|April, 2020 Vol.1: Issue 10|
|(to see whole newsletter click on "view as web page" above the header)|
Spring is here in all of her glory! A time of renewal and regeneration. Call it what you will, rebirth, resurrection, what was once left for "dead" is alive again. The lesson of this time of year is that the opposite of life is not death. The opposite of death is birth, for Life has no opposite. Besides, we die a bit every day so what is there to fear? Author John Rodgers wrote, "We are only born once into life, but in life we are re-born many times." He was describing the many "mini-deaths" we experience on our journey through life. We die to old beliefs to be reborn in truth. We die to habits of need, dependency, and control to be reborn to reliance on the inner life that we have cultivated which some call Spirituality. We die to fear of being reborn to fearlessness. We are taught that death is the end. It is, we believe, the darkness into which we plunge, never to return, of which no one can speak. As long as you are breathing, death becomes what we commonly call change. There is a line in Langston Hughes' poem, Dearly Lovely Death, when he says of death that, "...change is thy other name." The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius reminds that, "death smiles at all of us, and all we can do is smile back." You may have forgotten or may not have even been aware of the many times you have faced death or the ways in which death can alter your state of being. Just remind yourself to lay down your sword and shield, lay down your notions and fears about death and be willing to change. Wishing you Health, Prosperity, and a Gentle Peace,Michael A few poems in honor of the April showers that most will surely come our way.... "Let the rain kiss you.Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.Let the rain sing you a lullaby.The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.The rain makes running pools in the gutter.The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night--And I love the rain."
Langston Hughes, 1902-1967, April Rain Song
"In time of Silver Rain, the earth puts forth new life again.
Green grasses grow and flowers lift their heads,
and over all the plain the wonder spreads.
Of Life, Of life, Of life.
In Time or Silver Rain."
Langston Hughes, In Time of Silver Rain
|Mother Nature's Cycles - and our own|
|by Barbara Rogers, editor of Tidings |
How do earthly and natural cycles have anything to do with our spiritual growth, our questing for meaning in our lives?
This topic was chosen by a group of UUCSV friends and members, many weeks before most of us knew much about the Covid-19 outbreak, and how it has disrupted the normal cycles of our lives.
Our own cycles from nature are continuing. As a woman, cycles meant something else for most of my adult life, the cycles of menstruation that followed the moon's phases.
Children's lives have seemed to be marked by not only their own birthdays, but the cycles of school time and home time, either daily or throughout the year. That was up until mid-March when all schools closed, and all the children were at home all day. Many people either started working from home by computers, or lost jobs. We all became effected by the pandemic.
Blood Moon photo used with permission of Jim Poling
There are cycles throughout civilization, which used to depend upon the agricultural cycles, but now reflect more upon trade. And science knows of many cycles of growth and decay, or the ebb and flow of galaxies. What is a spiritual cycle? To me it's when I can be in touch with an inner timeless part of myself that's not always as pertinent as I scurry about...a cycle of getting quiet and listening within. After meditation I always need to bring my body back into the present by munching on something with protein.
Spring didn't stop because the society of "people" has practically stopped. When we make it outside to exercise, we can all enjoy the beautiful blossoms, and the warm breezes that replace those cold winds of winter. Spiritual meaning often comes with the promise and hope of new lives beginning in the spring. But as Michael mentioned above, birth, death, and rebirth are in a cycle.
The following poem by Zacciah Blackburn is included with his permission.
Blessed Spring to each of you.
Take good care of yourself, and those close to you.
Who knows what cycles the Earth breathes?
So many breaths she has taken, so many eons within each breath.
Be patient with Her, with yourself.
We shall find a passage through this.
The elders say what awaits us is more than we can imagine,
and, in the end, more joyful than we can imagine.
It is just the birthing that may be painful.
It is up to us.
Be with Her, the majesty of Life, the majesty of your true Self.
