|“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”
----Indian sage Jiddu Krishnamurti
As I write this column on February 14th
(Valentine’s Day) for the month of March, the theme of renewal and rebirth are on my mind and probably on your mind as well. The Spring Equinox is March 20th. Part of rebirth and renewal is having the intentionality to open our hearts and minds to the newness of life. In doing this we are also called upon to let go. There is an old Zen saying that an intelligent person learns something new every day and a wise person lets something go every day. Something to think about, right?
As we move forward into the newness of spring, I would challenge all of us, (and yes, that always includes me) to let go of something or to at least try. You can decide for yourself what that “something” will be, but I suggest as much as possible we try to let go of judgment. You may be looking at some people, observing their actions, trying hard to understand their motives without a clue about why they do what they do. From your perspective, it may seem that certain individuals should simply know better. They should be better and they should be doing better.
But the fact of the matter is that no one wants to be 'should all over.' The truth is that every time you should all over someone you are making a judgment. This means that the wrong you attribute to them actually belongs to you. Yes, there is such a thing as righteous judgment. But there is such a thing as self-righteous judgment as well. Many times when we make a judgment we are making a decision that things are not the way they are supposed to be. Our judgment reflects our belief in right or wrong based on what we may or may not know.... .
Minister's Column cont.
|Sunday, 5 March 2017, 11 am
" 'Human Revolution:' an Antidote to Violence
Kitty Richards will offer a sermon based on her life experiences as a “Bipolar Buddhist.” The topic is based on her struggles and triumphs, her work with developmentally challenged individuals, and her spiritual practice. A Black Mountain resident, Richards is affiliated with NAMI, a national grassroots organization for mental health awareness, support and recovery. She’s also a published author of memoir, poetry and essays, and has appeared in the WNC Woman Magazine. Her book, Battles of a Bipolar Buddhist, won first place in a Buncombe County library contest and is available on Amazon. In addition, she is an alternative healing practitioner and a Buddhist teacher and inspirational speaker
Sunday, 12 March 2017, 11 am
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
"The Pearl of Great Price"
In the book of Matthew, chapter 13:44-46, we are told that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that was hidden in a field and a man discovered it, and because of his joy he went and sold everything he had and purchased that field. Again the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who was seeking good pearls. And when he had found one costly pearl, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.
Well, it’s that time of year again, its canvass time. So the question I want to raise is this. Now that you have found this pearl of great price; now that you have found this liberal religion, this congregation, The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of The Swannanoa Valley, what would you do without it? And what are you willing to do to keep it?
Sunday, 19 March 2017 11AM
H. Byron Ballard
“The Luck of the Irish”
Why are the Irish considered lucky after centuries of war, conquest and famine? On the Sunday after St. Patrick's Day, we'll explore history and luck, and the ways communities find both healing and grace in challenging times. Step out of the cycles of despair and grief and find your inner luck.
H. Byron Ballard is a western NC native, teacher, folklorist and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pantheacon, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, Scottish Pagan Federation Conference and other gatherings. She is senior priestess and co-founder of Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville, NC. Her essays are featured in several anthologies, she blogs and writes a regular column for Witches and Pagans Magazine. Her book “Staubs and Ditchwater” debuted in 2012 and the companion volume “Asfidity and Mad-Stones” was published in Oct. 2015. Byron is currently at work on “Gnarled Talisman: Old Wild Magic of the Motherlands”. Contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, 26 March 2017, 11AM
Rev. Michael S. J. Carter
"Law and Order"
This Sunday I want to talk about law and order from the perspective of Universal Laws. Perhaps a better understanding of these laws will assist us in achieving a little less stress, a little less frustration, and a little less suffering in our lives. In a cosmos (the word means “order) are there really so called “random events?” In a world of constant change and impermanence, we suffer because we want to hold on to things which by their very nature are subject to change. Buddhist Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh says that we we learn to suffer “correctly”, we will suffer less. If death and taxes are the only things in life we can count on, how should we live? A intelligent man once said that we should learn something new everyday; a wise man once said that we should let something go every day.
|Most of our members know that we use a process called a canvass each spring to secure financial commitments in advance of the next fiscal year. By stating your intentions we are able to project our pledged income that constitutes nearly 90% of our income. At the conclusion of the canvass we can then prepare an operating budget with an assurance that our expenses can be met through our congregational support.
Here is how you get involved: Beginning on Sunday, February 26th, a container holding envelopes has been placed in the foyer. Please select the envelope with your name. In it will be found a pledge card - your opportunity to make your financial commitment to support our congregation for the coming fiscal year which runs from JULY 1, 2017 - JUNE 30, 2018. We do not want your money now…just a statement of your intentions for next year, your method of payment and timing of your contributions.
