|December 2021 Vol. III: Issue 6
Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The light of the Sun begins a new solar cycle at
Winter Solstice. The rays shine into the dark, and nurture the newborn life there to be cultivated. And this is mirrored in nature, as the seeds are buried in the darkness of the Earth, to emerge once again with the life-giving rays of the Sun.
Winter Solstice 2021 in the Northern Hemisphere will be at 10:59am Eastern Standard time and 4:58pm Central European time on Tuesday, December 21, marking the first day of winter.
At this time in the Northern Hemisphere we are experiencing the longest and darkest nights of the year and the shortest days with the least amount of daylight. The dark triumphs over the light, but this signifies a turning point!
In winter everything lies dormant in the silent earth; it is a sacred time of rest and reflection before the awakening and the slow build toward brighter days.
The energy of winter is that of going within. It's the fruitful darkness and silence out of which our soul's yearnings and new inspirations can eventually emerge. As we consciously link our awareness to nature's cycles, our understanding of our own personal growth cycles begins to deepen.
Why do we spend so much time suppressing and hiding our darkness? When negative emotions come up and we feel them, they're inconvenient, uncomfortable, or worse, we make ourselves wrong for feeling them.
When we fear our own darkness, we cut ourselves off from an essential source of our own personal power. The key is not in letting darkness overwhelm our lives and our thoughts but in understanding that darkness can be one of the greatest catalysts for personal growth and transformation.
Maybe even our way to enlightenment.
By allowing ourselves to feel our emotions and experience our own darkness, the darkness itself can become the spiritual cradle into which our inner light and new life is born.
Allow your feelings to guide you because your feelings are your truth.
Winter Solstice is the great stillness before the Sun's strength builds, and days grow longer. It can be a time to rest and reflect.
In Latin, solstice is made of two words: sol– meaning “the sun” and sistere meaning “to make stand.” Winter Solstice is one the most powerful points of the year as the axis of the Earth pauses, shifts and moves in the opposite direction. For three days around the solstice points. we experience the power of the standstill point and the shift of direction. The sun standing still is a powerful metaphor for the energy available to us at the Winter Solstice to change the direction of our lives with intention and build on this energy as we enter into the new year. After experiencing the longest night and darkest day, the nights grow shorter and the days grow brighter until the Summer Solstice.
For today, let yourself rest in the peace of darkness, knowing the changing of the season, and the return of brighter days is ahead; be reminded you are always connected to Source, and your inner light never dims.
Don’t pressure yourself to make changes right now or be in action in the world…let the energies of new life and inspiration build slowly within you and by spring you’ll be bursting with new energy and ideas. This is the nature of things… the cycles and rhythms of personal growth and change, as you consistently nurture yourself with compassion, allowing for rest and reflection, great joy will be your harvest in 2022.
You may want to take time to honor and acknowledge the endings & new beginnings in your life in a ceremony or personal ritual that both honors your past and clears space to make room for what you wish for the coming year.
Whatever you choose to do to mark the end of the year, the coming of the new, and the rebirth of the light— whether pausing in quiet reflection, or celebrating with community, know that all over our planet, there are many fires burning brightly!
Abundant blessings to you in the coming year!
|Music Schedule for December
December 5- Sue Stone, piano: prelude, postlude, offertory and 3 hymns
December 12- Second Sundays music by Andy Gwynn; Linda Metzner, 2 hymns
December 19- UUCSV Choir, 2 anthems; Sue Stone, piano: prelude, postlude, and 2 hymns
December 24- Christmas Eve service; Linda Metzner, piano: prelude, postlude and 6 hymns
December 26- Linda Metzner, piano: prelude, postlude and 3 hymns
by Susan Enwright Hicks
I wish for all of us a deep and heartfelt peace. May the beauty of the season inspire us to find a moment of calm; away from the bustle of packages and travel; a time with few demands to think our own thoughts.
A Remembrance of my Father
My Father is at peace now
And, in some ways, so am I.
His chronic health issues no longer taxing every ounce of energy.
The hospital trauma nurse relayed to the M.E. that he was cracking wise and cracking himself up to the very end.
