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.

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.

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 <> 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:
Wilmington Massacre 1898:

As you consider personal history below is an inspiring poem by George Ella Lyon “Where I am from”
Poem read by author:
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

In faith,
Rev. Claudia


Welcome to Adult Faith Development at UUAsheville


We launch our Faith Development programs this month! The 6:30 October 6 Vespers welcomes our spiritual learning community after a summer hiatus. The 7PM program will explore this month’s theme “Cultivating Relationships.” I invite you to consider how our understanding of relationship has changed during COVID. We have been yearning for physical connection with family and friends beyond our COVID pods, if we are living with others, or beyond ourselves, if we are living alone. Below are a few questions for reflection from this month’s packet.

And, check out this month’s calendar for other opportunities for spiritual deepening. Join us!

See you on-line or at a masked gathering on campus!
Rev. Claudia

October calendar:

Reflection questions:

  1. What was the most nourishing new relationship you cultivated during the pandemic time? Was it with an unexpected person? A new habit? A new part of yourself? And what’s your plan to intentionally nourish that relationship moving forward?
  1. What’s the wisest thing you were ever taught about cultivating relationships?
  1. When was the first time you deeply connected to someone in a way that caused you to also deeply connect with yourself? 
  1. When did you first realize there was something called “a chosen family”?
  1. Which of your friend relationships have lasted the longest? Or gone the deepest? What’s been the secret? And, most importantly, is that a secret you need to pull out and use again in your current life?
  1. Is it time to stop cultivating a relationship and instead walk away from it?


Welcome to the month of play! Juguemos!

Play. Jugar. An appropriate theme for this month when many of our children and families begin summer vacation. A time to take a break from zoom and hopefully some down time for parents. Those of us without children at home are also planning outings and exploring ways to re-enter into and reconstitute community after over a year a staying close to home and physically distancing from each other. May we all find ways to engage in play, jugar this month. 

What does play mean to you?

A few definitions of play from our Soul Matters resources:

“Across the globe, many of the etymological roots of the word ‘play’ locate it in the visceral: ludere in Latin refers to leaping fishes and fluttering birds. The Anglo-Saxon lâcan means to move like a ship on the waves, or to tremble like a flame. The Sanskrit kridati also, as in Germanic languages, describes the movement of wind. In play, we are rarely immobile. We’re alive.”

In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self, shed time’s continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world’s ordinary miracles. No mind or heart hobbles. No analyzing or explaining. No questing for logic. No promises. No goals. No relationships. No worry. One is completely open to whatever drama may unfold.
Diane Ackerman

To play is to listen to the imperative inner force that wants to take form and be acted out without reason. It is the joyful, spontaneous expression of oneself. 
Michelle Cassou and Stewart Cubley

One of the highlights of this month will be meeting with “The Wildflowers” the first covenant group I have co-facilitated at UUCA. As this month’s theme suggests we will spend some time playing a game, sharing jokes, and exploring play. Below are a few questions we will be considering from our Soul Matters packet:

  1. What makes something play for you? When you feel free from the burden of producing an outcome? When creativity is involved? When you lose time? When you can just be yourself? All of the above? Something else?
  2. What did you learn from the games you played as a child? Monopoly, King of the Hill and Dodge Ball certainly instill different lessons than Red Light; Green Light, Clue, Jump-Rope, Pictionary or Hopscotch. What lessons from your favorite childhood games do you notice “playing out” for you in the present?
  1. What would it look like to sneak a bit of playfulness into your daily chores? Your dinner prep? Morning commute? Exercise routine? Workday? Your relationship?
  2. Can worship be play?
  3. Can play be a form of political resistance?

Beloveds, go forth and play this summer! Juegen, querides!

Rev. Claudia

Welcome to the month of story!

We are moving from spring into summer, a time of stories of rebirth, relaxing and letting go.
We are moving from a time of isolation to a time to going forth vaccinated and unmasked (when possible) reconnecting with others: seeing smiles, giving hugs and feeling the energy in a space when we are present to each other. What a time!

As a congregation we are also moving into a new story about who we have been, who are in this moment and who we want to be in the future. There will be a celebration of Rev. Mark’s ministry in July and as well as a time of grief for the loss of his presence among us as he begins a new chapter in his life: retirement. A new story, for him and for us. Wow! What an amazing time of possibility for all of us. This month we find out who our interim will be, and we await their arrival in August. 

