|April 2021 "HOPE" Vol. II: Issue 10|
The Origins of April Fools' Day
On April 1, 1700, English jokesters began making popular the annual tradition of April Fools' Day by playing jokes on one another. The day is also called "All Fools' Day", and has been celebrated for centuries by different cultures, although its exact origin remains unknown.
There is some speculation among historians that April Fools' Day began in 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the New Year had moved to January 1 became the victims of jokes. April Fools' Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century and in Scotland it became a two-day event in which people were sent on phony errands with signs placed on their backs with the words "kick me" on them.
"Don't You Be No Fool!"
This was a phrase that I heard often from my parents and elders in my community growing up. They were trying to "school" us younger folks about the ways of the world. They didn't want us to be taken advantage of as we were learning the lessons of life. They were attempting to get us to understand that although the world was beautiful it was still full of trickery and guile. They were also trying to remind us that we could be our own worst enemy on the journey of life. They would tell us, especially when we were being resistant or hard-headed -- "don't you be no fool."
When someone points out the stuff that you have been ignoring, or denying, don't get mad. You see life uses people as its eyes, ears, and hands. That person is simply life's tool. They are being used by life (consciously or unconsciously) to work with you because you have been resistant to looking at your stuff.
You can always tell when someone is saying something that you are resistant to hearing because you feel yourself getting defensive. Your first reaction may be to cut them off. Or the moment they finish, you attack! If you are aware enough at the time (or maybe even later) ask yourself, why is it difficult for me to hear this? Why am I resisting this information? Many times, but certainly not all the time, when you feel the need to defend yourself, people are "in your stuff." We are not talking about the times when you are being falsely accused of something, or when folks don't have all of the information. Nor are we speaking of times when others dump all of "their stuff or junk" on you.
We are talking about situations in which someone reveals to you things about yourself that you have refused to address. We are talking about those things you have done your darndest to keep others from knowing about. If and when that happens, and it inevitably will, don't get mad or try to get even. Don't you be a fool. Take it as a sign that life is on to you. Take it as an opportunity to heal.
|Hope is definitely not...|
"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."
by Vaclav Havel
by Larry Pearlman
It’s easy as a liberal to see hope for renewal of the principles and values that built this country coming in the next four years with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris leading this country. But then I think about all of the people who see the opposite - that this country was making progress as Donald Trump sought to “Make America Great Again” and now we are doomed under Biden/Harris to lose the momentum we had and that renewal is no longer possible.
OK - I can hear all of my liberal friends including most, if not all, of my UU friends thinking, “What are you talking about? Progress under Trump?!!? This country was being destroyed by Donald Trump and now we finally have a chance to heal and all come together”. I’d love to believe that but how can “we all” come together when a good percentage of “us” feels as strongly against Joe Biden as we felt against Donald Trump. Did we see any way to “come together “ under Trump? If not, why would we have any illusions about Trump supporters coming together with us under Biden?
So how can renewal in this country take place? I think it starts with acceptance, compassion and recognizing the worth of EVERY human being. Hmmmm…..those concepts sound familiar. We may bristle when we see evidence that those people have no understanding of or compassion for people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, or non-Christians. But the only relevant question is do I want to develop my understanding and compassion for Trump supporters? If the answer is “NO”, then give up all hope of renewal and healing in this country. It the answer is “YES”, then the next question is how to do that.
(Continued at bottom)
Thanks to everyone who participated in the congregational survey. As promised, we are sharing the results of the survey. The link below points to a PDF document containing the numerical response data, as well as summaries of the written responses to each question. The only exception to this is the request for committee volunteers – that data has been shared with the appropriate committees.
|UUCSV MUSIC FOR APRIL 2021|
April 4 "Songs Of Hope"
The UUCSV Choir During The Pandemic
Annelinde Metzner, choir director
Immediately at the onset of the pandemic of 2020, our choir director Annelinde Metzner jumped on the opportunity to expand her knowledge of mixing, editing and video to move the choir into virtual productions. She continued choir rehearsals and monthly performances through Zoom, while each singer recorded themselves on their own smartphones. They then sent their voice files to Annelinde, who created the finished songs with the music mixing program Garage Band and I-Movies. Now for Easter 2021, Annelinde and the UUCSV Choir offer a review of their year of creativity featuring eight of their virtually-produced songs introduced by choir members, along with special seasonal readings.
