Boiling Springs. We’re also encouraging others to print or copy as desired.

Face Mask / Being a Good Neighbor project

On AUGUST 16TH our 16 member sewing circle passed the 3,000 mark in our mask making. We’ve given away many,

Tula in Mom’s mask

many masks in ones and twos, or threes and fours for a family, or ten or twelve for a small group, but here are some of the–

Recent give-aways:

Aug 10 & 12th About 30 for church members and 50 for protesters in Greenville
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children
Aug. 18th Little Africa (township in northern Sptg county): 50
Aug. 18th Elementary school teachers 20
Aug 21st Three mask-making kits for Cierra Fowler, Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authority, who plans to start a sewing group.

Click links for printables:

On your own, or in your sewing circle, contact Alice to let us know how many masks you have made!

Mask News –  Updates, click here!


We’re sending masks with those door hangers to those ethnic restaurants for their staff. We’ll circle back and see if the Hope Center needs more masks, too.


(August 13, 2020)

The Social Justice Triple Dip evolved into a Quintuple Dip! We collected over 1000 pounds of food donations for Total Ministries, from over 40 donors, in our Sunday and Tuesday events. Everyone at TOTAL Ministries is thrlled and so grateful for our donations for those in need in Spartanburg. Our mask makers provided 380 masks so our members had all kinds of choices. Members “bought” 30 masks (helping fund more mask materials) and also collected some for groups in need. We sent 50 for protestors in Greenville in coming weekends. We’ll send more to immigrant centers and check to see if Hope Center needs some more, too. We also sold most of our remaining Fair Trade inventory and UUCS Tshirts. And, finally, we welcomed the LWV which sold their beautiful notecards featuring our new mural. So, now you know what a quintuple dip is!


FOOD-DRIVE  HappyBirthdayTeresa



Being A Good Neighbor:

Collect for TOTAL Ministries

Give out masks

Sell remaining coffee, tea, chocolate

(August 2020)

Have you missed contributing to the TOTAL food barrel? We have, too, so we are doing a “drive by” collection Aug 9th, 5:00-7:00 pm, and Tues., Aug. 11th, 10:00-Noon for UUCS members and friends only. Just put your donations in the trunk of your car and drive around Henry Place. We will have a couple SUV’s backed up in the church driveway— pop your trunk and a volunteer will move your donation from your trunk to SUV while another volunteer will offer you our cloth masks and ask if you want to buy coffee, tea or chocolate (cash or check only). Susan Turregano has been volunteering at TOTAL and shares this information: “The need for families to receive food assistance is very great in Spartanburg at the moment. With schools and many churches closed, the food drives that usually help stock the shelves at Total Ministries have significantly slowed. Total Ministries has been serving over 100 families each week with food assistance alone.”

Greatest need right now is (not cereal, canned veggies or tuna):

Pasta and Pasta Sauce
Dried Beans or rice
Canned Beef Stew or Chicken and Dumplings
Canned Chicken
Mac and Cheese dinners for family of 4
Small jars of peanut butter and also jelly
Cornbread mix or boxed stuffing
Instant mashed potatoes
Canned Fruit

MORE MASKS FOR ALL CHURCH MEMBERS AND FRIENDS: Time moves so strangely in this strange time, but since we gave out masks to all church members we could in APRIL, it seems like we should do it again in AUGUST. So, if you are able to drive by and contribute to our food collection for TOTAL Ministries, we will use that opportunity to give you and your family new masks for as long as our supplies last! We do expect to have enough masks for everyone.

And, the last part of this “triple dip,” we are selling the fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate that we have on hand, cash or check only. Check the Happenings for a list of what’s available.

To volunteer to help curbside for our all-church drive-by, please email and I will pass your email along to Susan Turregano and Pam Stoll, who are planning this. To donate, just buy food and put the date on your calendar—hope to see you then!

ZOOM SOCIAL JUSTICE MEETING Tuesday Aug.4th, 7 PM, open to all and focusing on being a good neighbor and more—check next week’s Happenings for a zoom link and agenda.

Our Sewing Circle (16 strong) has now made over 2500 masks! During July, we’ve given over 400 to Hispanic outreach efforts, adding to the 100+ given in June. We still welcome new members to our circle! We’ll be making over 100 to give to church members and friends at our Drive By collection for TOTAL Ministries. Why do we sew? Two reasons.

