|February, 2021 Vol. II: Issue 8|
A Prayer for the New Year
Spirit of Life, whose answers cannot be demanded, and whose demands cannot always be answered, remind me that your Presence is everywhere that I am. Open my eyes that I may see you, Open my ears that I may hear you. Open my soul that I may feel your presence in a way that enlivens the truth of who I am. Open my heart that I may feel, know, and express your love in every situation. Open my Life and read me like a book.
I give myself as a love offering. Let me feel the ways in which you return that love. May I alway be an expression of that love. May I always be an expression of that truth. Let me act upon this wisdom. Spirit of Life, may I be filled with the light of your presence.
This is my prayer for the New Year! May It Be So.
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
To listen to Rev. Michael give this prayer, click here
|Music at UUCSV this month|
February 7- Linda Metzner, piano, 3 hymns
February 14- Second Sundays, Phil Fryberger, piano, 2 hymns by Linda Metzner
February 21- Linda Metzner, piano, 3 hymns
February 28- Choir Anthems; Sue Stone prelude, postlude and 2 hymns
|By Susan Enwright-Hicks, Director of RE|
Love. It may break your heart
Over and over again, but...
Very often, it’s one of few acts worth repeating
Every. single. day.
Side With Love 2021
Regardless of whether you find yellow a flattering color you may own a golden-yellow shirt with a black outline of a heart - the branding and color most widely associated with the Side with Love* social action campaign. But did you know that beyond providing a useful way of finding like-minded folks at a march Side With Love provides resources to help you develop your spirituality and connect with opportunities for action on their website? For instance right now they are inviting folks to participate in their annual “30 Days of Love” campaign which includes videos, readings, songs, worship ideas, meditations, etc. to help you connect to your sense of advocacy as well as resources for children & youth in your lives (I may be sharing some in R.E. in the weeks to come). I hope you’ll consider joining me in this journey as we seek new ways to love our fellow humans. Below is a breakdown of each week’s theme running up to Valentine’s Day.
Let’s make 2021 a year of more love - right here.
* Formerly Standing on the Side of Love - see the website for the particulars of moving away from ableist language.
|A Resounding YES|
Could an introvert who doesn’t particularly like sitting in meetings enjoy serving on our UUCSV Board of Trustees?
Spence Foscoe answers with a resounding YES! Serving on the Board gives him an easy way to get to know people in the congregation. He is not just getting to know folks, but bonding with them. Serving on the Board during the pandemic has been particularly beneficial to him because from his home, he stays up to date with what is happening in the congregation. Spence really enjoys seeing our Black Mountain UU’s engaged in community service as he moves about the town and reading about the good work our members are doing in the newspaper. In addition to being a Board Member, he enjoys working with the Building and Grounds Committee because he loves being active.
Spence and his wife, Liz, stepped up to volunteer in our pre-school when they arrived at our church. They raised their two children in a UU congregation in Chapel Hill where they belonged for 25 years. When they arrived at UUCSV they felt right at home. Our congregation reminded them so much of their early days attending the UU in Chapel Hill.
In addition to developing friendships in our community, Spence loves music and is enjoying singing in our choir. He can't wait until the time when our congregation can enjoy singing in person again.
It is important to Spence to do his part. For that, we are all very grateful. Thank you, Spence!
by Carolyn Shorkey
Missing You Already
It is the small daily rituals that we already miss the most:
Lifting you out of your crib and hugging you closely for a few extra seconds.
Changing your diaper and clothes in front of your window so you can see the trees.
Ending your bath each night with your joyous splashing to get me wet too.
Chasing you across our big bed for tickles and giggles.
Reading picture books in the rocking chair and repeating the fun snoring page.
Feeding you in your highchair with your preferred food from my dinner plate.
Sneaking a peak while you are napping flat out in your crib.
Chasing you as you crawl so fast across the room and sweeping you up for a big kiss.
Playing peek-a-boo and you hiding under the blanket from us too.
Strolling you to the park each morning and pushing you on the swings.
You asking for more as we feed you, on the swings, in your bath and for more kisses.
You pointing to “Alexa” to play some favorite recorded songs from long ago
While rocking you and singing the romantic lyrics softly to you.
