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 Tidings     Monthly Newsletter


January, 2020                                                      Vol.1: Issue 7

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From the Minister
Vacation and Study Time for Rev. Carter
The Call: Ruth Pittard and Laura Staley
We Did It!
Poetry Corner
On Silence - or joyful noise!
From our photo album
Some Personal Observations about Silence and Social Action
"We Would Be One"
Volunteer Spotlight
Our birthdays in January
Welcome to new member!
Tidings notes
Contact Information
UUCSV leadership
From the Minister
Well, we are beginning the 2nd decade of the 21st century. I don't know about you, but for me it's been a wild ride. Personally, culturally, socially, politically, spiritually, it's been a whirlwind. Yet there is a still small voice telling me that this is only the beginning and it's time to buckle up because there is much more to come. The times are indeed frightening and exciting. As much as possible I have tried to tune out the noise regarding impeachment and other events. Not forever, but just to maintain my sanity. I really want to keep my sense of inner peace moving forward, at least as much as humanly possible. This is not always an easy task, nor should it be. Who said life had to be easy?
A gentle reminder is in order as we begin this new chapter, this new year. When a thing has served its purpose, it will go away. Sometimes it will break. At other times it will simply die off. Then there are those times when for no reason, it will simply fall apart. There will be tiny pieces that are missing, making it all but impossible to put the thing back together. When a thing (or person or place) no longer serves any purpose in your life, it will go sour. Or it may run away. Or it may pack up and leave abruptly. When a thing has served its purpose in your life there is no explanation. There are no excuses. It cannot, will not, must not stay in your presence.

If you try to hold on to something or someone that has already fulfilled its purpose in your life, you are going to hurt yourself. If holding on is disturbing your peace of mind, it makes sense to let go. Let go or be dragged. Or if you prefer, let go and let God. It's up to you.

Until today, you may have been holding on to something or someone, not realizing that it's purpose in your life has been served. It's okay. Let go. Surrender all attachments to people and things that you have been struggling to hold on to.
It's a new day. It's a new year!

Sunday, January 5, 2020  11 a.m.
“What If? The Story Of Outward Bound”
Dr. John Huie

