Sermons

Upcoming and Past

Upcoming Sermons

Faith Development Sunday

Sunday, May 22, 11am Worship Team: Kim Collins, Jen Johnson, Les Downs, Rev. Claudia Join us to celebrate Faith Development for all ages in our congregation. We will honor graduating seniors and share gratitude for all who have worked with children and adults to promote spiritual deepening. Our...

Memorial Day Service

Sunday, May 29, 11am Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister This Memorial Day we will honor some lesser-known heroes; men and women of the global majority who gave their lives for our country.

Music Sunday

Sunday, June 5, 2022, 11am Dr. Leslie Downs, Music Director

Reproductive Sunday

Sunday, June 12, 2022  11am Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Devlopement

Fathering Day/Flower Communion

Sunday, June 19, 2022, 11am Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister Send Rev. Cathy a photo of your father, grandfather, or someone who was like a father to you for our slide show, and bring a flower for our traditional Flower Communion. In the years immediately following the First World War,...

Sunday Worship From the UUA General Assembly

Sunday, June 26, 2022 12:30pm (note time) Join us for the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship. This powerful, communal worship experience will stream on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at 9:30 Pacific / 10:30 Mountain / 11:30 Central / 12:30 Eastern. Rev. Gretchen Haley, Senior Minister of...

Past Sermons are listed by date. 

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Coming of Age Credo Service

Sunday, May 15, 11am
Our Coming of Age 9th-10th graders will share their credos in this beloved UU tradition. These teens have worked all year to explore, define, and articulate their spiritual beliefs, what they set their hearts to, and how they can live their values in the world. What does it mean to be a Unitarian Universalist at this moment in their lives? We hope you will come to learn from our youth and honor their journeys in this milestone year of faith development.

Mothering Sunday

Sunday, May 8, 11am
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
This Sunday we will celebrate those who have mothered us in our lives.  If you would like to share a photo of your mother or anyone who has “mothered” you (your dad, aunt, sister, neighbor, etc.) send it to me via email attachment and I’ll add it to the slides for Sunday. minister@uuasheville.org. Below is a photo of four generations, my grandmother, my mother, me, and my daughter, Leslie to encourage you to share your memories.

 

Celebration Sunday

Sunday, May 1, 11am
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
There is so much to celebrate!  And celebrate we will with music, a UU skit, and a time to recognize our newest members and our wonderful volunteers who make this community beloved.

Earth Day Service

Sunday, April 24, 2022 11am  In person
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Fatih Development
Join us for a time to reflect on the Earth that sustains us, grieve the damage we humans have inflicted upon it and recommit ourselves to act collectively for environmental justice.

The Tree That Survived Winter

Sunday, April 17, 2022 11am  In person
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
This Easter Sunday, through ritual and story, we will reflect on these questions as they might relate to the theme of hope and resurrection: How did we survive Covid? What did we learn? How did we stay connected?

“The Eternal Immigrant: A Brief History of US Hispanics.”

Sunday, April 10, 2022 11am  In person
Dr. Edwin Murillo, Guest Speaker
Dr. Edwin Murillo is the Department Chair of Latin American Studies at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. He has also been a professor at Penn State University-Berks. He received his doctorate in Romance Studies from the University of Miami. Most of his work focuses on Latin American Existentialism and his articles have appeared in HispanófilaCrítica hispánica, and Hispanic Journal, among many others. His poetry, written in Spanglish and Portuñol, has appeared in various international journals. At UTC, he teaches Latin American studies, Spanish language, composition, and literature courses, as well as creative writing in Spanish. His short-story collection Midnight Vallenato is available through Floricanto Press.

The Goat in the Tree, and Other Miracles

Sunday, April 3, 2022 11am  In person
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
Everyday miracles, that can make life worth living, happen all around us in every moment. There’s a wonderful greeting card about the humdrum of life (for those of us that sleep with cats) that says something like, “Some days it’s just not worth taking the cat off your face.” We’ve all had days like that! But then, there are those other days when our eyes are open wide and we can see the beauty in even a blade of grass, or days when we make the time to experience the joy of laughing with a friend, old or new, or taking time out to just have fun!

Heart to Heart

Sunday, March 27, 2022 11am In-person
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
Making Lao Tzu’s wisdom relevant in our lives and in our dream of a better world.
If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace in the neighborhoods.
If there is to be peace in the neighborhoods, there must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart

On the Brink

Sunday, March 13, 2022 11am  In-person
Rev Cathy Harrington and members of the Transition Team
Join us as we outline the next steps in the Interim process that include choosing your Search Team!

