|As I write this column our nation is reeling from the senseless act of domestic terrorism that happened inside a night club in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, June 12th, 2016. When the dust settled, forty nine people were dead and fifty three were wounded. After weeping for the loss of life in private, there was a part of me that had to acknowledge that this happens everyday in some nations across the globe and now we too get a taste of what others experience. I felt this way after witnessing the events of September 11, when I was living in NY. This does not make it right by any means, but it does once again show just how small our planet is and how we are all a part of the interdependent web of life which our 7th principle affirms. In other words, what I do to my brother or sister I do too myself.|
Having said this, keep in mind that there will be those who will attempt to exploit the event and the vulnerable communities that are LGBTQ and Muslim. Resist this temptation at all costs! Do not let the fear and anger consume you. Keep your heart open for it matters not how many doors close against you as long as your heart is open. Listen with more intent to your neighbor or family member in the days ahead. Cultivate compassion. Soak up the sun just a bit more and really see what nature has to offer us in this beautiful part of the country that we live in. Show gratitude for what we have, because tomorrow is never promised to any of us. Death smiles at each and every one of us and all we can do is smile back.
Sunday, 3 July 2016, 11 am
"The Power of Yes"
Saying “yes” to an inquiry when a “no” is almost reflexive can yield great surprise, growth, and change. On July 3rd David will speak about what happens when you say “yes” when “no” seems to make more sense. Opening a “doorway of discomfort” can lead to great things if you’re willing to consider a response other than the one that first appears. We are delighted to welcome to our pulpit the gifted songwriter, singer, speaker, and advocate for the human spirit, David Roth, who will offer us a “Sermon in Song.”
Sunday, 10 July 2016, 11am
Michael J.S. Carter
What is it about human life that motivates us to greater and greater heights and accomplishments? Can this inner desire or longing be a blessing as well as a curse? Is it the search for authenticity with ourselves and others, with the entire planet? Is this really the desire for inner peace? My desire to find the real me, “the pearl of great price” as it were, stubbornly persisted, in spite of all of my best efforts to ignore it. I believe it is a universal human longing, yet I could be wrong. Religious Scholar Houston Smith says it this way in his remarkable book, Why Religion Matters:
“There is within us—in even the blithest, most lighthearted among us—a fundamental dis-ease. It acts like an unquenchable fire that renders the vast majority of us incapable in this life of ever coming to full peace. This desire lies in the marrow of our bones and the deep region of our souls. All great literature, poetry, art, philosophy, psychology, and religion tries to name and analyze this longing. We are seldom in touch with it, and indeed the modern world seems set on preventing us from getting in touch with it by covering it with an unending phantasmagoria of entertainments, obsessions, addictions, and distractions. But the longing is there, built into us like a jack-in-the-box that presses for release.
” Let’s talk about “Desire.”
Sunday, 17 July 2016, 11 am
Rev. Dianna Ritola
“A Sabbath Wholly Kept”
How do we unplug from the demands of daily life and reconnect to that which we deem most sacred? Is there a magic formula for finding ways in which to slow down and breathe into the space of wholeness? Indeed there is—well, sort of. Many faith traditions have spiritual practices that allow us to find our centers and the tradition of Sabbath is a good place to start.
Rev. DiAnna Ritola received her ordination as an Interfaith Minister from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies. Her ministry centers on spiritual counseling for sexuality and intimate relationships. She is a professional speaker on the integration of spirituality and sexuality. She has lived in cities large and small, explored her inner Earth Mother in rural Vermont where her two children were born, and moved to Asheville, NC in 2001 and immedately joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation where she is still a member. DiAnna is also on the clergy team with The Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville. DiAnna is available for counseling sessions in person, or via phone or Skype, as well as weddings, commitment ceremonies and other rites of passage. Her website is www.DiAnnaRitola.com
Sunday, July 24, 2016 11am
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
"The Politician"UUCSV Choir
During the Pope’s speech to congress on September 24th, 2015, he singled out four great Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day. As is so often the case, the woman in the group is the least known and celebrated. Catholic Nun Joan Chittister, OSB, said that Dorothy Day led, “ a revolution of personal responsibility.” She was a maverick in life and her legacy still resonates down the corridors of time. We need leaders and activists like her because, like Dorothy Day, we can become the kind of leader for social change, if that is our choice or calling, not by changing other people, but by changing ourselves. I believe we as UU’s can learn something from the life of this great human being and generous soul known to us Dorothy Day.
