Community

Social Justice Update – November 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you are home and staying safe as the pandemic rages around us.
MASKS: Let’s give a virtual cheer to some incredible mask makers! Naomi has joined Nicole in passing the 1,000 mark! You two are amazing! As a group, we have made 4,700 masks! We’re keeping people healthy and saving lives.
Recent mask give-aways:

Saturday, about 80 of our masks to the Mexican grocery in Inman.

Tuesday, 180 masks mailed to Navajo Nation; 60 to the Soup Kitchen; 60 to Angel Ministry (which offers transitional housing and case management to women during and after incarceration

QUINTUPLE DIP:

The next Dip is taking shape! Dec. 6th, 2:30-4:30, our Dip, a special holiday collection of children’s books, new or gently used, for children in Safe Haven, SPIHN, PASOS, and Maranatha Church’s ministry with children in their neighborhood and in their Angel Ministry, serving women recently released from incarceration. You can also donate food and toiletries for TOTAL Ministries, newspapers for the Humane Society, pick up a new face mask for yourself and have one last chance to buy beautiful mural note cards from a LWV volunteer !
We’ll repeat the Dip on Dec. 8th, Tuesday morning, 10:00-Noon.

Social Justice – October 20, 2020

It’s been a busy week! One of our get-out-the-vote efforts was sabotaged by the theft of our banner at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. So far, the others are untouched.

Glendale Shoals Litter Crew
Glendale Shoals Litter Crew

Saturday, Joyce led a glass and litter pick up at Glendale Shoals. She says 5,011 pieces of glass were removed from Glendale Shoals today + an additional 279 pieces of litter. Kudos to Alice Sutton, Kaye Savage, Ruth Stanton, Liz Perry, Stacey Jackson, Kaleo Wheeler, and Joyce Harrison for pitching in to round it up and take it out. There’s more to tackle another day!

Sunflower heads in playground for seed planting in spring
Sunflower heads in playground for seed planting in spring

Our Sunday Quintuple Dip was productive and lots of fun. Thanks Susan Turregano, who led the food drive, said we had 26 donors and we collected 608 lbs. of food, plus another 20 lb. from someone who missed the drive by times and took it on to TOTAL Ministries. A great effort! We collected many pounds of winterwear for the Atheists helping the homeless, as well as half a dozen baskets of newspapers and enough

wildflowers to fill our triangle garden. And, thanks to Abby Fowler, several of us bought lots of beautiful LWV mural cards. Thank you also, to Collin, a UUCS friend who came by and did a couple hours of garden prep!

Monday and Tuesday, our planting group planted giant coneflowers, perennial sunflowers, and a dozen more wildflowers next to the children’s play yard. Calling all children— if you would like to plant sunflowers in your garden next spring, stop by UUCS and grab a flowerhead before the birds get them all! Jeanette planted and tended them, and would love to share!

 

(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: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/?fbclid=IwAR09DlFQX7OgD7nt4rmdzZCm_mEqjGU2iHyT9RbbUqHXJQniDrwRiMe8M94

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): https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/09/15/913246691/to-limit-covid-19-navajo-leader-says-listen-to-your-public-health-professionals
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 socialjustice@uucs.org for more info.

SOCIAL JUSTICE UPDATE

(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 socialjustice@uucs.org 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!

Upcoming:

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.

UPDATE: SOCIAL JUSTICE TRIPLE DIP

(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!

Pam-Selling-Tshirts
Pam-Selling-Tshirts

FOOD-DRIVE  HappyBirthdayTeresa

HappyBirthdayTeresaFOOD-DRIVE

SOCIAL JUSTICE TRIPLE DIP

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
Soups
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 socialjustice@uucs.org 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 socialjustice@uucs.org 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 https://www.facebook.com/events/204010243974171/

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 https://www.theotherboysofsummer.com/

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 https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed

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 http://www.speakdownbarriers.org/

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
https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/understanding-and-dismantling-racism-booklist-white-readers

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.