Stories: beginnings, middles and endings. I invite you this month to also consider your story. What stories in life empower you? What stories limit you? Consider this story by Christopher Buice The Beautiful Tiger.

What speaks to you about this story? 

A final invitation to reflection:

“We all have one particularly important story that we tell ourselves, about ourselves: our “life story,” which helps us to organize our experiences and give us a sense of self, even dictating our behavior in some cases. We’re constantly updating, amending and adding to this story as we encounter new experiences.”  – Carolyn Gregoire

How are you updating, amending and adding to your life story?

Exploring the Meaning of Becoming

This month we are invited to consider that our spiritual journeys are not just about revealing, healing and sustaining ourselves but about considering our collective journey, in community toward becoming a people of Beloved Community. This quote from theologian Howard Thurman alludes to the inner and outer journeys of becoming:

“Do not ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

What makes you come alive?

How does your coming alive contribute to Beloved Community?

Here are a few more questions to consider this month:

Many of us mark the first day of our becoming as the time when we discovered one of our core passions. When did you discover your first passion? How has it grown and morphed over the years? How are you being called to rekindle it anew?

What are you doing to ensure that you don’t become a person who has regrets?

What if you finally  allowed yourself to say out loud, “I am an artist!” or “”I am a leader!” or “I am beautiful!” or “I am smart!” or “I am…”? 

What inhibits our becoming?

These are a few questions being discussed in our covenant groups using Soul Matters packets. if you are interested in being part of a covenant group contact Rev. Claudia

What are our commitments?

Welcome to the month of commitment!

Our Soul Matters packet this month invites us to consider that commitment includes three Latin word roots: 
com – together
mit – to send
ment – a result. 

Awareness of the roots of this word reminds us that commitment is not experienced in isolation but with others and with all parts of ourselves. That commitment has an energy that moves, that sends us along in a direction. And, making a commitment is a choice. What commitments have you chosen to make to yourself?
To beloveds?
To community?

A few questions to consider this month:

What commitment has shaped you the most? What commitment most deeply defines you?

What did your family teach you about “responsibilities we have to the world”?

What promises have you made to your spiritual life? 

If someone secretly monitored your life for a month, what would they conclude is your most sacred vow?

A final invitation to reflection on faith and commitment:

Faith is a commitment to live as if certain things are true, and thereby help to make them so. Faith is a commitment to live as if life is a wondrous mystery, as if life is good, as if love is divine, as if we are responsible for the well-being of those around us. -Rev. Galen Guengrich

What does faith mean to you?
What things are true for you?

These are a few examples of the invitations to reflect on the monthly theme that occur in our Covenant Groups which are part of the Faith Development programs at UUCA. If you would like more information about covenant groups and how to join please contact Rev. Claudia

Welcome to the month of Beloved Community

Reflection Corner  
From our Soul Matters packet:

“…Beloved community is bigger than we usually imagine. 
It’s not just about building a better world; 
it’s also about building up each other’s faith. 

We are in a battle not just against the division between us, 
but also the doubt within us. 

What we really need to hear about beloved community is 
not just that we can create it, 
but that we can count on it.

This month, may we make sure we all 
bless each other with both of those messages.”

How are you contributing to creating Beloved Community?
Can you identify Beloved Community you can count on?

ZOOM February Adult Faith Development …A Few Highlights
(All links will be shared via e-News unless specified)

Feb. 3, 7:00 PM                   
Theme talk: Creating Beloved Community; Facilitator: Rev. Claudia

Feb. 6, 6:30 PM                  
Black History Trivia
Contact: Brett Johnson

Feb, 12 7:00  PM                
 Justice Ministry Film Night – John Lewis-Get in the Way
Contact: Charlie Wussow  

Feb. 17, 7:00 PM                 
Spiritual Practices: Aging, Session 1
Facilitators: Rev. Claudia, Jim Steffe
Resource: Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond

Feb. 24, 7:00 PM                 
UU Theology – William Ellery Channing
Facilitator: Rev. Terry Davis
The Baltimore Sermon 
Background information about the sermon
Channing, Emerson, Parker: Three Prophets of Religious Liberalism,
Conrad Wright, ed. 

