With sincere apologies to EBB, EBB fans, sonnet fans, & English teachers everywhere, here goes:

We love you our bidders, our volunteers, our donors
From scarves & dinners and paintings & hikes,
To vans & vacation homes & games & bikes
We wish we could have our Auctioneer clone ya!
We love you for how often you lifted the bidding pen
We love you purely, we give you highest praise
We love you fiercely for all the times your paddle you raised
We love you and the passion you showed to win!
Our Sandburgers always add so much to the fun
Our volunteers kept their smiles even into the 13th hour
Having been there since the rising of the sun.
But all we saw were smiles, no countenance was dour-
And no wonder, with your help, we had an auction well done
Together, People, love + fun+ giving = GOAL-MEETING POWER!!!!

The Spirit of Generosity

As we embrace the season of giving, let us open our hearts to the transformative power of generosity. In this time of reflection and gratitude, let our actions speak volumes about the depth of our compassion and the strength of our faith community.  Generosity is not merely an act; it is a spiritual practice that connects us to a higher purpose.  When we give with open hearts, we participate in a sacred act that transcends the tangible, weaving a tapestry of love and support that binds us together.

In supporting our faith community, you are giving to the sustenance of sacred spaces where souls find solace, hearts find healing, and spirits find renewal. Your contributions of time, talent, and treasure become a vessel for carrying out the essence of our shared beliefs and values. No matter how or what you give, you are investing in the spiritual nourishment of our community.  

Speaking of giving, let us not overlook the practical considerations that come with end-of-year charitable giving. The tax benefits of end-of-year giving provide a unique opportunity to contribute to our financial health while also optimizing your tax deductions.  Check out these strategies to optimize your end-of-year giving (Kang, 2022*):

  1. Donate appreciated non-cash assets instead of cash. 
  2. Consider using a donor-advised fund account, making tax-deductible contributions before year-end, and deciding on grant recommendations next year. 
  3. Donate cash from the sale of depreciated securities.
  4. Use a part-gift, part-sale strategy to offset capital gains tax from investment portfolio rebalancing at year-end. 
  5. Contribute appreciated privately held business interests or real estate.
  6. Satisfy an IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) through a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). 
  7. Use a charitable deduction to offset the tax liability on a retirement account withdrawal or conversion to a Roth IRA.

*Talk to your own personal tax advisor about current strategies to maximize your unique situation.  

If you’d like to make a special year-end contribution, contributions can be made through Realm from your checking or savings account, and through the office for IRA or Brokerage account and donor advised giving.  You can also mail in or drop off your contribution.  If you’d like to explore Legacy Planning, please reach out with any questions and we can help connect you with someone from the Legacy Committee.  

In this season of reflection and gratitude, let our generosity be a testament to the love that binds us as a faith community. Let us give in the ways we can, whether it be incentified as a tax deduction or not, for every gift, no matter how large or small, is an act of demonstrating your commitment to our faith community and the work of our congregation.  May the spirit of generosity illuminate our path, strengthen our bonds, and inspire us to continue building a community founded on love, faith, and shared purpose.

With heartfelt appreciation for all you do,

Wendy Motch-Ellis, Director of Administration

Installation of The Rev. Dr. Audette Fulbright Fulson

The act of installing a new minister with a congregation is a sacred act, and the service that incorporates its ritual is a powerful one. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville will be holding this special service of music, celebration, and installation on Sunday, Nov. 5th at 5 PM at Warren Wilson College Chapel (101 Chapel Lane, Swannanoa, NC 28778). Plan now to join us and welcome religious leaders from across the city and around the region and beyond, as they join us to celebrate. Reception to follow. More information about shuttles, parking, reception, etc. can be found here!

Justice Ministry Film Night: The Monarch: A Butterfly Beyond Borders

The monarch butterfly is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious butterfly in the world. It amazes us for what we know about its life and it tantalizes us for the secrets it still holds within its delicate frame – secrets that scientists and lay people in North America have been trying to unravel for decades.

We know that monarchs east of the Rockies travel thousands of miles every winter to specific sites in Mexico, while those west of the Rockies migrate to sites in California. How they find their way to sites they have never seen before remains a puzzle. Today, monarchs face environmental threats at both ends of their migratory route. This beautiful documentary looks at what we now know but more importantly it reveals what we still do not know about this amazing creature.

The migratory monarch butterfly is now classified as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

YOU can help avert monarch extinction. UU Animal Ministry will provide attendees with a
handout detailing the current status of the butterfly crisis, and master gardener Jennifer Oversmith will share tips on how to create a monarch garden in your yard.

On Saturday, Oct. 7th, a garden area will be prepped on the UUAsheville grounds.
On Sunday, Oct. 8th, children and youth from RE are invited to participate in planting the garden along with the UUAM chapter! Everyone is welcome to participate in creating this special garden!

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 .

Justice Ministry Film Night Friday, October 6th, 7 PM
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville
One Edwin Place, Asheville, NC 28801

Reflecting on Our Actions: The Ten Days of Awe

As a Jew, the Ten Days of Awe, also known as “Aseret Yemei Teshuvah,” is a period of deep introspection and repentance for myself as well as other Jews around the world.  These ten days span from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Though we strive to practice self reflection throughout the year, the Days of Awe provide a sacred and dedicated time to pause, and truly engage in self-examination, seek forgiveness, and strive to make amends with others. The process involves reflecting on one’s actions, acknowledging mistakes, committing to positive change, and making a genuine effort to become a better person.

My faith has taught me that atonement is not about dwelling on past mistakes or harboring guilt; it’s about acknowledging our humanity and seeking the path to healing and reconciliation. It is a chance to mend broken bonds, not only with others, but in our commitment to care for and mend the earth, our relationship with G-d, and our own hearts.  Judaism also teaches that atonement requires action.  We must do the work and truly seek forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation directly with others.  We must replenish the earth.  And, we must mend our relationship with G-d.  We cannot atone by solely asking or praying to G-d for forgiveness.  We have to take personal responsibility and accountability for our actions and genuinely seek forgiveness and reconciliation.  

This is also a time to release the weight of resentment and anger, and instead, extend a hand of forgiveness and understanding. It’s a time to forgive others, not because they may deserve it, but because true forgiveness has the power to bring peace. And to be kind and forgive yourself, for we are all works in progress, and every stumble is a step toward becoming a better version of yourself. 

It may take time and work before we find the strength or are truly ready to forgive and reconcile.  It may extend beyond the years.  May these Days of Awe serve as a reminder that self-improvement and change is possible, that love and compassion are the keys to mending what is broken, and that embracing our true selves, acknowledging our flaws, and working towards positive change, can move us closer to a state of inner peace and harmony, and ultimately enrich our lives and those of others.

שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה (transliteration Shana tovah u’metukah)
May you have a good and sweet year,
Wendy Motch-Ellis
Director of Administration