Later singing your go-to-sleep song with special lyrics written just for you
And you grabbing Paddy Bear as your essential sleeping companion.
We always wanted you to move from our foster care
To another loving family who will keep you and love you forever.
Now that you so gracefully made this transition just this week,
Know that we already miss you and will always love you too.
Jim Carillon, October 2020
author of "This Virgin Page"
|February 1 - Suzanne Ziglar|
February 2 - Jeff Hutchins
February 10 - Tina Rosoto
February 23 - Ginny Moreland
February 24 - Molly Keeney
Happy Birthday to these members and friends who have given us their information. Of course we don't include which year they were born! To add your birthday to this list, please contact Carol Sheeler.
| by Barbara Rogers|
"We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person." -William Somerset Maugham, writer ( 1874-1965)
When we think of Love it usually is the romantic kind that comes first to mind. Yet there is so much more to Love that is part of our human existence.
A few years back, the UUs coined a slogan "Standing on the Side of Love." It was very timely in dealing with many political actions to improve justice for minorities or other oppressed persons.
I think it came out after a UU church in Knoxville TN had an assault by a gunman resulting in deaths of several members of that congregation. On July 27, 2008, Jim David Adkisson walked into the church’s sanctuary during the performance of a children’s musical and began firing a shotgun, killing two and injuring six. The gunman was found to have written a letter describing that "he targeted the church because of its liberal values—including its openness to gays and lesbians."
I remember making up my mind to go to church the next Sunday, in spite of my fears. I sat comfortably in church in Black Mountain, and owned my fear as a result of that incident. I was part of a congregation that started being proactive by having a safety policy in which a volunteer would stand at the entrance throughout the gathering, the service, and afterward each Sunday. There would be a person who could first interrupt any action of violence towards the rest of us.
As a congregation, we discussed our beliefs. How could we stand up for supporting ideas of love between anyone, for justice, for equality and for just being liberal? And what about towards those who didn't believe as we did?
By Aug 2009 the UUA organization had come up with the “Standing on the Side of Love” campaign. "Every day people are targeted because of identities which are somehow deemed ‘okay to hate,’” then UUA President William G. Sinkford said “We are called to use our public presence to more actively stand up with and for those who are targets for violence, exclusion, or oppression because of who they are.”(1)
I began to think of how to live my life with love in my heart. I could consider the beginning of forgiveness towards those who abused others. Just a beginning.
And then I realized I was standing on the side of love, just by moving into that beginning. How could I help myself, and others, move further to love all people, no matter if they were the victims of injustice, or the perpetrators of it?
I enjoyed several discussions that brought the most hate provoking people to mind... could I find love for Nazis? Not really. But for all those Nazi soldiers carrying out orders? Maybe, but not really. But certainly for the wives and children of those soldiers. I opened the door of my heart.
I'm glad I did. Because I just kept finding more ways to love others, including those who definitely didn't seem to deserve it.
Don't think for a minute that I'm not in favor of punishment for those who have abused others or carried out any of the unjust actions that have happened either in history or recently.
But the whole idea of my spirituality is that "The Universe/God/Goddess didn't make junk." So each wonderful person on this planet holds a light within them, deserving love.
(1) "UUA Launches 'Standing on the Side of Love' Campaign", by Jane Greer, UU World, 9/7/2009
|Response to "Love as a UU"|
|by Damaris Pierce|
Thank you for writing this, it is so important, especially the part about finding love (and compassion) for the perpetrators of actions apparently on the opposite side of Love. I say "apparently" because, of course, it depends on the perspective.
The suicide bomber may be convinced their action is the most loving for their highest ideals. Another person kills an animal (or pays a corporation to do the dirty job), convinced it's a loving action to serve the flesh to their family. Yet another individual may manipulate people for their own gain or pleasure, all for the 'love' within their own experience of dominance and satisfaction. Who says which love is the right kind? At whatever point of this spectrum a person finds him or herself, every individual has the opportunity to inch towards more loving and fewer harming actions.