Find your Self and your authenticity among this, amidst these days……
What is your passion; what can you give the World?
Many blessings to all.
|We are changing the posting of details for each Sunday Service to be in the weekly Current only. There you will find 2 Sundays posted in each edition. For more information click this tab. UUSV.org/sundays/|
Here are the titles and presenters for the next month. Of note is the change to broadcasting live onto Facebook. Our UUCSV Facebook page is the connection to watch the 11:00 am Sunday Service and the following Religious Education Service. It won't be live until 11:00 am, so be patient. And I believe you can watch older videos at the same site, in case you miss one.
April 5, 2020
“Autism: Think Different, Love Alike”
April 12, 2020
"Easter & The Universal Need for Hope"
Rev. Michael J. C. Carter
Sunday April 19, 2020
"The Artist as Activist"
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
Sunday April 26, 2020
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
by Susan Enwright Hicks
Director of Religious Education
This has been a hard column to write. When I think of cycles I think of the familiarity of seasons, the routine of a year, the predictable course of a day, but lately all that has been disrupted.
Sure, we’re trying to implement new routines around home-schooling, and work-from-home schedules, but the days feel slightly too long, bed-times & wake up times feel arbitrary now with no place to be, no one else relying on us. The lure of screens is strong and getting stronger as school assignments are now digital, and so many of the suggested “educational resources” available are via the computer.
Our cycle has been broken, and I think we’re all getting a little petulant. My older child will probably not get to have a birthday party with friends this year… and maybe not the younger one either, but in so many ways we are so privileged. We have it a lot better than many. My husband has a job he can tele-work, much of my own work can be done by computer (to an extent anyway). We have access to the computing power and internet we need. We can pay bills, we have a home with a yard our kids can play in. For now, we don’t know that any of those we hold dear will become ill. We may not have found all that we’d have liked to find at the grocery recently, but we aren’t going hungry (in fact my stress-baking may yet make us all very fat). In truth, my children at ages 2.5 & 5.5 may not even remember this extraordinary moment in time as they age.
As much as I try to stay on theme with these newsletter submissions this month I don’t feel connected to cycles, but I’m trying to connect to gratitude.
|Our music program at UUCSV |
In Zimbabwe they play the kalimba, "Thumb Piano"
inside a giant calabash gourd
to amplify the sound.
The world is made of Sound ("die Welt ist Klang!",)
everything is sound,
and in our town,
our calabash is a big bowl of mountains!
At the UUCSV we sing in parts,
soprano, alto, tenor, bass,
with a solo now and then.
Birds sing for the joy of Spring,
bears mutter and grumble,
and our choir's sound
carries far, far beyond into the ethers.
With love and joy we interweave our voices,
take big breaths and let it all out,
praising all that is, praising Life itself,
the Life we interweave with each other,
with all beings,
because Sound is what we are,
Sound is everything,
echoing, reverberating, healing each other,
here in our calabash bowl of mountains.
March 21, 2020
To the UUCSV Choir-
"Huge thanks to the 12 singers who came to service March 22. It was a new and joyful experience. The Facebook videos are all in sections. We now have 281 views (450 as of this morning!) of the section featuring "Somos El Barco!" Well done, we could never fit that many people in the sanctuary! I'm going to send a link here. This is a Facebook page, so I think anyone can open it whether a Facebook user or not... "Somos" is around the 10 minute, 30 second mark.
Thanks and blessings to all, Linda Metzner, choir director"
Susan Stone, pianist Linda Metzner, pianist & choir director
Song Birds in Spring
Producing a woodland symphony
In surround sound
This spring morning
They sing of a new start
Impressed with themselves
They carry on
They carry on
Because they know
what they will to do today
They carry on
With an imprinted plan
For their future
Reason #847 for Fostering Our Infant Son
Darkened societal skies
More clouds and rain
Huge economic losses
Productive work gone
Vague promises Yet you smile easily
With leaders lying Sleep comfortably
Infection and death Share your enthusiasm
Tolls rapidly climbing Continue to grow
As long as we protect you
No virus will contain you
Your joy and human cries
Do more than sustain us
Thank you for arriving
Just in time to
Give us hope that
These times too shall pass
March 22, 2020
An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans
Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt
We will stop
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa,China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Stop. Just stop.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.
