|February 2022 Vol. III: Issue 8|
February carries certain days such as
Groundhog's Day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, and of course February is African American History Month, the shortest month of the year. I want to touch on African American History Month and will do that with a poem by Lucille Clifton who was a finalist twice of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
But first I want to riff on something that came to my mind a few weeks ago. I was raised by a Virgo mom. That is to say that my mother was born under the zodiac sign of Virgo. For those of you who are familiar with this sign (or may also be Virgos or have this sign's energy in your astrological chart, this may resonate with you.) For those who say this is hogwash, or are not familiar with astrology, or may care less, bear with me.
Virgo is the sign of the perfectionist. They are very detail oriented with a mercurial mind. They are great wordsmiths and usually really good communicators. They may seem picky and critical but that is an oversimplification. They delight in helping and are willing to adapt to any task. Having a keen eye for detail may be another way to interpret Virgo's automatic fault-finding ability. They are great at making lists, agendas, and schedules, and love to be busy. However, they are seeking perfection, not realizing that there is no such thing as perfection. One could always argue that one can always "better their best."
That's a perspective, if being perfect is your goal for being alive. Imagine being a child and being raised by a parent with this perspective on life. Not easy, my friend. It took many years of therapy to get over that one. Now, my mom and I get along really well, though it has taken some work on both our parts. I love her. I always have and I always will. Yet in my search for inner peace, I had to accept that some things are simply the way they need to be. I am human. I will make mistakes. I have wounds and scars inside and out. I am in need of healing. Yet, I am fine as I am. So, for those of you who this resonates with, read and listen closely. For those of you who don't have this trait of perfectionism (at least consciously) I'm sure you may know someone who does in your circle of family or friends.
Stop trying to be perfect! Stop trying to fix yourself. Change yourself. Perfect yourself. Stop trying to do everything just so. Stop trying to improve every little thing so that everything about you will be perfect. Stop trying to impress others with just how together and perfect you are. Stop looking for imperfections so that you can perfect them. Stop making excuses for the things you think are imperfect. The quest for perfection is a colossal waste of time and energy. It is a quest that closes your heart and mind to the beauty that is in you and surrounds you. You can be so preoccupied perfecting the cracks that are in you that you fail to realize that the light comes through the cracks! Yes, the light of love, the light of compassion, the light of vulnerability. Ernest Hemingway was once quoted as saying, "Not everything that appears to be broken needs to be fixed. In fact, some of us are strong at the broken places." In other words, everything need not be perfect in order to be whole. This includes you! And me!
We are all perfect just as we are. We are perfect in our imperfections. This does not mean that we don't have to work on ourselves to be the people we say we want to be. It does mean that at our core, we are whole. Embrace the cracks in your life and breaks in your heart as places where the light can shine through.
Spring is Coming....
Won't You Celebrate With Me
Won't you celebrate with me what I have shaped into a kind of life? I had no model.
Born in Babylon, both non-white and woman, what did I see except to be myself.
I made it up here on this bridge between starshine and clay, my one hand holding tight my other hand.
Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.
- Lucille Clifton (1936-2010
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
February 6th- Sue Stone, piano: prelude, postlude, 3 hymns and offertory
February 13th: Second Sunday: Sue Stone, guitar and voice; Linda Metzner, piano: 2 hymns
Sue Stone says, "Music has been a part of my life since the beginning - piano since starting lessons at age 7, singing in choirs and community choruses, teaching myself guitar at 35, singing for church and community events and leading sing-alongs at nursing homes. I even took a detour into mountain dulcimer when I lived in Arkansas. I live in an ecovillage, and love the mountains, gardening and bird-watching."
February 20th: Linda Metzner, piano: prelude, postlude, 3 hymns and offertory
February 17th: Two UUCSV Choir Videos: Linda Metzner, director; Sue Stone, piano: prelude, postlude and 2 hymns
Inanna's Daughters is a women's gathering with Goddess and Earth-centered themes. This cross-quarter day, Imbolc or Brigid's Day, we will celebrate on Zoom due to cold weather and Covid. The date is Sunday, February 6th, 4 to 6 PM. All women are very welcome. In honor of Brigid, an ancient Irish Goddess and saint, we will offer readings, songs, and the making of Brigid's crosses among other things. Contact Linda Metzner at email@example.com
for more info and the opportunity to contribute to the gathering. The Zoom link is below.
UUCSV is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Inanna's Daughters
Time: Feb 6, 2022 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 995 1569 2337
|Volunteer Spotlight - Susan Hurley|
A Win-Win All Around
Perhaps you know her by her beautiful voice in the choir. Or, has she warmed you with a FANTASTIC gourmet meal in a fine dining setting (which she offered as an auction item)? Some of us have been on the receiving end of her gracious willingness to provide us with congregational care. Others of us have worked with her on UUCSV yard sales, the auction, and painting projects.
