This summer, you are encouraged to collect a small amount of water from your travels—or a meaningful spot here at home—and bring it to our annual Homecoming and Water Service on Sept. 12. Your waters will be combined with a sample from past water ceremonies as a symbol of our coming together. It’s a UU tradition that will have even more meaning after the isolation of the pandemic. (Questions? Contact Julie Palm, keeper of the water.)

Dear Ones,
Growing up, I was fortunate to live with my Gran and she helped build the foundation for my whole life. My Gran taught me to love and appreciate people. She taught me to work hard, make a joyful noise, and not to waste any of the life that I’ve been given. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky and I’m beyond grateful for the twenty years that I’ve spent in partnership with the Fellowship building relationships with so many beautiful souls. The many, many helpful hands and loving hearts in this community have made even hard work a joy. You have brought meaning and joy to the necessary task of earning a living. Thank you so much for the lovely and celebratory Worship Service, the many kind notes and emails, and the very generous gifts. I am completely overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity, and I look forward to discover how these next years unfold.
Much love,
Pam Lepley

UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem Clothing Closet

Our re-opening on July 10th saw about 20 clients! We will continue to be open on the second Saturday of each month. Clients masked up and self serve “shopped”. We are accepting donations again of gently used clothing and shoes and they can be placed at the CC bin in the lobby of the Fellowship or in the bin located at the front of the CC building. Children’s clothing is always in short supply. Please call 336-659-0331 or email clothescloset@uufws.org after dropping off so that we can promptly bring into the CC or if you are interested in volunteering.

We expect that anyone who can be vaccinated is fully vaccinated. Masks are required at all times for the unvaccinated.

For the time being, we ask everyone to wear a mask in the common areas, such as the foyer, halls, kitchen, bathrooms and Fellowship Hall. However, if you are meeting in the library or classrooms, you may remove your mask if

1) you are comfortable doing so,
2) there are no children in the room, and
3) everyone in the room agrees.

Masks are required throughout the building (for ages 3 and up) during Sunday services. Until children can be vaccinated, everyone must remain masked in all indoor spaces on Sundays.

Masks are not required outside unless you are close to children.

Questions? Email the Fellowship Board at board@uufws.org.

At a special meeting on June 3, the Board voted on a phased plan for reopening the building and for funding tech improvements needed for their commitment to a multi-platform approach to gathering. This approach will allow us to do in-person and virtual services, events and activities going forward. The Board vote upholds our vision, mission, and covenant to each other.

Details of the phased plan are in this June 4th email from the Gathering Guidance Advisory Team (GGAT). Be sure to fill out an announcement request form here to reserve indoor or outdoor meeting space. And look for ALL HANDS on DECK announcements with specific ways you can contribute to our community regathering!

We wept, as we’re sure many of you did, with the loss of each of the three large oak trees that have died in the front of UU grounds lately. We wondered, was it old age, the stress of global warming, or some disease that was causing this loss. Even more important, was there anything we could do to slow the death of our remaining beloved trees.

Recently we had a complementary visit from Mark & Sam, two tree experts from the Forsyth County Forestry Office. When not fighting fires, they visit residents who are experiencing tree problems. They’re especially on the lookout for the spread of a disease called oak wilt.

The good news is: they saw nothing wrong with our oaks, other than a few lightening strike scars and some advancing age. So, like many of us, the oaks are just getting on in years. They recommended that we feed our oaks a bit of nitrogen for good health and be sure to clean our pruning tools with alcohol. Otherwise, they recommended our best course of action is succession planning by planting small trees on the edge of treed areas where they will get the most sun.

Most of our existing oaks are white oaks which are slow growing but long lived trees. We could replant with those or use faster growing red oaks. Another option would be sugar maples for pretty fall color. Any of these would make nice memorial trees. But, they would have to be small trees. The foresters said trees fare better when planted small so they acclimate to their new soil as youngsters.

We hate loosing our big old majestic oaks, but at least we can rest assured that we didn’t miss an opportunity to extend their lives. This summer, please take time to stroll around our beautiful property and appreciate the beauty of nature.

