Sunday, August 29, 2021 Live ZOOM
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
I’m delighted that North Carolina is home to beautiful waterfalls, mountain streams and rivers. My home state of Michigan is surrounded by the largest bodies of freshwater in the world and is also blessed with many beautiful rivers and streams. As residents of such an embarrassment of water riches, it would be easy for us to take this rare gift of fresh water for granted. The World Water Vision Report suggests that the world water crisis is not about having too little water, but is more about how we manage our water. Billions of people are suffering as a result of the mismanagement of our world’s water. Our Water Ceremony this year honors the sacred gift of water.
Here’s a link to the slides that were used in the Water Service worship service–all 76 of them!. Many thanks to all who contributed!
As I was scrolled through my digital pictures for our water service this week, I did a lot of reminiscing of the morning beach walks, expansive skies and dramatic cloudscapes that lifted my spirits when I lived in Florida. I return a few times a year to visit my parents who live next door to the house we sold when we moved to Asheville. A lot of beach photos and memories. The picture I chose was not one of those. Instead, I chose a picture of a sunrise at Beaver Lake in North Asheville. Walking or jogging around the lake has become my new morning practice, replacing beach walks at dawn. As I scrolled through those pictures, I have many memories of the three years I have been in Asheville. The move has brought new opportunities and experiences. I am still close to the water, and it still brings calmness and delight.
Similarly, UUCA is undergoing a move of sorts. A new interim minister moving us into a new chapter in the life of the congregation. Who are we? Who have we been? Who will we be?
We are also moving toward embracing online church as we begin another church year during a pandemic when indoor gatherings are not yet possible without appropriate safety precautions. Our Sanctuary has been outfitted for live streaming, which will be the next step in deepening our online ministry. In fact, from now on we will be offering hybrid programming in a lot of areas. We will have options for both in-person and virtual church in worship and faith development. And we will also embrace opportunities for outdoor programs and gatherings, especially this fall until we are able to gather safely indoors.
I invite you to consider how you will return to church this year. Our services will be live via Zoom, and you will continue to receive a link to the recording on Mondays.
- Check out our Zoom water service this year. Our programs will have both online and masked gathering components.
- Join our September 11 Memorial at UUCA. Our Music Director, Les Downs, will be playing piano from 4 to 5 PM while members and friends, individually or in family pods, walk into the Sanctuary, light a candle, and experience a moment of silence. Participants will then exit through one of the side doors in the Sanctuary. Masks are recommended and requested.
- Join us for the Blessing of the Patio in early October (tentatively October 2) to celebrate and bless the new outdoor space that will create opportunities for gathering.
- You might also consider joining us for the Halloween Parade around our campus on October 31. Details coming soon (as soon as we invent them!).
- You may also consider joining a Soul Matters group (formerly known as Covenant Groups) when they launch in October. They provide opportunities for connection, deep listening, and reflection. We are experimenting with a new group, Creativity Matters, which uses art to explore the monthly theme. I participated in the Creativity Matters pilot this past year, and it not only awakened my creativity but also helped in building trust and being vulnerable with my creations. And did I mention? It was fun! There was a lot of laughter and music in our gatherings.
There are many ways to re-connect with UUCA this new church year. I look forward to seeing you online and/or at one of our masked gatherings. Be well, Beloveds! Check in with each other. And cultivate delight amid the harsh realities of this time.
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development
Before Christine Hallquist was running for Governor of Vermont, she was David Hallquist, the CEO of the largest locally owned electric utility in Vermont. A self-described “closet environmentalist,” Hallquist is dedicated to addressing the way electricity use in America contributes to climate change. In this 2017 film directed by his son, Hallquist as CEO works to balance climate change with the utility’s charge to provide affordable and reliable service. As Hallquist struggles to build a transparent company whose honest approach can get stakeholders to accept the realities of how we generate and deliver electricity, he realizes he must apply that same transparency to his personal life and reveals to his son a lifelong secret. Dave Hallquist, who presents as a chainsaw-wielding, hard-hat-wearing CEO in a male-dominated industry is a woman inside.