His chair sits empty now
Is this peace, or simply cessation?
Too early to tell, but I will try to find comfort in the silence and remember the good times.
RIP Gerald Arthur Enwright
Back in the day, Deb’s father took responsibility for overseeing the care and maintenance of the cemetery associated with their Temple in Lorain, Ohio. So it must have been her Dad’s genes expressing themselves, when she attended her first Building and Grounds Committee Meeting earlier this year, and volunteered to assume the position as chairperson of the committee. She has led her merry band of committee members through one of the busiest years for that committee.
She began with her boots on the ground, literally, when she met with our contractor for the installation of the drainage channel, to alleviate flooding problems from the north parking lot. This project was followed almost immediately with seeking a contractor for the replacement of our HVAC system. The new system is very energy efficient, circulates fresh air into the building and filters the air. Deb has an app on her phone which allows her to check and adjust the building temperature remotely. Our new HVAC system complies with the CDC recommendations for a healthy exchange of inside air with outside air. Although no indoor environment can be made virus free, our new HVAC system does provide us with circulation of fresh air. At the time of the HVAC installation, she participated in the painting project for the foyer, Evelyn’s Room, one of the restrooms and the preschool room. She then oversaw the repair of the compressor for the mini-splits. Most recently she joined the leaf mowing/mulching teams for autumn grounds maintenance.
Deb has recently begun communicating with the newly formed Safety Committee. Soon, Deb will supervise the implementation of safety changes to the building, once the Board of Trustees directs the Committee to do so.
What does Deb like most about her role as Chairperson of the Building and Grounds Committee? “The volunteers.” she quickly replies with a broad smile. “Folks show up to help. Not just the committee members, but volunteers from within the larger congregation.”
THANK YOU, DEB! We are all here to help however we are able.
Oh, and BTW, thanks also for your guitar and drum performances at our Sunday Services. We are ever so grateful for your many, many talents.
by Carolyn Shorkey
Coming together here, we warm each other’s hearts in the darkness.
The Sun, far away, yearns to embrace us in Her warmth once again.
But this is our time to journey into the depths of the darkness.
This is the time to surrender and listen deep to our souls.
This is the time to close our eyes, slow down and be lulled by the darkness.
Our blessed Mother Gaia dwells within the darkness.
Inhale the song of Her soul, Her soil, Her dark caves, Her rich dark humus.
Mother Earth welcomes you into the darkness.
Walk with confidence, all people, walk safely into the darkness.
Let us love the night, the moon, the stars, the planets, the Seven Sisters high above.
Revel in this other half of our lives, the darkness.
The beauty of the dark earth, the darkness of skin, the dark curves of mountain roads,
The Seven Sister Mountains in their powerful darkness, presiding over Black Mountain,
Our dark blood, our Earth, our deepest selves, the darkness.
November 16, 2010
Your friend is the field where you sow with love
and harvest with gratitude.
He is your home, he is your table.
Even when he is silent, two hearts continue to talk.
When you have to leave him, don't suffer,
for you will see the importance of the friendship all the better because of this absence,
just as a mountain climber sees the landscape around him better when he is far from the plains.
May you be able to share with your friend all that is good.
Let him know and share not only your moments of joy but also your
moments of sorrow.
And know that a friend is not by your side to help you kill the time, but rather to help you enjoy life in all its fullness.
December 6 - Ruth Hubbard Lovensohn
December 10 - Deb Evenchik
December 11 - Diane Hutchins
December 18 - Ray Stein
December 21 - Jane Carroll
December 27 - Michelle Neff
|The Auction Results Are In
… and Everyone Benefits!
Our UUCSV congregation is a generous group, there’s no doubt about that. On a regular basis we donate our time, knowledge, experience, energy, and, of course, money—and not just within the UU community, but in the larger world around us. We serve on committees, boards, task forces, and study groups; we bring in support for our congregation from area businesses, nonprofits, and individuals, and in turn we help out others in their need.
This year, as in the past two, dozens of Black Mountain-area businesses joined scores of UUCSV members in donating items and services to be sold at our Third Annual Auction. One result of that generosity is that the auction brought in more than $12,000 this year—well above our original goal of $10,000! To all those who participated, donated, purchased, and took part, we are grateful.
