Adult Faith Exploration – April

The Soul Matters April theme is “the gift of interdependence.” Our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this theme through conversation, art and writing. Below are a few questions to consider from this month’s packet.

What aspect of nature did you connect with most meaningfully as a child? A dog? A horse? A tree? The ocean? Lightning bugs? The rain? A path in the woods?

Do you think age impacts the way we care for the interdependent web?
Do you think age impacts the way we connect with the interdependent web?

Has a beloved young person ever altered the way you think about your relationship with nature or the planet?
Do you feel that “sacrifice” has a central role to play in addressing the climate crisis?
When was the last time you became thoroughly absorbed in the curiosity of understanding another creature’s life?

How has the place where you live shaped the way you understand and approach life? And yourself?

Faith Development Calendar
April 7 –  Meditation Circle; Buddhist Sangha; 10:15 AM, RE 6
April 9 –  Buddhist Sangha; 7:30-9:00PM; Sanctuary
April 23 –  Buddhist Sangha; 7:30-9:00PM; Sanctuary
April 25
– An Opportunity for Connection: A Taste of Soul. Curious about the Soul Matters Groups here at UU Avl? Join Rev. Claudia to learn about these groups as you explore this month’s theme: the gifts of equity and justice. In person, April 25, noon-1PM. To register contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

April 28 – Small Group Ministries Facilitator Meet-Up, 10:15 AM, 23 Edwin, Parlor
May 1 Dinner, 6:00PM & Vespers, 7:00PM – Celebrating Our Work Together! Final Vespers of the Congregational Year) RSVP


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; 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.  Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

Adult Faith Exploration – February

 

The Soul Matters January theme is “the gifts of Equity & Justice.” Our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this theme through conversation, art and writing. 

Below are a few questions from this month’s packet for you to consider:

What did “fighting injustice” look like in your family of origin?

Were you a child that wanted everything to be fair? Either way, how has that childhood relationship fairness played out in your adult life?
How do you differentiate between justice and equity? Does that distinction matter?
What personal or societal injustice has most shaped your life?
What have you learned about the relationship between anger and justice work?
When the enormity of injustice looms, what enables you to hold onto hope?What have you learned about balancing the competing desires to save and savor the world?

Registration Open!
Power for the Peaceful: A Class on Taoism
Are there Original Instructions on how to live the most responsible life? Yes! While you may have heard about such Instructions before, Marc Mullinax will invite us to explore how Taoism, a 2500-year-old set of original instructions” – a theory of everything” spirituality, still speaks to us today. Marc is a retired Mars Hill professor, author of a new translation of Tao Te Ching and frequent speaker in UU congregations in the area.We will meet Wed. evenings, 6:00 -7:30 PM in the Sanctuary,  March 13, 27, April 10, 24.
To register contact Jane Bramham janebramham@gmail.com 

Faith Development Calendar

Feb 24 – The Big Event, 5:30-8:30 PM, Sandburg Hall; Contact lrec@uuasheville.org for details
Feb 27 – Buddhist Sangha, 7:30- 9:00PM, Sanctuary
March 3-  Meditation Circle; Buddhist Sangha; 10:15 AM, RE 6

March 6 – Reproductive Justice Vespers, Dinner 6PM, Vespers 7PM. Please RSVP.
March 17 – Let’s Celebrate the Coming of Spring!
Blue Ridge Spirit CUUPS celebration of spring equinox, also known as Ostara, on Sunday, March 17, at 5:00 pm. Join in! This holiday marks a point of equilibrium, when dark and light,masculine and feminine, and inner and outer are in perfect balance. Ostara celebrates surviving the long, dark winter and honors the Goddess Ostara, or Eostre, after whom Easter is named. Please bring a dish to share for the potluck afterwards.

March 20 – Blood Drive @UUAvl. Details here.

March 28 –
An Opportunity for Connection: A Taste of Soul
Curious about the Soul Matters Groups here at UU Avl? Join Rev. Claudia to learn about these groups as you explore this month’s theme: the gifts of equity and justice. In person, March 28, noon-1PM.
To register contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

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; 1st Sunday Mediation Circle, 10:15AM.
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

Adult Faith Exploration – January

 

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

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

Faith Development Calendar
Jan 7 – Small Group Facilitator Meet-Up; 10AM; Sandburg Hall
Jan 25  –
Curious Conversations: What is happening in Justice Ministry at UU Avl? Sandburg Hall, noon-1PM; bring a bagged lunch. Facilitators:
Rev. Audette & Rev. Claudia
Feb 7- Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM

Registration Still Open!
World Religions: Sacred Texts Beginning January 28, 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

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

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

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

Adult Faith Exploration – November

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

Below is an exercise from this month’s Soul Matters packet:

Tiny Acts of Generosity
A person notices we forgot to bring our bus pass and pays for us before we have to ask. The neighbor shovels our driveway while she does hers. The nurse takes a half hour to sit with us while we wait for the results. It wasn’t her job, and she doesn’t have the time, but she did it anyway. In simple moments like these, the world suddenly feels less cold. Our obstacle course, winner-take-all view of life gives way to something softer. The world feels like a generous place, not a dangerous place. Our whole world-view shifts. All because of a
tiny gift of generosity. Has this ever happened to you? Explore your answer with a friend.

