Expanding Our Ministry As We Enter into the PandemicPosted on March 19th 2020
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:
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: email@example.com / 864-590-8260. We are here for one another.
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 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/
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:
- You may Share the Plate to benefit the Minister’s Discretionary Fund and Total Ministies here: https://uucs.org/share-the-plate-contribution/
- You may give to the church online here: https://uusptnbg.breezechms.com/give/online
- You may also mail checks (to UUCS, P.O. Box 1942, Spartanburg, SC 29304) or bring monetary gifts to the church office (contact Office Administrator Pat Landry at firstname.lastname@example.org / 864-585-9230; Pat’s usual office hours are now M-F 10 am – 2 pm). All the ways to donate to UUCS, including by text, can be found here: https://uucs.org/donate/.
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.
All Church Activities Canceled Until Wednesday, March 18 Board MeetingPosted on March 13th 2020
Sunday Service To Be Livestreamed
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 email@example.com / 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
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