 

We Raise Our Sights

Sunday, March 6, 2022 11am In-person
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister and members of the Transition Team
We Raise Our Sights is a looking back with gratitude to the remarkable people who recognized the need for the hope and the promise of liberal religion and did something about it.  

The Grinch Whole Ruined UUAsheville

Sunday, February 27, 2022 11am  In-person
YRUU (high school youth group)
The YRUU group (high school youth) will share their original drama of how the Grinch tried to demolish UU-Asheville by unleashing a scourge on our community.

 

Singing Our Songs

Sunday, March 20, 2022 11am  In-person
Guest speaker/singer-songwriter, Lea Morris will lead us in imagining a fantastical future. Send Rev Cathy a sentence or two about your wildest dream for UU Asheville, and Lea will spin your dreams into a song or two!
Lea was born in Baltimore to a father who toured the world playing trumpet in the funk band Black Heat and a mother who dreamed of opera while performing with her siblings in the Jones Family Gospel Singers. Lea was singing on the pulpit of the Baptist church where she grew up as soon she could speak. When she discovered the acoustic guitar as a teenager, she began teaching herself to play by writing songs.

Having shared the stage with luminaries including Odetta, Mavis Staples, Dar Williams and Anthony Hamilton, Leas sound seamlessly blends gospel, jazz, country and R&B into her own style – SoulFolk.

 

The Promise of Unitarian Universalism

Sunday, February 20, 2022  In-person
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
What is the promise of Unitarian Universalism? Join Rev. Claudia and worship associate Charlie Marks as we explore how UUism calls us to engage in the world today. How do we avoid despair and maintain hopeful engagement? Thank you to all who submitted haikus for our service.

The Three Questions

Sunday, February 6, 11am YouTube
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
This Sunday we will explore the finer points of Mission and Vision. Who were we? Who are we? Who do we want to become?  The pandemic has changed many things about our lives, and we have learned a great deal about what truly matters.
Join us as we contemplate and examine not only the mission and vision of UU Asheville, but also how our personal mission and vision intersects with that of the congregation in this time of transition on so many levels.  

Ten Tips For Being Miserable

Sunday, January 30, 2022, 11am YouTube
Rev. Dr. Neal R. Jones, Guest Minister
It takes intention, effort, and practice to be miserable.  I’ll give you some proven strategies for perfecting this skill.
    Rev. Dr. Neal R. Jones is a psychologist at the Pisgah Institute in Asheville. Born and raised in North Carolina, he earned his B.A. from Wake Forest University, his M.Div. from Southeastern Seminary, and his Psy.D. from Baylor University. He has served as the minister of five congregations in North and South Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania, most recently at Main Line Unitarian Church near Philly and at the UU Congregation of Columbia, South Carolina. He also serves as the chair of the national Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church & State. Rev. Dr. Jones teaches and practices a spirituality of personal wholeness, relational respect, and social justice.

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.”

 

 

Gratitude

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 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.

Encountering Howard Thurman

Sunday, February 14, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
Amid our work in support of Black Lives Matter, we spend some time with perhaps the most important Black theologian of the 20th century. What does Howard Thurman have to teach us UUs?

Interrogating History: Who Was Rosa Parks? Live Zoom Service

Sunday, February 7, 2021
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
Join us for an exploration of the depth of Rosa Parks’ activism beyond the historical account of the passive, tired woman who gave up her seat on the bus. How does her story inform our activism today?

Where Art Meets Science

Sunday, January 24, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

When poets confront science they offer new grounds for our imagining. Come hear what happens when they do.

Spirited Improv

Sunday, January 23, 2022  11am Zoom
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development
Join guest minister Rev. Dr. Jade Angelica and Rev. Claudia in an exploration of improvisation, yes, the theatrical kind, as a spiritual practice. We will reflect on how the curiosity, playfulness, and vulnerability inherent in the craft of improvisation can enrich our spiritual lives. 

Creating Beloved Community

Sunday, January 17, 2021 Live ZOOM
– Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

On this Sunday as we honor the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we will explore his call to create a Beloved Community which “requires a qualitative change in our souls as well as quantitative change in our lives.” What does that change look like?

A House of Hope

Sunday, January 10, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

The work of building a liberal theology begins on the land that gave us birth and is our final resting place. How do we frame the ultimate end of all things?

Imagine

Sunday, January 3, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

This new year dawns on the cusp of so much change for us as a congregation. How will we rise to meet it?