Opportunities for Connection: Soul matters groups are recruiting participants through December.  Interested?  Sign up here. 

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

Faith Development Calendar
Nov 1
Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM: Celebrating Gratitude & Generosity. Details here.

Nov 2
Curious Conversations: Bagged lunch series to explore justice themes related to collective liberation and opportunities for action. Sandburg Hall; noon- 1PM. Topic: Indigenous land acknowledgements
Facilitator: Rev. Claudia

Nov 5
UU Sangha, 1st Sunday Meditation Circle; 10-10:30AM; 23 Edwin, Parlor

Nov 13
Adult Faith Exploration  Planning Team, 4 PM via Zoom, Contact Rev. Claudia for link, faithdev@uuasheville.org. Visitors welcome.

Nov 14
UU Buddhist Sangha, 7:30-9:00 PM, Sanctuary

Nov 28
UU Buddhist Sangha, 7:30-9:00 PM, Sanctuary

Nov 30

Curious Conversations: Bagged lunch series to explore justice themes related to collective liberation and opportunities for action. Sandburg Hall; noon- 1PM. Topic: Reparations; Facilitator: Rev. Claudia

Save the Date
Dec 3
Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

Dec 6 Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM:

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

Adult Faith Exploration – October

Welcome! The Soul Matters September theme is “the gift of heritage.” Our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this theme through conversation, art and writing. 

A few questions to consider:
If you could talk to one of your ancestors, who would you choose? And what would you ask them?

What story told by (or about) your ancestors has shaped you the most?

What story do you want to be remembered by?

What is your favorite family memento? And why does it have such a hold on you?

Opportunities for Connection: Soul matters groups are recruiting participants. We launch this month. Interested?  Sign up here. 

Faith Development Calendar
Oct 1 UU Sangha Launches 1st Sunday Meditation Circle; 10-10:30AM; 23 Edwin, Parlor

Oct 4 1st Wednesday Dinner 6:00PM & Vespers 7PM

Oct. 10 – Facilitator Bagged Lunch & Meet Up, Noon-1PM, SH

Oct. 22 –  A two hour (1-3 PM) introductory class on the serious and persistent mental illnesses, treatments, resources and support for the caregivers. Details here. Register here.

SAVE THE DATE
Nov 1
Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM: Celebrating Gratitude & Generosity. Details here.

Nov 5
UU Sangha, 1st Sunday Meditation Circle; 10-10:30AM; 23 Edwin, Parlor

Dec 3
Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

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

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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

Adult Faith Exploration – September

Welcome! The Soul Matters September theme is “the gift of welcome.” As we launch the new congregational year and continue to welcome guests each Sunday it is timely to explore what we mean by welcome.
How do we welcome ourselves, our beloveds and strangers in our midst?
How do we “widen the circle of welcome? 

A few more questions to consider:

Who welcomed you in when you needed it most? How has that gift changed you? What would you say to the person if you had the chance?

What part of yourself is hardest to welcome in and embrace with compassion: Your vulnerable self? Your flawed self? Your easily frightened self? Your angry self?

What do you know now about welcoming in the present moment that you didn’t know when you were younger?

Theologian Joan D. Chittister said, “Hospitality is simply love on the loose.” Does that ring true for you?

Has welcoming change gotten easier or harder as you’ve grown older?

If you were asked to name 2 ways you could help make your church more welcoming, what would they be?

Opportunities for Connection: Soul matters groups are recruiting participants. We launch this month. Interested?  Sign up here. 

Faith Development Calendar
Sept 28 Curious Conversations: Reparations; noon-1PM; SH; bring a bagged lunch

SAVE THE DATE
Oct 1 UU Sangha Launches 1st Sunday Meditation Circle; 10-10:30AM; 23 Edwin, Parlor

Oct 4 1st Wednesday Dinner 6:00PM & Vespers 7PM

Oct. 22, 1-3 PM – A two hour introductory class on the serious and persistent mental illnesses, treatments, resources and support for the caregivers. Details here. Register here.

Dec 3 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

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

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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

Adult Faith Exploration – September

Welcome! Our Soul Matters groups are recruiting participants. We launch this month. Interested?  Sign up here. 

NEW PROGRAM: Registration Still Open
RSVP

Faith Development Calendar

Sept 6 1st Wednesday Dinner 6:00PM & Vespers 7PM

Sept 10 Soul Matters Launch Breakfast, 9:45-10:45AM, SH

Sept 11 Adult Faith Exploration planing team meets, 4PM. All are welcome. Contact Rev. Claudia for details. faithdev@uuasheville.org

Sept 28 Curious Conversations: Reparations; noon-1PM; SH; bring a bagged lunch

SAVE THE DATE
Dec 3 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

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

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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

Adult Faith Exploration – August

Welcome! Our Soul Matters groups are recruiting participants. We launch in September. Interested?  Sign up here. 

