The Possibilities are Endless!

As we approach the start of a brand new church year, I am thinking about the future, of course. It is literally part of my job to plan for the future. My co-conspirator Jen Johnson and I have been planning for the launch of the new Religious Exploration year since this past March. We have a BIG program with many moving parts and it takes a lot of people to make it happen. No matter how much we plan though, there are always things that are completely different than we expected them to be by the time we get to this part of the year. We have certainly had challenges over the last few months, but we have worked together so well for so long that I am always optimistic about the outcomes. We have so many beautiful possibilities in front of us!

Here are some numbers for you: 56 families have registered for RE and we currently have 87 individual children and youth signed up. That’s a LOT of kids and we are very fortunate! This congregation has always been proud of our thriving RE program and we are proud to serve you in this way. With our registration numbers climbing, we need about 6-8 additional loving adults to have the program that best supports our terrific kiddos. That’s not very many people, but it would make a huge difference for Jen and I to know that our teaching teams are full before we launch Religious Exploration on September 17th. Most of our openings only require a commitment of 1-2 Sundays per month. You’d be on a team with other experienced RE teachers, have the support of RE staff and the Ministers, and the extreme gratitude of our parents and caregivers of young people, as well as lasting relationships with our children and youth. If you want to sign up or find out more info, please email me ASAP so we can find the right fit and get you oriented!

Now for the fun stuff! We have a lot happening in the next few weeks and I am excited to be able to share it with you all! This Sunday marks the return of Cinnamon Roll Sunday! All children, youth, and adult helpers who want to join the fun are invited to join us in the kitchen after the Wisdom Story during Worship this Sunday. Bring an apron and a rolling pin if you have one! We’re grateful to Jill Huebner for bringing back this beloved tradition. Sunday, September 10th will be a special All Ages worship as we all come back together to launch a new year! Religious Exploration kicks off on Sunday, September 17th with a teacher dedication and the first day of RE classes! Parent orientations for special programs are also coming up in the next few weeks. If you are interested in K-1st or 7th-8th Our Whole Lives and have not yet been in contact with me about it, please email me ASAP!

by Kim Collins, Religious Educator

Justice Ministry Calendar – September

UU Avl Events

UU Justice NC Zoom Action Hour: Two Part Anti-Semitism Workshop.  Abby Lublin, Executive Director of Carolina Jews for Justice will offer a two-part antisemitism training.
Sept 1 – 11AM  An introduction to antisemitism, white nationalism and how they intersect in our culture today.
Sept 8 – 11AM  Training to help us learn how to talk about different forms of oppression.
Both workshops will frame our learning in the context of ongoing violent antisemitic attacks, and how antisemitism is emerging as a central narrative in the 2024 NC election cycle. Join via this Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/91029655107 and sign up for the weekly Friday Action Hour promo email here. NOTE: Every Friday, 11AM  join our partner UU Justice Ministry NC: Zoom Action Hour 

Sept. 15 – 7 p.m.  In partnership with the Justice Film Ministry screening of “Eating Our Way To Extinction” the UU Animal Ministry Asheville Chapter will provide planet and animal friendly snacks.  Click here for details.  

Sept 25 – 9AM-5PM Registration still open for
Beyond Land Acknowledgement: Towards Reparations and HealingUU Avl is co-sponsoring this event.

Community Events & Beyond
Sept.5 – 11:30am-1:00pm, virtual panel of Reparations Commission Facilitators moderated by Racial Justice Council Executive Director, Rob Thomas. View on the RJC YouTube Channel by clicking this link

Sept. 14 – OLLI Inclusion Committee offers a Just Conversation on “Reaching Across the Racial Divide”, 2 pm, both in person and via zoom. Details, register  here 

Sept. 14 – An advocate training titled “How to Achieve Racial Justice in Housing”, 2 pm, offered by YIMBY Action. Get details and register here

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

SAVE THE DATE:
Oct. 7
– UU Justice NC’s State-Wide Annual Gathering – UU Fellowship of Raleigh. Join UUs from across the state for this celebration of our work in 2023 and a look ahead to 2024. The day will include music, panel discussions with justice partners, opportunities to connect with fellow UUs. Registration Coming Soon! 

October 11 – 6:30-8PM #UniteNC Tour: Accountability Town Halls hosted by Common Cause NC. Details and RSVP.

Oct. 17 – Pisgah Legal Services’ 13th Annual Justice Forum with Mathew Desmond.