Sue & Rich Freeman, Grounds Coordinators

The members of our Fellowship voted with an overwhelming majority at the May 23 congregational meeting to pass a resolution to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, with the long term goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. We also resolved to utilize 70% clean and renewable energy by 2030.

This resolution was modeled after the resolutions passed by the Forsyth County Commissioners and the Winston-Salem City Council, as well as inspired by the Paris Climate Agreement. “We see it as a challenge, but one that rapidly changing technology will make possible,” says Kathy Johnson, Co-Chair of the Fellowship’s EcoSolutions Team. “We hope our efforts will be emulated by other churches and organizations in the Triad.”

The UU Fellowship has long been recognized as a leader in the community on environmental and justice issues. We were the first church in Winston-Salem to utilize solar panels, which were installed in 2014. The Fellowship has also made other sustainable decisions, such as installing high-efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment, composting food scraps, and eliminating disposables such as coffee cups, plates, utensils and napkins. On our grounds we have installed a bioretention cell, or rain garden, to naturally filter runoff from their parking lot and planted native plants and flowers to support pollinators.

“The climate crisis is the single biggest threat to humanity” says the Reverend Ed Brock, the Fellowship’s Interim Minister. “We have been exploring the many sides of this crisis, and its intersections, in both our Worship Services and classes. I am proud of the commitment the congregation has made to take action and exhibit leadership on this issue. I will continue to integrate the work of climate and environmental justice into my sermons and into all I do.”

To read the full resolution, visit https://tinyurl.com/sma7d954

For many Mondays during the pandemic, Fellowship members and friends have gathered on the grounds for a Tai Chi class led by Misako Kay. Misako has generously shared her time and talent with us, and she is willing to consider offering the class again in the future if there’s interest. Here are some of the testimonials from regular participants:

“Thank you, Misako! We have enjoyed every session and are so grateful for your willingness to teach and guide us.”
~Andi and Ken Ostberg

“Misako, it was so generous of you to provide these classes for us! I enjoyed and benefited from them and look forward to taking more classes from you in the future.” ~Kathy Johnson

“Tai Chi has been so helpful for improving balance and strength. Thank you Misako; I greatly appreciated your classes.”
~Deborah Strube

Thank you, Misako. And thank you, Helen Etters, for your help in safely coordinating a Fellowship activity in a pandemic!

The UU Fellowship of Winston Salem continues to maintain an active social justice focus. We are specifically concentrating on opportunities to enhance racial equity in and around the Winston Salem/Forsyth County area, but may see the need to combine our voice with those of others in calling for justice on a wider scale. We enjoy a strong partnership with the UU North Carolina Justice and Legislative Advocacy action network, known as Forward Together. Forward Together allows us to network with other UU congregations across the state in pursuit of effective social actions and relevant justice issues.

Our Social Action Council (SAC) meets monthly, on the second Sunday of the month at 12:30 pm, and everyone is welcome to attend. We’ve been meeting on Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic response, but when the building re-opens, we’ll consider meeting in person again. Please see the Fellowship calendar for more information.

It’s that time of year again – time for Freedom School! We have been supporting the Sunnyside Freedom School for the past few years, and they’ve let us know they’re convening as usual this summer, beginning on June 21st.

In previous years, we’ve prepared meals for the Freedom School scholars, meeting at the Fellowship to prepare healthy meals to power young minds in their learning activities. Since our Fellowship is not gathering in person yet, SAC has chosen to send a financial donation to assist with meals this year.

In addition to meals and snacks, the Freedom School is always in need of help with supplies. The young scholars are generally racially/ethnically/economically marginalized, so anything we can do to help them supports our Fellowship’s focus on racial equity..

Accordingly, SAC is asking those who are willing and able contribute by donating on the wish list for supplies here:
https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1AE51SH1455EB?ref_=wl_share.

Anything you can do to help with this worthy cause is sincerely appreciated!