April 11 - Second Sundays Music
Spence Foscue's Family
Linda Metzner, piano for 2 hymns
Danu Macon Foscue (derived from his given name Daniel Macon) and Chelsea Spitzer-Morton met in a song circle a few years back and found that they were soul mates. They sometimes include the Old Man in their musical forays. We won't be performing together this time, as the pandemic finds us sheltering in different places but we are there in spirit! libero, sollicitudin aliquam, dapibus eu, faucibus eget, libero.
April 18: Linda Metzner, piano for prelude, postlude and 3 hymns.
April 25: UUCSV Choir performs 2 songs; Sue Stone, piano for prelude, postlude and 2 hymns.
Featuring Norm Kowal
For 170 months Norm Kowal was the lead organizer of a congregational social gathering at UUCSV called "Friday Fling." Advertised as a party for grown-ups, he began the long running event with another member, who no longer lives in the area. The group of about 20 UUCSVers met monthly for a potluck supper and movie night in people’s homes. At about the time that the home hosts were wearing out, our church bought a screen and projector for the sanctuary. Although not as cozy as meeting in people’s homes, the big screen and plenty of seating at the church made a nice venue for the group. Norm advertised the monthly event with the names of two movies he chose from recommendations, arrived at the church an hour early to set up for the evening, provided cheap boxed red and white wine, and enjoyed the fellowship. He lugged the place settings to and from church, washing it all up at home after the show. Norm feels as though Friday Fling ran it’s course when attendance dwindled in the months before we shut down due to COVID. He doesn’t plan to continuing to host Friday Fling once we reopen. What a phenomenal run with 170 meals and movies, thank you, Norm!
Now, are you wondering about this photo of Norm? Well for about 6 or 7 years, he was the editor of our monthly newsletter. At a time when we did not have a minister and had multiple guests lined up to preach from our pulpit, Norm made a mistake in the newsletter. Unbeknown by him, we had two different guest ministers, both named Rev. Michael Carter lined up in one month to appear in our pulpit. I noticed that Norm put the picture of our current minister, along with the write up of the other (Caucasian) Michael Carter. When I told Norm that we had two different Rev. Michael Carters in the pulpit that month, Norm was convinced that surely the aliens have invaded Black Mountain. So Milt suggested to Norm that he begin wearing a tinfoil hat to prevent mind control by beings employing ESP. I don’t know if the hat worked, but he sure looks cute wearing it!
Many thanks, Norm, for your years of volunteer service and being such a good sport!
by Carolyn Shorkey
Softer the Wind
by David Reid
I would like to bargain
With powers on high
To sit on a mountain
And watch clouds go by.
Not for a minute;
An hour, or two,
But all the day drifting
Across my sky view.
Some float above,
And some coast below,
A fluffy wisp passes
From out my elbow.
Not one project or measly chore
Would get done today
Except that which carries on
Without me in the way.
These drifting vapors of white and gray,
Would go on and on across the day,
And cleanse my mind and heart and soul,
Dust my house, and fill my bowl.
Fresh from a rain, and newly clean,
My dishes all stacked, the countertops gleam.
The floor swept and mopped
The house aired and fresh
Cool breeze blowing, across window sash.
This is the feeling of clouds drifting by,
From viewpoints obtained while roosting up high.
A new start, a young day, a chance to begin,
With lighter the load, and softer the wind.
Oh it is so easy to just sit,
in my lounge chair.
Where has my need to move,
to take a walk
in this beautiful spring weather
I know what I should do,
must do if I am
to stay able
to do so at all,
still I sit.
or even CNN,
or play mind enhancing games on
my cell phone/computer.
Dishes need washing.
