Looking for YOUR Recipes!

We have a mighty trio of volunteers who are working to produce a cookbook by and for UUCAers.  No one needs to be a creative chef here.  Just send in recipes that you either use a lot, that get rave reviews from friends, or are just fun!  Omnivores, vegetarians and vegans welcome!  We want ’em all.

Sally, Sherry and Fredda will be coordinating the creation of this fabulous hardcover cookbook as a fundraiser for our congregation in conjunction with the November Auction.  We invite you to send us as many favorite recipes as you’d like.  Time is of the essence, so start choosing your recipes now!  These cookbooks (which also make great gifts ) will be available to purchase at the auction in November for $15 each. To make this even more fun, there will also be  a raffle for everyone who submits recipes, so the more recipes you send in, the better your chances are in the raffle!  Send those recipes to one of us so you can be a part of our UUCA cookbook!

Questions? Email anyone on the cookbook committee!  Sherry Lundquist, Fredda Mangel, and Sally Witkamp.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Let’s ALL Take a Break! No New Worship Services in July!

fox curled up and resting on a tree stumpSo, do you need a break? We thought so! As we near the end of the 2020-’21 church year, we come to a major transition in our congregational life together. With the departure of our lead minister, Rev. Mark Ward, in June and the exhaustion that all of us – staff, volunteers, and . . . well, everybody – are feeling after a year of coping with the COVID pandemic, we are planning on doing something that, as far as we can tell, we’ve never done at this congregation: We’re going to cancel weekly worship in July.

That’s right. After we say good-bye to Rev. Ward on June 13, we’ll take a break in worship until August. Actually, we recommend that you connect for Sunday worship at General Assembly on June 27 – we’ll post the link on our Web site – but other than that no services are planned. We’ll begin Sunday services again on August 1 with our traditional Poetry Sunday. In the meantime, if you need a break from the hiking trails and you’re hankering for some UUCA time, we will send a selection of videos in late June from the past year that you can watch.

Any covenant groups, social groups or other committees that would like to continue meeting are welcome to, but we’re giving all staff members a chance to breathe so they won’t be at those meetings.

So, let’s all plan our camping trips, or bicycle or hiking adventures, or just chill by the pool and recharge our batteries so we’ll be ready for an exciting fall with our new interim minister.

PS:  Administrative staff will still be paying attention to things like processing donations and paying bills and reserving Sandburg Hall for meetings.  So it’s not a break from donating.  Just in case you were wondering….

Do You Love our RE Program? Join in the Fun!

We are going to need you. Yes, you!

Headshot of Kim CollinsAs I’m writing this, it’s been two days since our Religious Education Celebration service. I’ve been reflecting on the service and thinking about how all the pieces and participants were what made it so special. It felt like the perfect culmination of this strange and extraordinary year in RE. Some of us cried, all of us laughed, and everyone gave what they could. We are extremely grateful not only to the volunteers who helped make it happen, but also to the children and youth of this congregation who participated in RE in whatever way felt right to them this year.

Two volunteers assembling Church in a Box materialsWhen Jen Johnson and I were planning for RE last summer, we must have scrapped our plans at least three times to start over. When things began to shut down in March, we already had the 2020-21 RE year planned. We were just about to start recruiting volunteers. Obviously that went right out the window when the seriousness of the situation became apparent. Things were changing so fast and the timeline for when we might reopen kept getting pushed further back. We knew that we had to offer a program that would meet as many needs as possible, but also that we would need help. Once we decided what to do, we started looking for the helpers. We were blessed to have so many folks step up to help with everything from leading online sessions to stuffing and delivering our “church in box”.

We don’t know quite what we’ll be up to in RE next year yet, but we’re working on it. Jen and I will be spending the next few weeks planning for the fall and beyond, and we’d love to hear from parents and kids about what you want to do in RE next year. We’ve been thinking about it over the last few months, but now is the time to make decisions and put things in motion. It’s definitely still going to look different than what we did pre-pandemic, but I think that’s a good thing. We’ve learned a lot about doing this work in a different way this year, and it has only made our program stronger and more committed to the faith development of children, youth, and adults at UUCA.

