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
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 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 if you would like to join.

Alice Sutton, chair, Social Justice


Many More Masks for Immigrants!

(July 8, 2020)

During June and July, our UUCS sewing circle gave 200 masks to Navajo Nation and about 150 to the Mexican store in northern Spartanburg county, but our sewers weren’t nearly through! This week, we donated 150 cloth masks to PASOS for their efforts to help immigrants throughout Spartanburg County. Barbara Dorsey and …continued…

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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.


  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:
  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.



  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:
    And 2018
  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:
  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

Click here for Previous Social Justice News/Articles

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:

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, 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):

“Intellect” (March 10, 2019):

“Two Voices” (March 17, 2019):

“Peace that Creates Justice” (March 24, 2019):

Many More Masks for Immigrants!

Click links for printables:

(July 8, 2020)

During June and July, our UUCS sewing circle gave 200 masks to Navajo Nation and about 150 to the Mexican store in northern Spartanburg county, but our sewers weren’t nearly through! This week, we donated 150 cloth masks to PASOS for their efforts to help immigrants throughout Spartanburg County. Barbara Dorsey and I helped PASOS staff pack over a hundred bags with PPE, including the cloth masks, disposable face masks from BMW, along with instructions in Spanish on their use. Barbara and I left at noon, as staff were finishing up the packing. They moved on to distribution, and actually got many bags out that afternoon! One ESL (English as a second language) student phoned to thank the PASOS staff and church especially for the cloth masks. She works cleaning the hospital, and says the cloth masks will save her money!!

Kente Cloth Masks
Kente Cloth Masks

One of our sewers told me how her neighbors, who shrugged off the pandemic, had turned down her offer of masks. Sadly, they are now believers in the pandemic, and she has given them masks—their brother, a physician, just died of covid. Certainly, he would have been using masks, but that is not always enough. Although masks are not foolproof, read here for the latest on how important masks are in protecting us—how important our sewing efforts are!! Link: Email to join our sewers and crocheters or one of our social justice teams. Saving lives feels good—and saving lives from the comfort of your home is a win-win! Now we’re sewing masks to give away at the covid testing event July 13th and 14th at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Spartanburg.

From Alice Sutton, chair, Social Justice Council



(June 18, 2020)

We’re busy sewing, meeting our goals and setting new ones! This month, we’ve donated over 200 masks to Navajo Nation (207)! We also supplied UUCS AA groups with about 30 so each participant can buy a mask if they need one—they’ve got all they need for the time being. Safe Homes has sold about 35 of the masks we donated in one week (about 30 left), and would like some more. Altogether, we’ve given 147 to the Hispanic store that serves many immigrants—the owner is gratefully accepting our masks – and would like more. We’ll be getting more to PASOS families next week, too
Are you wondering what our new total is? Would you believe 1563? I love being part of such a fantastic group of sewers!

How do we keep sewing? Marion Dannert says, “I found that early in March, mask making became a kind of life line for me, a reason to get going each day, a psychological anchor in this uncertain time. Physically cut off from my usual community, church, and neighborhood gatherings and living alone as a widow, making masks became my way of adapting to my new isolation. Creating something of need for others gave me a comfortable sense of purpose, something important to look forward to each day. The possibility that my small efforts might even save a life further encouraged my work. Mask making in this time and place, has been a solitary activity. This solitude allowed and provoked thoughts of the lives of those who need these masks, especially those experiencing great need. As the stitching hummed on, my thoughts moved to imagining other ways of meeting critical needs and of creative opportunities for service.”

Summertime and the mask safety is easy! If it’s a hot sunny day, park your car in the sun with windows closed and leave your mask inside on the dashboard or even the seat. Come back in a few hours and your mask will be safe to wear! That high heat kills the virus!
For right now, we have all the fabric we need (thank you!). If you’d like to join our sewing circle or have questions, or need a mask, write me at ~Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council



(June 4, 2020)

Summertime and mask safety is easy! If it’s a hot sunny day, park your car in the sun with windows closed and leave your mask inside on the dashboard or even the seat. Come back in a few hours and your mask will be safe to wear! That high heat kills the virus!

