April 2022 Vol. III: Issue 10
When I was in seminary and just beginning to really delve into Unitarian Universalism, I had to sit down with one of my professors regarding what UUs believed. We were talking about my spiritual journey and where my authority lay in how I walked my path. She could not understand (and this was a brilliant professor in the discipline of systematic theology) that my authority came from my "SELF" as opposed to a god outside of me. She wanted me to say that any authority regarding my ministry and how I served came outside of myself. I tried to explain to her that any god that was outside of me was also inside of me and so we perhaps were saying the same thing in a different way. At that time I identified as a UU Christian, and we just agreed to disagree and my grade was not compromised because of our disagreement.
This morning around 4:30 when I woke up, there was a text from a friend of mine who lives in Texas. She is a very wise, talented, and intelligent woman without much formal education, who happens to be very well versed in the art of healing with herbs and meditation. Thinking that something was wrong, I read the text and then called her. To my surprise she was still awake and had not slept the night before. She was very excited by the fact that she was asked to present a workshop and lecture on the very topic via Zoom in June. She said she was excited but it took her 4 hours to let herself be talked into accepting the gig. She told me that she wanted the job, but did not think she was up to it or deserved it. I empathized with her because I have been there. You see she was raised Pentacostal and she felt undeserving of any good that came into her life. She was not worthy, or so she felt.
She also was self-conscious because she did not have any formal training in this area of expertise, and yet she was chosen because her reputation proceeded her. We spoke for a bit and came to the conclusion that she indeed deserved this opportunity. She told me that last night she had prayed about it and had a dream confirming and affirming that this was indeed a great opportunity as she had been wanting to begin a new practice as she was holding on to a "gift" she was not using. To my mind, it all comes down to the question of authority. My inner authority can give me an outer authority.
If you think about it, you would become aware that credentials, certifications, authorizations, and validations all share a common definition. Each is a process where someone else tells if you are good enough or not. Yes, there are areas of expertise in which people must be well trained and equipped to handle the demands of their craft. No argument there. However, there are also judgments, attached to the words credential, certificate, authority and validity. These judgments can have a subtle and not so subtle impact on the human psyche. The implication is that something outside of you can make you okay. You may think that because you don't have the credential or the certificate, you do not have the authority to be. Perhaps you are afraid of not making the grade, not being okay in the eyes of someone else, thus you have convinced yourself that you are not okay.
But with the power of a made up mind, you are authorized to do anything you choose to do!
There is nothing more validating than a belief in yourself and your abilities. If you believe you have the power, the power is yours. There is no credential, certificate, or authority over the power of a made up mind. There comes a moment in your life where you will have to believe in yourself and your abilities. When that moment comes you must decide that you are going to believe in yourself. When that moment arrives, you become aware that outside authority is the icing and your made up mind is the cake! Up until now you may have been waiting for some outside authority to tell you that you are okay. Accept the fact that there is a place in you where you are just fine. Make it your business today to tap into the place.
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
April 3- Sue Stone, piano: 3 hymns, offertory, prelude and postlude
April 10- Second Sunday with David Reid, vocal and piano; Linda Metzner, piano for 2 hymns, prelude and postlude
April 17- Linda Metzner, piano: 3 hymns, offertory, prelude and postlude
April 14- UUCSV Choir; Sue Stone, piano: 2 hymns, prelude and postlude
Growth can be difficult. Of late both my children are wont to complain of “Growing Pains”, those deeply uncomfortable muscle aches associated with the young.
I’ve been going through my own growing pains of a sort. My growing pains also frequently but not always haunt me at night, and when bad can even wake me up.
Since my Dad died, grief sneaks up on me out of the blue and I am suddenly winded by hurt. The anxiety of living through the Covid pandemic has forced all of us to grow, change, or make hard choices. So many of us have suffered irreparable loss, but we’re finding a way to grow, adapt, push through.
Growth, while uncomfortable at times, is necessary and hopefully leads us to become who we were meant to be.
