News

Dear friends,

Last evening, the UUCS Board met to chart a way forward through the coronavirus pandemic. As a congregation, our care for one another and our community only becomes more important under circumstances like these. Our ministry is expanding.

We will take a knowledge-based, humanitarian, measured approach. Until the end of March, the church will remain closed to all in-person activities. At that time, the Board will assess the current situation to decide what next steps should be. Our primary concern is the well-being of our congregation and our community. We are relying on a combination of resources in our decision-making: guidance from the national and regional UUA, the CDC, our school districts and civil authorities, and medical professionals in our congregation and globally.

There is much we can do to help one another and our neighbors through whatever comes. We will utilize digital communications to sustain and energize our life together through our care, social justice, fellowship & learning, worship, and all the gifts we share with one another:

Care

We care for one another:

  • Our Pastoral Care team has moved swiftly into action, reaching out to some of our most vulnerable members and friends to check in and establish contact. We are strengthening the lines of communication between us, and this highly organized effort will broaden in the coming weeks.
  • If you need support in any way, please connect with us directly. You can reach me at: minister@uucs.org / 864-590-8260. We are here for one another.

Social Justice

We care for our community:

  • Our Social Justice team has reached out to our community partners, especially groups like TOTAL Ministries and PASOs, to ask what support would be most helpful at this time and going forward. I have also communicated with our City Manager and District Councilwoman to offer our help at any time. There will be many ways that we can help.
  • Please hold in mind and heart those who serve at the forefront of the pandemic–our medical and social workers, our sanitation and food distribution workers, civic leaders, and each person answering the call to serve.

Fellowship & Learning

We love one another. We can do much to enjoy our relationships, and even deepen them, during this time:

  • Our Director of Religious Education, Sybil Argintar, is in communication with all of our children, youth, and families, and will provide RE materials for families to enjoy together at home.
  • Our Covenant Groups are connecting with their members, and one of our groups will pilot meeting via Zoom this evening.
  • Our ministry intern, Anne Garner, and I are creating on-line social gathering and learning spaces through which we may fellowship with one another. Watch for these opportunities over the next few weeks–we will send specific information and links as plans are finalized.

Worship

Worship at its best brings together all the parts of our congregational life, to generate meaning, energy, and shared purpose:

  • We will Livestream our service every Sunday at 11:00 am on the website, UUCS.org and Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/user/uucs. Our Music Director Keith Plumley and our Music, Worship, and Communication teams have swiftly moved to make this service beautiful and accessible for us all. Please join us, and share our service with anyone who would find it meaningful.
  • We will Share the Plate online to provide support for the Minister’s Discretionary Fund and Total Ministries, in order to support one another through the financial distress of this situation. For those who have already given this week proactively, thank you for your vision and generosity. If you would like to Share the Plate, you may do so here: https://uucs.org/share-the-plate-contribution/

Giving

We are entering into a time of financial uncertainty and strain. We share our gifts to benefit one another and our world, not to put any one of us at risk. Please give when and how you can, and never when you should not. All of our gifts–gifts of care, of time, of skill, of resources–have a vital purpose.

  • As many of you have already done this week, if you have a gift you feel would be of benefit that you would like to share–skill with technology, transportation, food, and much more–please reach out to me or any of our church leaders. This has already been very helpful.
  • Many of you have asked how to give financially to the church during this time:

We are a people of faith and hope. Our love is a love beyond belief. Our ministry is expanding, and already we are rising to the challenge. I cannot tell you how proud I am to serve with you.

With gratitude,

Scott

Sunday Service To Be Livestreamed

Dear friends,

Over the last 24 hours, we have received a number of messages from the national and regional UUA, and from medical groups and professionals, regarding what congregations can do to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The message has been clear: limit all social gatherings to try to stop the spread of the virus. The message from UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray may be found here: https://www.uua.org/pressroom/press-releases/updated-recommendations-your-congregations-response-covid-19. The problem is that the virus seems to spread for a time before it begins to be detected, meaning it is already moving beyond the locale in which it has been identified.

