Tidings Monthly Newsletter
|August 2020 Vol. II: Issue 2|
|(to see whole newsletter click on "view as web page" above the header)|
|From the Minister - Masks Beneath Masks|
" Love takes off the mask we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within."
--- James Baldwin
Lots of talk these days ("heated discussions" may actually be a better phrase) about masks. Yes, I have gotten into these discussions even after swearing off. Questions like "should you wear one?" "Should you not?" Opinions and statements ranging from "those who do wear masks respect science", and "those who don't don't respect anything." "Blue states respect science and those poor red states... what are they thinking?" Well, I'll leave that conversation alone and invite you to think about the masks we wear everyday as human beings with or without the reality of Covid-19.
Most of us wear all sorts of masks and were wearing them long before the virus came along. We have a business mask, a social mask, a home mask, a play mask and a don't-you-dare-mess-with-me-mask, cause-I'm-not-playing-with-you mask! Of course, there are the many masks of the many roles we play. There's the daughter/son mask, the father mask, the mother mask, the wife/husband mask. There is also the help-me-I'm-lost mask. Each one of our masks carries duties and responsibilities, fears and frustrations, likes and dislikes, demands
Sometimes the responsibilities of one mask conflicts with those of another. Or, to hold one mask in place, there may be many things we must do that are inappropriate for the other masks we wear. In fact, we can become so skilled at putting on the appropriate mask, at the appropriate time, in order to survive that we eventually lose sight of our essence. Perhaps it is time to wear the mask of authenticity and integrity. Find your true essence (regardless of what others may think or say about you) and allow it to show in all of the roles you play. It is an anchor in these changing times. If you wear it all of the time, or at least try to, there will be a lot less confusion about what to do and how to do it.
"We reach for the mask of righteousness when our insecurities are exposed, slip it over the purple scars and yellowing bruises we gained when open-faced, we first met our fears. Once inside our masks comfort fills our lungs and our breathing softens. No one told the dangers of living behind the mask, of what happens when tears fall in darkness and do not wash away arrogance and pride. No one told us how life fades from faces untouched by opposition. But now that we know, will you help me lift my mask? And if you'll let me, I'll help you lift
---Stephen Shick (from: Be The Change)
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
The details for Sunday Services (held at 11:00 am) are in the weekly edition of The Current and our web site at UUSV.org/sundays/
The Sunday Service videos also available on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/UUCSV/. Many prior Sunday services are still available there.
Our Zoom coffee meeting starts at 11:45 am, and the link and password are included in information about the virtual service sent to recipients of Tidings and The Current, just before it starts each Sunday.
The RE Zoom classes will also be listed each week before they are shown on Sunday.
All are virtual services via Facebook or a YouTube link
|Please Be Kind, We’re All Doing the Best We Can|
by Susan Enwright Hicks, DRE
There is a hot debate about what the best plan for students’ return to school might be. Sitting through the broadcast of the Asheville City Board of Education’s special meeting this week, and reading the accompanying chat was almost painful; it was so fraught with exasperation, anxiety, and high emotions. Parents have a hard choice to make (depending on what their child’s school offers for options) about keeping children at home versus sending them back to a physical classroom while Covid-19 cases continue to climb.
There is no right answer for everyone.
Children have different abilities where learning is concerned, different needs in terms of personal attention, specialists’ time, and socialization.
Parents have different levels of patience, ability to teach their own children, and needs/ability to work in or out of the home.
Families have differing situations in terms of risk acceptability, vulnerable populations in their immediate sphere, and abilities to stay sane under “safer-at-home” parameters. Many parents feel constantly judged under normal conditions, and of course this year has been anything but normal.
Finally, teachers, and other school workers have all these concerns combined to weigh.
Let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume we ALL love our children. Can we extend each other grace enough to assume these decisions aren't easy for any of us? Can we try to consider that single parents, and households whose parents have work that requires them to leave the home may feel they have fewer options than other families? Can we try to remain open, and not become so entrenched in our own position that we can’t appreciate where those making different choices are coming from?