  1. Masks are the most effective tool we have against covid19 –“your life is worth my time.”
  2. Sewing, doing something positive, becomes almost a meditation. It soothes the soul.

Email if you would like to join.

Alice Sutton, chair, Social Justice


February – March  2020 Social Justice Activities: Focus on Racism & Voting

All * events in UUCS Fellowship Hall. All are welcome!

In June, we’ll be voting for our focus issues for the coming year. Right now, we’re learning about them through our church services, programs, discussions, and actions. Participate in these as you can, and share your experiences with others in our congregation. Community activities by the League of Women Voters, the South Converse Neighborhood Assoc., and others give us many ways to learn, grow, and contribute!
Our six possible issues are listed at the end of this month’s activities.

Thursday, Feb. 6th, 6:00 Determined to Soar Art Exhibit. A talk by painter Nancy Corbin will open this exhibit of paintings celebrating the resilient and collaborative nature of women. Converse College, Milliken Art Gallery. Reception follows, and exhibit will be on display from February 6-27, 2020. The exhibition is located in the Milliken Art Gallery and is free of charge. Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 am-5:00pm, and Sundays 1:00-5:00.

The Drag Queen Story Hour Sun., Feb. 9th, 2:00-4:00, Fellowship Hall. We will have one or two police officers on site, plus a couple UU members to help direct traffic. Please wear your UU T-shirt (if you have one) and park by Hatcher House. Register to attend at

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 7:00 pmVoices in American Art: Lecture presented by the Johnson Collection, at Wofford College: Dr. Evie Terrono, Professor of Art History, challenges her students to see the vital intersection between ideas of American exceptionalism, and understandings of race, gender and politics in material culture and fine art. The presentation will be in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts on the Wofford Campus.

Friday, February 14, 2020, 12-2:00 pmLeague of Women Voters Birthday – 100 Years! Celebrate and Act! Join League members for coffee or tea and toast the LWV – and ourselves! Then we will act – writing postcards to our legislators telling them our state needs Fair Maps. Spill The Beans, 174 E. Main Street, Spartanburg (In the Aug Smith Building).

Saturday, Feb. 15th, 12:00. SCNA will meet in our fellowship hall to celebrate the unveiling of the two newest Lightbulb Art, in the South Converse Neighborhood. All are welcome!

Sunday, Feb. 16th. 12:15 Dialogue on social justice issues after our service led by Rev. Scott Neely

Mon., Feb. 17th. 2:00 at the main library, Barrett Room, or 6:00 pm at the CC Woodson Ctr. “The Other Boys of Summer”,a film that explores the history of Negro League Baseball. Spartanburg was host to the Spartanburg Sluggers from 1928 to 1952, a team in the Negro Textile League, and a number of well-known black players appeared at the Duncan Park Field. More at

ALSO Monday, February 17, 2020, 7:00 pmThe Life of Viola Desmond, Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond . Join us as John Abercrombie presents a lecture on the life of Viola Desmond, who is the face on the Canadian $10 bill. Hoechst-Celanese Room (downstairs) of the Spartanburg County Public Library.

Thurs. Feb. 20, 7:00. League of Women Voters’ celebration of 100th Birthday, Main Library.

Wed. Feb. 26th, 2:00 and Mar. 11th, 7:00 at Humanist Meeting. Film “Suppressed: The Right to Vote.” More about this important film at

Mon., Mar. 2, 6:00 for potluck, 6:30 for meeting. Speaking Down Barriers, at Arthur Center, 400 E. Kennedy. Visitors always welcome! More info at

Books, books: New at the library: “Amazons, abolitionists, and activists : a graphic history of women’s fight for their rights” by Kendall, Mikki. And info on more books at

The Social Justice Council has chosen our focus topic options for June 2020, a total of 3 local and 3 global issues for the congregation to learn about and consider between now and the vote at our annual congregational meeting in June 2020. The issues chosen will be our focus for the year July 2020-June 2021. There were many vitally important issues submitted by the congregation at our church service Nov. 3rd, at Social Justice (SJ) meetings, and also by email or notes on the SJ bulletin board. Our SJ meetings elicited intense discussions encompassing the passions of SJ members, the concern shown by congregational “share the plates,” as well as the recent collection of food and sundries for PASOS (Hispanic, poverty) and other actions such as the coat collection for the Atheists Helping the Homeless, the youth collections for animal welfare, etc. We also looked at which issues offered the best opportunities for action for our entire church community, i.e., what organizations we currently have connections with, for potential partnerships, and resources available from UUA. Our notes below begin to expand on the issues; we will continue to discuss ideas for actions and education for all of them.


