SundaysPast

Previous Sunday Services at UUCSV

Sunday, 26 June 2016, 11 amM Carter by H Way (1)
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
“The Politician”

UUCSV Choir

This summer promises to herald a season of presidential politics that could be the ugliest in recent memory. In Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, the democrats and republicans will present the most unpopular candidates, possibly in U. S. History. This Sunday we will focus on a politician with a conscience–Mr. Vaclav Havel. The late Mr. Havel was a human rights activist, and a playwright, who later became the president of the Czech Republic in 1989. For Mr. Havel, politics was an art, a politics of values if you will, for which the goal was to awaken the citizens of the planet to a new sense of responsibility for a more just, fair, equitable, and better world—What a concept!!!

Sunday, 19 June 2016, 11 am   Rebecca2 (1)
Rebecca Williams
“You and Me and Smith and Wesson”

After the horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings I sat down to write about my own relationship with guns and gun violence. I was convinced that in the U.S. the only way we would ever wrestle head on with the complex issue of gun violence was when enough people knew someone who had been killed with a gun. At that point I thought of people’s relationships with gun deaths as six degrees of separation – the theory, tested by mathematicians and social scientists, that everyone is only six or less steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world.  But it seems like we are more connected to gun violence than I realized. According to a poll conducted in 2015, forty percent of Americans know someone who was fatally shot or who committed suicide using a gun. From the shootings of unarmed black men by police, to the latest mass homicide, to partners killed in domestic violence disputes, how do we keep our hearts open to look at this interconnected web of violence with clarity, compassion and a search for solutions?

A member of UUCSV, Rebecca Williams is a documentary filmmaker interested in the power of digital media to help people tell their own stories. Her production company, Mountain Girl Media, works with small businesses, non-profits and individuals to create documentary style video stories. She is completing her first full length documentary film, Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of An American Mill Town, about the Beacon Blanket mill in Swannanoa, NC.

SuM Carter by H Way (1)nday, 12 June 2016, 11 am
Rev. Michael S. J. Carter
“Enter, Rejoice and Come In”

Small Ensemble Singers

Come join us on June 12th as we welcome our new members. Needless to say, our new members and our youth are the life blood of our congregation. This Sunday we invite you to meet our new members and to reacquaint yourselves with our veteran members. Let us welcome all who enter our sanctuary with the words of our UU Hymn # 361:  “Enter, rejoice, and come in, enter, rejoice, and come in, today will be a joyful day, enter, rejoice, and come in. Don’t be afraid of some change, Don’t be afraid of some change, today will be a joyful day, enter, rejoice, and come in

 Sunday, 5 June 2016, 11 am Scott Hardin-Nieri
Rev. Scott Hardin-Neiri
“Seeds of Collaboration while Walking with Wolf.”

Prior to living in Asheville, Scott and his family served in the vulnerable cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. There he learned to how to climb Fig Strangler trees, spot Two-toed Sloths, distinguish the call of a Three-wattle Bell Bird from a Black Face Solitaire and listen to people and nature in a new way. He will share his Costa Rican experience in this service.

Scott is an ordained pastor with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has served as a pastor in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Fort Collins, Colorado as well as in Spring and Houston, TX. Scott has a degree in Business Management from Texas A&M University and holds a Master of Divinity and a Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Sunday, 29 May 2016, 11 amM Carter by H Way (1)
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
“Armed Forces”

UUCSV String Band

Dr. King reminded us in the 1960s that a nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than social uplift is approaching spiritual death. Nevertheless, we barricade ourselves behind a missile defense system, fight wars that protect no vital national security interests, and post over 150,000 men and women overseas. We ask our talented young men and women to risk death, while we deploy our military primarily to support foreign policy rather than to defend our borders and people. US corporations dominate the sale of military hardware. We rely on our military to pursue foreign policy objectives rather than diplomacy. This madness must stop! This Memorial Day service will explore the sorrows of Empire, the futility of war as a continuation of politics by other means, and the dangers of this insane notion of endless war.

Sunday, 22 May 2016, 11 amprinciple_1.jpeg
Religious Education Program
“The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person”

Our first Principle speaks to the very basis of our beliefs and is the first thing we learn as Unitarian Universalists. For those of us who came to UU as adults it may even be what attracted us in the first place. In this service we’ll talk about how different people interpret the UU First Principle. This is our annual  Inter-generational Service prepared and presented by our Religious Education students and staff.

Sunday, 15 May 2016, 11 amImam Taha close
Imam, Mohamed Taha
“We Believe the Same”

Imam Mohamed Taha of the Islamic Center in Asheville will speak on what we have in common with Muslims. His topic is “We Believe the Same.” Imam Taha studied at Cairo University where he received two bachelor degrees, one in Islamic studies and the second one in languages. Imam Taha is an active Imam and a public speaker.

Sunday, 8 May 2016, 11 amM Carter by H Way (1)
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
“Angels”

UUCSV Choir

In a change from more of my usual topics, I wanted to discuss the subject of Angels. There is a resurgence in some circles on the existence and the influence of angels in our lives. The word “angel” is derived from the Greek word “angelos,” meaning messenger. Our holy books talk about them.What does the word mean to you? Have you ever encountered an angel? Do they always have to be in celestial form? Are you or can you be one of them? However, the most important question seems to be, is our world in desperate need of angels on a planet seemingly in chaos and on the brink of self destruction? Let’s talk about it.

Sunday, 1 May 2016, 11 amBeth Maczka
Beth Maczka
“When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion:
Advocacy at the YWCA of Asheville then and now.”

Beth Maczka is the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of Asheville.  She will highlight the importance of advocacy and public policy work for addressing the YW’s mission of Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women.  She will also share examples of past leadership in the desegregation of Asheville and the creation of the MotherLove program and more recent efforts around childcare vouchers, the ERA and school policies for Mother Love students.

Sunday, 24 April 2016, 11 amM Carter by H Way (1)
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
“Our Stand Against Racism”

UUCSV Choir

This Sunday the topic is race, as we affirm and support the national Stand Against Racism Weekend sponsored by the YWCA. In many ways it is a shame that we are still talking about this topic but we have not yet put our petty obsession behind us when it comes to what it means to be fully human in our nation because of the various levels of melanin one has in their skin. The obsession is highlighted with the upcoming presidential elections in this country where once again the need to scapegoat and to “feed the fears” is in vogue. Join us as we prove once again that when fear knocks at the door and love answers— no one is there!.

 Sunday, 17 April 2016, 11:00 am
Fred EdwordsEdwords (2)
“Remember Your Humanity”

Our shared humanistic values have a long history of advancing social progress. Whether we look back to the ancient Greeks, the emergence of liberal religion, the rise of freethought and humanism, or the growth of modern peace and social justice movements, an underlying commitment to humanity has brought our society and world together. But there remain forces seeking to tear us apart. So we again renew our determination to work for a better tomorrow.

Fred Edwords has over 40 years’ experience in humanist leadership, having led local and national organizations since 1975. He was executive director of the American Humanist Association for fifteen years, editor of the Humanist magazine for twelve, and national director of the United Coalition of Reason for six. Today he is director of planned giving for the American Humanist Association and would be pleased to help you provide a future for your humanist values in your will or other estate plan.

Sunday, 10 April 2016, 11:00 amM Carter by H Way (1)
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
“Our Purposes”

Many of us are at least somewhat acquainted with our 7 UU principles, but I wonder just how familiar we are with our purposes?  On Sunday, March  13, 2016 the sermon topic was the 7 Principles. On Sunday April 10th, we shall talk about our UU Purposes.  There are 6 of them.  The definition of the word purpose, is the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exits. Other synonyms used are the words motive, motivation, cause, occasion, reason, point, justification, and so on. In order to not live lives of meaninglessness, one must have a purpose. Let’s explore another aspect of our faith tradition that keeps us alive.

On Sunday, April 3rd, UUCSV was without power due and our service was cancelled.  Rebecca Williams has been rescheduled to June 19th.

Sunday, 27 March 2016, 11 ammountains
UUCSV Women’s Group
“Reflection on our Fourth Principle”

Just what do you believe? Several members of UUCSV’s Women’s Group wrestled freely with truth and meaning while they developed their, “This I Believe” statements last Autumn. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning is no small task! Please join us for a sampler of belief statements written thoughtfully by women within our own congregation. What do you have in common and how do your beliefs differ from their beliefs? Join us today and find out!

Sunday, 20 March 2016, 11 ammoney tree
Rev. Michael Carter
“Campaign Kickoff”

UUCSV Choir

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s time to put our money and resources where our mouth is. And truth be told we are good at doing this and now the stakes are a bit higher. And so the question I want to put to you is this— Now that you have found this congregation, The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of The Swananoa Valley, what would you do without it? How much of your time, talent and treasure are you ready to commit to this free and progressive religious community? We’ve come along way since you chose me as your minister to serve UUCSV almost 4 years ago. We have a bright future ahead if we are willing to put our hands on the plow and not look back. I think we can do this—don’t you? Join us this Sunday as our talented choir will be singing as well.

Sunday, 13 March 2016, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
“The Principles”

What is the history behind our UU principles and how do they influence our lives? Does one have to be a UU to abide by these principles? If not, what makes them (and us) so unique? Our Principles, however, do set us apart from other mainline denominations here in the United States, because we are a “creedless denomination.” On this Sunday, let us as Unitarian Universalists explore all seven of our principles and see just how powerful and influential they can be in our everyday lives.

Sunday, March 6, 2016, 11 ambballard2013lg
Byron Ballard
“Returning”

In challenging times, there is a natural human tendency to find comfort in what feels familiar. Memories, mac and cheese, longing for a mythical Golden Age–these help us through the stress of daily change as well as the pain of cultural shifts. Join Byron Ballard for some thoughts on looking back over our collective shoulder–how we can do it in a way that is healing, honest and prepares us to look forward with enthusiasm into the face of our future.

H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, West Kentucky Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival and other gatherings.

Sunday, 28 February 2016, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
“Why We Still Need African American History Month”

UUCSV Choir

Yes, African American history is American history. Yes, February is also the shortest month of the year. Perhaps we need it more now than ever in America. I honor African American History Month because I believe it is an important step towards healing, liberation, and reconciliation in our history as Americans and as people of color who happen to be Americans. Where we have arrived in this country as African Americans (and all people of color for that matter) came because of a spirited resistance to injustice. The cost has been and will continue to be high. It doesn’t have to continue to be. Is America willing to pay the price of the ticket? We will see. I believe in redemption for individuals as well as nations. But until we fully come to grips with our past in this country, individually as well as collectively, warts and all, the future remains bleak—for all of us.

Sunday, 21 February, 2016 11 am
Guest Speaker:  Rev. Michael Carter
“As Old As The Universe, As Empty As The Sky”

Victor Frankl is credited with founding the third school of psychotherapy and is a key figure in the history of existentialism. His best selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning, uses his imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp as the context for arguing that the cornerstone of his philosophy; i.e., finding meaning in all situations is key to human existence. Frankl’s message stands in some contrast to modern American society. In fact, daily via our computers, televisions, smartphones, advertising, and more, we receive messages urging that we not investigate things too closely. Even those of us who fancy ourselves as “somewhat” aware, fall into the trap. As Winter plays out in the landscape around us and we consider the coming Spring, we pause to reflect on meaningfulness.

Sunday, 14 February 2016, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Sex”

It’s okay to view all kinds of suggestive sexual behavior and messages on TV, advertising and movies screens, yet if a woman breast feeds in public, many people feel outraged. Organized and disorganized religion has added much confusion, shame, and guilt to the topic of human sexuality by defining what is considered “normal” and what is not. Little wonder that many of today’s youth are confused and ashamed as they wrestle with their sexual identity in our culture. But thankfully, times do change. This Sunday, (Valentine’s Day) we will explore the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum, a program of sexuality education that we as UUs are committed to sharing and promoting.  OWL promotes the mental, physical, and emotional health of our youth as they attempt to negotiate and navigate through a schizophrenic culture which is still attempting to come to grips with the notion of what it means to be a healthy sexual being.

Sunday, 7 February 2016, 11 amCarmen-Ramos-Kennedy_AVL_NAACP
Carmen Ramos-Kennedy
“Why Black Lives Matter”

Is the NAACP relevant in 2016? Why Black Lives Matter, matters! Carmen Ramos-Kennedy will share her thoughts.  She was recently elected President of the Asheville-Buncombe Branch of the NAACP and serves as Co-chair of the Mountain People’s Assembly, a coalition partner of HKonJ.   (photo credit: theurbannews.com)

Sunday, 31 January 2016, 11 amvines
Rev. Amy Brooks
“As We Age”

Small Ensemble Singers

Aging is a process that can be one of graceful letting go or full of clinging and regret.  At times it may be some of both, but let go we must.  How do we approach these important life lessons and how does our faith community support us in this process?

Amy Brooks serves as consulting minister for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lake Norman.  She served for fifteen years in AIDS Ministry work in the Charlotte area.  She holds a M. Div from Harvard University.

 The Service below was cancelled due to the snow storm; the topic will be rescheduled.

