Kindling the Flame: A Mad libs Service

Sunday, July 30, 2023 11am
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
A participatory service exploring the benefits of play which some play researchers describe as an essential part of being human. We will be using a madlibs format. Don’t know what Mad Libs is? Join us and find out!

Back to School (so to speak)

I’ve been taking the summer off from church.  Well, maybe not completely – I’ve partaken in a few services, had two Board meetings, and dealt with an issue or two that popped up during this time of relaxation.  Nothing major, though.  From my perspective, this past year – actually, the last two years – have been jam-packed and sometimes quite challenging.  For the church, the Board, and me personally.  So, I’ve felt that I needed, and maybe even deserved, some down time.

This time off has been restorative for me – easy days, with time to appreciate life, catch up on a few personal things, and even have a little fun.  The batteries have largely been recharged.  I find myself analogizing this time period with the summers I had as a kid, when the time off from school was a fun, stress-free, recharging period in preparation for going back to school.  I absolutely loved summer, but I was always, as they say, “really pumped” about going back to school.  I was caught up in the excitement of seeing all my friends again, anticipating whatever new experiences I might encounter, and wondering what my new teacher would be like.

Even as an old codger, I now have those same feelings.  It’s back to school (or, rather, back to UU Asheville) for me, and perhaps for you too.  It won’t be the same as last year; there is just so much new around us.  The pandemic is now under control.  We have learned from all the work we have done over the last two years.  Plus, we have a new “teacher!”  I’m over the moon with hope about how great Rev. Audette’s ministry will be.  We have the opportunity to re-imagine, rejuvenate, and possibly remake how we do church.  What’s it going to be like?  I am just so excited!  It’s gonna be great!

I’d like to think, though, that some wisdom not present in my childhood has seeped into my codger-hood.  That wisdom is to not let my expectations run completely wild.  In Rev. Audette, I believe we have found the ideal spiritual leader and Executive.  I have to refrain, though, from expecting miracles to happen.  Let’s not expect Rev. Audette to appear, wave a magic wand, and solve every problem anyone has, and be everyone’s absolute favorite minister of all time.

I really do believe it’s gonna be great.  But I also believe that greatness is gonna take time.  Rev. Audette formally starts August 1st – so it’s just around the corner.  Let’s be excited – there are solid and logical reasons to be so.  But let’s allow the great things to unfold in fullness of time, as we integrate Rev. Audette into our community and our lives.  Like the “school year” ahead, it will take lots of hard work, compromise, and more than a few mistakes to fully realize the opportunities that lie before us.  I’m up for that, I’m quite excited, and I hope you are too.

Clyde Hardin, President, Board of Trustees

Justice Ministry Calendar

UU Avl Events

August 8 – Justice Ministry Council meeting; 4pm; Contact Rev. Claudia for details

August 12 -The Anti-Racism Immigration Justice Action Groups invites UU Avl to support the Afghan Women’s Craft Collective Sale. Details here

Community Events & Beyond
August 13 – Exploring the 1619 Project: Going Deeper and Getting Clearer with Rev. Tami Forte Logan facilitating. 7:00pm, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church Sanctuary 789 Merrimon Avenue, and livestreamed on the GCPC YouTube Channel

August 15 – Pisgah Legal Services offers “Medicaid Expansion Community Forum”, 10 am, at the Ferguson Auditorium, AB Tech campus. Get details and register here

August 27 – Discussion of Octavia Butler’s award winning book, Kindred, the latest book for the GCPC Racial Justice Book Series. 7:00pm, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church Sanctuary 789 Merrimon Avenue, and livestreamed on the GCPC YouTube Channel

September 30 – 9-5PM, Reuter Center Beyond Land Acknowledgement: Toward Reparation and Healing

September 24 – Save the Date for this year’s Hunger Walk. Get details from this eblast sent out recently. 

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





The Enigma of Evil

Sunday July 23, 2023, 11am
Tobias Van Burn, Guest Speaker
Our first UU principle is to affirm the worth and dignity of every person.  Does that include Hitler? Putin? Sexual predators? What is the nature of evil, its origin and workings? How might we confront it?  Is Peace on Earth, without evil, possible?

–A sermon by Tobias Van Buren, member of our congregation and former UU minister 1967-79, serving churches in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and Beverly, Mass., after which he was a commercial fisherman in SC near Charleston.

Music will be provided by  Friction Farm, a husband and wife team of internationally traveling troubadours. Aidan Quinn and Christine Stay combine storytelling, social commentary and humor to create songs of everyday life, local heroes, and quirky observations. From ballads to anthems each song is filled with harmony and hope.


An Undeclared War

Sunday, June 16, 2023 11am
Rev. Dr. Neal Jones, Guest Minister
While our UU denomination focuses on racism, homophobia, and transphobia and the Right Wing foments a culture war and attacks our democracy, a war is occurring right underneath our noses which hardly anyone is talking about. On July 23, we will. Here’s a clue: you can’t achieve racial, gender, or reproductive justice without economic justice.

Rev. Dr. Neal Jones is a psychologist at the Pisgah Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. Born and raised in North Carolina, he earned his B.A. in Political Science from Wake Forest University, his M.Div. from Southeastern Seminary, and his Psy.D. from Baylor University. He has served as the minister of five congregations in North and South Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania, including the UU Congregation of Columbia for 11 years. He has also served as the chair of the National Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church & State. Rev. Dr. Jones teaches and practices a spirituality of personal wholeness, relational respect, and social justice.