Into the New Year – Adapted from Rev. Karen Johnston

Sunday, January 2, 11am  YouTube and In-person
Rev. Kathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
and Joyce Hooley Gingrich
Wholeness is never lost; it is only forgotten. – Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom
What have you forgotten about yourself? What might need to be undone in order to free yourself to be who you are?  “Wholeness is never lost; it is only forgotten.” Poet Charles Bukowski once asked, “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”

    Join us for a service designed to help to rediscover and restore the wholeness we have forgotten. The service will be structured around a powerful four-point spiral developed by environmentalist Joanna Macy in her Work That Reconnects.  Point One is grounding ourselves in gratitude.  Point Two is honoring our pain.  Point Three is Seeing in New Ways.  And Point Four is Going Forth.
    As we move into this brand new year, let’s pause to honor our wholeness before we dive into resolutions designed to fix or change ourselves.

 

Rumi: A Poet For Our Times

Sunday, December 27, 2020 11am ZOOM
Rev. Mellen Kennedy, Guest Minister

Rumi was a 13th century Sufi poet and mystic.  We’ll gather to hear his poetry, sing or chant and listen to stories about his inspiring and challenging life.  He grew up and lived in a time of turmoil and his insights speak so clearly to our time. Join us for a celebration of Rumi. You’re invited to bring your favorite Rumi poem to share if you’d like to share.

Christmas Story Time

Thursday, December 24, 4pm Zoom
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister and Rev. Claudia, Minister of Faith Development

Christmas Eve at UUCA this year will unite our two traditional services into one live Zoom service at 4pm. Our time together will be centered on Christmastime stories and music from members of our congregation and special guests. And, to end the service, be sure to have a candle ready in the room where you Zoom so we can do our traditional candle lighting and sing “Silent Night” together.
Since we’re not able to have our usual 9pm Christmas Eve Service and Pre-Service Mini-Concert, we’re offering a video concert of carols performed  by  Finn Magill, Fiddle; Sue Richards, Celtic Harp; Olanna Goudeau, Soprano; and Dr. Leslie Downs, Music Director. 
This is our gift to those of you who enjoy Christmas music.

Imagineering

Sunday, January 31, 2021
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

It’s the title that Disney engineers give themselves: “Imagineers.” But in many ways it is what we seek in our spiritual lives. Find out how.

What’s Water?

Sunday, December 13, 2020
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

We’ll explore how the writer David Foster Wallace used that question from a Sufi teaching story to prod us to reflect on how we think about the present moment.

The Meaning of Home

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
UUSC and Guest at Your Table

Our Unitarian Universalist Service Committee will lead a service inviting us to consider how our justice efforts support the notion of home, a place where we are safe, secure, and cared for. Sunday afternoon we will accept your holiday donations and make available our Guest at Your Table boxes to support our UUSC collection.

Gaia, Mother Earth and the Oneness of Everything

Sunday, November 29, 2020 Jim Scott, Guest Artist

Come celebrate the earth with the music of renowned UU musician Jim Scott. Jim is a composer, guitarist and singer and former member of the Paul Winter Consort who has contributed several hymns to UU hymnals. Join him for this live Zoom service.

Moving Towards Gratitude

Sunday, November 22, 2020 11am Live ZOOM Service
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister and Jane Bramham

Gratitude is the balm that soothes weary souls. This Sunday we’ll explore how.

At Peace With Mystery

Sunday, December 20, 2020
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

The stillness of the longest night of the year invites us to embrace the dark and with it the mystery it holds.

What IS an Anti-Racist Congregation?

Sunday, November 15, 2020 11am Live ZOOM Service
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

Our Board of Trustees has set UUCA on a path to be an anti-racist congregation. This move is grounded in our UU faith, literally requiring us to act for justice.  But what does it mean to be an anti-racist congregation? What are we currently doing? How will we change, because we surely will.  What are our dreams of what is possible?

Now What?

Sunday, November 8, 11am Live ZOOM Service
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

 This live service will be a moment to take stock of how our lives have been changed by this most consequential election.

Rising From Our Grief

Sunday, November 1, 2020 9am
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

Gratitude is the balm that soothes weary souls. This Sunday we’ll explore how.

The Call to Revolutionary Love

Sunday, October 25, 2020 Live ZOOM
Rev. Claudia Jimenez, Minister of Faith Development

In this time when our highly polarized nation prepares to vote, what does love call us to do? Join us for a service inspired by the work of Valerie Kaur, author of See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love. Kaur asks us to reclaim love as a revolutionary act so we will explore Kaur’s mission of fighting for justice through the ethic of love — love for others, our opponents, and ourselves.  (Yes, she means love for those with whom we deeply disagree.  What does that even LOOK like?)

