All Creatures Great and Small, We Will Bless Them All!

Sunday, October 10, 2021  11am  In-Person and Zoom
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead MInister
Animal blessings originate out of the Catholic tradition; however, many Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations have adopted this practice and have made it a uniquely UU type of blessing. Our seventh principle which states that we are all a part of an interconnected web of existence is the underlying motivation for many of these services.
The entire service will be held outside at UUCA with LIVE music, but it will also be available to watch on Zoom. There will also be a place in the service to commemorate beloved pets who have passed so send a photo with the name of the pet to Cathy at minister@uuasheville.org.

Bearing Witness to Homelessness

Sunday, October 3, 2021  11am Live Zoom 
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister 
Rev Cathy will take you on a journey to another world.  As in a science fiction movie, this is a world that’s all around us, yet it’s almost invisible.  It is the world of people without homes. In her first semester of seminary in the fall of 1999, Cathy took an amazing class that changed her in ways she didn’t expect and shaped her ministry forever.  The class was called Bearing Witness, named after a book written by Zen Buddhist, Bernie Glassman. It was taught by Kay Jorgensen, a Unitarian Universalist minister, and Carmen Barsody, a Franciscan sister. These remarkable women are the ones who founded the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in San Francisco.

 

The Spirituality of Imperfection

Sunday, September 26, 2021  11am Live Zoom
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead  Minister
William James, author of Varieties of Religious Experience, came to believe that human existence, even at its best, is left with an irremediable sense of precariousness”; it is a bell with a crack.”  Human existence, life, is a bell with a crack.  I wonder if Leonard Cohen read William James….?

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes

Sunday, September 19, 2021 11am  Live Zoom  
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development
Our congregation’s racial justice initiative invites us to consider our commitment to changing oppressive systems. It can be an uncomfortable and joyful journey to explore how we can each act in ways that disrupt racist practices. Join us to hear personal reflections, music and readings about the possibilities before us.

Bread For the Journey

Sunday, September 12, 2021 11am Live  Zoom   
Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. ~ Joseph Campbell

UU Asheville is in the midst of a ministerial transition while at the same time coping with the multiple changes caused by the pandemic. All of this uncertainty can feel unsettling, but transition can also be a time that is pregnant with possibility.  We must be willing to dwell in the messy middle for a time, and just like with making bread, things can be sticky for a while. Bread undergoes many transitions and ultimately “dying” in the oven as it transforms into sumptuous aromatic loaves. Campbell famously said, “Follow your blissWe must be willing to give up the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  What will UU Asheville look like in five years?  Ten years?  Much will depend on how comfortable we can be living in the creative, messy tension of what was and what will be.

 

 

Walking Together

Sunday, September 5, 2021  Live Zoom  
Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister  
Our Unitarian Universalist congregational polity is affirmed by our covenant with one another; to support, to honor, to grow into a greater affection for ourselves and the world.  Our vision of becoming better people, better parents, better citizens of the world, are only made possible by our willingness to walk together on the journey. 

 

Water Service

Sunday, August 29, 2021  Live ZOOM
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
I’m delighted that North Carolina is home to beautiful waterfalls, mountain streams and rivers. My home state of Michigan is surrounded by the largest bodies of freshwater in the world and is also blessed with many beautiful rivers and streams. As residents of such an embarrassment of water riches, it would be easy for us to take this rare gift of fresh water for granted. The World Water Vision Report suggests that the world water crisis is not about having too little water, but is more about how we manage our water. Billions of people are suffering as a result of the mismanagement of our world’s water. Our Water Ceremony this year honors the sacred gift of water.

Here’s a link to the slides that were used in the Water Service worship service–all 76 of them!.  Many thanks to all who contributed!

 

Faith Development, Your Say?

Sunday, August 22, 2021   Live ZOOM 
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
This month as we welcome our Interim Lead Minister, Rev. Cathy and prepare to launch our Faith Development programs in October, Rev. Claudia invites us to consider what faith development is, why it matters and what our focus will be this new church year. Religious educator Kim Collins will offer a reflection on our Family Ministry focus. There will be a virtual blessing of the backpacks, the briefcases/computer bags and purses during service. Rev. Cathy and Rev. Claudia invite you to pick up a special gift on Saturday 1-3pm in the parking lot that will be used during the blessing. We will be taking videos for the service, optional, of course,  so we will be asking for your consent. 

Our Chosen Faith

Sunday, August 15, 2021   Live Zoom 
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
Unitarians and Universalists have always been considered heretics because we choose our faith, not because we are simply contrary or rebellious.  “Heresy” in Greek means “choice.” Unitarian minister Jack Mendleson wrote, “Tragedy and death stalked those who first laid the foundations in Europe that was to bear the Unitarian and Universalist names.” Unitarians were given that title because of a carefully reasoned choice to say “No.” to the doctrine of the Trinity, and Universalists were called, “the no hellers” because of their belief in Universal Salvation.  