NEW PROGRAM Coming in September
RSVP

Faith Development Calendar
July & August – Summer Break (programs)

Sept 6 1st Wednesday Dinner 6:00PM & Vespers 7PM

Sept 10 Soul Matters Launch Breakfast, 9:45-10:45AM, SH

Sept 11 Adult Faith Exploration planing team meets, 4PM. All are welcome. Contact Rev. Claudia for details. faithdev@uuasheville.org

Dec 3 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

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

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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

Adult Faith Exploration – August

Welcome! Our Soul Matters groups are taking a break July and August. New groups will be organized to begin in September. Be on the lookout for an e-mail early in August inviting you to join a group. Might you be interested in being a facilitator? Training will be provided. Contact Rev. Claudia Jiménez for details faithdev@uuasheville.org


Coming in September

Faith Development Calendar
July & August – Summer Break (programs)

August 19 Small Groups Facilitator training, 10am-noon, RE Commons

Sept 6 1st Wednesday Dinner 6:00PM & Vespers 7PM

Sept 10 Soul Matters Launch Breakfast, 9:45-10:45AM, SH

Dec 3 Small Groups Facilitator Meet-Up, 12:30-1:30 PM, SH

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

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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. New groups form each Sept. Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

Adult Faith Exploration – June

Welcome! Our Soul Matters theme this month is Delight. Soul Matters Groups will have their final meeting of the year this month. New groups will be organized to begin in September. Be on the lookout for an e-mail early in August inviting you to join a group. Might you be interested in being a facilitator? Training will be provided. Contact Rev. Claudia for details faithdev@uuasheville.org

Delight Questions:
What age has been most full of delight for you?
What is the oddest thing you delight in?
What summer activity delighted you most as a child?
What word delights you when you say it?
Has delight ever helped you survive something difficult?
Have you faked delight in the past year?
Who taught you the most about cultivating delight?

Faith Development Calendar
June 12 – Adult Faith Exploration Planning Team; 4PM via Zoom; Contact Rev. Claudia for link faithdev@uuasheville.org

June 15 – Facilitator Celebration, 7PM, Sandburg Hall

June 29 -The Soul Matters UU Writers Group will be discussing Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer Sandburg Hall; noon, bring a bagged lunch; Rev. Claudia will bring dessert.

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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. New groups form each Sept. Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

Adult Faith Exploration – May

Welcome! Our theme this month is Creativity. 

Faith Development Calendar
May  31- Article II Exploration Series, Final session: Exploring the 6 Values; Sanctuary, 6:30-8:00 PM
Please contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org to register.

June 15 – Facilitator Celebration, 7PM, Sandburg Hall

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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. New groups form each Sept. Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

Adult Faith Exploration – May

Welcome! Our theme this month is Creativity. 

Faith Development Calendar
May  24, 31- Article II Exploration Series, Sanctuary, 6:30-8:00 PM
Please contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org to register.

May 25 – A Taste of Soul. Noon-1PM, Sandburg Hall; Bring a bagged lunch and join Rev. Claudia to learn about our Soul Matters Small Group Ministry.

May 25 – Soul Matters Facilitators: Celebration & Dessert Reception; 7PM, SH

May 27 –  Building A Culture of Inclusion; Facilitator – Paula Cole Jones; online, 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM.

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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. New groups form each Sept. Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

Adult Faith Exploration – May

Welcome! Our theme this month is Creativity. 

Faith Development Calendar
May 10, 17, 24, 31- Article II Exploration Series, Sanctuary, 6:30-8:00 PM
Please contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org to register.

May 25 – A Taste of Soul. Noon-1PM, Sandburg Hall; Bring a bagged lunch and join Rev. Claudia to learn about our Soul Matters Small Group Ministry.

May 25 – Soul Matters Facilitators: Celebration & Dessert Reception; 7PM, SH

May 27 –  Building A Culture of Inclusion; Facilitator – Paula Cole Jones; online, 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM.

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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. New groups form each Sept. Contact: Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org

Adult Faith Exploration – May

Welcome! Our theme this month is Creativity. 

Faith Development Calendar
May 3: Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM

May 4: Book Study with the RevsOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong; Book Study; noon in Sandburg Hall (bring a bagged lunch) or join us via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uusheville.org for the link. 

May 6: Labyrinth Walk sponsored by CUUPS, Sanctuary, 4:00 PM

May 10, 17, 24, 31: Article II Exploration Series, Sanctuary, 6:30-8:00 PM
Please contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org to register.

May 25: A Taste of Soul. Noon-1PM, Sandburg Hall; Bring a bagged lunch and join Rev. Claudia to learn about our Soul Matters Small Group Ministry.

May 27: Building A Culture of Inclusion; Facilitator – Paula Cole Jones; online, 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM.

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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.

