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

Friday Action Hour with Forward Together, 11am–It’s Group Action, Online–FUN!

Join UUs from across the state to advocate for justice from home with Forward Together. All you have to do is show up. There will be a list of easy, impactful actions that Forward Together’s partners have called on us to DO.  They’ll begin with a brief check-in, introduce that week’s actions, and then get to work for an hour.  Along the way, we’ll be accompanied by good justice music, fellowship, and support!  Contact Rev. Claudia for the Zoom link.

Join this Online Series, “Voting Rights: The Struggle Continues,” Tuesdays, 7:30pm

As the 2020 election draws near, the UU Living Legacy Project is offering a monthly online series focused on voting rights. In these sessions, we’ll be exploring what we can learn from the Voting Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s to apply to challenges we face today in these amazing (and not necessarily in a good way) times.  UUCA’s Justice Ministry invites you (yes, you!) to participate!

WHEN: Last Tuesday of every month starting May 26 until Election Day 2020!
TIME: 7:30 pm Eastern; each program is 60 minutes followed by informal discussion time.
MODERATORS:  Dr. Janice Marie Johnson and the Rev. Carlton E. Smith

Prayer In Action: A Gathering of Solidarity for Peace and Justice-TODAY!

TODAY!! At noon!!!
The event will be on Church Street, which will be closed to vehicular traffic.
Speakers: Rev. John Grant will open with comments and prayer, with L.C. Ray, Herbert Grant, Tyrone Greenlee and the pastors at Central United Methodist, First Presbyterian and Trinity Episcopal also being involved (plus others).

Attendees are asked to social distance and wear masks.

Online Faith Development: Unitarian Universalist History, drop in on Thursdays, 7pm

You are invited to join in anytime during this 12-week class on Unitarian Universalist History online!  The class will meet on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30pm through June 18.  It is 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.

Contact Jeff with questions or to get the Zoom link.

Topic: Unitarian Universalist History via Zoom
Time: Apr 2, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Apr 2, 2020 07:00 PM
Apr 9, 2020 07:00 PM
Apr 16, 2020 07:00 PM
Apr 23, 2020 07:00 PM
Apr 30, 2020 07:00 PM
May 7, 2020 07:00 PM
May 14, 2020 07:00 PM
May 21, 2020 07:00 PM
May 28, 2020 07:00 PM
Jun 4, 2020 07:00 PM
Jun 11, 2020 07:00 PM
Jun 18, 2020 07:00 PM

Write 20 Postcards to “Reclaim Our Vote”

This is going to be fun.  Get your kit, write a prescribed note, decorate, and send!  We’re setting up a Zoom writing party.  Join this postcard writing campaign led by Reclaim Our Vote who partners with NAACP, Black Voters Matter, Mi Casa, Mi Familia Vota, and others to reach out to voters who have been de-registered from voting and may not know it. This campaign is being organized through Forward Together, which is the North Carolina UU justice ministry.  Kits with stamps, postcards and instructions will be made available. You can have a Zoom postcard writing party or do it solo!  Contact Rev. Claudia to join us.  Why can’t we have 100 people doing this?  UUCA could send out 2000 postcards!!!!!

The curated list of other opportunities curated by Melissa Murphy (thank you, Melissa) can be found at (last edited 5/4/20)


UU the Vote During COVID-19: A UUA Update on Tuesday, May 12, 7pm

The Justice Council invites you to stay connected with the #UUthe Vote initiative. Register for How We Thrive! and join other UUs in staying engaged in justice-seeking.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 7:00 PM –  9:00 PM ET

What does it mean to practice our principles during a pandemic? What are we doing to guarantee free and fair elections in states targeted by voter suppression?

How is UU the Vote rising to the challenges of COVID-19, while creating a movement towards UU values in the 2020 elections?


Join us LIVE for a special update from UU the Vote. This event will feature musicians from across the country, a message from UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, and opportunities for you to get involved and make meaningful impacts in 2020!


Inspiration: Chalk the Walks

Don’t want you to miss this trend altogether.  Chalk the Walks is all about spreading joy, optimism and inspiration through the magical power of sidewalk chalk.

Remember when you were a kid and you’d draw pictures and write happy thoughts with chalk in your driveway and down the sidewalks of your  street? And the adults always smiled when they read the big, pastel-colored messages? This is just like that. Only we’re bigger now. And we don’t have to go in the house when the street lights go out.

The idea is as simple as it was in childhood: write happy messages, have fun doing it, spread some joy while you’re at it.