Adult an children stretching/playingNot only do we need input on what our program should include, we will need folks to make it happen. We’ll need people to teach in RE, help out with family ministry outside of Sunday mornings, and help behind the scenes. If cleaning and organizing is your thing, we’ll definitely need you in August. Many of our rooms haven’t been inhabited in over a year and could use some love and attention. Please reach out to us if you know how you’d like to pitch in or what age group you’d like to work with. Being able to offer our program is largely dependent on having dedicated volunteers. Teacher training is on the schedule for Saturday, August 28, so mark your calendars! We are going to need you.

In faith,
Kim Collins, Lifespan Religious Education Coordinator

Justice Ministry Film Night: Friday, June 18, 7pm, Zoom

Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem exposes how our country’s history of racial injustice evolved into an enormous abuse of criminal justice power.  13 million people a year – most of them poor and people of color – are abused by this system.

Through first-person accounts of those charged under the Black Codes of the Reconstruction era paralleled with the outrageous stories of people trapped in the system today, the film brings to light the unfolding of a powerful engine of profits and racial inequality. With the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, this film provides historical context and examines America’s history of racist oppression.

“A revelatory film, directed by Robert Greenwald, exposing, with searing history and staggering facts, the invidious, disproportionate impact of minor offenses on people of color. Brave New Films creatively marshals eloquent scholars, passionate activists and fascinating historical footage to challenge us all to continue working for systemic changes to our criminal justice system.”
~ Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editorial Director & Publisher, The Nation

“A powerful, emotional and important film… Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films leading the charge, once again. The film powerfully illustrates that every year America arrests, prosecutes, and jails millions of people, overwhelmingly Black and Brown, for minor offenses. This is neither an accident nor inevitable.
Watch, absorb, and then go out and take action…”
~ Anthony Romero Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union

Note: This film will be viewed on Zoom. Send a request for the link to Charlie Wussow at mnpopi@icloud.com by Thursday, June 17th. There will be a discussion after the screening of the film.

This screening is free.  Donations are gratefully accepted. 

Read the UUCA Racial Justice Glossary and Attend a Conversation

UUCA’s Racial Justice Advisory Council, working with the Board of Trustees, is asking for your participation in helping us work toward becoming a transformative, liberating congregation for all. The Council has a two-step process for us.  Step One is to read this Glossary so that everyone at UUCA is working with the same definitions of words and acronyms.  The Council is encouraging all committees and groups (social and spiritual deepening groups) to examine the glossary together.  You may invite a member of the Racial Justice Advisory Council to attend if you’d like their support.  (Contact Rev. Claudia to book someone.)  Glossary conversations open to all will occur as the Wednesday Thing programs on the second Wednesdays of May and June (May 12 and June 9) at 7pm.

Step Two is coming soon….  (don’t you love suspense?)

Justice Ministry Film: Far East, Deep South, Friday, May 14, 7pm, Zoom

FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH follows Charles Chiu and his family as they travel from California to Mississippi to find the grave of Charles’ father, K.C. Lou. Their search leads to stunning revelations about their family and they get a crash course on the history of Chinese immigrants in the segregated South. Through encounters with local residents and historians, this Chinese-American family not only discovers their family’s important role in the Mississippi Delta but they also learn about the symbiotic relationship between the Black and Chinese communities during the Jim Crow era.

The film provides a window into the struggles of Chinese immigrants in the American South during the late 1800s to mid-1900s and the discrimination they faced. The Chiu family’s history demonstrates how exclusionary immigration laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 separated their family for generations. This deeply moving and unforgettable story offers a poignant and important perspective on race relations, immigration and American identity.  (Runtime is 76 minutes.)

