General

PASOS is an organization that serves the Latinx community throughout Spartanburg County. PASOS plays a crucial role in helping families access resources and community support, in this time when many are afraid to connect with agencies and public services.

Beginning this Sunday, we will host a food and supply drive in support of PASOS’s care for these families. Please bring the following items to UUCS whenever you come. And thank you for making this a community that cares for every person who lives here.

Items needed:
Food:

Cans: corn, peas, mixture of vegetables, fruit, beans, tuna, milk
Tomato sauce
Pasta
Rice /beans
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

Thank you all,

Scott

Sunday, September 15 Before and After Sunday Service

Our religious society, like other religious organizations, has to depend on volunteers like you to do many important tasks to keep UUCS running smoothly. Please come to our Sunday Volunteer Fair and sign up for one or two committees that you find interesting. It’s a great way to get involved and to make new friends. If you are out of town that Sunday, just tell one of our Board of Trustees or Scott Neely that you would like to volunteer to be on one of our committees. See you at the Fair.

Update, September 12, 2019 – Share the Plate, Food Barrel, T-shirt info and more:

SHARE THE PLATE: For August, we donated $590 to Rainforest Trust, chosen by our youth campers. For the first two Sundays in Sep., we donated to support our participation in Upstate Pride Week. For the last two Sundays in Sept., we’re holding a special collection for victims of Hurricane Dorian.

This Saturday, the 14th, we’re hosting the Pride Link Mobile Community Center again. We need one more volunteer from 12-2 or 2-4 to be available to show off our sanctuary and chat with folks about our church. If you can help, email socialjustice@uucs.org (this is fun).

Food Barrel for Pasos: For September and October, we’re helping “PASOs” (“steps”) help their neediest families with our food barrel. Pasos, founded in Columbia, expanded into Spartanburg two years ago, and works in the Latino community, providing education, advocacy, and leadership development. Their community health workers help families connect to agencies and services, including parenting and health classes, and jobs. They help families who need immediate food and supplies, and this is where we come in. If you can contribute to the food barrel, their “most needed” items 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
Would you like more information on all that Pasos does? See www.scpasos.org/locations/spartanburg/.

T-SHIRT SALES: You can still order our beautiful UUCS shirts in Xl and larger sizes at the Social Justice table at the volunteer fair this Sunday and (last chance) at our table on Sept. 22 or by email to socialjustice@uucs.org (shirts are all cotton and run a little small, so we suggest you order one size larger than usual). We will sell all sizes again when new orders arrive.

This Sunday, we celebrate the annual Ingathering of Waters, the Water Communion. Please bring a small vial of water from your summer journeys–from rivers, lakes, and oceans you have crossed, to water from your own home that sustains you and your household. We will pour the water we each bring into a common bowl, a symbol of our return to one another and of our shared life.

Join in this elegant, simple celebration of our connection as a congregation.

Let us gather,

Scott

Technology is amazing. And disturbing. Technological innovation is meant to disrupt our lives, by introducing a new application, a new device, a new technique meant to change our daily patterns and thus how we live and work.

Technology shapes our lives. For the better, we hope.

The blazingly insightful philosopher Hannah Arendt lived during a period of massive change in our technological history. Born Jewish and German, she watched the mechanization of mass murder during the reign of fascism and Stalinism in mid-20th century Europe. She fought against the calculated political rejection of Jewish refugees seeking haven in the United States, and carefully analyzed the industrialization of war in Vietnam. As an émigré to the United States herself, she experienced the bountiful expediencies afforded by ever-improving household technologies in a modern capitalist society. And she experienced the proliferation of mass media on an international scale. Writing in 1958, she reflects in her book The Human Condition:

“…the world we have come to live in…the society of jobholders, demands of its members a sheer automatic functioning, as though…the only active decision still required of the individual were to let go, to abandon [our] individuality, …and acquiesce in a dazed, ‘tranquilized,’ functional type of behavior.”

