|September 2021 Vol. III: Issue 3|
"Get A Life!"
We are rapidly (at least to my mind) approaching the last quarter of the year 2021 as I write this column. My daughter is attending her first day of school as I write this, and Labor Day Weekend is just around the corner, and by the way, so is our Homecoming Service in September. After a brief reprieve, the COVID-19 "Delta Virus" has arrived and it appears we are collectively taking a step backwards. Many of us are just plain frustrated, and with good reason. And yet, if we have learned anything from this virus, if we have learned anything from life itself, it is that life does go on. It goes on. Yes, there are changes which are uncomfortable to say the least. And yet the world simply continues to turn.
A few days ago I was in a line at Ingles waiting to check out and pay for my groceries. I overheard two people in front of me in an animated conversation. I did not hear all of what was said as we were social distancing either intentionally or coincidentally, but I did hear one person say to the other, "Get a life." I had not heard this phrase in quite some time, and usually I have heard it as an insult. "Get a life!" There it is. When you are in your twenties, the quest to get a life is your focus, and you may have had some fun doing just that. When you are in your thirties, you can expect to visit this goal at various times in response to a variety of transformational experiences. However, when you are older and you hear the words, "Get a life," you may be shocked.
You could panic, you could become seriously depressed and even angry. If you are one of those people who have missed the "lifeboat" or have been afraid to wade into the "rivers of life" the real question becomes, just what does it mean exactly to have a life? When you have a life, you can stand alone in what is true about you and what you believe to be true. You do what feels right for you, even when it means that those around you may not agree with what you are doing. You mind your own business, leaving it up to others to do the same. To really have a life, a good life, means sticking with something long enough to see if it works for you, admitting when it doesn't, and moving on without fear or anger. You would be exacting the blessings from your life’s lessons, because you know that every lesson is priceless on the journey.
Is the life you have today really the life you want? Are you doing the things that are important to you? Are you learning and growing in response to the things you are doing? Are you willing to make the changes required to create the life that you desire to experience? Are you sailing or sinking? Or are you keeping score of what others are doing? It's the final quarter of the year. Do you feel you have one, or are you needing to get a life?
In peace and love,
I really wasn’t sure what to write this month. I’ve been busy with family drama (kids going back to school/caring for my aging Father/etc.) and having stepped back from so much during COVID I haven’t felt very connected to any conviction beyond keeping my loved ones healthy lately. I also allowed some of the rituals, and intentionality I created for our home lives early in the pandemic to fall by the wayside this summer. So I went back to Braver/Wiser (a UUA resource I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before) for a bit of spiritual battery recharging and I discovered a submission by Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin which reminded me of the pride I felt when our congregation decided to adopt the 8th Principle, and of the Racial Justice work I was doing before March 2020. Her piece ends with the following prayer I’d like to share with you all:
“Spirit of Life, help us release any impulse to make a mockery of our faith by simply going through the motions instead of living Unitarian Universalism. May we find the courage to live congruently with the best values proclaimed in our living tradition, and to embrace the divine invitation to bring goodness into the world.”
May it be so.
Susan Enwright Hicks (she/her), DRE UUCSV
NOTE FOR PARENTS:
Please look for information in upcoming Current newsletters about a September Zoom-meeting opportunity to discuss RE programming going forward in 2021-22, and how UUCSV can support you and your family with DRE, Susan Enwright Hicks, representatives from the RE Committee, and our new UUCSV Board RE liaison, Dr. Rochelle Broome.
September 5th: Sue Stone, piano for prelude, postlude and 3 hymns
September 12th: Second Sundays, The String Sisters (viola and violin), prelude, postlude and 2 pieces within the OOS; Linda Metzner, piano for 2 hymns
September 19th: Linda Metzner, piano for prelude, postlude and 3 hymns
September 26th: UU Choir performs 2 videos; Sue Stone, piano for prelude, postlude and 2 hymns
On a recent beautiful summer evening we gathered on our church grounds to listen. We listened to Spence and his band enrich our souls with gentle music. We listened, in person, to each others stories after 15 months of relative isolation. We listened to the chatter of curiosity around the buffet tables so beautifully organized by Alice and Dave. We were actively engaged in listening together and oh, my wasn’t it nourishing?
