Beloved Community and the 8th Principle

Sunday, January 16, 2022, 11am   Zoom
Rev. Claudia Jimenez,  Minister of Faith Development
On this day when we honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we explore his call to co-create Beloved Community and how it relates to the 8th Principle Project.
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”




Sunday, December 26, 2021 – A prerecorded service led by Rev. Cathy Harrington, with Worship Associate Adam Griffith.  The service features a homily by Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

As we look ahead to the New Year, we have an opportunity to draw our attention to what sustains us, to draw our attention to the sources of love and care and gratitude in our lives.  In her holiday homily on gratitude, Susan Frederick Gray quotes adrienne maree brown, “I have had to soften my grip on a fearful future narrative and return to the humility of the present.”

Christmas Eve Services

Friday, December 24, 2021
5pm YouTube and In-Person

7:45pm In-Person only
Both services will be nearly identical, led by Revs. Harrington and Jiménez:
Vaccinations, masks and registration required to attend in person. The 5pm service will be live streamed on a closed link and can be watched at any time thereafter. To receive the closed link, sign up for worship service emails on our home page.

We gather to mark a night our ancestors have marked for thousands of years. Stories of kindness, generosity, hearts re-opened to love, and the miracle of hope will center our time together. You are invited to be touched by story, by candlelight, by tradition, by ancient rhythms of the soul. Come and share in this timeless celebration of mystery, magic and wonder.
For the 5pm service, music will be provided by Sandra Goodson, vocalist, and Dr. Leslie Downs, Music DirectorClick here to register for the 5pm Christmas Eve Service.
For the 7:45pm, there will be a Pre-Service Mini-Concert Followed by an 8pm Service. Music will be provided by Tabitha Judy, soprano, and Dr. Leslie Downs, Music Director. Click here to register for the 7:45pm Christmas Eve Service.


Winter Solstice Service

Sunday, December 19, 2021 11am  YouTube and In-person with reservation
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister and CUUPS
Solstice is from the Latin sol stetit meaning sun stood still. Carolyn McVickor Edwards explains this in her book, The Return of Light.  “For six days in the northern hemisphere’s December, the sun ceases its southernly crawl on the horizon and appears to rise and set in almost  the same spot. The ancients watched this quiet drama with  drawn breath. Would the sun move again? Would life itself continue?”

Join us as we pay homage to this perennial rhythm of winter solstice with stories and rituals from around the world.

Finding Peace Among the Turmoil

Sunday, January 9, 2022  11am Youtube and In-Person
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
We experienced a forced slow-down due to Covid-19 lockdowns, and I hoped that people would recognize that slowing our crazy lives down is a better way to live. But it seems we have slipped back into our old habits moving from one peak experience to the next. Our 21st century society is moving at a dizzying pace!  How can we reclaim and sustain a healthy balance in our lives? 

Hope is a Verb

Sunday, December 12, 2021 11am YouTube
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister and Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Fatih Development
The temptation these days is to focus on what’s wrong in our world, Cathy and Claudia will invite us to reflect on the many reasons to be hopeful and to choose to joyfully engage the world with curiosity, compassion and love.


The Gift of Waiting

Sunday, December 5, 2021 11am You/Tube 
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
As the days grow shorter, we are eager for the solstice when light begins to grow again.  Christians observe Advent as waiting for the birth of Jesus, but non-Christians, Agnostics/Theists, Jews, and Humanists can view this time as waiting for the rebirth of love, justice and peace. We are all waiting for the pandemic to end. We are hoping for an end to the discordant in our nation’s politics.  In a novel I was reading recently, a Native American elder told the hero who was suffering from despair, “You can continue to walk with despair, but you can choose a different companion.”  How about hope or expectant waiting?

Gratitude and Song

Sunday, November 28, 2021  11am YouTube
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development
Join us for a service of song and gratitude. Even in this weird, seemingly apocalyptic time, there are many opportunities for gratitude.The simple gifts we receive each day: a kind word, a colorful card, a bird at the feeder can bring delight. Come prepared to share the gratitude in your heart that co-exists with sadnesses and challenges in all our lives.

Transgender 101

Sunday, November 21, 2021  11am Live Zoom
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister and Universal Rainbow Unity (URU) Members
This service is an opportunity to learn about transgender people and learn how to be an ally and help change the culture, making society a safer for transgender people and for all people (trans or not) who do not conform to conventional gender expectations.
We will take time to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th (watch the eNews for more information).

Now is the Time for Courageous Change/ a UUSC Guest at Your Table service.

Sunday, November 14, 2021 11am Live Zoom
“To meet the enormous challenges of today and build a more just future, we need big ideas and bold change. We must fundamentally transform the way things are, so that we do not perpetuate systemic inequities and repeat the harms of the past.” Mary Katherine Morn, UUSC President

Guest at Your Table (GAYT) is UUSC’s annual intergenerational program to raise support for and awareness about key human rights issues. Since UUSC works in more than 20 countries, with over 50 grassroots partners, there are thousands of individuals involved in and who benefit from the work that our members make possible.

Rediscovering Prayer

Sunday, November 7, 11am Live Zoom
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
UU ministerial students are required to take at least one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), and I took my unit during the summer after my first year of seminary. I spent ten weeks training as a chaplain at a major trauma hospital in Greenville, SC.  During this time, I struggled felt inadequate in situations where I was asked to pray with patients.  After an intense summer of wrestling with my theology and showing up for people when they needed me, I resolved my difficulty with the meaning of prayer.  You might be surprised to hear what I learned that challenging summer.


Service of Remembrance

Sunday, October 31, 2021 11am Live Zoom
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development
Join us for our annual service to recall loved ones (human and otherwise) who are no longer with us. Please bring a picture or memento for our “All Souls Table” so we may all honor their memory. Weather permitting, we will gather outdoors and stream the service. There will be candle lighting in the sanctuary. After service there will be a Halloween parade, treats (for children and four leggeds) and food for sale by our Coming of Age Youth). 

The Gift

Sunday, October 24, 2021 11am  Zoom
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and similar sentiments are reflected in Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.  Challenging this belief, Rev Cathy will explain why giving and receiving are equally important and one cannot exist without the other.  It is harder to receive than to give, and Cathy will share her own journey of learning this important lesson: : Giving and receiving are parts of the same divine dance that need to be synchronized.  To receive a gift graciously is indeed a form of giving. 


The Brain “In Love”

Sunday, October 18, 2021 11am Live Zoom  
Mariela Perez-Simons, Guest Speaker
Oxytocin, the Nervous System, and the Biology of Love.”

How the practice of devotion can help us heal our nervous systems as well as our ecosystems. 
BIO: Rev Mariela is a Cuban-American maestra & minister in the Unitarian Universalist denomination; she currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI from where she teaches about religious naturalism and intimacy with the natural world.

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

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