Sunday, 24 January 2016, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Angels”

UUCSV Choir

In a change from more of my usual topics, I wanted to discuss the subject of Angels. There is a resurgence in some circles on the existence and the influence of angels in our lives. The word “angel” is derived from the Greek word “angelos,” meaning messenger. Our holy books talk about them.What does the word mean to you? Have you ever encountered an angel? Do they always have to be in celestial form? Are you or can you be one of them? However, the most important question seems to be, is our world in desperate need of angels on a planet seemingly in chaos and on the brink of self destruction? Let’s talk about it.

Sunday, 17 January 2016 11 amSarah Veksi
Sarah Vekasi
Eco-Chaplaincy:
Spiritual Support for the Great Turning

UUCSV String Band

This talk will address the great potential of our time – a Great Turning toward a life sustaining society, and strategies for support we can give ourselves and one another to face this mess with courage, without losing hope, to prevent and recover from burnout, and build a more resilient community in the face of hard times. Sarah will bring stories from her work throughout Appalachia within the movement to end mountaintop removal coal mining, and apply strategies that we can all use here in Black Mountain in our collective work for racial equity, and social and climate justice for a livable future in the Swannanoa Valley.

Sarah Vekasi is a member of the national network of trained facilitators of The Work That Reconnects, created by Joanna Macy. She can bring this work to your organization or community through weekend or week-long workshops, retreats or in weekly sessions. Learn more about her work here.  She is also a studio potter and lives in Black Mountain.

Sunday, 10 January 2016, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Know Thyself”

The words “Know Thyself,” were inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias.  This maxim or aphorism has a few meanings attached to it. The Suda, a 10th century Greek encyclopedia says, the proverb is applied to those whose boasts exceed what they are. It is also said that the “know thyself” is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitudes.  Whatever the phrase means to you or to me, the notion of “knowing oneself,” is considered by many civilizations a sign of the wisdom and maturity of the individual. As we begin this new year, let’s explore how this age old maxim can enable us to not just be better Unitarian Universalists, but even more importantly, to become more evolved and more loving human beings respecting the interdependent web of all existence of which we are all a part .

Sunday, 3 January 2016, 11 amjeffhutchins
Jeff Hutchins
“A New Year to Love”

Long-time friend of UUCSV returns to our pulpit.  He says “I will talk about how we can look ahead to 2016 with optimism, and we will cast a cautious eye back over the year just ended.
Let’s get revved up for 2016.”

Sunday, 27 December 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“The Third Day of Christmas at UUCSV”

Come join us for our annual Christmas /Holiday Musical Service this year.  Yes, it will be  three days  after Christmas and the Holiday Spirit will be going strong. We expect  lots of songs from the Christmas and Jewish Traditions and a nice way to bring in the New Year! If you’re in town and available we hope to see you there.

Sunday, 20 December 2015, 11 amyule
“Many Reasons for the Season”
UUCSV Choir and Small Ensemble Singers

Why do cultures all over the world develop rituals and holidays around the longest night of the year?  What can we find in common to unify us across religious and secular traditions?  Ginny Moreland facilitates a service of music and readings honoring the darkness, seeking the renewal of  light, and finding hope in new beginnings.  Come help us celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule and more!

Sunday, 13 December 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Expectation”

This month many UU churches will be exploring the theme of expectation.  During this season of Advent, what are you anticipating or expecting to occur?  The infant Jesus represents new life and new possibilities. What is going to be born in you this season?  Have you been true to your vision of yourself and the world you inhabit?  If not, why not?  What are you waiting for, expecting, or anticipating?  The infant Jesus represents new life and new possibilities. New life is precious for it is pregnant with possibilities. What is going to be born in you this season? Have you been true to your vision of yourself and the world you inhabit? If not, why not? What are you waiting for, expecting, or anticipating?

Sunday, 6 December  2015, 11 amjesus mosaic
Bob Falanga
“De-Contructing Jesus: Messages for UUs”

For centuries the early church applied exaltations and elevations to the person of Jesus. Can we remove these theological and political layers and find the Historical Jesus? Can we locate the core message of this Jewish itinerant teacher and mystic? What messages does the Historical Jesus hold for contemporary UUs?

Sunday, 29  November 2015, 11 am
Rev. Michael Carter
“The Gift of Aging”

UUCSV String Band

Rev. Carter substituted at the last minute for Rev.  Amy Brooks, who had been schedule to speak on “As We Age.”  We will attempt to reschedule Rev. Brooks at a future date.

Sunday, 22 November 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“What Are You Thankful For?”

UUCSV Choir

This year I wanted to try something a bit different to celebrate Thanksgiving. I want those of you who will attend the service to feel free to get up and witness to what you are thankful for in your life as you look over the trajectory of your lives this year. We will have a wonderful service with the usual great music and fellowship, but perhaps we will forgo my homily and let the congregation speak. Hope to see you there. As for me, I am extremely thankful to serve this awesome congregation! See you on the 22nd…Sunday, 15 November 2015, 11 am

Mullinax
Sunday, 15 November 2015, 11 am
Dr. Marc Mullinax
“The Cracks Where the Light Gets In”

Conservative religion talks a lot about sin. It’s labeled as vice, or failure or even evil … something needing to be fixed. So we often dismiss these shrill tones out-of-hand, as primitive or immature speculations about human nature. Prof. Marc Mullinax will tempt us to listen again to sin-talk as a crucial guide to where we need to journey in our spiritual lives. It places the exact question we need to answer at that time and place in our lives. What some may call “sin” may be the very message our lives can teach us in that moment! If we do not befriend our shadow-sides, we become the poorer for the neglect. Come and let’s rehabilitate sin!!

Marc Mullinax is an ordained American Baptist minister and an Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Mars Hill University.  He holds a B.A. from Mars Hill College, 1977; M.A., University of Tennessee, 1979; M.Div., Southeastern Baptist Seminary, 1984; and Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary, 1993

Sunday, 8 November 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“A Veteran’s Day Dilemma”

I dislike war, yet I don’t dislike soldiers.  I am deeply troubled about what I perceive as our country’s military adventurism, but I bear no grudge against those who serve our country’s military. President Jimmy  Carter says that “War may be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.” Is there a way to honor the Vet and still condemn the death and destruction that is the reality of war? This morning I want to share with you the story of one Vietnam Veteran, who wrestled with his tour of duty and his feelings about this sometimes confusing holiday we call Veteran’s Day. See you at church!

Sunday, 1 November 2015, 11 am
pana_columbusPana Columbus
“How to Save Your Marriage: A Puppet Show”

Why do some people feel fear when their partner says, “I need to connect”, while others feel panic when they hear the phrase, “I need some space.”? Join Pana Columbus and her two puppets as she explores through humor the cultural differences between the masculine and feminine. Learn invaluable insights of what doesn’t work and what you can do to bridge this seemingly insurmountable cultural gulf.

Pana Columbus is an award-winning playwright as well as a private transformation coach. She has been a speaker at a TEDx conference at Acadia University, at churches, women’s retreats, fundraisers and board retreats.  Pana’s website.

Sunday, 25 October 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Deeds not Creeds”

We as UUs have committed ourselves to a “creedless faith.” For many of us, faith without works is not only dead but just plain old unacceptable. For some of us, social action is our faith!  We believe in ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This Sunday, using a portion of the story from the book of Genesis, where Abraham attempts to bargain with “God” to not destroy the city of Sodom, we will explore in a bit more detail, what that story can mean to us as UUs in today’s world.  Abraham was about doing something to save the city. He wasn’t just talking about it. Please bring your bibles ( just kidding) Smile, and let’s get down to business!

Sunday, 18 October 2015, 11 amWillow-cropped
Willow Allen
“On the Path”

UUCSV Choir

Amy (Willow) Allen holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Appalachian State University combining Anthropology and Social Work with an English minor. In 2006, Willow hiked the full length of the Appalachian Trail, over 2100 miles. Her book Summoning the Mountains was published in 2012, a journal of the experience. Let’s explore the hazards and the rewards of being a seeker, seeking adventure, seeking mountains to climb, seeking answers. Come trace the steps of your own life’s journey through Willow’s tale of walking the path of life.

Sunday, 11 October 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Letting Go of Your End of the Rope”

Letting go is one of the most difficult ( and frightening) things we are called to do in this life. Whether it is the loss of employment, a relationship, a move to another geographical location, you name it; the fear of the unknown will keep us stuck in situations long past their expiration date. But once we surrender, (not the same as giving up),  as we allow life to happen to us, instead of making or forcing things happen in life, we can embrace the rhythm and flow of our own individual lives, and become the unique, creative, authentic, loving, souls we were meant to be. This morning we will explore that fear and the  human ego mind set that keeps us from embracing Life with our hearts, minds, and our arms wide open.

Sunday, 4 October 2015, 11 amBeth Magill, cropped
Beth Magill
“Everyone is Musical….Period.”

Small Ensemble Singers

We are musical beings and it is our responsibility, and our right, to honor this gift, and who we are — for ourselves, for our children and for our communities. By doing so, we change ourselves, and others.  And when we do that, we’re one step down the road to changing the world.  Beth Magill is a musician who plays with various musicians & bands, primarily The Magills (www.magillsmusic.com), is an active session musician, has appeared on numerous recordings, and performed on NPR’s Mountain Stage.  Beth served as the music director for Highland Repertory Theater’s production, A Mislaid Heaven, teaches tin whistle,  and leads community sings with her husband Jim as part of the Intersections series at the Diana Wortham Theater. Believing everyone is musical, Beth offers workshops that empower people to be their naturally musical selves.

Sunday, 27 September 2015, 11 am
pastor1Rev. Michael Carter
“The Gift of Community”

UUCSV Choir

What is it that causes us to seek community in our lives? I have met many people in the area who have left their families of origin, have traveled across this great country of ours, to either begin or to join intentional communities. It appears to me that this longing to be a part of a community is something of what it means to be human. Our 6th principle affirms, “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.” Lofty words for sure. Henry David Thoreau was once quoted as saying that it is okay to build sand castles in the air, but there comes a time we must put foundations under them. This Sunday we will explore what it takes to place foundations beneath this idea about what it means to be in community, not only with each other, but for what it requires of us individually and collectively, on our personal journeys toward wholeness.

Sunday, 20 September 2015, 11 am
UUCSV COA Youth and Chaperones
“Coming of Age Youth: RE-visiting Boston

Our Coming of Age group capped their class with a pilgrimage to Boston in June, where they explored the roots of Unitarian Universalism in the U.S. – and lots of other cool sights in the Olde Towne. Join them in recounting highlights via a slideshow and personal stories from kids and chaperones – and offering thanks for the generous support of this congregation that made the trip possible!

Sunday, 13 September 2015, 11:00 am
Rev. Michael Carter
The Pursuit of Happiness”

September 13th, 2015 is our Homecoming Sunday and we will celebrate with a Water Communion. For those of us who had time for a little R&R this summer, as well as those of us who did not leave the area but had a well deserved ‘staycation,” this talk is for you. Actually it is for all of us. What is it that makes you happy? For many of us, we well only be happy when the other person changes, or when that new job comes through, or when we get that new automobile. In this way the key to our being happy is so external,depending on outside forces or circumstances to change. Truth be told, happiness is an inside job. Let’s explore this on Homecoming Sunday, September 13th.

Sunday, 6 September 2015, 11 amChris Matthews2
Rev. Chris Andrews
“How to Get Rich”

How do we follow the dreams of the heart and not get sidetracked by the cultural agenda of getting more and more and being #1? The sermon will be about “following your bliss,” and living out of a sense of being called instead of just doing anything for a check.

The Rev. Chris Andrews has lived in Louisiana for most of his life. Formerly a minister in the United Methodist Church for 42 years, he served at 1st UMC in Baton Rouge for many of those years. Chris now leads Jubilee Pioneers, an eclectic group of folks in Baton Rouge seeking ways to practice “good religion.” He is not a Christian, but instead calls himself a “follower of Jesus.”

Sunday, 30 August 2015, 11 am
Rev. Michael Carter
“The Living Faith of  Universalism”

UUCSV String Band

I want to review and to rethink what it means to be a Universalist in our denomination. This talk will include some of the history of the movement, but more importantly, what does Universalism have to say for people like us living 15 years into the 21st Century. Is Universalism still relevant? You bet your sweet %$#@*&!!! it is!

Sunday, 23 August 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev Michael Carter
“Coming to Grips with Pain and Healing”

UUCSV Choir

This Sunday’s topic comes out of the adult education class after viewing The John Bradshaw, Homecoming Series. If you did not attend there is still something in this for you. If you did attend, just show up anyway (smile). The title says it all!

Sunday, 16 August 2015, 11 am
Rev. Lois Cavanaugh-Daley
“Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life:
Karen Armstrong Shows Us the Way”

Noted religious historian and TED Award recipient Karen Armstrong  outlines  how we can all  live a more compassionate life in our day to day encounters with our families, friends, co-workers and strangers.  Reverend Lois Cavanagh-Daley will review the steps and also  highlight why living compassionately is an urgent message for everyone and especially for Unitarian Universalists.