It’s frustrating, I know, but please, take a breath, and if you must speak up, keep it civil.
We’re all doing the best we can.
Pre-Covid article suggests that judging others may come from ego, or feelings of inadequacy. Spells out some traits we may experience.
BBC story about the way parents in the UK felt as schools resumed there. https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-52835571
|Our music program at UUCSV |
Second Sundays music program
August 9 Spence Foscue and family, original folk music
The UUCSV Choir will perform on Sunday, August 23rd.
Rehearsals will be two Wednesdays, August 12 and 19, at 7 PM, Sunday the 16th at 12:30, and Saturday the 22nd at 10 AM. All rehearsals will be on Zoom. Come sing with us! Contact choir director Annelinde Metzner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Annelinde plays the piano from her home each Sunday, and edits the choir performances, after they've rehearsed and recorded via Zoom.
|by Carolyn Shorkey|
Imagine this: a president you can trust. A president who was raised to value volunteer engagement in her community. A president who finds joy in multi-generational community building, such as what she’s found here at our church and at Open Table. And imagine a president who finds our UUCSV congregation supporting her values, filling her spiritual hole to overflowing. Well, imagine no longer. Kathryn Coyle has assumed the role as the President of our UUCSV Board of Trustees. Yes, you can trust her! She will lead the Board and Congregation through this 2020-21 fiscal year with openness and integrity. A business woman and single parent, Kathryn finds the energy to take on this important role. For that, we are so very grateful!
This is her fourth year serving on the Board. She and her sons have been living in Black Mountain for six years and during that time she has also been on our Finance Committee, RE Committee, lead our recent Annual Canvass Drive, and has worked on the Habitat Build House. She is teaching her son, Jack, the importance of community involvement by accompanying him as he volunteers with her at Open Table as well as doing lawn work on our church grounds.
Kathryn embraces an observation made about our congregants at a Habitat House building site. “This UUCSV group smiles a lot!” the observer noted. Kathryn, we hope you feel supported by us in your new role. We hope we remember to smile each time we see you. And we hope you find many reasons to smile back at us!
Katheryn Coyle, Board President 2020-21
|By Bette Bates|
I was going to include some things I’ve done recently to avoid using plastic, but just the intro is a little over 250 words :) So it’s to be continued at some point – but I’m glad to write about plastic as I’ve become obsessed about it.
Recently I watched one of the most visually beautiful, poetic and deeply caring documentaries I’ve ever seen. Albatross the Film was made on Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean as a public arts project by the photographer Chris Jordan. It intimately documents the lives of these incredible birds, who have wing spans of up to 12 feet, can fly for 3-5 years without landing, and live up to 60 years. Having mostly heard about an albatross as something weighing one down, I was stunned by the grandeur of these creatures. While the documentary, in my opinion, is transformative it is also poignantly sad and perhaps too disturbing for children.
Before I saw this film, I knew that plastic was bad for the environment and was filling the oceans as well as the bodies of animals. I knew that drinking from plastic bottles was harmful to the planet and to people. But that knowledge was not as visceral, or immediate, as it is to me now. I thank Chris Jordan for creating this passionately beautiful film that can be seen for free by going to: www.albatrossthefilm.com
I see plastic differently now and have become hyper-aware of the packaging we are using for the products we buy. Plastic containers are ubiquitous and for the most part they are not recycled. During covid, I have been experimenting with various ways of living without plastic and would like to share these ideas at some point, as well as find out what others are doing. Perhaps we could set up an email exchange of ideas on this topic. Please let me know at email@example.com, if you’re interested!
Morning Strolls with our Foster Son
Today a longer walk than usual for us
Down the ridge to the community park and beyond.
He turns thirteen months this very day
Seemingly enjoying our daily hikes or strolls.
Briskly we circle the track at the park
At a pace for this flat mile that is exactly
Twice as slow as my earlier 10K running pace
But speed no longer matters at my age or his.
Onward we roll through neighborhood hills
Looking in two separate meadows for a few
Horses we usually provide a bite of carrot for each,
Yet sadly none were there this cloudy morn.