I grew up in Germany My father was 15 years old when he was sent to the German-French border during WWII. He was not a "Nazi", he was a kid who didn't have a choice; those who defected didn't get trials, they were imprisoned and killed. There was no information available besides the propaganda that flooded the print and radio media. When the war ended, his hell only got worse since he was captured by the French and held for almost two years in a POW camp in France under horrific conditions, watching his peers die of malnutrition, abuse and neglect. These young, broken men were labeled "Nazis", yet they were simply Germans forced to fight for a cause they didn't understand or agree with. My father shared a good bit of his experience with us, both through recounted details but also through his broken heart and the love and gratitude for life itself, teaching us to examine all sides of polarizing positions.
I've had many (many!) non-loving thoughts about our last president. But I also know that if this person sat in front of me and told me about his pain, I would experience compassion for him; every human being suffers. One of the most loving practices is that of listening, of being deeply present with another human being. When I can intercept my own train of thought and become present with the other person, without having an agenda of "helping", being right, or replying with something smart/clever/insightful, then I am able to extend my presence to them. Then my heart opens, compassion and empathy flow naturally, and we can resonate on a level that goes far beyond the spoken word... it is our hearts that resonate with one another at that time. This is a direct experience of Love and my heart literally leaps, when I, too, encounter a person with similar resonance.
All that said, your article is beautiful and important, thank you for publishing it.
Abbreviated UUCSV Board Meeting Meeting Minutes
January 28, 2021
Our volunteer treasurer, Lee Reading, reported that we have a drawdown of cash of about $9000 which has been ongoing because of the pandemic. He assured the Board that there is $31,800 in checking as well as reserve funds to weather the pandemic. He encourages people to continue paying on their pledges.
Kathryn suggested we organize a new ongoing Stewardship Committee. The first duty of the new committee will be to organize and implement the annual Canvass. Anna and Evan will work together to form the new Stewardship Committee.
Kathryn volunteered to survey the congregation. We will be requesting feedback from the congregation about virtual Sunday Services, virtual coffee hour, Tidings, and recruiting folks to serve on committees.
Kathryn lead a discussion to form specific policies to give to the Safety Committee. The discussion included review of our active shooter policy, options of locking doors at a specific time, having someone armed in church, and having someone trained in de-escalation techniques. Kathryn, Michael, and Spence will talk to the police department for direction. The Board decided to issue a blanket statement about following the most conservative of the State and local guidelines for pandemic infection control. Fire drills for RE children are in the current policy to be conducted every 5th Sunday. For fire safety we need an evacuation plan with fire department and we can ask the police department about evacuating during an active shooter as well. The current policy requires background and security checks for persons working with our children. Michael suggested background checks for administration as well. The medical emergency policy requires a leader to take charge, but we have never had one appointed. Kathryn suggested the church purchase a defibrillator. Installation of crash bars on all exit doors and a lock on the RE door were briefly discussed as well. Kathryn set a goal of completing the revisions to the Safety Policies and Procedures in 3 months.
Spence reported that a French drain has been installed on the north side of our property to carry rain water runoff from the parking lot. The Building and Grounds Committee contracted with a minority owned business, MSLean Landscaping, firstname.lastname@example.org with favorable results.
Anna reported that the Social Action Committee has sent out money to nonprofit groups and revised the committee’s mission statement and objectives to reflect anti-racism language. The Social Justice Book Group has two new members and a new member from outside of church.
Kathryn reported that the Personnel Committee is working on a formalized review process for all positions as well as working on a personnel manual based on UUA guidelines. The contract for our DRE is being worked on by Linda Tatsapaugh.
Michael will present a sermon about the UU 8th principle on February 21st. The Board will call an informal meeting of the congregation on February 28th to discuss the 8th principle and determine if our congregation would like to vote on the adoption the 8th Principle at our Congregational Meeting in June.
Next Board meeting: February 25th @ 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Respectfully submitted by Milton Warden, Board Secretary
|For the month of March, Tidings will focus on Renewal, i.e. looking forward to reaffirmation of principles, values, hopes, determination (this reflects both us as individuals and as a community, and the nation). Thanks, Andy Reed for the suggestion.|
You are the folks who keep this newsletter going...so please submit whatever you'd like to share.
|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