Celebration Sunday-Roots and Wings

Sunday, March 26, 2023  11am
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
This Sunday marks the formal conclusion of the Annual Giving Drive.  We will welcome new members as we celebrate with gratitude UU Asheville’s “being and becoming” with lots of music, a skit, and fun.  Following the service, there will be food, games, more music, and fellowship!

Don’t Dig

Leave your soil alone this spring. Please. And this means letting that rototiller collect cobwebs. Or better yet – give it away. Why you might ask?

Well, rather than making a comfortable growing space, tilling or deep digging to turn over the soil actually destroys the soil structure. All you need to do is copy nature’s cycle and add compost to the surface. Nature – the life in the soil and the plant roots – will take care of all the work for us. Who wants more work to do?

In his recent book “No Dig: Nurture Your Soil to Grow Better Vegetables with Low Effort,” Charles Dowding puts it this way: “Simple is best, and taking easier approaches that work well is clever rather than lazy.”

I’m good with that. There are plenty of other tasks in the garden that a lot of physical exertion. Not having to turn my soil is a great relief.

Kate Jerome, Garden to Kitchen Consultant

View From the Ant Hill. Lessons From Some Six-legged Friends

My childhood could be described as a series of obsessive fascinations. I was always in love with and enchanted by something. Sometimes these episodes would last a few weeks and sometimes much longer. A recent walk through the woods took me back to my “ant period.” I remember staring endlessly at ant hills, marveling at the constant flow of activity. Ants moved- back and forth, to and from the hill, always following a clear pheromone delineated path, carrying food and who-knows-what-all back and forth. The ants were indefatigable. They worked, and worked, and worked. If I stepped on an ant hill or knocked one over, there was such an immediate and impressive response. Uncountably many ants burst onto the scene apparently assessing damage and beginning repairs. They were quite an outfit.

At first, I was most taken by their amazing industry. Later it dawned on me that the well-oiled machine of the anthill required that individual ants place the needs of the community above needs of self. This seemed to be a quality that they all shared, something hardwired into antness. How very different from us. Human beings seem to be inescapably embroiled in constant negotiation between two opposing forces. One is the vision of achievement, the idea of what can be achieved, the thing that makes art, music, a building, or maybe just a well-organized sock drawer. The other is the siren call of a force that’s more difficult to describe. It’s something like a constant longing to be comfortably enfolded in the arms of a loving mother pressed against her warm body. It’s the stuff that makes it hard for us to get out of bed in the morning, to get moving, to expend effort, the thing that makes an easy chair so attractive.

Living in a privileged world, in a wealthy nation, surrounded by elaborate and remarkably capable technologies makes the enfolded baby bliss pretty easy to achieve. Worker ants have organized things in such a way that we can make coffee with little effort and sit and drink it while we’re entertained and stimulated by all kinds of colorful inviting screens. The acquisition of delicious food and warm comfortable clothing is just a click away. The baby bliss state doesn’t require personal sacrifice. After all, we are the important thing, and the world seems to be deliberately organized to keep us pleasured and comfortable.

The vision of achievement, however, sings a more difficult song. Effort is required and often the very best achievements can’t happen without personal sacrifice. Weirdly, human beings seem to regard effort as difficult and painful, unlike ants. We seem to want to avoid it as much as we can. In fact, the sterling achievement of our wonderful civilization seems to be that it’s organized in such a way that we just don’t have to work as hard as ants or our forebears. So when the vision of achievement arises within us, we’re confronted with a problem. We can’t have it without expending effort. We have to put something else above ourselves. We have to, at least temporarily, abandon baby bliss and embrace sacrifice for a greater good. To make matters worse, our paths are not laid out for us by pheromones. We have to hack through the brush and make them for ourselves. We do it, though, and for good reason. The vision of achievement includes things of unspeakable beauty, all that is good in the world of human creation, art, music, dance, architecture, and the list goes on and on. So we more or less gladly engage in the negotiation between the two opposing forces and move toward some kind of compromise, a balance between the vision of achievement and baby bliss.

It is with this view from the ant hill that I approach our annual giving drive. Parting with hard-earned money requires real sacrifice. It means choosing a greater good, in this case our congregation and our movement toward beloved community. UU Asheville itself is a thing of real beauty, the achievement of many people repeatedly making the negotiation between the vision of achievement and baby bliss in favor of a better world. Our physical facilities, staff, Sunday services, groups, activities, and our wonderful community make for one very fine anthill. It’s true that Covid stepped on us a bit, but we’ve come out scurrying around and getting things put back together. Thank you all for making the choice to put those simple comforts aside to keep us going.