Sometimes of late I need reminding that it's not all unpleasant. I recall watching with glee and fascination as my belly grew and grew during my pregnancies. I am frequently taken aback by the still rapid growth of my children, and delight in seeing their faces beam with pride as they watch new pencil marks to match their height creep up our living room wall.
I asked for flower bulbs for Mother’s Day in 2021 and my patience and many hours digging last fall are finally paying off. I have been brought tremendous joy in seeing the growth of my garden this year.
I also just always loved the growth that is learning new things, and am ever striving to instill in my children (and others) concepts associated with having a “Growth Mindset” which values effort over results and seeking out new challenges. After all, we can’t easily stop it, all we can do is come to terms with the constant change, and try to look for the opportunities folded within.
by Susan Enwright Hicks, DRE
Lady Di - Our Church Arsonist
She is not sure how she got installed and tenured as the keeper of the Sunday chalice, but that is how you will recognize her. Diane Graham’s name just keeps showing up in the Order of Service for the lighting of candles for Joys and Concerns. On most Sundays, Diane arrives at church early enough to tidy up the chalice area and check to be sure our chalice will ignite and burn. A perk of this volunteer job is being able to stand up front so she can see who is in the sanctuary. That way she knows who is there and with whom she can visit after the service. So there you have it, the story of Diane Graham who has been grandfathered in as our church arsonist.
And just how she came to be called “Lady Di” is also a mystery to her. She was called Di in high school and never liked the nickname. But, having the title of “Lady” preceding Di suits her just fine!
Diane is a long time UU, having attended churches in Charlotte, Boone and for about 10 years, UUCSV. She has served as president of the Board of Trustees for all of these congregations.
One of her favorite volunteer jobs at UUCSV is being a Sunday Service Associate. She enjoys interviewing prospective guest pulpit speakers, putting together the order of service, as well as coordinating the music selections and readings.
Although she loved teaching high school seniors and Junior College students Literature and Composition, she doesn’t miss the piles of student writing she corrected for nearly a half a century. Her volunteer work at UUCSV is tons of fun, because it does not involve correcting papers! Rather, it provides her the opportunity to meet new friends and provide us with inspiring services, lovely flames of hope and sorrow, and congregational leadership.
We appreciate you, our own Lady Di!
The fourth annual UUCSV Auction will take place
November 6-12, 2022, both on-line and live!
So start considering what YOU can donate for our major fundraising event of the year. Watch for this logo wherever Auction updates are shown. As always, the most popular items are special events that bring our community together—dinners, interactive games, social events, service opportunities—so be as creative as you can in thinking about how YOU can be a major donor.
We also need your help right away in selecting the recipient of part of the proceeds from the auction. In the past, we’ve given to Bounty & Soul, the Thomas Chapel AME Church Restoration Fund, the Swannanoa Valley MLK Celebration and to support the UU playground. Who will be the lucky winner this year? Let Larry Pearlman know of your suggestions no later than April 15 so the Board can make a final decision at their April 28 meeting.
Andy Reed, Auction Publicity Chair
The Buncombe County Council on Aging may be just what you've been hoping for. This agency offers a variety of services to help seniors with limited incomes live their best lives in their own homes. Such services include energy assistance, Medicare savings, help paying for medications, and SNAP (formerly food stamps.) In addition, the Lifeline program provides free cell phones to access the Internet or reduced-price Internet service. The Council even has a handyman to do minor home repairs.
Does this sound too good to be true? Do you qualify? To find out, contact Vance Goodman, Benefits Enrollment Specialist at 828-277-8288 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, Vance will be at the Lakeview Senior Center on the 2nd Monday of the month at 11 a.m.
Why not learn what you qualify for? You may be pleasantly surprised.
by Tina Rosato
April 8 - Janet Hand
April 12 - Shelly Frome
April 16 - Carol Sheeler
UUCSV Board Meeting Abbreviated Minutes
March 24, 2022
Our volunteer Treasurer, Lee Reading, reported that our checking account balance shows an increase over the balance of two years ago. Our income and expenses statement is tracking positive through the first 8 months of the year. Lee has established the UUCSV Endowment Fund with the UUA Common Endowment Fund. Lee moved the $40,000 bequest from Phil Fryberger’s estate into the endowment fund, as approved by the Board last month. This establishes the first contribution to an endowment for the UUCSV. The anticipated return is projected to be about 4%. This return will be used to enhance our Music Program.
