Tidings Your Monthly Newsletter
September, 2019 Vol.1: Issue 3
September is a time when many of us begin to prepare for the autumn and winter months. Well, I should say it is when Michael begins to prepare for the autumn and winter months. I do this mostly on a psychological level. I know that change is on the horizon in various ways, as the seasons constantly remind me to get ready. I really do look forward to what this time of year will bring. For me personally it is a harvest time. All of my life it seems that the last three months of the year bring me the results of things or actions I have "sowed" earlier in the year. In other words, I reap what I have sown. Of course this happens all through my life but I seem to really be cognizant of it during the last three months of the year. I guess it's my personal life rhythm so to speak. Then there are the holidays to bear in mind, which to me makes the last part of the year really fly by.
And yet the really big lesson I take into the last third of the year is that the summer reminds me to hit the pause button in my life more and more, especially as I get older. I like to do this all year around, though in summer time it is more "socially acceptable" to be lazy, to slow down, to do nothing and afterwards to rest. You see everything has to stop at some point in order to keep going. When driving, you must pause at stop lights and stop signs. On a train, there may be stops before you reach your destination. An airplane stops at the head of the runway before it ascends in the sky. Knowing this, why do we believe that we can move from experience to experience without stopping, refueling or resting?
Most of us will not leave one job until we have another. As soon as one romance is over, we begin to prowl to find another. We go from work to home to work some more. Even a quiet relaxing evening could mean reading, talking, playing with a pet. Some of us may feel guilty about doing things that do not earn an income or meet some responsibility of our lives. We believe that doing nothing is not a good thing, when in fact at time it can be one of the best things we can do for ourselves. To stop, to rest, or to pause means to do no thing. It means no thinking! No moving! No decisions! Its the old Zen adage that says, "don't just do something, stand there!" When you press the pause button on the audio or video machine, everything stops. No picture. No sound. No movement.
The images of life must come to a halt if you want to have a clear picture about what to do next. What a blessing it is to push the pause button. To have the ability to stop and gather strength or to wait until things have passed before turning a corner and moving forward. A pause in Life's journey does not mean that nothing is happening. In reality it is an opportunity to be present and catch up with all that is going on. So don't be afraid to be lazy or to stop moving or doing in life (which in my opinion is what the season of summer is really for.) Push the pause button. Be sill. Shut down. Stop movement just long enough to check up on yourself. Unless you pause, you may not know if you are fast forwarding or going in reverse.
Live Long and Prosper!
Sunday, September 1, 2019 11:00 am
"Close Encounter of the 3D Kind"
Rev. Dr. Scott Traxler
Everyone's doing it! The Christians, the Muslims, the Jews. Everyone can have one! The Sikhs, the Buddhists, the Hindus. Atheists, Agnostics, and Humanists, too. Indigenous Peoples, Wiccans, and even UUs. Have you had your personal Spiritual Encounter yet?
Scott is an ordained Interfaith Minister, retired Professor of Business and Humanities, and retired from the U.S. Army. His post-retirement interests include working with Hospice patients, teaching about the Pan-Mediterranean social context of the 1st and 2nd centuries C.E., attempting to play the hammered dulcimer, and researching the roles consumerism, science, and secularism have had on the shape and influence of the American religious landscape. His academic credentials include a Ph.D in religion and a Doctorate in management.
Sunday, September 8, 2019 11:00 am Rev. Michael J. S. Carter“Welcome Home”(Homecoming and Water Communion Sunday)
American novelist Thomas Wolfe was once quoted as saying that you can't go home again. But the stories of the human race are nonetheless replete with homecoming stories of people who did go home again, and in many cases, they recognized what home was really about for the very first time.
In contrast to Thomas Wolfe’s observation, Rod Serling, the writer who became famous for the hit television show, The Twilight Zone, said that, everybody has to have a home to go back to. This is so very human, for there is a need in all of us for a place to hang a hat, or a kind of geographical womb to crawl back into, or maybe just a place that’s where you grew up. What does it mean to come Home? What exactly is a homecoming? Is it something more than a geographical place? Let’s explore.
