Tidings Your Monthly Newsletter
Sacred Spaces/Spiritual Places
September, 2019 Vol.1: Issue 4
|(to see whole newsletter click on "view as web page" above the header)|
A few weeks ago I was speaking to a friend regarding some theological issues that she had brought up. We were having an adult beverage and she is from a much more conservative denominational perspective than I am used to at this point in my life. We do get along very well although we see the world differently in myriad ways; and having said that, the delicious Argentinian Malbec I was enjoying (she had an IPA) did not fuel in any negative way our passionate discussion, at least not to me. In other words, we both remained very civil with each other which we usually do anyway. We laughed and joked about our differences as we always do and still had a great time together.
Her argument was that she simply cannot wrap her mind around how people cannot believe in a god. She says that there are people who could be called "godless." I said I agree. She went on to say that for them God does not exist. In fact, if you ask some people, they might tell you that they are the only God they know or desire to know. I said I agree. That really triggered her on a deep level that people could trust themselves and not have to put their trust in a god.
You see, in my humble opinion, other than of a lack of faith or belief in a god, these folks live normal healthy lives. They are professionally stable and financially secure. They have spouses, partners, pretty decent parents and children, and are loyal and trustworthy friends. She agreed with this assessment. So I went on and commented that some people are literally horrified at the mere thought of not believing in a god, yet the so called "godless" people seem to make it through life fairly well. In fact, some of them seem to make out a great deal better than the God-Knowing, God-loving, God-fearing folks. It boggled her mind, but she acknowledged that what I was saying at least "appeared true"--- for now. She felt that this good living was only temporary and that somehow "these people" would have to pay somehow for their arrogance, for their lack of trust and faith in a god. We then ordered a second round, spoke of other matters, gave each other a big hug, and went our separate ways until our next get together, which is usually every two months or so to simply catch up and reconnect. She is a dear friend and I cherish her energy in my life, for you see, she and her family are wonderful human beings and people of faith.
You see, it had been my experience that whatever you put your faith and the energy of your belief into will work for you if you trust that it will work. It is trust, not what you trust, or what you call trust, but the fact you trust that is the key ingredient in this spiritual/religious/humanistic recipe. This is what my friend cannot or will not agree to. If you believe in yourself, if you can trust your judgement and back it up with your sincere energy and effort, chances are you will hit the bull's eye. We see this in the conversations around the efficacy of prayer. Prayer "works" for some and is simply a waste of time for others. My friend would add that it would probably take a little pressure off of you if you understood the concepts of grace, mercy, and the divine love of God. I would answer that one can understand some if not all of those concepts, maybe even call them by different names, and still not believe in a god. She might respond that you might have a lot less stress if you could lift your hands and voice every now and then just to say "thank you!" for Divine order, Divine living, and Divine presence. Again, one can do this and still not have to believe in a god. None of this is necessary unless you believe it is necessary. Belief is a powerful force in this world.
For my friend, "In God I Trust" is a prerequisite to a successful life. Perhaps one day she will allow herself and others the freedom to choose the name of what they believe in. The lesson here is to examine how one trusts rather than the name you call what you trust.
Autumn comes in mingled moods, and might not come at all, if we had anything to say of it. It seems at times a season of regret, as growing old can seem to those who see but half the truth. For all the consolation color is to us; The maple's oranges and rust, the elm tree's yellow-gold, the sumac's red, We do sometimes regret those last leaves so! The raucous calls of flocking crows intent on going somewhere else can make it seem as though everything that lives is finished here, and only we must stay behind...but that is only half the truth.
---Max Coots : Between Two Seasons; A Holiday from Seasons of The Self
|Sunday, October 6, 2019 11:00 am|
“Immigrants at the Border and Here in Our Community: Welcoming New Neighbors”
As a member of the Migrant Support Committee at Swannanoa Valley Friends Meeting, Susan works with immigrants in our community. She recently spent two weeks in El Paso, Texas, working with refugees at the border through the Annunciation House there. A resident of Black Mountain for six years, after retiring from teaching social work in Iowa, Susan is currently an ESL teacher.
Sunday, October 13, 2019 11:00 am
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
A Time of Remembrance
October 9th, 2019 marked the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement & Repentance. It is a wonderful holiday in my mind, albeit a solemn one. It is the holiest day of the Hebrew Calendar. It is a time for purification. It is a time for reflection on the past year. It is a time to reflect upon the content of our life journey, our triumphs and challenges, those family, friends, and others who have touched our lives and have died or moved on. It is also a time to reflect on those instances where we as individuals have not been the people we like to think we are. It is a time of repentance.
For many UUs, the word repentence is somehow connected to the word sin, and perhaps both concepts have been forced down our throats, especially if our religion of origin was a more traditional Christian theology. Let's explore what this "Holy Day" can mean for us as UUs and just regular old human beings trying to make sense of our life journey.