The sink is full.
Maybe writing about this will
shame me or better still
encourage me to get going
Somehow I doubt it.
It has not worked before.
At least now
I have used this simple laziness
to have something to share at poetry,
what kind of poetry is this?
To move or not to move, that
is the question.
I am thirsty. Maybe
getting a drink at the sink will
finally get the dishes done. And
while up I may sit outside
in the lovely sunshine.
If I get up.
Better do it now
before the sun sets.
Oh I wish!
by Ann Sillman
April 8 - Janet Hand
April 12- Shelly Frome
April 16 - Carol Sheeler, Miriam Stewart
If you'd like your birthday listed in your birth month, just let Heidi Blozan or Maggie Schlubach know.
by Susan Enwright Hicks, DRE
It is a tribute to Emily Dickinson, or perhaps to high school Literature teachers that I cannot hear the word “hope” but my mind fills in “...is the thing with feathers”. I have no idea when I first heard/read that poem, but clearly it struck a chord with me. I love the idea of a living, winged, embodiment of hope buoying us all with song.
Actual birds have been a great joy to my family this part year. Just before the pandemic hit we installed a window-cling bird feeder which brought songbirds right to our kitchen window* giving us the opportunity to identify and learn about them. We have since added a suet feeder, and finch sock to expand the array of avian visitors to our yard. Their songs and antics have been a source of amusement, and delightful connection to the Earth. The presence of birdsong, the bursting forth of flowers, the laughter of children, and the rise in vaccination numbers are all giving me hope this season.
Like the bird in Ms. Dickinson’s poem children are, for me, an embodiment of hope too (my own and the other’s I’ve been close to). Children are precious, often irrepressible, both fragile and strong, remarkably resilient, and (in the case of my own) my near constant companions. So many of my hopes for the world are also now twined with my hopes for our children. I am hopeful that they will find ways to be better for having endured this Covid year: more robust, creative, grateful. Perhaps they will be all the more ready to spread their wings and fly for having spent an extra year close to the nest. Sadly, I know not all children benefit from adversity, but I can hope.
We All Belong Here: A Social Action project built on Hope
The “We All Belong Here” racial justice book group is a long term project of the Social Action Committee at UUCSV. We began two and a half years ago in conjunction with Faith Communities Organizing for Sanctuary which is an interfaith group of Western North Carolina faith based organizations. That first year, we read the books recommended by that group, but now read from our participants’ suggestions for works dealing with racial justice, dismantling white supremacy, and inclusion.
We have read books by and about African Americans and Hispanics, Muslims and Jews, Indigenous people and Immigrants. We have read mostly nonfiction but have read some wonderful novels also that inform us through the stories of often silenced voices. The author of “The Hate U Give,” following the widespread acclaim for the story of one black girl’s experience, said “This is why I can say that the hope you give me outweighs all the anxieties and fears that I once had regarding the book. “
It was Michael Eric Dyson’s “Tears We Cannot Stop” that led to our committee’s racial justice Sunday service that first year, Ibram Kendi’s “How to be an AntiRacist” that inspired the current editing of our policies and procedures, and Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing” that brings us back to hopefulness that joy and pain can abide together in us.
As our congregation and denomination prepares to make our own reparations for the history of white supremacy we have all been party to, I believe our book group members are ideally situated to understand the need for the 8th Principle as well as the HOPE that we can and will be active participants in dismantling white supremacy in our own community and beyond. As Ijeoma Ilou wrote in the first book our group read together in 2019, “It is easy to think that the problem of racial oppression in this country is just too big. How on earth can we be expected to dismantle a complex system that has been functioning for over four hundred years? My answer is: piece by piece.” Martin Luther King told us that Justice is what Love looks like in public, and he was a model for us of HOPE, hope that we could all be “free at last.” For African Americans and other oppressed groups, that means the freedom to be seen and heard and treated as equals. For white people, it means the freedom to know everyone’s stories as well as we know our own, and to hope for a future that is free not only of discrimination and injustice but also of privilege and hierarchy.