On May 19th, we set some big goals to meet for June 1st: We had just donated 40 to the Inman-area Hispanic community and had 50 masks ready to send to the Navajo Nation. We planned to “double-up” for both those communities and make 50 for Safe Homes, all by June 1st –we did even more! We sent 46 more to Navajo Nation, 60 to Safe Homes for their thrift store customers, and 70 to the Inman area Hispanic community! Thank you to everyone who has donated their sheets and unused fabric, and who has purchased fabrics for us—we couldn’t do it without you.

Navaho mask by Alice
Navaho mask by Alice
Navaho mask by Joyce
Navaho mask by Joyce

We’ve now made over 1,300 masks. So, of course, we’ve set new goals: one more box of 50 or more for Navaho Nation, one more box of 50 or more each for Safe Homes and Inman Hispanic Center, and a box of 50 for a new cause (TBA). Our sewing circle has two new members this week, Renu Pariyadath, who says this is her first sewing project in 20 years, and Marion Dannert, who began sewing masks long before she found our group. Why do we keep sewing? I find it is a mindful activity, almost a meditation. Palma Eisner writes, “I found that making masks for specific groups and for my family was a way of feeling that I was helping during this difficult time. Even though it was frustrating at times when I had machine issues, I felt like I was making a difference. It uplifted my spirits. “ Kathy Dowling writes, “Even in isolation this activity helps me feel more a part of a group. And it is a mindful thing to do. Whenever my mind wanders, I make a mistake, so am practicing mindfulness! “

If you’d like to join our sewing circle or donate fabric or have questions, email me at ~Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council



(May 21, 2020)

May 19th Mask Production! Our team topped the 1000 mark last Saturday and is somewhere over 1075 now! We continue to give masks to our congregation and the numerous people we encounter in the community. In addition, we’re focusing on three groups for the remainder of May: the Hispanic community around Inman (40 masks donated there this week); the Navajo Nation, which is suffering greatly from the pandemic*; and Safe Homes Thrift Store, which will reopen June 1 and require all customers to wear a mask That means they may need to purchase a mask, and Safe Homes wants to charge $3 each and split that with us, so we can buy more fabric! We’re donating 50 masks to the Navajo Nation by the end of this week. Our new goal is to “double-up” for the Inman Hispanic community (40 more) and the Navajo Nation (50 more) and make 50 for Safe Homes, all by June 1st (140 by June 1) and I know we can do it!

BUT Our dedicated sewers need your help! Like the shirt off your back, maybe! Seriously, right now we do have enough T-shirts for filters but need flat 100% cotton, such as a bedsheet that is not worn thin or fabric some people have tucked away from a never-completed project. Please look in your linen cupboard and see if you have fabric to share! Email

Lisa and Zoe with their masks

Lisa and Zoe with their masks  For New Day Masks for New Day by Joyce   

We sew two styles and three sizes. While workers who need to wear a mask for over 8 hours nonstop often prefer masks with soft fabric ties, most people wearing them for shorter periods prefer those with elastic straps to go around the ears. We are so lucky that, generously donated two full boxes of elastic to our sewing circle! Right now, you can’t get elastic for love or money, but we have plenty! Although sewing masks is not the most exciting or demanding sewing we’ve ever done, it is the only sewing we’ve done that saves lives, and that is really motivating! More at


(May 14, 2020)

WE MAKE MASKS BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS WORTH OUR TIME! We’ve made over 725 masks for family, friends, church members, random people we meet, and particular groups, South Converse Neighborhood Assoc., Piedmont Care, New Day Clubhouse, Eden Terrace staff and residents, Pasos and the wider Mexican and Pakistani immigrant community, Hope Center for Children, and two more youth residences. We’ve mailed masks as far as New Mexico, Montana, and especially, many to New York City! We’ve crocheted headbands, enabling nurses to customize their masks so they don’t rub the skin behind their ears raw.