Is sidewalk chalking legal in Asheville?  (from a Citizen-Times Answer Man column): “The city of Asheville reviews each situation based on its own facts, but, generally, writing on the public sidewalk is prohibited,” said city spokeswoman Polly McDaniel. “The specific ordinance violation will depend on the situation, but usually writing on the public sidewalk with chalk is a violation of either the city’s sign ordinance or graffiti ordinance.”

The city does make an exception for children’s activities. Mostly the city does not like advertising.

Best Practices:

  • Be respectful – consider your neighbors and others who will see your chalked walks.
  • Remember the mission – the goal here is to spread joy, optimism and inspiration; if what you’re writing doesn’t accomplish that in a pure and simple way, please reconsider.
  • Keep it clean – it’s very difficult to spread joy if your content is offensive; if an 8-year-old shouldn’t read it, don’t write it.
  • Have fun – play is important to our mental and emotional health; connect with your inner child, be playful, have fun.

You have permission to use the church’s sidewalks!  (That’s outdoor exercise, right?)  Just stay 6 feet apart.

Inspiration: When This Is Over by Laura Kelly Fanucci

When this is over, may we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.

When this ends
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way — better
for each other
because of the worst.

Online Faith Development: Haunting Church, starts Monday 4/13, 2pm

Rev. Claudia will be facilitating “The Haunting Church: Owning Your Religious Past” as a Zoom class on four Mondays, April 13, 20, 27 and March 4, from 2 to 3:30pm.

This class is an invitation to explore your religious journey in a way that promotes greater self-understanding and personal peace.  We’ll address questions like:

What do you leave behind?
What do you bring to the present?
What do you redefine?

Supplies needed: journal; pen or pencil; markers (optional)

Please email Rev. Claudia to register and receive the Zoom meeting ID.

Inspiration: “Lockdown,” A Poem by Fr. Richard Hendrick

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic-buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

But, it’s said in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on…..

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic-buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

Caring for Each Other: Video Meeting Help

Remember, that amid all this mess, what we CAN all do is be as compassionate and kind and helpful and understanding as possible (which is hard when you’re totally stressed yourself), to our family, friends, neighbors and strangers we encounter, and to yourself.  All you can do is the best you can do.  Take a deep breath.  Maybe 5.

We know a lot of you are trying to connect through video–but it can be intimidating.  So, we have 5 congregants who are willing to host a meeting for you.  Whether you want to connect with fellow UUCAers or family members or friends, contact one of these people who will either help you figure out how to host a meeting or actually host it for you, so all you have to do is click in to join.

Many thanks to these volunteers.  Look up their contact info on REALM or email Tish for that info.

Evelyn Becker
Virginia Bower
Rebekkah Hilgraves
Jeff Jones
Kelly Wedell

Spirit Play Story Thursday at 6:30pm for Children (and those young at heart)

Calling our young ones – and all others who love Spirit Play!  We’ll be sharing a Spirit Play story and gathering time via Zoom Thursday evening.  We’ll open with our Sunday rituals, including our joys and sorrows candles, and a storyteller will share a story.  What a beautiful way to end the day.  

PS Everyone is welcome to join us!  This is a great opportunity for our 9:15 class, 11:15 K-2nd grade Spirit Play, and anyone else who wants to enjoy this special program together. If you are registered in RE, you will automatically receive a Zoom invitation.  If you’re the kind of person who loves Spirit Play stories, too, contact Rev. Claudia for a Zoom invitation.

Inspiration: Pandemic, A Poem by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Rev. Lynn Ungar, March 11, 2020

UUCA and COVID-19 Updates

So, friends, now it’s clear: we’re in this for the long haul. Whether it’s weeks or months, our lives are going to be different for some time as we cope with the influx of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We hope you are following the guidance of health professionals to stay safe – keep washing your hands, stay out of large gatherings of people. If we’re lucky the impact of the virus locally won’t be severe. But we can’t know for sure. So, we need to stay vigilant.

Of course, all that vigilance can also be destructive of community. While we hunker down, we also need to stay connected. The community of UUCA may not be meeting in person, but it remains as vital and alive as it ever has been. Know that your staff is working hard to find ways to create connections and make the ones we have already more robust.

As a reminder, you can also keep up with any contributions you want to make to UUCA by using the DONATE button on the website*, sending us a check, or texting-to-give (text UUAVL GIVE to 77977).

