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Vote for 2014 Share the Plate Recipients
Click on the photo of the ballot shown on the right. It will take you to a PDF version of the ballot, which you can then print out and mark with your vote. Please put your completed ballot into the box on the table in the foyer at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, SC or email your completed ballot to by January 25, 2014.

We had a very successful nominations process for our Share the Plate recipients for 2014. Thirty-seven (37) charitable organizations have been nominated, an increase of 60% over last year. Voting to select the 11 monthly recipients for the remainder of this year has begun and will continue for two weeks, concluding on Friday, January 24th. (January is reserved for the Minister’s Discretionary Fund). The ballot is enclosed. Please vote one ballot only and select your top 11 choices. Brief descriptions of each charity are provided. Please deposit your ballot in the box on the foyer table, or email it to Your participation is important. Our congregation generously donated over $10,000 to our Share the Plate recipients in 2013. These are gifts that embody our UU values in supporting so many worthwhile local charities and social justice organizations. Thank you for your participation and generosity!

Affordable Housing Resources-  improves the quality of life for low-income individuals by providing safe and affordable rental housing opportunities in the local community. The number one reason for family homelessness is the lack of affordable housing; 
Carolina Peace Resource Center- The mission of the Carolina Peace Resource Center is to advance the cause of peace and justice in the world by facilitating and encouraging research and education. The Center was founded in 1981 to increase public knowledge of peace and justice issues among South Carolinians.
Carolina Wildlife Care- ( CWC treats injured and orphaned wildlife with the goal of giving them the second chance to live the life that nature intended. The 501(c)(3) charity devoted 93% of its total expenses of toward program services last year.
Columbia Family Shelter- A shelter that provides emergency food, shelter, resources and hope to homeless families with children in the Midlands area. Started in 1979, this agency works towards the goal of providing a secure, structured environment where families can regain a sense of stability, responding to identified client needs with a variety of supportive services. For more information visit www.columbiafamilyshelter. org
Congaree Riverkeeper- works to protect and improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreation on the Congaree, Lower Saluda and Lower Broad Rivers through advocacy, education and enforcement of environmental laws.
Families Helping Families- In 2012 Families Helping Families (FHF) in the Midlands and the Lowcountry provided assistance to more than 3,000 families in need of food, clothing, and Christmas gifts.
Family Promise- Helps homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence. They respond by integrating educational outreach, smart programming, effective policies, and the hands-on work of thousands of volunteers.
Fit Program- Lexington High School- This program provides weekend and holiday food for students in need. They provide backpacks supplied with food to supplement free and reduced lunch provided by the school.
Food Not Bombs- An organization that recovers food that would have been discarded and shares it as a way of protesting war and poverty.  we could inspire the public to press for military spending to be redirected to human needs. 
Free Medical Clinic- The Free Medical Clinic, Inc. provides quality healthcare, at no cost, to residents of the community who cannot pay for such services and who have no health insurance.
God’s Storehouse-  a faith-based outreach program that assists the needy throughout the greater Columbia area. Staffed primarily by volunteers from area churches, God's Storehouse provides food, clothing and household supplies to our neighbors in crisis at no cost to them.
Good Samaritan Clinic- The clinic provides free basic health care to uninsured immigrants. Patients generally do not qualify for any type of health coverage in spite of earning salaries below the federal poverty level. This clinic is their only option to have access to health care.
Harriet Hancock Center-  the hub of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activity in the Midlands of South Carolina. a free lending library, meeting spaces for LGBT-supportive groups, and a directory of LGBT-friendly businesses, organizations, and counselors .
Harvest Hope Food Bank- The mission of Harvest Hope Food Bank is to provide for the needs of hungry people by gathering and sharing quality food with dignity, compassion and education.
Howlmore Animal Sanctuary- Howlmore Animal Sanctuary is a Safe Haven for Animals in Need. The sanctuary provides a home for dogs and cats that for whatever reason are not easily adoptable. 
Meals on Wheels- South Carolina ranks #8 in the nation for seniors with food insecurity. Meals on Wheels has been meeting the nutritional needs of the homebound, elderly and disabled for over 40 years.
Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc.- An organization whose mission is to provide community based services to individuals recovering from severe mental illness and/or emotional disorders in the Midlands. This is accomplished through counseling, housing and financial management initiatives.
Pawmetto Lifeline- ( Pawmetto Lifeline is a not for profit no-kill animal rescue organization. It strives to solve the pet over population problem in the Midlands by offering spaying and neutering services and providing a shelter for adoption. 
Patty Packs-  designed to assist the families of loved ones born with Congenital Heart Disease. works to provide support to families affected by extensive stays in pediatric intensive care.  provide emotional support to these families.
Pet Soup- Pet Soup, in connection with Pawmetto Lifeline, is an emergency resource to provide pet food to needy families in the Midlands so more families can keep their pets instead of adding to the homeless pet population. 
SC Christian Action Council- Christian unity, inter-religious dialogue, restorative justice, ethical and moral immigration reform, Pay Day Lending Industry regulation, public education funding equity, and other issues. .
SC Equality- South Carolina Equality Coalition was established in 2002 as a statewide non-partisan coalition of local and state social, religious, and political GLBT organizations and allies with a mission to secure civil and human rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender South Carolinians.
SC Progressive Network-  promotes social and economic justice in SC. the Network connects people to each other and to resources designed to leverage the work of progressive organizations. visit www. scpronet. com.
SC Respite Coalition- The SC Respite Coalition is the only entity in the state committed to addressing the needs for respite across the lifespan for all persons caring for a child or adult who has special needs.
SC Sierra Club- The mission of this organization includes protecting wild places and endangered species, keeping our air and water clean, ensuring a clean energy future, curbing climate change, and keeping the pressure on politicians and corporations to ensure safe and healthy communities. 
SisterCare- Sistercare is a program of services for batterered women and their children residing in Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, and Richland counties in South Carolina.
SQ Rescue- ( This is a non-profit, no kill animal rescue group that takes in stray dogs and cats, even some needing medical care, as well as pulling animals from shelters that are in danger of being euthanized. SQ Rescue works in conjunction with PetSmart Charities.
UUCC Partner Church- Beszterce Unitarian Church was elected to become our "Partner Church" in Transylvania, Romania in October, l990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is a unique charitable opportunity for us to honor our shared Unitarian roots .
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies. The UUSC focuses on civil liberties, economic justice, environmental justice, and human rights.
The Women’s Shelter- A shelter that provides basic emergency shelter for homeless women in Columbia as well as transitional housing, dental services, and on-site counseling.
Register for Nov. 24 Chili Cookoff
at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, SC or email

