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Monthly News for December 2016
The Gift of Acceptance
 Well, here we are again in the month of December. Whether you celebrate the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Bodhi Day, most likely some type of gift will be exchanged between you and someone else during this season. Now, I can’t speak for you, but at times I have a difficult time accepting gifts. This may be because I feel not in control when given a gift or somehow unworthy, I really don’t know. It usually manifests in this way for me; I immediately have to return the gift in some way shape or form. That is to say that if I accept a gift, I must immediately give a gift in return. I am intentionally working on this as I am worthy to receive the good that comes my way and at times it is a struggle for me. Let’s face it, some people do give with no strings attached and my not being able to accept affects other areas of my life, especially around prosperity and abundance, and those gifts the Universe sends me. It’s a process.

This is a difficult time of year for many. People suffer from depression and family issues can sometimes loom large. December can be a challenge for many because of the holiday season. But I want to talk about another kind of acceptance now. This kind of acceptance is not just for the holiday season but for all of the seasons of our lives.

Accept difficult people! Don’t try to change them (as if you could really change anybody in the first place). Don’t tolerate them. Just accept them.... Read on...
Sunday Services 
Sunday, 4 December 2016  11am  Dr. Brad Rachman
"The End of Suffering"
So many of our thoughts, words, actions, and character are driven by an attempt to either avoid or reduce suffering. Whether recognized or not, the human condition is often driven by the avoidance of suffering and an attraction to bliss. It is there a path to achieve this goal more consciously and easily? Are we able to more consciously control our response to circumstances, the words of others, our own thoughts and feelings in a manner that reduces not only our own suffering, but also the suffering of humanity? We will explore the key concepts, and practice together, varied techniques which uncover the true root cause of suffering in each of us. We will create a path personal to reduce and eliminate our individual and collective patterns which have been unconsciously motivating us- establishing freedom from suffering…forever.

Sunday, 11 December 2016 11am 

Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
It’s been a while but it’s time to explore the African American holiday known as Kwanzaa. For some folks (like me) December 26th is just the day after Christmas when I recuperate from the festivities and celebration of the day before. But for many other African Americans, Kwanzaa is a holiday to reaffirm a commitment to themselves, family, community, and to a shared sense of collective struggle.  From Umoja (unity) to Imani (faith), the seven principles of Kwanzaa provide a blueprint for many African Americans to reaffirm heritage and commitment.  We will have a special guest artist, Mr. Steve Townsend as our drummer this morning. Join us as we explore the holiday that Dr. Maulana Karenga began back in 1966— Kwanzaa. 
Sunday, 18 December 2016 11am
Linda Metzner and
Rebecca Williams
“The Dark Goddess in Winter”