In the larger community, Susan volunteers for WNC Bridge Foundation for their twice monthly Estate Sales. It was there that she chose the gently used furniture which has been sat upon by many of you in our comfy small RE lounge. Susan reports that WNC Bridge raises funds for local projects. Recently the Foundation made two $25,000 grants to Bounty and Soul from the proceeds raised at their Estate Sales. Susan and her husband, Gary, are currently in the training program to eventually serve as foster parents!
Susan believes deeply that volunteering is a win-win all around. She enjoys being on call to volunteer for short term duration projects. She says she gets more back than she gives out, because it feels so good to her to be part of our community. UUCSV hits the winning jackpot when Susan shows up to help out! Yes, Susan, we appreciate being in this win-win engagement with you! Thank You!
by Carolyn Shorkey
An interesting question that COVID-19 has brought to the forefront has to do with keeping ourselves safe. Freedom vs security has been one of the questions underlying the life style of every person on the planet throughout history. How much of my freedom, or sense of adventure, am I willing to sacrifice to keep myself safe?
You have either heard, or been the one saying, “Oh, I could never do that.” when faced with a decision on joining someone in some sort of adventure. Maybe it was bungee jumping or sky diving or back-packing around Europe or simply hiking in the woods. Maybe it was eating chocolate-covered ants or cutting class or getting up to talk in front of a group. The one thing in common for all of those things is the choice between the adrenaline rush of doing something new and daring vs the fear of being hurt. The hurt might be physical, mental, emotional or some combination.
Each one of us has to make a personal decision on where we want to be on that adventure-security scale and we make that decision several times/day. You might think that going to Ingles isn’t much of an “adventure” but how does it compare to sitting in your living room all day?
I have gotten both vaccinations and the booster. I wear a mask when I’m in an enclosed space with others. I’d like to think that those decisions were not driven by fear but rather a reasonable response to the circumstance of pandemic in which we now live. Part of that decision was so I could have more freedom to engage in the “adventure” of going to Ingles or hiking with a small group or getting together with a few friends to play bridge or coming to church on Sunday and still feeling safe.
On the other hand, I’m generally not going to movies or plays, playing bridge in large groups, or playing pickle ball indoors, all of which I love to do. And yet, recently I went to the Black Mountain Center for the Arts for a storytelling event and to see “Denton the Dragon” - exceptions to my new rule.
How about you? Let your awareness pick up on the daily decisions you make that relate to that adventure-security scale while keeping in mind that there is no right or wrong about it. Each individual decides for themselves in any given moment where they fit on that scale. Let those decisions be guided, not by fear, but by a deep inner knowing of what is right for you.
by Larry Pearlman
A young child is born
not by its mother
A beautiful family
their own children now grown
realized the need
of every baby born
to be loved
Thank God for such families
today we celebrate the
birthday of one such a dad
Happy Birthday to
the foster dad to several
babies in need
Happy birthday Jim.
(January 31 birthday)
by Ann Sillman (who had her 91st birthday on Jan. 20)
|Love, Loss, and Sourdough|
As I write this I am roughly 12 hours into a two day and 25 minute brioche recipe.
Some of you may know that I am something of an amateur baker. An enthusiast, sure, but not one who is usually willing to spend 20+ hours on a loaf of bread. I’m typically more the whip up a bunch of chocolate chip cookies, or “Crusty French Bread in Under an Hour” type of baker. Because really, who wants to spend two days working on one recipe?
That said, I’ve lived long enough to know that some things are worth waiting for, and fresh brioche may be one of them. I don’t suppose I know any more about living “safe” than your average cautious first-born, science-minded-liberal living through a pandemic, but I have been making it my business to know self care, and care for those I love. Baking is one way I have found of both nourishing my family and tapping into my own need to slow down, be mindful, and put my efforts into something tangible. It’s no mystery to me why everyone became obsessed with baking once the pandemic hit. Baking is so satisfying on a deep psychological level. In a few hours time (for most recipes) and with relatively few, cheap ingredients you can use your own hands to make something that is pleasing to all your senses* and a joy to share.
Did you catch this week’s "Hidden Brain"** radio program? I recommend giving it a listen if you missed it. In it the host, Shankar Vedantam is conversing with author and Professor of Philosophy, William Irvine who has made a study of the Roman Stoics, and how many admirable modern figures adopt the philosophy: "Do what you can with what you've got where you are". This has not historically been my way, but the interview really made me consider how I might be holding myself back and robbing myself of present and future joy by not working harder to get past, well, my past. In all that we have collectively had to deal with in the last two long years feeling bitter about missed opportunities with my kids, the dates and vacations we didn’t go on, regrets for the conversations I never had with my Dad before he died…dwelling on these things will bring me no peace, and not extend my own life one minute.