Reverend Lois Cavanagh-Daley is an ordained interfaith minister providing pulpit  supply to Unitarian Universalists congregations throughout North Carolina. She is an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh where she has previously served as President-Elect, President , and Past President.   Currently, Reverend Cavanagh-Daley is studying to become a certified chaplain, and she will begin a third unit in Clinical Pastoral Education  at Wake Medical Center  in Raleigh beginning in August.

Sunday, 9 August 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”

American Culture is afraid of the dark. The darkness of people of color, and the darkness and shadow side of our own personal and collective lives. We have become so “Enlightened” because of our love of the rational and because of our love affair with technology, that we have lost the meaning of what it means just to be and to let  the darkness envelop us from time to time. Yet, in many ways this is beginning to change as we evolve personally and collectively into becoming more human. Join us as we explore how to embrace our shadow, our own darkness within and without, as we become more happier, more loving, and more creative human beings. See you there!

Sunday, 2 August 2015, 11 am
Linda Metzner
“What She Is”

There was a time when humans lived simply and peacefully on the earth, without war, in small communities centered on the Goddess. Our bodies and all living beings of the natural world were held as sacred and interrelated. Our choir director, Annelinde Metzner, has devoted her creative work in poetry and music to the reemergence of the Divine Feminine in our time. This service will illuminate the Goddess through Annelinde’s poetry and songs, with divine guest soprano Kim Hughes.

Sunday, 26 July 2015, 11 amBRAD
Dr. Brad Rachman
“Your Heart’s Desire: Beyond the Cycle of Want and Acquisition”

UUCSV Choir

Sometimes it seems like our minds are simply “instruments of desire”; incessantly jumping from one need and want to another- from one acquisition and attainment to another. This topic explores the root cause of desire and offers a unique and simple path toward freedom from the vicious cycle.

Dr. Brad Rachman has been practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness for over 35 years. He and his wife Martia founded Black Mountain Yoga- a local epi-center for yoga practices and conscious living. He is also the clinical director for the Rachman Clinic, a local, multi-disciplinary center proving personalized medicine through advanced diagnostics and non-toxic treatments. He is a father of 4 daughters and enjoys all things that are alive and filled with spirit.”

Sunday, 19 July 2015, 11 amDiAnna-030515-149-200x300
Rev. DiAnna Ritola
“Some Things are Broken, But I’m OK”

There are so many voices both outside of us and from within that tell us that the world is broken, that WE are broken. This topic addresses this pervasive negativity with the understanding that we are in a time of change, and that in the messy middle of it all, we can be OK.

Rev. DiAnna Ritola received her ordination as an Interfaith Minister from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies. Her ministry centers on spiritual counseling for sexuality and intimate relationships. She is a professional speaker on the integration of spirituality and sexuality. She has lived in cities large and small, explored her inner Earth Mother in rural Vermont where her two children were born, and moved to Asheville, NC in 2001. DiAnna is also on the clergy team with The Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville.  DiAnna is available for counseling sessions in person, or via phone or Skype, as well as weddings, commitment ceremonies and other rites of passage. Her website is www.DiAnnaRitola.com.

Sunday, 12 July 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Fundamentalism and Doubt”

Writer Ann Lamont states that doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. We as UUs are encouraged to cherish our doubts. With that said, the challenge is co-existing with others who not only believe themselves to be more theologically certain than we are about the nature of the universe, but are not too shy about forcing those beliefs on others, in sometimes violent ways. Perhaps attempting to understand the fear that the fundamentalist has and how he or she has come about those fears will enable us to move from our own fears about them, to a place of not simply mere tolerance, but acceptance. After all is said and done, we do not have to think alike to love alike. See you at church!

Sunday, 5 July 2015 11 ampana_columbus
Pana Columbus
“Unconditional Love: Embracing the Shadow in Ourselves, our Relationships and in Our World”

Do you find yourself triggered by what others say or do? Do you find yourself behaving in ways that are out of alignment with how you would like to show up in the world? Join us as we explore the notion of “shadow”, the parts of us we hide out of shame or fear. Experience the possibility of unconditional love as we learn to embrace all of ourselves and each other. Song: All of You

Pana Columbus is an award-winning playwright as well as a private transformation coach. She has been a speaker at a TEDx conference at Acadia University, at churches, women’s retreats, fundraisers and board retreats.

Sunday, 28 June 2015, 11 am
pastor1Rev. Michael Carter
“Courage, Love, Possibility”

Many human beings look at the challenges facing our planet today and feel that the problems are so massive and unprecedented that they are quite difficult to perceive, much less act upon. In short, they are overwhelmed. The result of this world view can sometimes manifest as the very danger signals that should rivet our attention, place a fire underneath us, and bond us in collective action, tend to have just the opposite effect. The result oftentimes is an unprecedented apathy. This Sunday, we will explore the ideas of courage, love, and possibility in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. See you at church!

Sunday, 21 June 2015, 11 ambballard2013lg
Byron Ballard
“Midsummer Dreams of Justice…and Peace”

UUCSV Choir

June is jumping and summer pulls us in so many directions–travel, garden,
visits from family and friends. But we don’t change our essential nature because we get to wear short pants.  The things that move us, that touch our hearts still need to be tended.  How do we manage to live in all the worlds that need us–and that we need?  Join Byron Ballard for a praise-song of summer and some helpful hints about making this a summer of fun and progress.

H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker  and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference and other gatherings.  She serves as elder priestess at Mother Grove Goddess Temple, a church devoted to the many faces of the Divine Feminine, where she teaches religious education, as well as leads rituals. Her writings have appeared in print and electronic media. She blogs as “Asheville’s Village Witch” (myvillagewitch.wordpress.com) and as The Village Witch for Witches and Pagans Magazine (witchesandpagans.com/The-Village-Witch), where she is also a regular columnist.

Sunday, 14 June 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Membership Has Its Privileges”

This Sunday, June 14th, we officially welcome our new members to UUCSV. We are eternally grateful for the gifts you bring to our community and of the privilege of having you in our midst. You are the lifeblood of our congregation. Having made the decision to join us, I would also like to emphasize the privileges that membership brings to you the member, for as in any healthy relationship, energy is exchanged equally and fluidly. Welcome Home!

Sunday, 7 June 2015, 11 amdavidlamotte
David LaMotte
“World Changing 101”

David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, speaker, author, and activist. He has produced 11 CDs and performed 2500 concerts on 5 continents. He has published two illustrated children’s books, S.S. Bathtub, a rhyming book for small children based on his award-winning song of the same name, and White Flour, a whimsical introduction to nonviolence, based on true events. David’s most recent projects include his new book Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness, and PickOne.org, a web site that nourishes positive change by inspiring and empowering people to take action on issues they care about.  Read more about David LaMotte.

Sunday, 31 May 2015, 11 amScott Hardin-Nieri
Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri
“Climate Change: Crisis and Hope”

Small Ensemble Singers

The human family is grappling with a complex and overwhelming confluence of factors that are threatening creatures great and small. Climate change is at the top of a very long list associated with the environmental challenges facing us today. You know the list. The very glance at the list can paralyze people into hopelessness, bitterness, isolation and inaction. At our best, our spiritual communities are at the heart of the movement for global wholeness. In this time of great transition, we have the opportunity to lead and collaborate with others with a deep sense courage and love in a time of great change.

Sunday, 24 May 2015 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Memories of War”

UUCSV Choir

Here we are again, celebrating ( perhaps “acknowledging” is a better word) Memorial Day while our country continues to wage perpetual war. How do we decide collectively as a nation and individually as citizens, what emotions to embrace? How do we move past who was right and who was wrong as we observe this holiday. Plato reminds us that only the dead have seen the end of war. How true his insight is. One thing is for certain; historical amnesia is not the answer. It never is, for the first casualty in war— is the Truth!

Sunday, 17 May 2015, 11 amCOA
Our Coming of Age Program
“Credo Sunday”

Music provided by the UUCSV String Band

The middle and high school youth of our congregation have spent the past half year exploring their own beliefs and the tenets of Unitarian Universalism, both in group discussions and with their mentors. The year culminates in a special morning of sharing with the congregation. The middle school members will read “I Am” poems they have written, and the high school members will share their credos, statements of their beliefs. We welcome them into the congregation as young adults beginning a lifelong journey.

Sunday, 10 May 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“A Mother’s Day Celebration”

This will be my third Mother’s Day Sermon since arriving at UUCSV. I know some ministers who refuse to do a Mom’s Day sermon as they find it to be just a sales gimmick —  a commercial manipulation of our emotions and sentiments by the retailing industry to boost profits. I feel that Mother’s Day is what we make it. We can be both sentimental and truthful about our childhood. Join me as we take another peak at what this holiday really means and how the most primary relationship of our lives affects us for the rest of our lives. See you at church!

Sunday, 3 May 2015, 11 amcoeur--2
Rev. Michael Carter
“Words”

We have all heard the saying, that thoughts are things. We have also heard about the power of words. Many of us have seen and felt the power of words in our own lives when we have said something that we wished we could have taken back, or when we have witnessed or felt how our words or those of someone else can soothe and heal our wounds and the wounds of others. A wise rabbi once said that its not the things that go into us but the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and these things can sometimes defile us and our thoughts and actions. As UUs, what words can we use unite instead of divide, to heal rather than to hurt, to invite rather than shut out? We’ll see on Sunday

Sunday, 26 April 2015 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Free Radicals or Us vs Them”

UUCSV Choir

Our UU tradition places tremendous emphasis on social justice activism and rightly so. We have much to be proud of as we affirm our right to speak and act freely in the creation of what some have called, “The Beloved Community.” We are free radicals. Are there ways to make our activism even more powerful and effective? Are there things we need to be reminded of as we go about creating this beloved community? Goethe was correct when he said that there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come, and perhaps Eckert Tolle has a piece of the puzzle as well when we are asked to examine the power of our intentions. Let’s explore these questions just in time for the national Stand Against Racism Weekend here in Asheville…see you on Sunday!

Sunday, 19 April 2015, 11 am
Guest speaker: Rev. Michael Carter
“So Long and Thanks for all the Fish”

The title is derived from a well-known Douglas Adams satire challenging the way we complicate our lives through the assumptions we make about ourselves and our institutions. The key lyric from “Me and Bobby McGee” serves as a navigational guide to a more freewheeling and authentic path.
Mike is a graduate of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and the University of Kentucky. Included among his many careers is his service for the United Methodist Church, working with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, and running a consultancy that works with start-up and early stage companies. In addition, he has taught in the lifelong learning programs at Brevard College, Furman

Sunday, 12 April 2015, 11 ammichaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“Interdependence”

Most of us have heard the saying, that if we give someone a fish, we feed them for a day. But if we teach them to fish, we feed them for a lifetime. The late UU minister, The Rev. Lee Reid, says this is not enough. She says that we also have to make room at the pond for other people. Today’s sermon will explore what the childhood story of The Little Red Hen, can teach us about interdependence. See you at church!

Sunday, 5 April 2015, 11 am
Rev. Michael Carter
“Universalism and Easter”

The service will include a “Flower Communion”
The Small Ensemble Singers will perform

For many UUs, Easter is a tricky holiday. First of all, it is a traditionally orthodox Christian story in the sense that many of us feel that we are asked to believe a story of high strangeness on penalty of being burned in a very hot place. My goodness! A human being being raised from the dead! All of this when some of us are still trying to wrap our minds around a virgin birth… But all of that aside, Easter is really about the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth, and our tradition encourages us to interpret this in our own personal ways. To be sure, this cycle surrounds our life each and every day— we’re already swimming in it. Our Universalist history has a say in this story as well. Lets explore. See you at church!

Sunday, 29 March 2015, 11 am
The UUCSV Players, the Silly Ensemble Singers
“The Joke’s on UU!”

One of this congregation’s greatest gifts is our ability to laugh. We can be serious, but rarely does a Sunday going by without at least a few chuckles. This means we are extremely healthy people. Perhaps the most spiritually advanced form of humor is the ability to laugh at ourselves.  Spearheaded by David Groce, with the help of several co-conspirators, our service on the 29th will include stories, jokes, parodies and funny songs, all directed at the special foibles of Unitarians and Universalists. Since the traditional April Fool’s day did not fall on a Sunday this year, we hereby assert our UU contraryness by celebrating foolishness on March 29th.

Sunday, 22 March 2015, 11 ammichaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“Family Values”

Yes, we still hear this term used every so often about what constitutes real “American Values.” Especially now that marriage equality is alive and well hear in the old US of A, and I must admit, I usually hear the term coming from more conservative politicos and neighbors. What does this really mean? Are white, heterosexual, suburban values what we are to strive for in our day to day lives? Are these words merely code words for racism and sexism. Let’s try again to unpack what this really means for religious  progressives like you and I. Perhaps we can come up with our own definition, one that is more inclusive and compassionate. If one definition of power is to name things, then lets use that power for more inclusive and affirming results. See you in church!