Dust off your best chili recipe for the Fourth Annual UUCC Chili Cookoff, which will be held Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 following t
he Cornbread Communion Multi-generational Service. The cost to enter is $5 per chili, click here for entry forms  or look on the colorful table in the Social Hall. 

Categories are vegan/vegetarian or meaty, and prizes will also be awarded for best surprise ingredient and kids’ favorite. Cost to sample the many delicious homemade chilis and vote for your favorite is $10 per adult, $5 for children and youth.


Partner Church Committee
Opportunity Fair
May 19, 2013

Installation service for Neal Jones Jan. 27, 2013 
(click on the image on the right to find video and photos)


Our beloved Don Mohr died peacefully in his sleep Oct. 21, 2012 at Richland Hospital with his dear wife Pat by his side. He is greatly missed by his friends, family, and his UUCC family, of which he was a congregational father figure. A memorial service was held 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the UUCC. 


The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia presented "The Polar Express" as part of its holiday pageant Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. The UUCC is at Woodrow and Heyward streets in the Shandon neighborhood.

Sonya Jones wrote: "Kudos to the awesome cast and crew of The Polar Express: Nick Seymour, Bauer Westeren, Bethany Storlazzi, Missy O'Toole, Maggie O'Toole, Jim DuPlessis, Sophia Storlazzi, Drew Johnson, Nohl Johnson, Nina Eason, Soraya Perez Shillington, Gabe Perkins, Gus Corbett, Sam O'Toole, Ronan Sullivan, James DuPlessis, Naima Whitted, Avalee Trammell Jones. Our crew was: Ana Baez Jones, Sarah Corbett, Lisa Kelly Eason, Fran O'Toole, Linda M. Steffey, Emilio Perez, and Janet Swigler. We were so sad not to have Sarah Pregnall, Neal Jones, and Gwen Preston with us. We hope you get well soon!" Uni Tarian adds: Thanks to Connor Gibson for filming, and of course, Sonya Jones for producing. Thanks also to Barbie Seymour for the hot chocolate and apple cider and to Linday Steffey for filling in last second for the ailing Sarah Pregnall.