Sunday, October 20, 2019 11:00 AM
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
This Sunday I would like to present another biographical sermon. The person presented will be poet Langston Hughes. I loved his poetry growing up and was even fortunate enough to have met some individuals that had known him. In his younger days, his nomadic spirit led him to travel to Mexico, Africa, Japan, the Soviet Union, and other stops around the globe. Associating with political activists, patrons, and fellow artists, and drawing inspiration from both Walt Whitman and the vibrant African American culture which he loved so much, Hughes soon became the most original and revered of African American poets. Yet his life was not an easy one. He never amassed great sums of money, and he was called to testify before The House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and senator Joe McCarthy, (as did W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson before him.)
In 1989 a resurgence of interest began for Langston Hughes and his works and at that time many young and gay African American men claimed him as their mentor and role model, although Hughes had died in 1967. Hughes' sexuality continues to this day for many to be the source of much controversy. It appears that like most human beings, Langston Hughes was many things to many people. Yet for sure he was a man, and we shall not look upon his like again. Join us as we explore the life and genius of Langston Hughes.
Sunday, October 27, 2019 11:00 AM
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
Halloween, All Saints and All Souls
I thought it would be interesting to explore Halloween, and the Catholic Holy Days of All Saints and All Souls. We as UUs may not canonize or commemorate "saints" but we all have individuals who have touched our lives in some way, who have inspired us to create happiness and joy our own lives as we bear witness to theirs, for there is much truth to the adage that nothing is as motivating as a life well lived. With the help of a recovering Catholic friend of mine whose conversations prompted my exploration of this topic, I want to discuss the significance of Halloween, The Roman Catholic Holidays of All Saints and All Souls Day--- and if you will bear with me this Sunday, our Unitarian Universalist Faith. It promises to be quite the journey!
|Board Sets Course for the Year|
My biggest takeaway from our annual Board retreat? We have a fantastic board! Every member’s energy and focus is fully on the well-being of our congregation – and they’re willing to step up and get things done. If you would like to see them in action, any member is welcome to attend and observe board meetings.
In our Sept. 14 retreat, we reviewed our governing documents, ensuring that we lead consistently from year to year. We held two major discussions:
1. How to best support Religious Education (RE). We agreed to help bring our children to a more central place in our congregation, both through more interaction with adult groups and by integrating time with our minister into RE. This is a growing ministry to both our members and the community, and the board will look for ways to support these objectives.
2. Congregation growth. We discussed ideal congregational size and how to achieve, maintain and manage that. We believe 125 – 150 is an ideal size, and we support a future move to two services rather than enlarging the physical facility. (Expect to see questions about this on the next canvass survey.) We also identified the need for more pastoral care as the congregation ages, and more adult RE opportunities.
Our other most important initiative is the Strategic Plan. The committee has been hard at work for months gathering input. The board approved funds to now bring in a facilitator to help construct the plan; the board will join the committee for this one-day workshop. The Plan is scheduled to be rolled out in December and voted on in January. Stay tuned!
|RE - Religious Education: on Sacred Space|
by Susan Enwright Hicks, DRE
To me, to deem a space “Sacred” is to recognize a place which thrums with a special energy, be it a mystical glade, or a room with industrial carpet, and beige walls. To imbue a place with such meaning (or sense the greatness inherent there) is to acknowledge a wonder or awe in ourselves sometimes difficult to define, but we know it when we feel it.
Creating an aura of the sacred in a space that also by necessity houses committee meetings, and dirty diapers, coffee hour, and finance reports is a tough needle to thread, but entirely possible. I experienced some real, if fleeting, moments of the sacred in R.E. this past month watching students merrily making art together. On the 15th a few young students created an installation piece for the portico to share with the congregation and brighten up one of our common spaces (perhaps you noticed the vibrant sunshade prayer flags hung recently).
In an act of unselfconscious joy children, ages 2 and 5 happily cut and layered tissue paper shapes inspired by Henri Matisse and stories of love. I’m grateful to Ruth Pittard for bringing me this opportunity to let the children “make their mark” and take some ownership of our building’s aesthetic.
On September 22nd still more students listened to the story “The Everything Seed” read by Mary Soyenova, and she and Kathy Prosser led the children in an activity which had them connect with real, physical seeds while considering the vastness of the universe and their place within it as a force of love and creation. These moments may not have been transcendent for everyone in the room, but they add another layer of shared space, time, and care, which is, to my mind, exactly the kind of holy effort that brings the sacred home.
|Sue Stone and the Essentials |
by Shelly Frome
There are two keys to Sue Stone’s outlook on life. The first is a love of nature coupled with a sense of community. For example, in the seventies she was drawn to the Findhorn Community in Scotland and taken with the idea of living in an intentional community where people live together because they all have something in common.