LOCAL ISSUES:

  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: https://www.uua.org/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.

 

GLOBAL ISSUES:

  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: https://www.uua.org/immigration
    And 2018 https://uucsj.org/immigrationstudyguide/
  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: https://www.uua.org/justice/vote
  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
    https://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/climate_broch_short_edge.pdf

Click here for Previous Social Justice News/Articles

Join our “Be a Good Neighbor” project, and Join the South Converse Neighborhood Association Pickup Morning on Saturday, November 28th.

Meet at 8 am (Pictures for the SCNA Newsletter taken then) at the small park at the bottom of the hill on South Converse Street, not far from UUCS. Pickup assignments are made then. Wear Masks, bring “grabbers” if you have them, and gloves. Trash bags are provided. The pickup is scheduled for 2 hours, but come even if you can’t stay the whole time.

It’s a great way to show our partnership with our neighborhood, and get in some outside time with a purpose!

Thank you!

If you can come, we meet at the small park at the bottom of the hill on South Converse StreetBring work gloves, trash bags are provided. It’s for 2 hours, but it’s fine if you need to step out early.

UUCS has long been a part of the South Converse Neighborhood. The South Converse Neighborhood Association has a monthly cleanup on the fourth Saturday of every month. UUCS Social Justice Committee decided to add our support every other month. Plan to meet at Park on South Converse Street, at the bottom of the hill of South Converse Street at 8:00 AM. The pickup lasts till about 10 am (or whenever you need to leave). It’s great to bring a pair of work gloves. Trash sacks are provided. Come, show our pride, and care for our church neighborhood! Thanks!

Curious as to what else is happening in the South Converse Neighborhood? Look on the ‘Community’ bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall for the current month’s posting of SCNA Community News(letter).

socialjustice@uucs.org

Banner Update

Our four banners advertising early voting: at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium (stolen after 12 days), UUCS, Mt Moriah Baptist Church, and Bunton Institute CME, on Wofford St. These big, clear banners are all well-placed to catch attention of the many people driving by.

Banner At Krispy Kreme

Our signs andVote Now Signs banners are in place advertising early voting at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium from Oct 5-Nov 2, M-F, 8:30-5:00 plus Saturday, Oct 31st, 9:00-1:00. After the first day, votting is going smoothly, about 30 minutes in and out, a bit longer later in the day. Our banners are also up at UCS and at Mt Moriah Baptist Church.

Social Justice Quintuple Dip has been rescheduled from this Sunday the 11th to Sunday the 18th, 3:00-5:00 due to expected rain.

Sunday, Oct. 18th 3:00-5:00

or Tues., Oct 13th, 10:00-Noon

Swing by UUCS, see a few friends, and …Donate your native wildflowers for planting on church grounds. If you have native SUN-LOVING wildflowers that have been multiplying in your garden, would you like to share them? Or native groundcovers (e.g. green and gold or Lyreleaf sage). We’re planning a long row of SUN-LOVING perennial wildflowers along the children’s play yard. If you have extra perennial sunflowers, coneflowers, goldenrod, asters, joe pye weed, native salvias, asters, etc., we will plant them along the fence for all of us to enjoy! Later in the month, we’ll be planting a mix of blueberries, flame azaleas, and eastern red cedars to create a beautiful native garden between our grounds and Staffing Associates. Groundcovers will go down towards the mural.
How do you know if your flowering plant is native? The best way is to look it up—the lovely yellow daylilies we see growing wild came from Asia, via England, in the 1700’s, so, not native. If you are not sure if the plant multiplying in your garden is native, feel free to call Merike (864-583-4018) or Alice (541-8819) to check with them.

Donate WINTERWEAR – new or lightly used coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves or new socks, for men, women, or children. Winter pajamas for children only. We’ll get them to folks in need!

