|March 2021 Renewal Vol. II: Issue 9|
The Season of Lent
Lent is a time of penitence. During the Middle Ages, "sinners" were accepted back into the church only after doing penance for Lent. Usually, something had to be "given up" for Lent: bad habits, dysfunctional behavior, asking for forgiveness.
Just as Christmas was born out of the ancient celebrations of the winter solstice, so did Lent and Easter also have their roots in ancient myths and celebrations.
The word Lent is said to have come from the Anglo-Saxon word Lenten, meaning spring, and the German Lenz, meaning the time when the days lengthen. Human beings have always been fascinated with the mysteries of life and death, and the winter solstice and the coming of spring are the times that bring these mysteries nearer to human consciousness. Death and Rebirth is the name of the game.
It is only human to give meaning to these two events. Struggling with not having “control” over these events, perhaps the image of a god was needed, and the need to appease this god with penance, petition, and obedience was the work of the church according to their interpretations of these mysteries.
"Naughty or nice" were the two choices along with heaven or hell, so Lent as a time of penance and seeking forgiveness was a way to bring people to god and the church, not necessarily in that order. There are still many people who take Lent seriously as a time of repentance, and for many it is seen as symbolic, part of the tradition of their chosen faith community. You see Penitence has for the most part become synonymous with guilt, and guilt is a rather dirty word for people of this generation.
Yet, as people in 12-Step Programs know, and as more and more of us are discovering and realizing, acknowledging the negative or harmful things that we have done, to ourselves and to others, and getting in touch with those feelings of shame or guilt; discomfort or disconnectedness, that result from our acting out or disconnectedness can assist us in laying our burdens down. Getting in touch with our human yearning to know better and to do better, to listen to that still small voice that lets us know that we need to make amends is what makes us human beings. The ability and courage to say "I did wrong, I am sorry, I need to ask forgiveness of you and how can I make amends for what I have done?" This is something we all need and must do from time to time.
As UUs we may struggle with the origins of the season theologically, but one thing is for sure--we can all use time to take stock of our shortcomings, even perhaps taking the 40 days of Lent before Easter, to reflect and to reimagine the types of people we say we are, and the type of people we want to be.
The beginning of Lent was on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Lent is 40 days before Easter Sunday. Whatever you do, use the time well. Spring is on it's way!
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
|Renewing Our Shared Commitment: Pledge Drive 2021|
by Anna Marcel de Hermanas, pledge drive commitee
March is the month that “comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb,” or so the saying goes. It’s the month of winter storms and spring sprouts. And for UU’s, March is also the time for the spring pledge drive, a time when we re-evaluate and renew our commitment to our ministry and to each other. It begins with our request that each of us renew our pledge to support the work of our faith community, starting with a financial pledge for the upcoming year. But like an early spring bloom, it hopefully unfolds to the many layers of renewal and reimagining who we are, who we aspire to be, and what we stand for.
Each year, canvassers from UUCSV contact all our members and friends to discuss with each other the ways we wish to support and build the Beloved Community right here. We take time to talk about where we fell short during the past year, and where we see ourselves growing into the next one. In a way, it is a lot like planning our gardens, building on the failures and successes of last year and renewing and enriching the soil for new growth. I know that many of us are eager to get to the digging and planting, but first we must make a plan, buy the seeds, prepare the soil, and reimagine the harvest we hope to have.
As we begin the time of renewal and reimagining for our congregation, let us find the fierce lion within us who boldly bounds into the work of this time while also renewing ourselves with the simple pleasures of the lamb on new legs.
I look forward to talking with many of you this spring and renewing and reimagining our vision for the coming year. The canvas drive this year begins on March 14th and will hopefully be completed by April 18th. This pledge will fund fiscal year July 1, 2021 through June 30 2022. Your pledge forms will be in the mail in March and you will be contacted by one of our canvassers in April. It’s not too soon to begin re-evaluating your own commitment to this community and helping us renew and redefine who we will be together in the new year. Thank you so much for being an integral part of our church community.
by Deb Vingle
As a member of the Social Action Committee and the We All Belong Here book group, I’ve been thinking over recent weeks and months about how I might really expand my commitment to not only social justice more broadly, but to creating real Beloved Community. When I first joined the book group, I thought (at least momentarily) that I’d done a lot of reading and a fair amount of work on racism over the years. I say momentarily because I pretty quickly disabused myself of that thought.
