Social Justice NewsPosted on August 1st 2020
SOCIAL JUSTICE TRIPLE DIP
Being A Good Neighbor:
Collect for TOTAL Ministries
Give out masks
Sell remaining coffee, tea, chocolate
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
Mac and Cheese dinners for family of 4
Small jars of peanut butter and also jelly
Cornbread mix or boxed stuffing
Instant mashed potatoes
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 email@example.com 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.
- Masks are the most effective tool we have against covid19 –“your life is worth my time.”
- Sewing, doing something positive, becomes almost a meditation. It soothes the soul.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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 pm – Voices 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 pm – League 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 pm – The 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
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Being a Good Neighbor in our church community and in Spartanburg. More details on this one later.
- 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/
- 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
- 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
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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.
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