News 4 Leaders

These posts are “news memos” for the lay leaders of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, NC.  

They provide a forum for staff and lay leaders to consider a variety of issues affecting the life of the congregation.  Most memos are written by the congregation’s Director of Administration with input from various staff members.

Comments are moderated by the Director of Administration.  All members are invited to comment – to comment click on post title, comment area will be at the bottom of the post.

Posts are irregularly timed.  

News 4 Leaders Blog

Turning Point – A 3-session Discussion Series about the Future of Unitarian Universalism and UUCA, Mondays, February 22, March 8 and 22 at 7pm on Zoom

Do you agree or disagree?
  • We UUs are being held back and stymied by a persistent, pervasive, disturbing, and disruptive commitment to individualism that misguides our ability to engage the changing times.
  • We cling to a Unitarian Universalist exceptionalism that is often insulting to others and undermines our good news.
  • We refuse to acknowledge and treat our allergy to authority and power, though all the symptoms compromise a healthy future.
These are the claims being made in the book of essays edited by Fredric Muir called Turning Point: Essays on a new Unitarian Universalism.  The essayists then go on to suggest that renewed emphasis on generosity, pluralism, and imagination can address these “sins.”  And finally, in the third section of the book, there are examples of innovative UU programs that point us in new directions. For these discussions, we’ll pull two or three essays from the book for each session so a full reading of the book is helpful but not necessary.  Contact James Cassara to register for the link and get the book.  Brought to you by the Leadership Development Committee.

Turning Point – A 3-session Discussion Series about the Future of Unitarian Universalism and UUCA, Mondays, February 22, March 8 and 22 at 7pm on Zoom

Do you agree or disagree?

  • We UUs are being held back and stymied by a persistent, pervasive, disturbing, and disruptive commitment to individualism that misguides our ability to engage the changing times.
  • We cling to a Unitarian Universalist exceptionalism that is often insulting to others and undermines our good news.
  • We refuse to acknowledge and treat our allergy to authority and power, though all the symptoms compromise a healthy future.

These are the claims being made in the book of essays edited by Fredric Muir called Turning Point: Essays on a new Unitarian Universalism.  The essayists then go on to suggest that renewed emphasis on generosity, pluralism, and imagination can address these “sins.”  And finally, in the third section of the book, there are examples of innovative UU programs that point us in new directions.

For these discussions, we’ll pull two or three essays from the book for each session so a full reading of the book is helpful but not necessary.  Contact James Cassara to register for the link and get the book.  Brought to you by the Leadership Development Committee.

Wondering about a Post-COVID UUCA

Sooner or later we will be meeting in person again.  This has been the topic of many, many articles in the church world.  What will it look like?  Who will come?  What does the near-future hold?  Let’s use this month’s worship theme, imagination, to look ahead.

In this article, which is the basis for a conversation the Leadership Development Committee is leading on Monday night at 7pm (contact James Cassara for the Zoom link), there are 5 predictions that many people are making about that future:

  1. In person doesn’t necessarily mean in our building(s).
  2. In-person attendance in the building will be a [lower] percentage of your real church.
  3. You’ll use the building to reach people online, not use online to get people in the building.
  4. In-person attendance will probably become more infrequent church attendance.
  5. Digital church will be more of a front door and a side door than a back door.

A different, short article makes similar points:

  1. Many people may not come back to Sunday morning services. In fact, plan on attendance dropping by at least half of what it was before COVID in many places. That’s ok, but it will require a new imagination about what sustainable ministry looks like going forward. Online church is here to stay. Sunday morning is not the end-all and be-all. Now you can be a seven-day-a-week church, a community unleashed in the world to reweave the generative relationships that hold us together as neighbors and friends.
  2. Belonging is being redefined beyond membership. Given that we can now participate in seemingly countless ways, membership is a less useful concept to describe how one belongs to a community. It’s helpful only in describing governance and voting. It’s less meaningful as a descriptor of the scale of people aligned around your church’s mission. Words like “participants,” “partners,” and “investors” may prove more productive.
  3. We will need new organizational and staffing structures. Most churches were staffed for a time that is not coming back. We will need to reimagine our staffing needs, capacities, and goals. For many, this will not lead to massive layoffs but rather a redefinition of roles that more authentically aligns with the work to be done.

So what does this mean for UUCA?  We already know for sure that we will possibly livestream but for sure video-record our worship services. What equipment and staffing do we need for that?  Will we still hold 2 services on Sunday mornings?  Will RE look the same on Sunday mornings?  Will people be willing to attend if they still have to wear masks and social distance (though with vaccines around, things should be safer—but safe enough to resume life as it was?)  Will people be willing to attend coffee hour outside?  (We tried this right when the Welcome Project finished (when we got the new front patio) and no one went out there.)  If we do decide that we will be doing way more meeting outside, what infrastructure do we need to support that (i.e., shade coverings, seating)?  How might we choose to use our buildings differently?  Can we/should we offer programming for people who will NEVER become “members?”