Instead rubber ducky entertains for a while then
Later a Queen Anne’s Lace flower and stem.
He begins his morning nap as we climb the ridge home
Despite my various attempts to engage him awake.
I treasure these walks probably even more than he does
And wonder what if anything he will ever remember of them.
July 16, 2020
Little Garden By The Church
Before the dream
this little plot of land lay fallow.
Seeds blew in and chose to stay
Mother Nature said, “let them play.”
Rain spatters last year’s dry leaves.
Sunlight calls forth the green.
A loving spirit lets them be...it is
Nature’s corner of the churchyard.
We choose this to be our Memory Garden.
Nature blesses us as we work:
tall weeds dance, little brown sparrows sing.
Each living thing brings its own ring.
We who are friends with mystery, draw near.
We come in search of our true selves
We come to visit friends we cannot see.
This little garden is where we want to be.
You are welcome here. Come as you are!.
Look around you, feel the energy...
prize nature’s gifts, as they appear
find beauty each season, while it is here.
Mamie Davis Hilliard. July 2020
wear a mask
wash a hand
That is all our leaders demand
for how long can this regimen we stand
before together we band
and revolt, draw a line in the sand.
No more of this nonsense . We demand
“Government do your part”
or we throw you all out in November
when we take our final stand.
by Ann Sillman July 22, 2020
Billie Holiday, Blues Singer
On Your 100th Birthday (a bit late)
To Celebrate Your Courage
We celebrate your courage
to hear you
passion for justice, your Signature Song.
'Southern Trees Bear Strange Fruit.'
How could we have been so wrong?
Lyrics by a Jewish man
from the North
in the South
Black men, lynched
hanging in the trees.
snarling, potent need for power
How could they have been so wrong?
Tight tangles of hate and fear
the black bodies
Going home to their families
never getting clean.
"Southern Trees Bear Strange Fruit" (1939)
Mamie Davis HIlliard
|August 1 - Andy Reed|
August 6 - Anny Bestel
August 15 - Deb Vingle
August 20 - Jane Hancock
August 23 - Barbara Rogers
August 31 - Sandra Abromitis
|Call of the Valley: Laura Staley|
|By Shelly Frome|
As it happens, Laura Staley’s book Live Inspired was released at the same time the pandemic was in full swing. Since gatherings for a book launch were out of the question, she turned to Facebook so that she could still lift everyone’s spirits. Using passages from her journey of self-discovery overcoming Cinderella-like beginnings and sharing videos of herself joyfully dancing, she felt followers could benefit from a continuous exchange.
“It all started,” Staley said, “as a child in Ohio. Akin to Cinderella, treated like a scullery maid, I was terrified." At first, she found a temporary haven in nature. Because she knew the trees and plants wouldn’t yell at her, the birds would chirp, the flowers would be beautiful, she basked in the momentary peace and quiet. Away from her house, she also felt free to dream of other possibilities.
“Later on,” she said, “in middle school while taking a dance class, I sensed a connection with my own body. As a keen observer, I wondered how did each one I came in contact with treat other people and how were they going to interact with me?”
From this point “energy presence” became a key factor.
“And so,” Staley said, “in due course I chose the inner path. I chose introspection. Connecting with love and compassion. I knew in my core I was a loving human being. I got good grades. I got trophies. I got a PH.D in political science and it still didn’t make my mom love me for who I was. So I finally realized it wasn’t about externals. It was about being myself no matter what. It was hard.
"I saw my dad being brave and standing up for social justice before it was even a movement. He modeled for me that inner integrity and knowing the right thing to do no matter what anybody said.”
She went on to become an entrepreneur founding her own company, Cherish Your World, based on training in Feng Shui, designing ways to enhance the home and workplaces. Though she had no formal background in writing, she has also written three inspirational books and received praise from the New York Times.
A little over two years ago, when she experienced the Blue Ridge Parkway for the first time, she felt an immediate connection and wept. Soon after, she met a man, fell in love and, faced with another cold winter in Columbus, Ohio, they revisited this area.