Our first priority is to care for our congregation and our community.

To that end:

  • we will not gather as a congregation this Sunday.
  • we will Livestream an abbreviated service on Sunday morning–join us here to connect with one another even when we are not physically together: https://www.youtube.com/user/uucs/videos?
  • we will cancel all church activities and gatherings until the Board meeting on Wednesday evening, March 18. The Board meeting will serve as a time when we can better assess a fuller plan of action with more information.

Our care for one another and for our community only becomes more important in times of uncertainty and concern. Our ministry as a congregation continues unabated:

  • We stand against prejudice and xenophobia, now and always.
  • Check on friends and neighbors, relieving anxiety and increasing our connection to one another even when physical contact is reduced.
  • If you need support in any way, connect with us–you can reach us at minister@uucs.org / 864-590-8260. We are here to help each other.

With gratitude for the wisdom, compassion, and community spirit that guide us as a church—

On behalf of the Board &Staff,

Scott Neely, Minister
Linda Leible, President-Elect
Pate Randall, Treasurer

Our congregation is on the move and we’ve got a lot of exciting projects, events, outreach, learning and growth opportunities, and social justice actions planned for the next 18 months and we need your help to make this happen.

The budgeting process is a key part of what allows us to expand our mission and vision through Spartanburg and to engage in cooperative efforts on a National scale. I’m asking for you to continue supporting UUCS by completing a Generosity of Giving Pledge Commitment stating how you’d like to support our congregation and these many programs with your financial generosity.

Updating your Pledge information for the next fiscal year, growing your contribution, or getting started with a new pledge is quick and easy.

Just click the link – uucs.org/pledge – to fill out and submit our— it takes 3 minutes!

 

Linda Leible, annualfund@uucs.org

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 https://www.facebook.com/events/204010243974171/

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 https://www.theotherboysofsummer.com/

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 https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed

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 http://www.speakdownbarriers.org/

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
https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/understanding-and-dismantling-racism-booklist-white-readers

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 https://www.facebook.com/events/204010243974171/

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 https://www.theotherboysofsummer.com/

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 https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed

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 http://www.speakdownbarriers.org/

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
https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/understanding-and-dismantling-racism-booklist-white-readers

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.

LOCAL ISSUES:

  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: https://www.uua.org/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.

 

GLOBAL ISSUES:

  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: https://www.uua.org/immigration
    And 2018 https://uucsj.org/immigrationstudyguide/
  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: https://www.uua.org/justice/vote
  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
    https://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/climate_broch_short_edge.pdf

Click here for Previous Social Justice News/Articles

You shop. Amazon gives 5% to UUCS.


 

 

  • UUCS receives 5% of your sale when to use the above ‘Buy from amazon.com‘ button.
    • Before you make your Amazon purchase, use the yellow ‘amazon.com’ button. Using the button to access Amazon page for your purchase activates Amazon’s percentage of your order calculation that Amazon donates to UUCS, no additional cost to you! The UUCS ‘Buy from amazon.com‘ button is located on the bottom of all UUCS electroic publications, website https://uucs.org, weekly newsletter ‘Happenings’, monthly newsletter ‘UNISON’.
  • You can create a ‘shortcut’ to Amazon on your desktop. Looking for easy access to UUCS ‘Buy from amazon.com’ button without going to website?

3 Simple Steps to Create a Shortcut to a Website. The following steps will guide you through the process of creating a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE).

1) Resize your Web browser so you can see the browser and your desktop in the same screen.

2) Left click the icon located to the left side of the address bar. This is where you see the full URL to the website.

3) Continue to hold down the mouse button and drag the icon to your desktop. This creates the shortcut.

Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

After creating the shortcut you can right-click on the icon and select Rename to edit the text description.

Edit Desktop Shortcut Text

 

UUCS receives 5% of your sale when to use the above ‘Buy from amazon.com‘ button, or your desktop shortcut.

 

The golden ‘Buy from amazon.com’ button appears on all of UUCs electronic publications for any time use, if you have an Amazon account or not.