If you would like an infusion of hope during these challenging times, “We All Belong Here” meets the 1st Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:00 p.m. via zoom. Thursday April 1st, we will be discussing “Homegoing.” All are welcome. You can find our link in The Current announcements.
|Support Minority Owned Businesses|
This past winter, our Board of Trustees hired a Black-owned landscaping business to build our rainwater drainage system on the church property. Our contractor, Stephen Smith, owner of MS Lean Landscaping, recently secured a $25,535 landscaping contract
as part of the now-approved temporary site restoration plan once the Vance Monument is removed from Pack Square in downtown Asheville.
Congratulations, Stephen! And thank you, Asheville city government, for your support of minority and women owned small businesses.
We encourage you to seek bids from minority owned businesses when you need work done at your home.
By Carolyn Shorkey
UUCSV Board Meeting
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Kathryn Coyle, Board of Trustees President,reported that we have $2100 in our building reserve fund. We have caught up with where we were last year at this time for income and expenses.
Evan Yanik, Vice-President, reported that 44 pledging units have responded to canvass by turning in the electronic form. Committed pledges are 47% toward the goal. Average pledge is $1300. Hard copy pledge cards are available. 18% of pledges have been from friends, not members, which is good.
The Building and Grounds Committee (BAG) has researched options for humidity and mold control and heating upgrades to the building. They presented a bid from one contractor. The bid is for 4-5 mini split systems and an ERV for a range of $15,000-21,000. The Board requests that the B&G committee get more quote(s) for the suggested updates.
Kathryn is getting comments about congregants wanting to get back into the church. Rochelle presented a set of standards that would be required to re-open the church. Spence mentioned that outside services wouldn’t work because of traffic noise. There was a discussion to install one ERV for the sanctuary to address ventilation concerns since windows don’t open. The Board agreed to move forward with making a loose framework for working toward 50% occupancy. Kathryn talked about using the building fund and surplus funds in the income statement to fund the ERV.
Rochelle Broome, Jackie Franklin and Rose Levering have agreed to run for a seat on the Board.
During the Zoom meeting to discuss the 8th Principle, Kathryn heard from some congregants that they had issues with the language used in forming the statement of the Principle. Michael strongly urged that the vote for the acceptance or rejection for adopting the 8th Principle be put on the agenda for the annual Congregation Meeting this June.
Sally Smith has volunteered to be a proofreader for the Communications Committee along with Susan Culler and Barb Rogers, thanks to all. The need for a Communications Committee Chair was discussed.
The Social Action Committee’s Tool and Tech drive contributions generated 20-22 items. New members, Ken and Sue have joined the committee. We welcome them!
Milt Warden, Secretary
In March, a small group met outdoors with Damaris Pierce to practice eye gazing, taking turns sitting quietly and sharing uninterrupted gazes for three minutes at a time with each person. Some of the words participants used to describe their experiences were "peaceful, deep, spiritual, loving, hypnotic, tunnel vision, present, beautiful, expansive, timeless, transcending."
The group plans to meet outdoors again in April, date TBD, and could accommodate up to three more participants. Social distancing is practiced. Please contact Damaris for details.
It is spring and I'm hopeful in regards to environmental issues.
Here's a great video that's available free. Beautiful and educational for all ages:
Our Planet - Fresh Water (Full Episode from Netflix on YouTube)
Some things to consider when shopping for produce...
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) updates its Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists in order to help shoppers know which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic, and which ones are fine to buy non-organic.
EWG's Dirty Dozen for 2021
Prioritize buying these organic if and when you can.
Kale, collard, and mustard greens
Bell and hot peppers
EWG's Clean Fifteen for 2021
These choices have the least amount of pesticide and buying organic is less important.
Sweet peas (frozen)
"The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists are based on testing conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which takes annual samples from over 46,000 crops. The EWG Shopper's Guide ranks 46 of those samples in order from cleanest to dirtiest, using data from the most recent one-to-two-year sampling period for each food."