I Hear You

Sunday, October 18, 2020
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister & Carol Taylor

Do we? Hear each other, that is? In a time of toxic politics, how do we develop a discipline of listening?

On Second Thought

Sunday, October 11, 2020
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister & Joyce Hooley Gingrich

Uncertainty is one of the shoals of the religious life. We think we’ve got things figured out and then, oops, along comes something that throws us into doubt. Maybe that’s not an altogether bad thing.

Here and Gone

Sunday, October 4, 2020
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

The change of seasons always offers a good reminder of the ever-evolving flow of life. How do we come to terms with the fact of impermanence?

Mutual Liberation

Sunday, September 27, 2020 9am link
Rev. Scott, Neely, Guest Minister

Beyond being an ally, in the fight for racial justice. That we may all be free.

Bio: Rev. Scott Neely serves as minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg, SC. He is a facilitator and strategist for Speaking Down Barriers, an organization that uses dialogue to build our life together across the differences that divide us. In April 2015 he presented a TEDx talk on race and racism entitled “What Will I Teach My Son?

Here For You-Forgiveness

Sunday, September 20, 2020 9am link
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

Our forgiveness service this year focuses on how we hold ourselves accountable, and how we respond when we fail.

We Are…

Sunday, September 13, 2020 Live ZOOM Service
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

We begin our fall worship season with Ysaye Barnwell’s song of celebration to gather us once again as a community memory and hope. In this time of COVID, meeting and worshipping online, who do we proclaim that we are?

Fear Itself

Sunday, September 6, 2020 9am ZOOM
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

The last time our nation was struggling to recover from economic catastrophe, then-President Roosevelt urged a way forward centered on renouncing fear. Here we are again in economic calamity with fear, once again, in the driver’s seat. Perhaps there’s another way.
Click on this link for a print version of the service.

Our Multigenerational Water Service-Safeguarding the Water

Sunday, August 30, 2020 (Live ZOOM Service)
 – Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

Celebrate water and the life it supports with an amazing, amusing cast of characters.
Join us for this year’s Live Zoom version of  our annual water service.  Be prepared to share your water from home representing places in your life or places you would like to visit once the pandemic subsides. Puppeteer Jennifer Murphy has created a special toy box theater for the telling of this year’s story.  You don’t want to miss this.  See you there!

Speaking of seeing you there, we really do want to SEE you.  It’s half the fun of these live events.  If at all possible, please leave your camera on; everyone wants to see each other.  It’s all we’ve got for now.

 

Creative Circles

Sunday, August 23, 2020
Jane Bramham, Worship Associate

Every day we are creating new educational, occupational and recreational realities; cheering those creating needed vaccines; and reviving or adding new artistic skills to our creative toolbox.  We gather to celebrate and nurture our universal creative spirit, and to attend to how creative the useful can be.
Creating your worship space
Do you have a button jar?  Or just a loose button or two in the drawer?  Set them with your chalice or candle near your watching device.  
You can download and print a coloring page connected to Time for All Ages

The New Normal

Sunday, August 16, 2020
 – Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper

We welcome back Rev. Lisa, our former Associate Minister, now Developmental Minister of the Greenville (SC) UU Fellowship, who reflects on the thrills and chills of trying to solve adaptive challenges using technical solutions. (BTW, it’s not going well.)

It Takes Practice

Sunday, August 9, 2020
Matt Meyer, Guest Artist

Our favorite songs, whoever the artist or whatever the style, were created in a strange alchemy of study and inspiration, of strict practice and of letting go. Spiritual Practice and social justice work are a similar combination of dedication, muscle memory, and perhaps a little divine inspiration. Join us for a musical exploration of learning to risk, building the muscle memory of courage, and the spiritual practice of relationship.

Matt Meyer is a musician and worship leader who has led hundreds of services for UU congregations across the country. He has a degree in hand drumming and serves as Director of Community Life for Sanctuary Boston.

We Remember

Sunday, August 2, 2020
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the US twice dropping atomic bombs on Japan. We reflect on how we remember this world-changing event as the generation of both Japanese and Americans who experienced it are dying.

Click on this link for a print version of the sermon.

Poetry Sunday

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Our theme this year is “Uplifted Together.”  Indeed, we hope that this Poetry Sunday will do just that–uplift us as we “gather” together. You can anticipate an inspirational lineup of poetry, original and/or published, as well as music that will make our hearts glad, thanks to our musical director, Les Downs. In these turbulent times, allow poetry and music to be a balm that lifts, encourages, and delights.

