As I was scrolled through my digital pictures for our water service this week, I did a lot of reminiscing of the morning beach walks, expansive skies and dramatic cloudscapes that lifted my spirits when I lived in Florida. I return a few times a year to visit my parents who live next door to the house we sold when we moved to Asheville. A lot of beach photos and memories. The picture I chose was not one of those. Instead, I chose a picture of a sunrise at Beaver Lake in North Asheville. Walking or jogging around the lake has become my new morning practice, replacing beach walks at dawn. As I scrolled through those pictures, I have many memories of the three years I have been in Asheville. The move has brought new opportunities and experiences. I am still close to the water, and it still brings calmness and delight.
Similarly, UUCA is undergoing a move of sorts. A new interim minister moving us into a new chapter in the life of the congregation. Who are we? Who have we been? Who will we be?
We are also moving toward embracing online church as we begin another church year during a pandemic when indoor gatherings are not yet possible without appropriate safety precautions. Our Sanctuary has been outfitted for live streaming, which will be the next step in deepening our online ministry. In fact, from now on we will be offering hybrid programming in a lot of areas. We will have options for both in-person and virtual church in worship and faith development. And we will also embrace opportunities for outdoor programs and gatherings, especially this fall until we are able to gather safely indoors.
I invite you to consider how you will return to church this year. Our services will be live via Zoom, and you will continue to receive a link to the recording on Mondays.
- Check out our Zoom water service this year. Our programs will have both online and masked gathering components.
- Join our September 11 Memorial at UUCA. Our Music Director, Les Downs, will be playing piano from 4 to 5 PM while members and friends, individually or in family pods, walk into the Sanctuary, light a candle, and experience a moment of silence. Participants will then exit through one of the side doors in the Sanctuary. Masks are recommended and requested.
- Join us for the Blessing of the Patio in early October (tentatively October 2) to celebrate and bless the new outdoor space that will create opportunities for gathering.
- You might also consider joining us for the Halloween Parade around our campus on October 31. Details coming soon (as soon as we invent them!).
- You may also consider joining a Soul Matters group (formerly known as Covenant Groups) when they launch in October. They provide opportunities for connection, deep listening, and reflection. We are experimenting with a new group, Creativity Matters, which uses art to explore the monthly theme. I participated in the Creativity Matters pilot this past year, and it not only awakened my creativity but also helped in building trust and being vulnerable with my creations. And did I mention? It was fun! There was a lot of laughter and music in our gatherings.
There are many ways to re-connect with UUCA this new church year. I look forward to seeing you online and/or at one of our masked gatherings. Be well, Beloveds! Check in with each other. And cultivate delight amid the harsh realities of this time.
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development