Outward Bound inspires and encourages folks to take on the seemingly impossible, awakens the service ethic, and connects young people and adults to the earth which sustains us in life.  The founder of Outward Bound, Kurt Hahn wrote 80 years ago:  “Five social diseases surround the young, even in early childhood.  There is the decline in fitness, due to modern methods of locomotion; the decline in initiative, due to the widespread disease of spectatoritis; the decline in care and skill, due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship; the decline in self-discipline, due to the ever-present availability of tranquilizers and stimulants; and the decline of compassion, which William Temple called ‘spiritual death.’  I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an indefatigable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and, above all, compassion."
For 18 years Dr. John Huie served as Director of the NC Outward Bound School, now headquartered in Swannanoa. He initiated the Environmental Leadership Center of Warren Wilson College in 1995 and laid the foundation for Muddy Sneakers in 2006, an environmental program for fifth grade public school students now spreading across the state.  John has served as teacher, coach, headmaster and professor of education in Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, and Ontario. He has served for the last decade as an Educational Consultant and Life Coach helping families nationwide in crisis with struggling teenagers and young adults. He holds degrees from Davidson and Emory.  His Ph.D. is from the University of California, Santa Barbara. John and his wife, Jaan Ferree, live in Asheville and are parents of six children.
Sunday January 12, 2020 11:00 a.m.
“The Tao Keeps Speaking”
Dr. Marc Mullinax
Quartet singing, Linda Metzner piano
Marc Mullinax is Professor of Religion and Chair of the faculty at Mars Hill University.  He is a frequent guest speaker at this and other Unitarian Universalist congregations in the area.  It is in these faith communities that Marc its able to
s-t-r-e-t-c-h his faith and spiritual muscles, and bring insights from his own Christian practice, but also from compassion practices around the world.
In its September 2018 issue of THE ATLANTIC, its editors reported results of “The Big Question” they had asked a couple months earlier on Twitter:
“What book or article would you make required reading for everyone on Earth?”  Tao the Ching was the fourth most-popular text of the responses, after Fahrenheit 451, Silent Spring and The Brothers Karamazov.
Marc Mullinax has spent the last two years translating The Tao De Ching from Chinese.  Does a 2,500 year old text written in China have anything to say to today’s world and its ways?  You bet!!
January 19, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
"The Eighth Principle"
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
The UUA is encouraging congregations to adopt an eighth UU principle. It reads:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
BLUU (Black Lives UU) and other UU Leadership have proposed this eighth principle. I have met with a congregation in Kentucky whose church (The UU Church of Lexington, Kentucky) is voting to adopt this principle. Other congregations in the Joseph Priestly District are seriously considering adopting this as well.
I am not proposing that we do, but want to share the information so that we can at least be informed and have an educated conversation. Dr. King would have wanted it this way. See you on Sunday!
January 26, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
"What Do Unitarian Universalist Believe?"
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
Choir singing, Sue Stone, piano, Linda Metzner, choir director
A story goes that someone who did not really understand what UUs believe once remarked, " You do not need a doctor's degree to be a Unitarian Universalist, but that is would sure help." This comment arises from the fact that UUs are people who are expected to use their own minds ( nd hearts, emphasis mine ) to arrive at their own theological beliefs. We are people who attend congregations where everyone does not have to think alike but all alike think. We've had some interesting sermon topics of late but its always good to get back to basics. We are not a cliche or a club. We are a free thinking and feeling religious organization. For those of you who have recently joined, as well as for you UU veterans, lets talk about a little UU History and what it is we actually believe. See you on Sunday!
Vacation and Study Time for Rev. Carter
Beginning January 2, 2020 Rev. Michael Carter will be on vacation for one week. On January 8th, he begins a week of study time. Study time for UU ministers means that he will be working from home, studying, reflecting, etc. but is not required to be in the office unless there is an emergency. He will be in the pulpit on his scheduled Sundays. Rev. Carter will be back in the office officially on Monday, Jan. 13th.
The Call: Ruth Pittard and Laura Staley
by Shelly Frome
According to a popular theory, there are only six degrees of separation between people everywhere, even in America’s deeply polarized society. By the same token and by extension, two local women, who met purely by chance, now wish to create a movement to deepen these positive, often hidden connections for the common good.
In order to better understand this phenomenon and the sensibilities of this particular duo, we have to pull back a bit. At the outset, we can start with Laura Staley and what drew her to Black Mountain.
“Thirty years ago I came down from Ohio,” she said, “saw the Blue Ridge Parkway and wept. Recently, I came upon a house by the side of a mountain with black bears and their cubs and felt like a grownup Goldilocks. I finally realized I was truly in a place where I belonged.”
For Ruth Pittard’s part, she’d been coming to this area her entire life. “I grew up in Conover,” she said, “near Hickory. Coming to Asheville was a big deal. My mother did handwork and embroidery and loved the artist guild. My grandfather had a house near Blowing Rock with eighteen beds and we all gathered there every season. So it was a combination of mountains, gatherings and beautiful scenery.”  
Later on, while at Davidson College, continuing to gather and nurture her charges, Pittard and a few close friends would light out on weekends to Black Mountain to shop at Seven Sisters Gallery and dine at The Veranda restaurant.
Now segue to the immediate present. After long last taking up residency here, the two women  encountered one another at a Sunday service at the UU Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley.
“During a segment called Joys and Concerns, I shared my gratitude for wonderful turns in my life, ” said Laura. “Ruth came over to me afterwards and emanated such love, that I knew I had encountered a kindred spirit. It’s been laughter and tears and sharing blessed moments ever since.”
“These were moments of deep recognition,” Ruth added. “I soon began having visions of being the face of love in this community. At the same time, I remembered a similar vision of a loving place since childhood—perfect strangers opening their hearts. My gift appears to be sensing people’s hearts and pain without interference or trepidation. To be company. To stand with them.”
They both began to realize that they needed some means of evolving from awareness to some form of action. Ruth recalled a documentary film in which a woman named Lannette Jamison had a near death experience whereby she was called upon to gather with other souls who resonated with love to go out and sow the seeds. As it happens, through the grapevine, Ruth and Laura were recently invited to be part of the International day of peace at the United Nations in New York. There, meeting like-minded people, they were prompted to be their larger selves and most loving selves routinely in whatever they do. And that it’s vital “in order for us to survive.”  Moreover, the quest expanded to “When you lose your mind, you find your heart.”
Before they knew it, they were in consort with a woman wearing clownish garb stuffed with gadgets and toys as they actually caused hardened New Yorkers to stop for a moment and laugh while they tossed fuzzy bugs against plate glass shop windows that playfully cascaded up and down.   
Back home, emboldened by the sight of Erica Burns in Black Mountain, holding up a sign protesting against children and parents being separated at the southwestern border, our intrepid tandem decided to incorporate everything they’d learned, holding up their own posters of love and joy from 5 to 6 on Wednesdays on the very same main intersection.
So far, they’ve continually received lots of hugs, smiles, waves and joyous horn beeping.  
In effect, they’ve started small, actually reaching out. Envisioning the creation of safe places for people to come together. Trusting one another and truly taking the time to listen. Collecting and sharing stories. Tapping all this communal potential.
We Did It!
by Susan Culler
Thanks to the help from many UUCSV members and friends, the Social Action Committee successfully completed the "Five Practices of Welcome Renewal” for 2019.
The Welcoming Congregation Renewal task force, chaired by Jane Carroll and Susan Culler, kicked off the project with the May 26 “Welcome, Inclusion, Renewal” service. During the next six months many people were involved in activities ranging from potlucks to our booth at the Pride Festival. We created articles, brochures, signage and developed special services – all with the purpose of informing UUCSV congregants about the history and current issues surrounding our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.
In his notification letter to UUCSV, Michael J Crumpler, UUA's LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Director, writes, “Sincere congratulations on your ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ welcome and inclusion in and beyond the great city of Black Mountain.”
The certificate shown below, will be framed and placed in a prominent place near the Social Action Committee's bulletin board in the portico. Congratulations to all for this accomplishment. 
Poetry Corner
Now That I Know
one thing always dies
if another is to live
full circle
yet for you
the only offering
wheel of torture
start to finish
machines, confinement
force and suffering
disregard for your soul
precious nature
this ain't no farm
but a factory indeed
species lottery you lost
the ones at home I cuddle and pamper
but your suffering I disregarded
for the fleeting pleasure of your flesh
your body ceaselessly abused
knows not the pleasure
of sunshine and grass
joy of bonding with another
five decades of my life
and your death
no longer can I pretend
I don't know
Damaris Pierce 2019
Wish Me Luck