Sunday, September 15, 2019 11:00 am
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
First of all let me say that we are talking today about Acceptance and not Exceptance. Exceptance is when you exclude something or someone that you don’t want (or don’t want to face up to.) Acceptance is when you receive something or you come to grips with something.
Many people feel that when they are asked to accept something that this means that they must somehow acquiesce to a situation, become resigned to it or to simply give up. This is not necessarily true but it must be remembered that before you can change something you must at first see it for what it is.
Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying that he was always suspicious of people who wanted to change the world without first taking the time to figure out what the world was really like in the first place. To accept something, someone, or a situation is to see it for what it really is at that moment. The challenge is to see ourselves for what we really are before we try to change or to accept someone else. Let’s explore the idea of what acceptance really means.
Sunday,September 22, 2019 11:00 AM
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
The words “Know Thyself,” were inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias. This maxim or aphorism has a few meanings attached to it.
The Suda, a 10th century Greek encyclopedia, says the proverb is applied to those whose boasting exceeds who and what they are. It is also said that to “know thyself” is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitudes. This Sunday I would like to talk about the art of knowing oneself.
Sunday September 29, 2019 11:00 AM
Ruth Pittard, Laura Staley, Larry Pearlman
"Love Starts Here"
Our UUCSV Choir will perform today!
Three of the "Love People" share thoughts from our experiences standing with love signs in downtown Black Mountain for the past year. With stories, reflections, and music, we will invite you to consider your own expressions of living with love at the center of all that you do.
With Love and Appreciation............Larry, Ruth, and Laura
|Board of Trustees Meeting of August|
by Linda Tatsapaugh, President
Our August meeting was short, with not much new business. Lee, our treasurer, reported that we received over $20,000 in pledge funds, largely due to pre-paid pledges. Our biggest non-monthly expense was for the parking lot repairs (leveling, sealing and striping), about $8000. The board voted to use the unrestricted funds that were recently moved from the Memorial Garden, so this will not impact our annual budget.
A new policy was approved for borrowing of church property (see below), in an effort to increase accountability and care for what we own. In summary, electronics and motorized items cannot be loaned, and other items need to be checked out. The system is being set up this week.
Committees have been busy, especially Building and Grounds, Congregational Care, and Religious Education. Sunday Services are full with guest speakers through the end of 2019 as well.
Finally, we did prep work for the annual Board Retreat, which will be held Sept. 14 at Christmount. Agenda items will include review of our governance as well as goals around support of RE, Congregational Care, Membership and our Strategic Plan. All members are welcome to bring input to any board member prior to this meeting, as we hope to emerge with a clear direction for the 2019-20 year.
New Policy on Borrowing Church Property
In an effort to provide structure and accountability to requests to borrow church items, the board approved the following policy.
POLICY: Church property that is electronic or motorized may not be borrowed by anyone for any non-church purpose. Other items may be borrowed by members and active friends of the congregation by asking permission of the department or committee in charge of the item. If ownership is unclear, the office administrator should be contacted to clarify who to ask and check the calendar for conflicts. People who are neither registered members nor friends may not borrow anything. Borrowers agree to fix or replace any item that is damaged or lost while in their care. The person in charge of the item (e.g., committee chair) must sign items out on a check-out sheet managed by the office administrator; if it is a general church item (e.g., a table), the borrower may sign.
by Susan Enwright Hicks, DRE
To me, Community means having a place among people in which you feel you are valued and supported. It is a feeling I wish for all of us, but it is part of my job of course to help create that Community here at UUCSV for our young people. To that end I was delighted to run with Erin Spainhour’s suggestion of a “Backpack Blessing” as a way of helping our children feel connected to one another and their UU community throughout the school week.