Theology, March 24 will be Creation Theology
What is creation theology?
Original Blessing by Matthew Fox (1983 or 2000 edition)

Welcome to the Month of Imagination

As we begin the new year in which vaccines are being made available to many and a new president will be inaugurated, what do we imagine this year will hold for us? How can we use our imagination to envision our dreams for ourselves, our beloveds and our world AND work to make that vision a reality? Join us in Vespers, Sunday Worship, Covenant Groups and religious education to explore in community the importance of imagination in our lives. Below are a few prompts inviting you to make time an reflect on this month’s theme.

Imagination is a danger thus every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination to keep on conjuring and proposing alternative futures to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one. – Walter Brueggemann

What could a “ministry of imagination” look like?

A few videos to enjoy:
Mr. Rogers on imagination and curiosity

The art and imagination of Janet Echelman

The art and imagination of Ruth Asawa

This month one of our Time for All Ages Stories, A Life Made by Hand by Andrea D’Aquino tells her story complemented by D’Aquino’s beautiful collages.

December: The Month of Stillness

lake, mountains, with orange sunrise clouds with image mirrored in lake

Welcome to the month of Stillness. Here’s a poem from this month’s Soul Matters packet being used by our covenant groups. Check out this month’s calendar and join us for Vespers or one of the other programs offered this month.

Keeping Quiet
Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once… 

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines…

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves…

Full poem at 


A few questions to consider:

  • What if the doorway into spiritual stillness is learning to look at your present life and say “This is enough?
  • Is your identity rooted in busyness or stillness? And which one do you want it to be rooted in?
  • Is busyness your way of running and hiding from stillness?


Buddhist Fellowship: 2nd & 4th Tues.; 7 PM; Contact: Jim Steffe
Covenant Groups: groups set meeting time; Contact: Iris Hardin
Covenant of UU Pagans -CUUPS: Contact: MaryAnn Somervill
Me And White Supremacy Reflection Groups: Contact: Eleanor Lane

Drop-ins welcome in all our programs.

2020-2021 Focus
Spirituality & Building the World We Dream About: Disrupting Racism

2nd & 4th Wed.; Building the World We Dream About;
Contact: Rev. Claudia

3rd Wed.; Spiritual Practices: Exploration and Challenge
Contact: Nancy Bragg

December – Stillness
Vespers Leader: Rev. Mark
Program: Human Rights Day Discussion, Deb Holden & Rev Claudia
Vespers Leader: Rev. Terry Davis
Program: Navigating the Landscapes of Power, Joy M

Vespers Leader: Rev. Claudia 
Program: Spiritual Practices IV: Activism Practices

23                    NO VESPERS

30                    NO VESPERS


October Faith Development Opportunities


Peacemakers: 2nd & 4th Wed. 7 PM; Contact: Bruce Larson
Buddhist Fellowship: 2nd & 4th Tues.; 7 PM; Contact: Jim Steffe
Covenant Groups: Groups set meeting time; Contact: Iris Hardin

Covenant of UU Pagans -CUUPS: Contact: MaryAnn Somervill
White People Wondering: 2nd Thurs.; 7 PM Begins October 8; 
Contact: Rev. Ward

Drop-ins welcome in all our programs.



Faith Development Focuses on Anti-racism Work and Spiritual Practices

This year Adult Faith Development will focus on connection, spirituality, and deepening anti-racism work using the UUA curriculum “Building the World We Dream About.” Programs will be offered after Vespers and throughout the week. The calendar lists all our spiritual deepening groups including a new group led by Rev. Ward “White People Wondering,” which provides a brave space for reflecting with others on where you are on the journey of recognizing and disrupting racism in your life. Questions? Requests? Contact Rev Claudia.

And, Children and Youth Religious Education is still a thing! We already have 53 kids/youth registered for the 2020-21 year. We are excited to offer religious education and family ministry in a different way this year. Due to the pandemic that must not be named (for you Harry Potter fans), we have made an effort to simplify our programs but still have fun connecting  with the faith development you want from your UU congregation!

