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 {link} 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!

Earth Month Activities
Events listed below. [Click here for resources on how you can live more sustainably.]

EcoSolutions is bringing much needed attention to the climate crisis during the month of April. Join us for as many events as you are able and then make a commitment to accelerate your individual actions to help address this crisis.

Reverence for LifeThursday, April 1 at 7pm

Climate crisis (month) kick-off presentation: Get the facts – This multimedia online presentation via Zoom will give you the latest facts and provide solutions, both individual and collective, required to move toward a sustainable future. Presented by Terri LeGrand and Janet Loew. Click here to register.

Friday, April 2 at 6pm

Plant based First Friday Potluck – Make or buy a favorite vegetarian or vegan meal and enjoy it while chatting online with Fellowship friends. Click here to register.

Saturday, April 3 at 10am

Hike/Walk at C.G. Hill Memorial Park – Join us for this relatively easy 3 mile walk around the lake and associated trails. Bring a lunch or snack to enjoy together at the end. Masks mandatory. Click here for complete details and to sign up.

Sunday, April 4 at 9am

Forum: Renewal, the religious eco movement – Join Jim Norris and Gayle Goldsmith to view inspiring stories from the film Renewal, followed by discussion. Get inspired! Click here to attend.

Sunday, April 4 at 10:30am

Worship Service: A Reverence for Life, Our Calling to Protect and Preserve Planet Earth, Part 1 – Rev. Ed Brock will explore our role in creation and the importance of living in harmony with nature. Facilitated 30 min discussion groups offered just after the service. Click here to attend.

Sunday, April 11 at 9am

Forum: Local Resolutions for Clean, Renewable Energy – Rajesh Kapileshwari will discuss the role of local governments in transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy. Where are we in the Triad and what needs to be done? Click here to attend.

Sunday, April 11 at 10:30am

Worship Service: A Reverence for Life, Our Calling to Protect and Preserve Planet Earth, Part 2  – Climate change is here. Rev. Ed Brock will explore our roles in responding to the crisis. Facilitated 30 min discussion groups offered just after the service. Click here to attend.

Saturday, April 17 at 9am

Service project:  Creek cleanup – EcoSolutions is organizing a UU group creek clean-up service project at Bethabara Park as part of the Great American Cleanup event. All ages 6 and up are welcome (ages 6-12 must be accompanied by parent or guardian). Click here for more details and to signup.

Sunday, April 18 at 9am

Forum: Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming– Tim Binkley will discuss the book Drawdown, which has become a seminal text on climate solutions, drawing on humanity’s collective wisdom about the practices and technologies that can begin to reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon by mid-century. Click here to attend.

Sunday, April 18 at 10:30am

Worship Service: A Reverence for Life, Our Calling to Protect and Preserve Planet Earth, Part 3  – Solutions to climate change exist. Rev. Ed Brock will explore what we can and should do. Facilitated 30 min discussion groups offered just after the service. Click here to attend.

Thursday, April 22 at 10am

Earth Day Tanglewood Hike and Great Blue Heron Spotting – Enjoy a brisk 4 to 5 mile hike at Tanglewood Park. We will stop along the Yadkin River to see a Great Blue Heron rookery in a tree on the opposite bank.  This hike is limited to 10 and masks will be required. Click here for details and to sign up.

Saturday, April 24 at 11am *** RESCHEDULED to May 15 ***

Family Hike at Bethabara Trails – Pam Lepley will lead a family hike followed by a picnic at the Bethabara trails. Children ages one and up are welcome. This hike is reserved for families with children. Spaces limited. Click here for details and to sign up.

Sunday, April 25 at 9am

Forum: How to Measure Your Personal Carbon Footprint – Angie Vincoli and Gayle Goldsmith will help you learn how to calculate your carbon footprint. Click here to attend.

Sunday, April 25 at 10:30am

Worship Service: The Intersections of the Climate Crisis and Injustice  – Guest speaker Rev. Karen Brammer will examine the intersection between race, class and climate devastation and the ways UUs can respond. Facilitated 30 min discussion groups offered just after the service. Click here to attend.

 

…and in May, join us for more!

 

Thursday, May 6 at 7pm

Help Defeat the Climate Crisis – Project Drawdown’s mission is to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline, thereby stopping catastrophic climate change — as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible. Join study group coordinator Gayle Goldsmith as she leads us through the Project Drawdown workbook. Each chapter deals with a different sector (e.g. electricity, agriculture, transportation,) and provides solutions to climate change with actions that can be taken today. Join here: https://uufws.org/virtual1-project-drawdown-monthly

Tuesday, May 11 at 7pm

Ecosolutions Quarterly Meeting – After our April Sermon & Forum series on the Climate Crisis, it is time to make plans individually and as a Fellowship to implement change. Please join our EcoSolutions meeting to review the April activities and previous projects and to discuss and plan for our next steps. All are welcome. We are a fun group of about 20 active members. Join us online. Click here to attend.

Sunday, May 23 at 9am

Forum: Climate Resilience  – We are not immune to climate disasters here in the Piedmont. Just in case, be better prepared to deal with tornadoes, hurricanes, deluges and floods, extended power outages, water shortages and more.  Click here to attend.

 

Our Minister and Care Committee recognize the pressures many of our members endure during COVID. Here is an excellent offering from the North Carolina Department of Health Services which may be a resource for you.

https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/mental-health-developmental-disabilities-and-substance-abuse/hope4nc

Do you need to shop for groceries in this pandemic, but don’t want to risk entering the store? Fortunately, there are non-contact options: curbside pickup and home delivery. Susan Ott, the Care Committee’s Grocery Guru has compiled a guide to non-contact pickup and delivery. Susan is available to answer questions about the shopping process. For the detailed how-to guide, copy this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JR8Nk85L0E6OzwRF4AlCme72pMN27102/edit or email care@uufws.org