Sunday, 15 March 2015, 11 a.m.bballard
H. Byron Ballard
“Don’t Beware the Ides of March”

As the season changes to full-on Spring, we may be tempted to pull the blanket up and set the alarm for five minutes more. Please don’t! Now is the time–both in the natural world and in the o-so-human part–to step up, step forward and be both brave and bold. Byron Ballard returns to UUCSV to soothsay a way of being in our changing world. “It is the bold (one) who always fares best, at home or abroad across the wine-dark sea” –  Homer.   H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, West Kentucky Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival and other gatherings.

Sunday, 8 March 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“To Whom Much Is Given”

Canvassing Sunday. When we think of Canvassing Sunday, we normally think of the Sunday where the minister gives a “fundraising” sermon to raise funds for the church. The minister, if he or she is good at it, is supposed to do it like a dentist, first gently putting in the right amount of Novocain to numb the pain and then doing the tough stuff about raising money but in a painless way so the patients won’t feel it. Or it is “time, talent and treasure” Sunday and so we talk about the time, talents and treasures we are going to pledge to the church. Or, we may think of a steward and stewardess on an airplane, making sure the passengers are comfortable during the flight, tending to their needs and so forth. Yet stewardship (or canvassing) is not about that narrow slice of life we call offerings to the church or that narrow slice of our time, talents and treasures that we give to church. Stewardship is taking care of the precious property and people that we have been entrusted with by Life itself. It’s a paradigm shift. In short, it is the intentionality behind our giving that makes the difference. We must all count our blessings. To whom much is given, much is required.  See you at Church!

Sunday, 1 March 2015, 11 a.m.David Novak, Storyteller
David Novak
“The Separation of Heaven and Earth”

Storyteller David Novak wonders whether we are all children of a rancorous cosmological divorce?     A  member of the UU Church of Asheville, David Novak is an award-winning storyteller, author and actor, performing on the main stages of the nation’s top storytelling festivals. Recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network, Novak teaches graduate storytelling courses at East Tennessee State University and is an A+ Fellow for the NC Arts Council. David ‘s tours take him across the U.S. and around the world including New Zealand, the Czech Republic and a recent encore tour in China. David is a frequent guest speaker at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center and is often seen locally performing a monodrama as R. Buckminster Fuller.

Sunday, 22 February 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“Seeds”

What kind of seeds are we planting in our lives? What kind of harvest are we producing with our thoughts, words, and deeds? Do our actions and thoughts fall on fertile soil, or harsh and rocky ground which choke our messages of love and forgiveness? When was the last time you even thought about this? This Sunday we will examine the Parable of the Sower, a story told by Rabbi Jesus, as well as the theme of a Sci-Fi book written by African American writer Octavia Butler, of the same name. Its harvest time . . .

Sunday, 15 February 2015, 11 a.m.bob-chalice (2)
Rev. Bob MacDicken
“What UUs Don’t Believe”

Even though UUism is a creed-less religion, the notion that UUs don’t believe anything at all — or that we can believe anything that comes into our heads — can get us into trouble. The context of our faith and spiritual community may suggest limits to what UUs can hold sacred and still claim our liberal religious heritage. The limits sometimes fall within known religious boundaries (e.g. fundamentalism within almost any religion) and sometimes we need to create them ourselves.

Sunday, 8 February 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“UUs and Lent: What Can We Learn?

Since my somewhat controversial reception after being invited to speak at one of our neighboring churches celebrating the Lenten season, I began to wonder what meaning Lent may have for Unitarian Universalists. Since I am also slated to speak this Easter Sunday on the Universalist meaning of Easter, this talk may shed some light on both holidays of the Christian Calendar and how we as UUs may interpret the significance of the season. Lent is the season of patience and prayer before Easter. The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Lencten, or spring, the time of the year when the days begin to lengthen. For those of us who may not be ready just yet to throw the proverbial baby out with the proverbial bathwater, and if our wounds are not too deeply imbedded from the religion of our parents (read traditional, evangelical, or orthodox Christianity), this season may have something to contribute to our inner or spiritual lives. See you at Church!

Sunday, 1 February, 2015, 11 a.m.terryvandyyn
“The Myth of the Individual”
Senator Terry Van Duyn

As she speaks with groups about the kinds of problems she would like to work on in the NC General Assembly, Senator Van Duyn muses that we may have “ceded the argument about the fundamental role government has to play in making our lives better.” As an example, she says, “It is hard to talk about the need to increase funding for childcare subsidies if you’ve already lost the battle on whether government is able to make anything better.” She cites Sister Simone Campbell’s remarks about the myth of the individual and how we need to work together to create opportunity for each other.

Senator Van Duyn is a Democratic member of the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 49. She was appointed to the position to replace the late Senator Martin Nesbitt, who died in March. She won the general election in November with over 61 percent of the vote. Recently her Senate Democratic colleagues voted her Minority Whip.

Sunday, 31 May 2015, 11 amScott Hardin-Nieri
Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri
“Climate Change: Crisis and Hope”

Small Ensemble Singers

The human family is grappling with a complex and overwhelming confluence of factors that are threatening creatures great and small. Climate change is at the top of a very long list associated with the environmental challenges facing us today. You know the list. The very glance at the list can paralyze people into hopelessness, bitterness, isolation and inaction. At our best, our spiritual communities are at the heart of the movement for global wholeness. In this time of great transition, we have the opportunity to lead and collaborate with others with a deep sense courage and love in a time of great change.

Sunday, 24 May 2015 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Memories of War”

UUCSV Choir

Here we are again, celebrating ( perhaps “acknowledging” is a better word) Memorial Day while our country continues to wage perpetual war. How do we decide collectively as a nation and individually as citizens, what emotions to embrace? How do we move past who was right and who was wrong as we observe this holiday. Plato reminds us that only the dead have seen the end of war. How true his insight is. One thing is for certain; historical amnesia is not the answer. It never is, for the first casualty in war— is the Truth!

Sunday, 17 May 2015, 11 amCOA
Our Coming of Age Program
“Credo Sunday”

Music provided by the UUCSV String Band

The middle and high school youth of our congregation have spent the past half year exploring their own beliefs and the tenets of Unitarian Universalism, both in group discussions and with their mentors. The year culminates in a special morning of sharing with the congregation. The middle school members will read “I Am” poems they have written, and the high school members will share their credos, statements of their beliefs. We welcome them into the congregation as young adults beginning a lifelong journey.

Sunday, 10 May 2015, 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“A Mother’s Day Celebration”

This will be my third Mother’s Day Sermon since arriving at UUCSV. I know some ministers who refuse to do a Mom’s Day sermon as they find it to be just a sales gimmick —  a commercial manipulation of our emotions and sentiments by the retailing industry to boost profits. I feel that Mother’s Day is what we make it. We can be both sentimental and truthful about our childhood. Join me as we take another peak at what this holiday really means and how the most primary relationship of our lives affects us for the rest of our lives. See you at church!

Sunday, 3 May 2015, 11 amcoeur--2
Rev. Michael Carter
“Words”

We have all heard the saying, that thoughts are things. We have also heard about the power of words. Many of us have seen and felt the power of words in our own lives when we have said something that we wished we could have taken back, or when we have witnessed or felt how our words or those of someone else can soothe and heal our wounds and the wounds of others. A wise rabbi once said that its not the things that go into us but the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and these things can sometimes defile us and our thoughts and actions. As UUs, what words can we use unite instead of divide, to heal rather than to hurt, to invite rather than shut out? We’ll see on Sunday

Sunday, 26 April 2015 11 ampastor1
Rev. Michael Carter
“Free Radicals or Us vs Them”

UUCSV Choir

Our UU tradition places tremendous emphasis on social justice activism and rightly so. We have much to be proud of as we affirm our right to speak and act freely in the creation of what some have called, “The Beloved Community.” We are free radicals. Are there ways to make our activism even more powerful and effective? Are there things we need to be reminded of as we go about creating this beloved community? Goethe was correct when he said that there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come, and perhaps Eckert Tolle has a piece of the puzzle as well when we are asked to examine the power of our intentions. Let’s explore these questions just in time for the national Stand Against Racism Weekend here in Asheville…see you on Sunday!

Sunday, 19 April 2015, 11 am
Guest speaker: Rev. Michael Carter
“So Long and Thanks for all the Fish”

The title is derived from a well-known Douglas Adams satire challenging the way we complicate our lives through the assumptions we make about ourselves and our institutions. The key lyric from “Me and Bobby McGee” serves as a navigational guide to a more freewheeling and authentic path.
Mike is a graduate of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and the University of Kentucky. Included among his many careers is his service for the United Methodist Church, working with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, and running a consultancy that works with start-up and early stage companies. In addition, he has taught in the lifelong learning programs at Brevard College, Furman

Sunday, 12 April 2015, 11 ammichaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“Interdependence”

Most of us have heard the saying, that if we give someone a fish, we feed them for a day. But if we teach them to fish, we feed them for a lifetime. The late UU minister, The Rev. Lee Reid, says this is not enough. She says that we also have to make room at the pond for other people. Today’s sermon will explore what the childhood story of The Little Red Hen, can teach us about interdependence. See you at church!

Sunday, 5 April 2015, 11 am
Rev. Michael Carter
“Universalism and Easter”

The service will include a “Flower Communion”
The Small Ensemble Singers will perform

For many UUs, Easter is a tricky holiday. First of all, it is a traditionally orthodox Christian story in the sense that many of us feel that we are asked to believe a story of high strangeness on penalty of being burned in a very hot place. My goodness! A human being being raised from the dead! All of this when some of us are still trying to wrap our minds around a virgin birth… But all of that aside, Easter is really about the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth, and our tradition encourages us to interpret this in our own personal ways. To be sure, this cycle surrounds our life each and every day— we’re already swimming in it. Our Universalist history has a say in this story as well. Lets explore. See you at church!

Sunday, 29 March 2015, 11 am
The UUCSV Players, the Silly Ensemble Singers
“The Joke’s on UU!”

One of this congregation’s greatest gifts is our ability to laugh. We can be serious, but rarely does a Sunday going by without at least a few chuckles. This means we are extremely healthy people. Perhaps the most spiritually advanced form of humor is the ability to laugh at ourselves.  Spearheaded by David Groce, with the help of several co-conspirators, our service on the 29th will include stories, jokes, parodies and funny songs, all directed at the special foibles of Unitarians and Universalists. Since the traditional April Fool’s day did not fall on a Sunday this year, we hereby assert our UU contraryness by celebrating foolishness on March 29th.

Sunday, 22 March 2015, 11 ammichaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“Family Values”

Yes, we still hear this term used every so often about what constitutes real “American Values.” Especially now that marriage equality is alive and well hear in the old US of A, and I must admit, I usually hear the term coming from more conservative politicos and neighbors. What does this really mean? Are white, heterosexual, suburban values what we are to strive for in our day to day lives? Are these words merely code words for racism and sexism. Let’s try again to unpack what this really means for religious  progressives like you and I. Perhaps we can come up with our own definition, one that is more inclusive and compassionate. If one definition of power is to name things, then lets use that power for more inclusive and affirming results. See you in church!

Sunday, 15 March 2015, 11 a.m.bballard
H. Byron Ballard
“Don’t Beware the Ides of March”

As the season changes to full-on Spring, we may be tempted to pull the blanket up and set the alarm for five minutes more. Please don’t! Now is the time–both in the natural world and in the o-so-human part–to step up, step forward and be both brave and bold. Byron Ballard returns to UUCSV to soothsay a way of being in our changing world. “It is the bold (one) who always fares best, at home or abroad across the wine-dark sea” –  Homer.   H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, West Kentucky Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival and other gatherings.

Sunday, 8 March 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“To Whom Much Is Given”

Canvassing Sunday. When we think of Canvassing Sunday, we normally think of the Sunday where the minister gives a “fundraising” sermon to raise funds for the church. The minister, if he or she is good at it, is supposed to do it like a dentist, first gently putting in the right amount of Novocain to numb the pain and then doing the tough stuff about raising money but in a painless way so the patients won’t feel it. Or it is “time, talent and treasure” Sunday and so we talk about the time, talents and treasures we are going to pledge to the church. Or, we may think of a steward and stewardess on an airplane, making sure the passengers are comfortable during the flight, tending to their needs and so forth. Yet stewardship (or canvassing) is not about that narrow slice of life we call offerings to the church or that narrow slice of our time, talents and treasures that we give to church. Stewardship is taking care of the precious property and people that we have been entrusted with by Life itself. It’s a paradigm shift. In short, it is the intentionality behind our giving that makes the difference. We must all count our blessings. To whom much is given, much is required.  See you at Church!

Sunday, 1 March 2015, 11 a.m.David Novak, Storyteller
David Novak
“The Separation of Heaven and Earth”

Storyteller David Novak wonders whether we are all children of a rancorous cosmological divorce?     A  member of the UU Church of Asheville, David Novak is an award-winning storyteller, author and actor, performing on the main stages of the nation’s top storytelling festivals. Recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network, Novak teaches graduate storytelling courses at East Tennessee State University and is an A+ Fellow for the NC Arts Council. David ‘s tours take him across the U.S. and around the world including New Zealand, the Czech Republic and a recent encore tour in China. David is a frequent guest speaker at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center and is often seen locally performing a monodrama as R. Buckminster Fuller.