Out of sorts
Don’t know why;
Missin’ you
But you’re still here.

Crying child,
Lack of sleep,
Gettin’ better
Yet far from calm.

Expect more
But of what?
Others’ needs
Often come first.

Keepin’ busy
So I don’t
Face my own
Needs, desires.

Time to change,
Face myself,
Seek within
What I most need.

Wish me luck.

Jim Carillon, 12/12/2019
Walk The Earth In Silence
Walk the Earth in Silence,
in the stillness of Being,
communing, listening,
hearing, sensing, feeling.
Walk the Earth in Silence
of unassuming, open,
receptive, awareness;
leaving only a trace
of a footstep here and there.
Walk the Earth in Silence
from the stillness of the Heart;
standing at the still-point,
in the hush of the Mystery...
Speak the language of Silence,
Heart to Heart,
whispered wordlessly
in the silent Rhythm...
Reprinted with permission of
Christine Kennedy on Mystic Meandering blog
On Silence - or joyful noise!
by Susan Enwright Hicks, DRE

Silence. The word conjures such peace in my heart, and mind. But with two small children, silence is a concept with which my life is somewhat at odds just now. I am not sure that I have any wisdom or revelations to share on the subject other than, if you can find solitude and the time for reflection which silence often brings try to appreciate it.
And I for my part, will try to appreciate that the constant noise I am surrounded with gives me frayed nerves, but is temporary. Someday my home will be quiet again, and I’m sure I will reminisce fondly on these days in which I am constantly inundated with the noise of my family. Wherever you are on the continuum between bustle and calm, I hope you find joy and fulfillment.
Religious Education at UUCSV is looking for additional help with RE Special Programs. If you would like to fill a fun, occasional volunteer role with our children please email Susan Enwright Hicks at

RE is also looking for a few more teachers for the spring session. With a few more teachers a second Elementary age class could be created allowing the opportunity to better tailor lessons to the children’s ages. 
The commitment is only about one Sunday a month, but the rewards to be had are immense! Contact Susan FMI, or 828-450-5319.
From our photo album


