|September 2020 Vol. II: Issue 3|
Here we are entering the
last quarter of the year 2020. For some the end of the year can't come soon enough. Others look at this experience with social unrest, a pandemic, political upheaval, climate change and the like as a great adventure. Some see it as a hot mess and still others view it as all of the above.
However you personally happen to view the events of this year, there are roughly 3 more months to go. It's been a wild ride for sure. With that in mind, I wanted to say that if you have not already had an opportunity, try to get some down time.
Whether or not it is a "staycation" or a vacation, do try to make the time to decompress. There is so much noise out there and it does affect us in ways known and unknown. Body, Mind, and Spirit are all affected by the media, the fear, the confusion, the hype, you name it. Find your center and hold it.
I just had a vacation in South Carolina and spent some time on the beach. I had not been on a beach in 8 years! It was wonderful, the sun, the sand, the sky, the ocean, not many people around, it was delightful. I was also grateful for the opportunity because I have the privilege to be able to take the time and get some relaxation and I am very much aware that many people cannot afford the luxury, especially at this time.
You see Everything has to stop at one time or another. When driving you must pause at stop lights and stop signs (I sincerely hope you do). On a train there must be stops before you reach your destination. An airplane stops at the head of the runway before takeoff. Realizing this, we forget that we too must stop before moving from experience to experience to refuel and to rest.
Most of us will not leave a job until we find another. As soon as a romantic relationship is over, many of us are ready to jump right back into another one without time to really heal and to rest. Some people actually feel guilty if they take the time to pause or to rest. Perhaps they are missing something or "wasting time."
Sometimes it is a good thing to do nothing and then afterwards to rest. We don't have to always be earning money or earning our keep or meeting some responsibility in our lives at all times. Press the pause button on your life sometimes. The images and sounds of life must come to a halt if you want some clarity about what to do next. It is a blessing to push the pause button, to have the ability to stop and gather strength, or to wait until things have passed before turning a corner and moving forward.
A pause in Life's journey does not mean that nothing is happening. In reality, it is an opportunity to be present and to catch up with what is going on. Unless you pause, you may not know if you are fast forwarding or going in reverse.
Don't just do something. Stand There!
"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including You!" ----Anne Lamott
Rev. Michael J S Carter
September 6th- Jewelsong, a 4-woman group of singers and instrumentalists, will perform the entire service including singalongs.
Based in the Triangle area of North Carolina, Jewelsong shares original music to inspire personal, spiritual, and global transformation, exploring rich vocal harmonies and evocative acoustic instrumentation.
New songs are constantly flowing from the Muse, inspired by different spiritual traditions, by the beauty of Nature, by the sacred trust of caring for the Earth and our human family, and by our own imaginations and insights.
On this Labor Day Sunday, our theme is Laboring to Birth a New World. We are now living through a time when the old is passing away and new energy is being born all around us in many ways -- literally, a new world. How will this new world emerge? What are our individual tasks in the birthing? Through music, participatory singing, meditation, poetry, and reflections, Jewelsong will invite us into a vision of this time of laboring and of the coming birth.
September 13th - Second Sunday, Andy Gwynn, singer-songwriter, Annelinde Metzner, piano (2 hymns)
September 20th - Annelinde Metzner, piano (3 hymns)
September 27th- UUCSV Choir, 2 anthems; Annelinde Metzner, 2 hymns.
Contact Annelinde Metzner
to join the zoom choir rehearsals, or see the weekly Current for the schedule.
My Back Yard
Rain, sun, rain,sun, more rain.
I watched all this from my small cottage.
I looked out the back window over the large expanse of mowed grass.
In the middle stands a very large Oak tree
branches drooping under the weight of wet leaves.
Something was happening out here.
I looked again and the whole area was dotted with small white mushrooms.
Earlier, before the rain, I took a walk
and passed a small squirrel, sitting on its haunches, holding
a small white mushroom in its fore paws.
The squirrel was very busy licking this mushroom, over and over,
so intent on this that I was really close and the squirrel
never moved. Lick, lick.
The following morning, early I went back to check on the mushrooms
Not a single one could be found. Did other wildlife harvest
them all? Or was it the squirrels?
We do have wildlife here, a dense area of forest borders the grass
behind my cottage. This spring a mama bear with 3 tiny cubs emerged from this forest behind my cottage. The following day they again appeared.. Wild deer have been seen there. We have wildlife.