  1. Racism. Address need to understand history from perspective of Native Americans, African Americans, and other ethnic groups. Activities: work with Speaking Down Barriers, join MLK Parade, work to put up lynching memorial/ remove any Confederate statue in Sptg, similar. Write letters to support legal actions. This ties into various poverty, education, and UUCS internal concerns. UUA and racial justice:
  2. Immigration and Hispanic Alliance. Treatment of refugees as well as children in custody. Many issues re changes of immigrants and longterm immigrants. We have many church members who are passionate about this, and overall support has been shown by contributions to PASOS food and sundry drive, share the plate for lawyers for immigrants and services for children in custody. We have an ongoing relationship with the Hispanic Alliance in Spartanburg. Actions could include more of above, English lessons for adults or homework help for children. Also relates to poverty, and more.
  3.  Being a Good Neighbor in our church community and in Spartanburg. More details on this one later.



  1. Also Immigration and Hispanic Alliance. Treatment of refugees as well as children in custody. Many issues re changes of immigrants and longterm immigrants. We have many church members who are passionate about this, and overall support has been shown by contributions to PASOS food and sundry drive, share the plate for lawyers for immigrants and services for children in custody. We have an ongoing relationship with the Hispanic Alliance in Spartanburg. Actions could include more of above, plus visit to detention center, plus political activity (letters, more). Also relates to poverty, climate change, and more.
    Unitarian Universalist Assoc. and immigration issues:
    And 2018
  2. Citizenship Action and Get out the Vote. Although local actions, e.g., to register citizens to vote,encourage youth to vote, and to inform ex-felons of their voting rights, are important, they may seem not meaningful enough in this conservative state. However, local experience in voter registration may be practice for participating in voter registration in neighboring states. Also, citizen action, particularly phone calls and letters, can be effective in influencing legislation that affects many causes, including S.C. legislative action on the environment (local initiatives banning plastic straws and bags threatened by upstate legislators), work licensure for Dreamers, solar energy, marijuana legislation (criminal law reform), gun violence, education, etc. A monthly or bimonthly letter-writing + campaign could be a part of this, first, as part of the Congregational Education on Issues, and then, after the election of 2020 is over. Our strong ties with League of Women Voters would give us partners for this work, as well as our ties to WREN and “green” groups, and, of course, our own experience with Spartanburg Earth Day. This UUA webpage offers a way of pulling together a lot of our concerns about voting and citizenship:
  3. Environmental Action. We have just completed a 4- year focus on the Spartanburg Earth Day Festival, and as we partner with USC Upstate and become their junior partner.. we have ongoing actions that relate to the commitment underlying the festival. Our global concern is reflected in ongoing local activities with the SC Aquarium on working against single use plastics, and with professors at USC Upstate on a project to help restaurants in Spartanburg become more environmentally friendly. Wider global action could include phone calls, petitions, letters, and demonstrations supporting/fighting legislation. This is another issue with lots of information for action from UUA, including at

Click here for Previous Social Justice News/Articles

UU Church of Spartanburg
P.O. Box 1942
Spartanburg, SC 29304-1942
(Location: 210 Henry Place, Spartanburg, SC 29306) / 864-585-9230

Please enter the amount and click on the dropdowns (▼) for your options:

The Grimké Sisters: A Mural at UUCS
The Grimké Sisters: A Mural at UUCS

This Sunday we will celebrate our annual Ingathering of Waters, a celebration of our summer journeys and our coming back together for the new church year. To do this safely via our virtual Sunday service format, please:

  • Bring a small container of water to the front porch of Hatcher House by Saturday, September 12 at noon. This is an extended deadline–we have some water but need more. Please bring your water by noon on Saturday!
  • Attach a note to your container identifying that it is from you and where you gathered the water.
    The water can come from a lake or the ocean or a river or a stream, or from your own kitchen–anywhere you have been this summer.
  • Our worship team will present the water during the service, pouring it into a common bowl, and reading some (we will not be able to do all) of our names and the places where we have gathered water.

