A few weeks ago I was sitting in the Asheville Regional Airport, heading south (To Atlanta) to go to my final destination which was New York City (North). Go figure. While waiting I struck up a conversation with a fellow traveller who was accompanied by 2 other companions. The conversation began pleasantly enough until she asked me what I did to earn a living. “I am a Unitarian Universalist clergy person,” I answered. Immediately I felt the energy change between us. “Oh,” she replied. “And what church did you belong to before you became a UU?” I told her that I had been raised in the African American Baptist tradition. She then proceeded to ask me why I left my faith of origin and I told her that the theology no longer worked for me. Why did I say that? She began to lecture me on the wisdom and truth of the Bible as the inerrant word of God. I tried to be tactful and gave some examples of some inconsistencies in a few of the stories, which only made her want to debate even more. Finally, I asked her if we could just talk about where we were travelling and why? I asked her did she want to be right in this conversation about the bible? “Okay, you’re right,” I said. The conversation quickly fizzled out and fortunately we did not have to sit next to one another on the plane. To be fair, at one point I did ask her what she did for a living. Her reply--- missionary work!
Minister's Column continued
Sunday, 3 April 2016, 11 am
"You and Me and Smith and Wesson"
After the horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings I sat down to write about my own relationship with guns and gun violence. I was convinced that in the U.S. the only way we would ever wrestle head on with the complex issue of gun violence was when enough people knew someone who had been killed with a gun. At that point I thought of people’s relationships with gun deaths as six degrees of separation - the theory, tested by mathematicians and social scientists, that everyone is only six or less steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world.
But it seems like we are more connected to gun violence than I realized. According to a poll conducted in 2015, forty percent of Americans know someone who was fatally shot or who committed suicide using a gun. From the shootings of unarmed black men by police, to the latest mass homicide, to partners killed in domestic violence disputes, how do we keep our hearts open to look at this interconnected web of violence with clarity, compassion and a search for solutions?
A member of UUCSV, Rebecca Williams is a documentary filmmaker interested in the power of digital media to help people tell their own stories. Her production company, Mountain Girl Media, works with small businesses, non-profits and individuals to create documentary style video stories. She is completing her first full length documentary film, Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of An American Mill Town, about the Beacon Blanket mill in Swannanoa, NC.
Sunday, 10 April 2016, 11:00
Rev. Michael Carter“Our Purposes”
Many of us are at least somewhat acquainted with our 7 UU principles, but I wonder just how familiar we are with our purposes? On Sunday, March 13, 2016 the sermon topic was the 7 Principles. On Sunday April 10th, we shall talk about our UU Purposes. There are 6 of them. The definition of the word purpose, is the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exits. Other synonyms used are the words motive, motivation, cause, occasion, reason, point, justification, and so on. In order to not live lives of meaninglessness, one must have a purpose. Let’s explore another aspect of our faith tradition that keeps us alive.
Sunday, 17 April 2016, 11:00 am
“Remember Your Humanity”
Our shared humanistic values have a long history of advancing social progress. Whether we look back to the ancient Greeks, the emergence of liberal religion, the rise of freethought and humanism, or the growth of modern peace and social justice movements, an underlying commitment to humanity has brought our society and world together. But there remain forces seeking to tear us apart. So we again renew our determination to work for a better tomorrow.
Fred Edwords has over 40 years’ experience in humanist leadership, having led local and national organizations since 1975. He was executive director of the American Humanist Association for fifteen years, editor of the Humanist magazine for twelve, and national director of the United Coalition of Reason for six. Today he is director of planned giving for the American Humanist Association and would be pleased to help you provide a future for your humanist values in your will or other estate plan.
Sunday, 24 April 2016, 11 am
Rev. Michael Carter
“Our Stand Against Racism”
This Sunday the topic is race, as we affirm and support the national Stand Against Racism Weekend sponsored by the YWCA. In many ways it is a shame that we are still talking about this topic but we have not yet put our petty obsession behind us when it comes to what it means to be fully human in our nation because of the various levels of melanin one has in their skin. The obsession is highlighted with the upcoming presidential elections in this country where once again the need to scapegoat and to “feed the fears” is in vogue. Join us as we prove once again that when fear knocks at the door and love answers— no one is there!.
