General

For your generosity and welcome,

for your tireless encouragement and endless striving,

for the gifts you poured out this past Sunday,

for a celebration that welcomed the world through our doors,

for this remarkable circle you have drawn over years and decades, a home for us all,

for all we have shared this year,

thank you.

Scott

This Sunday at 11:00am, our children and youth will lead our service. They will present our congregation with a gift of their own making, a peace quilt they have created for us.

Many months ago, these young people chose as the theme of this Sunday’s morning service “Return to Peace.” This would be meaningful and appropriate at any time. But given all that has unfolded this week in Israel, Palestine, and on the Korean Peninsula, their choice of this theme seems prescient, even prophetic.

This week marked the beginning of Ramadan. To move the US Embassy to Jerusalem—a city whose name is rooted in the word “peace”—on Monday, on the eve of Islam’s holiest month, is not only politically provocative; it instigates fatal confrontations at a moment of heightened tension, summoning an adversarial image of Muslims as violent—when the very root of the word Islam itself is also “peace”. (This beautiful interview of Egyptian-American scholar Leila Ahmed—a feminist, realist, and person of vast learning—by Krista Tippett powerfully articulates the peace of Islam: https://onbeing.org/programs/leila-ahmed-muslim-women-and-other-misunderstandings/).

This is the world we live in, one of noble ideals and eternal aspirations, and of the craven calculations to break them.

Thank goodness our children lead us to return to peace. I am honored that they have asked me to share a meditation during the service this Sunday; I will speak about children I knew in the Gaza Strip and in Israel, many years ago.

Join us this Sunday morning. The time is right.

Shalom. Salam. Peace–

Scott

Saturday, May 26th, Coffeehouse from 7:00 to 9:00 PM featuring Kaleo Wheeler

Kaleo Wheeler is a Musical Storyteller. She has fused her intoxicating gift for storytelling with her rich, warm voice and the deeply soothing and relaxing vibrations of her small harp. She might also share a form of storytelling unique to the Hawaiian Islands – their traditional Hula. Whether it is in the small intimate setting of a private party/house concert or a larger speaking event with hundreds of people; Kaleo is fully present in the world of the story she is telling and draws the audience in to open their hearts and be part of that story with her. Audiences return home feeling renewed, inspired, energized, uplifted and more at peace within themselves.”

Please join us at Coffeehouse from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Saturday, May 26th. Sign up for open mic to sing a song, tell a story, demonstrate a craft, perform a skit, or read a poem during the first hour.  We welcome all forms of creative expression that are in good taste. Please limit your act to about five minutes or two songs.
We encourage donations of non-perishable food items for our TOTAL Ministries
Food barrel, which helps struggling families in our community. An entry donation
of $5 for UUCS is suggested if you feel you can afford it; performers get in free.

Come join in the fun! For questions, contact coffeehouse@uucs.org.

 

 

For questions, contact Cindy Freeman, coffeehouse@uucs.org. 

 

Annual UUCS Congregational Meeting, June 3, 2018, Agenda

Q & A – UUCS Board of Trustees, Sunday, May 27, Board members will be available in Room 7 to answer your questions on the proposed budget, after Sunday Worship Services.

Proposed Budget for the Fiscal Year 2018-2019  (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019)

The proposed budget has been passed by both your Finance Committee and your Board of Trustees. We will be asking for your approval for this budget at our Annual Congregational Meeting, Sunday, June 3, 2018.*

2018-19 Election of Officers and Representatives

The UUCS Leadership Development Committee is pleased to present the following slate of officers, board members, and committee members for election at the June 3, 2018, Annual Meeting.

Board
President (1 year term) Fred Stoll
President-elect (1 year) Rick Hahnenberg
Secretary (1 year) Jan Jerome
Trustee (2 years) Robert Gettings
Trustee (2 years) Julie Harding

Endowment Team: Rochelle Williams (3 years), Abby Fowler (3 years)
Committee on Ministry: Judy Allen (3 years)
Leadership Development: Diane Dixon (2 years), Betty Koester (2 years)

We thank all of the volunteers who stepped forward to agree to accept these responsibilities in building our church life, with a special thanks to those experienced people who agreed to continue on the Board, Rick, and Jan, and continue on the leadership development team, Diane and Betty.

