The UU Animal Ministry (UUAM) advocates for the rights of all animals through education, legislation and other peaceful means.  We seek to exclude all forms of neglect and cruelty to animals. We engage in concrete actions that bring about change at the individual, congregational, community, and societal level.

Main Activities of the Animal Ministry:

  • Education: We coordinate with Religious Education (RE) to engage the children utilizing their programs (e.g., Hogwarts), through books and speakers (e.g., Carolina Wildlife Care).  In addition, we have festivals such as the Blessing of the Animals.  Through Meatless Mondays and our various vegan events, cooking classes, and recipe sharing, we encourage lifestyle changes directly related to reducing animal cruelty.
  • Legislation: We lobby our SC legislators on bills directly related to animal welfare.  We attend legislative committee and subcommittee meetings and help to publicize animal welfare causes both within and outside of the congregation.
  • Charitable: The Animal Ministry supports Pawmetto Lifeline and other animal welfare groups in the midlands by publicizing and participating in their events
CYRE Participation
Besides the adult congregants, we would welcome other interested CYRE kids with a keen interest in animal welfare and a desire to act upon these interests, to start coming to our meetings. No obligations, just come and see if you are interested. (Sounds like a commercial?!). Contact Anita Grossman if interested.
Our current “junior” teen member is Laura Culler, but there is nothing junior about her very dedicated and active participation in the Animal Ministry! Our former teen representative, Sophia Johnson, has moved on to USC, but has not slowed down in her ardor for protecting animals as evidenced by this article.
That Sophia – she’s the best! We sure do miss her.

Recent Activities

Blessing of the Animals

On a gorgeous sunny afternoon on November 4th, 2018, pets and their owners gathered outside at UUCC with eager anticipation to await the Eighth Annual Blessing of the Animals.
Minister sings at Blessing of the AnimalsThey would not be disappointed, for our minister, Candace Chellew-Hodge treated the ceremony with dignity and respect, as well as interjecting humor when it was appropriate. In the first part of her talk she remembered the animals who could not be present, for whatever reason, and then went on to bless those creatures who are suffering, hunted, abused and those who live in fear. After this prayer, she changed tempo and  shared her wonderful musical  talents with us, and performed a song she had written especially for the occasion.
Next came the really emotive and compassionate part of the service where Reverend Chellew-Blessing of the AnimalsHodge invited members of the group to bring their animals up individually for what turned out to be a very special and personal talk and blessing. A sort of peace passed over each animal (even my rambunctious Harry!) as she stroked the animal and gazed into his/her eyes while speaking softly.
Each animal was allowed to choose a toy, compliments of the Animal Ministry to distract and occupy him/her at the event, as well as to take home. Cat toys (fabric fish with catnip sewn into them) were taken home by their owners to their cats. (Compliments of the talents of Marie Hunt!).
Blessing of the AnimalsA rather splendid table was laid out with a variety of treats for dogs and cats as well as an abundance of people vegan treats of homemade cookies, chips and other delectables.
This event could not have been organized, publicized and executed without the hard work of the members of the Animal Ministry. Anita Grossman, Chair Person of the group, wishes to extend a special shout out to Linda Brennison and Patty Drews, who each worked Blessing of the Animalscourageously throughout this process, and attended to each detail with precision. Anita also wishes to thank Marilyn Miss, who arrived 2 hours early and stayed an hour after everyone went home, making sure all attendees signed the attendance sheet! Thanks also to Laura Culler for pitching in and being the “go to” person as we needed special tasks completed. And last but not least, she wishes to thank Rita Marie Rhodes, our newest member, who contributed food, dog bowls and was a tremendous help throughout the ceremony.

Blessing of the AnimalsAnd last but not least, this event could not have taken place without the expert skills of Bill Dolley who set up our tables and banner and then afterwards, returned to UUCC to take everything down. Perfect job, Bill! We so appreciate what you do for us!
Anita Grossman
Chair, Animal Ministry

Sophia Does it Again!
Sophia Storlazzi, former member of the Animal Ministry, and activist, was heavily involved in a “Sustainable Thanksgiving” program that was sponsored by many groups on and off of campus.  Unfortunately, she was not mentioned in the article, but she was making us proud nevertheless!

Standing Room Only!
If attendance is any indication of a successful event, the Animal Ministry’s “Vegan Potluck and Speaker” on March 24, 2017, hit a home run! All sixty seats that had been set up were filled, and more chairs were brought into the social hall. Of the 60+ attendees that came to the event, the majority brought a vegan dish to share, and our four tables were overflowing (literally) with amazing, healthy, delicious, vegan food!
Our speaker, Diane Mallette, was inspirational as she spoke about both the benefits of adopting a vegan diet as well as warning us of the environmental factors that we face that threaten life as we know it.
A special shout out goes to Donald Griggs who came to the event and stayed to ensure that we have excellent audio-visual assistance throughout the evening.
Another special “Thank you” also goes to Linda Brennison who worked tirelessly on this event, from its inception at an Animal Ministry meeting, until the last dish was washed. Thanks also to members Marky Deese, who did an excellent job keeping up with attendance,  and Laura Culler who arrived very early and was kept extremely busy with last minute signage, getting food on the table, and helping out in the kitchen. Much appreciation goes to Joan Watterson who pitched in with clean up out so we could go home at a decent hour!
Anita Grossman
Chair, Animal Ministry

Bark to the Park
The Animal Ministry had a team to walk in the annual Bark to the Park event to benefit Pawmetto Lifeline on Saturday, April 8, 2016. Donations were gratefully accepted to help Pawmetto Lifeline, an animal rescue organization that works to address the problems created by pet overpopulation and include: Adoption, Medical, Rescue, and Education.

PurePlant Nation
In March, the Animal Ministry (UUAM) sponsored a showing of the next film in our Ethical Eating series, PlantPure Nation.  It relates to a plant-based diet, research into its efficacy, and the struggles for official political recognition. Once again, we collaborated with Columbia Veg (our local vegetarian society).  We began with vegan snacks prior to, and during intermission. It was followed with a lively discussion.

Vegan Pot Luck



On Sunday, October 16th, we held a vegan pot luck in our social hall.  The speaker for the evening was Trisha Mandes, MPHN, who spoke about “Dietary disease prevention and reversal: an introduction to the evidence.”  This meal was a joint venture between the Animal Ministry, Columbia Veg, and, for the first time, the SC Progressive Network.  It was a great success with over 90 people in attendance..