It has been a season of water and fire. Storm upon storm has devastated the homes of our friends and family in the Caribbean and along the Gulf Coast. And fire has overwhelmed our neighbors in the West.

Thank you for the ways you have responded to this succession of disasters,

through your attention and care for those affected, for those you know and for those you do not;

through your welcome of those who have come into our congregation, as visitors and travelers, seeking a place of rest from the chaos of what they have suffered in their own homes;

and not least, through your gifts. In September and October, you have given $3,188 as we Shared the Plate to support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

May this winter be a time of respite, of recovery and rebuilding, for all who have been affected.

My children have remarked how much darker the mornings have become, and that the sun is setting earlier each day. We are in a time of turning, in the world and in ourselves.

From Halloween through the New Year, we are entering a season of celebration and observance, when we mark the changes of the world around us with treats and feasts and music and lights. I love this time of year; and I know too how much it can be a time of remembering those we have lost, of all we have lost. What for some of us is a time of delight can be for others of us a time of grief. I feel both of these inside me each time I pass through fall to winter. This is a season both beautiful and somber, where joy and sadness walk together.

And so I would like to ask you to tell me what is meaningful to you during this time. New to me this year is the range of ways we as a congregation will find meaning in these fall and winter celebrations, in how we will practice our deepest beliefs in their observance. You may pull me aside at the church to explain what Halloween means to you, or how you observe the Winter Solstice; we may visit over coffee or tea to share stories of Thanksgiving, or of how you have chosen a different way to express gratitude altogether; or you may e-mail me your insights about what you enjoy and what you do not in the holidays.

All thoughts are welcome. I would very much like to hear yours. It will help me as we reflect each week on the changes we are moving through together. And it will help me to know more fully who it is I am honored to turn with, deeper into the year.

With gratitude for you,

(You may e-mail me at

The October 2017 Unison is now available.

Would you like your article published in the October 1 Unison? Email your article to by 11 pm, October 23, 2017.

Hello film friends,

Our green film this month — Wed, October 25, at 2:00 pm — is an inspiring one. It will continue our tendency to stretch the thematic focus of “green” to include a wide array of social justice issues.

We will see “The Singing Revolution” (2006, 1:37), directed by James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty. The documentary
film tells the remarkable story of Estonia’s struggle for independence, illuminating how the Estonians kept their identity alive even under the oppressive weight of the Iron Curtain through a rich tradiThe Singing Revolutiontion of song. Estonia’s coveted position between Europe and Russia has lured wave after wave of occupiers. One of the nation’s darkest chapters dawned in 1939 with the arrival of the Soviets. It seemed this time that the Estonian nation might vanish completely; yet the Estonians waited, and fought, and sang and ultimately, survived.

In Estonia, people have joined voices for centuries, and their Laulupidu, an immense song festival, offered glimmers of Estonian culture and connectedness in even the bleakest periods, proving to The Singing People that their national spirit still smoldered. When the Soviet nation finally began to crumble in the 1980s, the Estonians saw their opportunity: free speech became song, and song became a soaring anthem of independence.

Dramatically capturing the spectacular beauty of Estonia and the overwhelming sea of people and sound that brought this nation together, THE SINGING REVOLUTION celebrates a people who revolted with no weapons but their songs, no force but their unstoppable dream.

Here’s what MaurenTusty, one of the directors, says about the film:

Most people don’t think about singing when they think about revolutions. But song was the weapon of choice when, between 1986 and 1991, Estonians sought to free themselves from decades of Soviet occupation. During those years, hundreds of thousands gathered in public to sing forbidden patriotic songs and to rally for independence. “The young people, without any political party, and without any politicians, just came together … not only tens of thousands but hundreds of thousands … to gather and to sing and to give this nation a new spirit,” remarks Mart Laar, a Singing Revolution leader featured in the film and the first post-Soviet Prime Minister of Estonia. “This was the idea of the Singing Revolution.” James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty’s “The Singing Revolution,” tells the moving story of how the Estonian people peacefully regained their freedom–and helped topple an empire along the way.

There’s an interesting review at the NewYork Sun:

Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday, October 25th!!

Saturday, Octoberber 28th Expresso Yourself Coffeehouse

Coffeehouse Feature Act Oct. 28 – YOU!

The October UUCS Espresso Yourself Coffeehouse will feature all open-microphone. Come and share/hear music, poetry, readings, an interesting personal story, demonstrate a craft, perform a skit, and join the sing-along! We welcome all forms of creative expression that are in good taste.  Please limit your act to about five minutes or two songs. Come to the Fellowship Hall October 28, 7:00 to 9:00 PM.