Donate to TOTAL Ministries – Fill, not the food barrel, but the SUVs ! Most needed right now- hygiene items, toilet paper and paper towels, peanut butter, canned fruit and canned vegetables. pasta sauce and macaroni and cheese.

Bring your stash of old newspapers for Animal Allies. They would really appreciate them, as animals still need care! Their goal for 2020 is 18,500 surgeries (spay and neuter).

VOTING TEAM: Enjoy our pictures! Our voting team is hard at work.

UUCS Vote Banner
UUCS Vote Banner

 

Our UUCS signs are the ONLY signs on Church St. directing people where to vote!

Vote Now Signs
Vote Now Signs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To participate, email socialjustice@uucs.org.

 

Vigil in Support of Latinx Immigrants

This Sunday, September 27 at 7:15 pm
In front of the Grimké Mural at UUCS
Masks required; social distancing will be practiced.

Dear friends,

This week, our partners in the Latinx community reached out to our church asking if they could hold a vigil on the grounds of UUCS. They turned to us after being turned away by a number of other locations.

Our Board has carefully vetted this request, weighing health risks and the importance of showing solidarity with our fellow community members during this historical moment. With great care, and with strict public health protocols in place, we will host the vigil this Sunday evening. Please feel welcome to attend.

On Sunday evening, September 27 at 7:15 pm, we will host a vigil in partnership with Alianza Spartanburg on the grounds of UUCS. We will gather in front of the Grimké mural. The vigil will witness to the treatment of Latinx immigrants by ICE, the separation of families by immigration authorities, and now especially to reports of forced sterilizations of women in a detention facility in Georgia (https://www.npr.org/2020/09/16/913448209/whistleblower-in-georgia-claims-high-number-of-hysterectomies-at-ice-facility). Here is the message from the organizers:

“Families Belong Together. We invite you to come together with others as a community of hope and care this Sunday evening. We will gather outdoors at sunset for a vigil to remember and honor our immigrant neighbors, and especially families and children seeking refuge, asylum, and safety together in the United States. We are asking attendees to wear white, and encourage you to bring toys, stuffed animals, or other symbols to uplift children and families. Collectively, with our voices and lives, we join together in sorrow, in solidarity, and in hope for a world in which all families can live safely and together.”

As you know, our congregation is being extremely careful in planning and coordinating use of our building and grounds during the pandemic in order to keep everyone safe. We have suspended all regular in-person church activities for the time being. The Board reviews all requests for building use. We are a congregation and we must work together. Our highest goal is our care for one another and for our community. If you desire access to the church building or grounds for any meeting, please contact the church office so that the Board can vet your request to help you find the best and safest way to proceed in coordination with our whole congregation.

Thank you for being the people of science, compassion, solidarity, justice, and care that you are. We show up in the world in ways that matter for us all.

With gratitude,

Scott

It Was A Great Day!

(August 18, 2020)

Thank you for attending and/or watching the live-stream of the dedication of the League of Women Voters public art on the wall of our church building, Determined: A Tribute to the Grimké Sisters.

A beautiful weather day, 60 plus live attendees, great energy, and 4 speakers who celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, women winning the right to vote.

As Ruth Littlejohn, Mayor Pro Tem and City Council Member said about Sarah and Angelina Grimké,

“They stood for justice and equality and dignity for every person. That fight continues today. We can take heart in knowing that courageous people who stand up and communities that come together to fight for what is right and speak out against injustice do make a difference. The Grimké sisters made a difference years and years ago, we might not be able to see it right now, but those of us who are fighting for equality and justice today in Spartanburg are making a difference.

For me, this mural is a reminder of how far we have come and inspires us to keep moving forward.

May we all have the kind of courage the Grimké sisters had. That is what is needed now, more than ever.”