Sunday, 1 May 2016, 11 am
Beth Maczka“When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion: Advocacy at the YWCA of Asheville then and now.”
Beth Maczka is the Chief Executive Officer of the YWMA of Asheville. She will highlight the importance of advocacy and public policy work for addressing the YW’s mission of Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women. She will also share examples of past leadership in the desegregation of Asheville and the creation of the MotherLove program and more recent efforts around childcare vouchers, the ERA and school policies for Mother Love students
|Recently someone asked me, “What is OWL?”|
For those of youwho haven’t gotten that memo O.W.L. is an acronym for Our Whole Lives, a Human Sexuality Education Curriculum developed at the national level in collaboration between the UUA and United Church of Christ. We are currently teaching the curriculum at
UUSCV to our young teens. I’ve read that students studying this curriculum have the lowest unintended pregnancy rate of all of the sexuality education curricula in the United States.This is a description of the program from the UU Congregation of Danbury’s website: “It provides accurate, age appropriate information while helping children and youth to clarify their values,build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional and social aspects of sexuality.
Our class (at UUCSV) is led by highly committed teachers who
have undergone a comprehensive training weekend led by
UUA/UCC certified trainers.A sampling of topics taught to our youth include: anatomy and physiology, gender identity and sexual orientation, communication, decision making, sexual health, contraception, relationship-building, issues pertaining to teenage pregnancy, power and control, expressions of sexuality, internet, body image, bullying and responsible behavior.“
Offering this curriculum to our youth is an important part of our
ministry at UUCSV. Rev. Carter has whole-heartedly supported this
ministry at our church by holding a Sunday Service on the topic
and meeting with the 6 youth who are participating in the course. At
a recent Board of Trustees meeting, Jim Carillon asked what could
the Board do to thank the 3 teachers and 3 assistants for
volunteering their time to teach the course. After having given this
some thought my response is this: We don’t need a gift! We DO
need your support of this congregation with your time, talents and
treasures so that we will be able to continue to be a place where
children can learn to be the change they wish to see in the world.
And come join us for the annual RE Sunday Service on May 22nd. Meet the teachers and kids, hear testimonials from the teens about how the O.W.L. curriculum has changed them, and sing some great songs with us! We look forward to seeing all of you on May 22nd!
Carolyn Shorkey, O.W.L. Curriculum Coordinator
|Highlights from the Board Meeting of March 21, 2016.|
Treasurer reports that based on 8 months into the fiscal year that there are no red flags. Expenses, pledges, and income as all within the expected range for being 2⁄3 into the year.
Congregational Meeting: June 5th was set as the date for the meeting at which the congregation approves the budget and elects new Board of Trustee members.
BOT Nominations/Rotations: Each BOT member will bring a recommendation for a potential new BOT member to the April meeting, and it will be determined if any member’s term is expiring. At that time a slate of new candidates will be developed.
Liaison Reports: RE had a total of 23 children during February which included the 6 O.W.L. youth on Sundays that they met. So far the O.W.L. participants have perfect attendance and good things are being heard from the parents.
The Women’s Group is planning a yard sale, with money raised going to the church. The date has not been set, possibly in the fall. They are also ordering recycling/reusable grocery bags to be sold. UU're Home: Milt reported that fund raising by having members host fellow UUs from around the country is moving forward. Tina already has a guest scheduled and expect to see announcements soon.
The full meeting minutes are posted in the church the lobby. The next Board meeting is Monday, April 25 at 6:00 pm All welcome
|Minister's Column continued|
|Now, I’ve come a mighty long way in this regard, because just a few years ago I too would have wanted to debate and to be “right.” I would have been condescending and facetious with this woman. But what I have learned to do is to simply change my mind about certain situations. I am training myself in the spiritual discipline of changing my mind. No matter how one feels about a specific experience, circumstance, situation, or memory, there is always one thing you can do. You can always change your mind. If what you are thinking, saying, or doing, in response to any person or situation is not bringing you peace, change your mind! How does this work? We’ll, I’m glad you asked. |
* Do not insist that people be what you want them to be.