Rebecca Williams and Linda Metzner are long-time devotees of the Old Religion of the Goddess. In this service, we will relive the odyssey of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna into the dark underworld of her fearsome sister Ereshkigal, and ponder what lessons the ancient tale might hold for us. We will look at faces of the Divine Feminine in Her dark aspects, both feared and respected as the Crone and the Ancient One. The Sahara Peace Choir will sing.
24 December 2016
Saturday at 5:30 pm "A Christmas Eve Service"
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
Come join us for our Christmas Eve Service!There will be music from the choir along with your favorite Christmas Hymns, and with a slightly different take on the Christmas story.  This is the first Christmas Eve Service that I can remember us having since I have been serving you for the last 4 years, so it’s a very special event. Bring a friend. Hope to see you there!
(Note: UUCSV will be closed Sunday Morning, December 25th.)
Sunday, 1 January 2017
Meg and Todd Hoke
"The Art of Being"
 We welcome back Med and Todd Hoke, who presented a service entitled "Five Happy Things" a few years ago.   This service builds on the themes Todd and Meg have spoken on before - paying attention to the world around, deciding how you will relate to it, and then sharing and connecting with it.   In this presentation, Meg discusses her experiences in "BEING" through her work with inner city kids and hospice and how the experience of the very personal and profound connects us to the "Universe".   As Meg talks, Todd plays music echoing these sentiments.  It's a little bit of a quieter, more poignant presentation than their last service, but they hope you will find it to be uplifting and powerful as well.  
Meg and Todd met in the early 90's while serving as full-time volunteers at a residential hospice for people with AIDS in Baltimore. They have worked in health-care related fields ever since. Meg holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and currently works for Care Partners Hospice in Asheville. Todd is an RN working at a hospice house, and is also a singer-songwriter with 3 CDs under his belt. They live in Hendersonville, NC.
Cookies for Veterans!
During the week before Christmas, the Shaw family will host a cookie bake-off at their home for our UUCSV teens to bake cookies for our military veterans. The younger children will make no-bake cookies at church for the vets. Attention adults: keep our veterans in mind when you do your holiday baking this year.  I invite everyone to bring a generous plate of cookies to church on December 24th. After the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, we’ll share some of our home made cookies amongst ourselves.  After our reception, Carolyn and Milt will deliver the remaining baked goods to the Veteran’s Restoration Quarters in East Asheville. This is a project operated by ABCCM to transition homeless veterans toward permanent housing.  When we delivered your cookies last year, the Vets were very appreciative of our donation!   For more information contact Carolyn Shorkey 299-9456.
Board Report
November Meeting Highlights:  Our much appreciated volunteer treasurer, Lee Reading,  reported that we are a third of the way through our fiscal year. Income is at 48%.  This is because of the Chalice Lighter Grant, fund raising income is exceeding expectations, and the plate income is high.  Also, expenses are lower than expected putting us into a good situation.  Higher than projected income and lower expenses flows into net assets which is about $56,000.  A few large bills will be coming in soon and we are in good standing to pay them.
     Hooker Wood, Harry Petrequin, Richard Graham presented a proposal to raise funds immediately to make our minister a full time employee. A lengthy discussion ensued.  The point was made that the BOT has diligently been raising Michael’s salary and benefits each year according to our 5-Year Plan.  Supporting Michael has been difficult because it has required reducing budgets throughout the church community and cuts in the budget have been made with the full support of the BOT.  The congregation has been informed through town hall meetings and the congregational meeting of the situation regarding Michael’s pay and our need to increase pledges or pledging units to meet our goal of making Michael full time.  This is the last year of the Chalice Lighter grant. Tina has checked with the UUA and has received their recommendation of what it would cost a congregation of our size to support a full-time minister. During the upcoming pledge drive for next fiscal year we will need to pledge approximately $27,000 more than last year to make Michael full time.
     Hooker asked, “What harm would it do to ask the congregation to commit to increasing their pledges right now to make Michael full-time immediately?”
     The response to Hooker was that it would be unwise to ask the congregation for more money right now and then in a few months ask for more money again when they make their pledge for next fiscal year.  The BOT suggested that an informational Town Hall Meeting be held in January to inform the congregation of the “state of the church” so everyone can assess their situation and prepare to increase their pledge for the next fiscal year.  Also this information at a Town Hall Meeting will prepare the congregation for the launching of the canvass for the next fiscal year.   
     The Board approved the wearing of safety pins by congregants as a show of support to people who feel at risk.
     There will be a Volunteer Fair on Jan 29th after the service to familiarize people with the many committees and groups at UUCSV.  It is hoped that people who are not currently active at UUCSV will find a group or committee at the fair with whom they can connect and volunteer.
     The full text of the meeting minutes is posted in the lobby.
Minister's Column, continued
This is not to say that you do not maintain your personal boundaries. No one is saying that you should let people walk all over you. Accept those people who truly get on your last nerve. Accept those people who seem to be totally unaware of the fact that what they do has an impact on others. Acceptance is the gift you give to yourself but also to those people who have no qualms about demonstrating in word or deed that they do not want to be where they are or doing what they are doing.

Those people who speak harshly, roll their eyes, suck their teeth and show up late without any explanation. Just be willing to see things differently. Remember, the world doesn’t have to change, only the way you see the world needs to change. Try not to believe that their behavior has anything to do with you. Try not to be impatient or give them a hard time. Take the high road this holiday season and just accept them. When you accept difficult people, it’s a shift in perception. Accept them in your heart because you know the truth; every human being is a spark of the divine, with inherent worth and dignity. Some folks forget this about themselves. Others don’t know it because no one has ever told them so or treated them like the precious person that they are. Some people build walls around themselves because of past wounds and will cleverly hide their fear with nasty dispositions, surliness or an attitude of indifference.

