Spring is here and I am so grateful to be in Asheville. It has been awesome to witness the vibrant colors and hues of green of the plants and trees in our neighborhood and lining the roads I drive to get to UUCA each morning. Spring also means our programs begin to wind down as we celebrate transitions (check out the calendar below) and launch our summer program:
Summer Magic – Hogwarts Summer Sunday School
June 9-July 11, 2019
Explore the 7 principles of Unitarian Universalism through the lens of the Harry Potter Universe. Leaders and assistants still need! Contact Kim Collins if you can help out firstname.lastname@example.org
We also begin preparations for the 2019-2020 Faith Development programs for children and youth. That means it is recruitment time! Our program is a cooperative program relying on parents and non-parents alike to nurture and accompany our children and youth as they explore spirituality while developing their UU identity. On Sunday, April 28 and each Sunday in May we invite volunteers to sign up in Sandburg Hall to join a teaching team, mentor or support the program in other roles (visit our table for details). This is an opportunity for faith development for the adults as well as a way of building inter-generational community. We have integrated numerous social justice activities for different class levels and the whole congregation. We welcome those of you engaged in social justice to share your passion with our youth. It takes the whole community to nurture future UU adults. As one of our volunteers wrote:
“Teaching our youth draws me into the life of UUCA in a way that nothing else does. It reminds me of what it is like to be a kid—both remembering my own experiences and seeing the new experiences of kids today. I marvel at the strengths of my fellow teachers, and the special fellowship that occurs among us. Because it is what we do in our program, I end up taking a deeper look at myself and my beliefs, and discussing meaningful ideas with adults and youth… And the kids themselves have literally taught me things that have changed the way I live my life. I’d be a poorer soul for having missed all those experiences!”
– Coming of Age Teacher
You Are Invited…
May 5 Coming of Age Credo Service. Led by our youth featuring their “credos” or statements of belief. One of my favorite services! May 15 Wednesday Thing Parent Support Group, 7PM; Facilitator: Jill Preyer May 19 Senior Bridging Ceremony during Time for All Ages. An opportunity to recognize an important life transition for this year’s high school graduates. May 21 Workshop: Racial Equity Engagement and Language- advocate Marta Alcalá Williams will discuss asset-based community development and language to equip participants to engage diverse communities with respect for the assets and ideas as they support and partner to reduce inequity. Details forthcoming. November 2 Workshop: Mental Health First Aid. Sponsored by the Pastoral Care Team. Training to help participants identify, understand and respond to signs of addiction and mental illness. Contact Rev. Claudia for details email@example.com
Sunday, April 21, 9:15 & 11:15am Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister and Rev.Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
One of the greatest gifts that we as human beings have is to bless the life of another. We can find in the Easter story the capacity we each have to bring about renewal, rebirth, transformation in ourselves and others through the blessings we give.
Sunday, April 14, 9:15 & 11:15am Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing humankind is learning to orient ourselves to how climate change is altering our planet in the most profound ways. This Earth Day we consider how we as a community can lean into the work of both repairing and preparing for the consequences of those changes.
Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z….NO! No snoring! This is NOT going to be a boring presentation. There will be slides with cute cartoons! There will be interesting information! Well, yeah, there will be numbers, too, but you’ll actually learn stuff about this congregation.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Follow the money?” Turns out that people in the know have figured out that if they understand how an organization gets and spends money, they understand quite a bit about that organization. That’s the reason there are people who WANT to be part of the Finance Advisory Committee.
But I digress…..
At the budget hearing you will be privileged to receive the detailed budget of the congregation. A one-page summary budget with notes is distributed for the annual meeting, but budget-hearing attendees get “the big one!” I’ll go over the details of our income projections and expense expectations, and then I’ll give you a little more information on what we’re planning to do with the money we will be receiving from the UUA Legacy Challenge program (Wake Now My Vision) that our Legacy Circle Committee was so successful at executing (yay team!!). The entire meeting takes less than an hour (I think I remember that correctly) so you might want to make sure you have a snack so you can last until 1:30.
I admit that there are no surprises in this budget, but still, it would sure be nice to see you there. We usually have 40-50 attendees, but that’s just 10% of our membership. How about if we try for 25%? See you there!?!
By the time this blog is posted, my lovely ancient mother will have turned 99-years-old, outliving her four siblings literally by decades. We are stunned by her longevity, but she’s a little less of herself each day, ravaged by the inevitable physical and mental declines of ancient age. But once in a while – though increasingly rarely – I get a little peek at the original ‘Marion’ who still inhabits, somewhere deep inside, one little corner of this now almost unrecognizable mind and body.
I see Mom several times each week, at her dementia assisted living facility just minutes from our house. Always a sweet and sensitive person, Mom had often spontaneously shared poetry she’d loved and memorized through the years. On a recent visit, she surprised me by reciting her favorite stanza from Invictus, a poem by William Ernest Henley.
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.”
The last two lines of Invictus declare, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Marion really isn’t the “master of [her] fate” any more. From dawn to dusk, her day is planned and prescribed by others. They choose her clothes, puree her food, and roll her wheelchair into activities that are far beyond her now-reduced understanding.
Honestly, my visits with Mom, who can no longer engage in lucid conversation, can be draining and frustrating. It’s a little too easy for me to disengage and mentally review plans for my own day. But Mom’s poetic recollection brought me right back into the room – fully.
What a joy and relief for me to think that ‘Marion’ still has one small part of herself that feels “unconquerable.” And it’s a welcome reminder to me to try a little harder to be fully present, to honor and embrace that “unconquerable soul” every time I visit.