“I was fascinated with the fact that some of the people at Findhorn communicated with the spirit of their plants,” she said. “They used that advice to grow their amazing gardens. I still think it would be neat to do that even though I can’t. Except people do say I have a green thumb and create beautiful gardens and so forth. But you can tell whether or not the plants are happy just by looking at them. Anyways, I’ve always enjoyed nature. As a kid back in Massachusetts south of Boston, I loved wandering around in the woods. My husband Goeff and I have always been into gardening, alternative construction of living space and things conducive to that.”
As it happens, Geoff spent years in the corporate world causing Sue and the children to move from here to there. At last, while working in Arkansas, he got tired of the competition and decided to retire early so that they could live communally in an ideal locale. And so they spent a whole year traveling around, both east of the Mississippi and near Taos, New Mexico. They were impressed with those who lived off the grid and the way they lived together, educating one another, residing in houses and structures they individually designed. Earthaven Eco-Village, with its workshops, interesting people and involvement in permaculture naturally fit the bill. It may be nestled in the Blue Ridge but is close to the cultural scene in Asheville.
The second key centers on a liberal view of religion. Well before becoming a charter member of UUCSV, she grew up as a Congregationalist. But after she took a world history class, she discovered there was no evidence Jesus actually existed and all religions had the same basic story.
“That was a real revelation,” she said. “All this stuff I grew up with wasn’t true. I am basically a very spiritual person. Seeking something that made sense, I attended the Arlington Unitarian Church one day in Boston, heard Mendelson talk and I thought, Wow, this really makes sense.”
She went on to become totally involved in a UU congregation in New Hampshire, had no such opportunity in Arkansas, came here and discovered they were starting a church in Black Mountain and had another Wow moment. Recently, she came to appreciate Rev. Michael’s New Age sensibility which was more in tune with her own than the traditional “heady and humanist” approach. Women’s spirituality had firmly come to the fore and she is now perfectly happy with the direction the church is going and her idyllic life at Earhaven. Or, as folks around here are fond of saying, “It’s all good.”
Where is the right balance . . .
between the fog from my lack of sleep
and intense mutual connections with our infant?
between the unrelenting demands of his care
and the many comforts we provide each other?
between admiration of my wife’s mothering love
and the intimacy we now too rarely share?
between the undeniable good we are doing for our community
and required narrowing of our connections with this community?
between the life-changing, rewarding journey of foster parenting
and our individual growth and emotional well-being?
Desperately searching for balance
and at this moment wondering if it is achievable.
...A Place Of Believing... The Garden
fairy tales are true...
You and I are ‘of this world’
we share the bittersweet mystery
but we are also from somewhere else.
We are from Oz, from Narnia or Middle Earth.
We were not born yesterday,
but, like children, we are looking for our hearth.
No matter how neglected or forgotten
there is a child in each of us
a place of believing.
This Garden was created for believing.
Maybe fairy tales are true, after all.
Pause and peruse, how dear the spirit here.
“Who among us can say
when or how it will be
when something easters up
to remind us of a time
before we were born or
after we die?”
Here, we greet the spirit of our memories.
Let the luxury of nature’s beauty
speak our silent supplications.
Come again and again to this Garden Of Believing.
If your basket be empty...fill it
again and again with that which you find here..
2019 June 1, 2019. Mamie Davis Hilliard
Poem written for the dedication of the Memorial Garden at UUCSV
|Hair, pictures and a poem|
Sisters gather around a hair station
At the styling shop
The big question is:
“What color are you getting?”
Champagne or sparkling gold
Pink opal, perhaps feeling adventurous
how about red hot pink?
Sapphire, sky blue
Or a blue a bit more royal
Kate, shiny silver in your snow white hair.
Rose red, maybe light purple
Chocolate or coffee for the shy brunette
Tina asks Lauren, “Do you have rainbow?”
“Yes, Unicorn Rainbow.”
“That’s what I’ll have. Twenty strands, please!”
|Make a Difference in our Community|
Are you looking for a way to get to know members of the congregation better, or to feel more connected? Consider giving your talents to one of our committees, which are full of interesting people! For as little as an hour a month in some cases, you can help us stay vibrant and productive. Check with a board member to join today.
Fit your personality to our needs:
Good at attention to detail?
Governance –Ensure smooth running of all areas of the UU by reviewing policies and suggesting new ones.
Like to know what’s going on?
Communication – create avenues to more fully and consistently share information with the congregation.
Like meeting new people?
Membership – welcome and orient new members and encourage retention of current members.
|Death Café Returns to UUCSV|
Sue Stone and Tina Rosato are sponsoring a return of the Death Café to UUCSV. Last year’s event was well-attended and much enjoyed, and it seems the Hallowe’en season is a good time for a repeat presentation.