The greatest gift you can offer someone is the gift of acceptance. Love is seeing without judgment. For all you know, your acceptance may be just what that difficult person needs to open their heart and to renew their faith in who they are and to encourage them in what they are doing. Accept people for there may come a day when you are having a difficult time and will need acceptance by someone else. Don’t expect them to change, but change your perspective about who they are and who you are as well.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays,

In this issue:
The Gift of Acceptance
Sunday Services 
Cookies for Veterans!
Board Report

Save the Date!
Coffee Hour Kate 
Luunch Bunch
Friday Fling
Women's Group
Choir News 
Joys and Concerns
Save the Date!
Saturday, February 25th at 6:00 p.m.
It's a party!
Specifics to come, but we guarantee you a party filled with food, music,
fun, fortunes and futures.
Save the Date!
Coffee Hour Kate 
Please welcome our new Coffee Hour host, Kate Ramsey. She will be joining our regularly scheduled hosts Alan and Jean Brown, Angie and Mark Manuel, Milt Warden and Carolyn Shorkey. We also really appreciate our occasional hosts Anny Bestel, Su Temesrisuk, and Mary Soyenova who fill in for us when we need them.
Thanks to those of you who donate a snack to put on the Coffee Hour snack table. Recently we have had a nice assortment of goodies to share. And remember our Coffee Hour is more than beverages, cookies, hummus and crackers. It's about fellowship.  Sharing food, drink, and welcoming a visitor on Sunday after the service provides us an opportunity to widen our circle. And that is a good thing! 
Luunch Bunch
The December Luunch Buunch will meet on December 6th at noon in the church.  The topic will be A Winter’s Tale: What does the season of winter mean to you? 
Friday Fling
December’s Friday Fling, a fun party for grown-ups, usually every third Friday of the month, will be held on 16 December at the UUCSV church. Red and white refreshments will be provided; please bring a potluck dish to share. First movie choice: I’ll See You in My Dreams (2015; Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott; romance, comedy, sadness). Second movie choice: A Late Quartet (2013; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken; “A shining gem of a movie.”---Peter Travers, Rolling Stone). Potluck begins at 6:30. For further information call Norm Kowal (458-4537).
Women's Group
The women's group meets Friday, December 9th  at 1:00 pm, at the clubhouse, the Lynx Condominiums.
Choir News 
In December, our choir schedule different from the usual.  We will rehearse on Sunday the 18th at 12:15, and then on Wednesday the 21st at 7 PM.   However, our performance will be at the special Christmas Eve service, which is at 5:30 PM on Saturday, December 24th.  We will rehearse at the church at 4:30 PM that day. 
We will be singing two choir anthems, as well as helping out with a number of well-known Christmas carols.   It is a joy to have so many wonderful new singers in our choir!  We are happy to have all of you, and wish everyone a joyous holiday season.  
Best wishes,  
Linda Metzner
Choir Director
Joys and Concerns
"Hello, my name is Ginny and I'd like to light two candles.  I have great joy that the small size of our congregation allows us to individually share glimpses of our personal lives through the speaking of deeply felt joys and sorrows.  I also light a candle of concern because I fear that some day we may be unable to continue this tradition. If speakers use two to three minutes to tell a long story or give a detailed announcement it discourages others from coming forward and can cause the service to run seriously overtime. Catch me after the service if you'd like to hear more or discuss this!"
NOTE:: the above statement would take about 30 seconds to share.  The SSAs (and your fellow congregants) lovingly request that we all be conscious of what we need to say and try to make our sharings heart-felt, personal and reasonably concise. 
Next Newsletter 
The deadline for the January newsletter is December 26th, please submit items to newsletter.uucsv@ The best format is simply in the body of an email. 
Ginny and Jackie 
UUCSV Leadership
Board of Trustees:
Diane Graham
Sarah Kirkpatrick
Frank Pizzardi
David Reid, President
Tina Rosato
Carol Sheeler
Dave Wells, Vice-Pres.
Rev. Michael Carter,
ex-officio, non-voting
Board Member
Lee Reading

UUCSV  •  500 Montreat Road  •  Black Mountain, NC 28711

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