Sunday, 22 February 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“Seeds”

What kind of seeds are we planting in our lives? What kind of harvest are we producing with our thoughts, words, and deeds? Do our actions and thoughts fall on fertile soil, or harsh and rocky ground which choke our messages of love and forgiveness? When was the last time you even thought about this? This Sunday we will examine the Parable of the Sower, a story told by Rabbi Jesus, as well as the theme of a Sci-Fi book written by African American writer Octavia Butler, of the same name. Its harvest time . . .

Sunday, 15 February 2015, 11 a.m.bob-chalice (2)
Rev. Bob MacDicken
“What UUs Don’t Believe”

Even though UUism is a creed-less religion, the notion that UUs don’t believe anything at all — or that we can believe anything that comes into our heads — can get us into trouble. The context of our faith and spiritual community may suggest limits to what UUs can hold sacred and still claim our liberal religious heritage. The limits sometimes fall within known religious boundaries (e.g. fundamentalism within almost any religion) and sometimes we need to create them ourselves.

Sunday, 8 February 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Rev. Michael Carter
“UUs and Lent: What Can We Learn?

Since my somewhat controversial reception after being invited to speak at one of our neighboring churches celebrating the Lenten season, I began to wonder what meaning Lent may have for Unitarian Universalists. Since I am also slated to speak this Easter Sunday on the Universalist meaning of Easter, this talk may shed some light on both holidays of the Christian Calendar and how we as UUs may interpret the significance of the season. Lent is the season of patience and prayer before Easter. The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Lencten, or spring, the time of the year when the days begin to lengthen. For those of us who may not be ready just yet to throw the proverbial baby out with the proverbial bathwater, and if our wounds are not too deeply imbedded from the religion of our parents (read traditional, evangelical, or orthodox Christianity), this season may have something to contribute to our inner or spiritual lives. See you at Church!

Sunday, 1 February, 2015, 11 a.m.terryvandyyn
“The Myth of the Individual”
Senator Terry Van Duyn

As she speaks with groups about the kinds of problems she would like to work on in the NC General Assembly, Senator Van Duyn muses that we may have “ceded the argument about the fundamental role government has to play in making our lives better.” As an example, she says, “It is hard to talk about the need to increase funding for childcare subsidies if you’ve already lost the battle on whether government is able to make anything better.” She cites Sister Simone Campbell’s remarks about the myth of the individual and how we need to work together to create opportunity for each other.

Senator Van Duyn is a Democratic member of the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 49. She was appointed to the position to replace the late Senator Martin Nesbitt, who died in March. She won the general election in November with over 61 percent of the vote. Recently her Senate Democratic colleagues voted her Minority Whip.

Sunday, 25 January 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
“African American Humanism”
Rev. Michael Carter

It was in a UU church where I first encountered African Americans who boldly stated their humanism and not believing or needing a deity to save them from themselves. It was really a significant time of my life as I was struggling with my own faith journey. I have learned much from these men and women who dared to self identify as they did and to risk the scorn of not only the dominant culture, but those of our African American community at large. It took courage and conviction then as well as now, for the stigma was not only a sort of “heresy” but the very questioning of what it meant to be an African American man or woman was at stake. Join me as we take a look at the history of AA humanist in our denomination and the society at large.

Sunday, 18 January 2015, 11 a.m.poling-jpeg011
“Not My Daddy’s Faith”
Nancy Poling

This sermon will explore the question; “How do we come to terms with the theology we grew up with?”
After decades of career hopping—from educator, editor, Realtor, communications consultant, back to educator—Nancy discovered a passion for writing. An effort to come to terms with the strict religious practices of her childhood has inspired much of her work, particularly, Had Eve Come First and Jonah Been a Woman. Her theology also informs her political opinions, which frequently appear in the Op-Ed section of the Asheville newspaper and on her blog: www.nancypoling.com/blog. Nancy lives in Black Mountain with her husband, Jim Poling, a retired seminary teacher turned avid bird watcher.

Sunday, 11 January 2015, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
“Fit for a King”
Rev. Michael Carter

Because I am scheduled to speak on the 2nd and 4th Sundays, this Sunday I will be speaking about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For those of you who attended the MLK, JR. Breakfast last year in Black Mountain, you will know that I did not get to finish my speech because I had lost my place and spoke extemporaneously. I would like to share the rest of that talk with you this Sunday to perhaps illuminate more of the humanity of Dr. King and not just the image the media has presented to us since his assassination. He was a human being, like you and me. We may never look upon his life again. Needless to say, we need his message of love, wisdom, and justice more now than ever. His life was surely a testament of hope. See you at church!

Sunday, 4 January 2015, 11 a.m.
“Judgement Day”
Dr. Brad Rachman

UUCSV launches 2015 with guest speaker Dr. Brad Rachman, a naturopathic physician and yoga therapist based in Black Mountain. The January 4th service is provocatively entitled “Judgement Day,” but don’t worry – it’s not about the eschatology of the Abrahamic religions! Rather, Brad will explore how the daily tendency of the mind to name and judge often clouds our experience of the world, causing us to see things as we are…not as they truly are.

Sunday, 28 December 2014, 11 a.m.
“The Last Bizarre Tale”
David Madden

David Madden will give a dramatic reading of part of the title story of his new book The Last Bizarre Tale. Horrified by a life of listening to bizarre tales, a young man leaves Bristol, Virginia seeking a more normal life. In a small town called South Mountain, a gravedigger tells him the most bizarre tale of all, about a young carnival worker who was murdered and whose unclaimed body hung for 70 years in the mortuary garage, exposed to ridicule. Depressed, the young man flees the town, but on the road he experiences a redeeming, uniquely compassionate insight.

Sunday, 21 December 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
“Musical Holiday Service”
Rev. Michael Carter

Come join us as we celebrate the Holiday and Christmas Season with our musical holiday service. The choir will be performing as well as the Small Ensemble Singers. And lets not forget the youth. They’ll have a part to play this Sunday for sure! We always have a good time during this service as we kick off this season of joy, peace, goodwill and holiday cheer! See you at church!

Sunday, 14 December 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
“Has Anyone Seen Mary?”
Rev. Michael Carter

This Holiday and Christmas season our Sunday sermon will focus on the mother of Jesus, or as some have called her, “The Feminine Face of God.” Much is not really known about this young Jewish maiden, but her influence on Christianity, especially among Catholics cannot be denied. Yet there are many non-Christians who revere her as well. Mary is mentioned 34 times in the Koran! What is the attraction? How has her symbolism both hurt and advanced the role of woman in Christianity and Catholicism in particular? What can she mean for Unitarian Universalism? See you on Sunday!

Sunday, 7 December 2014, 11 a.m.jeffhutchins
“Jeff Hutchins Must Die”
Jeff Hutchins

This service, led by our own Jeff Hutchins, takes a look at issues of death and dying as they are ritualized in America. The Small Ensemble Singers will perform.

Sunday, 30 November 2014, 11 a.m.
Holiday Rx: Sing, Receive, Pause…Repeat as Needed
Speaker/Facilitator: Ginny Moreland

As we take a deep breath and pause between Thanksgiving and those other upcoming holidays, we will explore sacred song as a path to stress relief and inner calm. Specifically we’ll learn about and experience the practice known as “Singing Meditation,” which was formulated by a Unitarian Universalist and draws on simple songs from many cultural traditions. No special skills are needed, and you are welcome to enjoy the service even if you prefer not to sing. (But we think you will want to!)

Sunday, 23 November 2014, 11 a.m.
Inter-generational Service
The Gift of Gratitude

This service is a full inter-generational service with a special treat. Yes, it is always a treat to have our youth participate in  the service from beginning to end. However, on this particular Sunday we will have story teller Becky Stone with us. Some of you may recall that Becky was with us last year and did a wonderful job with stories for the young and the young at heart. Well get ready ’cause she’ll be with us again. And let’s not forget that our wonderful choir will be joining us for the service as well.  It’s a festive season and what better way to begin than with the youth, Becky Stone, and our choir. See you there!

Sunday, 16 November 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
What is Truth?
Rev. Michael Carter

This is the question that Pontius Pilate posed to Jesus of Nazareth at his trial. Is truth absolute or relative? Is there such a thing as truth with a capital or small “t” ? Is there any “truth” to the saying that there are always three sides to a perspective—yours, mine, and the truth?

With the diversity of perspectives, opinions, and facts, we encounter each and everyday, how do we arrive at what we would call Truth? This is a crucial question, not just for us as Unitarian Universalist, but as human beings trying to create a more just, fair, and loving society. This sermon will not be for the faint of heart! See you on the 16th of November.

Sunday, 9 November 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Anger, Boundaries, and Saying No
Rev. Michael Carter

What does the concept of personal boundaries ( or the lack thereof) and the word no have in common? They can lead us to self-destructive anger in our lives. At least this has been my experience, especially early in my life. For those who are intimidated by anger, saying “yes” is much easier than saying “no,” at least for most of us. This Sunday we will explore personal boundaries, the positive aspects and motivations of anger, and the power of the word “No.”

Sunday, 2 November 2014, 11 a.m.
What Do You Do in There?
Rev. Chris Andrews

Our guest minister will reflect on what goes on when a church gathers for worship. He says, “This comes from a question I was asked once by a man who saw me standing in front of a church as services ended. The building was not very traditional and was not obviously a church. The man asked, ‘Hey, what do y’all do in there?’ It got me to thinking, and I believe there is a sermon in responding to the question. Like: we get people to think; we care for one another; we raise questions without easy answers; we sing; we laugh; we cry; we hope; we help. …”
The Rev. Chris Andrews is a lifelong resident of Louisiana except for stints in graduate school in Missouri and a work assignment in England. Formerly a minister in the United Methodist Church for 42 years, he now leads Jubilee Pioneers, an eclectic group of folks in Baton Rouge seeking ways to practice “good religion.” He is not a Christian, but instead calls himself a “follower of Jesus.” He and his wife love North Carolina and have a cabin just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sunday, 26 October 2014, 11 a.m.
Inter-generational Service: “I Promise You…”

James L. Adams says that, “Human beings, individually and collectively, become human by making commitments, by making promises.” A church covenant is a statement of agreement about how congregants choose to be in healthy relationship with each other. What is it we at UUCSV want from each other? What is it we want from our minister? And what are we personally willing to promise about our own behaviors to create and sustain a healthy faith community?
Join us for a discussion about the role of commitment and covenant in our relationships in the world and here at UUCSV with members Rebecca Williams, Jim Carillon, and our minister, Reverend Michael Carter. Please note: the youth will join us at the beginning of the service in the sanctuary before joining their religious education classes.

Sunday, 19 October 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
A Time of Remembrance
Rev. Michael Carter

The Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur occurred earlier in the month of October, October 3rd and 4th to be exact. Yom Kippur is a holiday which places great focus and intentionality on the practices of atonement and repentance. Naturally, for some, these words bring back painful memories of traditional Jewish or Christian teachings which may not make sense to a lot of us. I believe that although we may not use these words exactly, UUs are in need of both. We are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. At times the cacophony of noises, voices, and distractions can knock us off center causing us to forget who and what we really are. In a world where the times seem out of joint, and men and women have lost their reason, perhaps a time of quite reflection on what it really means to be human (especially at this time of year as we face the upcoming seasons ahead) would be time well spent. Because I was not scheduled to speak the week of this holiday, it seems to me that anytime is an appropriate time to take the time to reflect and to remember. See you at church!

Sunday, 12 October 2014, 11 a.m.pana_columbus
It’s All Love Comin’ At You
Pana Columbus

How do we stay grounded in love when frightening things happen in our lives or in the world? Pana Columbus explores through stories how to transform our fear when addressing challenges in our personal lives, and when facing tragedies that occur around the planet.
Pana Columbus is an award-winning playwright as well as a private transformation coach. She has been a speaker at a TEDx conference at Acadia University, at churches, women’s retreats, fundraisers and board retreats. Pana is currently a monthly guest speaker at the Unity Church of Asheville.

Sunday, 5 October 2014. 11 a.m.
Your Birthright: The Healing Power of Creativity
Guest Speakers: Liza DiSavino and A.J. Bodnar

Join talented and versatile musicians Liza and A.J. in exploring the mighty power of the arts in healing our broken places on our individual spiritual journeys.
Liza and A.J. have performed in concerts and at festivals across the United States for nineteen years. Winners of a grant from the Puffin Foundation and two fellowships from the Hutchins Library Sound Archives at Berea College in Kentucky, their performance credits include the prestigious Old Songs Festival in New York and twelve years as faculty for the folk arts school Common Ground on the Hill in Maryland. Their music draws upon the well of traditional folk, New Orleans jazz, and their own original compositions. Bodnar is a self-taught pianist, singer, and songwriter; DiSavino is a conservatory graduate who plays a dozen instruments, and sings and writes as well.

