Why does this congregation exist? Who are we supposed to be serving? These are basic questions that we should know the answers to when we make a decision to donate our time, talent and money to UUCA. I can’t answer those questions for you, but I can make a case that we are not just here to serve our own members (though we kind of have to do that at some level, right?) but to serve “our neighbors.”
One way that we serve our neighbors is to share our resources with them. As a faith community, we have chosen to collect money every month and donate it to a local non-profit organization, often becoming one of a very small non-profit’s biggest donors. So we share our wealth with our neighbors.
We have members who have 1) recently drummed up our support for the Blue Ridge Pride Procession and Festival, 2) assisted in offering a very well-attended, public workshop addressing the opportunity gap in our area schools, and 3) are planning a public program to reclaim Armistice Day, which was designated as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated on November 11.” That event will be here on 11/11 at 11am in our Sanctuary. So we share our talents with our neighbors.
And speaking of our Sanctuary, we have a campus which we support and maintain through your generosity during our annual budget drive. We pass your generosity on by offering our spaces to a wide variety of charitable organizations at low or no cost. Just in the past month we’ve hosted meetings or events for: Narcotics Anonymous; a young men’s mentoring group; Guardian ad Litem; Buncombe County Department of Health; HelpMate and Our Voice; a support group for people with ALS and caregivers; Just Economics; and the cooperative preschool that meets for a half-day every school day. So we share our buildings with our neighbors. In fact, about 1/3 of the time, our building is used by outside groups. That is really good sharing!
So look at that. You contribute your time, talent and money to UUCA. Then, our congregation not only provides the support and experiences one can expect from a faith community but also acts as a base to improve the lives of those beyond our faith community. That ought to give you something to mull over as you think about those beginning questions: Why does this congregation exist? Who are we supposed to be serving?
Sunday, October 27, 2019 9:15 & 11:15am Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
Join us for our annual service to recall loved ones (human and otherwise) who are no longer with us. Please bring a picture or memento for our “All Souls Table” so we may all honor their memory.
I just returned from a two-week break from routines, work and the news. I feel refreshed and re-energized. As much as I enjoy the challenges and joys of ministry a pause from it all helps me regain perspective. And so does the midweek experience of The Wednesday Thing. Thanks to the shared ministry efforts of lay leaders, volunteers and staff all are welcomed to participate in a time of fun, fellowship, worship and learning every Wednesday evening at UUCA. When was the last time you participated in this growing and nurturing faith development program?
Some join us for the meal at 5:45 pm, usually soup and salad (pizza and salad on 4th Wednesday). Others join us for dinner and Vespers, a short, reflective, evening gathering in the Sanctuary at 6:30. Some just come for programs at 7:00. Regardless of whether you come for one, two or three of the offerings you will experience the synergy resulting from the creation of a space that comes alive with your presence. During the past year I have watched as relationships across the ages develop over shared meals. I think that is how our sense of belonging to each other develops. We feel seen and known as we engage in conversation and get to know people outside our familiar circle of friends.
Last night, Brett Johnson and The Sandburgers offered an embodied, musical evensong service created for our multigenerational Wednesday Thing community. My day had been full and busy, and I was looking forward to a time of reflection and slowing down before heading home. The opportunity to sing, reflect and even move a little in community was just what I needed. Vespers leaders and approaches vary every Wednesday. Members are welcome to share their spiritual practices and creativity with us. There is always a spiritual experience that uplifts and challenges us to go deeper mid-week. Please contact me if you are interested in being a Vespers leader. We have guidelines and resources to support your effort.
After Vespers, I found myself with a multi-age group of dancers laughing and responding to the rhythms and facilitation offered by local dance instructor Lisa Zahiya. Dancing with some of our youngest UUs, experiencing their energy, laughter, and enthusiasm was delightful. Lisa Z will be back November 20 offering a Zumba-style program with Latin rhythms and simple choreography. While we danced, another group was in the Sanctuary listening to a TED talk about the power of vulnerability by Brené Brown. We are grateful for Noel Yovovich’s organizing this year’s TED talk series. Thank you, Noel!
This year we are offering on average two programs each Wednesday. On October 30 there will be Mask-Making Fun for all ages in Sandburg Hall. In the Sanctuary, the Odyssey program resumes with Gina Phairas interviewing long-time member and former Deputy Director of the Asheville Housing Authority, Larry Holt, about his life and UU experiences. He proudly identifies as a Unicorn. If you do not know what this is, well, join us and find out!
The goal of the Odyssey program is to invite the elders in our community to share their stories; the experiences that have made them who they are that are often unknown to many in the congregation. Too often we learn the most amazing things about people at their memorial services. We think that is too late! If you have any candidates you would like us to invite to share their stories, please let me know. Your suggestions and feedback for how we can continue to improve The Wednesday Thing are welcome. See you on the 30th!
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development firstname.lastname@example.org
Fibre Friends gathers at 1 pm the first Saturday of the month at 23 Edwin Place. There are about a dozen “regulars,” but there are a total of 24 of us on the email list. We are mostly knitters, but we do welcome all fiber arts, including several crocheters. Sometimes we work on personal projects, but our focus is on community donations. Working with our own yarns and those kindly donated (often anonymously), we produced the following in 2018:
For Room At the Inn: eight hat-and-scarf sets.
For Meals On Wheels: 43 washcloths, wrapped around bars of soap.
For Trinity Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Shelter: six hat-and-scarf sets, three separate hats, 20 scarfs, two boas, one reversible cowl, one cowl/scarf, and one shawlette.
Martha Shepherd delivered the Room At the Inn items, and my husband, Bob, and I handled most of the rest. I wish everyone could see how delighted the recipients were.
Speaking for my fellow Fibre Friends, we are proud of our accomplishments this year and welcome all who would like to join us in 2019.
Sunday, October 20, 9:15 & 11:15am Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
We proclaim that everyone is welcome at UUCA, but messages we send can inadvertently lead people to question that claim. How do we make it clear who we feel belongs among us?<i> Click on title to continue.</i>