Sunday, 31 July 2016, 11 amCathy Holt“Gratitude”
This service explores how gratitude can benefit our lives, and ill include wisdom shared from Rumi, Eckhart Tolle, Jung, and others. Learn about what neuroscientists have discovered in the “science of happiness,” and what gratitude does for our hearts and our relationships. Make gratitude a daily practice to increase your joy!
is a certified coach in HeartMath, offering training in personal resilience to stress. She teaches classes in the Connection Practice - empathic communication and insight for transforming relationships. www.heartspeakpeace.com
|Member commentary by Milt Warden|
|Moving toward a full-time Minister. Different things bring us to church on Sundays. For many, a big part of it is our minister, Michael Carter. We’re blessed to have such a thoughtful, kind, and caring person in the pulpit. His messages are relevant, his presence is a comfort in times of need, his teachings are interesting and needed, and he is an individual worth knowing. I don’t have to tell you this because attendance and surveys show Michael is important to our membership. At our recent congregational meeting, we discussed the plan to make Michael full time. Many of you weren’t there so I think it’s worth repeating some of the information. |
We hired Michael, at half-time with the goal of making him full time over a period of seven years as set forth in the inappropriately named 5 Year Plan. We have moved Michael up to 80% time on schedule, and it appears we are well on our way to a full time minister. Well, we are not. We are probably stalled where we are. What most of us don’t know is that increases in Michael’s time were made possible because of monies from a Chalice Lighters Grant of $26,000 over 3 years, which is in its last year. In order to grow Michael’s time in the pulpit cutbacks were required in almost every department, meaning there isn’t much room for more cutting. Increasing Michael’s time to 100% and giving him full benefits will be impossible to do without significant growth in membership and funding.
This challenge includes more than increasing Michael from 80% to100% time over the next two years. We have gradually improved Michael’s pay package, but still don’t provide what is recommended by UUA. No provision was made in our Plan for cost of living increases which are called for over time, or the benefits recommended by UUA. Fully funding our minister is a social justice issue as well as a commitment we made 5 years ago.
We have reached a vital point that will determine our future with Michael Carter. During our annual congregational meeting, it was revealed that we currently have 81 pledge units while the plan calls for 111 pledge units by this time. Many thanks to those stalwart 81 units, but realistically, we are 30 pledge units short of where we should be according to the plan. We met the budget this year, but each year will be more difficult unless we grow our congregation. When I say grow, I don’t mean just pledge units. We need a diverse population that will make the church hum with activity. We need children in religious education classes and their young parents. We need people of all ages and economic situations. We need a diverse community where we feel loved and supported and where we can love and support others.
If you value Michael as our minister, now is the time to step up and take action. I wish I knew what to do, but everything I could suggest sounds like everything you already hear: talk to visitors when they come, volunteer for a committee, or pledge until it hurts. The Board of Trustees is aware of the situation, but they will need our help to rise to this challenge. Perhaps talking to members of the Board of Trustees to let them know you understand the situation and are ready to help in some way. We can only move forward, by doing it together.