By Katherine Martinko, Published March 17, 2021 Fact checked by Haley Mast - As published in Treehugger Newsletter
|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 & Deb Evenchik co-chair
Social Action - Kate Ramsey
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 - 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
|Common Ground - continued from above|
My friend Kiesa Kay recently wrote an article that I believe addresses this point. As a liberal who attended a Baptist Church and knew her Republican neighbors well, she wrestled with this question. I’d like to quote extensively from her article. Though I haven’t properly used ellipses, the following is a truncated version drawing from different parts of her article. I do her an injustice by presenting only part of her article. It can be seen in its entirety here: www.journaloftheplagueyear.ink/blog/across-the-great-divide.
“And then along came Donald J. Trump. Now when I hear my liberal friends leap up and down muttering about the evils of Trump Christians, I want to leap alongside them shouting, “No! No! It’s not like that! You don’t get it! Most of them are really kind people!”
One Trump supporter I loved had lost his business when his products could be created more cheaply in China, and his twenty-five employees lost their jobs. He ended up losing his house, his wife, and everything in a big rush of good-bye. Trump, he thought, held the key to bringing jobs back to America, and not outsourcing products like the ones he knew how to make.
The Trump supporters I know just want their lives back. In this country, nobody is allowed to forget for a minute that they're Black, and I have family members who are active in Black Lives Matter. But I have not heard racism expressed among the people I know.
What I hear is that they want to be able to go to a Mom-and-Pop restaurant instead of a chain store. They want a grocery store run by their friends, not by some far away conglomerate that could care less about them. It’s a matter of different values. The people who get labeled Trump Christians often tend to be people who value family over money, and who prefer to stay put in one place to be near family rather than travel across the country or to other countries. They take care of the people who come into their paths, and they expect others to work hard and do the same.
Even though few people in this country church make a great deal of money, they volunteer at neighboring food banks. That church has raised more than $12,000 over the years for one couple with physical disabilities.
Donald Trump came along and promised that these people could get their jobs back, get their homes back, get their lives back. Making America Great Again did not mean making America white again, or making America racist again. It meant giving working-class Americans who want to work for a living and raise their families a chance to continue to exist.
There used to be a time when a man with no college education could own and operate his own business with 25 employees, and make Halloween spiderwebs and Santa Claus beards that got shipped across the country. Then globalization ate it up. The new businesses? They're mostly for people who are native to computers, not rural North Carolina. Now college educations belong to the elite, and to people willing to go deeply into debt.
Seventy million voters chose Donald J. Trump. These were people whose sense of themselves had been erased by globalization. The real risk we run now is allowing those seventy million people to be represented by caricatures.”
My hand is up. I’m guilty. I have seen Trump supporters as caricatures. Racists. Misogynists. Ignorant. Heartless. Uncaring about the environment. Really? Do I honestly think that that description fits 70 million people in this country? Is that the type of person described in Kiesa’s article? Does it accurately describe all of the people I know, who voted for Donald Trump? NO. Many Trump voters that I know are kind, caring, intelligent people. Up to now, my thinking about them voting for Trump started and ended with “How the F*** could they do that?” But if that’s where it ends then, again, I can forget about any chance of healing or renewal in the country.
I’m not talking about adopting a Nazi or trying to deeply understand cruel people who think all non-whites and non-Christians should be burned at the stake. But let’s recognize that these are the minority. Let’s work with the majority.
Renewal and healing will come with meeting on the common ground - not in trying to erase the differences in our consciousness. That common ground with the people that I know is in the area of loving, kindness, giving, and acceptance. Can I see those qualities in them? Can I express those qualities towards them? If it was possible before Trump then it’s possible now.
Yes - I can absolutely continue to work towards social justice and moving my world in the direction of justice, equity and compassion in human relations AND I can begin to see more clearly how I can do that (particularly the last part) with people who don’t agree with me. Even those who adhere to concepts that are anathema to me.
If I can manage that, and I’m not saying that it’s easy, then I can have hope for renewal and healing … at least in my world.
By Larry Pearlman