The Grinch Whole Ruined UUAsheville

Sunday, February 27, 2022 11am  In-person
YRUU (high school youth group)
The YRUU group (high school youth) will share their original drama of how the Grinch tried to demolish UU-Asheville by unleashing a scourge on our community.


Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

Our hearts and minds weigh heavy with the people of Ukraine as we watch the news of the Russian invasion and listen to the dire warnings from leaders around the world. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, said: “A full-scale war in Europe has begun. … Russia is not only attacking Ukraine, but the rules of normal life in the modern world.”

After a restless night, I woke up this morning with this song written by Ed McCurdy in 1950, in the middle of the Joseph McCarthy Red Scare when the threat of war cast its dark shadow over the world, in my head. Pete Seeger was the first to record Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream that never made the top forty but was translated into several languages as it spread around the world.

Feeling helpless and depressed, I was reminded of this wonderful story that I read recently on Facebook about singer/songwriter and activist Pete Seeger who devoted his life to working for change. This story helped lift me out of despair and reminded me that we are not helpless. As the author of the Facebook post said, it matters who we are in the world. Here’s a link to a UU World article called, “Singing for Humanity” about Pete Seeger. A UU at heart, Pete officially became a UU later in his life and his story is inspiring and hopeful.


“In the 1970s, Pete Seeger was invited to sing in Barcelona, Spain. Francisco Franco’s fascist government, the last of the dictatorships that started World War II, was still in power but declining. A pro-democracy movement was gaining strength, and to prove it they invited America’s best-known freedom singer to Spain. More than a hundred thousand people were in the stadium, where rock bands had played all day. But the crowd had come for Seeger.

As Pete prepared to go on, government officials handed him a list of songs he was not allowed to sing. Pete studied it mournfully, saying it looked an awful lot like his setlist. But they insisted: he must not sing any of these songs. He took the government’s list of banned songs and strolled on stage. He held up the paper and said, “I’ve been told that I’m not allowed to sing these songs.” He grinned at the crowd and said, “So, I’ll just play the chords; maybe you know the words. They didn’t say anything about *you* singing them.”

He strummed his banjo to one song after another, and they all sang. A hundred thousand defiant freedom singers broke the law with Pete Seeger, filling the stadium with words their government did not want them to hear, words they all knew and had sung together, in secret circles, for years. What could the government do? Arrest a hundred thousand singers? It had been beaten by a few banjo chords and the fame of a man whose songs were on the lips of the whole world.”

In faith and love, Cathy
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister




Singing Our Songs

Sunday, March 20, 2022 11am  In-person
Guest speaker/singer-songwriter, Lea Morris will lead us in imagining a fantastical future. Send Rev Cathy a sentence or two about your wildest dream for UU Asheville, and Lea will spin your dreams into a song or two!
Lea was born in Baltimore to a father who toured the world playing trumpet in the funk band Black Heat and a mother who dreamed of opera while performing with her siblings in the Jones Family Gospel Singers. Lea was singing on the pulpit of the Baptist church where she grew up as soon she could speak. When she discovered the acoustic guitar as a teenager, she began teaching herself to play by writing songs.

Having shared the stage with luminaries including Odetta, Mavis Staples, Dar Williams and Anthony Hamilton, Leas sound seamlessly blends gospel, jazz, country and R&B into her own style – SoulFolk.


The Promise of Unitarian Universalism

Sunday, February 20, 2022  In-person
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
What is the promise of Unitarian Universalism? Join Rev. Claudia and worship associate Charlie Marks as we explore how UUism calls us to engage in the world today. How do we avoid despair and maintain hopeful engagement? Thank you to all who submitted haikus for our service.

Future Thinking – How Brave Are You?

fantasy picture of white staircase ascending left to right with a turquoise figure on a landing in the middle of the staircase, gazing out to a night skyI’m not sure you know it, but your staff is exceptionally creative.  Sometimes we’re so creative we’re afraid to try an idea because it’s “too radical.”  For instance, Rev. Claudia and I had several ideas to completely change our Sunday morning worship once we fully resumed after COVID.  What if we used up three hours on Sunday mornings by having faith development activities for one hour (for all—some age-appropriate, some mixed ages), a snack/social time for some time period, and a gathering time that would be worship?  Or, what if we changed worship so that it was an abbreviated service followed by breakout sessions of art, discussion, videos, etc.?  Or what if we just used one Sunday morning a month and called it Potpourri Sunday, and you wouldn’t know what was happening until you got here (and it would definitely be a happening!)?

In the UU seminar I attended at the start of the month, I listened to Dr. Anthony Pinn, a professor of religion at Rice University, as he spoke about going so far beyond “outside the box” thinking that it borders on fantasy.  The two facts that practically had me jump out of my chair were 1) UUism is wildly diverse in its religious underpinnings but always includes a strong justice element and 2) our church services look just like Christian worship (same form, different content).

He went on from there but I’m pretty sure the following idea is a blend of what he said and what I was thinking about when he was talking. You can give him full credit though.

What if our gatherings were designed to support individual justice work?  We could gather to examine our values and our feelings as we work for justice in whatever manner we choose (in our paid work, in our volunteerism, in our families).  We would not necessarily have a church-wide justice initiative, though we could. We could establish a reflective practice with other UU Ashevilleans and be accountable to/with our friends.  The time together could start with a worship form (or forms) that makes sense for this—inspiring words and music perhaps, a conversation-starting video, a drumming practice…. 

And why Sunday mornings?  Could this happen multiple times per week?  Weekdays, evenings, weekends?  What kind of building might we need?  Would we need a worship space with pews?  Would we need a space to hold hundreds of people? Would we still want to hold RE classes for school-age children and youth on Sunday mornings because it is probably culturally easier?  Is it?

This is fantastical future thinking, and it’s these kinds of ideas we hope you are thinking about, too! 

Here’s your assignment:  Who will we be and how will we act as a congregation once the critical phase of the pandemic ends and a new ministry begins?

Linda Topp, Director of Administration