This event all came about with an item offered by Spence at last year’s auction. He offered to play music at an event. Carolyn won the bid and decided with Spence that they would host an outdoor potluck with music for our congregation. A good time was had by all!
So when the plea for folks to offer auction items commences, please consider what you can offer. Popular items include leading a hike with a picnic, hosting a dinner or themed party, how about organizing a garden tour, art lesson or beer tasting? The possibilities are as endless as our imagination. We all look forward to seeing what great ideas you will offer at our November auction.
by Carolyn Shorkey
This article from last month's activity was left out of August Tidings...but it leads well into our thoughts about the Auction of 2021
|’Twas the night before Auction|
’Tis early in autumn and all through the church
The congregants fret—“We’ll be left in the lurch!
Our sermons are virtual and Covid still rages
Howe’er can I strengthen my ties with our sages?”
Such wisdom! Such friendships! So many bright people!
Maintaining relations in a church without steeple
Or chimes that can peal to bring congregants out
Can be tough when they’re safer at home—there’s no doubt.
So our income’s gone down; the collection plate’s empty;
(Though thanks to our cleaners the building’s still kempt!); we
Are stretched to the limit, but here’s a solution:
We pool our resources—don’t call it collusion—
And share what we have with all like-minded others
By offering “stuff” to our sisters and brothers!
Some croquet or disc golf, a dinner for eight,
A B&B weekend … dance parties are great!
Knocking your socks off needs something exciting.
Let’s get psyched and enthused. Bait the fish: they’ll start biting!
Here’s just what we’ll do: Hold our Third Annual Auction
(Though unless they’re for selling, I’ll keep my socks on)!
It starts on-line only; bid low—high—still higher!
Continue through Saturday, down to the wire.
Then “Live, from Black Mountain, It’s Saturday Night”—
And the Auction concludes, and it all turns out right.
By Andy M. Reed, (with thanks to Clement Clarke Moore)
As we go to our Third Annual Auction—a hybrid version in 2021—we’ll begin Sunday, Nov. 7 with online, silent bidding and conclude with the live event on Saturday, Nov. 13—we hope you’ll participate once again.
The Third Annual Auction Communications Committee
Kate Ramsey has been an active participant in many Black Mountain groups…as well as UUCSV efforts.
She recently received the Willie Headley award from the Beautification Committee of Black Mountain.
Kate has been active at UUCSV as a member of the Social Action Committee (including taking minutes of meetings) and the Building and Grounds Committee. You can see the results of her efforts here at UUCSV in the beautiful flowers, and the drainage improvements, and the freshly painted shed and RE rooms. She also was an active participant in the anti-racism book discussions and often came to Friday Flings with delicious food to share.
Kate has been seen helping at Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries and taking part in civic events like the interfaith annual walk to raise money for food to be distributed locally.
Our community of Black Mountain, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation are much more beautiful thanks to Kate’s efforts.
Our regular column editor for Volunteer Spotlight is taking some time off to take care of her health. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Carolyn Shorkey!
By Barbara Rogers
When I am exhausted, burned out
and crave only rest or sleep,
I have no soul.
When I struggle with deep sorrow or pain
and desperately need relief,
I have no soul.
When I fear for family or country
and see little hope for the future,
I make no room for soul.
When it all gets too much
and I want only escape,
I never find my soul.
Yet when I see others worse off and
move to act, to serve these others,
I find my soul.
August 20, 2021
Am I the earth?
I lie down to rest
On Her waters
To sleep and be washed clean
I fall gently but am
Bobbed to the surface.