And all this happens WHILE we have a new minister AND we apply ourselves to the work of anti-racism.  Sheesh!  Exciting. Scary. Intimidating. Energizing.

I’m sure there are more questions (questions are easy, answers are harder).  But for right now, I want UUCA to THINK BIG!!!!  Imagine!  Dream!  Go beyond what’s “possible.”  Who do we want to be next?

Linda Topp, Director of Administration

Leadership Path Development in Congregations Webinar, Feb 11, 6:30, 23 Edwin Parlor

We’ll be watching this webinar at 23 Edwin tomorrow night.  You’re invited to join us.  Bring snacks if you like that sort of thing.  Here’s the promo from the UUA:
Leadership Development and Recruitment are often difficult in congregations who always seem to have too many jobs and not enough energy. During this webinar, we will explore solutions that include setting goals for your Lifespan Faith Development Program that naturally grow leaders in the congregation, inviting more diverse and inclusive leadership, and cultivating a culture of leadership development that hinges on servant leadership and the celebration of those who have served.
Childcare available!! Just come!

Help Wanted: Test Out Our New Website This Week

Ta-da! This new website has just gone “live.”  We’re sort of doing a soft opening so we can work out kinks before the big grand opening.  However, it IS the only website we have so anyone that looks us up for whatever reason from now on ends up here.

Here are a few things you can do to help out: Pretend you are a person using the internet to scout us out before attending.  Can you find out what you want to know? Tell us all about it!

How hard was it to find answers to these questions?  If it was hard, was it important to find it? Tell me anything that you think we should know about the site.  (This is not a test–I know the answers so no need to report them back.  The point is if you wanted to find the answer, could you?)

  • I am running an event that will be collecting money.  How do I do that?
  • I have a 5-year old.  What’s the Sunday School like?  What do we do when we get to UUCA for the first time?
  • Do you have a choir?  How do I audition?
  • Who can be interred in the Memorial Garden?  How can I make it happen?
  • I need to get on Realm.  
  • I am looking to rent a room for a meeting.  Do you rent rooms?
  • Are there any adult faith development classes coming up?
  • What does the ECC do?
  • What’s this month’s theme?
  • I want to make a donation.
  • I want to nominate a group for our Community Plate.  How do I do that?
  • I need to know who is on the RE Council.  Where do I look?
  • Who’s in the pulpit this week?
  • I missed last week’s sermon.  Can I find it online?
  • I want to re-read the description of the thing I bought at the Auction.  Can I do that?

Well, that’s enough for now.  Send me your results, comments, thoughts, etc.  Be kind, though, because we DID try hard to get things right.

Linda

Need Your Help for Photo Sessions

Sign-ups for our photo sessions that start next week are lagging so we need your help! We have about 400 families at UUCA and only 100 have signed up. This is not good enough!! A photo directory with 1/4 of the congregation in it is not so helpful. Here’s what I need from you:

>>Please sign up for a photo session (it’s free + you get a printed directory and 8×10 photo for free, too). Please sign up for next week if you can. There’s a psychology to this; week 2 will fill if week 1 creates a good buzz.

>>Please remind your UUCA friends to sign up, too! This is only going to be a useful document if we have great representation. I’m wanting to get 250 or more. We’re at 100. Go out and recruit!!!

>>More optionally, if you have the time, please sign up for a couple of hours of greeting. It’s nice to have a church member greeting folks as they arrive for the photo sessions.

Now go, sign up now and recruit your friends!

Leaders Need to Know

Welcome back to a new church year! I am horrified to discover that I never made use of this communications tool all of last year! That is wrong and I hope to do much better this year.

We have information that UUCA leaders need to know about, so it’s time to review it (or introduce it, depending on your tenure). First off, use the website! There is actually a tab on the website called “Leaders Need to Know.” Catchy name, right? It’s under the home page’s tab, “For Members.”

When you get there, you’ll find all manner of helpful info. There’s a listing of all the leaders of the congregation. There’s a “check request form” that you need to get reimbursed for purchases. There are helpful instructions on how to schedule a room, or submit an eNews article, or what to do with money you collect. It’s all there!

There’s also a workshop you can attend to learn more about how things get decided here at UUCA:

Join the Leadership Development Committee on Saturday morning, September 28, 9:30-noon, for a UUCA Leader’s Workshop.

Are you interested in learning more about leadership in churches without leaving the comfort of your own home? There are many, many “classes” you can access through the UUA website. Visit the UUA’s Leader Lab or see the UUA Leadership Institute’s listing of classes, both scheduled and on demand. Remember that you can always apply for a UUCA scholarship to “attend” any UU-related leadership class or workshop.

Picnics, Workshops, Meetings, Wednesdays, Auction–YIKES!

I wrote a post on Tuesday, but things did not go so well. The post was messed up and so were the outgoing email notifications. It was about this past week’s Wednesday thing which is now over.  So don’t worry about.  Here’s what you need to know now.