 

Something to Believe In

Sunday, August 8, 2021  Live Zoom at 11am
Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
It’s Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington’s first worship service with UUCA.  We’ll learn more about her and what her hopes and intentions are for this two-year interim period.

Poetry Sunday-Rekindling the Light

Sunday, August 1, 11am Live Zoom
Our Poetry Sunday team has used the theme of Rekindling the Light to select poetry for this service.  Many thanks to the planning committee of Sammy Fong, Virginia Bower, and Worship Associate Joyce Hooley-Gingrich.
 
Music this Sunday is provided by Walela, Kate Wolf, The Sandburgers, and  Dr. Leslie Downs, Music Director.  

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

There are no “new” UUCA Sunday worship services until August 1, when our annual Poetry Sunday will be a LIVE Zoom service at 11am.
But that doesn’t mean you have to miss worship.  On Sunday, June 27, join an entire flock of UUs at the Sunday morning worship service of our General Assembly at noon.Go out on Google and find other UU (or be bold–other denominations) worship services to check out on Sunday mornings.

Here is a 20-minute sermon? presentation? lecture? by the UU Hysterical Society called “Hysterical Women,” offered by Liz James and Rev. Anne Barker.

And finally, here are links to some of Rev. Mark’s favorite past recorded UUCA services.  (Two things to note here.  We weren’t keeping live Zoom services for most the year, and all of Rev. Claudia’s worship services were live.)

July 19 – Living in Storyland, a collaboration of David Novak and me
November 1 – Rising From Our Grief, anticipating the election
January 24 – Where Art Meets Science, reflections on poets writing about science
March 21 – House for Hope – The Roof, reflection on how we cope with evil
April 4 – i thank you god, Easter service centered on ee cummings poem
April 11 – House for Hope – The Foundations, reflections on God
May 23 – RE Celebration Sunday
June 13 – Refulgent Still, Rev. Mark’s final service as UUCA Lead Minister

Worship at the General Assembly

June 23-27, 2021
Other free events during General Assembly this week (no registration required).  Use the same link as the worship service.

  • General Sessions
    June 23-27, 2021
    Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Co-Moderators Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond preside over the general sessions in which the business of the Association is conducted.​ General Session IV will include a collection to benefit Side with Love.
  • Candidates Forum and Information Session
    Thursday, June 24, 2021
    5:00 – 6:30 p.m. EDT / 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. PDT
  • Service of the Living Tradition
    Thursday, June 24, 2021
    7:00 – 8:15 p.m. EDT / 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. PDT
    Led by the Ministries and Faith Development Staff Group, this service honors fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders; remembering those who have died, recognizing those who have completed active service (like Rev. Mark  Ward for instance), and welcoming those who have received fellowship or credentialed status in the past year. The service includes a collection to benefit the Living Tradition Fund.
  • Synergy Bridging Worship
    Friday, June 25, 2021
    7:00 – 8:15 p.m. EDT / 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. PDT
    This is a transformative multigenerational worship. Come be inspired and illuminated at a celebration of treasured worship elements, rites of passage and brilliant contemporary musical performances. The service includes a collection to benefit the Katie Tyson Fund for Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
  • Sunday Morning Worship
    Sunday, June 27, 2021
    12:00 – 1:15 p.m. EDT / 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. PDT
    Join us for the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship. The service includes a collection to benefit MICAH: Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope.

Refulgent Still

Sunday, June 13, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister  
For my last service at UUCA, I chose the same title as the first sermon I ever preached in Asheville, when I was candidating to become your minister. The language borrowed from Ralph Waldo Emerson still resonates, but my time with you has added so much more.

Music Sunday, A Service of Uplifting Music

Sunday, June 6, 2021  
Dr. Leslie Down, Music Director
It’s the first Sunday of June. Join us for Music Sunday!
Our very talented music director, Dr. Les Downs, has been working hard to put together an inspirational, entertaining Music Sunday for us. We’ll hear a wide range of music, from Broadway, from movies, pop, folk, and a traditional spiritual. We’re showcasing talent from our congregation (choir quartet, Sandburgers, younger members, etc.) AND from some pretty fabulous guest artists. Here’s the lineup: 

  • UUCA Choir Quartet:  Suzanne Neilson, Gail Ashburn,  Dennis Campbell, Langdon Martin
  • Congregation Members: Mia Phairas, Nick Phairas, Michelle Reines
  • The Sandburgers:  Brett Johnson, Will Jernigan, Sandra Goodson, Paul Moore, Annabelle Jernigan, Lorelei Goodson, Elliot Goodson
  • Guest Artists: Hillary Trumpler, Tabitha Judy, Olanna Goudeau, Ashley Watkins, Rita Hayes
  • Readers: Debbie Ward, Kris Stewart

 

 

 

Replacing Me with We

Sunday, May 30, 2021  
Rev. Dr. Neal Jones, Guest Minister
The insurrection at our Capital on January 6 was a graphic reminder of the fragility of democracy, even American democracy. But the threat runs deeper and politics and ideology. It is spiritual. It’s the inability to put the common good before self-interest. 