*For reasons that are not clear, our new website does not always refresh itself when you reload it. Until we get that fixed, to get the most up-to-date version of the website, go to the top left (on PCs) of the home page, find the little “circle-with-an-arrow” symbol and click on it.  That will refresh the page and you’ll be seeing the current version.



Justice Film Night: March 13, 7pm

Trans in America:  Three short verité documentaries about transgender civil rights in the United
States reveal the daily impact of discrimination on three families as they
battle with bathroom bills, vulnerability in employment and housing, and the
aftermath of incarceration.  Click here for more information.

CUUPS Magic Yard Sale, Saturday, March 14, 10am-5pm

The Blue Ridge Spirit Chapter of CUUPS (Covenant of UU Pagans) is holding a Magical Yard Sale as our first service project in conjunction with Mother Grove Goddess Temple. Proceeds go to Helpmate, a nonprofit benefiting victims of domestic violence. Treasures you may find include scarves, beads, pottery, silver, crystals, jewelry, books, tarot decks, wands, candles, candle holders, trinkets and more. Come out and see what delightful magical items you can find… and all at yard sale prices!

UU the Vote

Saturday, March 28, 10am-2pm.  Join us for “Get Out The Vote.” We will gather at the YWCA for a 30-minute training from Savannah Gibson, our Racial Justice Advocate, then go out in teams to canvass door-to-door to REGISTER VOTERS.” FMI, contact Savannah Gibson.

Ongoing – MANNA is partnering with Democracy NC  to do voter registration/outreach at their food pantries. Volunteers needed who can commit to regularly going weekly/bi-monthly to a food pantry to build relationships.  One site in particular has a need for volunteers who speak Spanish, Russian, and/or Ukrainian. Days/times needed: Downtown Welcome Table (Wed 10am-1pm); Bethel SDA (9am-12pm); Downtown Transit Ctr; Hopey; V.A. Hosp (Thurs at 10 am). Interested folks contact Edward Peters:

More information about these at the Justice Ministry table or at

If you’re looking for an educational opportunity, don’t miss this powerful opportunity to learn about the voting rights struggle of the 1960s directly from the people who lived it.  On March 16-20, 2020 join the UU Living Legacy Pilgrimage from Memphis to Selma.  This five-day pilgrimage, designed for people ages twelve (12) and over, focuses on exploring sacred American Civil Rights Movement sites in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee through a multigenerational lens.

Acoustic Journeys: Louise Mosrie, March 8, 7pm

Influenced by everyone from ‘70’s folk-rock icon Ricki Lee Jones to ‘80’s pop faves The Sundays, Louise Mosrie brings a refreshing dose of acoustic pop to the singer-songwriter realm.

“Louise Mosrie may well be the brightest young folk-oriented artist to emerge from Nashville in many a year.”
– Rich Warren, WFMT-FM Chicago

Tickets $20 at the door. Bring snacks for intermission if you’d like.

New Adult RE Workshop for Exploring Your Religious Journey

Join Rev. Claudia and UUCA’s Affiliated Community Minister Rev. Tiffany Sapp for a weekend adult faith development workshop, March 6, 6-8 PM in 23 Edwin and March 7, 9am-3pm in the RE Commons. The two Revs will be leading a remake of a beloved UU course called Haunting Church.  Together, we will explore our religious journeys in a way that promotes greater self-understanding and personal peace. What do you leave behind? What do you bring to the present? What do you redefine? Registration is required. Please contact Rev. Claudia if you are interested.  Contact Kim Collins if you need childcare.

Coming of Age Trivia Night, February 22, 5pm

Here’s your chance to support this year’s Coming of Age (COA) class and have a blast doing it!
Join us for Trivia Night on February 22, 5-8pm in Sandburg Hall. There will be a mac ‘n cheese bar (with lots of healthy/delish sides and toppings, plus vegan and gluten-free options), awesome all-ages trivia and some games thrown in too to keep the fun going!  This event sells out!
Why join us, besides all the fun and great food? You’ll be supporting our CoA Youth trip this summer to Beard’s Fork, West Virginia, hosted by the UU College of Social Justice. Our CoAers will get first-hand experience working and learning alongside community members with diverse perspectives on West Virginia’s past, present, and future. They will be putting UU values into action, confronting the environmental, social, and economic injustices that revolve around coal mining.
Tickets are $20 for adults/teens, $10 for kids 12 & under, and free to those going to the complimentary childcare area downstairs. ($60 max per family).
Buy your tickets after either Sunday service in Sandburg Hall over the next two weeks. And buy ‘em soon – this event sells out. Hope to see you there!