Karen Mitchell, LWV of Spartanburg – President

Grimké Mural 'Determined'
‘Determined’ (artist Nancy Corbin)

Dedication of Grimké MuralDetermined

A Tribute to the Grimké Sisters

The Grimké Mural was donated to UUCS by the Spartanburg League of Women Voter’s and the dedication was held on August 18, 2020 in the UUCS parking lot. Many were able to attend the dedication. If you missed it, you can watch it on this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/D8noqpJCaAg.

 

The mural is done. The gorgeous design by artist Nancy Corbin and the masterful painting done by Stephen Long and Jeremy Kemp produced a terrific addition to our church.

This mural honors the memory of Angelina and Sarah Grimké. They were South Carolina sisters who were both abolitionists and suffragists in the nineteenth century. In the 1820s they were castigated for speaking in public against slavery.

Letters on Equality of the Sexes, by Sarah Grimké, was an important early women’s rights treatise. The Grimkés were part of a mass movement of black and white women within the abolitionist movement who began blending their anti-slavery work with women’s rights activism. “Determined” is a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of women’s winning the right to vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

 

Invitation to Grimké muralDetermined dedication:

Determined
A Tribute to the Grimké Sisters
A Work of Public Art
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Hosted Visits 10:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m.
Brief Remarks 10:00 a.m.

Unitarian Universalist Church Main Parking Lot. Parking is available in back lot (Wheeler Court).

Please wear a mask; social distancing will be practiced.

Dedication of mural will also be live-streamed https://youtu.be/D8noqpJCaAg.

 

August 9th from 5:00-7:00 and Aug 11th from 10:00-Noon…Mural Notecards

A late addition to the Social Justice trifecta is a 4th opportunity. 3 beautiful notecards of the Gimké Mural on the side of the UU building can be bought for $5.00. The League of Women Voters is selling them to continue its work of Making Democracy Work.

Powerful Article on Grimké Mural

“These are women who knew in the 19th century that black lives matter. They wanted to get rid of slavery, and they wanted women to be equal.” (Karen Mitchell, President of the League of Women Voters-Spartanburg and UUCS member, on the Grimké Sisters)

July 19, 2020, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal featured the completed Grimké Mural at UUCS. Powerful interpretations by artist Nancy Corbin and League of Women Voters President and UUCS member Karen Mitchell speak to the meaning of the stunning work of public art. A vivid gallery of photos of the mural in-process and completed is included, which you can scroll through at the article’s conclusion.

Click here to read the full story: https://www.goupstate.com/news/20200719/league-of-women-voters-spartanburg-artists-partner-for-commemorative-mural

Thank you to everyone who has done so much to bring this profound idea into a lived reality for us all.

The Grimké Sisters: A Mural at UUCS

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment and women’s right to vote this year, the Spartanburg chapter of the League of Women Voters has commissioned a work of public art in honor of the Grimké sisters. Sarah and Angelina Grimké, originally from Charleston and annual visitors to a family farm on the border of Spartanburg County during their childhood summers, became leading abolitionists and suffragists in the 19th century. The League would like to create a mural in honor of the Grimkés and all who have fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

And they would like for the mural to be at UUCS. The cost of the mural will be fully funded by the League, and it would be placed on our building facing Henry and Union Streets for maximum public viewing. Our Board has worked with the League’s leadership on design and placement, and have approved the mural in principle contingent on a comment period from our congregation.

Local artist and educator Nancy Corbin has designed the mural in honor of the Grimké sisters to represent all who fight for freedom together. The location would be the exterior of Wilde Hall, below our Sanctuary. New landscaping to provide better access and viewing of the site are part of the project.

The following three pictures show (1) the location, (2) the location with a sketch at scale superimposed, and (3) a watercolor sketch of the mural in full color:

Location of Grimké Mural, Henry St., lower level
Location of Grimké Mural
Location of Grimké Mural with sketch at scale superimposed
Location of Grimké Mural with sketch at scale superimposed
Watercolor sketch of Grimké Mural
Watercolor sketch of Grimké Mural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On behalf of the League and the Board, I would like to ask for your comments on this project proposal. Please submit them by May 15 (prior to our next Board meeting on May 20). You may send these to our Board at board@uucs.org, which all of our Board members and minister will receive.