Sunday, 28 September 2014, 11 a.m..michaelcarter2013hlg
Are We Rome?
Rev. Michael Carter

Is the United States the reincarnation of The Roman Empire? The comparisons are there for all to see. Some may answer yes, some say no. I feel that the answer is yes but we don’t have to be. What is a UU response to empire? As we look at the role our nation is playing out in the lives of other nations, the question cannot be ignored. Is this what our nation is called to be at this time in history? As you can see, we may have more questions than answers, but that’s okay. Sometimes the questions can be just as or even more important. See you on September 28th!

Sunday, 21 September 2014, 11 a.mDavid Kaylor
Our Gods of War and Peace
Dr. David Kaylor

Although we frequently look to religion for comfort in times of conflict, often religion itself has caused conflict. On this International Day of Peace, we consider war, peace and religion, and the ways religions have both promoted war and advocated and worked for peace and what that means for those of us who would be instruments for peace today.
Dr. David Kaylor taught Religion and Humanities at Davidson College from 1964 to 2000. He has been active in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a teacher, speaker, supply preacher, and participant in mission trips. He and his wife, Dorothy (Dot) have five children and eight grandchildren. They recently moved to Black Mountain to enjoy a retirement that includes travel, wood-turning, and spending time with family.

Sunday, 14 September 2014. 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Welcome Home
Rev. Michael Carter

This Sunday is our “Homecoming Sunday.” I hope that most if not all of us found some time for a bit of rest, relaxation, and contemplation. This Sunday will be our IG ( Inter-generational Beginning) Service and we plan on having a Flower Communion as well orchestrated by our RE teachers and youth. It promises to be a great way to kick off the church year and the coming of Fall. See you there!

Sunday, 7 September 2014, 11 a.m.bballard
Tidings of Comfort and Joy
H. Byron Ballard

As the world’s troubles continue to baffle, anger and frustrate us, we often forget one important act of courage, even rebellion. We forget to take care of the one person who needs us most—ourselves. Spend some time this morning with Byron Ballard as she outlines some strategies for Radical Self-Care. As advocates and activists, we’ve been trained to always put ourselves last, which leads to poor judgment, ill health and ultimately to burn-out. If you have been standing as witness and holding vigil without tending your own needs, this is a good opportunity to learn some skills to balance your heart-lived life.
H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, West Kentucky Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival and other gatherings.

Sunday, 31 August 2014. 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Those September Days
Rev. Michael Carter

The season of Fall will be upon us, perhaps sooner than we think as the days grow shorter. Some are still wondering where the summer went. What lessons do we learn from the month of September and the beginning of Fall? The cycles of nature have much to teach us about the meaning of life and love. Having said that, this sermon may not bring any new lessons to the table, but I am almost sure they will remind us some old ones. I hope you all had a time to rest and rejuvenate this summer for the Autumn ahead. See you at church!

Sunday, 24 August 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Growing Our Souls
Rev. Michael Carter

Why do we attend services on Sunday mornings? Why do we not sleep in and read the morning paper? I have heard it said that we want to have some type of recharging of our batteries to get through the week ahead. I have heard it said that folks attend in order to heal from the week before. Others come to socialize and to have fellowship, and yes, some even attend for the sermon. I say all of the above is true. But most importantly, I suspect that we attend services to evolve and to grow our souls, so that we can become more healthier, happier, more loving, more forgiving, more empowered human beings. But then again— I could be wrong. See you at church!

Sunday, 17 August 2014, 11 a.m.
The Duality of The Southern Thing
Rev. Michael Carter

The “duality of the Southern thing” is a line from a song (The Southern Thing) written and performed by the Drive By Truckers. Like much of the DBT’s music, it is an exploration of what it means to be born and raised in the South. The duality that the DBT’s speak of will be a foundation for exploring how the inherent opposites of our lives imbedded in our personalities, culture and sense of place are inextricably connected. Without one, the other cannot exist, which is why we must embrace all our frailties and strengths. Believe it or not, the Drive By Truckers and Lao Tzu were on the same page.
Michael Carter (not our regular Michael Carter, but rather that other Michael Carter) is a graduate of the Emory University Chandler School of Theology. He served in the United Methodist Church for eight years working in parishes in Georgia and Kentucky, as well as serving on the staff of one of the oldest statewide peace organizations in the United States. He spent many years in the corporate world and now is a starving entrepreneur living near Brevard.

Sunday, 10 August 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
The Seasons of Our Lives
Rev. Michael Carter

The writer of the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time and place for everything under the sun. A time to live and a time to die. A time to love and a time to hate. A time to harvest what we have planted, or said another way, at time to reap what we have sown. We are told that there is indeed a “season,” for everything. What exactly does this mean? Are we even really aware of the season of changes and times of transformation in our lives? How do we cope and recognize when these seasons come and go? When do we hold on and when do we let go. Let’s explore.

Sunday, 3 August 2014, 11 a.m. New Member Sunday
Work
John Snodgrass

Modern times press us to re-evaluate our cultural notions about jobs and vocations. Are we backsliding from a ‘Golden Age’ of thirty-year careers and retirement? How long did this ‘Golden Age’ of the American workforce exist, and what did people do before it? What did ‘Success’ and ‘Satisfaction’ mean in the distant past, and what might these concepts look like in the future?

John Snodgrass teaches World Religions at Brevard College and is the author of Genesis and the Rise of Civilization and Turning the Tables: Farming and Feeding in the Gospels. He lives in Hendersonville with his wife and two children.

Sunday, 27 July 2014, 11 a.m.
Places in the Heart
Shelly Frome

In a sense, today’s program is an extension of Joys and Concerns through poetry and music. It’s also an extension of Pana Columbus’ talk prompting all of us to “venture into the woods” in order to discover “what truly makes your heart sing.” The choir will take part along with other members of the congregation who will sing solos, duets and prompt the congregation to join in singing appropriate hymns.

Sunday, 20 July 2014. 11 a.m.ritola3
Yes, and . . . : Relationship as Improvisation
Rev. DiAnna Ritola

How do you improvise in your life? Can you let go of expectations and go with the flow? How can you begin to do this? Tina Fey’s memoir “Bossypants” contains an essay about the “rules” of improvisational comedy. These very same guidelines work when applied to relationships, and specifically intimate relationships between partners. We must learn to respond to each other from a place of true listening without pushing our own agenda. We get to learn how to play with each other and learn new things together if we want our relationships to evolve. Exploring new facets of our relationships with others begins with exploring these within ourselves. Let’s talk about some of these ideas and see where we can start improvising in our relationships with more intention.

Rev. DiAnna Ritola received her ordination as an Interfaith Minister from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies. Her ministry centers on spiritual counseling for intimate relationships, and she is a professional speaker on the integration of spirituality and sexuality. She also leads workshops on such topics as Sexual Conversation, Healthy Interdependence, and Improving for Intimacy. She has been a member of the UU Congregation of Asheville for 13 years and is now enjoying the joyfully busy teen years with her daughters.

Sunday, 13 July 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
A Matter of Faith
Rev. Michael Carter

I have heard that some UUs are uncomfortable with the word “faith.” No doubt some of this discomfort stems from the wounds of traditional Christianity as well as in some ways “faith” carrying the baggage of somehow being an “unscientific,” concept. But the question remains. Are UUs a people of faith. No doubt some would answer yes, and some would not. If we are a people of faith, does that faith sustain us in times of crisis. This Sermon will explore these concepts. See you at church!

Sunday, 6 July 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
SanKofa
Rev. Michael Carter

SanKofa means revisiting the past so that we one can move forward. This Sunday marks the 10 year anniversary of the purchase of our building. We will have several of our “elders,” or “founding members,” speak on what it was like to finally purchase the building we now gather in and the lessons learned from that time. In this way, we will acknowledge the gifts and dedication that these members contributed to what and who we are as a growing and vibrant congregation, and to take those lessons learned and gifts given to continue to build a bright tomorrow for each other, our congregation, and our community. See you at church!

Sunday, 29 June 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
A Book of Revelation
Rev. Michael Carter

For some, the Bible is the literal word of God. For others it is the cause of much pain and conflict. Is there a middle ground? For many the Bible is The Book of Revelation. For some, it is one of many sources of revelation and inspiration. In other words, it is A Book of Revelation. Join us as we explore our UU denomination’s unique relationship with the most popular book in Western Culture—The Bible.

Sunday, 22 June 2014, 11 a.m. New Member Sundaymichaelcarter2013hlg
The Living Church
Rev. Michael Carter

Today is our New Member Sunday. It is an exciting time in our church history as we are closing in on having 100 members. As of now that number stands at 97 new members total. We will also welcome Linda Bair, who will be presenting our Chalice Lighter’s check of $27,000 to our congregation. It will be an uplifting and inspiring service. Be there!

Sunday, 15 June 2014, 11 a.m.
“Never rake uphill or against the wind.”
Dr. Jim Carillon

Early on my father taught me important life lessons that I remember distinctly to this day. I would say I owe much of my professional and personal success to him. Sometimes the lessons were sports aphorisms or simple landscaping tips that I have discovered in the years since that they often provide more than one meaning. On this Father’s Day Sunday, lets share together some key life lessons that our fathers uniquely provided us and ask ourselves as fathers what key lessons we hope to pass on to our children.
Dr. Jim Carillon is a founding member of our church, chair of our Congregational Care Committee, RE helper and helps cut the church lawn. He has served as UUCSV treasurer, pledge chair, board member and president. Jim had a varied and successful professional career and has failed retirement at least twice so far. He and his wife Aline have two adult children with whom he still hopes to have modest influence occasionally.

Sunday, 8 June 2014. 11 a.m.animals
Blessing of the Animals Service
The Pavilion at Lake Tomahawk
Rev. Michael Carter

Everyone is invited to an Inter-generational Sunday service at the pavilion at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain. Rev. Michael Carter, an ordained Interfaith minister with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley, will conduct a ‘Blessing of the Animals’ Service. He will be acknowledging the important role pets play in many of our lives. He will individually bless your pet.

  1. If you will be uncomfortable sitting without back support at a picnic table, please, bring your own lawn chair.
  2. Bring your pet! Live pets are welcome, or a photo of your pet, or your favorite stuffed animal. All pets must be under the supervision of an adult at all times.
  3. If you bring a dog, it must be on a leash or in it’s kennel. Think about how your dog behaves around other dogs (for instance, at the dog park). If your dog is likely to be relaxed in the presence of other dogs, your dog is a good candidate for attending the animal blessing service.
  4. Every being’s safety is our primary concern. In the presence of children and animals we are prepared for the occasional disruption. That is not a problem, so long as we are safe in community, we will all be able to enjoy this special Sunday service.
  5. Complimentary beverages and snacks will be available following the service. Animal treats have been graciously donated by Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique.

Sunday, 1 June 2014, 11 a.m.
Into the Woods
Pana Columbuspana_columbus

How do we embrace change with a spirit of adventure? How do our most painful experiences set us on course toward our sweetest joys? Guest speaker Pana Columbus will look at archetypal characters in fairy tales like the Trickster, the Old Woman, the Impossible Task and the Hero to show us the profound support that is waiting for us whenever we take the leap into the unknown.
Pana Columbus is an award-winning playwright as well as a private transformation coach. She has been a speaker at a TEDx conference at Acadia University, at churches, women’s retreats, fundraisers and board retreats. Pana is currently a monthly guest speaker at the Unity Church of Asheville.

Sunday, 25 May 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Lest We Forget
Rev. Michael Carter

In a culture that has brought the glorification of the military to unprecedented highs, at times it is difficult for me to really acknowledge this day. Yes, I do intellectually, but in my heart it can be very difficult. And yet, there are those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, whether they believed in the wars they fought in or not. This service is for those courageous men and women—Lest we forget. Join us.

Sunday, 18 May 2014, 11 a.m.Choir
End of Year RE Service
Patricia Fahey

The End of Year service will be an EXPLORATION IN WORLD RELIGIONS, and RE will take over the sanctuary with informative learning centers and some world music. This will be a Full Intergenerational Service, which is the culmination of our work this year.

 

Sunday, 11 May 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
What On Earth Is Going On?
Our minister: Rev. Michael Carter

This Mother’s Day I would like to talk about the way we are treating our planet, our Divine Mother. Many of our problems regarding how we treat our fragile ecosystem stem for our Judeo Christian beliefs! Perhaps it was good that Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden, as the Creation Myth goes, for they were most likely bound to destroy it . . . That really isn’t fair because, yes, there is a different perspective developing between the dominant monotheistic religious belief in this nation of ours regarding being stewards of the earth. But is it too late to reverse the damage already done? Human-caused climate change, underground missile testing, oil spills, destroying our rain-forest, the very lungs of the planet . . . the list goes on and on. Is this any way to treat our Mother? What on Earth Is Going On?
See you at church . . .