Did they harvest all the mushrooms? My friend Mary, a connoisseur of mushrooms, says these white mudrooms are called “White Angel of Death”. She was not surprised though a squirrel was licking them.
I live in an interesting place. As I am writing this several days later with more rain, many more white mushrooms are appearing.
Lovely to look at, fun place to live.
Ann Sillman Aug 25, 2020 a poem/writing.
Foster Leaving Time
We knew this day was coming --
The day we finally pay the piper.
The horror of anyone receiving our child
Outweighs all rational considerations.
In many ways we have long prepared for this,
Doing all we can for him before this day.
“Look at the good start you gave him,”
Our kind friends say. Yet our pain remains.
He has simply changed our lives completely,
Filling an empty bucket I didn’t know we had.
Our cup more than run over with all he has given us,
He just growing and being himself.
We remind ourselves how much better it will be
For him moving on to a younger loving family --
All along we have so wanted just this for him.
But the pain of him leaving now creates a huge hole for us.
Be brave my son as you go.
Maybe remember hiking on my back in the woods,
The custom song each time we laid you to sleep,
The fun of the chase, or swinging at the park.
We won’t ever forget these times
Or how special you will always be to us.
Many of us know what is important to us. The UUCSV Volunteer Spotlight this month shines brightly on Lee Reading because he exemplifies someone who knows what is important to him. Lee’s deeply held beliefs catapult him into action as a volunteer within and beyond our community. His involvement includes supporting our vibrant congregation, contributing to the distribution of nutritious food for persons with food insecurity, and participating as a Board Member for The Mountain (the UU retreat in Highlands, NC).
Lee is happy to live within walking distance of the church. His long time commitment to our congregation spans more than a decade. Presently, as he has done for many years, Lee continues to serve as our volunteer Treasurer. This responsibility typically keeps him busy for 6 hours a week. He supervises the trickling in and out of nearly $131,000 a year, our current operating budget. In addition to his Treasurer tasks, he serves as a Sunday Service Associate. This includes helping to plan and implement services on Sunday’s when Michael is not in the pulpit. You will also see Lee mowing the lawn, cleaning out gutters with Rhea, and supervising the replacement of our roof.
In the community of Black Mountain, on Monday afternoons, Lee joins a hard working crew for a four hour shift. His team unloads donated produce, then culls, sorts and boxes the fresh food for distribution. Since mid-March, Bounty & Soul has been distributing over 350 boxes of food twice a week for their drive through markets.
Lastly, Lee is committed to help ensure that The Mountain Learning and Retreat Center remains viable. He believes that there is great benefit for UU’s who experience the peacefulness and hopefulness that being on a retreat can offer.
Lee hopes to leave a legacy that he is proud of. It is so! And, oh my, we are grateful. Thank you, Lee.
|Sept. 3 - Bill Altork|
Sept. 5 - Maggie Schlubach
Sept. 9 - Maggie Moon O'Neill
Sept. 14 - Carolyn Shorkey
Sept. 21 - Jackie Franklin
Sept. 29 - Rhea Bockhorst
Sept. 30 - Rebecca Williams
Well before Corona was something more than a beer, we lived in a world where the meaning of connection had changed drastically over the past 25 years. Public exposure in a big way to the internet in the mid-90’s brought the world to all of us right in our own homes in a way far beyond what TV/radio had been able to do. At the touch of a few buttons (and very long wait times back in the early days) we could connect to people, places, and events anywhere in the world.
The next step was in the early-2000’s with the popularization of social media, highlighted when Facebook (first created as “Facemash”, then “The Facebook” before settling on just “Facebook”) overtook Myspace as the gorilla in the social media room. Beyond the information overload that the internet provided, social media allowed people to connect one-on-many in a more personal way.
Personally, I always wondered whether this was really increasing connectivity. Oh sure, an individual could now “connect” with so many more people in a “personal” way than was possible before but how "personal” is it and how “connected” are we really by using these tools. I now have 1051 “friends” on Facebook and I hardly speak to any of them personally through that medium. OK - I admit, I’m a bad example since I spend VERY little time on Facebook or any other social medium. I do concede that they are very good tools for letting your wide universe know what you’re up to (though I wonder how many of your friends really need to know that you had a bagel for breakfast this morning) and for you to touch people around the globe (or across town) that you rarely if ever see in person. I do smile when I see that one of the young folks I was in Ghana with in the Peace Corps just got married or had a baby or got a new job. It warms my heart to see pictures of an old friend’s new granddaughter or that someone I was close to at one time published their first book. So yes, these tools are useful.