Death is an experience we all have in common, yet we seldom talk about it. What would it be like to sit with two or three friends and share our thoughts, feelings and experiences around this most important topic?
A Death Café is exactly that – a café, with some drinks and sweets, and some friends around a table, chatting about an experience we all share.
It begins with a brief introduction to the topic (death) and an overview of the format. A few suggested questions are provided to start the conversations, which occur in small groups. Participants rotate at least once so that everyone can converse with as many people as possible.
It’s an open-minded, open-hearted and open-ended discussion, accessible to, and respectful of, all persons and beliefs. Be prepared for both tears and laughter!
The Death Café is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29, from 2-4 p.m. at the church. Please let us know if you plan to attend so that we can plan for seating.
Sue Stone - 669-0619 or email@example.com
Tina Rosato - 686-0530 or 279-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you spell the first and last name of the UUCSV Chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, teacher of elementary aged children in our Religious Education Class, member of our Sanctuary Audio Team, consultant for the use of software used by our Membership Committee and Finance Committee, and Habitat for Humanity Interfaith house construction volunteer? We pronounce his name as ray, and he is our ray of sunshine, but that is not how he spells his first name. He spells his name, Rhea. If you knew that, good for you! And for bonus points, how do you spell his last name? It is Bockhorst. Okie dokie, may I introduce you to Rhea Bockhorst, UUCSV volunteer extraordinaire?
Shortly after settling into their home in Black Mountain (having moved here from Marietta, Ohio), Rhea approached our volunteer Treasurer, Lee Reading, and said he’d like to help out. Rhea reported that he had experience in his previous UU congregation both in Finance and Building and Grounds. As much as Lee would like a reprieve from the Treasurer responsibilities, Lee knew only too well how desperately our congregation needed someone to oversee our building and grounds maintenance. For years we did not have anyone to do this important job. The Board of Trustees would spend much of their meeting time deciding which of the Board Members would change light bulbs, arrange to have an HVAC unit repaired, etc.
In Rhea’s spare time he whittles away at his honey-do list prepared by his wife, Anna Marcel de Hermanas, volunteers one day a week repairing homes for Habitat for Humanity, rides his bike and tries to find time to read the selection for the monthly meeting of The Good Looking Men’s Book Club.
If you haven’t met Rhea, keep your eye out for a good looking man, wearing bicycle shorts and carrying a tool box, and introduce yourself to him. You’ll be glad you did!
|UUCSV at the Pride Festival in Asheville|
UUCSV is a “Welcoming Congregation”. That means we practice inclusivity to welcome LGBTQ+ individuals as we advocate for and “learn to undo homophobia and transphobia (prejudice against transgender people) in our hearts and minds, our congregations, and our communities” as explained by the UUA.
Thank you for supporting us in this ongoing effort by attending the Blue Ridge Pride Festival in Ashevile at Pack Square on September 28th. UUCSV had a booth staffed by our volunteers. The festival had a main stage of music, a cafe stage with chiefly acoustic artists, dancing, parading, arts and crafts, and food and service vendors.
|Pam Sain - October 2|
Geoff Stone - October 11
Diane Graham - October 15
Barbara Bryan - October 15
Linda Tatsapaugh - October 30
|Girl Scouts honor two of our own|
Congratulations to our own Roberta Madden and Murphy Capps, who were honored this year by the state's Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont organization for their extraordinary efforts to make our community and our world a better place. The awards banquet was Thursday, September 12, at Celine & Company's “On Broadway,” Asheville with Tammy Jones of Mix 96.5 emceeing the program.
Roberta Madden lives by the Girl Scout Promise and Law through her dedication to her country as she fights for gender and racial equality.Her work for non-partisan agencies including the League of Women Voters, the YWCA (she was Director of Racial and Social Justice).Ratify ERA-NC, speaks clearly and consistently to a woman who is courageous,and strong. Roberta works tirelessly for justice and makes the world a better place for all of us.
Murphy Capps lives by the Girl Scout Promise and Law through her support of other women in our community. She is committed to using her stories, experiences and expertise to help other business owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs navigate their journey with confidence, courage and clarity. She empowers others to become their best selves, to be go-getters after their goals - no matter the size of their goals - and to find fun in each day.
All of us need help at some time or another and we recognize that we are indeed all part of the interconnected web of all life.
Dial 911 if you have an immediate emergency.
Dial 211 if you are interested in discovering what community services are available for you or someone you know.
For other kinds of assistance, your Care Committee is here for you when times of need arise.
What do we provide:
* Transportation to/from church events, doctor/hospital appointments, and non-critical commitments when you are unable to drive.
* Grocery shopping and other errands
* Bringing meals
* Home visits and phone calls to lend emotional support
* Limited medical equipment to loan
If you would like to request the services of the Care Committee or volunteer to serve on it, please contact:
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 around 250 words. 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, November'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