“Its intimate, as-it-happened cinéma-vérité style draws you in, and soon this family trip takes the twists and
turns of a compelling detective story. A surprising, sobering history lesson, it is painfully relevant at a time
when anti-Asian hate is on the rise.”   ~The Boston Globe

This film will viewed on Zoom.  Get the link by contacting Charlie at mnpopi@icloud.com. There will be a discussion after the screening of the film.

The event is free.  Donations welcome by clicking Donate on the main menu or texting UUAVL to 73256.

UUCA Annual Meeting Planning Is in the Works

The Board has not come up with the full details yet, but we will follow the same general procedure as last year. That means we will have remote voting ONLY, either through an electronic ballot that will be provided soon or a paper ballot that you send back to UUCA.  All is in process…..

Right now, check out this slide presentation of the 2021-2022 proposed budget you will be voting on.  Send any questions/comments to Linda Topp, Director of Administration.

Join the March in Defense of Trans Youth, Sunday, May 2, Pack Amphitheater

SHOW UP to voice your opposition to these three proposed NC bills:

  • HB 358 banning trans youth from participating in sports teams and athletics,
  • SB 514 prohibiting transgender young people from receiving trans-affirming care and penalizing medical professionals who provide transition-related care, requiring  teachers, administrators, and counselors to “out” transgender students to their parents, and protecting “conversion therapy” (attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity).
  • SB 515 allowing any medical provider to refuse to do anything they object to on the basis of conscience.

Here’s the Sunday schedule:
1pm Gather at Pack Amphitheater
2pm March in Defense of Trans Youth
3pm Speeches – including one by a UUCA youth

Wear masks and your Side with Love (or older Standing on the Side of Love) t-shirts. Maintain social distancing.

Read up on the bills & other action steps you can take:


Story Medicine for Racial Healing with Meta Commerse, Saturday, April 24, 10am-1pm, Zoom

Story Medicine is an Indigenous healing modality blending ritual with the written word. Medicine begins with words in Indigenous cultures. Myth and legend heal because they remind us of balance and right relationship. In Western culture, we are disconnected from our ancestral stories, and from the value of our individual story. To reclaim our story is to reclaim the lost self. This is what makes Story Medicine so transformational.

Meta Commerse is a Blues Doula. A former professor of History and English, she’s an award-winning author. Meta is a social entrepreneur, creator of Story Medicine Worldwide, a community-based healing movement.

UUCA’s Anti-Racism  Immigrant Justice Action Group is sponsoring this free three-hour workshop as we explore th

e work of becoming an anti-racist congregation. For an optimal experience, the workshop will be capped at 21 individuals. The workshop provides a taste of thetransformative work of Story Medicine. Expect to encounter community learning and healing through the sacredness of story. Meta uses memory as raw material and community resource, along with heart-centered language for what has happened to us.

Click here to register.  Limited to 21 participants.

Flower Power Sunday, April 11, 3-6pm, at UUCA

It’s a Flower Communion Ceremony, IN PERSON!!!  We’ll have a food truck, ice cream, and maybe some activities (we’re looking for volunteers right now).  Come for the ceremony at 3:30, stay for the food and fellowship!  Bring a chair if you don’t like standing around.  And for heaven’s sakes, bring flowers!!!! Rain date is April 18.

Poster with details of the Flower Power event. Navy blue background with pastel flower edging.

The Five Gates of Grief, Five Mondays beginning March 29, 6:30pm, Zoom

white plush unicorn with mlti-colred spots sitting in garden

Sometimes Uuny arrives for sad events.

Grief is a fact of our lives these days with all the losses we’ve suffered with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it doesn’t have to consume our lives. It can be the key to growth if we understand it as Francis Weller suggests as “a threshold emotion” that can help open up our lives.
“The Five Gates of Grief” is sponsored by UUCA’s Pastoral Visitors and will be led by facilitators Jan Booth and Trish Rux. Booth and Rux are holistic nurses and end-of-life doulas in the Asheville area.  The class is intended to explore the weight of griefs that we carry and the way that those griefs impact how fully we love and live our lives.
    Contact Rev. Mark Ward to register.  Space is limited.