Kudos to our sixteen mask makers: Kathy Dowling, Palma Eisner, Neval Erturk and her mother, Nigar Erturk, Melissa Fritsche, daughter Marlies, and mom Joan Fritsche, Joyce Harrison, Ash Macnamara, Nicole Mathieu, Virginia McClean, Naomi Richardson, Ruth Stanton, Pam and Fred Stoll, and Alice Sutton; and to the headband team: Nancy Clark, Marilyn Coltrane, Abby Fowler, and Nancy Warner, and last, but not least, our delivery person, Lily Lancaster.

Mariles and her waresNigar Niger ErturkPam Pam at work

Several of us met via zoom to evaluate our achievement and talk about where we want to go from here. The consensus was that we want to continue making masks, and serving the groups we have already helped, which all need additional masks. We’re also open to helping other organizations in Spartanburg County, as well as those people or organizations some of us have a connection with, such as New York City. Some recipients have wanted to pay for their masks, and we are using that money to buy more fabric. We hope some more sewers will join us, and we have fabric and elastic to share. Our next goal is the 1000 mask mark! You can email Alice Sutton at or Joyce Harrison at for more information!

In partnership with Alianza Spartanburg (previously the Hispanic Alliance Spartanburg) and the PASOs site in Spartanburg, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg has established a fund to provide direct assistance to individuals and families who will not receive federal assistance through the CARES Act because of their immigration status—even though they pay taxes. Even if only one family member is out of status, no one in the family will receive funds—even children who are US citizens. You may give to this fund here:

Saturday, June 20
6:30 pm via Livestream:

This is a year like no other! Our Summer Solstice service is coming up, but we still can’t gather as we normally would. Due to UUCS’s commitment to social distancing and guidelines for public health safety, the service itself will be done via Live Stream on June 20 and only those involved in conducting the actual service will be physically onsite. But there are still several ways that you can be a part of the celebration. Here’s how:

The week leading to Solstice, the backyard of the church will be open to allow you to participate in various activities prior to the service or to pick up items to use during the service. The times available for participating in these activities beginning Tuesday, June 16th are:

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 10-4 pm 
Wednesday, Friday 2-8 pm
**weather permitting**

Q: What activities are available at the church and what should I expect?
A: There will be three activities available during the posted times. To learn more, please visit

Q: What do I do with the contents of the “At Home” Kit?
A: You’ll want to be prepared for the Live Stream, so learn about how to use the items in the kit by visiting

For any questions, please email

To serve, or to dominate.

We all have power. Every one of us. Without exception.

The question of every human life is: how will we use it?

We see the choice in the world around us. We are right to challenge domination and to praise service. But the choice is inside us too. Every one of us.

Every day, we must choose: how will we use our power?

Every day, choose to serve—


2020.06.05 Interfaith Alliance2020.06.05 Interfaith Alliance_pg 2

UPDATE – June 2020

Our project to build a commercial-style kitchen in Wilde Hall (Lower Level) was kicked off almost 2 years ago. Our co-General Contractors are Linda Leibel and myself (Fred Stoll). Both the level of effort and the funding required have been significantly greater than initially envisioned, particularly due to a labyrinth of applicable building codes, and existing construction that was out of compliance. Various planning steps have required long periods of waiting. However the project remains alive, and considerable progress has been made. In March, the Board voted to suspend further expenditures on the kitchen in the face of COVID 19 uncertainty. However, a generous gift to the Wilde Hall Fund in April has allowed major work to continue.

June 2020 Wilde Hall kitchen update
White Hall Kitchen Helpers

Physical progress to date:

  • Preparation of wall cutout-for pass-through (Fred Stoll)
  • Vapor-sealing of outside walls (Rick Christian and John Tarrant)
  • Modifications to sub-floor drain pipe configuration (Sterling Craft Plumbing / Shane Wolcansek and Amanda Wolcansek)
  • Installation of 800 sq. ft. of hygienic wall paneling (Fred Stoll, Rick Christian, Bob Mitchell, Mitch Eisner, John Tarrant, Pam Stoll, Joyce Harrison, Fred Greer)
  • Decorative, non-slip epoxy floor coating (Roy Haynes and David Hudnall)
  • Reconfiguration of HVAC ducting (Fred Stoll)
  • Upgrade of electrical service between RE wing and Sanctuary wing (70% complete)
  • Initiation of installation of the large exhaust hood for the range/oven (pending approval of modifications by the city of Spartanburg)

Fred Stoll, Chair, Long Range Planning Committee

I received an anonymous letter. When I opened it, I laughed out loud.

