By Darby Fetzer
The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Southwest Michigan, located in south Portage, is a community on diverse spiritual journeys with a vision to “to positively transform ourselves and the world for the well-being of all life.”
UUCC got its start in 1995 when 20 people launched from People’s Church in Kalamazoo. In 1996, the group began meeting at the Portage Senior Center. In 2002 they ran a capital campaign, rented space at Celebration Hall and bought the building.
Reverend Gy Ludwig-McCartney, who has led the congregation for five years, expresses UUCC’s mission in the context of the coming year. “There’s always renewed hope when entering a new year. Amid our current challenges, this can be difficult. From political divisiveness and social injustice to climate change and a cooling economy, it’s no wonder that so many of us are experiencing anxiety and disconnectedness. To heal this divide, UUCC is a caring community that supports individual growth and provides opportunities to foster equity and justice in all areas of life.”
Each Sunday at 10 a.m., UUCC members come together under the leadership of Rev. Gy, guest ministers, and speakers. Services are held in the sanctuary warmly decorated in hand-woven tapestries and mosaics. Services include:
Welcome and lighting of the chalice
Contemporary, classical, and traditional music, and meditation
An inspirational talk by the minister or guest speakers
Sharing of joys and concerns, offering, announcements
Extinguishing the chalice, closing words, and music
Coffee and refreshments
Religious Exploration Classes for K-12 also begin at 10 a.m. Coordinated by youth leader Miriam Epskamp, RE provides opportunities for children to explore moral values, social responsibility, and a wide range of religious beliefs in a fun and supportive environment. Nursery care is also available.
The gift of giving takes many different forms at UUCC. Quarterly, UUCC hosts “Generosity Sunday” where local nonprofit organizations share about their service work and receive a generous morning’s offering of support. Some past recipients include Portage Community Center, Kalamazoo Literacy Council, YWCA and Samaritas. UUCC embraces and works closely with ISAAC, a network of local congregations of all faiths discussing actions to address housing, gun violence, poverty, education, anti-racism and more. Being active in the community is a high priority for congregants. It’s common to see UUCC members at local rallies and events, like Pride and Earth-A-Thon.
In addition to Sunday’s service, UUCC offers many 60-90 minute monthly Zoom programs:
Sustainability: Learning to live and act in support of the earth
Civil Conversations: Respectfully discussing controversial topics
Thoughtful Thursdays: Exploring topics to advance compassion and understanding
Anti-Racism: Studying, discussing, and understanding racism’s origins and learning ways to dismantle structural racism.
Women’s Book Group
Mindfulness and Meditation Learning practices to address anxiety, depression, pain, and foster joy, and compassion
The small but active UUCC congregation is made up of life-long Unitarian Universalists, former Catholics, former Protestants and an array of believer and non-believers seeking truth, meaning and an inclusive place to belong regardless of religious background, race, or gender identity.
Sunday Services are held in-person at 10441 Shaver Road, Portage, via Zoom Meeting ID: 926 5154 8494 Passcode: 286763 or watch the service streamed live on our Facebook page facebook.com/uuccswmi. All are welcome.
For more information, visit UUCC’s website: uucommunitychurch.org.
UUC Church offers diverse, inclusive community
By Darby Fetzer