Adult Faith Exploration – April/May


Faith Development Calendar
NOTE: Taste of Soul scheduled for April 27 is CANCELLED

April 30: Beltaine Ritual sponsored by CUUPS; 5:00 PM;
Meet at 
E. W. Grove Park

April 30: Last day to Suggest Amendment Ideas for Article 2! 
Any Unitarian Universalist may submit suggestions and ideas through an online form for ways they recommend modifying the Article II Study Commission proposal (PDF). In May, discussion groups will be organized to craft the amendments. Check the Article II webpage for more information and details! Submit your suggestions and ideas on the Article II proposal now!

May 4: Book Study with the RevsOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong; Book Study; noon in Sandburg Hall (bring a bagged lunch) or join us via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uusheville.org for the link. 

May 5: Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM

May 6: Labyrinth Walk sponsored by CUUPS, Sanctuary, 4:00 PM

May 10, 17, 24, 31: Article II Exploration Series, Sanctuary, 6:30-8:00 PM
Please contact Rev. Claudia faithdev@uuasheville.org to register.

May 25: A Taste of Soul. Noon-1PM, Sandburg Hall; Bring a bagged lunch and join Rev. Claudia to learn about our Soul Matters Small Group Ministry.

May 27: Building A Culture of Inclusion; Facilitator – Paula Cole Jones; online, 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM.

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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.

Adult Faith Exploration – April

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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.

Calendar
NOTE: Taste of Soul scheduled for April 27 is CANCELLED

April 30: Beltaine Ritual sponsored by CUUPS; 
5:00 PM;
Meet at 
E. W. Grove Park

April 30: Last day to Suggest Amendment Ideas for Article 2! 
Any Unitarian Universalist may submit suggestions and ideas through an online form for ways they recommend modifying the Article II Study Commission proposal (PDF). In May, discussion groups will be organized to craft the amendments. Check the Article II webpage for more information and details! Submit your suggestions and ideas on the Article II proposal now!

May 5: Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM

May 6: Labyrinth Walk sponsored by CUUPS, Sanctuary, 4:00 PM

MORE OPPORTUNITIES
BOOK STUDY WITH THE REVS
Join Revs. Cathy and Claudia for an opportunity to discuss novels (and an anthology) that invite us into covenanted, deep listening conversations about challenging issues. We will meet at noon in Sandburg Hall (bring a bagged lunch) or join us via Zoom at 7:00 PM.
Contact Rev. Claudia for the link. 
Next month: May 4  – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel
 by Ocean Vuong


Adult Faith Exploration – April

All our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this month’s theme: Resistance. If you are new to UU Asheville, Rev. Claudia will be offering “A Taste of Soul” to provide an experience of a Soul Matters Group. Check out our calendar below for details.

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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.

CALENDAR
April 13: Curious Conversations

The Case for Reparations; Sandburg Hall; noon; bring a bagged lunch
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
Facilitators: Rev. Cathy, Rev. Claudia

April 16: 8th Principle Panel and Q&A (in person)
Childcare Provided; 12:30 p.m. in Sanctuary. All are welcome.

April 27: A Taste of Soul
Noon-1:00 in Sandburg Hall; bring a bagged lunch or 7PM via Zoom
Experience and learn about our Soul Matters Groups. These groups offer an opportunity for practicing deep listening and theological reflection using the monthly themes to explore meaning and purpose in our lives.
Contact Rev. Claudia for the link.
Facilitator: Rev. Claudia

April 30: Beltaine Ritual sponsored by CUUPS; 
5:00 PM;
Meet at 
E. W. Grove Park

May 6: Labyrinth Walk sponsored by CUUPS, Sanctuary, 4:00 PM

MORE OPPORTUNITIES
BOOK STUDY WITH THE REVS
Join Revs. Cathy and Claudia for an opportunity to discuss novels (and an anthology) that invite us into covenanted, deep listening conversations about challenging issues. We will meet at noon in Sandburg Hall (bring a bagged lunch) or join us via Zoom at 7:00 PM.
Contact Rev. Claudia for the link. 
Next month: May 4  – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel
 by Ocean Vuong

Suggest
 Amendment Ideas for Article 2! 
Until April 30, 2023, any Unitarian Universalist may submit suggestions and ideas through an online form for ways they recommend modifying the Article II Study Commission proposal (PDF). In May, discussion groups will be organized to craft the amendments. Check the Article II webpage for more information and details! Submit your suggestions and ideas on the Article II proposal now!

Adult Faith Exploration – April

All our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this month’s theme: Resistance. If you are new to UU Asheville, Rev. Claudia will be offering “A Taste of Soul” to provide an experience of a Soul Matters Group. Check out our calendar below for details.

BOOK STUDY WITH THE REVS
Join Revs. Cathy and Claudia for an opportunity to discuss novels (and an anthology) that invite us into covenanted, deep listening conversations about challenging issues. We will meet at noon in Sandburg Hall (bring a bagged lunch) or join us via Zoom at 7:00 PM.
Contact Rev. Claudia for the link. 
Next month: May 4  – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong

Spiritual Deepening Groups
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.