On August 18th I led a program in which rising Pre-K through fifth grade students listened to a story, discussed their hopes and fears for the school year to come, created physical charms for their school bags, and stood together to make declarations of things we wished for each and every student in the new year. The following Tuesday I got a report from Jesse Figuera whose youngest, Iona, is just starting Kindergarten this year. It seems Iona really took the “magic” of the charms we made to heart and was clutching hers as she and her Mom approached school on the first morning. “I’m scared.” Iona confessed as they walked closer and closer, but she held her little charm and talked about her connection to her church friend, Nosara, who was also starting Kindergarten that morning, but at a different school. Iona and Jesse talked about how the charm in Iona’s hand was a link to her friend "it's like you are giving her a high five”, Jesse encouraged, which transitioned into...”it's like you're holding hands", and in this way, with the help of a mother’s love and a small, shrinky dink tchotchke, Iona’s UU community brought comfort, and helped Iona find courage on an anxiety-filled morning. May we all find such meaningful connections.
RE Picnic 2019
|Sacred Resistance Sanctuary organizing group met in August, with 12 people signing up to assist with the project in some way. Four people who live quite close to the church agreed to act as quick response openers and the other eight people will provide support when / if we have undocumented people at the church. |
We are collecting small toiletry items to be on hand at the church and the openers will try to compile things to carry in our cars that could be needed like clean sweatpants/ shirts, diapers, blankets, and pillows. About half of the group are Spanish speakers who are willing to assist with language barriers. We are still working on how to get word out quickly if/ when ICE becomes active in our community to activate the opening folks to open the church and notify the team.
Anna Marcel de Hermanas gets texts from CIMA-Asheville (Companeros Immigrantes de Las Montanas en Accion) since she is a trained verifier, but we need others on the team to have access to quick information when Anna is unavailable. We are hoping to have everything in place for shift sign up starting mid September. If you are interested in helping with Sacred Resistance Sanctuary, email Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text her at 740 706-3793
by Bill Altork
Sprinkle them across the earth,
upon which your house will appear
as a wildflower in God’s garden.
Let all remaining eagles
soar in spiraling circles
over one town at a time,
casting a wave of awareness
into the hearts of careless men.
Collect all human tears
filtered through layers of compassion,
filling the community well.
Gather the salt as the tears dry.
Place it in small bags
and give to the poor.
Take all violent words
that damage the human heart,
turn the soil on every farm,
blend these words with the food we grow
until they reconstitute the world
with moral awareness.
Take all hope,
let it simmer on low.
Walk daily in the Word.
Taste it. Believe it,
guide it with love, then
release it through the window,
like a telegram to the Creator.
Take one petal from a red rose,
three regrets (in season).
Blend with two apologies, one forgiveness,
one letter you never sent.
Place overnight under your pillow.
Spend a day with a child.
Pretend you are: little arms, elbows, knees,
little temples pulsing in the growing mind
of a small body in a forest of tall beings.
Feel the fear and joy.
Look through those eyes
back into your own.
Hold a reunion with
the spirits of our elders;
some of whom are weakened
through excessive pride,
caught between duty and desire.
Sit with them and ask important questions.
Invite all women.
Add two scoops of gender-neutralizer.
Spike the punch with compassion.
Let the breath of life whisper
from the female spirit
into the listening hearts of men,
then dance under warm summer stars
together, for the first time.
In a Park Along the Ottawa River
by Carolyn Shorkey
Along the river’s edge
Bordering grassy fields
Of all shapes, sizes, colors
They wear baggy blue nylon sport pants,
With t-shirts of every design imaginable,
Hijaba and tunics
Capri’s, biking shorts
Festive broad rimmed sun hats
On men, women and babies alike
Scattered across grassy fields
Flyers running with reels in hand
Looking over their shoulder
Not watching where they are going
Observers stand still
Their faces and world languages directed up
To flying colors
Some so high they appear
As tiny dots
Others lifting off the ground
And, just over head
Rotating wind socks
Spin like a turbine.