Living in Storyland

Sunday, July 19, 2020
David Novak, Storyteller and Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

Stories, whether they are our own or from ancient traditions, shape our lives and our sense of meaning. Today, we’ll explore how stories are operating in these times and how they help us make sense of them.

Bio: David Novak tells stories to enhance learning, engage emotion, and find common ground. A performing and teaching artist with over 30 years of experience, David is an A+ Fellow for the North Carolina Arts Council, instructor for the graduate storytelling program at East Tennessee State University, and veteran of the National Storytelling Festival, as well as schools and stages across the nation. David’s international tours include Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and the Czech Republic. A recipient of the Circle of Excellence from the National Storytelling Network and formerly Master Storyteller for The Disney Institute. David lives in Asheville and regularly leads workshops and gives concerts for The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center.

Spiritual, Religious, Neither?

Sunday, July 12, 2020 – Video link arrives at 9am (We will be experimenting with Live Zoom worship at 11am)
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

In these times of societal disruption, what is the role of the church in grounding our spirits and nurturing hope? Join us for an exploration of how our individual journeys led us to this non-dogmatic tradition known as Unitarian Universalism. You will hear from participants of the “Haunting Church” program as they share reflections from their search for meaning and connection.

What’s Democracy For

Sunday, July 5, 2020 – Video Link Arrives at 9am –
Rev. Sally Beth Shore, Guest Minister

The development of American democracy is intertwined with the development of our faith, important enough that our 5th principle states “we affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” I was taught that democracy was the best system of governance because it was fair. But what if this is an incomplete view? Starting with the unofficial motto of the United States, E pluribus Unum (Out of many, One) we explore the tantalizing possibility that democracy’s aim is not fairness, but success through unity. If we understood this, could we use it to help mend the rifts in our society?

The Rev. Sally Beth Shore received her MDiv from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2012 and was ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville in 2013. She has been a member of UUCA since 2001. She and her husband, Michael, raised their children, now 24, 22, and 19, here. She has just completed a year of interim ministry with the Unitarian Universalists of Transylvania County.

Rooted, Inspired and Ready

Sunday, June 28, 10am, 2020
General Assembly

We join thousands of UUs across the country in online worship prepared by leaders of the Unitarian Universalist Association and presented live at 10 a.m. Click here to view.

The Meaning of Life

Sunday, June 21, 2020 – Video link arrives at 9am
– Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

The old cartoons tell you you need to climb to the top of a mountain to ask a guru about this. Maybe we don’t have to go quite so far.

UUCA would like to recognize congregants that are considered essential workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are (or know a UUCAer who is) a healthcare worker (medical or social), an educator, a grocery store worker, a community volunteer, or any other job that is considered essential, please let Venny know. Stand up and be recognized, you have earned it!

You Gotta Own It

Sunday, May 31, 2020 9am
Rev. James McKinley, Guest Minister

It was the middle of a 24-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon last December. It was cold, I was suffering, and the Canyon is the ultimate “no way out only through” experience. When I mentioned it, my daughter’s response was, “Ya gotta own it, Dad,” where “own” is embrace and love and “it” is me, who I am here and now.

 That “a-hah” moment and phrase have become my guide, touchstone and koan in more adventure, study, personal growth and now the solitude, isolation and disruption of sheltering in place. My hope is that our reflections together reveal a helpful touchstone or two for you.

Rev. Jim McKinley retired in June 2019 as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hendersonville.

The Seventh One

Sunday, May 24, 2020 9am
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister

It’s been argued that with our seventh principle – affirming and promoting respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part – we Unitarian Universalists were given our key to the future as a religious movement. What might that mean? And look for a fun story from the Fletcher-Williams family and a bridging ceremony honoring our seven graduating seniors.

Click on this pdf for a text version of this sermon.

Credo Sunday

Sunday, May 17, 2020 9am
Coming of Age Class

“Who am I?”
“What does my UU faith mean to me?”
“What does it look like to live Unitarian Universalism?”

Finding answers to these questions requires some serious effort—exploring, excavating, interpreting, and differentiating from societal programming…not for the faint of heart! Our Coming Of Age youth have been hard at work this year trying to answer these questions for themselves, and they would like to share their journey with YOU on Credo Sunday, May 17!  This is a multigenerational service–all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please join us and prepare to be inspired, moved and entertained! Please join us and prepare to be inspired, moved and entertained!

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