There is a WHOLE LOT of stuff going on at UUCA right now.  It’s hard for staff to keep up, let alone the “UUCAer-on-the-street.”  Here’s a quick summary.  Everything mentioned here has more information available online or in eNews articles (find past eNews’s on our website).  Please help your friends to be informed.

Picnic, September 17, 4-8pm – We reserved Weaver Park for an activity that’s now happening elsewhere.  But we have the park so we may as well have a picnic.  Just show up!

Workshops – There are 11(!) possible choices for you to join in on the conversation about UUCA’s mission and ends.  We have to FOCUS, people!  Sign up for a LOV Project workshop.  Results of this work will be presented at the Congregational Meeting on October 29 at 4pm.

Meetings – Learn more about providing sanctuary to a person threatened with imminent deportation on September 28 at 6:30 from outside presenters and come to the Congregational Meeting on October 29 at 4pm to vote!

Wednesdays – Ask your friends about the Wednesday Thing.  We had a fabulous night this week with more than 60 people joining in the various activities.  We start with a $5 meal every Wednesday!

Auction – “The Things You Do” is a party, an auction, AND a dance on November 11 at The Asheville Event Centre, 5-8 pm.  What we need right now are DONATIONS!!!  The more things we sell, the more funds we raise.

The Wednesday Thing and REALM

Tomorrow night is the first Wednesday Thing but it’s just the first.  We’re doing it EVERY WEDNESDAY.  Get here at 5:30 to eat ($5 per person, $20 maximum per family), stay for the vespers service at 6:00, and then dabble in whatever activities are offered, beginning at 6:30.  There will always be something for everyone, often multigenerational, occasionally, um, unigenerational(?).  (You know, kids and adults apart.)  Leave when you need to.  Child care for little ones (6 and under) starts at 6:00.

Anyway, I need help from you leaders.  MANY of our congregants are not on REALM yet. REALM replaces MY INFO so unless you’re on REALM you will have no way to find your friends’ contact information  or your own giving information.  We have all the data from MY INFO, but it’s important that everyone signs on to REALM because frankly we just don’t have time to answer everyone’s calls and emails for contact or giving information.

PLEASE, please tell your friends (I’m not saying YOU are not on REALM–it’s just your friends) to sign in to the system.  Everyone who has not signed in yet received an email from me today, and will get one with a link tomorrow (from onrealm.org) that they can use to sign in.  ANYONE needing help can come to the REALM-Help Room during the Wednesday Things.

Wake Now Our Vision Legacy Challenge; An Amazing Opportunity

By now I hope it’s registered in your brain that we have a literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get “free money!” as Rev. Lisa put it on Sunday morning.

UUCA is a pilot congregation for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s new Wake Now Our Vision Legacy Challenge, which will award up to $5 million in challenge grants to congregations who receive planned gift commitments in 2017 or 2018.  Matching money will be given to planned gift commitments to UUCA and/or other major UU institutions, including the UUA, the UU Service Committee, Meadville Lombard Theological School, Starr King School for the Ministry or the UU Ministers Association.

Legacy gift intentions made between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 will qualify for a 10% match, up to $10,000.  And the very best part is that the matching money will be distributed to congregations in 2019 as unrestricted money!  Woo hoo – it doesn’t get any better than THAT, does it?  We get money TWICE!!!  The matching money will come to us in 2019 and we will get your planned gift–uh, upon your demise (how to put that more graciously?–hmmmm).

How Can You Learn More?  A special UUA informational event on the Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, April 8.  The session begins with lunch at 12:00 followed by a 1:00-3:00  presentation.  Rev. Laura Randall, UUA’s Legacy Challenge Director, will be here at UUCA for a regional workshop.  We’d like to have you join us for an opportunity to learn about the Wake Now Our Vision  Legacy Challenge and ideas on how to give to UUCA and reduce your taxes.  Many more details will be made available on April 8 so your attendance is encouraged.  And did you see that?  It’s a free lunch, too!  (Gotta love this program!)

To reserve your space, please let Laura Randall (617-948-6511, lrandall@uua.org) know you would like to attend by March 27.

If you can’t join us on April 8, then members of the Legacy Circle Committee plan to host information sessions after the 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services, too.  We really, really want you to have all the information you need!

We hope you are as excited as we are about this opportunity and help us take full advantage of the $5 million challenge grant.  Feel free to contact members of the UUCA Legacy Circle Committee with questions, and register as soon as you can for the April 8th presentation.

UUCA Legacy Circle Committee:

Beverly Cutter, 296-1047, beverlycutter123@gmail.com
Jill Preyer, 505-2633, jillpreyer@gmail.com
Mara Sprain, 654-0551, mara_sprain@yahoo.com
Stan Nachman, 299-0425, stanzibar444114@charter.net
Mike Horak, 687-9514, mikeandlisahorak@gmail.com

Connect with us on Facebook

We are solar powered

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