Thank You Rev. Cathy

Interim Ministry is an important and challenging time for a Congregation. Add the challenges of the COVID pandemic and the unexpected and heartbreaking news of the passing of Rev. Mark Ward and you have a real test of a Congregation and Interim Minister. As we look forward to working with our incoming Lead Minister Rev. Audette, we’d like to highlight the amazing work Rev. Cathy has led during the past 2 years.

Interim Ministry is built around five development tasks or focal point areas: history, religious education program identity, interim leadership changes, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) linkages, and commitment to the future. Rev. Cathy reminded us that Unitarians have a long history in western North Carolina and Asheville. A Unitarian Fellowship was established in Asheville in 1950, grew into a church in 1962, and then moved into the current Sanctuary in 1972. UU Asheville has had a history of long, healthy relationships with Lead Ministers, a sign of a committed and mature Congregation.

Our religious education program has continued to thrive despite the challenges of COVID. A commitment to Religious Exploration remains a highlight and focus of UU Asheville and was strengthened during Rev. Cathy’s interim term. We continue to have a vibrant RE program with dedicated staff and outstanding, committed volunteers. Of course, the kids continue to be amazing, and we now welcome our little ones and their families into our new “Wee Worship” area in the Sanctuary.

After Linda Topp, our Director of Administration retired, Rev. Cathy worked hard to find the right person, the well qualified Wendy Motch-Ellis. A key leadership role at UU Asheville, the Director of Administration collaborates with many people behind the scenes to make things work.

The UUA’s assistance was instrumental in our successful Ministerial search. Rev. Keith Kron, head of the UUA Transition Office, hosted a well-attended training in beyond categorical thinking to prepare UU Asheville for an inclusive Ministerial search. His office was a key in working with our Ministerial Search Committee to connect with candidates.

With the leadership of Rev. Cathy, the Board worked hard to create our vision for a bright future of fiscal sustainability by establishing our four pillars; Care Connect, Annual Giving Drive, Long-Range Planning, and Legacy Circle. Our community is strong and looks forward to welcoming and working with Rev. Audette. So, as Rev. Cathy’s time with us winds down, please take a moment to personally thank her for a successful Interim Ministry.

The UU AshevilleTransition Team (John Bates, Nancy Bragg, Jensen Gelfond, Julie Ransom, and Buck Schall)

Learn About & Support Reparations in Avl

The Racial Justice Coalition unveiled a new campaign called Reparations Are Due.Our goal is simple: to show that there is broad multiracial support for Reparations in Asheville and Buncombe County.Do you support the local Reparations process? If so, you can show your support by signing our Reparations Are Due Pledge here.We have set a goal to attain 5,000 signatures on this Pledge by July 1 – We hope you and your circles will sign, achieving this goal with us.

Some background: 
In 2020, both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County apologized to Black community members for hundreds of years of harm they had caused or allowed. Our local Community Reparations Commission (CRC) has taken up the challenge of defining how the City and County should make amends for these harms. Recognizing just how hard that task was going to be, the RJC went all-in on Every Black Voice, our campaign to ensure that the Commission gets meaningful input from local Black community members to help guide their essential work. Every Black Voice remains our top priority, and we’re now launching a second campaign – The Reparations Are Due Campaign – to demonstrate the depth and breadth of community support for the Reparations process.

We gathered together over a hundred of our supporters last night to outline the rationale and purpose of the campaign and invite them to sign a Pledge of their support. We premiered an exciting new video produced by our teammate sparrow, went through some important local history, and then shared the content of the Pledge. A link to sparrow’s video, highlights from the call, and the full call (along with the Pledge) are all at the Reparations Are Due campaign page, in case you missed this launch event and/or want to share it with friends and fellow supporters. NOTE: This page has various informative videos).

The Community Reparations Commission (CRC) will soon be sending the City Council and County Commission a collection of recommendations. The City and County have affirmed their intention to follow the CRC’s leadership. However, if the CRC’s recommendations are appropriately bold in scope, they’re likely to encounter some resistance. Now is the time to let the CRC and our local government leaders know that this community supports deep and meaningful Reparations. We invite you to check out the Pledge today, and to share it with others so that we can meet our goal of 5,000 signatures by July 1. Together, we can and will continue to build this movement for collective liberation. 