I’d done Building Bridges 25+/- years ago in Asheville, and over a long career working to challenge violence against women, I had actively worked on racism in the various programs where I had worked. Most recently, in a long term leadership role at Helpmate, Asheville’s domestic violence program, I worked with our team on what we called the interconnected “isms” of racism, sexism, and homophobia in every aspect of our programming. Over several years, I was an active member in the White Women’s Caucus of NCCADV, the NC Coalition against Domestic Violence, getting ongoing training myself on racism, and working in conjunction with the Women of Color Caucus to promote the same kind of work in our member shelter programs across the state. Also, alongside all of this, because my heart changes me at least as much as my head, I’d read lots of black women’s literature: Audrey Lourde, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Paula Marshall, to name a few.
When I got into the We All Belong book group, I realized while reading and processing White Fragility, that I had partially dismissed the leader of my small group at Building Bridges years ago, because I thought that she talked at me and others, vs. being effective in engaging folks in group. What I hadn’t fully understood at the time, was not only my own privilege and resulting judgment of her as a leader, but my own fragility. I hadn’t talked to her about my discomfort in group, instead I’d pulled back and partially disengaged. Later on, in mixed groups during the Caucus work I described above, fortunately I had more sustained opportunities (and a little more self-awareness) to risk being uncomfortable, honest, and authentic; I had to struggle through conflict in order to build real connection.
A friend in our current book group recently shared feedback from a black woman she knows who said that “white folks can only commit to working on racism through reading books”. That really hit home in a big way for me. As an introvert and a huge book lover, I will readily admit to having done much of my learning (honestly about many things) in the pages of books. I believe that reading and processing in groups is certainly not enough, but it’s also a good start.
Sadly, we live in a very segregated, white supremacist culture. As I noted above, I have done some work on this professionally, but those women who were my colleagues and allies at Helpmate or the NCCADV were not also my friends. Related to the state-wide work, they often lived in different communities in the state, and the work was relatively short term at different junctures, and organizationally focused. A black woman I loved dearly at Helpmate was even more conflict resistant than I am, and I was also her supervisor for 15 years, adding that hierarchical issue to the already existing caste issues of our relationship.
I had the beginnings of friendships with black young people in high school in south Florida, just after the local high schools were integrated, but then went on to a very southern university where things were much more segregated than in my home town in the late 60’s. During graduate school, I was married and also working full time and didn’t develop lots of friends that were lasting.
Gratefully, I am now the stepmother/co-parent of two young women of color, now in their early 30s who were primarily raised by my partner, Kim, and her former partner Annette. I “came on the scene” when they were 12 and 14 respectively, and they have been an important part of my life since then. They now have children of their own, and I have biracial grandchildren. Those relationships are the only places where I continue to work on real intimacy across racial lines: with authenticity, vulnerability, and honesty.
This obvious lack of relationship with people of color (POC) deeply saddens me. I want those relationships in other places: real friendships, both in my personal life and in my faith community. I don’t entirely know how to make that happen, but I yearn for it, and have some beginning ideas about how to start. I trust that I have to keep reading and talking about race, because that’s one of the ways that we all continue to learn in a racist culture. This needs to begin in safe space, with other white folks, but eventually the dialogue needs to expand to include POC, so that we can be honest and accountable to one another, and start to heal.
I also have to have POC actively in my life to make that happen. Since I’m no longer working, volunteer work, hobbies, social action and church are among the only places where a woman of 70 years young can connect with others. I certainly want POC in our pews at UUCSV (when we can eventually return to in-person worship) and partnering with black and brown faith communities to work on common projects might be a first effort in that direction. Perhaps I need to show up at another round of Building Bridges, at REI for the first time, or attend a black/brown church occasionally. Perhaps I will volunteer to tutor a child at Read to Succeed or elsewhere.
I know I have to show up in these kinds of circles to do much more than just “read about racism with other white folks”. I have to build relationships, not just with white people and my kids and grand kids. I have to build relationships in particular with POC. Real relationships, where we sit down with one another, first over a cup of a tea or a glass of wine. Then we might break bread together in my home or theirs. Most of all, I have to show up, step up, open up and engage fully about these issues. These and others would be real steps toward RENEWAL. I hope that others in our congregation might also yearn for this, and their own first steps in thinking about Beloved community. After all, if not us, who? If not now, when?