Lee has not had any success finding a replacement for himself as UUCSV Treasurer. Meanwhile, Lee is training our Office Administrator, Michael Donnan, to do some bookkeeping while Lee continues to search for a replacement.
The various committee Liaison Reports and full Board Meeting Minutes are posted on the bulletin board in the passageway near the church office.
Rose reported that Officer Fineberg will do an armed intruder training for the congregation either at the end of April or in June.
New Member Sunday is scheduled for May 22nd, with at least 12 new members.
The UU 101 class is planned for June 12th.
With the drop in COVID cases in our county there is interest in resuming the monthly potluck and the after church coffee hour. Since coffee hour requires recruiting volunteers, it was decided to hold a potluck first and use that opportunity to recruit volunteers to be coffee hour hosts.
Evan reported that 38 people have committed a pledge toward next fiscal year’s budget. The total pledged thus far is over $50,000. Another notice will go out in the Current asking people to fill out an online form and those that haven’t committed by April 1st will be contacted by phone. Overall, the canvass is doing well and is on target.
We will explore Amazon Smile as a possible fund raising activity for those person’s already ordering from Amazon. The auction will be held again and the ambitious goal will be $15,000.
Sally reported that the women’s group had a good turn out and is gearing up to be active.
Next Regular Board meeting: April 21st @ 6:00 p.m.
|Graduate Work in the School of Life
There can be no doubt the last couple of years have taught all of us much. I can’t remember the number of times I got to the grocery store parking lot only to learn that I did not have a mask! That was just an inconvenience compared to the number of times our plans to visit the grand kids had to be changed, postponed, or cancelled altogether. If we’re lucky our cautious and considerate friends only had to reschedule get-togethers three or four times for every time we actually did get together.
Our assumptions about how we wanted to live our carefree lives have been challenged, and we’ve adapted and worked our way to a “new” normal. That’s how the school of life works.
The fact that we have been resilient and worked our way to a new normal by no means is a guarantee that we will not be challenged again and again and again. In formal colleges and universities we hear much about those who have “terminal degrees” in their field–those with doctorates, such as PhDs, DBAs, EdDs, PsyDs, DSWs, MDs, DMins to attest to their professional expertise and qualifications. In the School of Life, everyone of us will earn our terminal degree, attesting to death or loss of a loved one, bereavement, and grief. We will, indeed, earn our PHD through Pain, Healing, and Discovery.
In the broad cultural society of 21st Century America there is a wide range of practices and traditions associated with death and dying. We’ve gotten pretty good at understanding end-of-life care, but we are still stymied in our ability to cope with sudden, tragic, untimely, and often horrendous losses of life. What we don’t do well, generally as a society, is provide meaningful, relevant, sensitive care for the bereaved. Most of us cannot find heart-felt words of condolence, so we say to the bereaved things like, “He’s in a better place,” or “Call me if you need me to do anything,” or “She’s no longer suffering, or “Given time, you’ll get over how you are feeling now.” Even our best efforts at compassionate caring somehow fall flat with such platitudes (and, some things people say to the bereaved reflect no compassion at all).
This past month, the Care Committee asked the congregation to indicate their interest in participating in a series of seminars that would help us prepare to be better caregivers and more effective in our grieving with and for the bereaved. While low interest may reflect the zeitgeist of our collective normalization after these past couple of years, we have, as a congregation, been confronted with loss through death. And, as such, we all can work on bettering our responses to those in grief. Over the next several months, I will share some thoughts through short articles in Tidings that may be of some assistance in that endeavor.
by Scott Traxler, PhD, GC-C
Registration Opens April 1st!
No fooling! SUUSI registration opens April 1, 2022 at 7pm EDT. If you haven't been to SUUSI before, the SUUSI website has a page of helpful information to help you get oriented. From the webpage, use the menus at the top to navigate to practical information about SUUSI (the "join us!" menu), programs for various age groups (the "by age" menu), and our planned events (the "by interest" menu).