Lucia children photo by Kathryn Coyle.
Other photos by Barbara Rogers


Some Personal Observations about Silence and Social Action
by Suzanne Ziglar
When I think of silence and social action, I think of both inner silence and silence in the environment. The beauty of inner silence for me is that when my mind is quiet, I am able to make choices more in keeping with how I want to be in the world. I am less reactive and better able to see a bigger picture.  When my mind is noisy and chaotic, I react and am off track for my goal of “right action."  
A friend painted a huge painting from a photograph of a march before the start of the Iraq war and when I looked at the painting I thought of all of the pain and anger on our faces.  We had quite a few conflicts with the police who used rubber bullets and tear gas on us, and after those futile actions on our part, I began to wonder if there are not other ways to effect change without all of that inner and outer noise. 
I still do not have an answer to that but as I experience more inner silence, I am edging closer to understanding how I am willing to bear witness to injustice.
"We Would Be One"
Years ago when Michael Jackson released his video, "We Are the World," it touched me and many others...helping us to remember how connected we all are. In this world today, we need to remember this feeling more than ever.
The song: "We Would Be One" is one of my favorites. Every time I sing it I feel re-connected to the spirit of humanity. Recently I had a vision of a bunch of us singing this song at White Horse. This is how we can make our mark in contributing through song to help heal the world.
In order to realize this vision, you are needed to bring your spirit and sing from your heart. Linda Metzner will graciously help us rehearse and perform. I will provide music sheets for everyone.
We plan to first meet at theWhite Horse in Black Mountain on Saturday, January 11 at 1:00 pm, then again rehearse at White Horse on Saturday, January 18 at 11:00 am...then perform on Tuesday night, January 21 at White Horse open mike at 8:30 pm.
(Note changed rehearsal time on January 18 so we won't have conflict with the Women's March in Black Mountain at 2 pm.)
The full effect of this endeavor cannot be accomplished without you! Bring friends.
Thanks, Bill Altork 828-301-2654
Volunteer Spotlight
Norm Kowal has been a UUCSV member since we moved into our current location on Montreat Road in Black Mountain NC in 2004. We had originally met in a school, the library or the Lakeview Center.

Norm started hosting "Friday Fling" parties on the third Friday of each month at about the same time.  They were originally held in people's homes, with pot luck dinners and watching movies on someone's TV. Then the church got a big screen and a projector, and Friday Flings located at UUCSV from then on. Each month Norm brings two movies for the attendees to vote upon for that showing. He also brings white and red wine to complement the food! And he even publishes in the weekly Current which movie choices will be offered that month.
A couple of years ago Norm finished his "life's mission" of writing a book "Interstate Landscapes - East: Physiography, Geology, and Ecology." Since then he's been wondering what comes next. The book is free and available on line. A lot of work went into it!
Thanks for all you do for UUCSV!
Our birthdays in January

January 6:  Kathryn Coyle
                   Sally Smith
January 7:  Robert Tynes
January 9:  Teresa Ballenger
January 17: Jean Brown
                    Mary Soyenova
January 20: Anne Sillman
January 24: Nancy Gavin
January 31: Jim Carillion

Welcome to new member!

Damaris Pierce has been attending UUCSV for a year and a half and joined our church officially last month. She happily sings in the choir, is a member of the poetry group, and assists us in the office with communication and graphic design.
Originally from Germany, Damaris has lived in the US since her early 20s. She's had several careers and since moving to Asheville in 1998 has been focusing full time on creative expression, both via her own artwork and by guiding others through various artistic projects as teacher, coach and collaborator.
Damaris is also passionately vegan.
Damaris now lives on a mountain ridge outside of Black Mountain with her partner, Gary, along with Jack the Dog and Tapper the Cat. She enjoys writing poetry, nature walks, meditation and dream work, and she often prefers silence over conversation.
Tidings notes

"Tidings" is our Monthly Newsletter, a journal/magazine and place where we can share our thoughts and photos about things of interest to our UU Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley. Please submit articles of around 250 words to "Tidings." Submissions can be just written in an email as text, or as attachments, and photos are welcome! Thank you so much for everyone who contributed this month!

There are different themes for each month, for February 2020 it's "Compassion."

Contact Information
Our Web Site is 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
Phone:    828-669-8050
email:  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 20th of prior month or questions to Barbara Rogers at
UUCSV leadership
Board of Trustees: 
Linda Tatsapaugh – President
Kathryn Coyle – Vice President  

Deb Vingle
Heidi Blozan
Spence Foscue
Robert Tynes
Evan Yanik
Non-board officers are:
Lee Reading – Treasurer
Milt Worden – Secretary
Committee Chairs:
Building & Grounds - Rhea Bockhorst
Social Action -  Suzanne Ziglar & Julia Jordan (rotating)
Congregational Care - Larry Pearlman
Finance -   Lee Reading
Membership - Carol Sheeler
Nominating - Evan Yanik
Personnel - Jim Carillon
Communications - Susan Culler
Governance - Katheryn Coyle
Religious Education - Jessie Figuera, Jim Carillon, Heidi Blozan, Kathryn Coyle (rotating)
Sunday Service Associates - Diane Graham (rotating)
Strategic Planning Task Force - Michael Figuera
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UUCSV  •  500 Montreat Road  •  Black Mountain, NC 28711

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