For information on the current board, you can see https://uucs.org/member-info/governance/leadership-directory/.
Further information about UUCS governance is at https://uucs.org/member-info/governance/
And, finally, if you have questions, ask anyone on the leadership development committee (Linda Leible, Palma Eisner, Alice Sutton, Diane Dixon, and Betty Koester) or email leaderdev@uucs.org

 

*Paper absentee ballots will be available from the Board of Trustees upon request to eligible voting Members unable to attend the meeting. To be counted toward the vote, absentee ballots must be received and validated by the Secretary of the Board prior to the opening of the meeting, June 3, 2018. The online absentee ballot can be accessed here: Absentee ballot – June 3, 2018, UUCS Annual Congregational Meeting.

Some families are pleasant to be a part of; some are absolutely not. And many are ambiguously in between. In my own experience, I have never encountered a family that is not dysfunctional—my own included.

But the metaphor of family is powerful, and in a congregation such as ours, we have in a sense chosen a family for ourselves—one of faith and hope, as our covenant says.

The Buddhist tradition teaches a meditation called “metta”—lovingkindness, extended to all beings everywhere. And the metaphor used is of a family, both intimate and vast:

Let us cultivate boundless goodwill…
Even as a mother watches over her child, so with boundless mind should one cherish all living beings,
Radiating friendliness over the whole world,
Above, below, and all around, without limit.

(from the Metta Sutta; Singing the Living Tradition #596)

May the family we choose here at UUCS be one of lovingkindness, for every being, whatever our inevitable dysfunctions may be.

Without Limit,

Scott

This Sunday, May 6, our service will include a ceremony of dedication for children and youth. This will be an important moment for the young people who participate, for their families, and for the wider circle of our congregational family.

As part of this ceremony, we will offer a blessing—written for our youngest generation, and certainly pertaining to each of us of every age:

A Blessing

May the love that connects and encircles us today,

that brings us here and binds us together,

alive in each of us, growing in each of us,

teach you and nurture you, guide and protect you,

all of your days.

You are the beloved child; you bless the world; may you be blessed.

Yes,

Scott

It’s been a thrilling experience this year to see the number of folks involved in our music program at UU of Spartanburg. Adult & children’s choirs have experienced growth as have ensembles and those interested in providing instrumental music– including our recently organized drumming group.

The Unitarian Universalist Association states a UU congregation is considered to have a healthy music program when 10% of the SundaymorningSunday mornings consistently connected with the music program.

Preparing service music requires time and a special commitment from all involved. A visit to the church campus during the week—morning, afternoon or evening may find music folks participating in rehearsals.

Our future looks bright!

With Gratitude,

Keith

A song has been going through my head the last several weeks:

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side?

At one and the same time, it is a song both of peace and of longing:

Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing
That keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see?

It’s the last stanza that has stopped me short many times this spring, as I contemplate how you have welcomed me into your circle this year, and as we prepare for a service of ordination on May 20:

Have you been half asleep?
And have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound
That called the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.

This life we live, so extraordinary and so common, is just our life:

We know that it’s probably magic.

And even when we run out of words, the song goes on:

La da da di da da dum da duh da da dum di da ohhh

To the lovers & dreamers, to us all,
thank you—

Scott

In our Sunday service this weekend, we will have thirteen special guests in our midst:

  • Twelve of our guests will be participants in a Multicultural Religious Education Module our church is hosting this weekend. The vision of our Religious Education Committee and our Director of Religious Education, Sybil Argintar, this is a national UU training that we are providing to participants from across the country. Folks are traveling from as far away as California and the Northeast to take part in the workshop here. Those in attendance will have spent long hours working with the difficult question of how to develop transformative curriculum and programs for children and youth that is welcoming and connected to people of all backgrounds. As you meet them on Sunday, please thank them for the exceptional effort they are making to evolve our movement and our wider world into a place where every person is valued just as they are, where we are all learning mutually from one another.
  • The lucky thirteenth of our guests will be my father. Kirk Neely will conclude our month of celebrating Earth Day and the legacy of Josephine and Harold Hatcher by telling us stories from the garden. I grew up watering his plants; a few survived. He has some stories to tell.

Thank you for the welcome you offer every person that enters our community, a warmth like the Sun at the summit of spring.

Scott

In celebration of the Earth Day Festival this Saturday, April 21, a song:

One more place where a green tree grows,
One more river and one more rose,

One more song for the world to sing,
One more garden and one more spring,

One star brighter and one dream more,
One more truth than we had before,

One more hope for the human race!
Make the world better in one more place!

– Written by UUCS member Monnie Cannon in honor of Harold and Josephine Hatcher