Turning Point: The Challenges Facing Unitarian Universalism-Three sessions, February 22, March 8 and 22, 7pm, Zoom

Book cover or Turning PointThis is a 3-session book discussion group using the book Turning Point: Essays on a New Unitarian Universalism, edited by Fredric Muir.  We’ll pull a few essays from the book for each session as we explore the three sins of today’s Unitarian Universalism, its three promises, and examples of organizations trying to live the promises.  We’ll also learn more about what “Beloved Community” means and how being an iChurch is not a good thing.  Contact James Cassara to register for the link and get the book.  Brought to you by the Leadership Development Committee.

Ministry after COVID: What have we learned? What comes next? Thursday, March 18, 3pm, Zoom

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, churches and faith communities have had to move many of their ministries online, including worship and faith formation. As we look forward with hope as vaccinations are distributed and something resembling normal appears on the horizon, how can congregations carry what they have learned from this time, from new technologies to new skills, and ways of connecting with local and distributed communities the future? How do we stay connected to those with whom we have forged relationships online when our ministries begin to return to in-person gatherings? What have we learned, what will we carry forward, and what can we leave behind? Join us for this webinar as we discuss these questions, and more, with two thought leaders who have been working on extending community and welcome to people near and far well before the pandemic began.

This event is brought to you by the department of Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary.  It will be using a Christian perspective but addressing issues that affect all religious communities.



Rev. Jim Keat is the Digital Minister at The Riverside Church in New York City and the Director of Online Innovation at the Convergence Network. He is also a Digital Consultant to various progressive faith agencies and organizations. He is the producer of original media projects from The Riverside Church like Be Still and Go and Church Talk as well as the creator of the Thirty Second Bible project and Thirty Seconds or Less.

The Rev. Zack Nyein is Associate Rector for Community Engagement and Children and Youth Formation at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Zack is enthusiastic about developing creative ways of connecting and communicating the Good News of God in Christ across generations and difference as the church lives into its new and ancient calling as a community of reconciliation and renewal. Active in the wider Episcopal Church, Zack currently serves on the Task Force for Prayer Book and Liturgical Revision, the Board of the Episcopal Evangelism Society, and as Director of Worship for Imagine Church, an innovative online worship experience sponsored by the Diocese of Atlanta.

For this event, Lifelong Learning offers a voluntary three-tier fee program. You choose the rate that best suits your needs. No matter your choice, you will receive the same experience. Those who pay more will help support the content and costs of Lifelong Learning events. Thank you.

Friend – $0
Supporter – $10
Champion – $20

Justice Ministry Film Discussion, Friday, March 12, 7pm, Zoom

The film is 2040, about the future we could create if we embraced the best climate solutions available today. This film cannot be shown on Zoom so please watch it on your own and join the discussion on Friday, March 12 at 7pm. Contact Charlie Wussow to obtain the links to view the film and the guided Zoom discussion.

poster for the film, 2040 showing a man planting a tree with a little girl

Award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations.

Many academics believe that people become inactive or paralyzed on this topic because it all just feels too overwhelming and alarming. 2040 is an aspirational film full of hope about the possibility to make changes that will shift the course for humanity and the planet.  This is the narrative the next generation needs to see, to aspire to, and to believe is possible.



New Day Rising, UU Conference, Saturday, February 27, noon-9pm

Meme advertising New Day Rising Conference

Join a continent of UUs as we explore next steps in creating Beloved UU Communities

On Your Own:

Watch compelling video TED-talk style testimonials from selected congregations around the continent sharing their learnings, hopes and next steps in their quest for racial equity in their congregations

Together on February 27, 2021

  • Worship ~ Workshops ~ Caucusing
  • With plenty of breaks
  • 12n-9p ET

Register Now
Do note that youth need to have permission forms signed before they can attend.