Coffee provided, consider bringing a treat to share

Consider bringing non-perishable food items for our TOTAL Ministries Food barrel.

An optional donation of $5 for UUCS is gratefully accepted.

Come join in the fun! For questions, contact Cindy Freeman,

***There is still time to sign-up for Chili Cook-Off Just email  Christa with what you would like to bring

For All Ages!!

Boo at the UU and 2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off
Sunday, October 29th
12:15 – 3:30 p.m.
Adult Costume Contest!

12: 15 Chili Cook-off***

12:45 Fun and games for all

2:45 Spooky Desserts for Everyone!

Cook up a pot of your favorite chili, cornbread or a side dish (Spooky Desserts will be provided at the end of the event!) Sign-up sheets posted in Fellowship Hall

“We are a people of faith and hope.”
–Opening of the Covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg

We began the month of September reckoning with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas Gulf coast; we end this month witnessing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico and neighboring islands in the Caribbean. And between these two massive storms, a third—the largest recorded Atlantic hurricane, Irma—caused profound destruction in the same region before making landfall in Florida.

Equal to the terrifying power of such storms is another power: ours. We have a power within and between us, to support one another during and after catastrophes and to build a life together. But it is a power that we must choose.

As a congregation, we have offered collective gifts in support of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recovery. After Hurricane Maria, the Unitarian Universalist Association has expanded these efforts into one comprehensive, multi-directional Disaster Relief Fund.

If you would like to contribute to these efforts further, now or in the future through the long work of recovery, please do so here: This site includes multiple resources and ways to support partner organizations of the UUA.

There is also information about how you can volunteer. If you have skills that would be of service and time to offer them, please join the rebuilding efforts. This same link provides a targeted channel for your gifts of service.

In all of this, please hold in your hearts and minds those affected by these storms, of every walk of life, of so many nationalities and ethnicities, each seeking their way after the upheaval of their world.


Come enjoy the fun at the

Annual UUCS Auction, Saturday, December 2, 2017

Looking for an evening of good food, fellowship, relaxation and friendly competitive bidding, not to mention some great deals? Well, be sure to put this one on your calendar! 


TIME:        5:30 – 9:00 pm

      5:30 to 6:45 pm

  • Eat, drink and sign up for dinners, game nights etc
  • Write in your bids for our silent auction items.
  • Shop at the General Store.

      6:45 – 9:00 pm

  • Live Auction Begins!        View Donations here (soon)*

FOOD: Last names that begin with:

  • A-N please bring desserts or sweets
  • O-Z please bring finger food

*If your donation is not on the list, please submit your donation of dinners, services, and live auction items ASAP.

ALL LIVE AUCTION ITEMS, dinners, and services will be published on our website before the auction – then come to the auction and BID! BID! BID!

For more information go to UUCS Auction website page, or email with your questions.

***If you can, join the auction team and donate a few hours to record donations, decorate the lower level, or keep things running smoothly on auction night.***

“We are a people of faith and hope.”
–Opening of the Covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg

All around me for the last several weeks, in the hallways of the church, in conversations and even in the middle of meetings (!), people have been breaking into song—Iris DeMent’s beloved “Let the Mystery Be”:

“Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from
 Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
 When the whole thing’s done
 But no one knows for certain
 And so it’s all the same to me
 I think I’ll just let the mystery be”

Many have recalled with great affection a sharing of this song in a Sunday service earlier this year. With the number of people I hear singing it today, we may need to do this again.

I remember when I first heard this song, covered by Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs. I can still hear her voice clear in my memory. There is one line from the song that remains with me especially:

“I believe in love and I live my life accordingly”

In DeMent’s lyrics and Merchant’s song and the chorus of voices all around me in this place, I hear a mystery within the mystery, a going further within the letting be, a choice to live and to live with strength in the midst of what is beyond any of our knowing:


that mystery beyond knowledge
fulfilling and exceeding all faiths and hopes,
guiding us deeper into whatever all this is that is:



Over the course of this week, I have been welcomed into a number of folks’ homes, members of our congregation and also members of the greater community, to sit with one another and talk about our lives—where we have been, where we have arrived, where we may go. We have shared much laughter, and sadness too. And with each person, we would look out the window, or walk the yard, and bask in the warm September light.

Fall is with us now, beautiful and a little melancholy. It has been good to share it with many of you.

The world will soon show itself in glory, the gold, red, orange brightness of trees moving around us.

And when we welcome each other, we are that glory too,

warmth and light and brightness

moving, trees in a great forest,