The Upward Spiral

Here we are amidst candidating week, entering a very exciting time for UU Asheville. If I can’t think of anything to write about, I guess that’s on me!  I was thinking of a few different topics.  I’m not aware of any hard rules dictating the content of this blog, so I considered detailing a recent experience I had replacing some fiberglass insulation after the washing machine froze, busted, and flooded the basement.  Then I remembered one of the UU principles is (and I’m paraphrasing)….Be Kind.

So I’ll spare you that story, and say this:  last fall we did our Meet the Moment campaign, to raise our financial giving to meet our operational costs.  That campaign was exactly what it needed to be; many in our congregation stepped up and together we reached our financial goal.  But more than that, we did so with the understanding that we *were* then in a formative period of transition.  In search for a Called Minister, in recovery from the last few years of (fill in your blank here), decline in member engagement, a re-imagining of what it means to be together, and a re-imagining of our work when it is de-centered from whiteness.  In short, one of a very few defining inflection points in the history of our church.

Did I say we *were* in a formative period of transition?  I think I did.  It is perhaps clear to each of us that we *are* still in this period, in this inflection point.  In the coming days, we will complete our Vote for the Called Minister, and we will understand where we stand financially from the Annual Giving Drive.  The past year has been nothing short of love, labor, and investment in our re-emergence.  But our best works lay ahead of us, not behind us.  If you happened to be at the gathering on Social Justice with Rev. Audette last evening, you may have noticed it was standing room only.  Not the usual couple dozen folks that have been highly active in this area, but a packed room of folks ready to lean in.  A simple but powerful testament to our potential and what lies ahead.

And so begins the upward spiral.  We lean in, we engage, we give and serve, and the growth happens organically for each of us and for our shared mission of connection, inspiration, compassion and justice.

Will Jernigan, UU Asheville Board of Trustees

Justice Ministry Calendar

UU Avl Events
May 4 – Embracing Discomfort Book Book Study: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, noon, Sandburg Hall, bring a bagged Lunch;  7PM Zoom (contact Rev. Claudia for link)

May 7 –  8th Principle Voting Basics and Q&A – Childcare Provided; 12:30 p.m. in Sanctuary

May 26th, 7:30 pm & May 27th, 3 pm – Womansong Concerts “Love Your Mother (Earth)”, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, 20 Edwin Place, $20. Get details and tickets

May 27, 8th Principle Workshop (on-line): Building a Culture of Inclusion, 10AM – 2 PM; Facilitator: Paula Cole Jones sponsored by UU Justice Ministry NC

Community Events
April 27 – Dining Out for Life in support of WNCAP (WNC AIDS Project). Get details here how you can participate and support this important work. Contact Chris Winebrenner should you have questions.

April 29 – Peace Gardens is celebrating their 20th Annual Spring Fling. A full day (11AM – 5PM) of food, music, plant sales, art sales, and more. They are currently looking for vendors at $25 per table, as well as musicians, who will be paid for their performances. Contact for more information.

Next month…
May 6 –
Beloved Auction (Justice Ministry Partner)

May 9-10 – 
Racial Equity Institute training. Registration is now open for those interested. Complete this form to express interest. 

May 11 – “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.


Adult Faith Exploration – April/May

Faith Development Calendar
NOTE: Taste of Soul scheduled for April 27 is CANCELLED

April 30: Beltaine Ritual sponsored by CUUPS; 5:00 PM;
Meet at 
E. W. Grove Park

April 30: Last day to Suggest Amendment Ideas for Article 2! 
Any Unitarian Universalist may submit suggestions and ideas through an online form for ways they recommend modifying the Article II Study Commission proposal (PDF). In May, discussion groups will be organized to craft the amendments. Check the Article II webpage for more information and details! Submit your suggestions and ideas on the Article II proposal now!

May 4: Book Study with the RevsOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong; Book Study; noon in Sandburg Hall (bring a bagged lunch) or join us via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Contact Rev. Claudia for the link. 

May 5: Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM

May 6: Labyrinth Walk sponsored by CUUPS, Sanctuary, 4:00 PM

May 10, 17, 24, 31: Article II Exploration Series, Sanctuary, 6:30-8:00 PM
Please contact Rev. Claudia to register.

May 25: A Taste of Soul. Noon-1PM, Sandburg Hall; Bring a bagged lunch and join Rev. Claudia to learn about our Soul Matters Small Group Ministry.

May 27: Building A Culture of Inclusion; Facilitator – Paula Cole Jones; online, 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM.

Spiritual Deepening Groups
Covenant of UU Pagans – CUUPS.
Contact: Sherry Lundquist
Buddhist Sanhga: meets 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7:30 pm in Sandburg Hall; Contact: Sequoyah Rich, or Stef Garvin


Paula Cole Jones has agreed to offer her “Building a Culture of Inclusion” Workshopvirtually, to UU Congregations across North Carolina this spring! SAVE THE DATE – Saturday, May 27th from 10:00am – 2:00pm, for this four-hour workshop that will cover strategic steps to multicultural change. Paula will guide us through actions we can take to embrace the spiritual, cultural, and structural aspects of moving more fully into our vision of the Beloved Community through the lens of 8th Principle work. Whether your congregation is voting on the 8th Principle this June or otherwise working to dismantle oppression and deepen your commitment to inclusion, this workshop is for you!!! 

Other ways to stay engaged with the 8th Principle Movement

Join the National 8th Principle Learning Community Monthly Gatherings!If you are interested in participating, email Paula Cole Jones at 

Join the 8th Principle Learning Community Facebook Group via this link. 


UU Justice NC Call to Action – Tell your State Rep & Senator to Vote NO on HB 673 – The Ban on Drag Performances

Last week, NC lawmakers filed HB 673, a drag ban that would make drag performances illegal on public property or in the presence of anyone under the age of 18. A first-time violation of this law would be considered a misdemeanor, and a second offense, a felony. The bill joins a slew of other anti-LGBTQ+ bills currently in the legislature and a few more filed last week, including two more gender-affirming care bans (HB 808HB 786) and another license to discriminate in healthcare (HB 819). 

Take Action! Call your State Representative & Senator – Find their contact information here

Basic Script

  • Hi, my name is _______, I am a person of faith and one of your constituents.
  • I am calling in regards to the onslaught of discriminatory and cruel anti-LGBTQ+ legislation moving through the General Assembly this spring. 
  • And specifically, I want to urge Sen. ____ / Rep. _____ to vote against HB 673, the bill that would make drag performances illegal on public property or in the presence of anyone under the age of 18. Drag performances are an important part of queer culture and a form of art expression. Drag bans are yet another strategy to restrict gender expression and attack the LGBTQ community. 
  • I join others across the state in asking the General Assembly to focus on real issues like fully funding the Leandro education plan and increasing the state minimum wage (feel free to name other issues you care about).