Click on the 2022 catalog link to see the listing of all planned events for SUUSI or to search by event type. You can also view workshops, nature trips, and sports & games events on the pages devoted to those programs.
This UU summer event is held at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, July 17 - July 23, 2022. Theme this year is Gratitude!
When I think of growth all sorts of pictures spring to my mind: growth of children, plants, spirituality, all of which have a positive connotation to me. But when I hear that the index of economic growth is being released and the commentary on how important it is to keep growing, I think that we are losing our way.
Some countries have actually instituted a happiness index
instead of measuring economic growth as a sign that all is well. In this country, I guess that happiness index would get as far as the Department of Peace proposal by Dennis Kucinich. But the realization that current levels of economic growth are not sustainable on a planet containing 7 plus billion people is gaining greater acceptance, as some humans in industrialized nations
adopt living more simply.
At the current rate, climate disruption will take some of that choice out of our hands, but I continue to hope that we will
realize as well as take action to put economic growth into a broader perspective and find the many things that contribute to well-being rather than focus on economic growth as a
measurement of societal well-being.
By Suzanne Ziglar
Once again thanks to those who contributed their time and energies through their own ideas for this month's Tidings. Let's look at a theme for May of "Choices."
I'm sharing portions of an article I recently read about living with more consciousness of our environment. These are only the highlights.
By Lloyd Alter, Published January 7, 2022
"‘Taking The JUMP’ means going from a society where our mindsets, cultures and systems focus on ‘more stuff’, to a society where they focus on people and nature.”
Tom Bailey, the co-founder of The JUMP explains that…"The JUMP involves making six shifts, but they make it feel positive and fun."
Bailey explains: "Jump for Joy has been catalyzing, for people and businesses, the message that if we spend less time consuming, we have more time for creativity, care, craft, connections, camaraderie, celebrations, contentment—all these things that make life really good."
"Live for joy, not stuff, this is not about sacrifice, it is about living our lives more fully. Taking the JUMP does not mean we must stop consuming all together and go back to living in caves.
Dress Retro Limiting your purchases to three articles of new clothing per year actually makes a lot of sense when you recognize that "the clothing and textiles industry now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and shipping combined"
End Clutter "Our addiction to gadgets, and buying ‘stuff’ in general, is another contributor to carbon emissions.
Holiday Local The positive spin on not flying as much..." in North America with its long distances and crappy alternatives…one can still cut back and enjoy local holidays.
Eat Green The JUMP calls for a plant-based diet, reducing food waste, and eating healthy amounts.
Travel Fresh Use your car less, ride a bike or walk, or use a bus system.
Change the System We need to work on system change as well as personal change.
"So many citizens around the world want to act, but feel powerless and confused about what they can do. We need a 21st-century movement which gives citizens the clarity and the tools to start experimenting with the future we need. A movement which draws humanity away from the path to collapse, and onto one that leads to a joyful and prosperous future."
If you go to the linked “Take THE Jump, you’ll find a way to commit to 1 month, or 3 months or a year, and if you can't do 100%, to just do what you can.”
SOURCE: Treehugger: The Jump
As I finished typing these excerpts from that article, someone knocked on my door. It was friends telling me about yet another connecting service to try to get everyone's needs met, by voicing any concerns that each of us has (pandemic needs, food, shelter, transport, health care, other resources.) So I add their email here, as well as their phone number in case you wish to contact them. UNETE OR 828.273.9065
And it should also be mentioned that UUCSV is not giving any endorsement to these non-profit organizations. They are mentioned here for your possible interest.
by Barbara Rogers
|Beautification seed money
|The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley received a Seed Money Award to assist with two projects. The Congregation will be working with Eagle Scouts to install a Little Free Library/Pantry in front of the church. They will also be creating a new, attractive garden on both sides of the church's welcome sign.
|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 - Jane Carroll
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 - Contact RE Director Susan Enright Hicks
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, and Deb Evenchik
Annelinde Metzner, Choir director and piano
Sue Stone, piano