Rev. Dr. Neal Jones is a psychologist at the Pisgah Institute in Asheville. He came here after serving five congregations in North and South Carolina and in Texas, most recently Main Line Unitarian near Philadelphia, PA, and the UU Congregation of Columbia SC. He also serves as the chair of the national board of trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church & State.

 

 

Religious Education Celebration Sunday

Sunday, May 23, 2021  Live Zoom
Kim Collins, Jen Johnson, Religious Education Coordinators
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development
A multigenerational celebration of our ministry to children, youth and families at UUCA. Voices of all ages will share music, readings and reflections to celebrate the work we have done this COVID year. We will also honor this year’s graduates with our traditional bridging ceremony adapted for this year’s virtual reality. Join us!

Savoring and Serving Life

Sunday, May 16, 2021  
Rev. Mariela Perez Simon, Guest Minister
Savoring and Serving is a framework to help us find a healing balance in life. Savoring and Serving as a way of healing ourselves and the planet; as a spiritual practice; as a social responsibility; as a way of honoring the life-force that moves through us and to give back generously to the whole web of life.

Brief bio: Rev. Mariela Pérez-Simons (she/her) is a Cuban-American UU minister who teaches about religious naturalism, soul, social change, and emotional intelligence.
Rev. Mariela was born and grew up in Cuba under a dictatorship at a time when religion was forbidden, which instilled in her a commitment to the freedom of individuals to seek truth and meaning on their own terms and create change in the world. She and her family became political refugees in the United States in 1995. Rev. Mariela earned an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College in VT and a Masters of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School where she received the Charles Billings Prize in Preaching (given to a graduating student for excellence in preaching) and The Faculty Prize for Religious Leadership (given to a graduating student whose tenure at Meadville embodies the values of liberal religious ministry.) Her website is www.revmariela.com

 

 

A House for Hope: The Threshold

Sunday, May 9, 2021  
Rev.Mark Ward, Lead Minister  
We close our journey considering the promise of progressive religion with an invitation to imagine the threshold for our “A House for Hope.” Here’s where we reflect on our mission, what we are called to bring to the larger world and what we should be prepared to receive.

A Tree Telling of Orpheus

Sunday, May 2, 2021  
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister 
Denise Levertov’s poem describing an imagined meeting between a tree and the Greek musician Orpheus invites us to muse on the experience of spiritual awakening.

Earth Day

Sunday, April 18, 2021  LIVE Zoom at 11am
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
This is our annual multigenerational Earth Day Live Zoom service planned in partnership with the UUCA Earth Community Circles action group. Our theme will be emergence. Reflections will be shared by Kate Jerome and Dan Clere. We will also have special music, details TBA.

 

A House For Hope: Foundations

Sunday, April 11, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
This next service in our series exploring progressive religion considers what we make of the question of God or that in which we most deeply trust.

i thank you god

Sunday, April 4, 2021 Easter  
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister  
Our service will center on ee cummings’ poem that celebrates the beauty and wonder of simply being and will include a performance by Rev. Ward’s brother Terry of a song based on that poem that was written by his brother Scott.

This Little Light of Mine

Sunday, March 28, 2021  
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

Once again as we confront times of turmoil this simple Civil Rights song rises again in relevancy. What does it have to teach us today?

A House for Hope: The Roof

Sunday, March 21, 2001  
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

Next on our journey to lay out our theological House for Hope we consider how we confront sadness, tragedy, oppression, injustice and evil that we find in the world. The theological word for this is Soteriology: What is the roof that protects us from the storms and helps us repair and restore community when it is damaged?

Public Theology: The Writings of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz

Sunday, March 14, 2021
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
Sor Juana’s commitment to writing and learning during the 1600’s in Nueva España (modern Mexico) when women were expected to be “silent in church” invites us to consider our commitments and the challenges of keeping them.

Live Zoom at 11am.

 

A House for Hope: The Sheltering Walls

Sunday, March 7, 2021   
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

In the second step of our building this theological House for Hope we move from the site, the ground that we have chosen to build on, to erect walls that define our community. This is the work of Ecclesiology, where we declare the nature of the community we’re building: What holds us together and defines who we are?

YRUU Sunday

Sunday, February 28, 2021
YRUU Class
Join us for the annual YRUU – Young Religious Unitarian Universalist – service. Our 10th-12th graders will reflect on appreciation, hope and the role they play in creating Beloved Community. This is a multigenerational service so we encourage all ages to worship together!

Encountering Thurman’s Jesus

Sunday, January 21, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward Lead Minister
In one more week with Howard Thurman, we focus particularly on his unique perspective on the life and ministry of Jesus.