Sunday, 4 May 2014, 11 a.m.
Bones and Stones
John Snodgrass

We live in a time of rapid change and technological advancement – but have our toys and tools brought us closer to discovering the meaning of life? We have unprecedented access to information – but what will we use it for? How can we learn to be human beings? And if a talking Tyrannosaurus Rex showed up, what would it say to us?
John Snodgrass teaches World Religions at Brevard College and is the author of Genesis and the Rise of Civilization and Turning the Tables: Farming and Feeding in the Gospels. He lives in Hendersonville with his wife and two children.

Sunday, 27 April 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Stand Against Racism Sunday
Rev. Michael Carter

Please join us on Sunday April 27th, 2014, as we celebrate what has been our month long Stand-Against-Racism event which will culminate in a service which will focus on lessons learned, self awareness, and where do we go from here? Our very own Monroe Gilmore and Roberta Madden will also weigh in the on this much needed discussion. Usually, many institutions will acknowledge this nationwide weekend “Stand,” with a day or two of acknowledgment, education, and consciousness raising events. This is well intentioned and much needed. That said, our congregation had decided to have events occurring once a week throughout the entire month of April, where we too will be educating ourselves and those in the community around issues of race and racism in our community and our society at large. Dr. Cornel West reminds us justice is what love looks like in public and tenderness is what love feels like in private.  See you on Sunday to continue this vital work of fellowship and activism for our congregation and community.

Sunday, 20 April 2014, 11 a.m.
Easter Sunday
Tim Perry

In my last sermon (which I’ll briefly recap) we pondered several different models or paradigms by which a congregation might understand itself and how it should function. Each of them had some merit, but also some short-comings, so I suggested another from my Christian background – an embassy of a “kingdom” that is yet to come, but in some sense already present. Much of the world is celebrating today the resurrection from the dead of a man whom they believe was also God, who died for our sins and then rose victoriously from the grave. Modern liberals find that narrative less than believable for many different reasons, but the theme of resurrection is certainly a fascinating one. And nobody can deny that in many ways the world, the nation, society in general, and possibly even our own congregation and we as individuals, desperately need a resurrection. If you’re wondering how these two seemingly disconnected ideas will merge into a single sermon, so am I, but I have a hunch that they might.

Tim Perry is a former fundamentalist, a former Catholic, a minister for most of his life, “A priest forever after the order of Melchizedek,” according to his ordination, and these days a hopeful agnostic who doesn’t believe much of anything he believed ten years ago, yet somehow finds a reason to get out of bed, and can be frequently seen lurking around these parts.

Sunday, 13 April 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
The Game Of Life: Play Ball!
Rev. Michael Carter

It’s that time of year again when “The Boys of Summer,” take the field for another 162 game season. I grew up loving the game of baseball but as I got older ( notice I did not say, more mature) I somehow lost enthusiasm for the sport. And then my dad died and I am beginning to renew my interest in the game again and I am reminded of how his life mirrored for me how the game of baseball is much like the game of life. See you at church . . .

Sunday, 6 April 2014, 11 a.m.
You Are So Beautiful
Rev. Chris Andrews

The Rev. Chris Andrews hopes to help our congregation appreciate the gift Unitarian Universalists are to our community. The idea arose from a moment with his granddaughter, when he asked her, “Chloe, do you know how beautiful you are?” She responded, “I do, Granddad, when you tell me I am.” So Chris will tell our congregation how beautiful we are.
The Rev. Chris Andrews, a lifelong resident of Louisiana, always has a home in Little Switzerland. Formerly a minister in the United Methodist Church for 42 years, he served at 1st UMC in Baton Rouge for many of those years. Chris now leads Jubilee Pioneers, an eclectic group of folks in Baton Rouge seeking ways to practice “good religion.” He is not a Christian, but instead calls himself a “follower of Jesus.”

Sunday, 30 March 2014, 11 a.m.
‘Come Play a Game with Me’
Rev. Judith Long

One of the greatest gifts we have is imagination. Imagination is essential to our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, as well as the health and progress of society. So too is play. But how often do we as adults fully engage in our imagination? And how often do we take time out to play? I invite you to join me this morning as we engage our imaginations and child-spirit.

Sunday, 23 March 2014, 11 a.m.bballard
Whose Resurrection is it Anyway?
H. Byron Ballard

Spring is springing and we’ve celebrated Fat Tuesday and eaten our fill of pancakes. Throughout the world’s cultures there are many dying and resurrecting deities whose life cycles are mirrors of the natural world.
As we approach the season of rebirth, join Byron Ballard for a lively tie-in to this season of possibility. The choir will help celebrate this time of year, sharing songs about the coming of spring. We’ll finish with a circle of dirt and seed planting featuring the UUCSV congregation. The congregation is invited to bring “signs of spring” (plastic eggs, bunnies, daffodils etc) to add to the festive central altar.
H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference and other gatherings. Her writings have appeared in print

Sunday, 16 March 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Children Are People Too
Rev. Michael Carter

Although this is a Intergenerational Service for the beginning of the service, the topic is about how we educate and care for our children. Do we really listen to what they have to say? Do they really listen to us as adults and observe how we live? We will explore this theme not only from a societal perspective, but as Unitarian Universalist, as UU religious educators, and as just plain old human beings trying to prepare our children for the future; wonderfully, bright and awesome future. See you at Church!

Sunday, 9 March 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Money Matters
Rev. Michael Carter

This Sunday, March 9th, is the kick off point for our Canvass efforts. We are embarking on our 5 year plan and this plan will require of each one of us, our time, our talents, and our treasure. With so many different attitudes and beliefs about what money is and how it works, its time we had a discussion about the topic of money and spirituality, and why we need it to grow so as to create what Dr. King called, “The Beloved Community.”

Sunday, 2 March 2014, 11 a.m.
HeartSpeak: Listening & Speaking from the Heart
Cathy Holt

Most of us would like more connection and less conflict with family and coworkers. But it’s easy to get triggered by a comment and react in a way we regret later. Learn how to respond to a difficult comment with empathy to yourself and the other person. We can create the quality of connection that allows everyone’s needs to be met. Learn a basic practice for reducing stress through “Heart Coherence,” in which our hearts can inform our minds while balancing the energy of the whole body.
Cathy Holt studied NonViolent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg. She has been teaching “HeartSpeak” and Communication for Connection for over four years. She is author of HeartSpeak: Listening & Speaking from the Heart and The Circle of Healing. She is also a biofeedback therapist and works with guided imagery for sleep induction as well as preparation for surgery.

Sunday, 23 February 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Burn Baby Burn
Rev. Michael Carter

You have heard me say that we as Unitarian Universalists have our martyrs as well. This morning we will learn about the life and death of one Michael Servetus. Servetus gave his life in the search of truth and the freedom to express that truth! In 1553 Servetus was burned at the stake by orders of John Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sunday, 16 February 2014, 11 a.m.
The Spirit of The Pioneer
Rev. Mark Morrison

Today’s sermon will focus on the insight and perspective of retired UU Minister, The Rev. Mark Morrison Reed. Rev. Reed is currently a professor at UU Seminary, Meadeville Lombard in Chicago. His first book, written in 1980, is entitled, Black Pioneers In a White Denomination. Rev. Reed’s insights, as well as other ministers of color in our UU denomination will be discussed. What does it mean to be a pioneer? Let’s see.

Sunday, 9 February 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
The Gift of Aging
Rev. Michael Carter

Well, no one escapes it and no one gets out of this world alive! In a culture like ours that still fantasizes about, worships, and is still seeking the Fountain of Youth, how do we say no to Madison Avenue and yes to life? Aging is necessary. Maturing is optional. It’s all a matter of perspective. Let’s explore the possibilities of witnessing our aging process as the gift it really is.

Sunday, 2 February 2014, 11 a.m.
We Interrupt This Program
Dr. Marc Mullinax

Marc Mullinax returns to UUCSV on February 2nd to address the necessary inter-relationship of Gratitude & Interruptions. “What!?” you say. We get interrupted many times per day. While these interruptions can be nuisances, what if they are occasions which are extraordinary and novel? Maybe each interruption provides one more reason to be thankful, to pause and to reflect on whether our “programmed lives” are worth taking off autopilot. If intentional gratitude builds character and if interruptions are occasions for gratitude, this throws a whole new light on that annoying co-worker, the flat tire, and the power outage. He’ll challenge us with developing a life style of intentional, even holy interruptions.

Sunday, 26 January 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Tomorrow’s God Today
Rev. Michael Carter

As we enter the 14th year of the 21st century, is our culture really ready to expand not only the language, but the idea of the word God? I suggest that not only are we ready to, but we need to for the very survival of the species. Is there another word or concept that we can all agree on and remain in dialogue with each other as we attempt to describe our experience of the mysterium tremendem (The term coined by Rudolph Otto–The mystery that repels; the holy; the numinous?) It’s worth a shot!

Sunday, 19 January 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Martin and Malcolm
Rev. Michael Carter

To celebrate the MLK, Jr. Holiday, I would like to compare and contrast one of our most celebrated Human Rights Activist, and one of our most misunderstood. Often portrayed as being polar opposites, I submit to you that Martin and Malcolm were two sides of the same coin. Towards the end of their individual lives, both were moving a bit close to each other in perspective of what it meant to be African American in America. King is quoted as saying that in fighting so hard for integration of African Americans into American Society that he sometimes wondered if we as a people were integrating into a burning house. At one time Malcolm would have agreed!

Sunday, 12 January 2014, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Don’t Begrudge Me!
Rev. Michael Carter

Happy New Year One and All! This is a very different sermon topic for me as I am not one to make resolutions to begin a new year. I just do not believe in them realizing that for some, promises were made to be broken. That said I do want to say that although we will be 12 days into the New Year when I am in the pulpit, the subject of grudges is one that may be appropriate. I want to discuss how we can really open ourselves to the good that life has to offer by letting of the excess baggage of holding grudges as we celebrate 14 years into the 21st century. See you at church!

Sunday, 5 January 2014, 11 a.m.timperrysm
What the Bleep Are We?
Tim Perry

We meet at 11:00 AM on Sunday morning for a service, during which we sing hymns and often hear a sermon. Our building has what some would call a steeple. We toss around words like “minister,” “spiritual,” and “congregation,” and once in a while someone even slips and says the “G” word, and yet it’s obvious to anyone who sticks around for ten minutes that we’re not a traditional “church,” by any means. So what are we? A social club? A political organization? A business? An entertainment venue? A fraternal organization? Or is there perhaps another model that we might aspire to embrace for our community? And might it possibly even come from (Gasp!) our CHRISTIAN ROOTS? (Imagine those words in a font that looks like gnarled tree branches or dripping blood!) And if so, can such a model still have any relevance for us? Well, let’s see . . .

Sunday, 29 December 2013, 11 a.m.
This I Resolve: A New Year Transition
Linda Tatsapaugh

Although the calendar year that we follow, and thus the date of the “new year”, is somewhat random, we embrace it as a tool to help us with our own transitions. In this interactive service, we will hear stories of transition and resolution as we bring this year to a close and prepare for the new one. Come prepared to share your own closures and goals, while we take a contemplative moment in a noisy holiday season.
Linda Tatsapaugh was a religion major many years ago, and is a continuing student of religion and spirituality. Over more than 20 years helping young people with special challenges learn to master their world, she has found that everyone has gifts to share and goals to work toward, and when we do these in community, we can accomplish much more.

Sunday, 22 December 2013, 11 a.m.michaelcarter2013hlg
Musical Christmas Celebration
Rev. Michael Carter

Come join us for our Musical Christmas Celebration on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. There will also be a slightly different interpretation the birth of Jesus that may be interesting for believers and non-believers alike. Child care is provided. See you there!

Sunday, 15 December 2013, 11 a.m.bballard2013lg
Leaving the Wild Hunt
Byron Ballard

Nature mirrors for us the way to approach the winter months–rest, recuperation, reunion with family and friends after the long and busy months of the growing season. And yet, the dominant culture in this country has taken the winter holidays over and for many these festive times of reconnection have become a battleground of com-modification. The lore of Old Europe gives us some sterling examples of a different way to approach these times. Join Byron Ballard from Mother Grove Temple to explore the meaning and implications of the Wild Hunt and how it fits into our modern culture.

H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference and other gatherings.

Sunday, 8 December 2013, 11 a.m.
The Gift of Patience
Rev. Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgMany of us are familiar with the upcoming season of Advent and its emphasis on anticipation and expectation. Yet the flip side of this coin is that one must somehow learn to live a life of patience in order to really be present for whatever that anticipated moment presents to us. Patience is indeed a virtue, and a sometimes difficult one at that. Without it we are like a rodent on a treadmill, running and running and getting nowhere. Yet with just the right amount, exercised at the right time, we can live a life of serenity and acceptance. Is it worth the work that we have to put in to develop the gift of patience? I think so. Lets explore what patience can bring to us in our day to day relationships with each other, our planet, and our lives!