Cliff Hall, UU Asheville Board of Trustees

Justice & Learning Opportunities

Immigration Justice: The National Immigration Law Center is concerned about President Biden reinstituting migrant family detention at the border. Go here to learn more and share your thoughts with the President.

LGBTQ Rights: In this segment from the PBS NewsHour, parents of transgender children and youth speak to efforts made by states to restrict the rights of transgender children and the toll it takes on them and their families.   

March 27th
 – The Redress Movement offers a webinar, “Lessons from the Field: Research for Repair”, 3 pm. Redressing segregation begins with understanding segregation. Get details and register here

April 11th – Pisgah Legal Services offers an “Immigration Lunch and Learn”,noon,at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Get details here

April 1st – A coalition of community groups are launching a neighborhood canvass and petition campaign to demand TDA Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) funds be used for affordable housing for service workers and for worker representation on the new LIFT committee. The campaign, slated to run through April and May, seeks to collect 2,000+ signatures of support to take back to the TDA (Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority) in June. It begins with a launch party and presentation at Different Wrld (701 Haywood Road) on Saturday, April 1st at 1 pm. To RSVP, go here. More details on the campaign, the coalition, canvass dates and times can be found here.  

April 11th – 14th – “Activating Indigenous Beats: Hip Hop Nativo Festival” at UNCA. Get details here

April 14th – 23rd – “Faith Climate Week” sponsored by the NC Council of Churches. Get details here

April 22nd – 23rd – Racial Equity Institute training. Registration is now open for those interested. Complete this form to express interest. 

May 11th – “Private Plunder of Public Goods: The Threat of Medicare Privatization and the Need for Single Payer”, a presentation of Dr. Susan Rogers, 7 pm, at First Congregational UCC, 20 Oak Street. Get details from this flyer.

Calls to Action

Action #1
Educational Advocacy

Release the Leandro Funds! This week, join the state-wide action, making phone calls to the office of the State Controller Nels Roseland and asking him to withdraw his Leandro motion and release the Leandro funding. 

State Controller Nels Roseland – 919-707-0471 

Basic Script *** Leave a voicemail if no one picks up. 

  • Hi Carmen. Thank you so much for taking all of our calls this week. 
  • My name is _______ and I am a resident of ________
  • I am calling to express my deep anger and disappointment about State Controller Nels Roseland’s motion to block the state from meeting its constitutional obligation to our children and undo November’s Leandro ruling. 
  • Because his motion was granted, it threatens to trigger a rehearing of Leandro despite no factual or procedural changes in the case. 
  • Our schools are experiencing unprecedented teacher and support staff vacancies, mental health needs, and challenges creating safe school environments. 
  • I join others across the state in urging you to withdraw your Leandro motion. It’s time to follow the North Carolina Constitution and provide children with the quality of education that they are owed.

**** When you’re done, Click here to send a follow-up email to Controller Roseland 

Action #2
Ending Gun Violence: Wear Orange is in 77 days

Moms Against Guns Violence is organizing the 1st planning meeting for Wear Orange on March 28th at 7pm at the Village Pub, 100 Fairview Rd. (Biltmore Village) Asheville

If you plan to attend please RSVP , so we can let Village pub know how many we are expecting

Why participate in Wear Orange?

Friday June 2nd will be recognized as the 9th National Gun Violence Awareness Day, followed by Wear Orange Weekend June 3rd and 4th.

Everyone who believes we can and must solve the problem of gun violence in America, will take action and stand together in a bold statement of resilience and fortitude as we advance our efforts to prevent gun violence. 

How Wear Orange Originated: 

On January 21, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student from the south side of Chicago marched in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade. One week later she was shot and killed on a playground in Chicago. On June 2, 2015 on Hadiya’s Birthday, Wear Orange originated. Wear Orange is now observed nationally on the first Friday of June and the following weekend.

Last Year:

On May 14th, 2022 at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY 10 people were killed and 3 were injured in what officials quickly labeled as “pure evil” and racially motivated. Of the 13 shot, 11 were Black and all 10 that were killed were also Black. Then 10 days later 19 elementary children and 2 adults were killed in Uvalde Texas. We had a huge turnout for our Wear Orange Event and would love to increase those numbers this year.

Now 1 year later: 

 As of March 19th Number of Mass Shootings Nationwide: Total shootings: 134 – Shootings per day: 1.72 – Killed: 217 – Wounded: 469

A mass shooting is defined as 4 or more people.