The Annual Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service will be held on Tuesday, November 20 at 6:30 pm at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.
Please join with our fellow citizens in this time of goodwill and community building. Our offering will benefit SWITCH, an organization which fights human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Our speaker will be Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz. As we enter the winter celebrations of a year that has held so much pain, may we gather to build the life with one another that we know is possible.
With great love and gratitude for each one of us,
For all the ways the members of this congregation risk ourselves,
extending beyond limits of time, energy,
and the limited imagination of the world around us
to do something that matters,
to make the world more livable for every being–
for all the ways we keep showing up
to transform a place of privilege and callousness and violence
into a home for all
I give thanks.
That is what I feel, serving and working with you in this community. From meetings in coffee shops to chance encounters on the street, from vigils to face down hate and needs assessments to awaken consciences, in the city and in my home, I am proud and honored to be part of this community of love and justice, this congregation of laughter with and deep care for every life.
Let us march in that pride again this Saturday. Join us for the 10th Annual Pride March & Festival—begun in our congregation, shared with our community, for the loving and just transformation of us all.
Let us walk together.
“I bless you in the name of all that is good and strong and beautiful….”
(The parting words of the healer Ultima, to her protégé Antonio, in Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima)
Only a year ago this November, Lea Sharpton stood before our congregation during our annual Thanksgiving service and offered a blessing, for each of us and for our fellowship together. Lea had met with me for weeks before that service, planning and adjusting plans. On this All Hallows’ Eve, she is no longer here with us. And yet when I sit in my office beside the hearth, I can still hear her gentle, insistent voice, thinking through what elements of the service would be most meaningful to all gathered, considering how each part of the service should be done just so. She loved this place with such depth of spirit.
This past Sunday, as our congregation gathered to celebrate the Day of the Dead and Boo at the UU, Sally Hicks held hands with two devoted friends and let go of this life. Through the night before her passing and on that autumn morning, our congregation was there with her. When I reflected on the time of Sally’s death, her own words came back to me—of how much she loved this place and our people, of how much this congregation was family for her.
The losses of this life are terrible and certain. One day, each one of us will let go. And yet somehow the blessing of our lives continues on.
In the beautiful coming-of-age novel Bless Me, Ultima, a boy of only seven experiences the devastating loss of his teacher and friend, the healer Ultima. Yet as she dies, Ultima blesses Antonio. In the depth of night, her parting words fill the darkness surrounding this one that she loves so deeply:
“I bless you in the name of all that is good and strong and beautiful…Always have the strength to live. Love life, and if despair enters your heart, look for me in the evenings when the wind is gentle and the owls sing in the hills. I shall be with you—”
Dear Members and Friends,
Here are some notes from my personal-periscope-point-of-view of UUCS.
August 24-25, the Board of Trustees and other leaders attended a retreat facilitated by a resource associate with the UUA Southern Region. As a part of this, the Board set five goals for this church year, labeled as: (1) Complete Wilde Hall Planning; (2) Develop Financial Strategy; (3) Build RE Program; (4) Build Connections and Share Connections; and (5) Oversight/Advancing Social Justice Work. (BTW, the “Build RE Program” goal is no criticism of our current program; rather it acknowledges that we have opportunities to expand.) On the face of it, this is a very ambitious set of goals. However as we talked about this at our October meeting, it was pointed out that in fact UUCS is already engaged in pursuing each these goals to varying degrees, so that the Board’s best path is to look for ways we can help with things already in progress under the leadership of our awesome committee chairs and volunteers.
On October 6, I saw a group of dedicated parents and helpers making major additions and improvements to the church playground. When you get a chance, go look at the climb-on airplane that can fly with a half dozen kids onboard! The next day, I was among the many people that had a great time at the UUCS Hatcher Garden picnic. Great food, conversation, relaxing in the shade, giant bubbles, Frisbee, softball toss, lots of kids playing on the grass. Social events like this are a treasured part of UUCS life for me.
The Volunteer Fair on September 23 had somewhat low attendance since many people were dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, but it was still very valuable in the way it builds connections which strengthen our church.
We are about to launch into the construction phase of Wilde Hall kitchen development – you should start to see things moving very soon!
I’ve enjoyed attending a couple of Wednesday evening meditations, and am one of the many people who revel in the great Sunday music created by the choir and other contributors, which I feel blessed to be a part of.
In love and peace, Fred Stoll
Gail Stephenson will offer beginner mindfulness meditation on Tuesday evenings at 5:30 pm and Thursday mornings at 10:30 am in the UUCS Sanctuary beginning on November 13. This series is free and open to the public and will last for 8 weeks, concluding the week of January 8. All are welcome. It is not required to attend all classes to participate. The sessions will include traditional style meditation, walking meditation, body scans, and lovingkindness meditations. A UUCS member, Gail has been meditating for over 20 years and has been practicing Mindfulness Meditation for over 10 years. She is currently participating in a 300-hour mindfulness meditation teacher certification. This series is part of her certification practicum. Come for a time of peace, practice, and deepening awareness together!
On Saturday, September 22, 2 hardy UU souls joined the South Converse Neighborhood Trash Cleanup. Things were definitely looking sharper the following Sunday.
The next pick-up day we are joining is Saturday, November 17 at from 8 to 10 am. Please mark that day on your calendar, and let’s see if we can get a big UU turnout. Let’s put our covenant in action by serving our neighborhood with “a love beyond belief”
If you can come, please meet at the small park at the bottom of the hill on South Converse Street. Bring 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 and will be starting Saturday, March 24, 2018. 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 current month’s posting of SCNA Community News(letter).
Come, enjoy the fun at the
Annual UUCS Auction, Saturday, December 1, 2018
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! Childcare is available – ALL FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND VISITORS ARE WELCOME!
TIME: 5:30 to 9:00 pm
5:30 – 6:30 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.
6:30 – 9:00 pm
FOOD: Last names that begin with:
- A-N please bring desserts or sweets
- O-Z please bring finger food
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!
***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.***
*UUCS 2018 Auction Payments
“I bless you in the name of all that is good and strong and beautiful…Always have the strength to live. Love life, and if despair enters your heart, look for me in the evenings when the wind is gentle and the owls sing in the hills. I shall be with you–“
(The parting words of the healer Ultima, to her protégé Antonio, in Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima)
In the finitude of our lives can be great blessing. The celebrations of autumn–Samhain, Halloween, All Souls’–help us embrace the joy of life and the possibility, difficult as it may seem, that even in dying we may share in life’s vitality.
Join in our celebrations this Sunday. Our 11:00 service will revel in Latin American traditions of the Day of the Dead. And after service, the potluck and festival of Boo at the UU will fill the halls and fellowship of our church. Come to celebrate. Come in costume! Come to bless our life.
This August, the LGBTQ Needs Assessment for Spartanburg County was published. Commissioned by the LGBT Fund at the Spartanburg County Foundation, this report was developed over many months of surveys and research led by a team at USC-Upstate.
But this is a book you wrote.
Some of our congregation actually helped pen the words in the book; many in our congregation advised in the research; every person who filled out a survey shared their thoughts and their experiences to create the content and meaning of the book. Just by being a part of this congregation, even if you never filled out a survey or knew of this project when it was happening, you have helped create a network of people throughout the Spartanburg community who made this happen.
You wrote this; you should read it. The full report may be found here: https://www.uscupstate.edu/globalassets/about-the-university/diversity/spartanburg-co_lgbtq-needs-assessment.corrected-7.18.18.pdf
And please, share it. It is outstanding work.
With admiration and pride,