 

 

 

 

Adult Faith Exploration – September

Welcome! Our Soul Matters groups are recruiting participants. We launch this month. Interested?  Sign up here. 

NEW PROGRAM: Registration Still Open
RSVP

Faith Development Calendar

Sept 6 1st Wednesday Dinner 6:00PM & Vespers 7PM

Sept 10 Soul Matters Launch Breakfast, 9:45-10:45AM, SH

Sept 11 Adult Faith Exploration planing team meets, 4PM. All are welcome. Contact Rev. Claudia for details. faithdev@uuasheville.org

Sept 28 Curious Conversations: Reparations; noon-1PM; SH; bring a bagged lunch

SAVE THE DATE
Dec 3 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

May 5 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

Spiritual Deepening Groups
Covenant of UU Pagans – CUUPS.
Contact: Sherry Lundquist sherry_lundquist@yahoo.com
Buddhist Sanhga –  meets 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7:30 pm in Sandburg Hall; Contact: Sequoyah Rich sequoyahrich333@gmail.com, or Stef Garvin stef@giftsintogold.com.
Soul Matters Groups – Conversation Groups, UU Writers Group and Creativity Matters group explore monthly themes Sept.- June.  Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

A New Season Begins

As schools start to open their doors, a new season begins. As an academic, I’ve always appreciated how UU churches follow the same calendar. Summer offers time off for staff and leaders; the congregation enjoys different speakers in the pulpit, church life slows down.

But now we speed up again. Water communion Sunday. New Member Sunday. Religious Exploration Sunday. Each one welcomed as a familiar piece of the life we’ve built together as a congregation, a faith community. I’m pumped. 

I cry most every Sunday, now, and that means my feelings are stretching their wings. I’m moved by the story for all ages. The pulpit speaker sparks my commitments to justice for everyone in all aspects of living. Kids are kids, freely moving from playing together to returning to their adults for hugs and reassurances. Adults surround me who I know carry pain as I do, and who come (as I do) to find comfort and acceptance. When gathered together, we know we are recognized as the best selves we can be. Love is at the center of our faith, and we live that faith together as the UU Congregation of Asheville.

New people are joining us in our expanding community. Individuals who’ve been looking for the approach to spirituality that we offer. Parents who want to build families of faith, rearing children who will grow up knowing themselves loved as they are. UUs from other congregations who now call Asheville home, bringing us their special gifts. All are just waiting to be invited to settle in through active participation and service to this new spiritual home.

New people like the Rev. Dr. Audette Fulbright Fulson, her husband, Ron, and their high school aged son, Mars. With her doctorate in Public Theology, our new lead minister has developed an educational and socio-spiritual process called ChangeCrafting, aimed at helping groups like ours be more effective public change agents while also tending our personal and communal well-being. Wow, simply, wow. What’s going to happen with us now? Who will we be next year at this time? Five years from now? What will be our role in making Asheville, Buncombe County, WNC better places, places where all people thrive, not merely survive?

So, to my siblings in faith—I challenge each of us to bring our best selves to UUCA and figure out the ways that we, as individuals, will be contributing to our communal life. According to our Mission statement, that is a life that “connects hearts, challenges minds and nurtures spirits, while serving and transforming our community and the world.” May it be so.

by Mary Alm, Board of Trustees, Clerk

Adult Faith Exploration – August

Welcome! Our Soul Matters groups are recruiting participants. We launch in September. Interested?  Sign up here. 

NEW PROGRAM Coming in September
RSVP

Faith Development Calendar
July & August – Summer Break (programs)

Sept 6 1st Wednesday Dinner 6:00PM & Vespers 7PM

Sept 10 Soul Matters Launch Breakfast, 9:45-10:45AM, SH

Sept 11 Adult Faith Exploration planing team meets, 4PM. All are welcome. Contact Rev. Claudia for details. faithdev@uuasheville.org

Dec 3 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

May 5 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

Spiritual Deepening Groups
Covenant of UU Pagans – CUUPS.
Contact: Sherry Lundquist sherry_lundquist@yahoo.com
Buddhist Sanhga –  meets 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7:30 pm in Sandburg Hall; Contact: Sequoyah Rich sequoyahrich333@gmail.com, or Stef Garvin stef@giftsintogold.com.
Soul Matters Groups – Conversation Groups, UU Writers Group and Creativity Matters group explore monthly themes Sept.- June.  Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org