“What will RE look like this year?” you ask.  Religious education for children and youth has been divided into four groups. Groups will typically meet two Sundays/month via Zoom: PreK-3rd & 10th-12th grades will meet on the first and third Sundays of the month and 4th-6th & 7th-9th grades will meet on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

In addition to classic (mostly virtual) RE, we will have other opportunities as well, some online and possibly some occasional small, safer in person gatherings for youth or adults. A few ideas: Family Fun Nights for fellowship and fun; “UU in a box” for at home fun and faith development; and physically distant youth group “masked meet-ups.”

Faith Development is thriving at UUCA! Vespers + Programs were offered during the summer months. Now we look forward to gathering with you to learn, to worship, to connect, and to explore ways to put our faith in action. See you on Zoom (don’t forget you can call in, too!)

Rev Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development
Jen Johnson and Kim Collins, Religious Educators
John Bloomer, Joyce Hooley-Gingrich, Linda Topp, Wednesday Thing Planning Team

Spiritual Practices: Exploration & Practice Opportunity Third Wednesdays, 7-8pm

First Program: September 16 – Contemplative Stillness Practices

Spiritual practices enliven us as we intentionally focus and experience presence. Participants will explore spiritual practices; then each will select one primary and one secondary opportunity to actually practice. Monthly sessions will open with a contemplative practice. We will then share our past month’s experiences with spiritual practices. Each month we’ll focus on a different group of spiritual practices and a volunteer will lead us in an example. If you are interested in participating in this spiritual practices opportunity, contact Nancy Bragg. Along with the committed core of initial participants, the sessions will be open to new participants.

Highly recommended text: Everyday Spiritual Practice: Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life Edited by Scott W. Alexander – available from the UUA Bookstore, InSpirit.

Adult Faith Development: Adaptive Living, from Fear to Love

cartoon butterfly is blue sky next to oak tree with words Adaptive Living, From Fear to LoveThis is a virtual program sponsored by The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center.  It starts Wednesday, July 1 at noon and continues for eight Wednesdays thereafter.

“Adaptive Living: From Fear to Love – Pathways to Progress” is free – – with donations to The Mountain welcomed. It’s designed to open our minds and hearts so we are more adaptable, productive, and committed to a higher level of personal development in this rapidly changing world.

This program is offered to help The Mountain recover from its $500,000 loss in COVID-19 program cancellations. The coordinator and presenters are doing this pro bono. Every dollar goes to The Mountain. Our OLLI-recognized keynote speakers (Drs. Rita Brodnax and Dudley Tower) will introduce content, facilitate discussion, and encourage new practices during the nine sessions.

Enroll Now Here

Explore Spiritual Deepening at UUCA

Buddhist Fellowship
Meets Tuesday, June 9, 7-8:15pm via Zoom. We start with a 30-minute (unguided) meditation followed by dharma/UU sharing, and end with 10 minutes of social interaction.
Contact Jim Steffe for Zoom code.

Our June practice is
 being for peace: Today take five minutes to meditate for peace. Put your attention on your heart and inwardly repeat these four words: Peace, Harmony, Laughter, Love.

Peacemaking at a Distance will take place on Wednesday, June 10 via Zoom.  After check participants will explore Guatemalan-born RMT received the Peace Prize “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” Please join Peacemakers as we broaden our discussion of the 2020 UUA Common Read. In so doing, we will be draw upon her lecture, which you can read here. To deepen your familiarity with RMT, you may wish to view a 59-minute lecture she gave in 2008 on “Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples.” Contact Bruce Larson for Zoom code.

Covenant Groups continue to meet. Some groups are using conference calls others are meeting via Zoom. Contact covenant group co-coordinators if if you are interested in joining a group. 
Iris Hardin

Let us know what UUCA programs you have been attending, what programs we can offer again…UU History? Haunting Church? etc. and what kinds of programs you would like to see in the future. Share your thoughts with Rev Claudia.

Continuing Adult Faith Development Opportunities

Join a covenant group. Participate in “Haunting Church” or “UU History 101”
Explore spiritual deepening groups such as the Buddhist Fellowship or Peacemakers.