Even though we cannot be together in person, we can serve together. In this time of anxiety and division, please join in this ritual of connecting with one another.

Thank you all–


We have revamped the event originally planned for May 2020, now formatted to allow us to engage with one another safely during the pandemic. Each session will be recorded live for sharing after the event is over. All recordings will be posted to an LGBTQ Theologies website, for continual access and sharing.

We hope you will join us for this virtual event!

“The Bible as an Ally”
Featuring theologians Cody Sanders, Kristan Pitts, Davelyn Hill, Maria Swearingen, Sally Sarratt, Jim Dant, Tom Norrell, Ashton Michael Lee, and Shelton Ridge Love

Every Tuesday evening, September 29 through October 27
7:00-8:30 pm via Zoom

Sessions will be recorded and posted on our new website. We hope that you will attend live for dialogue with our speakers each week.

Register here:

Please share this event with all in your networks who would be interested in joining us.

Questions? Please contact us:

With gratitude for the world we are building together,

Rev. Tim Drum, Spartanburg Methodist College
Anne Garner, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg
Rev. Matt Johnson, Fernwood Baptist Church
Shelton Ridge Love, First Baptist Church, Greenville
Rev. Tom Norrell, Central United Methodist Church
Rev. Sue Perrin, Sacred Traditions and Rituals
Dr. John Simmons, Central United Methodist Church
Rev. Scott Neely, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg

Small bouquets, formal bouquets, potted plants: they’ve all made our Sunday services more inviting.

We’ve all appreciated the flowers that have adorned out chalice table on Sunday mornings. Many have come from the home gardens and plants; others have been gifts from special events. Thank you, generous donors!

Our UUCS Aesthetics Committee would like to offer UUCS members and friends the opportunity to provide flowers for a particular Sunday. Blooms from your garden, inexpensive bouquets from grocery stores, or more formal florist arrangements are all welcome.

You can sign up for a particular Sunday through Sign Up Genius and can add details there if you want to offer the flowers to honor a person or occasion or in memory of someone. Those gifts will be acknowledged in the Order of Service for that particular Sunday. In addition, you can indicate if you’d like to be notified of any upcoming vacant Sundays for flowers. Our signup includes dates from Sept. 6th – June 30th.

Link to Sign Up Genius:

Sign Up Genius will send you a reminder 3 days ahead of time for your Sunday.

  • Delivery of Flowers: Flowers need to arrive at the church at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Both doors to the sanctuary foyer will be open. Please wear a mask, practice social distancing, and place your flowers on the Chalice Table if you feel comfortable coming in. You are also welcome to place the flowers on the table at the back of the sanctuary, then announce their arrival. The taping of the service is limited to a minimal number of people to provide ultimate protection for everyone serving that Sunday, so you won’t be able to stay in the sanctuary for the taping of the service.
  • Plans for your flowers following the service: Notify the worship associate as to your plans for the flowers once the service has ended. Let them know if you’d like to pick them up at 11:00 and which door you prefer. They’ll be left just outside that door. Please label your flowers with your name.

Jean Snipes will be coordinating our flower calendar and may be contacted with further questions at

“Voting is power. Who has it? And who is exercising their power?

“Often times I use that word ‘exercise’ when talking about democracy. I say, ‘Democracy is like a muscle—it needs to be used in order to be strong.’ My question to you, to us: ‘Are you exercising all of your power—all of your power?’ It can be scary to acknowledge your own power.” (Karen Mitchell)

Deliberate, clear, powerful & empowering: League of Women Voters-Spartanburg President and UUCS member Karen Mitchell’s sermon this past Sunday calls us to use all of our power for this election season:

  1. Pay attention: Is our state legislature making it easier for people to vote during the pandemic?
  2. Talk about voting with someone different every day until the election on Nov. 3.
  3. Get out your calendar, mark the day when you will vote—and make time on that day for voting to be the priority, no matter how long it takes.
  4. Follow the instructions carefully when you vote—make it easy for the person counting to correctly count your vote.
  5. Vote early.
  6. Have patience. Decide now that you will be patient for the results to come in. It will take days, and perhaps weeks, for the count to come in. Stay focused on the facts, and be patient.