* Do not insist that you are someone that you are not.
* Do not insist that you do things you cannot do.
* Do not insist you know things that you do not know.
* Do not insist that everyone is wrong about you.
* Do not insist that you are right.
Whenever you are insistent about something, you create an attachment, and the goal is at times to be detached, which is to just watch a situation unfold as if it were a movie. Note your inner triggers and responses as you witness or listen to what is being said or done. In this way you can note your growing edges. You will see where ego and fear are beginning to take hold. It is well worth the effort and be gentle with yourself as you may not be able to do this every single time something comes up. Changing your mind about anything or anyone transforms how people, places, and things impact your life. Changing your mind is the path to inner peace!
|Recently five of our members (James, Carol, Ginny, David, and Norm) and Black Mountain friend Nancy Moore returned from 10 days in Cuba. Our hearts and brains are very full, and we are eager to share - but how? |
Consider our itinerary: extensive walking and driving around Havana; abundant eating and drinking; lectures with academics covering Cuba’s history, political system, legal system, education, healthcare, the new cooperatives, economic reforms, and US-Cuba foreign relations.
Also: two museums - of the Revolution, and Fine Arts (Cuban painting); two excursions to rural areas including an organic cooperative farm, and a “biosphere community”; numerous encounters with Cuban music and dance; two community art projects, two spots related to Afro-Cuban spiritual practices, a visit to a municipal health clinic, tour of the University of Havana, and a meeting/ street party of one of the neighborhood “Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.” Plus, independent wandering and interactions with Cuban people. Now, what was your question?
A collective debriefing / presentation for the congregation is being planned. Meanwhile, below are a few vignettes.
|Our trip to Cuba allowed us to see Cuba as Cubans see themselves. We listened to Cubans present their views on their government, economy, education, and health system. Through revolution and the adversity suffered from the collapse of the USSR, Cuban society and its form of socialism continues to serve its people well. Cubans want to reach out to the United States but it is important to them that they retain their sovereignty, equality,and collectivity. Our trip was fun, exciting, very friendly, and stretched our brains with new experiences. We saw a well connected society adjust to challenges and changes with sophistication and impressive grace over multiple decades|
|From David: Old American cars have become an important part of the Cuban culture, and as such the government is very protective of the exporting of these vehicles. The owners take great pride in their ability to keep these cars running in spite of 50 plus years with little to no spare parts. Many of the cars are close to show quality, while many are 20 footers, and the rest are just transportation. Some of the cars have had the motors and transmissions changed, so you may have a 1954 Chrysler with a 2001 Renault engine. These old cars are the mainstay of the taxi fleet, and small car clubs can be found scattered throughout Havana. I hope this part of the culture is able to survive the changes that are sure to come with the easing of the US embargo|
|From Ginny: Music is ubiquitous in Cuba. I expected to hear Afro-Cuban rhythms, Latin dance grooves, and traditional and modern popular music. I was not prepared, however, to be blown away by chance encounters with an exquisite classical clarinet trio, or a ten piece group playing superb 16th century music on period-style instruments! Three young men we met in a jazz trio were all university trained in classical music as well. Small groups playing mostly traditional Cuban styles (guitars, vocals, and small percussion) were found in almost every restaurant we visited, on the streets, and often at other tourist sites. We noted that many of them perform Anka/Sinatra’s “My Way.” Cuba expert Cliff suggests that the lyrics, if imagined as “we” instead of “I” have made the song symbolic of Cuban struggles and triumphs.||
|The Women's Group will meet on April 8th at 1 pm at the clubhouse of the Lynx Condominiums, located across from the golf course on North Fork Road. For more information call Mary Soyenova at 828-216-7511|
|The topic for the April 5 meeting of the Luunch Bunch will be "Spring Equinox: Renewal, Hope and Transformation." The meeting is from 12-1 pm.|
|This month the UUCSV choir will sing for our "Stand Against Racism" service on April 24th. We will meet on Sunday the 17th at 12:15, then on Wednesday the 20th at 7 PM and at 10 AM on the 24th, the day of performance. We all enjoyed singing for Pledge Sunday in March, all dressed in green! Come sing with us, we're friendly! |
Linda Metzner, choir director
|April’s Friday Fling, a fun party for grown-ups, usually every third Friday will be held on 15 April at the church. Red and white refreshments will be provided; please bring a potluck dish to share.|
First movie choice: "God’s Pocket" (2014; Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro; a black comedy set in a blue-collar neighborhood of Philadelphia). Second movie choice: "La Cage aux Folles" (1979; the original French “The Cage of Fools” supposed to be much better than the later English version). Potluck begins at 6:30. For further information call Norm Kowal (458-4537).
