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.”
SOURCE: https://aeon.co/essays/play-is-cathartic-allowing-people-to-sit-with-their-shadows

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. https://www.uua.org/worship/words/story/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 faithdev@uuasheville.org.

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 faithdev@uuasheville.org

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
Resources: 
The Baltimore Sermon 
Background information about the sermon
Channing, Emerson, Parker: Three Prophets of Religious Liberalism,
Conrad Wright, ed. 

NOTE:
Theology, March 24 will be Creation Theology
Resources:
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
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFzXaFbxDcM

The art and imagination of Janet Echelman 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFzXaFbxDcM

The art and imagination of Ruth Asawa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2jGPo2HtR0

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 https://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=2298 

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5kjfqbt-FA

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?

SPIRITUAL DEEPENING GROUPS:

Buddhist Fellowship: 2nd & 4th Tues.; 7 PM; Contact: Jim Steffe jf.steffe@gmail.com
Covenant Groups: groups set meeting time; Contact: Iris Hardin irisphardin@gmail.com
Covenant of UU Pagans -CUUPS: Contact: MaryAnn Somervill maspro1@yahoo.com
Me And White Supremacy Reflection Groups: Contact: Eleanor Lane elane@northstarlane.com

Drop-ins welcome in all our programs.

WEDNESDAY THING VESPERS 6:30PM 
PROGRAMS WEDNESDAY 7:00 PM:
2020-2021 Focus
Spirituality & Building the World We Dream About: Disrupting Racism

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

3rd Wed.; Spiritual Practices: Exploration and Challenge
Contact: Nancy Bragg njbragg1@gmail.com

December – Stillness
2
Vespers Leader: Rev. Mark
Program: Human Rights Day Discussion, Deb Holden & Rev Claudia
9          
Vespers Leader: Rev. Terry Davis
Program: Navigating the Landscapes of Power, Joy M

16        
Vespers Leader: Rev. Claudia 
Program: Spiritual Practices IV: Activism Practices

23                    NO VESPERS

30                    NO VESPERS

 

October Faith Development Opportunities


SPIRITUAL DEEPENING GROUPS


Peacemakers: 2nd & 4th Wed. 7 PM; Contact: Bruce Larson brucedeanlarson@gmail.com
Buddhist Fellowship: 2nd & 4th Tues.; 7 PM; Contact: Jim Steffe jf.steffe@gmail.com
Covenant Groups: Groups set meeting time; Contact: Iris Hardin irisphardin@gmail.com

Covenant of UU Pagans -CUUPS: Contact: MaryAnn Somervill maspro1@yahoo.com
White People Wondering: 2nd Thurs.; 7 PM Begins October 8; 
Contact: Rev. Ward minister@uuasheville.org

Drop-ins welcome in all our programs.

AND DON’T FORGET THE WEDNESDAY THING – VESPERS STARTS AT 6:30

Oct-Wed-Thing-Schedule-2020

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.

Peacemakers
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 irisphardin@gmail.com

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 faithdev@uuasheville.org 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 brucedeanlarson@gmail.com

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 jf.steffe@gmail.com

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 jeffjonesuu@aol.com

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 irisphardin@gmail.com
or Paula Massey massey.paula@gmail.com

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 jfsteffe@gmail.com

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 irisphardin@gmail.com
or Paula Massey massey.paula@gmail.com

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
10:00am-2:00pm

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