Moving Beyond Woe-is-Me

Moving Beyond Woe-is-Me

In the mid-90s, I was writing my dissertation and feeling very sorry for myself. Alone in my office, I could see the outdoors and watch the seasons pass, one by one. Other people were out there, living full lives, and there I was, jailed with a *!*! load of data that I needed to shape into a coherent narrative. Although I recognized that not only had I had chosen this life but that it would come to a close at some point, I was feeling very sorry for myself and envious of others. It was not a good feeling.

Somewhere along the way, I had learned of positive affirmations that were not only positively framed but believable and possible. I shaped one for myself: “ACCEPT the now & CELEBRATE all that you have.” Slips of paper with these words appeared on my computer, bathroom mirror, bedside lampshade, and elsewhere. Whenever I got the woe-is-me/s, I’d stop and think of something to be grateful for in that moment.

The dissertation got finished. And the practice of gratefulness never left me. I’ve found
over time that the practice of gratefulness is closely related to the practice of generosity. And,
yes, I believe both are “practices” rather than “innate qualities.” This congregation, our church
community, provides me much to be grateful for. And so much of that is not about me. It is about
improving the world we live in. It’s about providing a loving place for little ones to scamper and
grow, guidance for the growing ones to learn compassion and tolerance, acceptance of youth as
they try out various identities. It’s about offering assistance to parents, companionship for
spiritual seekers, exploration of contemporary issues for everyone wanting to live ethical lives.
It’s about the daily filling of a street pantry for those without shelter, erecting solar panels/
digging rain gardens, tabling at Pride festivals to demonstrate support of LGBTQIA+ people,
getting out the vote to defend democracy.

“I am Mary Alm, and I approve of these positions.” What I can’t do, others do in my
name. And as I grow older, I rely on others more and more. Because of that, more than half of
my annual charitable contributions go to UU Avl. I see the work; I see the results. And I have the
common sense to recognize that without our staff, our physical campus, and the connections with
the wider UU movement, UU Avl could not do what it does, be what it is, for so many folks.
Asheville would be a different place without us, a lesser place. I am so grateful that UU Avl is
here for me AND others, that giving becomes a necessary response. One day, I will be no more
than a name on a plaque in our Memorial Garden. Before then, I want to grow my practices of
gratefulness and generosity.

Mary Alm

UU Asheville Board

Justice Ministry Calendar – February

UU Avl & UU Justice Events
Feb 28 – Join the Reproductive Justice Ministry team to discuss future projects including planning the March 6 Reproductive Justice Vespers; 6:30 PM; 23 Edwin, Parlor. Questions? Contact Rev. Claudia

UU Justice NC’s Friday Action Hour – Every Friday, 11:00 AM. Join via this Zoom Link: and sign up for the weekly Friday Action Hour promo email here.

February Project: UU Animal Ministry AVL Chapter
Our February project is a community drive for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate! Details here. Donations will be collected all four Sundays in February!  Look for the Brother Wolf box in Sandburg Hall.  THANK YOU!

March 6– Reproductive Justice Vespers. Details & RSVP

March 8 – Justice Ministry Film Night: Union Maids, 7PM Sandburg Hall; Zoom option, Contact Charlie Wussow at Check out the trailer and find more details here

March 12 – Justice Ministry Council,
Monthly meeting; 6:00-7:15 PM, Sandburg Hall. All are welcome. 

March 14 – Revs. Audette & Claudia will host a “UU the Vote Launch” watch party. 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM ET We enter the work of UU the Vote 2024 grounded in the current political and spiritual conditions of our faith and national community. The work that is needed in 2024 will require us to anchor in our power and connect authentically to mobilize UUs, voters, and our local communities. You’ll learn about the electoral work of State Action Networks (like North Carolina!), their partners in key states, and more! Rev. Lisa Garcia-Sampson, Executive Director of UU Justice Ministry NC will be a featured speaker at this event. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to Rev. Claudia

March 20 – Blood Drive @UUAvl. Details here.

Community Events & Beyond 

Feb 28 – Common Cause NC and two partners are offering “Advocacy Training”, 6 pm, to monitor the canvass of elections. Get details and register here.  

Planning Ahead
March 2 – Good Trouble WNC is offering a presentation on the upcoming election with Professor Chris Cooper from Western Carolina,3:30 pm, at  UU Asheville. Details and RSVP here.