March 7 - All music by Eric Bannan
March 14th - Second Sunday- "Soul Season" (Rochelle Broome and Deb Evenchik); Linda Metzner, 2 hymns
Deb and Rochelle ("Soul Season") met at KSU in 1976. They
were both in the Honors dorm, Deb in Business and Rochelle in Pre-Med. They have made music together and been partners in life for almost 42 years.
- Linda Metzner, 3 hymns,
prelude and postlude
March 28th - Choir Sunday;
Sue Stone, 2 hymns, prelude and postlude
|by Carol Sheeler, retiring chair, Membership Committee|
New member Jeanie Cook presently lives in Union Mills, NC. She has been in the area for a little over a year. She grew up in Memphis, TN but her job has taken her to multiple countries.
She received her MA specializing in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Working through various organizations and teaching institutions she has taught in France, Japan, Guatemala, Myanmar, Kurdistan, Indonesia, Saipan, and Vietnam. She has also lived in Chapel Hill and Mars Hill, NC.
Jeanie now volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem as well as working to register voters. She is involved in social and racial justice. Her other interest include yoga/mediation, spirituality, other cultures and countries, reading, hiking, biking, and gardening. She previously was involved in the UU Congregation in Asheville.
We welcome her to our Congregation.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
New members, Kenneth (Ken) and Suzanne (Sue) Stone have lived in Black Mountain for less than a year. Other places they have lived have been Guilford, NY, Albany, NY, and Emerald Isle, NC. Sue has a BS in Sociology and worked for the NYS Dept. of Health. Ken has a BA in Sociology and worked with the NYS Dept. of Labor.
While in Emerald Isle they were members of the Parrot Head Club helping to raise funds for various charities. Since moving to Black Mountain they have become involved with Bounty and Soul.
Sue enjoys water aerobics and is involved in community activism. Ken is a bird carver and provided one of his carvings for our recent auction. They share their home with Annie their 12 year old yellow lab, retired therapy dog.
Neither Ken nor Sue have ever belonged to a UU Congregation but are seeking to connect with people in this area and getting involved in community activities.
UUCSV Board Member, Barbara Bryan
by Carolyn Shorkey
Tapestry: a heavy cloth woven with rich, often varicolored designs or scenes, usually hung on walls for decoration and sometimes used to cover furniture. Think of Barbara’s skill set as being a rich tapestry. She hangs her passion for meeting interesting people and gardening onto our wall at UUCSV. As a member of our Board of Trustees, Barbara says it is interesting to open up the hood of our organization and see how the engine runs. She was a regular coffee hour host back in the day when we met in person. Barbara continues to serve on The (Memorial) Garden Committee, promoting the use of native plants in The Garden.
Barbara grew up in Columbia, S.C. and actually attended some events at the UU church there. The Columbia UU’s met and shared space at a synagogue. Getting to know our members who have lead such meaningful lives, inspires Barbara.
Once considered a dated and derogatory word, she proudly identifies herself as a spinster! (Woman who spins, spin+ -ster.) She spins yarn and weaves on a lap loom. She is a member of the Arrowhead Gallery and Studio, an artists co-op in Old Fort. If you are hankering for an adventure down the mountain, check with Barbara and arrange a visit with her in the Gallery. Perhaps you’ll find yourself spinning a tale or two with this rich tapestry of a woman.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thinking of you again
This dreary wintry morn.
Across decades and miles I still
Wonder who you have become.
Do you ever think of me?
Or was our brief time
Of so little consequence
To you and your life since?
Surely our separate journeys
Have each had meaningful moments
Along our differently chosen paths.
Would you share some of yours?
Or perhaps our distances too great,
Your interest in me too little,
To walk across this long bridge
Between then and now.
I fear this chasm between us
Will remain indefinitely,
Leave me wondering even more
On other wintry morns.
Jim Carillon 1/22/2021
author of "This Virgin Page"
March 7 - David Wells
March 8 - Kenny Phillips
March 14 - Ann Lutz
March 17 - Rochelle Broome
March 18 - Linda Metzner
March 19 - James Sheeler
March 20 - Elizabeth Bryan
March 23 - Susan Culler
March 24 - Anna Marcel de Hermanas
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 Heidi Blozan or Maggie Schlubach, our new co-chairs of the Membership Committee.
|UUCSV Abbreviated Board Meeting Minutes|
February 25, 2021
Our volunteer Treasurer, Lee Reading, reported that the checking account is down about $7000 compared to last year at this time. Nonetheless, we remain on solid financial footing. Pledge collection is looking better with eight significant pledges having been received recently. The Board continues to closely monitor the financial health of the church.