So starting today I’m making a new effort to be more Stoic (not unfeeling, just unflappable), and forward-focused while talking time to give the good things in my present the time and attention they need to rise (and perhaps bake) to their full potential. It might not keep me safer, but perhaps I will be happier.
*Fresh bread cracking as you cut or tear into it even sounds delicious!
By Susan Enwright Hicks, Jan 2022
And a special announcement for the RE Committee:
The RE Committee is seeking several new members! If you have been a known member or friend of UUCSV for at least six months and have an interest in helping to craft our programs for children and youth please contact Susan Enwright Hicks,
DRE for more information/to express your interest. We hope to have our first committee meeting of 2022 in early spring.
February 1 - Suzanne Ziglar
February 2 - Jeff Hutchins
February 10 - Tina Rosato
February 23 - Ginny Moreland
February 24 - Molly Keeney
|Body, Mind, Spirit - Living Safely|
Many of us have lived with masks, washing hands (mainly in the first six months) and staying a distance from others. I can't remember how many times I have backed away and put out my arm when people approach too closely. Those of us who've endured two years of this safe lifestyle are always sidestepping the unmasked folks in stores or whenever we meet. It's become almost second nature to us. I don't answer the door until we've got a mask on.
We wish to remain safe from an invisible enemy, COVID-19 that has given us a pandemic. These are the safety precautions we've been told to make to avoid the illness or at least to not die from it...and so we've added them to our lifestyles.
And some people chose not to.
We also have established other ways of having a safe life...as much as possible. We have insurance, we make sure our vehicles run properly, I eat my vegetables, get some regular exercise, and have my regular doctors check up.
I also have some really close friends and family who are regularly aware of how I'm doing and share a support system between ourselves. We are all following the laws of the land as well as customs in our culture, thus avoiding various dangerous events. However, even good people who are doing all the right things in their lives can have accidental things come their way unexpectedly. These events are usually not their fault.
How are we doing as far as mental safety? This has to do with that stress level in our lives. Feeling safe means we can feel at peace, we can reach out to help others, we can be creative, we can take care of everything that comes our way. Again our physical body responds to lack of safety with the stress response, which then influences our emotions. As one wise person (I don't remember who) once said, "only someone who has shelter, food, and care for their dependents can begin to investigate their personal courage and inspiration." We have to take care of our basic human needs before reaching out further. Yes, monks on a mountainside may sit in prayer for hours, hoping to help the world, but they do already have shelter and robes and their daily rations.
The hardest part of my proposed "body, mind and spirit" aspect of safety is our spiritual life. Are we in touch with what our highest meaning of life might be? As those monks show, once we have the body tucked away nicely, we have the opportunity to pay some attention to our personal growth. I often forget this level of my life, but have found regular meditation provides an avenue to touch this aspect. After a while, the boredom of just watching my breath, and giving my thoughts to clouds passing by, I find an inner door that can open to the oneness of everything. For others it might be moments of prayer and reflection, or study of different disciplines of spiritual paths.
I could live without this avenue of calmness and completeness, but it would actually feel a lot less satisfying. My health also would have a bit less resilience. So this is an act that I can also choose to take in order to feel complete, to be safe and nurtured on a level beyond my body. I also look to teachers to nudge me into new concepts, whether they are giving sermons or in books or conversations or classes, I am aware that there are lots of paths that give me inspiration. I know whenever it happens, and often share it with others. From whatever source, I have learned to recognize it and my first feeling is gratitude.
That's the final emotion that safety in life brings, the awareness of the depth and beauty and love that can be found all around us. Those steps are for our physical, emotional and spiritual life.
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.
|BIG LOVE (Social Action Committee)|
Especially at this time of year, LOVE often refers to romantic love, the hearts and flowers kind of love we celebrate on Valentine’s Day. Even the love of family and friends can be a part of the All American Love Fest of Valentine’s Day. But as we are reminded by community and spiritual leaders from Martin Luther King Jr. to Thich Nhar Hanh, LOVE can also be our Actions - for Justice and Liberation, for Peace and Equity. If we love and seek to build a world that operates from Love, then Action is necessary and encompasses those who are easy to love and those who challenge our capacity for love. It includes ourselves and our families as well as those who are very different from us.
This kind of love really stems from a deep knowing that we are all interconnected and that if we truly love life and our world, we begin to own and shed prejudices. We become more open to see and hear voices long silenced or viewed as “less than.” Some form of the Christian Golden Rule that tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves is foundational to many religions and cultures. Yet racism, sexism, classism, etc. persist – not just in others, but in ourselves, our culture, our communities, even our churches. The UUA Commission on Change challenges us to see our unacknowledged enabling of racist and other identity-based prejudices in ourselves and our UU communities. We are asked to grow our LOVE by “Widening the Circle of Concern,” to go outside our comfort zone and risk letting go of privilege that comes from injustice.