Also in the foyer is a marbled paper box (by Ginny Moreland) where you can securely return your envelope. Progress reports will be made during announcements before Sunday service starting on March 12th.
We will wrap up our canvass drive on Sunday, April 9th, so help us build some early momentum with a generous commitment towards our stretch goal of $114,000. A budget building committee is currently being recruited that will help us draft an operating budget for next year that we hope can move our minister toward full-time status. This budget will be carefully reviewed by our Board and then presented to the entire congregation for discussion at a town hall meeting in May, date to be determined.
Lee Reading, Treasurer and Canvass Chair
|A warm welcome to new members Elizabeth (Liz) Bryant and Spence Foscue. After spending 40 years working and raising their family in the Triangle area of NC, Liz and Spence moved from Chapel Hill to Montreat in the fall of 2016 to be closer to their grandson. They have two adult children, Sophie and Macon.
Liz was born in Wilmington, DE and has lived in Norfolk, VA, Newport, RI, Seattle, WA, Long Beach, CA, San Diego, CA and finally Chapel Hill, NC. She also spends time on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, outside of Chestertown, where her mother’s people have a family farm on the Sassafras River. She received her BA from UNC-CH and was a research Associate at UNC-CH School of Public Health. She enjoys spending time with her grandson, Simon, hiking, cycling, reading, thrift shops, exercising and spending time with friends. Her volunteer activities include participating in the Reading Partner program in elementary schools and being involved in church activities. Liz first became involvement with Unitarian Universalism as a member of the Community Church of Chapel Hill UUA in 1992.
Spence grew up in al small town in eastern NC, spending his latter high school and college years in Morehead City and Wilmington, respectively. He graduated from NC State and Watts School of Nursing and worked in the Psychiatric nursing profession for 33 years, retiring in 2012. Spence loves music and played drums and sang semi-professionally for years. It was his great pleasure to be able to share those talents in church over the years. Spence was also a member of Community church of Chapel Hill UUA. At present he is been seeking out volunteer opportunities with environmental groups to supplement his active outdoor lifestyle. outdoor lifestyle.
|The UUCSV Board of Trustees met on February 20, 2017 This is a summary of the meeting minutes.
The Board and Michael approved for Pana Columbus to include Michael Carter on her Interfaith Minister’s Coalition. She is planning on reaching out to faith communities to support an electric car purchases initiative to be documented in her upcoming film, , Apple and the Radish. The Board agreed to allow her to include this initiative in her Sunday talk on April 2nd as an example to illustrate her sermon topic about coming together in community to achieve social action goals. She was given permission to talk to our Social Action Committee about the film and electric car initiative.
Our treasurer, Lee Reading, reported that we received a $5000 gift from the estate of Vesta Sterns. We are through 7 months of the fiscal year and we are in a solid financial footing. The February 19th Chalice Lighter collection amounted to $214. Lee will send a check for that amount to the recipient of the grant. Lee is aware that 3 congregants have made bequests for money to be allocated to UUCSV in their last will and testament.
A Budget Drafting Proposal was given by Carolyn Shorkey. With the active initiative in or congregation to develop a budget which will provide Michael with a full time salary and benefit package, Carolyn suggested that an ad hoc operating budget committee be formed comprised of seven UUCSV congregants. It should include our treasurer, personnel committee chair, social action chair, religious education chair, Harry, Richard or Hooker, a Board member, and one of the membership committee co-chairs. Carolyn urged the Board to approve hiring a neutral meeting facilitator from the Mediation Center to run the meeting. The purpose of the budget development committee would be to meet once, for a two hour meeting, to develop either one proposed 2017-18 operating budget or two possible budgets for the Board to consider. Carolyn would be happy to coordinate this meeting with all parties who will be involved. Following a discussion, Carolyn’s proposal was accepted as modified (reflected above).
The formation of a new social group for middle aged adults was approved. It will be organized by Linda Tatspaugh.
Sanctuary information: Tina attended an interfaith workshop in Asheville about churches providing sanctuary for immigrants. It was attended by over 400 people and led by immigrant people. There is an increasing need for sanctuary and fear is building in our immigrant community. There is a need for faith communities to provide physical sanctuary or financial support, drivers, and volunteer lawyers.