|Would you like to see what Books for Good is all about? On Monday April 11 I am planning a car pool trip to the book store and lunch at Panera Bread. We will meet in front of the gas station at Ingles in Swannanoa at 11:15, car pool to the bookstore and then stop for lunch at Panera Bread on the way back.|
Please call me if you have questions and so that I’ll know how many drivers we will need.
Teresa Ballinger 275-8453
|The next congregational meeting for UUCSV will be held on Sunday June 5th, 2016, following the service. In this meeting we will discuss the 2016-2017 budget and choose our new board members.|
|Last October, Carolyn Shorkey organized a fundraiser by having our |
congregation host traveling UU’s during a fall weekend. We raised $600+. To continuing with the theme of home hosting, we could register UUCSV with UU’re Home (a national UU home stay listing), and host visitors throughout the year.
The proceeds would go directly to our church account. This would take very little effort to advertise and has the possibility of raising even more money for our annual budget expenses. With enough people in our congregation willing to be home hosts, the duties for any one host would be quite light. Lee and our Board of Trustees will be thrilled to have money deposited in our account from out-of-town UU’s.
Here’s the scoop! As a home host, you need to have a separate bedroom and private bath available for guests. The guest space should be clean and comfortable. We’ll advertise breakfast is included. It can be as simple as a continental breakfast or as elaborate as you like. Guests may need referrals for good restaurants and activities in our area. They will be UU’s or good friends of UU’s so you can expect to host people with similar interests.
The beauty of this plan is that you host only as much as you desire and on your own schedule. Tina has agreed to be the contact person, and match the potential guests to a willing host in our congregation. You would only receive calls when Tina has someone looking for a place to stay.
Carolyn and I have home hosted fellow Unitarian Universalists from around the country for ten years. We have met many wonderful people, embracing newly found friendships along the way. If you are interested in meeting new people and helping the church by home hosting traveling UU’s, please call me for more information.
|SUUSI* Registration opens at 6 pm, Friday, April 15th. Sign up will be online through SOLIS. The basic cost is only $530 for a full week of UU fun, including meals and AC housing! Additional small fees for workshops and trips. |
Ginny Moreland has a full-color printed copy of the Catalog that she is willing to share with interested members.
*The Southeastern Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute
occurs July 17-23, 2016 and will be held at Western Carolina University in Culowee, NC. (SUUSI!)
|The deadline for the May issue is April 25th. Please submit items to newsletter.uucsv@|
gmail.com The best format is simply in the body of an email.
Ginny and Jackie
|Board of Trustees:|
David Groce, President
non-voting Board Member:
Rev. Michael Carter,
|Black Mountain Stand Against Racism presents Kat Williams at the White Horse, Sunday, May 1 at 2:30 pm. Join us as award-winning singer, song-writer and actor Kat Williams talks & sings about the racial barriers that continue to block so many minorities.|
Kat will be joined by “an average white guy” for a provocative dialogue as they dig deep into ways we can “Stand Against Racism”!