CALENDAR
April 5: Dinner 6PM & Vespers 7PM. Mid-week opportunity for fellowship and worship. There is no fee for dinner. Please RSVP.
Vespers Leader: Rev. Cathy Harrington

April 13: Curious Conversations

The Case for Reparations; Sandburg Hall; noon; bring a bagged lunch
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
Facilitators: Rev. Cathy, Rev. Claudia

April 16: 8th Principle Panel and Q&A (in person)
Childcare Provided; 12:30 p.m. in Sanctuary. All are welcome.

April 27: A Taste of Soul
Noon-1:00 in Sandburg Hall; bring a bagged lunch or 7PM via Zoom
Experience and learn about our Soul Matters Groups. These groups offer an opportunity for practicing deep listening and theological reflection using the monthly themes to explore meaning and purpose in our lives.
Contact Rev. Claudia for the link.
Facilitator: Rev. Claudia

MORE OPPORTUNITIES
Online UU Theology Series – Open to All!
Wednesdays, April 12-May 17
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Eastern (virtual event)
The Faith Forward program out of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas is excited to offer an online session of our UU Theology series for all congregations! This series explores theological concepts through a Unitarian Universalist lens and helps participants clarify and act on their beliefs. Cost $25 per person. For more information or to register, email Faith Forward Coordinator Rev. Lora Brandis at lbrandis@dallasuu.org. Scholarships available. Contact Rev. Claudia for details.

Suggest Amendment Ideas for Article 2! 
Until April 30, 2023, any Unitarian Universalist may submit suggestions and ideas through an online form for ways they recommend modifying the Article II Study Commission proposal (PDF). In May, discussion groups will be organized to craft the amendments. Check the Article II webpage for more information and details! Submit your suggestions and ideas on the Article II proposal now!

Adult Faith Exploration – March

All our Soul Matters Groups will be exploring this month’s theme: Vulnerability. If you are new to UU Asheville, Rev. Claudia will be offering “A Taste of Soul” to provide an experience of a Soul Matters Group. Check out our calendar below for details.

March 2: BOOK STUDY WITH THE REVS
Join Revs. Cathy and Claudia for an opportunity to discuss novels (and an anthology) that invite us into covenanted, deep listening conversations about challenging issues. We will meet at noon in Sandburg Hall (bring a bagged lunch) or join us via Zoom at 7:00 PM.
Contact Rev. Claudia for the link.

This month: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Next month: May 4  – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong

March 16: Curious Conversations
Noon-1:00pm; bring a bagged lunch; Sandburg Hall. 7pm Zoom option. Contact Rev. Claudia for the link.
THIS MONTH: What are the Article II (2) Revisions? Why should I care?
Have you heard about the Article II study? Did you know the wording of the 7 Principles & 6 Sources are in the process of change? The Article II Study Commission has completed its two-year study. They submitted their report (PDF, 26 pages) to the UUA Board of Trustees at their January meeting. Join us for an informal conversation on the Study Commission’s recommended revisions to Article II. 
Facilitator: Rev. Claudia

March 19: 8th Principle Reflection Circles (in person)
9:30 am and 12:30 PM. All are Welcome

March 23: 8th Principle Reflection Circles (Zoom)
7:00-8:00 PM. Contact Rev. Claudia for link.

March 30: A Taste of Soul
Noon-1:00 in Sandburg Hall; bring a bagged lunch or 7PM via Zoom
Experience and learn about our Soul Matters Groups. These groups offer an opportunity for practicing deep listening and theological reflection using the monthly themes to explore meaning and purpose in our lives.
Contact Rev. Claudia for the link.
Facilitator: Rev. Claudia

Welcome to the Path of Love

This month as I prepared to facilitate the Soul Matters UU writers group I chose to reflect on the prompt about unconditional love. I felt deep gratitude as I thought about the people in my life who have been there for me through not only the joys but also the times of struggle. You know, those beloveds who are there for us no matter what. The writing activity that captured my attention was writing a thank you note to one of those people who have loved me unconditionally. I wrote a letter to my parents (OK, so I didn’t follow directions), the abuelitos, who have always been there for me and made many sacrifices so that all their children would be able to thrive and live into their gifts. I wrote the letter during my morning journaling practice, and was so appreciative to be reminded to let the people I love and appreciate know how I feel now, not at some later date. I will be transcribing that letter and placing it in the mail soon. Who in your life has offered unconditional love? Have you thanked them lately?

Below are a few more questions to ponder during this month of reflecting on the path of love. And, consider attending worship February 19 when I will invite an exploration of the “theology of love.” What do we mean by the word love? Can there be a theology of love?

  1. What did love mean to you as a child?
  2. Who first helped you be and love your true self?
  3. How has love changed as you’ve gotten older? Is it softer? Quieter? Larger? Tougher? Smaller? Sneakier? More central? More painful?
  4. Whose love has companioned you the longest?
  5. Has love ever made you smarter?
  6. Some say the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Others say its opposite is fear. What do you say?   

Finding Our Center

Welcome to the New Year and to this month’s Soul Matters theme: Finding Our Center. What centers you? Your faith? Values? Family? Artistic endeavors?