Bill Altork will be thanked by David Reid for fixing the door into the portico. The complete minutes are posted in the church lobby.
|...In other words we seldom have all of the facts. Judgment reveals an attitude of superiority that says you or I have the right to determine what must be done, how it must be done, and who must do it. Our judgments also show our need to control because we resist accepting things exactly as they are. One cannot change anything without first accepting what is. Judgment is an attempt to get people do do what we want them and need them to do in order to feel better our ourselves. More importantly, judgment is really a way to set ourselves up to be judged by others
Life is difficult at times and I can barely get my “ducks in order,” much less know how someone else should run their own lives. People are who they are and will do what they do whether or not we like it. This earth journey is a school house and we all have our own individual lessons to learn and we each take a different path to those lessons. Their will be times when our paths will cross and you will cause me to stumble and vice versa. That does not necessarily make them wrong. It does not necessarily make you or I right either. The only thing a judgment does is to distract you or I from what it is that we must do for ourselves.
This spring, let us practice resurrection and let go of the old, stale, habit of judging ourselves and each other. Just for today, suspend all judgments. Learn to just see people, places, things, and events, just as they are.
Its an earth song—and I’ve been waiting long for an earth song.
It’s a spring song! I’ve been waiting long for a spring song:
Strong as the bursting of young buds.
Strong as the shoots of a new plant.
Strong as the coming of the first child from its mother’s womb--
An earth song!
A spring song!
And I’ve been waiting long for an earth song.
Peace and Richest Blessings,
|Has Spring sprung early? The weather has really been keeping everyone on their toes.
As we head into the last few months of our program year we are looking ahead to discover new programs and and learn new ways to share what it means to be a UU with the youngest members of our congregation. The Chalice Children, Picture Book UU, & Heeding the Call programs have been well received.
Research is ongoing for relevant, engaging programs for all ages for next program year. The Religious Education committee will have their annual retreat on March 25th and many ideas will evolve into solid plans and schedules.
|Deb Vingle, recently returned long-time member of UUCSV, has assumed coordination of the Congregational Care Team from Jim Carillion. You can reach Deb at 828-674-4290 or at email@example.com
|The Luunch Bunch will meet on Tuesday, March 7th at noon in the church. The topic will be "Rebirth and Renewal".
|The UUCSV Choir is enjoying a full bass and tenor sound, thanks to a number of men who have joined the ranks recently. And thanks to all the choir members who offered your voices and hilarity to the Mardi Gras Karaoke!
In March we will meet on Sunday the 19th at 12:15 PM, then on Wednesday the 22nd at 7 PM, and on Sunday the 26th at 10 AM, the day of the performance. Come join us- we'd love to have your voice too! Linda Metzner, Choir Director
|The Psychic Development Group (PSI) will meet on Tuesday March 28 at 1:30 pm. The topic will be Crop Circles and Their Relationship to Sacred Geometry.
Lois Heintz 357-5152
|The women's group will meet at 1:00 pm Friday February 10 at the Lynx Condo Meeting room. The topic will be" Living Green".
|March’s Friday Fling, a fun party for grown-ups, usually every third Friday of the month, will be held on 17 March at the UUCSV church. Red and white refreshments will be provided; please bring a potluck dish to share. First movie choice: A Very Long Engagement (2005; Audrey Tautou; a beautiful story of love and faith in World War I France). Second movie choice: Billy Elliot (2000; Jamie Bell, Julie Walters; an 11-year-old boy growing up in a motherless household in a harsh English mining town encounters a dance class that opens a new door in his life). Potluck begins at 6:30. For further information call Norm Kowal (458-4537).
|Room in the Inn Volunteer Signup Begins!
The Room in the Inn provides shelter and meals for homeless women in the area. UUCSV will be providing all the volunteers and meals for the day on Friday, May 5th. The women will be staying at the Black Mountain Methodist Church.
We will need two over-night volunteers and backup volunteers, a van driver for morning and evening, and all three meals. To volunteer, see the sign up sheet on the table in the foyer or contact Connie Krochmal at 828-686-3112 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Social Action thanks the many volunteers who have helped with this project over the last decade.
|The Social Action Committee will sponsor a showing of the film
"The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil" on March 23 at 7:00 pm.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens.
It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call "The Special Period." The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope.
Beginning with this film, the discussion will focus on personal stories from the audience about resilience; in the case of this film, we will look at community and the twin pillars of economic and social justice. Please call 828-581-0564 for more information.
|"A big thank you to all who worked to make Mardi Gras a success. What a fun event! There isn't space to list all 43 of you, but you know how wonderful you are. Tina"
|If you STILL don't know what SUUSI is, proceed immediately to suusi.org.
Registration should open sometime in March!
|The deadline for the April Newsletter is March 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 Reid, President
Dave Wells, Vice-Pres.
Rev. Michael Carter,