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Sunday Services

Sunday services begin at 10:45 a.m.

We are located at 1951 E. Park Ave., next to J.L. Newbern Middle School.   Children begin the service in the sanctuary and then will move to the Religious Education class after the “Story for All Ages.”

Sunday, September 2 – “A People of Sanctuary,” Carol Stiles, lay leader

Jesus encouraged his followers to provide hospitality to the “least of these” by saying, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt. 25:35-40).  In today’s challenging times, people are divided about how (if?) we welcome the stranger.   In UU and other churches, the issues before us have led to a revitalization of the sanctuary movement (where churches provide sanctuary for individuals who are undocumented).  While this requires a considerable commitment on the part of the congregation, there are many other things we can do to “welcome the stranger.”  The Soul Matters Team helps us answer the question:  what does it mean to be a people of sanctuary?

Sunday, September 9 –  Dr. Pat Miller, “Enlightenment Now” or Why We Might Just Be Headed to Paradise in a Late Model Cadillac

            Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker makes a simple argument in “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”:  Human beings are better off today than at any other time in history.  That human progress directly results from gifts from the Enlightenment—primarily science and reason, a position, which pushed to its logical conclusion, posits humanism as the Enlightenment’s final social boon.  And he has data to bolster this position.  Lots and lots and lots of data (mostly from to support what objective observation tells us:  Humans on this planet live longer, healthier, more engaging lives than they ever have before.  Not perfect, mind you. But better. Otherwise, the Cadillac would be brand new.

Sunday, September 16 – Pride Service

The day after the South Georgia Pride Festival in John Saunders Park, we will gather for our regular Sunday morning service to continue the celebration!   Through a UU perspective, we will reflect upon SGP’s theme for this year, “Love Still Wins!”

Share the Plate Sunday Offering: Donations to the plate this Sunday, not otherwise designated as pledges, will go to the Valdosta Area Rotary Club Imagination Library Project. The project provides Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books each month to children under the age of five in Lowndes County. Starting with “The Little Engine That Could,” an age-appropriate book is mailed directly to each registered child each month, until the child’s fifth birthday. There is no cost to the child’s family.   Early reading is important to all parts of the community because it leads to a lifetime of opportunity. Children who learn to read early in life become avid learners in school, skillful workers on the job, and informed citizens in life.   The program is administered in Lowndes County by the Valdosta Rotary Foundation. 

Sunday, September 23 – Ingathering and Water Communion

The Water Communion is used by many UU churches in September as an ingathering service after the summer.   But today’s water communion services are very different from the original water ritual, which was held in in November, 1980, at the Women and Religion Continental Convocation of Unitarian Universalists.  Two Unitarian Universalist women—Carolyn McDade and Lucile Schuck Longview—were asked to create a worship service for the Convocation.  As described on the Harvard Square Library website by UU historian, Dr. Susan Ritchie:   “The first Unitarian Universalist water ritual was an important part of the feminist movement inside of Unitarian Universalism, and it is closely related to the development of the current Unitarian Universalist Association’s ‘Principles and Purposes.’

Today, we will re-visit the original water ritual.  Each person in attendance will have an opportunity to add water to the communal bowl and share a brief message about the personal significance of the water shared.

Sunday, September 30 – Leeann Culbreath, “Hospitality, Human Rights, and Hope: Responding to Immigrant Detention in Georgia”

Georgia is home to four for-profit immigrant detention centers, three of them in south Georgia. Rife with human rights abuses, these centers operate as prisons, indefinitely incarcerating immigrants as they await court hearings or deportation. Rev. Deacon Leeann Culbreath will share what’s happening inside Georgia’s immigrant detention centers and how individuals and groups can respond in love.

Deacon Leeann Culbreath is a vocational deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the founding Co-Chair of the South Georgia Immigrant Support Network (SGISN), based in Tifton. For over two years, she has visited friends in detention and organized efforts to advocate for and support detained persons and their loved ones. SGISN recently opened Casa Colibrí, a hospitality house in Ocilla near Irwin County Detention Center. SGISN also coordinates visitation, pen pal, and educational programs. Deacon Leeann lives in Tifton with her husband and two sons, and together they enjoy outdoor adventures and the Andy Griffith Show.