Scholarships from UUCA are available.

John Lewis: Get in the Way, on Zoom Friday, February 12, 7pm

Movie poster showing an images of John LewisOur Justice Ministry Film Night is returning to second Friday evenings at 7pm.  Our first offering is a film by Kathleen Dowdey.  John Lewis: Get in the Way is the first biographical documentary about John Lewis. It is an inspiring portrait of one man cast into extraordinary times and his unhesitating dedication to seek justice for the marginalized and ignored. The film spans more than half a century, tracing Lewis’ journey of courage, confrontations, and hard-won triumphs.   A discussion period will follow the film.

Mr. Lewis was the youngest speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech. And in March 1965, Lewis led the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, where Alabama State Troopers attacked peaceful protesters with billy clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas. Their horrific actions were broadcast on nightly news reports into living rooms across America; eight months later, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law.

Contact Charlie Wussow for the Zoom link. 

Official Trailer:   https://www.pbs.org/video/john-lewis-get-way-official-trailer/       Runtime: 54 minutes

There is no charge for viewing the film but donations are welcome.  Or text UUAVL to 73256.  Or send a check to UUCA, 1 Edwin Place, Asheville, NC  28801.  You may donate to our General Fund or to our Community Plate outreach program.  In February we will be donating all Community Plate income to an Asheville High School scholarship fund established by UUCA to be awarded once a year to a student who will attend a North Carolina publicly funded college, has financial need, has participated in community service, and has a weighted GPA of 3.0 or better. Extra consideration is given to first-generation college attendees.

Will the Church Survive COVID? One session, Monday, January 25, 7pm, Zoom

Fear not. UUCA is not in any financial danger.  But there ARE dangerous shoals ukayaker on a waterfallp ahead as we find ourselves in a new normal after COVID times.  Members of the Leadership Development Committee will lead a discussion about the near-future of UUCA using this article as a conversation starter. All are invited to attend. We’ll use breakout groups if necessary. Contact James Cassara for the session link. Brought to you by the Leadership Development Committee.

Black Lives Matter Vigil, January 17, Cancelled due to high COVID rates

We are sad.  The RE Council was planning another in-person, outdoor event for us, this time a Black Lives Matter vigil on the afternoon of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday Service.  With local infection rates high and hospitalizations soaring, we don’t think it’s a good idea.  As soon as we are comfortable gathering outside in larger groups, we’ll come up with another idea!

Compassion, Consciousness, and Practice; Thursdays in January, 7-9pm

Note that this class is filled but Jeff Jones is compiling a wait list.  Nonviolent Communication (NVC) or Compassionate Communication is referred to as a language of life or a language of the heart.  More than a way of communicating, it is grounded in a consciousness that can be practiced moment by moment.  This four-week class will begin with an overview of Compassionate Communication and Consciousness, cover the skills of expressing Observations, Feelings, Needs and Requests without judgment, blame, or demand, and will cover empathy using contemporary real-life examples.  While the class will teach skills (appealing to the head), it will be grounded in consciousness (appealing to the heart).

The four sessions will be on Zoom, Thursdays January 7, 14, 21, and 28; 7-9pm

Our facilitator, Rev. Jeff Jones, began studying and became inspired by Nonviolent Communication (NVC) while serving at the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Marietta, Georgia, from 2010 to 2017.  He left parish ministry in 2017 to become a UU Community Minister and studied NVC more intensely in Asheville, NC.  He has taught NVC at UU congregations, at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), at UNC Asheville,  and has led an NVC Practice Group since January 2019.  He is a member of the NVC Sharers’ Group (those who teach NVC) in Asheville and is an Affiliated Community Minister with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville.

Contact Jeff Jones to register and for Zoom link.