What practices center you? For some UUs labyrinth’s represent the journey to one’s center through meditative walking in community. Join us for a labyrinth walk January 22, 1PM after service. If you are attending service you may want to bring a bagged lunch. Finger labyrinths will also be available.

Source: Unsplash, Ashley Batz

Below are a few sample questions from our Soul Matters packets to begin your exploration of our monthly theme. 

What does “finding your center” mean to you?

What do you know now about “finding your center” that you didn’t when you were younger?

What metaphor or image best captures the idea of “finding your center”?

What kind of creativity helped you center as a child? (Coloring books? Music? Dancing? ….)

What was its gift? (Healing? Calm? Escape? ….)
What kind of creativity helps you center as an adult?

What are the values that central to who you are? 

If you are interested in being part of a Soul Matters Group please contact our co-coordinator Venny Zachritz. A new group will be launching this month. Also, if you are interested in participating in other Adult Faith Exploration (AFE) programs please fill out this survey from our AFE Planning Team.  

Welcome to the Month of Wonder

“Were the sun to rise but once a year, we would all cry out…How glorious!  Our hymns would rise up, our thanks would ascend. O God…Give us new eyes… and vision to see the world anew.”   – A Jewish Prayer Book

This month our Soul Matters, Creativity Matters and UU Writer’s groups we will be exploring experiences of wonder. Being curious when we engage others, experience nature, delve into history and go about our daily lives deepens our awareness of the mystery, resilience and beauty that surrounds us.

A few questions to explore this month:
How has wonder changed as you’ve gotten older? What do you know now about wonder that you didn’t when you were younger? Has age impeded or assisted your experience of wonder?

What childhood book served as a doorway into wonder for you? How does its imprint on you remain? 


How has the location of wonder changed for you over time? Has it shifted from the stars to the woods? From the birth of planets to the birth of your child? From the physical feats your body allowed to the storied wrinkles of your hand? 

When was the last time you stood in wonder at yourself?               

This video captures moments of wonder. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNVPalNZD_I

After viewing the video, what moments of wonder in your life come to mind?

Below are a two photographs I took during a walk in my neighborhood that elicited wonder….

Engaging Change & Providing Feedback

This month we have been exploring the Soul Matters theme of CHANGE. We offer three different types of Soul Matters small groups. They provide opportunities for exploring the monthly topic through conversation, creating visual art or writing. Prompts and inspirational materials are provided each month. The groups are led by trained facilitators and are still accepting new members. Please contact Venny Zachritz <connect@uuasheville.org> our Soul Matters Groups co-coordinator if you are interested in joining a group.

Change in Our Programming
Vespers, preceded by dinner and followed by a program or programs has been a part Adult Faith Development since I arrived almost 5 years ago. At that time attendance was dwindling. The planning team and I, experimented with different ideas to re-engage the congregation.  We surveyed participants, asked for recommendations for programs and started planning to make them happen. Then, COVID hit and we went on-line with 8-24 people attending. Now that we have been in person, attendance has been minimal except for 1stWednesdays when we share a meal and fellowship followed by the Vespers service. That will be the only Vespers service offered each month. We are grateful for all who have led Vespers, led programs and participated on Wednesdays. During COVID that midweek collection of your beautiful faces on the Zoom gallery was salvific!

However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunities for Adult Faith Exploration. A short survey to gather your thoughts on what kind of Adult Faith Exploration programing you would like to see in the future is below. It includes a few examples but I what our team really wants to know is what YOU are interested in exploring. Please take a moment and respond to the survey.

Change in our Denomination
Change is coming to our denominational documents. The section that houses our UU Principles and Sources is being revised. Check out this document which explains the process and has a link to the proposed changes. As you read, I invite you to reflect on these questions: How does it make you feel? What do think about the recommended changes? What feedback do you have? There are opportunities to share your feedback via a Zoom gathering or a Google form. I will be hosting a bagged lunch discussion to discuss the proposal Nov. 27 at 12:30 PM, in  the Sanctuary and at 7 PM via Zoom. Zoom link will be in the e-news. Please consider attending.

Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development

 

 

October Faith Explorations

Religious Exploration for adults is launched this month. Our lay team Jim Steffe, Kelly Weddell and Sherry Lundquist, supported by Kim Collins and me, has also been preparing for the new congregational year. A few highlights:

Women & Spirituality: The Goddess Trilogy. Facilitator: Susan Foster

Soul Matters Groups. Facilitated by members of UU Asheville.
Groups meet October-July. We have 8 groups that a ready to gather. There are three types of groups that gather to explore the monthly themes using the Soul Matters packets that include prompts and readings. Soul Matters Groups focus on dialogue; Creativity Matters groups focus on artistic expression; and UU Writers share written reflection. Questions? Contact Venny Zachritz

And, of course weekly Vespers & Program and spiritual deepening groups

I will also be hosting a Bagged Lunch Dialogue on the book Search by Michelle Huneven, October 21 from noon-1PM in Sandburg Hall. Although the author broke covenant in writing the book and that is deeply troubling, it is a useful learning tool. I know some of you have read it and I think a conversation about it is important.