Triangular ones tethered,
Heavier than air
With fixed or moving anchors for balance
Tails trail to keep the nose
Pointing into the wind
Shaking and waving around
Dragons, insects, birds, butterflies
Beasts, both real and mythical.
Of all shapes, sizes, colors
As it has been for 11,000 years
Putting a roof over your head can be a scary and intimidating undertaking – especially if you're on your own and working four different jobs. But that's what Debbie Kohlhepp has done during the past 10 years.
Divorced in 2010 with four growing daughters, Ms. Kohlhepp “struggled to stay afloat.” But armed only with persistence, skills learned in her 25-year career as a “stay-at-home mom,” and the need to support her family, she set out to accomplish her mission. And that was to maintain a stable and reliable home place where her children could succeed.
Fast forward a few years. Her children are now grown and supporting themselves. Two are living in Europe and two in the states. So one would say she accomplished her mission.
But Ms. Kohlhepp has many years ahead of her, again on her own, and continuing to work part-time jobs. Currently renting a basement apartment, which soon will be sold, she knew she had to find another place to live. After talking with a friend about Habitat for Humanity's program that makes home ownership possible, she began considering that option.
Knowing that she needed to prove at least seven months of paid rent and exhibiting the persistence she had 10 years ago, Ms. Kohlhepp kept precise records of rent pad for 10 months. Finally she applied in March 2018 for a new Habitat-built home.
Today, Ms. Kohlhepp is the new owner of Habitat for Humanity's 21st Interfaith House. Standing in her roofless, 2 bedroom/2 bath home in Candler, Debbie Kohlhepp looks skyward as if to say, “I soon will have a real roof over my head for many years to come.”
She's also a very busy lady. When not working with developmentally challenged children and adults, she sings with Starlight Carolers of Asheville, NC at Biltmore and other venues in Western North Carolina during the holiday season. And she loves to dance whenever and wherever Tuxedo Junction, WNC's prestigious dance band, performs.
As she scrapes off the paint from another Habitat house under construction, Debbie Kohlhepp adds to her 200-hour sweat-equity requirement. And in her quiet, yet tenacious, way adds, “I am so grateful to everyone for helping make this possible.”
Habitat and UU workers on a lunch break:
When Milt and I travel (seems we have been doing a lot of that lately), if we know we will be staying in an area for a while, we check out the local UU church. For a month this summer we had the great pleasure of meeting up with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa (UUFO, now just how fun is that sequence of initials?). We were in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, for a month which gave us several opportunities to gather with the UU’s in this fellowship.
At UUFO, they do not hold Sunday Services in the summer. This summer their theme was, “Connections”. Many activities were planned by various members of the Fellowship in an effort to make connections within the congregation. Milt and I attended a Movie Night at a local theater with a follow up discussion over dinner after the movie, a Sunday Potluck, and a Pub Night. There was also a Poetry Writing as a Spiritual Practice session, and Music as Spiritual Practice, a house concert, discussion groups, TED Talk, etc. We felt instantly welcomed and throughly enjoyed being included in their community.
There is an interesting backstory to the building they have purchased into. The current UU space was formally a discount store, like our Dollar Store. When that discount store closed, the owner of the building was at risk of losing the building if they did not find new tenants fairly quickly. The owner of the building, Heartwood House, is an umbrella organization, housing and/or supporting 18 local not-for-profit social action agencies. At the time Heartwood House was looking for a co-owner of their building, UUFO was looking for a permanent home. UUFO had the funds to buy 13% of the Heartwood House Building, where the discount store used to be. To everyone at UUFO and Heartwood House, it was a marriage made in heaven! UUFO pays 13% of shared repairs with Heartwood House, such as the roof, HVAC systems, etc. The restored space where UUFO meets is lovely. They have a large room which serves as a Sanctuary and easily converts to a Fellowship Hall, a beautiful, modern kitchen which they share with a soup program operated by a resident nonprofit, an office and a gallery which serves as the RE and small group ministry room. Bathrooms are shared with Heartwood House.
