watercolor tree

In my recent sermon “Great Expectations,” I offered back to this community some of what I have been coming to understand about the journey we are on together. UU Asheville members and friends have been doing heroic work, clearing the brush and tending a garden, into which you have high hopes about what will come to fruition. In the service I shared a rough-draft image that Wendy helped me create, although a final version is in the hands of a trained graphic artist (coming soon!).  

In the image you see the roots formed from work you have done together – commitments made to each other and to our greater Unitarian Universalist movement: stepping into the deep work of becoming an 8th Principle congregation, living the radical hospitality of being a Welcoming Congregation, and keeping in front of us the intentions undergirding our Green Sanctuary status. At the base of our Asheville “tree of life” is our community, which sustains us. Love is the center of all we do – here in Asheville, but also as Unitarian Universalists the world over. 

The branches of our tree – the sturdy efforts which are the focus of our community life – include taking care of one another, and holding open our hearts to those who may yet join us here: inreach & outreach. We deepen our spiritual lives through worship and study, and dedicate ourselves to our values through the many rituals of religious community: child and new member dedications, marriages and memorials, rituals to honor transitions like house blessings or divorce care. 

The two center branches reflect where we are going, and what we hope to become known for in this community: Collective Liberation and Faith Formation for the Future. In partnerships with the larger community, and in diligent and focused efforts as a corporate body of people laboring for Love, we want to be people known for our work to see the full flourishing of all people everywhere and to equip our communities to raise joyful, morally courageous, spiritually and sexually healthy children and youth. 

In the days ahead, we have many more conversations about how best to muster and deploy all our resources of time, talent, property and treasure in pursuit of this future we are building together. But wherever we are going, we are going there, together – let us hold hands and sing as go! 

With love,

Rev. Audette