But it does seem to me that we are using technology to connect with more and more people at a shallower and shallower level. Eventually, we’ll be communicating with everyone about nothing! Ouch - that sounds a bit too cynical but you get what I mean.
Seems like we used to communicate with far less people but at a much deeper level. Compare letters that you can read in biographies of famous people to what you see today on Twitter and the chasm between them is obvious. There were times when we would communicate by sitting down with friends and/or family and have long conversations about what we had done that day or week and, beyond that, how we felt about those things, what challenges were in our lives and what joys we were experiencing. Certainly, we still have such conversations but I’m guessing that they are being replaced to a great degree by other forms of communication. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like each generation has a shorter and shorter attention span limited by how many characters are allowed in a Tweet. And don’t get me started on what texting has done to the English language!
Now that you’ve seen what a troglodyte I am, let me reverse direction. The forced isolation (to a degree) that has come along with COVID19 and the resultant dependence on ZOOM and similar technology has caused me to reconsider the impact technology has on connectedness. Rather than giving up my book clubs, bridge games, church services and storytelling groups, I am empowered to continue those connections online. In fact, some of those groups have actually expanded to people that I was not connected to when “limited to” in-person meetings. Not to mention that I can now participate without being (entirely) dressed, getting in my car, or exposing myself to the elements. Saves time and helps the environment while broadening the circle of people with whom I am actually interacting.
But before I go too deep into the dark side, let me be clear that I will be very happy to get back to seeing my friends in person, sharing hugs, spending less time in front of my computer and REALLY connecting at deeper levels. How about you?
|UUCSV Board Meeting, |
Our UUCSV Board of Trustees held their monthly meeting virtually on Thursday, August 27th.
Members of the Building and Grounds Committee continue to work on rainwater drainage issues on our property. We currently have water entering our building near the north side portico door. We’ve begun running the air conditioning to help manage a mold problem which developed during our extended building closure. Lee recommended we purchase a commercial dehumidifier for when it is too cool to run the AC.
Robert reported that there will be no congregational photo directory scheduled until we know more about when we can gather safely.
The Social Action Committee (SAC) has been busy. The Black Lives Matter message has been incorporated into our permanent sign. The UU to Vote initiative (coordinated with the NAACP) is underway. Katherine Tharpe coordinated our congregation to write 400 postcards for the project. A drive to collect items for the homeless resulted in receiving multiple items including diapers. Some committee members participated in an online Climate Change Simulation. UUCSV was included in the Day of Peace proclamation. Look for a sock drive in October.
Larry Pearlman requested some guidance from the Board about how the proceeds of the auction will be spent. The intention is for the church to keep 60% of the proceeds and to donate the other 40%. The Board gave the Auction Committee authority to decide where to donate the remaining 40% of auction proceeds. The Board approved allocating auction proceeds to our Building Reserve Fund, toward improvements to the grounds and the playground. (see article "Kicking Off Our Auction")
The next (virtual) Board Meeting is scheduled for September 24th at 6 p.m
Submitted by Milt Warden, Secretary
Our first-ever virtual auction is setting its foundation.
A tip of the hat to Lee Reading for researching software and finding Auctria - a very affordable auction system that will work perfectly for us. And thanks to Evan Yanik for getting us up and running on that site. As a bidder, that won’t mean much to you until November when the bidding begins but to us organizers, it is a huge and critical first step. Now Anna and I have begun entering donated items into the system.
Where are you able to contribute at this point? Glad you asked. Anna, Deb Vingle, Barbara Bryan and Janet Rude have already started contacting congregation members asking for donations for the auction. What will be a GREAT help is when you offer a donation, give them a detailed description and a picture of your item. We can help you craft a description to enhance the attractiveness of your donation. If it is not a physical item, be creative and have fun coming up with a picture to represent your offering.
Our most popular items last year were those that brought connectedness (this month’s theme!) into the picture - meals together, dances, games, gatherings of all kinds. Don’t let COVID put you off. Most of these types of events will be planned for spring, summer or fall of 2021 when we hope to be free from those concerns. Some things can be done safely anyway. Just this month, four of us got together for a croquet match and pizza party and found a safe way to do it.
Watch The Current and Tidings for updates on meeting our goal of having at least 100 items to auction off.