You are too much air
To become one with me now.
I try to climb the clay bank
To immerse in Her mud
Slick and soft glop
I go down and stick
But still am not received.
You must dry out more
You are too much water.
I lie in the dead leaves
Cupped my weight against
Her life returning to earth.
My bones becoming weighty
As rocks, but I am rejected.
You are too much fire
Your heat does not belong
To the worms yet.
I lie and look to the clouds
Am I also like them?
Am I also the earth?
By Barbara Rogers
Let us go into the tall pine woods. The light breeze sighs in the top of the pines. The wonderful pine forest smells fill the air. It is so quiet. Now leave the pines and walk out on a large beach with dunes. The swish of sand blowing over the dunes, the strange sounds of wind in the tall dune grasses and then the wide beach after a storm.
No wind now but huge crashing waves. Perfect for surfing, no good for swimming. The sound can be frighteningly loud. But give a day or two and this same beach is quiet with tiny wavelets now caressing the sand. Hardly any sound. Now go into a large city. Ambulances howling their presence, police also. City noise can be deafening. People walking and talking. How they can hear each other with the racket so hard
to understand? So leave this noise machine and find a forest. A quiet refuse for wild animals and birds. Walk on the carpet trails and listen. Here you can hear birdsong, ripe seeds falling from trees, the wind blowing in the tree tops. So quiet. Now go into the nearby farmland. Summer often brings big storms and the farmer whose cut hay is drying, is praying for dry days till he can bale his hay, while over his fields the
meadow lark is singing his heart out. And another farmer, in a different part of the country is praying for rain so he will not lose his trees to the draught. Our country is full of sounds. All we have to do is to stop and listen.
By Ann Sillman
And a "newer song based upon personal experience with ones I love" by Bill Altork
Five Little Orphans
|September 3 - Bill Altork, Norm Kowal, Damaris Pierce|
September 5 - Maggie Schlubach
September 6 - Joy Levine
September 9 - Maggie Moon O'Neill
September 10 - Ellen Kirschner
September 14 - Carolyn Shorkey, Milt Warden
September 21 - Jackie Franklin
September 29 - Rhea Bockhorst
September 30 - Rebecca Williams
We are used to two different meanings. It can refer to criminal convictions, in which a party being tried for a crime is found guilty. It can also refer to moral convictions, which are strongly held beliefs. Strong convictions are usually found in debates, religious settings, and politics. (from TheWordCounter.Com)
According to Etymonline, the word conviction has been used since the mid-15th century to describe the process of finding someone guilty of some charged offense. Conviction comes from the Late Latin word convictionem which is the nominative Latin convictio meaning some proof or refutation.
The word conviction was first used to mean the mental state of being convinced in the 1690s, and was used to describe some firm belief since the year 1841. This word has been used in a religious sense since the 1670s.
In “The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus” two definitions are further described as:
1.The fact or condition of being without doubt: assuredness, confidence.
2. Something believed or accepted as true by a person: opinion, view, belief, feeling.
Thus the moral "courage of his convictions" is understood by most of us. One place where we find convictions clashing most today is in the public arena of wearing masks or not. It is less visible, but again an outward manifestation of our convictions whether we get vaccinated or not against the pandemic of COVID-19.
John Pavlovich answers his question "How to Know if You Have the Wrong Religion?" by saying, "The right religious worldview is the one that makes you a more empathetic human being—period. It is the belief system that enables you to be more aware of the suffering in the world and propels you into other people’s lives to alleviate that suffering.” (Blog, Aug 25, 2021)
John Pavlovoch's view of compassion (love) as the foundation of religion is different than mine. My spiritual convictions don't need anyone else around to exist. It's good to share them, but these tenets that I base my life around are completely individual. I agree with the eight principles of UU. Those represent some of my convictions, but I have more that are completely my own.