About the Grimké Sisters

Angelina Grimké Weld and Sarah Grimké were important women in the quest for abolition of slavery and women’s rights.

They were raised in Charleston on a plantation owned by their wealthy and well known father. They spent some summers on property near Cross Anchor. They had a typical upper-class South Carolina upbringing, but both became opposed to slavery at an early age.

Sarah moved north first and Angelina followed her in the early 1830’s. Thousands of people walked miles to hear them speak on the evils of slavery. The sisters raised money for the abolitionist movement. They were doing this at a time when it was not considered appropriate for women to speak in public. Both of them came in for criticism for stepping outside of women’s proper roles.

Angelina was the first woman to speak to a state legislature in 1838 when she addressed a committee of the Massachusetts legislature. Because they felt their voices were limited on account of being women, the sisters became suffragists as they saw how women were not treated equally.

After the Civil War, when African American men could vote, the sisters always went to the polls and cast “fake” ballots in a women’s box.

In the 1850’s they found out their father had 3 sons by a mixed race woman. The sisters paid for 2 of them to go to Harvard and Howard. One went to Princeton Theological Seminary and was the minister of the 15th St. Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. for 40 years. The other worked for civil rights, helped found the NAACP in 1909 and in 1914 became the NAACP President in Washington D.C.

Their journey is well documented as they wrote pamphlets, books and many letters. Our library has a biography of them which we recommend. There is a new biography coming out this spring, too.

 

Meditations on the Grimké Sisters

In March 2019, the services at UUCS focused on the lives of Sarah and Angelina Grimké. The meditations may be heard here:

“Your Sister’s Eyes” (March 3, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/your-sisters-eyes/

“Intellect” (March 10, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/intellect/

“Two Voices” (March 17, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/two-voices/

“Peace that Creates Justice” (March 24, 2019): https://uucs.org/services/peace-that-creates-justice/

Until the end of March, the church will remain closed to all in-person activities. At that time, the Board will assess the current situation to decide what next steps should be.

Ministerial Duo The Cap & The Collar

Headline March 28 Coffeehouse

 

Temple B’nai Israel’s Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz has been a friend to UUCS for many years, sharing his wit, wisdom and musical talents from our pulpit on numerous occasions. He is a proponent of interfaith dialogue and uses music and humor as conduits to richer connection.

 

Methodist Pastor Dr. Paul Harmon, of Washington Street United Methodist Church in Columbia, is a folk singer and guitar picker. The two met in 2003 at a Rotary Club meeting and hit it off. They teamed up for a Rotary Club gig and The Cap & The Collar duo was born.

For more than three decades Rabbi Yossi and Pastor Paul have served their respective congregations with devotion and enthusiasm, bringing their musical talents, charm, and humor to their pulpits. As The Cap & The Collar Duo they have entertained hundreds at churches, synagogues, charity events & service organizations. With a mix of traditional folk, country & original songs, their inspiration serves as a bridge between faiths & peoples. If you are looking for a delightful evening of song & comedy then The Cap and the Collar is for you!

The show kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 28. Please remember to bring a non-perishable food item for our TOTAL Ministries Food Barrel. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 or more. You can learn more about this duo by visiting capandcollar.com.

For questions, email coffeehouse@uucs.org. 

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 https://www.facebook.com/events/204010243974171/

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 https://www.theotherboysofsummer.com/

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 https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed

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 http://www.speakdownbarriers.org/

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
https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/understanding-and-dismantling-racism-booklist-white-readers

OWL (Our Whole Lives) Human Sexuality Program in the Spring at UUCS

UUCS now has seven trained facilitators in the OWL program. We are planning to offer this in the spring, with a required parent orientation in January, and classes then running from February through May, 2020. The program, OWL (Our Whole Lives), is a human sexuality program developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. It focuses upon human sexuality in a secular setting that also teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice. Youth are taught by trained facilitators, and are closely united in covenant to establish an atmosphere of deep understanding and trust. For this reason, a commitment to attendance is a requirement of the program.