Now for the best part. As part of our community giving, we had determined that 40% of our proceeds would go to The Original Thomas Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church Restoration Corporation—meaning that, early in December, the group restoring that historic church building will receive approximately $4,800 from us UUs!
For anyone unfamiliar with Thomas Chapel, Black Mountain’s first Black congregation was established in 1892 by descendants of freed slaves. The 1922 building currently being restored, at 300 Cragmont Road, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
Heidi Blozan, who is one of those UUCSV members who serves unstintingly—on our Board, on the Auction Committee, as a Greeter, and as Vanna White on Auction Night — will present a check in that amount to Sybil Argintar, chair of the Restoration Corporation.
What a fortunate congregation of people we are!
November 18, 2021
Lee Reading, our volunteer treasurer, reported the positive news that the balance sheet is gaining ground. We are within $4,000 in liquid assets to where we were a year ago. Income/expense statement for this fiscal year is also on a positive trend.
Evan reported that the auction raised about $11,600 with about $7000 going toward the church operating budget and about $4500 for Thomas Chapel. Many thanks to Auction Committee members for a successful event!
Evan reported that he has talked to various people about serving on the soon to be formed, Stewardship Committee. Larry Pearlman has agreed to represent the Auction Committee, and Evan continues to seek other members.
Jackie reported the following from the Building and Grounds Committee: (BAG) Deb has begun manually turning on the outside ventilation system during indoor gatherings to ensure adequate ventilation. A new smoke detector and a CO2 indicator have been installed, as per the Fire Inspector recommendations. Fire extinguisher training was held at the Black Mountain Fire Dept. attended by 6 people from our congregation. Leaf mulching and composting is finishing up for the season.
Rose reported for the Membership Committee that two new members have joined UUCSV and that the proposed UU101 class is on hold.
Susan reported that our Religious Education (RE) program for families with children were treated to a Pizza Social hosted by Deb and Ro. Special thanks to Deb and Ro for hosting! Sunday morning education for children continues to be offered Online. Many of our children have already received their first vaccination.
The Board has asked the Building and Ground Committee to review the current policies for gaining access to the building when staff is not there, to evaluate the effectiveness of the policies and procedures for keeping the building safely locked.
The Board then heard a presentation by Evan about being prepared if an armed intruder enters our building. This was followed by a training video on the same subject. A Board member has been locking the church building once the service starts on Sunday mornings. The discussion moved to discussing strategies to gradually educate the congregation about the need to prepare for the possibility of armed intruders.
Respectfully submitted by Milton Warden, Board Secretary
Next Regular Board meeting: January 27th @ 6:00 p.m.
Peace is very important in my life, having decided many decades ago to promote non-violent actions for justice and freedom etc. I call myself a pacifist even. I don't think they have any meetings.
My youngest son came along about 42 years ago, when I was thinking seriously about how I was living my beliefs. I named him Tai.
In the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes (1950 edition), the hexagram for Peace is T'ai, represented by the Receptive/Earth above the Creative/Heaven. It seemed important enough for me to use this symbol for a young person's name.
Learning more about T'ai, the I Ching says "all things bloom and prosper...and the activity of man in his relation to nature is the work...that rewards him."
As always, the I Ching speaks of the people and culture of it's time, around 1700 b.c.e., stressing that peace is not a permanent condition and...
"Everything on earth is subject to change. Prosperity is followed by decline: this is the eternal law on earth. Evil can indeed be held in check but not permanently abolished. It always returns."
And rather than this situation leading to melancholy, "it ought only to keep us from falling into illusion when good fortune comes to us."
I also tend to think of Peace as one of those wonderful attributes like Beauty and Truth, something for which we work but never quite attain.
I was happy to recently see the R. Buckminster Fuller quote about Operation Spaceship Earth. It's certainly a challenge to change all our industries to support life rather than competition.
Next month for January let's try not having a topic, kind of giving everyone a break! So when you think of something profound, write it down and send it in - by Dec. 25! We continue to share some deep insights here!
by Barbara Rogers, editor
|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