“I immediately was drawn to Black Mountain,” she said. “The beauty, the energy and the special vibe. I met amazing people here. They were so receptive and I felt their kindness. The real estate agent had a sign that said when there’s happiness in the home, there’s happiness in the community and peace in the world. I had to have had all those hard times to really appreciate all this. I’m on Facebook, dancing and sharing because I’m in love with life. Life is precious and beautiful and so magical sometimes and love is truly possible. I am here to love and care about people and share this preciousness with as many as I can. I believe we are meant to be connected, to be courageous, lively and live from our hearts.”
|Summary of Minutes by Carolyn Shorkey|
Minutes by secretary, Milt Warden
On July 23rd the newly installed Board of Trustees held their first meeting for the 2020-21 fiscal year. With the leadership of Board President, Kathryn Coyle, and Vice-President, Evan Yanik, previous Board Members, Robert Tynes and Spence Foscue have returned for their second year. We welcome new Board Members: Anna Marcel de Hermanas, Phil Fryberger and Barbara Bryan.
Our volunteer Treasurer, Lee Reading, reviewed the recently approved operating budget starting with the anticipated income. Last year we held an auction that produced income for the church. This year it will be a virtual auction which we are hopeful will be successful in bringing needed income to the church. Both interest on investments and plate offerings are expected to be much lower this year. Lee emphasized the need for adding new members whose pledges will help our budget. Lee indicated the donations requested during our streaming Sunday Service are not enough to replace the normal (substantial) plate contributions.
Board Members Evan Robert Heidi and Kathryn along with our RE Director Susan and member Betty Bates virtually attended the UU Annual General Assembly (GA) this year. Our attendees mentioned some interesting sessions they attended addressing racial tensions, RE, being pro-active with race, LGBT issues, and other topics. The attendees will gather information about the topics of the sessions they attended and then survey the congregation to see which topics are of interest to the congregation.
Kathryn reported that the Personnel Committee addressed issues about the Office Manager job description. Damaris requested more hours to complete her Office Manager duties. The Personnel Committee requested that the Board approve a 14 hour work week (compared to the current 12 hours). Kathryn discussed how to pay for the additional hours. The Board unanimously approved the Personnel Committee’s request to extend Damaris’ hours to a 14 hour work week. The Board also approved Michael’s proposed 2020-21 contract. The Board approved his new contract to include a $300 annual dental stipend for Michael (which was prorated for other employees).
The Building and Grounds Committee wishes to thank our volunteer lawn mowers and Rhea and Bill Altork for assembling our new playground equipment.
The Congregational Care Committee continues to serve the short term needs of our congregants.
Evan reported that he and Susan Culler met recently and discussed the Communication Committee’s goals. New proof readers have volunteered for the Tidings publication which is expertly published monthly by Barb Rogers. Damaris is commended for doing a great job with the weekly publication of The Current.
The New Member Sunday Service was held recently. UUCSV has gained 29 new members this past year. And, we had one member join two weeks ago. We welcome all of you!
Susan Enwright Hicks reported that she is continuing to offer her virtual Sunday religious education programs for children.
Anna reported that the Social Action Committee (SAC) is continuing to work on ERA activities. Kathryn is the contact person for "UU Vote." The book club reading We All Belong Here is meeting and has new members. The Black Lives Matter sign is up at the front of the church. SAC had good representation at the recent car caravan.
Ideas were shared for ways to connect the congregation with each other. Look for information as it becomes available in The Current.
|by Sue Miller|
I was not there. I was not even thought of for at least 20 more years. My mother was aged 2. and then time moved on.... Now with our pandemic I am flown back in time to look at my grandmother with different mental eyes.
As a child I saw my grandmother; Hasty she was called; she would come visit us and my mother was always cooking and baking items of fun foods for her arrival. My mother was always nervous about her coming. Later, I could see this was because Hasty was very judgmental towards her. She was too plump, or she did not do this, or not meet some expectation. I am not sure, however, I'm pretty sure my mother was trying to get her approval. I do not know if this ever happened. I somehow doubt it. We did not ever talk about this when I was older because my mother and I became estranged ourselves in my early 20's until I was in my 40's when we let the past be gone and began another better present.