YouTube Video

The Polar Express: video trailer

Here's the video trailer for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia's Holiday Pageant (Polar Express). Rehearsal is 2-4 p.m. Saturday Dec. 15 in the sanctuary. Even if you're not in the pageant, we could use additional assistance with costumes, props and set decoration. Performance will be with the multigenerational service 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. The UUCC is at Woodrow and Heyward Streets in the Shandon neighborhood.


Polar Express

Blessing the Animals the Unitarian Universalist Way

Our Rev. Neal Jones "blessed the animals" at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia Sunday afternoon, Nov. 11, 2012. Besides a dozen or so dogs, he also blessed a chicken and a lizard. Members brought their pets to be blessed to show our gratitude for their unique attributes and for the ways that these animals have enriched our lives.

Blessing the Animals the Unitarian Universalist Way

Members of the UUCC standing on the side of love at the Gay Pride Parade in Columbia, S.C., Oct. 20, 2012.


Humanist and author Dale McGowan

"Humor: Secret Weapon of the Progressive"

Humanist and author Dale McGowan speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia Sunday, Oct. 21, on "Humor: Secret Weapon of the Progressive."


Dale McGowan on "Humor: Secret Weapon of the Progressive"

Our congregation was well represented at S.C. Rallies to Unite Against the War on Women held Saturday, April 28, 2012. There are many familiar faces in this short video produced for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. Do you recognize who did the voiceover?

YouTube Video


The Rev. Neal Jones speaks at S.C. Rallies to Unite Against the War on Women at the statehouse in Columbia, S.C., April 28, 2012.


YouTube Video

"Christianity in America has divorced itself from the compassion of Jesus." -- a guest editorial by our pastor, the Rev. Neal Jones.

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Ministerial Musings

Dedicating Our Building, Rededicating Ourselves

On June 17, we held a dedication service for our renovations: our new memorial garden and patio, our remodeled social hall and foyer, and our refurbished playground. In my sermon, I reflected on my recent visit to two museums in Cincinnati, the Creation Museum, which presents the Genesis creation story as literal natural history, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which chronicles our nation's struggle against slavery and for equality, including an extensive review of the historic Briggs v. Elliott case that originated in Clarendon County, South Carolina. I observed that the Creation Museum, an expensive and elaborate justification of Fundamentalism, is a literal museum: it enshrines something that belongs to the past.
I went on to observe: In contrast, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center may be a museum, but it is not merely preserving the past. It recalls the human struggle for freedom and dignity, and that struggle extends into the future. That struggle, whether against yesterday's slavery and segregation or against today's bigotry toward homosexuals, immigrants, atheists, agnostics, and humanists, is primarily a struggle against fear. Fear is overcome by faith, and faith, as the Bible reminds us, is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Many religious people have turned "faith" into a synonym for "belief," but faith involves your imagination and will more than your mind. It's imagining a future that's different from the past and living as if that future is possible, and by so living, faith helps to make that future come true. Fear looks over its shoulder, but faith looks ahead.
Today, as we dedicate our renovated building, let us rededicate ourselves to building a community of faith -- faith in the dignity and worth of every person, in the goodness of life and in the meaning of service, in the light of reason to drive away the darkness of fear and in the power of love to outlast the hostility of hate, in the possibility that tomorrow does not have to be like yesterday and that we can become what we ought to be.
May this building not be a museum to the past but a beacon of hope for the future as we continue the struggle for freedom in our lives in our day. Each of our lives will end, but this community will continue. Let us leave a legacy of faith, not fear. Like those slaves who braved the waters of the Ohio and those parents who endured scorn and loss in Clarendon, we want a better life for our children. Let us envision a more just, more humane world, and let us rededicate ourselves to live in such a way that it may come true.
By the Rev. Dr. Neal Jones, pubished June 27, 2012 in The Unigram, the newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, S.C.

Dedication Ceremony, June 17, 2012