The Power of Partnerships




The Power of Partnerships

One of our UU Asheville Justice Ministry partners is The Unitarian Universalist Ministry of North Carolina (UUJMNC -Yes, we love acronyms! Here is a link to my acronym sheet cheat. Please submit entries that are missing!) UUJMNC has supported our “UU the Vote” events that mails postcards to disenfranchised voters. Executive Director Rev. Lisa Garcia-Sampson works tirelessly as a compassionate advocate with NC and national justice partners by reaching out to our legislators in the General Assembly to encourage them to vote in the interest of our citizens for Medicaid expansion, to protect voting rights, reproductive justice and many other high priority issues that affect our state. It can often seem to be an endless struggle, but Lisa and her partners (including many UU congregations) are relentless.

Each Friday, the Zoom Action Hour brings UUs and allies from across the state to ground themselves in the power of community, recap issues of the week and plan action on issues impacting our state and country. They make phone calls, send e-mails, write letters to the editor and learn together. Tomorrow at 11AM, DownHome North Carolina organizer Isabell Moore will speak with us about Public School Strong – the fast-growing state-wide movement that is equipping local communities to fight for adequate funding, and against racist and anti-LGBTQ policies in our schools. You can join via Zoom Link: and sign up for the weekly Friday Action Hour promo email here. 

A few of our members attend Zoom Action Hour regularly:

“One of the best hours of my week… Community, education, action and really good music… I’ve learned so much, taken action on a wider range of topics than I would on my own and had 2 letters to the editor published on Sundays… I feel so grateful to have an opportunity to participate…”   – Bernise Lynch, they/them/theirs

“I believe the Weekly Action hours are great because: 1) they often have great guest speakers who talk about justice-related issues we would never hear about and; 2) they make it easy for you to help by identifying which elected officials to contact and providing suggested text for phone calls or emails.”   –Ed Prestemon

“I attend Friday Action Hour when I can… Rev. Lisa is tuned into what is happening in our state legislature in real time and gives us excellent information on actions that we can take to effect change. She makes it fun, nurtures our spirits and reminds us of the UU values that drive us to do justice work together.  It’s wonderful to be on a zoom meeting with UU’s from around the state of NC who are also passionate about social justice and to hear what actions they have taken in their home congregations….We hear from interesting guest speakers.  Recently the executive director of Carolina Jews for Justice led a workshop on understanding Antisemitism.”   – Joanne Fox

Consider joining us tomorrow, and be on the lookout for future events sponsored by UUJMNC. Their Annual State Wide Gathering is Oct. 7 at The UU Fellowship of Raleigh.  It’s an opportunity to join UUs from across the state to celebrate their work in 2023 and look ahead to 2024.. There will also be an opportunity to participate virtually. Register Here! I will be attending via Zoom and can host a watch party if you would like to join me. There might also be an opportunity to carpool. Please reach out if you are interested.   

In faith & grounded in community, we can make a difference,

Rev. Claudia Jiménez
Minister of Faith Development

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

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

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.