I can't make assumptions about others' convictions these days. I tend to want to lump all non-maskers and anti-vaxxers, and conservative whites and racists together. Those convictions toward any of those ideas do not necessarily reside in one person. And hopefully those who hold those convictions may be open to considering other ideas.
And that brings me to another question. How firm are your convictions? How open are you to considering other ideas?
UUCSV Board Meeting Abbreviated Minutes
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Lee Reading, our volunteer treasurer, reported that the current balance reflects a drawdown of $23,000 for our new HVAC system. He reported that he is grateful for the donations made in July including pledges, the Bridge the Gap Fund contributions, and plate income of $1800 from 4 Sunday services. Overall, Lee was pleased with the good momentum but doesn’t expect income to continue at this high pace. Lee reported that there was an income gift from a member which was undesignated. Lee requested it be placed in the Bridge the Gap Fund to help balance our income in our 2021-22 operating budget. Approved unanimously by the Board.
Julia Jordan, representing the Social Action Committee, presented a proposal to the Board regarding the project called, Toward Right Relationships with Native Peoples. Three parts are included in the project: a land acknowledgement which will be represented by a sign, a statement to be read periodically to the congregation and an informative presentation. The Committee is requesting permission to place a small sign on the church property that reads: UUCSV Respectfully Acknowledges This Land As The Ancestral Home Of The Cherokee And Other Indigenous People. After a brief discussion the Board unanimously approved the sign subject to the design coming before the Board and the involvement of the Building and Grounds committee in the placement of the sign.
Jackie reported people are signing up to clean the church between Sunday Services.
Anna reported for the Congregational Care Committee that four people supplied various services including groceries, visits, and rides to doctor appointments for our church community. Anna also reported that a couple of members needed help with major transitions and the committee was able to smoothly gather enough volunteers to help with those needs.
Evan reported for the Communications Committee that we have hired our new office administrator, Michael Donnan. Michael will be researching our options for upgrading our wifi service to include phone service. We need a faster wifi so that we can smoothly live stream our Sunday Services.
Rose reported for the Membership Committee that Heidi is scheduling a UU 101 class and printing new member packets. The Committee offered a new goal statement which Rose read to the Board. Approved Unanimously
Susan reported that Zoom format for Chlldren’s Religious Education (RE) continues; there was an RE picnic and playtime outside with three families attending. No one is showing up for child care during Sunday services.
Rose reported for the Safety Committee on a meeting with the local police and getting a written report on the safety of the building and grounds. Major recommendations were to install security cameras, replace broken security lights, and install window covers. A discussion took place about “active shooter” recommendations. Evan suggested the Safety Committee come up with free or easy things to implement (like trim bushes or locking doors once the service begins), low cost things that can be done, and more expensive things that can be done. With that in mind, the safety committee will prioritize police recommendations and get estimates for window coverings.
Evan reviewed the Strategic Plan for topics to discuss during the Board retreat which will occur on October 16th from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Topics to be discussed during the retreat include: feeling secure in the church building, maximizing the involvement of committees with the congregation, establishing an adult RE committee to work on lifespan learning, and the legacy of the Church.
Respectfully submitted by Milton Warden, Board Secretary
Three of us drove into Asheville, then tried to find a parking lot which was not restricted to just "permit holders" at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. I won't say how we finally parked in a permit-only space.
But as we walked into the beautiful new building looking for Owen Gallery, we were met surprisingly by Robert Tynes himself, the artist. He had just updated a "question to be answered on this blackboard." His "trump l'oiel" paintings were just awesome...we definitely enjoyed seeing all of them.
|Thanks for all the contributions for this month's edition of Tidings. |
For October, we will be enjoying the autumn colors here in Black Moutain. But we'll also begin to consider life during wintertime.
Our suggested topic for Tidings next month is "Colors."
Thanks to the great proof-readers of Tidings, Tina Rosato and Sue and Ken Stone!
|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 - 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)
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
Annelinde Metzner, Choir director and piano
Sue Stone, piano