We loved the congregants there and felt very welcomed. It was as though we have always known them. We are indeed, part of a greater community!
So, I encourage you to:
1. Ask Lee Reading about his engagement with UU’s when he travels.
2. Consider UUCSV taking a month off from Sunday Services in the summer to focus on our connections within our community, and
3. By all means, if you are able, visit with UU’s when you travel by attending their services and functions as well as staying in their homes, if they offer a homestay option.
You will come home having met new friends and with a sense that you are part of something bigger than yourself.
This month we're again looking at some of the art in our sanctuary. In the Audio-visual corner are two beautiful pieces.
The children's peace quilt was made by some of the children in our Religious Education classes several years ago. Included are designs by Cora Blozan, Dorinda Ball, Sienna, Kevyn Carter, Evan Shaw, and Celia Shaw.
The round design of beads was made by Bill Altork, and is titled "The Universe."
|Heterosexual Privilege? What's That?|
Here's something to think about: if you are straight, you get benefits – obvious and not so obvious – that your LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters don't get. The following is not about making anyone feel guilty. “It's about understanding one another,” says Sam Killermann, blog and website writer
Tidings shares some of these unearned privileges with you. Here are the first “baker's dozen.”
- Receiving public recognition and support for an intimate relationship (e.g., congratulations for an engagement).
- Expressing affection or dancing with your partner in most social situations and not expecting hostile or violent reactions from others. Examples: Your high school or college reunion, Groovin' on Grovemont or Park Rhythms.
- Living with your partner or spouse openly or having to “think twice” about your actions.
- Expressing pain when a relationship ends from death or separation and receiving support from others.
- Receiving social acceptance from neighbors, colleagues, and good friends.
- Having role models of your gender and sexual orientation.
- Having positive and accurate media images of people with whom you can identify.
- Expecting to be around others of your sexuality most of the time. Not worrying about being the only one of your sexuality in a class, on a job, or in a social situation.
- Talking openly about your relationship, vacations, and family planning you and your lover/partner are doing.
- Easily finding a neighborhood in which residents will accept how you have constituted your household.
- Raising, adopting, and teaching children without people believing that you will molest them or force them into your sexuality.
- Not having to “come out” (having to explain to people that you're straight, as they will most likely assume it.)
- Receiving paid leave from employment when grieving the death of your spouse.
|Our birthdays in September|
Bill Altork - Sept. 3
Demaris Pierce - Sept 3
Norm Kowal - Sept. 3
Maggie Schlubach - Sept. 5
Maggie Moon O'Neill - Sept 9
Carolyn Shorkey - Sept 14
Milt Warden - Sept 14
Jackie Franklin - Sept 21
Rhea Bockhorst - Sept 29
Rebecca Williams - Sept 30
|Tim Perry: the Spiritual Journey of the Heathen Priest|
|by Shelly Frome|
You could say that Tim Perry’s rite of passage began at the age of thirteen, the age of accountability. Before that, as a matter of doctrine, he was still saved.
“Actually, I knew I was in the year of borrowed time already,” Tim said. “I had a teacher who read the Bible to us every day. I remembered all the stories she told us and my family also believed in the Bible. My grandmother had been after me so I went with her to the Free Will Baptist Church to get my insurance policy because at that point I knew full well there was sweet Jesus on one side but fiery hell on the other.”
Later on, Tim came under the influence of another teacher at a Christian high school who taught his charges to ask questions and not just believe anything a pastor might say. By questioning, he meant to go to the Bible and find out what it actually said. By extension, however, Tim found himself questioning everything, including what the teacher was promulgating.
“I thought the main story was true,” Tim said, “but I now had a lot of questions about the details. Also, in the fundamentalist church, it was all about rules upon rules and judgments about your behavior which I was not too comfortable with.”
Nevertheless, given his background, Tim went on to the sect’s Bible college to become a preacher, laboring under the premise that if you ever lose the keys to salvation you’ve hit the road of no return. The big problem, however, was the fact that they took all he’d been taught to an extreme. While ensconced there, the strict regimentation of the belief system caused Tim to begin to question a whole lot more.