Haunting Church: Owning Your Religous Past provides an opportunity to explore your religous journey through discussion, art and journaling. What do you leave behind? What do you bring ot the present? What do you redefine?
Dates: Monday, April 13, 20, 27 & May 4
Time: 2:00-3:30 PM
Who: 8-12 participants
Facilitator: Rev Claudia; email to register

Peacemakers continue their book study via Zoom on the second Wednesdays from 7:00-8:15 PM. They are currently discussing: An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. Contact Bruce Larson for details

UUCA Buddhist Fellowship is maintaining its regular meeting schedule: 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month via ZOOM.  Contact: Jim Steffe for details and meeting ID

UU History Class …Drop-ins Welcome
You are invited to take a 12-week class on Unitarian Universalist History.  The class will meet on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. starting Thursday, April 2.  It will be facilitated by Rev. Jeff Jones, Affiliated Community Minister with UUCA.  We will be using the video series Long Strange Trip by Ron Cordes.The class will cover 2000 years of Unitarian Universalist history.  Each class will have 30 minutes of video followed by discussion.  You are welcome to join us for all classes or you can drop in as your schedule permits. Questions? Contact Rev. Jones

Covenant Groups continue to meet. Some groups are using conference calls others are meeting via Zoom. Contact covenant group co-coordinators if your group would like to use Zoom or if you are interested in joining a group. 
Iris Hardin
or Paula Massey

Adult Faith Development Opportunities

Meditation for Beginners via Zoom, Mon., March 23, 7:00-8:30PM
This might be a good time to establish a daily meditation practice. As we all hunker down and engage in social distancing there may be an opportunity to set time aside to practice. The goals of the class are to practice simple Buddhist techniques that can be used to establish your own meditation practice and develop the confidence needed to continue your practice. Contact Jim Steffe if you are interested

Covenant Groups continue to meet. Some groups are doing conference calls others are meeting via Zoom. Contact covenant group co-coordinators if your group would like to use Zoom or if you are interested in joining a group. 
Iris Hardin
or Paula Massey

2020 Youth Con at UU Church of Charlotte

Friday, February 7, 7:30pm to Sunday, February 9, 2020, 9:00am

This exciting and youth-led CON is the 28th annual event presented by the high school youth of UU Church of Charlotte. 9th-12th graders from UU congregations in NC, SC, TN, VA, and GA are invited to attend this gathering of Unitarian Universalist youth and advisors for a weekend with a program filled with a variety of workshops, activities, good food, and a safer environment. Youth participate in all the activities, share with new friends in small get-to-know-you groups, bond during free time, contribute to times of fun and reflection, and grow spiritually through worship.

Join Us for a Spirit Play Spark!

Join Us for a Spirit Play Spark!

Saturday, January 11, 2020, 10am-2pm

Are you/ Have you been/ Do you want to be… a Spirit Play volunteer? This workshop is for you! Spirit Play offers a foundation in religious education, introducing our young children to Unitarian Universalism through stories and activities. Our kids LOVE it! You are invited to join us for this volunteer learning and workday with some very special things planned:

  • Come hear our Spirit Play origin story from two of our founding mothers, Anna Olsen and Ann McLellan, and the philosophy behind this enriching program!
  • Spirit Play storyteller training with Will Jernigan!
  • Share and hear the wisdom and experience of the whole group!
  • Center leaders, be inspired and share ideas, resources, materials!
  • Work with your center team to rejuvenate your space and story baskets!

There are many ways to be involved — we need all sorts of skills to run this special program: storytellers, center leaders (art, drama/movement, music, maker), those who like to organize and tidy spaces or make bulletin boards… there is a place for you. We will have breakout sessions for all roles.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Please RSVP here.

Note: even if you cannot attend for the whole time, we would love to have you there.

Contact Jen Johnson with questions.

Adult Faith Development Programs Coming Soon

UU Journeys

Thursdays, Feb. 20, 27; March 5, 12,

23 Edwin Parlor,

Registration required,

Facilitators: Rev. Ward, Rev. Jiménez, Joy McConnell, Venny Zachritz.


Peacemaker’s Book Study:

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz the 2019-2020  UU Common Read (during Wednesday Thing)

February 12      Introduction- Chapter 3

March 11           Chapters 4-6

April 8                Chapters 7-9

May 13*            Chapters 10- Conclusion 

*Location TBA

Haunting Church

March 6, 6-8 PM23 Edwin, Parlor

March 7, 9am-3pm, RE Commons

Registration required

Facilitators: Rev. Jiménez, Rev. Sapp