See UUCSV Board Meeting minutes as to where proceeds will be allocated. Bounty and Soul will be the community recipient of 40%.
|Social Action at "Sister Blessings"|
Our UUCSV social action members participated in a drive-through donation event co-sponsored by Beloved Asheville and the YWCA. Anna Marcel de Hermanas, Rhea Bockhurst, (Kate Ramsey and Helen Bell not in photo).
See Board Minutes for more updates from the Social Action Committee.
Photo by Bette Bates
Several years ago, my mother told me that her second grade teacher drove an electric car to school. Considering that mom was born in 1917, this would have been around 1924 that her teacher owned an electric car. Somehow between that time and just a few years ago, when electric cars came on the market here, it appeared there was no alternative to the internal combustion engine.
Similarly, when standing in Ingles, and most stores, it appears that there is no alternative to purchasing almost everything we eat and use, in some kind of plastic wrap or container. The seeming inevitability of this fossil fuel use reminds me of the great little, instructive handbook called, On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder. In it he discusses ways to recognize and respond to tyranny. He’s talking about history and politics of course, but the idea of creating a sense of inevitability is the tyrant’s way of controlling a country, a people, a resource. Using plastic and fossil fuel is not inevitable; it just appears that way for the benefit of a few.
It’s difficult to avoid plastic right now, but by working together I believe we can get out from under this toxic inevitability. Step by step, experiment by experiment and by trial and error we can make a change – we have to. Something that might help is to share lists of ideas of ways to avoid plastic that are easier, and also to write questions about certain plastics it seems we can’t avoid – like weekly garbage bags and prescription medicine containers. To be continued….
Any ideas, lists or questions please feel free to send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
While a lot of us feel more isolated from our community of UUCSV (and our friends and families as well) we also have an invisible creature binding us more together than we did a year ago. COVID-19.
OK, it's perhaps not a creature, but it's a monster, and I think maybe imagining a dragon would not even be a stretch. The little virus picture with lots of spikes on the outside of a sphere aren't nearly as threatening as I think it should be. Sure it's invisible to the naked eye...needing microscopes to see it in reality. But it's definitely a powerful foe to all humankind, and even dogs and cats apparently.
Twice I've been tested for COVID-19, and each time I was pretty certain I didn't have the virus which would possibly end my life. But there was enough concern due to my ever present immunocompromised system, that I updated my living will and my DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) forms...and called my sons to let them know my decisions. And both the May 16 test and the August 20 tests were negative. In August I did have something else which gave me a temperature, and antibiotics knocked it out.
We are more connected not only in knowing that my breath can infect other people (complete strangers often) but also that sitting within 6 feet of a stranger may mean we become infected. How about passing in the grocery aisles if we (or they) go the wrong direction? And how about all those people not wearing masks?
I've taken the attitude which keeps me from being angry toward maskless deniers of having compassion towards them as if they were dying. And they may well be because of their negligence, or perhaps their elderly susceptible relatives at home will die from COVID-19. I have difficulty sometimes in feeling this compassion, when I think of how many hospital caregivers will be required to spend their time and energy on these deniers. Having been in a hospital bed in ICU at the same time as some COVID-19 patients, I directly know how much effort is given to each patient, and I'm eternally grateful for my portion of that care.
We are especially connected to the earth and nature, now that we have less contact with each other. As a pagan, I've always seen each element, each tiny aspect of nature as a holy object, including the processes of climate through our weather. It's not always how us humans would like to have things be, but it's where we humans don't have total control over it. And that's perhaps a good thing. Humanity is just one of the many thousands of creatures on this earth, though we've certainly overstepped our place in the scheme of things. I still have hope that corrections can be made to the many environmental degradations we've foisted on nature.
And I'm also grateful for our wonderful technological connectedness. It's not as good as a hug during coffee hour after the church service. But
having virtual contact is still a kind of connection to other people.
Editor of Tidings
|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
|The UU Water Ceremony|
Let's keep this tradition alive in our upcoming Homecoming service on September 13th. I would like to invite individuals and families to share the water they’ve collected and will record them at the church on Monday, September 7th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
I have created a sign-up schedule so we can stay safe and socially-distanced while I’m recording. Please sign up here to be filmed sharing your water, and your story!
Don't miss the RE Story Time
with Susan Enwright Hicks, RE Director
held through Zoom each Sunday
after the UU coffee zoom.
(see The Current for more information)
|Connecting through photos|