Thanks for listening, Milt Warden
|Minister's Column continued|
|And in your grief, remember that life goes not backwards but forwards. There will always be those forces who want to hold on to some illusion of yesterday. These individuals see a world that is changing and they are full of fear for their vision, (whether it be just an illusion or not) is gradually drifting away. They will fight ruthlessly and mercilessly for their version of reality of how they believe the world should be. For those of us who want a more peaceful and equitable co-existence with our planet and each other, it stands to reason that we too must fight as well, perhaps with a bit more mercy and compassion, for our vision of what we think the planet should look like as well. For life does indeed go on, but tragedy’s like this wake us up to the preciousness and the fragility of our lives, so that we may live the remainder of our days in deep appreciation and in gratitude.|
We are in a strange season of pain in our nation and on the planet. The bottom cannot hold for a new world is being born and these birth pangs must occur. We struggle as human beings to make sense of it all. But just as the earth has her seasons, so we too have our personal seasons,the Seasons of the Self. Writer Max Coots reminds us:
If there is any sense to seasons it is this:
That time is timeless and time is life.
Not Spring nor Summer, not even Fall is gone.
Each will be what it becomes, as Winter will be Spring.
--- Max Coots (Seasons Of The Self)
So, Hang in there. Don’t forget to breathe. Keep your heart open. Walk in Balance!
Don't forget "An Evening with David Roth" this Saturday! Concert at 7:30, doors open at 7:00. Let Helen Bell know if you will bring some snacks.
More details here.
|Summer is here! That means Summer Sundays: tie dying, scrapbooking and nature walks, oh my!!! Stay tuned to the weekly Current to find out what's coming up next. Last call for Summer Sunday presenters. The schedule will be completed in the next couple of weeks so make sure to get your name in now!|
If you are interested in participating in RE in a more background capacity, going the RE Committee meeting on July 10 at 9:30. Want to teach? See me at church or email me.
Asheville Tourists are saying us some good seats at the August 5th game. It's a fireworks night, $1 hotdog night and our name could be in lights! See Beata or Jim Carillon to reserve your tickets. We'd like to have those final numbers by July 15.
The Religious Education department is on the lookout for some large button-up shirts. Do you have 1 or 2 to pass on? We're going to make them into smocks for our students to use during our more active creative lessons. See Beata or Linda Blasky.
|The Luunch Bunch will meet on Tuesday, July 5th at noon. The topic will be "filtering negativity."|
|The women's group meets Friday, July 8th at 1:00 pm, at the clubhouse of the Lynx Condominiums. |
Also, please remember to save items,including clothes, for our September 10th yard sale. All funds raised support UUCSV.
|In July, the choir will sing on the usual fourth Sunday, the 24th. We will rehearse on July 17th at 12:15, on Wednesday the 20th at 7 PM, and then at 10 AM on the day of performance, the 24th. Please come and sing with us! Singing helps us navigate human emotions, from lighthearted humor to deep grief. And it's better when shared! |
|July’s Friday Fling, a fun party for grown-ups, usually every third Friday of the month, will be held on 15 July at the UUCSV church. Red and white refreshments will be provided; please bring a potluck dish to share. First movie choice: Where To Invade Next (2016; Michael Moore’s tour of other countries where governments and societies are making better choices than in the US). Second movie choice: Youth (2015; Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda; two longtime friends vacation at a serene Swiss Alps resort when their serenity is cut short by family crises and sudden career demands; a lush film about life, love, death, and art). Potluck begins at 6:30. For further information call Norm Kowal (458-4537).|
|Have you been spring cleaning? Are you going on vacation or to the beach this summer? Our Books for Good project is working. We have received over $270 to date. Thank you for all the donations of books so far. Please keep them coming. And remember that Books for Good is a great place to shop for used books. If you need more info or someone to pick you up your books please call Teresa Ballinger at 275-8453.|
The phone number for Books for Good is 828-989-4655, the web site is www.booksforgood.net
|The deadline for the August issue is July 25th. Please submit items to newsletter.uucsv@|
gmail.com The best format is simply in the body of an email.
Ginny and Jackie
|Following up on her July 31 service, Cathy Holt is offering a three hour workshop entitled "Gratitude: The Gateway to Happiness." It will be held on Sunday, August 14, following the potluck. Watch for more info in the August Newsletter!|
|Board of Trustees:|
David Reid, President
non-voting Board Member:
Rev. Michael Carter