Congregational Care

Central to the ministry of this congregation is the commitment we make to support each other in all the stages of life.

As our congregational Ends state, we seek to “create a community where people of all ages and backgrounds experience belonging, and feel loved and needed.”

To accomplish this we put in place staff, structures, and programming intended to promote an atmosphere of caring and support. But it doesn’t end there. We describe this as Congregational Care because we consider it something that every member of the congregation attends to, in keeping with our covenant, which calls us to “care for and support each other.”

Our ministers – Interim Lead Minister Rev. Cathy Harrington and Minister of Faith Development Claudia Jiménez – are charged with leading our Congregational Care ministry. Each is available for short-term counseling, visits, and support when members and friends are in crisis, conversations to explore spiritual issues and consultation about rites of passage and planning for illness or death.

They are assisted by a team of Pastoral Visitors, congregation members who are trained to offer a ministry of caring presence by phone, e-mail, or in person to members and friends.

Pastoral Visitors

Pastoral Visitors are members of UU Asheville who are recruited and trained by the  ministers to offer compassionate listening in times of crisis or life changes that challenge our ability to cope. Pastoral Visitors are also glad to witness and celebrate life’s happier milestones. They meet monthly to coordinate care in the congregation and refer members to community resources where it is deemed appropriate. Matters discussed in pastoral situations are generally held in confidence, but will be shared with the ministers. Our Pastoral Visitors: Iris Hardin (Coordinator), Jill Preyer, Tory Schmitz, Myrtle Staples and Dale Wachowiak.

Good Grief Group, a Congregational Care Program

The Good Grief Group offers group members a safe and sacred space to grieve circumstances in our own lives and the lives of our loved ones. Some losses, like health declins and demential are not necessarily recent, but continuing.  New losses bring up ole losses, and if the loss is too recent, most grievers are too raw to be ina gropu yet.  It is a sharing-caring experience where we give and receive loving support. We meet on the 2nd Friday of each month, 9:30-11:00am.

Contact: Nancy Bragg or Sherry Lundquist for information or the Zoom meeting link.

We also offer short-term help for our members needing meals, rides, or help with minor household tasks through Meal Trains.

Meal Train

Meal Train offers short-term support for congregation members who are ill, incapacitated or otherwise in need. As a rule, we offer one meal every other day for one to two weeks as well as limited, minor household tasks or rides. Anyone seeking a Meal Train should contact our Interim Lead Minister, Rev. Cathy Harrington, or a Pastoral Visitor.

To help us stay in touch, This Loving Community (TLC) section in our Weekly eNews, notifies the congregation of important joys, sorrows or life passages in the congregation. To share news for TLC, please call the main office number or click this link to fill out a form.

We have available in the church office a Life Crisis form that provides us with contacts and other information in case of need and Five Wishes booklets for end-of-life planning.

We maintain a Memorial Garden on our campus where members, friends, and their family members may apply to have their ashes interred. Click this link for an application to have ashes interred in the Memorial Garden.

Memorial Garden

Memorial Garden – The Memorial Garden is a walled area on the church grounds where ashes of members and friends are interred directly in the soil. The names of those whose ashes are interred are inscribed on brass plaques that are attached to the wall of the garden. A fee of $400 covers the cost of the plaque and assists in the upkeep of the garden.

We also periodically offer workshops, classes, and support groups to meet a variety of needs. Talk with a Pastoral Visitor or one of the ministers to find out more or to offer suggestions for future programs.

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A Message from Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington,
Interim Lead Minister

Greetings Members and Friends of UUCA,

Etc.  Will drop in new when we have it.

I am excited and honored to have been chosen to serve as your interim minister during this time of transition and look forward to our time together.  As I have gotten older and wiser, my main goal in life has been to cultivate joy in my personal life and in my ministry.  I tell you this because though we have a lot of hard work to do, we are first going to take time to get to know each other and have fun together.  I want to learn about your accomplishments, challenges, joys, and concerns as well as your hopes and dreams for the future. And we will be carefully navigating the complex challenge of returning to church as the pandemic restrictions are gradually lifted.

As an accredited interim minister (AIM), I have completed multiple trainings and enjoyed years of successful service to multiple UU congregations. I love doing this specialized type of ministry and have claimed as my motto “Love them and leave them.” Saying goodbye is the hardest part of this work but having the privilege to walk this transitional journey with Unitarian Universalist congregations has been the most significant and rewarding ministry of my career.

Rev. Cathy Harrington