Our community has voted to add the 8th principle to our core values, and we are encouraged by the UUA to develop ongoing ways of dismantling white supremacy culture in order to build “Beloved Community.” One way of doing this is to develop intentional spaces in our congregations to actively dismantle privilege and its outcomes in ourselves.
The Social Action Committee, you may remember, sponsored the racial justice book group in which members educated ourselves and acknowledged the work to be done. Now, in keeping with the 8th Principle, we wish to offer more ways for that to continue for our community. A covenant group that will use the work of Resmaa Menakem in the book, “My Grandmother’s Hands“ is envisioned to be a place for us to work on facing the pain of white supremacy culture in ourselves. Menakem’s view is that while most of us acknowledge the pain and trauma of white privilege on black people, we are often unaware or in denial about its impact on those of us who have seemingly “benefited” from that privilege. The group will be open to all those in our community ready to “covenant” to work together to acknowledge and share our own often painful experiences with racism to help alleviate the greater pain of complicity and build a larger more inclusive community of LOVE.
If you are interested in being a part of this group, set to begin in March, you can call, text, or email Anna Marcel de Hermanas 740 706-3793 firstname.lastname@example.org
January 27, 2022
The Board approved a proposal from Zeke Butler, Eagle Scout. Zeke proposed putting a Little Free Libraries box that would be expanded to also contain a Blessing Box (which is a small food pantry), on our church property. Construction and installation of the box will probably happen this spring or early summer.
The Board asked Scott Traxler to take his proposal for starting a Grief Support Group at UUCSV to the Congregational Care Committee.
Lee Reading, our volunteer Treasurer, pointed out some highlights on the balance sheet. We have received Memorial donations from the estates of Wald and Fryberger. Phil Fryberger wanted to create an endowment fund to support the UUCSV music program which he loved. The Operating Budget shows about $30,000 of unfulfilled pledges. The Bridge the Gap fund raised over $8000 which will help balance the budget. Our projected fund raising goal was nearly met by the church auction. Looking ahead, if pledges are met and the plate collection continues to be good, Evan thinks the budget will balance and next year we can add money back to the operating budget where it was slashed in the current budget.
To secure the building from an unwanted intruder, it was decided that the Board Member doing the Welcome and Announcements will be responsible for locking the doors coming into the portico 15 minutes after the service starts. These doors have crash bars for a quick emergency exit.
It was determined that the Building and Grounds Committee (BAG) will continue to control the access code for the key lock box to access the building. The Committee will regularly change the code.
The Board approved spending up to $400 to replace our very old hot water heater with a tankless hot water heater.
Rose reported that we have two new members. Welcome new members!
The Board agreed to once again suspend regular in-person classes for the children. Susan will still offer childcare with an advance request. Susan suggested that the decision to offer in-person children’s classes should be reevaluated each time the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meets to consider COVID safety protocols.
Please read our weekly newsletter, The Current, to keep up with the Social Action Committee’s many initiatives.
Evan reported that the Stewardship Committee had its first meeting and their action items are to recruit new members and focus on the upcoming canvass.
The Board decided to table the idea of resuming our monthly potluck meals until the COVID infection rates drop considerably.
The next Regular Board meeting: February 24th @ 6:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Milton Warden, Board Secretary
|Thank you to all who contributed to this edition of Tidings...it was squeaking under the wire being edited and proof-read the last day of January. Next month, March, let's consider a topic of "Silence." And we can't have a deadline of the 29th...because there isn't one this year in February! So we're back to the 25th.|
|Board of Trustees: |
Evan Yanik– President
Rose Levering – Vice President
Anna Marcel de Hermanas
Non-board officers are:
Lee Reading – Treasurer
Milt Warden – Secretary
Building & Grounds - Deb Evenchik
Social Action - Jane Carroll
Finance - Lee Reading
Nominating - Evan Yanik
Congregational Care - Larry Pearlman
Membership - Heidi Blozan and Maggie Schlubach
Personnel – Linda Tatsapaugh/Kathryn Coyle (co-chairs)
Communications - Susan Culler
Governance – Evan Yanik
Religious Education - Contact RE Director Susan Enright Hicks
Coffee Hour Hosts Coordinator - Carolyn Shorkey
Sunday Service Associates - Diane Graham (rotating)
Strategic Planning Task Force - Michael Figuera
Memorial Garden - Dawn Wilson
Sunday Service Production:
Evan Yanik, AV producer/editor, and Deb Evenchik
Annelinde Metzner, Choir director and piano
Sue Stone, piano