Jaki Shelton Green, NC Poet Laureate
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
Rev. Lynn Ungar, UU minister, 3/11/20
|Call of the Valley: Heidi Blozan|
|by Shelly Frome|
Artspace’s Heidi Blozan traces her love of alternative early childhood education to her teenage years in Kensington, Maryland. She was well aware of the standard race to the finish line, gold star status as others were deemed more or less average or relegated to remedial programs. But she was naturally drawn to a more compassionate approach.
“As it happens,” she said, “in the seventies when I was growing up, there was a movement advocating children’s rights. My family therefore wanted us all to participate and ask questions and encouraged my curiosity. Because I was given a lot of one-on-one quality time, when I babysat I respected the little kids as people, paid attention and interacted with them.”
At the same time, there was a movement called Reevaluation Co-counseling—gatherings and workshops where liberal minded people openly shared experiences and empathized with one another.
“They even had classes for young people,” Blozan said, “where you could reevaluate your life and look forward to self-actualization instead of trying to live up to other people’s expectations.”
Eventually, whole families became involved. She was especially taken by the fact that both adults and her peers truly listened to her and validated her feelings during trying times. Once trust was established, the springboard evolved to such matters as the impact Blozan’s parents’ divorce had on her life. Counseling deepened as peers became adept at offering positive, empowering feedback. Debilitating thoughts were reevaluated enabling people to go on and change course.
Needless to say, this was all made possible by psychologist Carl Rogers’ humanist theories. Many by now believed that in order for a child to grow and flourish, he or she needed unconditional love and positive regard from others and a feeling of self-worth. As a result, youngsters like Heidi could face whatever ups and downs life had to offer.
It was no wonder that kindred spirits like Blozan’s Aunt Nancy prompted her to go to Celo, a summer camp nestled in the natural environs of Burnsville and go on to steep herself in elementary education courses in the experiential atmosphere of Warren Wilson College.
“I loved the smell of the woods,” she said, “which I got from being at camp. And, of course, I absolutely loved the work-study program. And I naturally loved being part of the small community. Hand-in-hand, we all worked together every day.”
Armed with a teaching certificate, and feeling completely at home in this uniquely open and liberal corner of the world, she found employment at a Montessori pre-school in Asheville. Due to the children’s sense of wonder, once again she was delighted to “just be with them.”
All told, she went on to experience marriage, rearing her own children in this ideal way, carrying out her love of hands-on exploration at the Learning School on the grounds of Camp Rockmont, and fostered a Montessori school so that children in Black Mountain could be exposed to the world-renown progressive methods and materials. Presently she can be found on any school day morning at Artspace Charter School in Swannanoa assisting Second-graders, encouraging and, as always, “just being with them” as a guide.
Just the other day, seated in a semi-circle, self-directed, working at their own pace, without being inundated with abstract words like photosynthesis, the children could be found coloring and working with imagery of plants and their growth process. Motivated by the promise it was all going to come to something. They were actually going to plant and nurture a herbal garden.
During one telling moment, a boy looked up and confided to Miss Heidi that he was using his favorite color--vermilion. In turn, Miss Heidi broke into the most winning smile. She told him his favorite color was special. As special as every child given the right environment and a sense of self-worth.
Heidi Blozan was also the volunteer of the month in our Tidings issue in September 2019.