He subsequently left this “Free Will” college and opted for an Anglican chapel in Black Mountain which he found to be old-fashioned Episcopalian. Moreover, the people were so sweet and wonderful, he stayed with them for several years. He became a deacon, an ordained priest and a preacher. (Actually, Tim Perry had been preaching since before he could drive.) He was also taken by the ceremonies and rituals. From this juncture, he went even further and became Catholic. But then, one day, he went to see The Passion of the Christ with some friends and everything significantly changed.
“I was sitting there through this long movie,” he said, “and somehow I just didn’t connect with it. Here it was, Jesus dying for my sins and somehow it didn’t mean anything to me. I expected the violence and the gore but it finally came to me that I didn’t believe it was true. I didn’t know until that moment that I didn’t believe it was true and I was shocked. After I walked out, I was still working in the Catholic Church and teaching the adult Sunday school class and the new converts. But the scales had finally tipped. By this stage of my life there were too many questionable beliefs and practices. So I phased out because otherwise I’d be making a mockery of it all.”
And so, to make the proverbial long story short, Tim Perry still needed a place where he could question his answers coupled with a sweet society like the Anglican chapel. He showed up here one day and simply loved the idea there was no doctrine.
When asked if, finally, he was perfectly happy at the UUSSV, he replied, “Not perfectly. But, then again, there is nowhere else I can go.”
A little known fact about Heidi Blozan is that she was raised throughout her childhood as a Unitarian Univesalist. She views the world through the lens of being raised as a UU. It is then little wonder that her favorite volunteer work at UUCSV has been teaching our children and youth about UU for 17 years. She has presented the curriculum to preschoolers and elementary age. She has also taught the, Our Whole Lives Human Sexuality course to two different groups of teens as well as leading the Coming of Age Program, and volunteered to help lead a tour for the youth to Boston. She continues to this day to serve on the Religious Education Committee.
Heidi likes to go to committee meetings. This explains why, over the years, she has spent six years as a member of our Board of Trustees. Two of those years, she has been President of our Board. She loves to see the “Group Brain” of a committee go through it’s process to achieve it’s goal of getting things done! The UU Principle of using the democratic process as a management practice for congregations gives Heidi the opportunity to be her best self in our meetings. Presently, she is serving her second year of a two year term as a member of our Board.
Heidi likes coming to church because what she learns from the sermons, classes and interactions, are the words and behaviors she can use to be an advocate out in the greater community. She gets support from our minister and fellow congregants to stand up and speak up for liberty and fair justice for all.
Thank you, Heidi, from all of us at UUCSV for your many years of service to our congregation and especially it’s children!
Tidings is a place that we can share together our thoughts about just about anything; spiritual, educational, biographical, social justice, environmental, poetic, opinions...etc. Please submit articles of 250 words or less, which may then be edited. Deadline each month is the 25th, so publication will be on the first of the next month. Thank you so much for everyone who contributed this month, it's so fantastic to have your ideas to share here.
We cannot print any political endorsements, since we are a tax-exempt religious organization. Photos are welcome in high resolution format. There are different themes for each month. October will be focused on "Sacred Space/Spiritual Places." And if you'd like to consider November, it's focus is "Friendship," and December will be "Justice."
|Our Web Site is uusv.org where you can find more information about us.|
Rev. Carter's hours are Monday-Thursday. His day off is Friday and he does not answer emails on his day off.
Address: 500 Montreat Rd, Black Mountain NC 28711
email: email@example.com The Current is published each week on Thursday which is where our current events are listed. Send information to Myra Shoen, Administrator, by Tuesday.
Tidings is published monthly. Send entries by the 25th of prior month or questions to Barbara Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Tatsapaugh – President
Kathryn Coyle – Vice President
Non-board officers are:
Lee Reading – Treasurer
Milt Worden – Secretary