So, even though I was told some things about her side of things there was a lot not passed on. The one piece which was passed onto me was that my grandfather died during the Flu epidemic in 1918. My mother was two years old. My grandmother, then went to nursing school so she could support herself and my mother.
It was a story. Some event which shaped their lives. An event which never had any depth for me, until now. Now, our very similar predicament tunnels me back to Hasty.
When I went to visit her we would go out to dinners, with her friends. I had never gone to a restaurant until I came to visit her especially with Grownups. Quite impressive to be in their company.
She is still a very strange person to me. She knitted grand suits, had a tiny white and black little dog she doted on. I was always the “little friend” visiting her. Never her granddaughter. No mention of me being related to her in any way, I found out later when I asked her about this and she said people treat you differently if they find out you are over 50. All of a sudden there is a veil which comes between you and that person because now you become a parent or their grand mother and the whole relationship changes. Umm I thought, OK.
Now being over 50 now myself she is quite right on this. Not 100% but often enough to be closed mouth on this matter.
This February our whole world's population is now going through this same event. Our lives are at risk. We are in lock down. And... we wear face masks, and blue rubber gloves. We are preparing for food shortages, planting gardens and flowers to perk ourselves up. Washing up all those canning jars from the basement.
Into our third month of lock down as we have been adjusting to our new routines, I am looking at my grandmother in a different light. Seeing her in Clifton Forge, Virginia. A young woman, mother of a two year old daughter and suddenly a widow.
Did the company my grandfather work for, did they help her out? A pension? How did she put herself through nursing school? Her parents were farmers. They ended up taking care of my mother. I was told the husband's parents did for a while but when Hasty would not agree to let them adopt my mother, they would not be care takers for their daughter-in-law any more. Such grief.
Losing your husband, taking on training to be a nurse, and having his family abandon you because you will not give up your own child. The hurt and disbelief must have been terrible.
How this shaped her and my mother I can only imagine. If it had been me. I would feel very alone. Even with family around, your own, it was still an earth quake of emotional stress. She did make it through nursing school. I have pictures of her in her newly acquired white starched uniform. Young and confident.
It has brought my, stranger to me, grandmother, into focus. More bonding and pride to me, for her strength and courage to set herself into a life she knew would help her raise her daughter with a certainty of quality of life. I also feel her in me as I am seeing the vulnerability for my children and grandchildren. My friends and their families, and our neighbors.
A hundred years ago, a history of our times...it's now my present. I pull her up and my mother, too, into my mind's eye as a comfort. They made it. They lived through it. I cling to this thought that this is our future too.
|Please submit articles of around 250 words to "Tidings." Submissions can be written in an email as text, or as attachments, and attached photos are welcome! Thank you so much for everyone who contributed this month!|
Next month we're returning to having a theme (but it's not set in stone, so you can write on other topics.) In September, let's see if this inspires you; Connectedness. Or Connections, or maybe Interconnections
Just send your entry (poetry, photos, articles, discussions) by
August 25. Thanks!
|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: firstname.lastname@example.org "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.
"Tidings" is published monthly. Please send entries by the 25th of prior month or questions to Barbara Rogers at email@example.com
Board of Trustees:
Kathryn Coyle – President
Evan Yanik – Vice President
Anna Marcel de Hermanas
Non-board officers are:
Lee Reading – Treasurer
Milt Warden – 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 – Linda Tatsapaugh/Kathryn Coyle (co-chairs)
Communications - Susan Culler
Governance – Evan Yanik
Religious Education - Jessie Figuera, Jim Carillon, Heidi Blozan (rotating)
Sunday Service Associates - Diane Graham (rotating)
Strategic Planning Task Force - Michael Figuera
Sunday Service Production:
Evan Yanik, AV producer/editor
Annelinde Metzner, Choir director and piano, AV producer/editor of music
|Some photos of our lives as UUs in 2020|
Feb 16, 2020
March 1, 2020
April 12, 2020
April 19, 2020 May 3, 2020
June 7, 2020