Y, tenemos un programa nuevo! And, we have a new offering to support spiritual deepening and the work of liberation. It is an opportunity to discuss novels (and an anthology) that invite us into covenanted, deep listening conversations that can be challenging. Rev. Cathy and I will be co-leading a 1st Thursday NOON Bagged Lunch and 7PM Zoom “Embracing Discomfort” Book Dialogue

Nov 3               There There by Tommy Orange

Jan 5                Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, edited bu Saraciea J. Fennell

March 2           Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

May 4              On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong

I look forward to seeing you at one of the many offerings at UU Asheville! Nos vemos!

Rev. Claudia Jiménez
Minister of Faith Development

Faith Development Explained

We look to the ideas of theologian John Westerhoff summarizing his theory of “how faith happens”[1]. He explains that faith is initially “caught,” like a cold, as children imitate their parents and the adults in church. Children learn: This is what we do. As children grow older, religion is “taught.” Children learn about history, traditions, rituals and other aspects of their faith and the community they are a part of. It is a time of belonging to a group. Children learn: This is what we believe and do.  Later, in adolescence questioning happens, faith is “sought.” It is a time of inquisitiveness and curiosity. Adolescents ask: Is this what I believe? So, faith is first caught, then taught, then sought and, in early adulthood…. faith is “bought.” After much searching and questioning the individual states: This is what I believe. And, throughout our lives that faith is “wrought” as we continue to learn, question and deepen our understanding of what gives meaning to our lives.

Faith Development is for everyone, and nearly anything can be an opportunity for Faith Development; programs, classes, hikes, soup-selling, bird-watching, worship…..  You get the idea.

Create and Connect Circle March 27

The Last Opportunity is Sunday, March 27, 12:30-1:30pm in Sandburg Hall    
Join Ginger Huebner for a Create & Connect experience for an opportunity to use art to connect, share and reflect on the March Soul Matters theme, Renewal. This process guides participants by using simple tools of collage and color to interpret ideas and emotions that are often beyond words. No artistic skills are needed. All materials will be provided. Free.  And fun!  Contact Rev. Claudia to register.

Check out this video and learn more about what we will be doing.

Racial Justice, the 8th Principle & Faith Development

Faith is a challenging word for non creedal Unitarian Universalists. In our theology, faith isn’t centered on the belief in a deity that is all knowing and intervenes in our lives. Faith is centered on beliefs about life, our call in the world and what matters, what gives meaning to our lives. And, it isn’t just about “me” it is also about “we.” Rev. Victoria Safford wrote “Faith feels like the most private solitary thing, but it is not. It’s communal and contagious…Faith is what our hands hold all together, when none of us is strong enough to hold on by ourselves.”

In this time when we have become more aware of the depth of racial injustice in our nation our Seven UU principles call us to work for fairness, peace, respect, and freedom for all. Yet, they are incomplete because there is no acknowledgment of the effect white supremacy culture has on our ability to embody these principles we aspire to. That is one of the reasons why the Racial Justice Advisory Council (RJAC) was commissioned by the board. Their task was to assess where we are on the journey of being a congregation that is focused on collective liberation: personal understanding of racism and white supremacy culture that will motivate us to be allies in the work of building a Beloved Community in which all can thrive. One of the recommendations of the RJAC will be for UUCAvl to adopt the 8th Principle inviting all our members and friends to engage the work of liberation. Have you heard of the 8th Principle? If not, the language of the 8th Principle is below. UU Member Nancy Bragg has written an essay explaining the history of the 8th principle.

 ”We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: 
Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community
by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

The 8th Principle: Why, Why now, History, # of congregations by Nancy Bragg

The Beloved Community that MLK Jr envisioned, influenced the Beloved Community we UUs long for today. Our proposed 8th Principle website describes Beloved Community in this way:  

“Beloved Community happens when people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender, abilities, sexual orientation backgrounds/identities come together in an interdependent relationship of love, mutual respect, and care that seeks to realize justice within the community and in the broader world.”

What an inspiring vision to work towards! 

As most of us know, Unitarian Universalist congregations currently have a shared covenant of 7 Principles we affirm, promote, and hold as strong values and moral guides. 

Like our 7 Principles, the proposed 8th Principle begins with the stem: 

 ”We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: 

and then the proposed 8th:

Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

Hmm. . . Why change?

The world has changed a lot since when the Principles were created in 1961. Our Principles are dynamic, rather than static. In the mid-1980s, feminism and environmentalism influenced changes in wording and increased the number of principles from 6 to 7. 

Changes in our world require strong UU leadership to commit and focus on what we are called to do. What is at stake is the future of our faith. If we continue as we are, Unitarian Universalism will die. 

What is changing in the world? 

  • Racism is now in the open, President Biden talks about it, and there is a new sense of unrest.  
  • There is increased awareness of how climate change, police violence, voting rights, & mass incarceration are negatively impacting more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) than whites.
  • And the number of non-white people in the world is increasing. 