Welcoming the Unwelcome – 2021 Book Study

WHEN? January 10 at 3 pm ​and ​every other Sunday​ at the same time through March 7, join Rebecca Bringle and Susan Steffe in an hour of discussion and exploration via Zoom of Pema Chödrön’s new book. This is a participatory group – we will all share the work!
WHY? We experience unexpected and unwelcome events constantly in our lives. We can’t change the fact that this will happen, over and over again. But what we can do is change how we react to it, and use the tools out there to cope with how we pick up the pieces again.
This is what renowned Buddhist and spiritual teacher, Pema Chödrön is addressing in her book ​Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World.
Books can be purchased through: Malaprop’s https://www.malaprops.com/search/site/welcoming%20the%20unwelcome
SemiColon Bookstore, a Black woman-owned store and gallery in Chicago https://bookshop.org/books/welcoming-the-unwelcome-wholehearted-living-in-a-brokenhearted-world/9781611805659

Holiday Generosity at UUCA

This holiday season we invite you to consider supporting the projects listed below that will support individuals in our community and abroad during this time of pandemic and economic upheaval. Our “Donation Day” is over, but the opportunities to give are not. There are still online opportunities to you. Here are links to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and for gift opportunities for students at Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School. You may also send a check to UUCA (that’s us!) for the Ministers’ Discretionary Fund to help struggling UUCA congregants this time of year. Thank you! Gracias!

Christmas Eve Service, Live Zoom at 4pm

Christmas in Story and Song
– Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister and Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

-This Christmas Eve service will blend the best elements of our traditional Christmas Eve services, with wonderful stories and music, and a candle lighting ceremony.  Sign up to receive links to our services on our home page.

Adult Faith Development: Building the World We Dream About

This  Wednesday Thing PROGRAM continues on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, 7pm, through December 9.  Drop in any time.

Learn how to develop anti-racist habits and skills that will show us a path to building the beloved community we dream about. We’ll use our own personal histories and UU beliefs and values to understand anti-racism work through frank conversation and reflection about race. Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions, although drop-ins are OK, too.

“We need to approach racism as it exists in our lives today, and not as an exercise in studying history. We need to share our experiences and viewpoints, and listen with open hearts and minds to each other, especially when we disagree.”

-Ruth Alatorre in Bringing Gifts

September 23 – Telling Our Story: Multiple Truths and Realities II

October 14 – You Are How You’ve Lived: Exploring Individual & Group Identity

October 28 – Exploring Your Multiple Identities

November 11 – Problems and Promises of Unearned Privilege

November 25 – No session – Happy Thanksgiving!

December 9 – Navigating the Landscapes of Power

Midweek Meetup with Ministers and Minions Every Thursday at Noon

One of the ministers, a UUCA Board Member, Linda Topp, or Venny Zachritz will be loitering on the Sandburg Hall deck every Thursday at noon, just waiting to talk to someone. Bring a chair, your lunch if you’d like, and sit a spell and chat. (Weather-permitting so it’s not likely we’ll meet on rainy days or those days below 40 degrees!) However, if you really want to talk with someone, feel free to contact Rev. Mark and he’ll set up something for you.

UU the Vote BIG EVENT on September 23, 7:30pm

We’re reaching out to 1 million voters by November 3! That’s 1,000,000!

Join us for the last UU the Vote virtual mobilization before Election Day. At our Gather the Spirit event, on Wednesday, September 23rd at 7:30 ET / 4:30 PT we are unlocking the full power of our community and our values to go All In during the UU the Vote Fall push.

We’ll have musicians, speakers from our national partners, and volunteers announcing our progress toward our goal to contact 1 million voters! Then we’ll invite you to our October Week of Action and give you the tools you need to activate your congregation. Register Here

White People Wondering

Second Thursdays at 7pm starting on October 8, join Rev. Ward as he facilitates a discussion he’s calling “White People Wondering.” It will be a brave space for reflecting with others on where you are on the journey of recognizing and disrupting racism in your life. Contact Rev. Ward to sign up.