A sermon had been purchased at our annual auction in November, and the benefactor, who wished to remain anonymous, had written to request that I offer a sermon on “Superheroes”. They wrote: “I would be delighted to hear you speak on this topic. I have no further instruction or expectations, other than: please enjoy.”

I take that as an invitation for us all to have some fun. And the timing could not be more perfect. We need some joy, and we are surrounded by superheroes.

Rather than one sermon, we will dedicate this whole month to the theme of Superheroes. We will celebrate the successes of our congregation as a team, all year long. We will honor the beings of light and power who help us every day, essential workers on farmers, in streets, and in hospitals. We will gaze into the sun in celebration of the Solstice. And we will revel in the legends of our favorite superheroes.

Of course, you can see where this is headed: we can all be superheroes. But how do we become one?

And so, in honor of summer vacation after a long school year, I’d like to give you some homework:

  • Pull out your old comic books from the attic, your beloved tomes of ancient sagas, your favorite movies—from childhood or from today, alone or with someone you love, enjoy again the stories of your favorite superheroes. I am asking you to indulge.
  • Think of those people in your life who are, truly in your estimation, superheroes—and thank them. Call, write, project a signal in the night sky—just tell them thank you.
  • And check this out: The enneagram is one of many personality inventories, but it has the advantage of helping us understand the forces that shaped us, the personalities we have developed in response, the powers that those personalities we have created hold—and how we can connect with the gifts of others to work better and better as a team. There are many resources out there, but this is one of the best, reliable and clear, with good steps on how to actualize the very best in ourselves.

The answer is obvious: you are a superhero. Yes, you are. But how to become who we really are?

“I’ve learned everyone has power. It’s not indestructibility or flying or superspeed—it’s that fire in your soul that pushes you to touch the sky. Stepping up for those that need hope…leads you to the greatest heights, and there, we all soar higher, further, faster.” (Captain Marvel, quoted at the Celebration of Life service for real-life superhero and UUCS member Barbara Mattson:

This will be fun—


Social Justice Discernment Process Update

Throughout the winter and spring during Sunday services and at additional educational events, we have considered six social justice projects—3 local and 3 national/global—that we might choose to focus on as a congregation in the coming year. We have held three congregational dialogues to further explore these options. We will vote on these choices at our Annual Meeting on June 14.

The projects focus on: support for the immigrant community in Spartanburg and our nation; a congregational anti-racism process to examine ourselves and to become a more conscious and engaged anti-racist congregation; being a neighbor in the South Converse neighborhood; working for voting justice in our state and nation; and ecological action through litter pick-ups, data collection, and advocacy.

Our study has led to an additional project idea which would combine many of these projects into one project. Acknowledging the interconnectedness of many of these issues, the primary importance of examining ourselves so we can do this work well, and the investment our congregation has already made in many of these areas, this combination option would be led by teams organized by the Social Justice Council:


Combination Project: Once/quarter, we would 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 would work on four distinct projects in the areas of Immigration, Voting, Ecology, and Being a Neighbor. These projects would be done in cooperation with partners in each of these areas: Alianza Spartanburg/PASOs (Immigration); the League of Women Voters (Voting); USC-Upstate/the SC Aquarium (Ecology); and the South Converse Neighborhood Association (Being A Neighbor). The following diagram illustrates this project idea:

Please plan to join in one final Social Justice Dialogue via Zoom, on Sunday, June 7 at 1:00 pm, to review all of our options before we vote as a congregation at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 14.

With gratitude and excitement,