Listen to the whole meditation here—it can move us from anxiety to power in this moment:

“Voting is power…. This is a legacy of the suffrage movement: the acknowledgement that it is ok for women to want and have power….

“Sarah and Angelina Grimké…fought for the abolition of slavery. They did not do it for how they were treated, but for how others were treated. Is there any generosity greater than that?…. Their crusade against slavery led to a second great crusade, so half the population—women—could vote. Sarah and Angelina saw, they heard, they acted. Now is the time for you, for me, for all of us, to take action. Vote. Vote early. Help others vote.”

Exercise your power–


UUCS Members and Friends, please enter password then click ‘enter’ button to access this page. If you do not have the password, contact the Office Administrator at or 864-585-9230 

As we move into September we have had a couple of chances to see each other in the last month. The food drive for Total Ministries and the Grimké mural dedication brought us together. What wonderful ways to get together.

The Social Justice team is working on ways to get the vote out for November. If you want to help please contact Alice Sutton,  In mid-August the sewing team members completed 3,000 masks.

The board has decided it is time to complete the kitchen in Wilde Hall. All contractors are working now to finish their jobs. We have purchased the appliances and are waiting for delivery. Work is underway to find a path to complete the elevator in the next year.

I found out that 3 members of our church are involved with a Covid 19 vaccine trial happening here in the Upstate. I wish them well and a big thank you for stepping up to do this.

In June our outgoing President Rick started a COVID-19 Team. The team’s role is to provide the Board with clear, science-based guidance. The COVID team has identified a two-tiered approach for building use:

  1. a baseline–that the building remains closed until science-based reopening criteria are met–we are far from meeting any of those criteria, and so the guidance is for the building to remain closed at present
  2. variation from the baseline–that in order to fulfill our mission of care for one another and our community, there are times that we need to permit access to the building, under strict public health protocols.

The Board considers these requests for variation on a case-by-case basis and decides on building use.

As we move into September, 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. At some point we will be able to come back together. I want to see every one of you there.

Stay Safe,

Linda Leible

Connection is the heart of spiritual practice: connection within ourselves, connection with one another, and connection with whatever is deepest and best in the world.

Mysticism is the experience of that deep connectedness. It is nothing more than that. And it is entirely relevant to the moment we are living today.

Mystical experience recurs in human cultures around the world and through time–regardless of belief, in theistic and non-theistic philosophical systems, from shamans crossings world thresholds to Buddhists awakening to our radical interconnectedness to scientists breaking into new visions of the Universe through the relentless question “Why?”: the human quest for meaning connects with one another and the world at the deepest, most life-giving level—so we can make this world more livable for everyone. Repeated again and again around the world are basic, concrete practices that guide us to the heart of existence, the Universe dwelling within us, as we dwell within it.

The result is always the same. This radical experience of the Universe disrupts systems of power and ideology. It challenges authority and empowers us to act on behalf of all living beings. Consider the political relevance—in his day and ours—of these words by a great mystic of modern science:

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’…. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion.” (Albert Einstein)

We are in a time of anxiety, and rightly so. Much is very bad, and things could get far worse. We have a lot to do. Mystical practices offer us connection—connection to the deepest and best of ourselves and our world, connection to the source of life. When you feel overwhelmed by the urgency and anxiety of our moment, an urgency and anxiety that is real and that can drain us of the energy to do what must be done, try these practices of mystics throughout time and culture:

  1. When you feel overwhelmed, breathe: this is the practice of our existence. It is the source of life and power. Just be.
  2. When conflict breaks out between us, when we are trying to work together—slow down and listen to each other. This is the practice of interconnectedness. We are much stronger as a team.
  3. When you are drained of energy and life feels hopeless—go outside, listen to the trees, feel the earth, swim the stars: feel your connection to the cosmos. This is the practice of connection.

There is a power greater than division and narcissism,
greater than history and fear, greater than our individual selves,
a power beyond all words and beliefs,
a power that disrupts authority and ideology and dogma,
a power accessed throughout time by people of every culture,
a power that can help us bring the world back into balance,
a power alive in you—

touch it.