Arts and Aesthetics Committee
Arts and Aesthetics Committee helps research and find artists to exhibit original art for display on the walls of the sanctuary. All work is on display for a six week period throughout the year. We usually leave the wall available during December in case there is a special display for the holidays. The committee meets with the artists in and out of church for scheduling, installation and take down of their work. When a discussion about changing the aesthetic look or setting is needed, the committee is authorized to poll, create a survey, and gather interested individuals to discuss and recommend a decision. The committee’s responsibilities include
- Front of the sanctuary: This includes the arrangement of the podium, risers, the altar table, speaker pulpits, candle tables, the screens and whatever artwork or material is hung on the wall and pulpit.
- Windows: includes stained glass artwork and possibly the arrangement of curtains.
- Temporary artwork hung along the two walls where painting hangers may be utilized.
- Temporary displays of traditional holiday objects as well as other temporary installed art or objects around the sanctuary, while installed by others, usually is reviewed by the committee.
The book club, which has been meeting for more than 20 years, currently meets at 10:30 a.m. at UUCS on the second Tuesday of the month. Each year the date and time are chosen by the group in order to best accommodate the majority of those who wish to attend. The books are also chosen by the book club members and include an interesting mix of both fiction and non-fiction. Members also share information about other books they are reading, so the book club is a great way to expand one’s reading list. Occasionally members have gathered to view a movie based on a book they have read. For example, after reading Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Moseley, they watched the movie starring Denzel Washington. Over a period of eight years, the club hosted four guest authors who spoke about their books and shared the ways in which their careers led them to write their stories.
Caregivers Support Group
The Caregivers Support Group continues to meet as a covenant-style group, bringing together congregants who are caring for loved ones with serious or chronic conditions. It is transitioning to a survivor support group with plans to continue meeting twice a month before Sunday services.
A Covenant Group is a group of people who covenant (promise) that they will meet over the year ahead (8 – 10 monthly meetings) and explore personal and spiritual themes drawn from either our worship themes or topics available through the UU Small Group Ministry Network. The meetings have a format guided by the group covenant and a facilitator who leads both dialogue and the deep listening. Four covenant groups are meeting this year using the Soul Matters program.
Fiber Arts Ministry
For many years the Fiber Arts Committee created hangings for the church and items for our yearly auction. As many members moved away, however, the committee dissolved. Reprised by Kathy Ashland around 2012 as the Prayer Shawl Ministry, our group of knitters, crocheters and quilt makers have worked to provide handmade items for various reasons. We began by making prayer shawls for our minister to bless and present to congregants who were ill or experiencing grief. We also made hats and scarves for the November auction and the Giving (Christmas) Tree. Then the choir’s need for stoles called us to make several for different seasons. Next, our output included small quilts and blankets for babies and children. Finally, we grew our quilts to twin and queen-sized and offer one a year to our November auction. Samples by Hannah Hamilton grace the walls of the minister’s office. The Ministry generally meets once a month at UUCS and holds occasional additional work days in the mezzanine.
Healthy Masculinity Discussion Group
The Healthy Masculinity discussion group is a small group ministry that meets once a month. The general topic is different ideas of masculinity, the way they are taught, the way they are portrayed, and the way they shape our lives. Our goal will be to find ways to question our assumptions about manhood and discover ways to be our truest, healthiest selves. Each month we choose a topic related to healthy masculinity for discussion, and one member leads that discussion, usually bring in some quotes and other discussion points. There are also check-ins and other standard elements of the covenant group format, though it is not explicitly a covenant group. The leader is organizing the group and has extensive training in masculinities. He studied masculinity and feminist theory as a minor field for his PhD in German Literature at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill and has volunteered through community outreach, including a summer internship with the “Engaging Men and Boys” primary prevention officer of Chatham County Rape Crisis Center in North Carolina.
Journey Toward Wholeness
Journey Toward Wholeness began with three members in 2009. We attended the annual summer camp led by Paula Cole Jones from All Souls UU in Washington, D.C. then participated in numerous workshops over the years, even hosting one weekend the annual JPD anti-racism workshop. We attended demonstrations, rallies and book studies. Every April until 2017 JTW held a Poetry Slam based on a racial justice theme inviting the entire community. JTW leads a yearly service usually in January.
The Men’s Group at UUCS is an informal conversational and support group open to all church members who identify as male. Our primary purpose is to provide a safe space for men to share personal feelings and happenings with other men, to build and deepen friendships, and provide a support network for men. The group currently meets once a month at the church for an hour of conversation. Not having a set agenda allows the group to focus on and provide support for whatever issues the members may bring to it. Typical topics may include personal events or issues that are happening in members lives, or larger more public topics and their effects on our own perceptions of masculinity.
Pastoral Care Team
The Pastoral Care Team, in partnership with the minister, provides pastoral care, comfort, and support to the congregation’s members, friends, and visitors. The care provided may include phone calls, visits, meals, and coordinating transportation and associated support. The team may also be called upon to care for families dealing with issues around death and dying, including help with planning, and being present for memorial services. One way the Team maintains awareness of congregational needs is through thoughtful listening to the Joys and Sorrows shared during Sunday services. Congregants also share needs during fellowship after services or via special requests directly to the Team. These and other identified needs are discussed during monthly Team meetings with the minister and via email/telephone so that the team can appropriately respond. The Team also responds to urgent needs as they emerge. At Sunday services, the Pastoral Care Team members are identified by the orange ribbons on their name tags.
Separation and Divorce Covenant Group
UUCS provides a welcoming, safe and supportive place for members and friends to express their concerns about the process of separation and divorce and the impact on their personal lives, family, and professions. Participants share strategies for coping with and moving through stages from separation to divorce. The group read and discussed Moving On: Dumping Your Relationship Baggage and Make Room for the Love of Your Life by Friedman & James and hosted a counselor who discussed therapy/counseling options.
The women’s group is intended to be a place of discussion and support for women. Events connected to the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp over the last two years have prompted the need for discussion and support for women’s issues. The group has met several times in 2018 in the form of a support group for women. The gatherings have taken place on several Sundays after the service and was led by Kathee Myers.
This group of has met for about three years as a place for writers to share their writing and gain support and critiques. The work by members of the group has included: fiction, poetry, memoir or true story, essays, fables, comedy, and self-help. Writer’s Group had its origin from a previous small group that explored “Writing the Story of Your Life” by Dan Wakefield.
In addition to reading aloud and discussing individual writings done at home, the group will often have a brief writing exercise about an agreed topic that can be written during the meeting and shared. Sometimes the topics are chosen ahead of time and read during the meeting. The group has also been a source for exploration of a sermon topic which then becomes part of a lay-led service. That has included the topic of spirituality and currently, the Soul Matter’s theme of mystery. The membership of the group remains around eight people. The group meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 PM at UUCS.
“The Xennials” is an inclusive group of a blend between and encompassing Generation X and Millennials. We operate as a transition group, but also as a warm welcome for new people that come to our church. We actively invite new people to come. We recently started a Google Group listserv. Sometimes we do casual sandwich potlucks on first Sundays so that people who go to the “Inquirer’s Conversation” meeting can come to our lunch afterwards. Other times we go out to lunch to kid-friendly venues. Mostly we get together to socialize though sometimes we brainstorm church business. We have also reached out to other committees to lend a helping hand from time to time, and we’d like to do more of that.