March 2
 – Save the Date for the “Moral March on Raleigh” from the NC Poor People’s Campaign. Get details from this release.

March 11 & 13 – The YWCA is offering a 2-part in-person Racial Justice workshop. Get details and how to register here. 

March 19 – The NC Justice Center offers its “2024 Legislative Agenda Briefing”, noon. Get details and register here for this virtual event. 

March 20 – Blood Drive @UUAvl. Details here.

March 23 – Indivisible Asheville WNC offers its monthly canvassing event, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. Get details and register here

April 25 – This is the date for this year’s “Dining Out for Life” to support the WNC AIDS Project. Get details about this important fundraiser for WNCAP here. Learn about being an Ambassador at one of the many participating restaurants here






Dinner & Vespers: March 6 – Our Reproductive Justice Ministry

Dinner & Vespers: March 6 – Our Reproductive Justice Ministry

Our newly formed Reproductive Justice Ministry Team and Rev. Claudia invite you to join in and reflect on the meaning of Reproductive Justice. We will offer a time of ritual to honor the different paths we have taken whatever or reproductive story. Join us Wed., March 6th at 6 pm for a warm meal and after for a time of reflection & connection at our monthly Vespers service. Please RSVP.

March Justice Film

March Justice Film

Poster for Union Maids 1976 film

Sitdowns, scabs, goon squads, unemployment, hunger marches, red baiting and finally the
energetic birth of the CIO–the 1930s were a landmark period for the American labor movement.
Union Maids is the story of three women who lived the history and make it come alive today. It was
the first film of its kind–an oral history, using a wealth of footage from the National Archives to
chronicle the fight to form industrial unions as seen through the eyes of rank and file women.

UNION MAIDS is an oral history film made (possibly the first) from the first-person stories of three
older women activists who were veterans of the struggle to form industrial unions and fight the Great
Depression in the 1930’s and early 40’s.

The three women, Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki and Sylvia Woods, all came to Chicago as young
people, each getting involved in radical activities of the time. They are all natural storytellers; each
story is unique but all convey their desire to fight for the rights of working class people.

“This inspiring film will be a classic. It makes the 1930s live. It makes you laugh, makes you cheer.
It’s going to be shown through the years, to millions.”
Pete Seeger

Check out the trailer here. – Runtime 50 min

Note: This film will be shown in person in Sandburg Hall and on Zoom. If you wish to view
the film on Zoom, request a link from Charlie Wussow at . If you intend
to view the film in person, please RSVP YES for planning purposes.

Due to technical limitations, there will be separate in person and Zoom discussions

Justice Ministry Film Night Friday, March 8th, 7 PM

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville
One Edwin Place, Asheville, NC 28801

Because of You

Because of You

Dear Beloved Community,

Because of you, our religious exploration program is thriving! Because of you, we have filled our pews and moved to two Sunday services!  Because of you, we have already distributed over $11,000 to our community plate partners!  Because of you, we are thriving!  As we navigate through budget season, I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude for your ongoing support and commitment to UU Asheville. Your generosity and dedication are truly the bedrock upon which our community thrives, and I am continually inspired by the depth of care and compassion you demonstrate.

Please keep an eye out in the mail for your 2023-2024 current year-to-date pledge statement. Your pledge for this current fiscal year plays a crucial role in sustaining the essential work of our congregation, from supporting our ministers and staff to maintaining our facilities and outreach programs. Your contributions enable us to continue serving as a beacon of light in our community, offering solace, support, and a welcoming embrace to all who seek it.

As we approach the third quarter of our fiscal year, I would like to remind you that all pledge payments are due by June 30th. If you have not already paid your pledge in full or are making regular payments to have your pledge fulfilled by June 30th, please submit your pledge payment(s).  Fulfilling your pledge ensures the continued strength and vitality of our community, allowing us to fulfill our shared mission and values with integrity and purpose.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pledge or payment schedule, please do not hesitate to reach out to our administrative team. Your partnership and collaboration are deeply valued, and we are here to assist you in any way we can.

Once again, thank you for your unwavering commitment to our congregation.  Together, we are creating a brighter, more compassionate world—one pledge, one payment at a time.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Wendy Motch-Ellis

Director of Administration