We currently have four of our own youth interested in participating, and we want to open this up to the church community at-large. If you know a family who might be interested outside of church, or if any of you have grandchildren who might like to participate, please consider this opportunity. We will begin publicizing the program within the Spartanburg community, with registration limited to 15 students per class. There will be two classes offered concurrently, one for Grades 7 – 9 and one for Grades 10 – 12.

In order for youth to participate in the program, parents will be required to attend a parent orientation and sign permission slips at a meeting to take place at UUCS in January. The program will then running on the following Sunday afternoons: February 2, 9, 16; March 1, 8, 15, 22; April 12, 19, 26; May 10, 17, 24.

Lunch will be provided each of the Sundays, and there will be a small registration fee per family to cover meals and materials needed for the program, to be determined.

More information about the programs can be found here: https://www.uua.org/re/owl 

If you are interested or have additional questions, please contact Sybil at dre@uucs.org

Sybil H. Argintar,
Director of Religious Education
Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg
P.O. Box 1942
Spartanburg, SC 29304

“The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young but to stir up their own.”
(William Ellery Channing)

November 2019 SJ – Short Notes…

By request from UpLift, we’re continuing our used magazine collection-please drop yours into the box under the social justice bulletin board. https://upliftoutreachcenter.org/  They will be used for an aspirational art project.

We concluded our winter clothes drive with USC-Upstate students.  The A.Bevy students took our donations, as well as their college collection, to  Athiests Helping the Homeless (AHH) on Sunday the 17th, and stayed to work with them that morning.  The A.Bevy group will return in January for our MLK day activity. This is packing toiletry kits for the homeless for UW and AHH, and our January share the plate  will fund much of this.

Building and Grounds subcommittee, “plants” has planted 7 small trees and 3 shrubs-can you spot them?  These are all natives and should enrich our grounds for many years, for wildlife as well as people!

Our December Share the Plate will be for the UU Service Committee’s Guest At Your Table, to go with the youth activity.  You can learn more about this at https://www.uusc.org/resources/congregations/guest-at-your-table/

October 2019 SJ – Short Notes…

Share the Plate for October is for landmine clearing. Our services this month focus on death and baseball. Landmines are little instruments of death and destruction, hidden, silent, just waiting– a symbol of death. there are an estimated 110 million anti-personnel mines in the ground, Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined areas in the world, from US action during our war in Vietnam through their long civil war, with estimates of from 4 to 10 million mines. Our STP for October is the Landmine Relief Fund to support the mine-clearing work of Cambodian Self-Help Demining (CSHD), a Cambodian NGO founded by ex-child soldier and CNN hero Aki Ra (Alice visited this program and was deeply moved). More info at www.landmine-relief-fund.com/
Food Barrel – For September and October, we’re filling the food barrel for PASOS, a school-based program in Spartanburg Co. Items most needed are:

  • Canned: corn, peas, mixture of vegetables, fruit, beans, tuna, milk, and tomato sauce
    Dry beans, rice, pasta, cereal, pancake mix, peanut butter, jelly, sugar, cooking oil, baby food
  • Diapers size 4-5 are the most demanded but any size is welcome, baby wipes
  • Toiletries, soap, shampoo, toothpaste

For more information on all that Pasos does, see www.scpasos.org

Pride Festival – Oct 25-Nov 2: Our first Fall Community activity! Sign up to volunteer with Stacey Jackson and Mary Underwood at pride@uucs.org. Plan to wear your UUCS T-shirts!!!

T-SHIRT SALES: Larger sizes have been ordered for those who signed up and should be delivered in time for Pride Festival! We’ll distribute them after church Oct. 27th (remember to bring cash or check).