Democracy: The Fight

The warnings are, frankly, quite dire. I’ve been following Rachel Maddow’s tour for her book Prequel, which is an expansion of her essential podcast ULTRA, and she always notes: prepare for quite a year to come. But the same warning signs are up across the political spectrum, whether you listen to journalist Jonathon Karl (Tired of Winning, 2023), former “Anonymous” White House author/Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor (Blowback), Yale historian and Russian expert Timothy Snyder (The Road to Unfreedom, On Tyranny), professor and social media history interlocutor Heather Cox Richardson (“Letters from an American,” Democracy Awakening) or, of course, Liz Cheney (Oath and Honor) – we are in for the fight of our lives if we hope to be able to recognize the US as a constitutional republic after November of 2024.

I believe them, and I am preparing. In ways both private and hopefully, with you in ways that are public, I am readying myself to be a staunch advocate for the institutions and guardrails of democracy, and to actively support a robust voter turnout effort next fall. It may be an uphill battle; there are storm signals in the wind that have nothing to do with the presumptive Republican nominee, and everything to do with general unrest and a wish that things – maybe everything – were different. In uneasy times, it’s tough to vote for those already with their hands on the wheel. And these are more than “uneasy” times – with actual wars devastating real lives and exacerbating tensions among people of genuine goodwill, our ability to listen to each other and work together has rarely been more challenging.

Which is why I mention all this here in December, as most of us enter into what is set forth as a holiday season. The thing is, we’re going to need each other to be at our most effective, as often as possible, and with as many hands on deck as possible in the coming year (and beyond). So we need to find cycles of activity and rest. We need to be able to take care of one another and ourselves, and to find both some joy and meaning in the work. We need to remember that all of it is life, and so celebration, song, sleep, friends, deep reflection and meaning-making are all part and parcel of doing important, hard work for a long time.

So I hope you are finding time for yourself. Enjoy the deepening dark; let it be a season of rest and reflection. Read more. Stare into the fire. Cuddle with someone you love. Celebrate all that is worth celebrating. That’s the only way we ever make anything better – together. 

With love,

Rev. Audette

Registration is Open! Opportunities for the New Year…

The Adult Faith Exploration Planning Team invites you to consider the following offerings which launch in the New Year.

Soul Matters Group (conversational)A new group convenes in January; 2nd Monday, 1:30-3:30 PM. Interested? Curious about our small group ministry?
Contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org 

Demonstrating Our Values Through Eating (DOVE)
A  6-week Adult RE program exploring our daily food choices and their impact on our own lives and on life on Earth. Informative documentaries, fun cooking sessions, and more! Jan 11- Feb 15, Thursday sessions, 4-6PM Sandburg Hall.
For more information & registration contact Rebecca Bringle rkbringle@gmail.com
Facilitators: Rebecca and Robert Bringle

World Religions: Sacred Texts
Beginning January 2024, UU Asheville member, Amy Wright Glenn, the founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death and a long-time Unitarian Universalist will facilitate a 5-month study of Sacred Texts. Participants will meet once a month (via Zoom) and draw from Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The aim is to carefully read and consider a foundational text for each of these five wisdom traditions with the intention of deepening an understanding of the central tenets, debates/discussions, and practices/rituals affirmed in each tradition. All are welcome!  
Dates: Jan 28, Feb 11, March 10,April 7, May 5
Registration information and details here.

Taoism 101 
Readings and discussion based on the translation of Tao te Ching: Power for the Peaceful by Dr. Marc S. Mullinax, Mars Hill University 
March 13, 27 and April 10, 24 ; 6:00-7:30 PM, Sanctuary 
Facilitator: Dr. Mullinax
Registration TBA

Adult Faith Exploration – December

The Soul Matters December theme is “the gift of mystery.”
Our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this theme through conversation, art and writing. 

Below is a blessing from the Soul Matters Team: Blessing of Mystery

In the ever-unfolding mystery that envelopes us as we move through our lives, may we open up, extend grace, act out of love and curiosity, and above all, appreciate –for the mystery is the gift.
May we appreciate the mysteries of within and without, knowing we will forever be discovering both the twists and turns, lights and shadows of our own minds, as well as the tumbles, dances, and dynamism of humans in relationship.
May we embrace the mystery of childhood, when so much is raw and new and full of life; of young adulthood, with its beauty, heartbreaks, and becoming;
of middle age, wrestling, reckoning and coming to peace; and finally, of elderhood, where all of our accumulated knowledge and experience seems to expand exponentially into the vast field of that which we do know and may never understand, and we are again raw and new.
May the mystery hold us. May the mystery inspire us. May the mystery move us toward the Love at the center of all creation.

Opportunities for Connection:  A new Soul Matters group launches in January; 2nd Monday 1:30-3:30 PM. Interested? Contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org 


Faith Development Calendar
Dec 6 –
Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM
Dec 17  – Yule/ Winter Solstice Celebration in the Sanctuary. Sun., Dec. 17, 5:00 PM. Join Blue Ridge Spirit CUUPS for a festive ceremony of dancing, singing, and laughter to honor the return of the sun. It will also be a time of  reflection on the meaning of the shortest day and longest night of the year. Coming-of-agers and children of all ages are welcome! Please bring a dish to share for the potluck afterward. 

Registration is Open for Spring Classes!
Demonstrating Our Values Through Eating (DOVE) A  6-week Adult RE program exploring our daily food choices and their impact on our own lives and on life on Earth. Informative documentaries, fun cooking sessions, and more! Jan 11- Feb 15, Thursday sessions, 4-6PM Sandburg Hall. For more information & registration contact Rebecca Bringle rkbringle@gmail.com
Facilitators: Rebecca and Robert Bringle

World Religions: Sacred Texts Beginning January 2024, UU Asheville member, Amy Wright Glenn, the founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death and a long-time Unitarian Universalist will facilitate a 5-month study of Sacred Texts. Participants will meet once a month (via Zoom) and draw from Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The aim is to carefully read and consider a foundational text for each of these five wisdom traditions with the intention of deepening an understanding of the central tenets, debates/discussions, and practices/rituals affirmed in each tradition. All are welcome! 
Dates: Jan 28, Feb 11, March 10,April 7, May 5
Registration information and details here.

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

Spiritual Deepening Groups
Life Abundant –
Join Rev. Audette any Thursday at 10 am via Zoom forLife, Abundant – a weekly exploration of spirituality, science, poetry, biology & more. Zoom access information on our UUAvl website calendar.
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