Shelly Frome, author of "The Call" in the Tidings Monthly Newsletter.
|Committees are being creative in the way they serve our community. A big thanks to the production of the Sunday programs on Facebook. Our organization hadn't tried doing a video of the Sunday program, and was just starting to offer each Sunday sermon available as a podcast. Then suddenly we were doing live Facebook videos. Many thanks to those who were in front of, and behind the camera!|
Here's the link for Larry Pearlman's talk Sunday March 29, 2020. If you missed seeing it, you can still catch it, and Linda Metzner's piano playing, and Larry's and Linda Tatsapaugh's dancing!
The Building and Grounds Committee has made big headway in our drainage situation, making excellent plans for the new placement of the shed and leaving more room for playground improvements.
Here Scott Conklin and neighbor/member, Jane Carroll and her friend are working on the foundation for new placement for our shed. After it is moved, then playground refurbishing and drainage will be addressed.
And here is Bill Altork and his trusty truck, loaded with a lot of what?
Larry Oliver and Barb Callaway, members who are moving, have donated their playground set-up to the church. We are sad to see them leave Black Mountain and UUCSV. They had playground equipment in their yard for their grandkids, and no sooner than Damaris "sent out the notice to a few folks to see who could go get it, did Rhea and Bill go and got it!"
It is stored on site until someone comes and assembles it. On the right - not the same one that they donated, but it gives you an idea of what kind of play may soon be available, when children can once again go onto playgrounds in safety.
Canvas Update - We are grateful for your continued support via contributions and pledges.
Currently, we have $62,610 pledged toward our $113,400 goal for the upcoming fiscal year.
Pledge cards were mailed to all members and friends who weren’t able to pick up their cards at our March 8th kickoff celebration. If you were one of the members to whom we’ve mailed a pledge card, or if you didn’t return your card to the pledge box on the 8th, please mail it in.
Kathryn Coyle and the UUCSV 2020-2021 Canvass Committee
March 23 Mamie Hilliard (correction)
April 8 Janet Hand
April 12 Shelly Frome
April 16 Carol Sheeler
|Volunteer Spotlight - Sue Stone|
Musically Noted and Appreciated
by Carolyn Shorkey
Well, those of us who sing, sing her praises! Those of us who are tone deaf- plug you ears, we sing her praises as well! We are singing about our volunteer pianist extraordinaire, the one and only (drum roll, please!) SUE STONE!
Sue and her husband, Geoff, joined UUCSV on Charter Sunday, September 30, 2001. Sue was a Board Member and guitarist, in those early days. In July of 2004, when we moved into our permanent and current building, she volunteered to be our congregation’s pianist. Mind you she hadn’t played piano very much since high school and she had an old electronic keyboard at home which didn’t even have all of the octaves! Her music library for piano was obviously scant.
She had always enjoyed playing the guitar and singing here for the love of inspiring her listeners, never for money. It is important to Sue to make a contribution, to do her share. Well, she has done more than her share by playing for us nearly every Sunday for about 12 years. At that time through today, Sue requested one Sunday off a month. I’m sure she is not counting, but I am ball parking that Sue has played our piano for church services about 700 times! And if that isn’t impressive enough, she spends from 30 minutes to an hour every day at home preparing for Sunday. She coordinates with the Minister or Sunday Service Associate, Choir Director, and Church Administrator, rehearses, as well as researches music for unusual requests. Needless to say, her personal music library has expanded exponentially. Typically, she is given the names of hymns for the service and is free to choose the selections for the prelude, offertory, and postlude.
Sue says that the hardest part of her volunteer job, but the most satisfying, is her collaboration with our choir. She is filled with pure joy, when her piano notes and the choir voices perform in sync. Her spirits just soar! So, “Come Sing A Song” with her, and make her day!
|March Board Meeting - Big Changes for times of Social Distancing|
The Board held its first Stay Home Stay Safe online meeting on March 26, and we're happy to report that these old dogs learned a new trick marvelously! Most of our business was coronavirus-related, as expected.
Great news: our canvass is carrying on regardless - at press time we had reached $62,610 in pledges, which is just over the halfway point to $113,000. Remaining cards were mailed, and members are asked to mail them back filled out.