How does the UUA need to change, based on these changes in the world?

  • We urgently need to change our hiring practices to meet expected workplace multicultural standards, to follow our policies, and to work towards our priorities. 
  • We need to widen our circle of concern for marginalized groups; our youth and younger members find UUs irrelevant and do not understand our failure to be intentionally inclusive.   
  • We need to listen to how BIPOC UUs are negatively impacted by our white-centered focus.
  • We need to move away from centering whiteness both in the UUA and in our congregations.  
  • We need to clarify our beliefs and be a sustaining faith for present and future members; people need a faith to come to and not just freedom from former dogmatic religious experiences. 
  • We need to change, to be who we say we are. 

History of the 8th Principle

Back in 2013, Paula Cole Jones, a Black life-long UU who had worked for over 15 years with UU congregations on Racial & Social Justice, realized that our shared covenant of our 7 Principles is not enough to avert racist behaviors and guide UUs in our current world and into the future. She found it common then, as well as now, for UUs to be part of a 7 Principles for Individuals culture, where we:

  • individually believe in our 7 Principles, yet do not express them in action in our lives.
  • individually believe in our 7 Principles, yet do not understand how these principles also apply to us as a collective UU community. 
  • individually believe in the 3rd Principle – “justice, equity and compassion in human relations,” yet are not conscious of our unintentional individual and collective UU racist behaviors.
  • individually wear our “Standing on the Side of Love” or “Side with Love” t-shirts, yet do not comprehend our core UU value of Love and how to apply it as Love in Action. 
  • individually believe in the 1st Principle – “the inherent worth and dignity of all” and the 7th Principle “the interdependent web of all,” yet do not realize that who we called to be, and what we are called to do as a result of these Principles is working towards Beloved Community for all.

Paula felt that it has been easy for white UUs to not be aware of unintentional racist behaviors within our congregations, yet UUs of Color haven’t had the luxury of unawareness. She knew more awareness was needed to become a Beloved Community culture, rather than a 7 Principles for Individuals Culture. She suggested an 8th Principle as a way of explicitly making UUs aware of natural outgrowths of our 7 Principles. 

Paula talked with Bruce Pollack-Johnson, a white member of the Unitarian Universalists of Mt. Airy in Philadelphia, and they co-wrote an initial draft of the 8th Principle. To refine the wording, they worked with a group of UUs who had gone through UU Jubilee Three Anti-Racism Training. Those involved started working informally in their own congregations towards becoming Beloved Community cultures.  

In 2017, the UUA hiring crisis prompted proposing the 8th Principle at that year’s General Assembly as a responsive resolution. GA’s response to the resolution was the formation of an Article II Study Commission to explore changes to the By-Laws, which include our Principles. The Article II Commission was told to root the work in our UU core value of love and to center Love in Action. In addition, a Commission on Institutional Change was tasked with interviewing marginalized people, writing about how they experience our institutional culture, and suggesting needed changes. This 2020 report is called Widening the Circle of Concern. And you can read it together with others from UUAvl by contacting Mary Alm. 

It will be 2023 before the Article II Commission’s recommendations will be up for the first vote before the General Assembly with possibility of amendments, followed by a second vote at the 2024 General Assembly. 

In the meantime, we at UUAvl can join this long-term grassroots initiative that is gaining momentum. So far, half of our UU congregations are discussing the proposed 8th Principle and 142 out of 1048 UU congregations world-wide have adopted it. Working towards it and adopting it is a way to 

  • demonstrate our collective commitment to work towards a Beloved Community culture and 
  • to publicly acknowledge our desire for these ideas to be incorporated into the work of the Article 2 Study Commission.

Welcome to the Month of Holding History

This month we are invited to explore our relationship with history: personal, family, local and national. Are we willing to engage with the fullness of history both good and bad? Are we willing to explore what truth-full stories need to be told? Below are a few questions from our Soul Matters packet this month for your reflection.

As you consider national history, here are two links that invite us to consider a more truth-full telling of American history. Reflecting on this history can mobilize us to act.
Black Wall Street: https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=1002538572:1002597102
Wilmington Massacre 1898: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os23nj92SsY

As you consider personal history below is an inspiring poem by George Ella Lyon “Where I am from”
Poem read by author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdnHl_yW1dQ
Contact Rev. Claudia if you would like a template to create your own. We have used this as an ice breaker in the Religious Education Council retreat as a creative way to get to know each other.

Reflection Questions
Do you believe that history is “written by the victors”? How have you experienced the “losers” version of history winning out? Or altering your own calling in the world?

When you tell the history of the pandemic ten years from now, what story do you think you will begin with?

What if the question isn’t, “Did it really happen that way?” But instead, “Why do you want to remember that it happened that way?”

Have you figured out the story you want to be remembered by?

These are just a few of the questions that our Soul Matters Groups will consider this month. If you are interested in learning more about Soul Matters Groups or joining one please contact me faithdev@uuasheville.org

In faith,
Rev. Claudia