Our technological age can seduce us, with its ease and accessibility, into thoughtless complicity with social trends that are happy to use us, but on which we have little power to act. But, Arendt asserts:

“Thought is still possible.”

We live in a world of technological innovation—this is our time in history, and it is inevitable. And it can be very good—innovative, convenient, joyful, life-nurturing, often life-saving.

Our interaction with one another through technology, and with technology itself, is also inevitable. And this can be good, even very good. But we know that it is we who make it so. And it is we who can make it negative too—sometimes very negative.

In our technological, rapidly evolving world, where the pressure to passively consume information and to acquiesce to social trends is very great,

how can we develop our skill with technology
to genuinely engage with one another and our world,
to act within our society to shape its possibilities and values in a way that nurtures life
and the innovations of which we are capable,
innovations of beauty, goodness, care, community, and joy,
thoughtful of technology, and of one another, and of the world in which we live
and in which we do have power to act?

In our high tech world, what is the depth of connection that is possible between us?

–Scott

September 29, October 13, November 10
Fellowship Hall after the church service

In a meeting of the Committee on Ministry last spring, Scott proposed that we plan a series of informal talks about the remarkable history of UUCS to be led by Marion Tisdale, raconteur extraordinaire and witness to the evolution of the church from the 1960’s to well into the 21st century—a period of enormous social and political change and upheaval in our country and in the world. Marion will talk about how UUCS has responded to the times and weathered the changes, from our humble beginnings in the little house on Blue Ridge St. to where we are now. It is a unique history and a powerful story which needs to be remembered and preserved as we continue to move forward. The programs will be recorded and preserved for future generations at UUCS.

For long-time church members and newcomers alike, the talks will be both informative and entertaining, serious and light-hearted, historical and anecdotal, as only Marion can do. It will be a way of remembering, a record of where we’ve been, and a road map for where we’re going.

Check the Happenings and bulletin boards for more information in the coming weeks regarding the program and sign up sheets for the lunches.

It is disheartening how easy it is to break our connection with one another.
It is very easy to cause hurt.

And it takes a long time to rebuild what was broken.
Trust doesn’t come cheap.

But when we do the slow work
of building trust with one another,

we thrive.

Let us build, slowly
with lasting strength.

With gratitude,

Scott

Imagine translating 2,500 years of philosophical teaching through four layers of language (from Pali, through Tibetan, then Hindi, to English) and condensing it into a 30-minute lesson.

That’s what happened in our Sanctuary this past Wednesday night. And it will happen again next Wednesday, August 28 at 5:30 pm.

Tibetan Buddhism is famous for its elaborate rituals and esoteric meditative practices. But it has another genius: translating its wisdom into the simplest, most ordinary, directly relevant terms.

We hear this in the Dalai Lama’s teaching: “My religion is kindness.” An entire spiritual culture is concentrated into one word: “kindness”. And does that ever ring true.

Lama Ahbay Rinpoche works in the same way, offering simple, lighthearted, directly relevant insight into our human condition: how to be less angry and more peaceful; how to fear less and love more.

He has come to us across centuries and continents. Won’t you come across town to hear him?

Peace to all–

Scott

Hospitality is an ancient and vital practice. We all come from somewhere else. How wonderful, when we are welcomed into a community where once we did not belong.

Thank you, every one, who bids the stranger enter into our congregation each week. What you do is felt. And I have the pleasure to hear the most wonderful stories from those who have received your welcome.

Thank you all–

Scott

This summer, our children engaged in research and discussion to determine our Share the Plate recipient for the month of August.

They chose the Rainforest Trust, an international conservancy that protects over 20 million acres worldwide. This land provides refuge for more than 65% of the world’s bird species, more than 41% of all mammal species, and more than 25% of all amphibian species.

This Sunday, let us give in support of the vibrancy of life on our shared planet,

in support of those who work to protect it,

and in praise of our children with the courage to summon us all to a global vision.

—Scott