We launched, with a few bumps, into the online Sunday service world on March 14; the board evaluated our methods and made plans for improvement as we venture into the virtual world. We will likely move some programming to a platform called Zoom, so we ask all members and friends with a computer to take a look in preparation. Zoom allows more interaction, and we know connecting with the community is a high priority. Discussion also centered on reaching those who do not have internet access.
Our committees are quickly adapting as well, from Sunday Service Associates prepping speakers for online, to Congregational Care creating a phone tree for checking on members living alone. Building and Grounds carried on with plans to move the shed while practicing safe distancing. Committees are encouraged to hold their regular meetings on Zoom, Google Hangouts or a similar platform. Not sure how? Call any student, teacher or person working from home; it's very user-friendly, I promise!
Of course, some activities have been postponed or canceled. Photos are delayed indefinitely, as is UU 101 class and our New Member Sunday. We will wait for word from health professionals before gathering physically again.
If you missed Larry Pearlman's sermon on Sunday, it is worth a listen on our Facebook page. He did a fantastic, and entertaining, job of putting this episode into perspective. Stay safe, and we'll see you online this Sunday!
|Letters to the editor/Opinions of our readers|
|I've been inviting readers to submit their ideas to Tidings since I started editing it in July, 2019. Now there's a lot to think about, and so I'm including some of the letters that have recently been received by email. These are the opinions of our readers, and not necessarily those of our UUCSV organization nor Tidings. Thank you for sharing. - Barb Rogers, Editor|
DATE: March 29, 2020
SUBJECT: mask = save life
FROM: Su Temesrisuk
Thai citizens are required to wear mask when they get out to public place. Some people make the mask more attractive to wear. Thailand is able to control the spreading of the virus. My family in Thailand told me to wear mask. It is more important than to just wear gloves. So, I hope we should consider wearing mask here in USA even though we are not sick but just to protect from being sick.
Another reason that they make the cloth to cover to the mask is to be able to use mask longer because you can wash the cloth cover.
Be safe and stay healthy and be at peace during this difficult time.
SUBJECT: Wearing masks
FROM: Linda Tatsapaugh
There are some people who say we should save the medical-grade masks for healthcare workers. Of course, I personally believe that if we had enough masks to go around, there would be no debate. But I have friends in healthcare, and would rather they had the masks than me.
SUBJECT: Wearing masks
FROM: Rebecca Williams
Thank you Sue!
Guess I will develop my sewing skills.
FYI there are local organizations that are making masks for medical workers, and individuals. You can help by sewing or cutting out patterns, donating supplies....It would be great if this info can go into Tidings as well. See what you can do at Masks of Love WNC
Stay safe everyone.
SUBJECT: once again, thank you
FROM: Carolyn Shorkey
the March 2020 Tidings was thoughtful and celebratory of our community, as always.
photo's of mentioned people really added a personal touch
thank you again, Barb
|Tidings is our Monthly Newsletter, a journal/magazine and place where we can share our thoughts and photos about things of interest to our Unitarian Universalist 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 May 2020 it will be "Wholeness." Think of something you just really want to say about that! If you're involved in a committee that meets via Zoom, or other physical distancing ways, please send an update to let everyone else hear the results. Without our usual coffee hour conversations, lots of us feel left out of the loop these days, assuming there might be something happening. For instance, I've heard there's a UU history class soon to be offered on line...so look in The Current for more info on that. The Current lists what events are planned, when, and where. Tidings offers small articles about these events as summaries of what happened.
|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 Damaris Pierce, Office Manager, by Tuesday, 12 pm.
Tidings is published monthly. Please send entries by the 20th of prior month or questions to Barbara Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Trustees:
Linda Tatsapaugh – President
Kathryn Coyle – Vice President
Non-board officers are:
Lee Reading – Treasurer
Milt Worden – Secretary
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