Adult Faith Exploration – May

The Soul Matters May theme is “the gift of pluralism.” Our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this theme through conversation, art and writing. Below is a reading to consider as you explore this month’s theme.

Less Beautiful Without You
by Tess Baumberger
This place would be less beautiful without you
Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jew,
Hindu, Humanist, and Earth-centered, too.

This place would be less beautiful without you,
Your heart honed by hardship, grief, illness,
Seeking solace and comfort here among us.

This place would be less beautiful without you,
Filled with joy and gratitude,
Seeking celebration of life’s bounty.

This place would be less beautiful without you,
Curious, inquisitive, asking questions, 
seeking transformations emerging from within.

This place would be less beautiful without you,
Striving to resist a world that tells us
We are so much less than we can truly be.

This place would be less beautiful without each of us,
Borne here in this morning to seek heaven’s fire
in each other’s souls, our own flames rising to meet.

Faith Development Calendar
May 1 – Dinner, 6:00PM & Vespers, 7:00PM – Celebrating Our Work Together! Final Vespers of the Congregational Year RSVP
May 5 – Buddhist Sangha, meditation, 10:15 AM RE 6
May 14 – Buddhist Sangha, 7:30-9:00 PM, Sanctuary
May 28 –
Buddhist Sangha, 7:30-9:00 PM, Sanctuary
NOTE: 1st Sunday meditation resumes in Sept.

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. Last session May 30, resumes in the fall.
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; 1st Sunday Mediation Circle, 10:15AM.
Contact: Duanne Bigelow duanelbigelow@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.  New groups launch in Sept. Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

Eclipsing Challenges

Eclipsing Challenges

As we gather under the vast canopy of our shared sky, we are reminded of the profound beauty and mystery of the universe. A couple of weeks ago, we were blessed to witness a celestial event that captivated hearts and minds —the solar eclipse. Just as the moon momentarily obscured the sun, casting its shadow upon the earth, I thought about how we too sometimes find ourselves navigating moments of darkness and uncertainty.

Yet, in the midst of this cosmic dance, there is light. As our Annual Giving Drive is happening, I reflect with gratitude that we are making progress towards our goal (we’re at about 80% for those that are following along).

Like the gradual emergence of sunlight after an eclipse, your generosity has illuminated our path forward. Each contribution, no matter how small, has helped dispel the shadows of doubt and fear, reaffirming our collective commitment to the principles of love, justice, and compassion that define us as Unitarian Universalists.

Just as the moon’s shadow passed over the sun, temporarily obscuring its brilliance, we too face moments of challenge and adversity. Yet, like the sun, our community radiates with an unwavering light—a light that shines all the brighter in the face of darkness.

I am thankful for the leadership of our new Lead Minister, Rev. Claudia, our amazing staff, and the amazing volunteers in the church. This collective organism navigates the cosmic dance of change and transformation. Under its stewardship, we have witnessed the blossoming of new connections and the embrace of diverse perspectives, enriching the tapestry of our congregation.

Moreover, like celestial bodies drawn into orbit, new visitors continue to gravitate towards our community, captivated by the warmth and inclusivity that defines us. To all those who have joined us on this journey, know that you are welcomed with open arms and open hearts, as together we navigate the vast expanse.

As we journey onwards, let us draw strength from the lessons of the eclipse—a reminder that even in moments of darkness, there is always light on the horizon. Let us continue to support one another, to uplift one another, and to shine brightly as beacons of hope and compassion in a world that often feels eclipsed by uncertainty.

Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for your continued dedication and generosity. Together, we shine bright, illuminating the cosmos with the brilliance of our shared humanity.

With boundless gratitude,

Will Jernigan

UU Asheville Board of Trustees

Justice Ministry Calendar – June/July

UU Avl & UU Justice Events
June 28  – UU Justice NC’s Friday Action Hour –  11:00 AM every Friday Sign up for the Zoom link & weekly Friday Action Hour promo email here.

Mark your Calendar
Sept 25 – UU the Vote Post Carding,
Sandburg Hall, 4-6 PM 
Sept. 28 – Climate Justice Revival,
SH, details TBA. Sponsored by UUA’s Earth Ministry. 

Community Events & Beyond

June 29 – Indivisible Asheville/WNC and the WNC Vote Coalition canvassing, 11 am – 2 pm. Get details and register here

June 29 – The Poor People’s Moral March in Washington. For details and to RSVP for this event, go here.  

June 29 – Blue Ridge Pride offers its first “Stonewall Gala”, 5 – 9 pm. Get details and register here. There is a fee to attend.

July 20 – WNC Votes Coalition holds a canvassing event, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. Get details and register here.

Goodbye

Goodbye

My departure as your Director of Administration is bittersweet.  As Rev. Audette mentioned in our latest eNews,  I have a wonderful new career opportunity that awaits, and yet, I am deeply sad to be leaving you.

I am so proud of this congregation and the work of the board and volunteers over the past 18 months.  The lift around our annual giving drive, creating our four-pillar fiscal sustainability model, and the work of the long-range planning team is well underway.  I hope my contributions updating the personnel manual, supporting the transition of our new lead minister into the congregation, strengthening our staff team with hiring exceptional new staff for our communications and administrative specialist positions, enhancing our risk practices, tending to the needs of our buildings, and implementing google team drives will serve the congregation well into the future. 

I have loved serving and supporting the many committees and teams I advised.  The Leadership Development Committee has been incredibly engaged this past year, and my open communication and transparency with the Finance Advisory Committee has been greatly appreciated.  Our Auction committee is second to none in all they do to create an amazing event every year to support the work of the congregation.  And I would be remiss to not mention the passion and service of our special events, landscape, memorial garden, and legacy committees. 

I have developed wonderful relationships with so many people that I will cherish well beyond my time here, and we have a beautiful tapestry of humans who give so much of their time, talent, and treasure.  It has truly been an honor to serve UU Asheville.

I have no doubt that the congregation will continue to be a beacon of light and I want to express my sincere gratitude for the guidance, support, and opportunities to engage with so many of you during my time as your Director of Administration.

With love,

Wendy B. Motch-Ellis

What Matters in Community?

What Matters in Community?

As part of my work here at UU Asheville, I am compelled to contemplate “What is community?” Often in progressive spaces, and especially in progressive faith spaces, a common refrain is “It doesn’t matter who you are, you are welcome here!” I don’t like that sentiment. Yes, we need to create an inclusive space and third spaces need to be fully accessible, but… it does matter who you are! Who we are matters and should matter in community. We should reckon with the joy and rawness of each other’s lives. Details, identities, disabilities, and the very stories of our lives should inform how our congregation moves in the world. That’s actually something I like about UU Asheville, because it’s clear that those things do inform our work. We are a congregation shaped by our myriad of contexts, not a group of people that we are asking to fit into a prefab mold of what a UU congregation should be. 

But this extends beyond our walls and into our community as well. Last night I listened as my friend spoke with passion and anger about being on the bargaining team for Mission Nurses United, the nurses’ union at Mission Hospital. When someone asked them, “Why stay at Mission?” They’re answer wasn’t about job benefits, good pay, or how it’s a close commute. They’re answer was, “It’s my hospital. It’s the hospital I would go to if I was in an accident. It’s the hospital that my friend’s and family would go to. I stay only because I can make a difference through the union.” Our contexts matter, and they can shape the communities we build, but only if we choose to show up and participate in the ever-changing work of building a better community. 

Trevor Johnson
Connections Coordinator