For the month of October, the Social Justice Council solicits your proposals for both local and global focus issues!

For almost ten years, we have used the “Gardiner/Rollins Model for Social Justice” (with modifications) for UUCS. This UU model was developed because of the serious problems in our city, our nation, and our world can seem overwhelming. We may ask how we can have any impact in the face of the enormity of need and suffering. And how can we summon the energy and the ideas to help make our world better? This model gives us a structure to focus our energy, our enthusiasm, and our work so that we do make a difference.

We commit to one or two issues by vote at the annual congregational meeting and then focus on those issues for one or two (or four) years. Then, we bring that focus to a close and begin the process again by choosing new issues to study through the winter and to vote on at the spring meeting.

The Earth Day Festival has been our 4-year focus, exciting, challenging, and a major investment of church time and energy. We won’t be hosting a community festival next year, but we will stay engaged with the earth day issues in a smaller way (with USC-Upstate) while we re-focus on different issues.

We, the Social Justice Council, solicit your proposals for possible local focus issues and global issues for the next one to two years (beginning June 2020). We can work together to make a change in our community with local issues, e.g., volunteer at a youth group, speak up at city council meetings, participate in a Habitat for Humanity build, hold a food drive, join League of Women Voters’ voter registration activities, host an MLK day activity, offer tutoring at a group home for ex-cons., etc. With global issues, it can be harder, but not impossible, to have an impact. But you can network and plan local activities that do have a wider impact. Where would you like to put your time, your talent, your work, to use? What issues matter most to you?

Cambodian children receive free books from Roadscholar guide

Immigration justice? Child detention?

Homelessness? Hunger?

Deaths by gun violence, including suicide. Safety for children, for women, for everyone.

Citizenship and voting rights

Our criminal justice system? Have you heard of the campaign to “End Money Bail? On any given night, more than 450,000 people in the United States who have not been convicted of any crime are locked up in jail simply because they don’t have enough money to pay bail. From who is arrested, to who is incarcerated and for how long, to how ex-cons are treated, our system of justice is a series of injustices. For a little info, go to www.uua.org/loveresists/end-money-bail-0

For many more ideas on the UUA and UU Service Committee issues and campaigns, go to https://www.uua.org/justice. Tell me what matters most to you and why– email me at socialjustice@uucs.org All this month, we are soliciting ideas from the congregation.

At our next SJ meeting, we’ll discuss all the ideas. Our meeting Wednesday, Nov 6, 7:00, in the fellowship hall at UUCS, is open to all, but if you want to share an idea, please email and ask for a spot on the agenda! We’ll have a couple additional meetings to choose which ideas to present to the congregation. From January through April, our minister and our SJ Council will present Sunday services, educational sessions and articles as well as mini-activities to prepare for the congregational vote at our annual meeting in May. Then in June, we begin the work of implementing our plans. This is an exciting and energizing way to make our community and our world a better place!

Work Is Love Made Visible ~Khalil Gibran

Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council

Four years ago, UUCS created the Spartanburg Earth Day Festival. From its inception, our intent was to build community, celebrate the many gifts we receive from Earth, and to inspire participation in caring for our planet. Our goal was to grow this festival in attendance, community bonding, and environmental engagement. Today we take major steps towards those goals in announcing our partnership with the University of South Carolina Upstate campus.

The festival will be held there on Saturday, April 18th!

There is so much positive energy surrounding this partnership. Upstate was eager to embrace our successful festival and marry their academic programs to an important cause and the opportunity to invite the Upstate community onto their campus. Once again we have seeded an important project that will expand beyond our grounds and congregation just as we did with the Pride March and New Day Clubhouse.

This congregation has supported our Earth Day Festival with great enthusiasm and dedication from day one. We’re counting on that to continue as we assist with children’s activities, run our lemonade stand, sponsor a church booth, and provide a wealth of volunteers.

We celebrate our past success and now look forward to new growth and opportunities! Throughout the year we’ll be sharing updates about exciting new plans. Save the April 18th date and look for those bright green volunteer signup sheets in March!

earthday@uucs.org