Acoustic Journeys: Bob Sinclair & The Big Deals

Sunday, February 9, doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:00.  Buy tickets at the door ($20) to have a rousing good time with Bob Sinclair and The Big Deals.  They’re bluegrass, bentgrass, Americana, and spiritual, with a little Indie thrown in.  They’re front porch swing music played by happy people! The Big Deals are kind of like country or jazz or swing but not really.  It’s what happens when friendship, southern storytelling, musical talent and string quartet sensibilities combine. Sounds like fun!  Join us!  Bring snacks for intermission if the mood strikes you.

RE Town Hall Meeting, Sunday, February 2 after both services in RE Commons.

Share your thoughts, bring your questions and wishes, and give us feedback about Religious Education for children and youth at our upcoming RE Town Hall on Sunday, February 2.  Please join us in the RE Commons after either service that day. Rev. Claudia, RE staff, and a member of the RE Council will be there to listen, answer and greet. We look forward to seeing and hearing from you then. Everyone is invited!

Join the MLK, Jr. March, Monday, January 20, 11:30am, Formerly, Berry Temple United Methodist Church, 34 College Place

This is a Yellow-Shirt Brigade Event!  We believe that Black Lives Matter. We want to use our white privilege to make a difference in the world.  We want to show our support at this Peace Rally and March.  

There will also be a Candlelight Service on that same Monday, MLK, Jr. Day, at Central United Methodist Church at 6pm.



Buy tickets for the MLK, Jr. Prayer Breakfast ($25) at the Justice Ministry table on Sunday mornings.

Saturday, January 18 at the Crowne Plaza Resort
Doors open at 7:30am; seating requested by 8:20am.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury & Healing. “Dr. DeGruy is an acknowledged expert on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery”.  
    Buy tickets for $25 at the Justice Ministry Table. Please consider making a donation to support the seats for Motheread mothers and their oldest children who will be joining us at our UU tables.

Love Is a Rose: Celebrating the Music of Linda Ronstadt

This Acoustic Journeys concert starts at 7pm on Sunday, January 5. 

In this sensational act, Paula Hanke and Peggy Ratusz belt out song after song from Linda Ronstadt’s long career while adding personal stories and historical accounts of Ms. Ronstadt’s impressive achievements.

Tickets only available at the door. $20, cash preferred but checks accepted. Doors open at 6:30pm. Bring snacks to share at intermission if you would like to.

Call (828) 545-2260 for more information.

‘Tis the Season for Giving

Linda Topp, Director of Administration

xmas-gift-uucaSurprise! This is NOT about asking for donations. Though that’s not a bad idea. In fact, why don’t you just keep that idea in the back of your head while you keep reading? This IS about the many ways we accept donations. We aim to please so we try to make it as simple as possible for you to support UUCA. Here we go:

Sign up for a regularly scheduled ACH transfer from your bank account to ours. (This is our favorite–you don’t forget and we are charged lower fees than if you use a credit card.)

Sign up for a regularly scheduled donation by credit card. (Same as above but has higher fees. Does solve the forgetful problem.)

Write a check. Drop it in the Sunday collection, bring it to church and hand it to us or drop it in the black lock box outside my office, mail it. All good.

Use the Donate link on our website to make a one-time or recurring gift.

Text to give. Use that little computer in your pocket to send this message to 77977: UUAVL GIVE. Once you input your credit card info the first time, it’s easy-peasy after that.

Transfer stock shares to us. You give us stock shares and we sell them and keep the money. This has some tax advantages. (Check with your financial folks–we are NOT financial advisors.)

Set up a donor-advised fund and direct that the fund make donation(s) to UUCA. Donor-advised funds are like mini-grant foundations with you as the grantor. You get a tax deduction when you put money into your fund, not when it gets doled out by your directives. This has a tax advantage for some folks. (Same caveat about financial advisors.)

If you are 70-1/2 years old, you are required to withdraw a certain amount of money from your IRA each year (not Roth IRAs). The amount is defined by the IRS. Go look it up. If you send the money from your IRA directly to UUCA, you pay no income taxes on that contribution. (Still not financial advisors.)

If you want to leave money to UUCA upon your demise, we have our Legacy Circle Committee ready to sign you up. This does NOT have to be a large amount. And it can be as easy as making UUCA one of the beneficiaries of an insurance plan, a bank account, or investments. Contact Mike Horak.