In Solidarity,

The RJC Team

SB 20 Passed…What now?

The NC General Assembly overrode Gov. Cooper’s Veto of SB20. The law will take effect July 1st. THANK YOU to all who have taken action over these last few weeks to beat this bill. It’s a heartbreaking loss, and we will continue to advocate for abortion healthcare. The Reproductive Justice Advocates at UU Avl meet via zoom May 30 at 7pm. Contact Rev. Claudia for the link.

What can you do? If you are in the position to do so, please consider doing an urgent Share the Plate or other invitation to donate to our trusted partners, Carolina Abortion Fund. CAF operates a confidential, toll free helpline that provides financial, practical, and emotional support to callers in North and South Carolina trying to access abortion care. They serve all callers regardless of gender identity, race, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, ability, place of origin, citizenship, and all other physical or social defining factors. You can Donate Here. 

Adult Faith Exploration – May

Welcome! Our theme this month is Creativity. 

Faith Development Calendar
May  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 25 – Soul Matters Facilitators: Celebration & Dessert Reception; 7PM, SH

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
Soul Matters Groups – Conversation Groups, UU Writers Group and Creativity Matters group explore monthly themes Sept.- June. New groups form each Sept. Contact: Rev. Claudia

Justice Ministry Calendar

UU Avl Events

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 here

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

May 25th – Veterans for Peace offer “Peace Talks in WNC”, 7 pm, at 15 Overbrook Place. Get details here

May 28 Raise your voice with the Beer City Sisters at Rally 4 Rights, a free speech rally in response to the wave of anti-trans and anti-drag legislation introduced in the NC General Assembly. Rally 4 Rights will be held in Pack Square on Sunday, May 28 from 3 to 5 pm. The Beer City Sisters are joining forces with Blue Ridge Pride, Tranzmission, Arms Around ASD, Planned Parenthood, and other concerned citizens to give voice to how this legislation will affect our community. This is a City of Asheville Non-Permitted Free Speech Public Assembly and in light of NC’s new anti-protest law HB 40, we ask all participants to maintain the event as a peaceful rally. 

Next month…

June 4/5 – EAC Book Study: The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture, by Mary Pipher. In person Sunday, 9:30-10:45 am, 23 Edwin Parlor; Zoom, Monday 7-8:15 pm (contact Sunita for zoom link; Section 3: Awareness to Action

June 6th – Learn about income taxes and the decisions that may be made by the NC General Assembly that could impact revenues needed by NC, noon. Sponsored by the NC Budget and Tax Center. Get details and registerhere

June 12th – 18th – “Juneteenth Celebration” in Asheville. Get details about the events offered here

June 15th – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Walk, 5-7 pm, at Carrier Park. Get details here

June 15th– Leicester Reads Together: Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisisby Beth Macy, at the Leicester Public Library, 6 pm

June 16 – Justice Film (TBA) – No films July & August

June 21-25 – UUA General Assembly, Pittsburgh, PA

June 25/26 – EAC Book Study: The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture, by Mary Pipher. In person Sunday, 9:30-10:45 am, 23 Edwin Parlor; Zoom, Monday 7-8:15 pm (contact Sunita for zoom link; Section 4: Resilient Coping

June 26th at 7 pm. An opportunity to learn about the Jewish perspective on and origins of North Carolina’s death penalty Please be sure to watch Racist Roots, a 25-minute film (here is the link to watch: created by the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, beforehand and come ready to hear a panel discussion moderated by NCCADP Executive Director Noel Nickle. 

July 9/10 – EAC Book Study: The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture, by Mary Pipher. In person Sunday, 9:30-10:45 am, 23 Edwin Parlor; Zoom, Monday 7-8:15 pm (contact Sunita for zoom link; Section 5: The Transcendent Response

October 17th – Save the Date for Pisgah Legal Services’ 13th Annual Justice Forum with Mathew Desmond.