Lee attended a UUA webinar last month about running a canvass during COVID restrictions. He reported that many congregations are anxious about running a pledge drive while we are not meeting in person. Lee reported on three tips he took away from the webinar. The best advice is to make it as easy as possible for people to submit their pledge payments. To save us having to pay processing fees, the best way to make a pledge payment is through electronic transfer into our bank account. Second, for those who do not set up electronic bank transfers, the easiest way to give/receive a pledge is through PayPal. Third, don’t complain about PayPal transaction fees.
Evan and Anna are helping organize the canvass for fiscal year 2021-22. The drive will be kicked off on March14th and will run for 5 weeks.
Kathryn walked the Board through the survey results and reported that it is obvious that people are in a difficult space now. Kathryn will summarize the survey for the congregation once the survey finishes running in a week.
Michael commented that Adult Education works better when we meet in person.
The wording of the 8th Principle was also discussed. Michael explained that this wording is a UUA proposed Principle that we should either approve or reject. We don’t have the power to rewrite it. Anna indicated that the language came out of the Black People’s Caucus at the UUA. Anna said we should respect their wording. Two socially distanced in-person meetings have been added to provide a discussion platform about the 8th Principle for those who do not like Zoom or who cannot use Zoom for the February 28th meeting.
The Building and Grounds Committee, headed by Deb Evenchik, is considering the feasibility of improving building safety, including an entry ramp and crash bars on exit doors.
Maggie Schlubach and Heidi Blozan have replaced Carol Sheeler and Pam Sain as co-chairs of the Membership Committee. Deeply felt gratitude to Carol and Pam for their MANY years of service leading the committee.
Anna reported that the Social Action Committee (SAC) has had two meetings to revise the mission, objectives and procedures of the SAC. There was also discussion within the Committee about donating their remaining funds from the 2020-21 Operating Budget. SAC is sponsoring a tech and tool drive which is underway now.
The Personnel Committee is working on an employee handbook using UUA guidelines and also revised their policies and procedures.
A plaque made by Damaris Pierce and purchased at the auction by Rhea Bockhorst and Anna Marcel de Hermanas has been installed on an exterior wall in The (Memorial) Garden.
Next Zoom Board Meeting: March 25th @ 6:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Milton Warden, Board Secretary
|by Susan Enwright-Hicks, RE Director|
This past week has seen some sunny days and with more and more folks I know getting their Covid vaccines I am feeling very renewed these days. Though we’re not out of the woods yet, I’ve been working hard to make 2021 a year of personal gratitude.
I am grateful for the relative health, and comfort of those I hold dear. I am also grateful to be a part of a community which cares enough about it’s members to put our collective health first. I am excited for spring, and eagerly look forward to the day (whenever it comes) when we can be together as a community together in time and space.
My hope is that when things do start to open up/feel safe again we can maintain a sense of appreciation. I don’t want to take for granted ever again - a room full of energetic children, meeting friends for brunch at a restaurant, taking my family to a soccer game, the theatre, or the ability to travel.
I am grateful to you, each of you, for whatever you have personally done to protect the health of those around you.
|A big thank you to the care givers including our Care Team Committee, and Larry Pearlman who organizes this help to those in need. We not only need to thank them, but to care for them also. So Care Team...let us know if you need anything!|
And another big thanks goes to those who are "front line workers!" If you go to a job dealing with the public daily, or sit at a computer to teach, or in a zillion other ways provide services...I for one want to thank you.
We may be staying pretty isolated, but there are still our little devices to connect with each other...by phone, emails, texts or zooms as well as good old snail mail. It's been so much easier to stay in my cocoon. But I feel pretty lonely in there. And spring reminds me that some of us are about to become butterflies or moths, rather than remain caterpillars.
April will bring Easter-time, and many more people having received vaccinations, and perhaps there will be more social leniency while we are staying separated 6 feet apart. Let's consider the topic of Hope for April 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 and Deb Evenchik
Social Action - Kate Ramsey
Finance - Lee Reading
Congregational Care - Larry Pearlman
Membership - Heidi Blozan and Maggie Schlubach
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
Memorial Garden - Dawn Wilson
Sunday Service Production:
Evan Yanik and Carolyn Shorkey, AV producers/editors
Annelinde Metzner, Choir director and piano, AV producer/editor of music