The Journey Out

Modified on: July 11, 2019

We have a sunstone in our hand: care. It is a trustworthy tool: our care for one another can guide us when light is hard to see, when skies are overcast and storms brew. Even with those who we find difficult, we can act authentically and faithfully by caring for one another.

We have created strong and flexible teams, teams that work well together, teams ready for bigger and bigger seas.

And we have accomplished noteworthy feats: acts of justice and compassion done with excellence; significant resources raised and allocated for worthy causes; friendships built into a community of resilience and joy; realms of the mind and spirit explored with freedom, where few others are willing to go.

We have traveled far, over the decades of this congregation’s existence, and in our brief two years since I joined your team.

I find myself looking out over open water, wondering: what lies beyond? Where might we venture, further out, together?

All through the summer, we will hear speakers share with us on the theme of “The Journey Out”:

– On July 7, Dr. Kirk Neely will speak on his journey as a 17-year-old South Carolinian to Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and what he learned in a place so far from home;
– then on July 14, Natalia Valenzuela Swanson and Keisha Gray, Program Directors at the Mary Black Foundation, will speak with us about crossing the separations and boundaries between diverse communities in Spartanburg, in order to build a better life together here;
– on July 21, Dr. Dave Damrel from USC-Upstate will join us to share about his spring in Sri Lanka as a Fulbright scholar studying pluralism and multi-culturalism in South Asian democracies;
– on July 28, Dr. Allison Pingley, Associate Professor of Political Science at USC-Upstate and niece of UUCS member Jean Hedick, will speak with us about her teaching and research as a Fulbright scholar in Central Europe, on the shift from communism to democracy in Hungary and the Czech Republic, and on the rise of nationalism around the globe;
– and finally, on August 4, our own Rev. Pat Jobe will make us laugh, and then cry from laughing, by reflecting with us on the journey of our lives.

This summer, we are listening to the stories of fellow travelers. We will hear their tales of what it is like to venture out where we have never been before, and of the experience and wisdom we can bring back home from our sojourns.

Our future calls us. Let us prepare ourselves for the coming journey. I can already taste the salt on the air.


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