“Stunningly well-made. Denial is that rare documentary that actually shows us change. People and understandings, as well as climate and sexuality, are represented as fluid – messy and disruptive, but life-giving. This is an eco-film where science and technology, personal and political conflict, humility, love, and aesthetic virtuosity forge unexpected and beautiful alliances.”
Marguerite Waller, Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside
“Denial compellingly merges our country’s refusal to accept the truth of gender’s complexity with our denial about climate change and a failed energy system…The themes of transparency, honesty, compromise, and complexity in relation to gender identity/expression and climate change render this film a perfect fit for courses in environmental justice, women’s and gender studies, queer theory, and environmental studies.
Dr. Katie Hogan, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
There is no charge for viewing the film. Donations are welcome (click DONATE on the left-hand menu or text UUAVL to 73256).
Send a request for the Zoom link to Charlie Wussow at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, September 8th. There will be a discussion after the screening of the film. Runtime: 92 minutes
Sunday, August 22, 2021 Live ZOOM
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
This month as we welcome our Interim Lead Minister, Rev. Cathy and prepare to launch our Faith Development programs in October, Rev. Claudia invites us to consider what faith development is, why it matters and what our focus will be this new church year. Religious educator Kim Collins will offer a reflection on our Family Ministry focus. There will be a virtual blessing of the backpacks, the briefcases/computer bags and purses during service. Rev. Cathy and Rev. Claudia invite you to pick up a special gift on Saturday 1-3pm in the parking lot that will be used during the blessing. We will be taking videos for the service, optional, of course, so we will be asking for your consent.
When the Reopening Task Force got close to concluding our work, we all agreed that what we were deciding was going to work “unless something changes.” Well, something has changed. And because Delta COVID + unvaccinated folks have changed the game, we’re changing ours.
Instead of September 12 as our reopening target date, we will now aim for December 5 as our first in-person worship service. UNLESS SOMETHING CHANGES. (See a theme?) I’m actually a bit pessimistic that we’ll hit that target because of the vaccination rate of children under 12, but we’ll go with that date for now and see what happens.
This decision was made by UUCA’s senior staff (Rev. Cathy, Rev. Claudia, and me) and is in keeping with the UUA’s “Guidance for Gathering in Covenantal Community”:
As part of our covenantal commitment to care for all, we encourage congregations to maintain a culture of masking while indoors regardless of vaccination status, and to take time to listen deeply to one another’s concerns and fears before making any decisions that might put members of the community at risk, either physically or mentally, with a continued practice of inclusion, covenant, consent, and care for each other.
This decision is for in-person worship services only. We are not “locking down” the building (yet?) so we are still allowing groups to meet in any room on campus, although we strongly encourage picking the largest room available for your meeting time. All buildings have had their HVAC systems upgraded with additional filtering and UV-C light treatments, so we feel that the rooms are aired out enough for group meetings. However, it’s important to practice inclusion, covenant, consent, and care for each other. Some of us are perfectly happy being unmasked in a room with other individuals, vaccinated or not, others would require everyone to be vaccinated, others will want to have everyone masked, and others won’t go inside just yet. So as a leader of a group, please get consent from everyone before finalizing a decision. Remember that the church Zoom account is always ready for action.
As for our in-person November 6 auction, Enchanted Garden, it will now be a somewhat Dis-Enchanted Garden on Zoom. Same date, different “venue.” PLEASE help our fabulous auction team by providing donations and attending the event. These hard-working volunteers deserve your support.
As for worship services between now and December 5 (or beyond), they will all be live online at 11am with a recording available on Monday morning. Sometime this fall we will switch from live-on-Zoom to live-on-YouTube once our amazing A/V techs learn how to use our fancy new video equipment in the Sanctuary. We will also be scheduling outdoor events in September, October and November so watch the Weekly eNews or our Facebook groups or our website for announcements (which you should be doing anyway—just sayin’)
Linda Topp, Director of Administration