 

Sunday, 1 December 2013, 11 a.m.
What’s With The Zombies?
Michael Carter

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a zombie apocalypse happening in our culture. Not that zombie’s are new. They have been around since 1935 (Ouanga) and have appeared from time to time in the horror film genre. But lately there has been a tsunami of zombies showing up in theaters and on our home screens (which are practically as large as theaters). From 1991 through 2011, there were close to 900 zombie movies made. Not quite one a week but close enough to ask the question, “What’s With The Zombies?” On the Sunday after Thanksgiving (on the eve of Cyber Monday when Americans imitate the “undead” at online retailers across the country) we will be asking why we find ourselves drawn again and again to the undead. Zombies may be less than a century old in terms of their appearance on the big screen but our attraction to them goes back millennia.

Michael Carter (not our regular Michael Carter, but rather that other Michael Carter) is a graduate of the Emory University Chandler School of Theology. He served in the United Methodist Church for eight years working in parishes in Georgia and Kentucky, as well as serving on the staff of one of the oldest statewide peace organizations in the United States. He spent many years in the corporate world and now is a starving entrepreneur living near Brevard.

Sunday, 24 November 2013, 11 a.m.
Thanksgiving Service Celebration
Rev. Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgCome join us for our fully inter-generational Thanksgiving service! This will be the perfect time to kick off our food drive for the Swannanoa Christian Ministries, as well as our “Guest at Your Table” contributions from our youth and adults as well, at the same time giving thanks for the many blessings we all share with each other, our community, and the world at large. It is so much that we say we are thankful for our blessings, but what we do with them that really matters! See you at church . . .

 

Sunday, 17 November 2013, 11 a.m.
That Left Turn at Albuquerque
Rev. DiAnna Ritola

ritola3Bugs Bunny, that “wascally wabbit” seemed to have a difficult time with directions. He always complained, after consulting his map, that he “should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque”. Yet, he seemed to make the best of whatever place he found himself. We all have maps of our lives. Some are internal: milestones we hope to achieve by a certain age (some of these are unconscious, too). Some are imposed by others. Still others are maps we create out of our own hopes and dreams. And, yet, life often invites (or forces) us onto a path that wasn’t on our map. How do we deal with this loss of control and what can we do while we use our new-fangled GPS and “recalculate” our journey? The way we handle these unforseen shifts in direction can determine how quickly we find our way back to the road.

Rev. DiAnna Ritola received her ordination as an Interfaith Minister from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies. Her ministry centers on spiritual counseling for intimate relationships, and she is a professional speaker on the integration of spirituality and sexuality. She has lived in cities large and small, explored her inner Earth Mother in rural Vermont where her two children were born, and moved to Asheville in 2001. She has been a member of the UU Congregation of Asheville for 12 years and is now enjoying the joyfully busy teen years with her daughters. She enjoys cooking and eating, yoga and crossword puzzles, and heartfelt conversation. Having never been an athlete and just to prove she could, DiAnna trained for and ran both a ½ marathon and a full marathon in the spring of 2012, and is looking forward to another ½ marathon in the late fall.

Sunday, 10 November 2013, 11 a.m.
Don’t You Have Any Manners?
Rev. Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgAlthough this sermon will be presented a few weeks before Thanksgiving, I wanted us to think about the proper etiquette for living our lives here on planet Earth. What are the appropriate manners, “we bring to the table,” when dealing with each other and the planet? Even Ray Charles would see that we have so much to be thankful for. One thing I have realized since moving here from New York is that Southerners, “appreciate” things. Well, how does such appreciation show up in our day to day existence? I have some suggestions.

A modern day expert on etiquette, Emily Post, offers us a view of manners beyond the dining room table with this: “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners no matter what fork you use.” See you on Sunday!

Sunday, 3 November 2013, 11 a.m.
Universalist Evangelism
Rev. Judith Long

We don’t often think of ourselves as evangelists; for many, the very concept runs counter to our way of being in the world. However, our Universalist heritage has a long history of evangelists. In the late 1800s, Universalist “circuit riding” was a common practice. What might we learn from this dimension of our history which we can take into today’s world?

Sunday, 27 October 2013, 11 a.m.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Rev. Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgThis Sunday’s talk is about the forgotten art of listening. Nothing can be as painful as the thought that the people close to us are not listening to what we have to say. Listening is so basic that we take it for granted, but unfortunately, most of us think we are better listeners than we really are. Being a good listener also ties into our First (affirming and promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person) and Seventh (respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part) UU Principles.
We have eyes and do not see, and we have ears and do not hear. If listening strengthens our relationships by allowing us to connect with one another, and I believe it truly does, it also fortifies our sense of self. A good listener helps us to clarify what we think and feel, assisting us in the process of becoming better listeners ourselves. Thus, our lives are co-authored in dialogue. As a wise rabbi once said over twenty centuries ago: He or she who has an ear, let them hear!
See you on Sunday. Child care is provided.

Sunday, 20 October 2013, 11 a.m.
Spheres
John Snodgrass

Science and Religion: have they always been enemies? We’ll be peering into the past to explore the childhood friendship and adolescent breakup of these heavyweight contenders.
John Snodgrass teaches World Religions at Brevard College. He is the author of Genesis and the Rise of Civilization and Turning the Tables: Farming and Feeding in the Gospels. He lives with his wife and two children in Hendersonville.

Sunday, 13 October 2013, 11 a.m.
Goodbye Columbus
Rev. Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgThis sermon will explore the so called, “discovery of America,” by Christopher Columbus, the political vision of our, “Founding Fathers,” and the incredible diversity of this great nation of ours. The democratic experiment may not yet be over. We have come along way since 1492, and yet we still have an even longer way to go. I believe we can get there only by embracing the notion of Unity in Diversity.
E Pluribus Unum!

 

Sunday, 6 October 2013, 11 a.m.
What’s On Your Rear End?
David Carr

“Since moving to Asheville over four years ago, I’ve noticed more cars with bumper stickers than anyplace that I have lived or visited. Sometimes pithy, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, always brief! What would (or does) your bumper sticker say? But before you answer, let me ask you two very powerful questions . . .”

Dave Carr, a self-described facili-edu-tainer, currently works as an HR consultant and trainer with the city of Asheville. His early career was partnering with his father in owning and running a successful distribution business in Ohio. After discovering his passion was really focused in the training field, Dave has gone on to specialize in the design and delivery of leadership development programs that are customized and experiential. He has worked with a large number of Fortune 500 companies, small and family-owned businesses, government agencies, universities and non-for profit organizations.

Sunday, 29 September 2013, 11 a.m.
Beyond Belief
Rev. James McKinley

How do you describe your religious self? How important is that descriptor to how you live your life? Jim understands religion not to be a set of particular beliefs but an orientation for living. As UU’s we share a common orientation to living that is much larger than our individual experiences. Let’s explore where we are and what we hope to become together.

Jim McKinley is in his 16th year as minister of the UU Fellowship in Hendersonville, NC. Ministry is his second career, following work in conservation biology and land stewardship with the Nature Conservancy. Jim has two master’s degrees, the first from the University of Utah in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the second from the Harvard Divinity School. Jim enjoys paddle sports, has just sent his daughter off to college and is learning how to play the guitar.

Sunday, 22 September 2013, 11 a.m.
UUCSV Intergenerational Service
Becky Stone

Come join us for another UUCSV Intergenerational Service which promises to be a wonderful learning and entertaining experience. Storyteller Becky Stone will be with us on Sunday, September 22nd. Becky Stone became a storyteller after moving South from Philadelphia, PA, 28 years ago. In fact, it was 28 years ago that she first heard a formal storyteller. Among her numerous credits, Becky has performed for The Southern Appalachian Regional Theater, The Haywood Arts Regional Theater, as well as the LEAF Festival and Belle Chere. We are indeed blessed and privileged to have her with us. So join us on Sunday the 22nd for a service that will touch the young, the seasoned and the mature, and the young at heart! See you there!

Sunday, 15 September 2013, 11 a.m.
Creating Heaven on Earth
Pana Columbus

How do you maintain a position of optimism and empowerment when confronting the biggest challenges of creating a peaceful and sustainable planet? Come hear mythological, historical and modern-day stories that will rejuvenate your commitment to realizing your dreams, as you recognize the part they play in bringing heaven to earth.
Pana Columbus is an award-winning and critically acclaimed playwright as well as a private transformation coach. She has been a speaker at a TEDx conference at Acadia University, at churches, women’s retreats, fundraisers and board retreats. She has been interviewed on WDIY and WEBE Radio and for the book, “Those Who Walk With Fire”. Her own book, “She Wore Blue Invoking the Water” is available in paperback. www.panacolumbus.com

Sunday, 8 September 2013, 11 a.m.
Covenant and the Absence of Fear
Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgAs we begin our second year together, I would like us to begin to think of how we can be in right relationship with one another individually and as a collective. Many challenges are to be faced in the year ahead, exciting times no doubt, but challenging as well. As we move forward, which god will we serve: the god of fear (fear of change and risk) or the god of love (embracing change and risk taking, and a commitment to self awareness and transformation). If the old bromide is correct that freedom is just another way of saying one has nothing left to lose, then to be in covenant is another way of relating to each other with the absence of fear! Let’s talk about it…See you on the 8th. Also note that Sunday, September 8th is our Water Communion Sunday.

 

Sunday, 1 September 2013, 11 a.m.
Work: Icon or Idol?
Rev. Chris Andrews

Just in time for Labor Day, we will consider the meaning of work. How do we find balance between work and rest, fulfillment and salary? What is good work?
The Rev. Chris Andrews is a lifelong resident of Louisiana except for stints in graduate school in Missouri and a work assignment in England. Formerly a minister in the United Methodist Church for 42 years, he now leads Jubilee Pioneers, an eclectic group of folks in Baton Rouge seeking ways to practice “good religion.” He is not a Christian, but instead calls himself a “follower of Jesus.” He and his wife love North Carolina and have a cabin just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sunday, 25 August 2013, 11 a.m.
What’s In A Name?
Rev. Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgJust what is so troubling to us as Unitarian Universalist about the word “God”? No, this question is not meant to bait you in anyway. I too was once filled with anger and confusion whenever I heard the word, but I was later to discover that this was more about my own personal theological journey and pain than by the word itself. This sermon may not be for the faint of heart, but if you are willing, let’s explore for the second time (my first sermon on the topic was “The G Word” a little over a year ago, before you called me as your minister) the human quest to make sense of our existence here on planet earth, and to discover what some of us may mean as Unitarian Universalist when we use the word God. Child care is provided!

 

Sunday, 18 August 2013, 11 a.m.
Cathedrals and Crop Circles: An Interdependent Web
Rev. Dr. Calen Rayne

What makes a particular site “sacred.” We will explore why there are places on our planet considered sacred, whether a centuries old cathedral or an overnight crop circle, and why people of all religious and spiritual backgrounds are drawn to them. Might there be an interdependent web of spiritual energy?
Calen is a Community Minister in Asheville, has an MFA from Naropa University, and a DMin from Wisdom University. He is currently the Director of DMin program for Community Ministry at Wisdom School of Graduate Studies, Ubiquity University, and serves as President of Healing and Expressive Arts chapter of UU Society for Community Ministries.

Sunday, 11 August 2013, 11 a.m.
Why?
Rev. Michael Carter

michaelcarter2013hlgThe German Philosopher Frederick Nietzsche was once quoted as saying that if one could find out the “why” of life, they could endure any, “how.” We as Unitarian Universalist are a rare breed. We love to question. Why? I don’t know. But let’s explore how living the questions of life can enable us to become more loving, more fulfilled, more forgiving, more authentic human beings. Why else would you want to attend this service? I don’t know. That you will have to answer on your own (smile). Child Care is provided…See you there!

 

Sunday, 4 August 2013, 11 a.m.
A New Mythology
Tim Perry

It seems that almost nothing else has the power of religion to inspire people (for good or ill) to commit themselves to a timperrysmlarger cause. If my hunch is right, what the world needs most is a new religion: one that has the wisdom to learn from the others and not repeat their mistakes; one not based on some long-dead individual’s supposed encounter with the Divine, but instead, rooted in the human experience we all share. That religion will need a mythology. How else will we instruct our children before they achieve the complexity of thought required to grasp an entire philosophical/religious construct? But where would we find a mythology not easily dismissed by rational adults as a mere fairy tale? Again, I believe it must come from our human experience. I’d like to explore one possibility with you today, along with its moral and societal implications.
Tim’s original religion and first love was free thought – as it was for all of us. Then he encountered and became infatuated with Christianity, and committed his life to her. After a 25 year marriage to that faith, including several ordinations, he realized he’d never quite gotten over his first love. He secretly returned to her and found her patiently waiting for him to tire of his domineering bride. He began to question what his well-meaning spiritual leaders were offering him, and he found it wanting. The marriage ended amicably (so far), and today Tim considers himself a hopeful agnostic and a heathen priest.

Sunday, 28 July 2013, 11 a.m.
One Nation Under God?
Dr. David Kaylor

“Under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance during the cold war to distinguish the “godly nation” from godless communism. The move was part of a long tradition of what is now often called “American exceptionalism.” It reflects the notion that the United States is in some way a chosen nation, that it was founded on Christian principles, that it is the most righteous nation, that it is not subject to the same standards of judgment as other nations, that its wars and other expressions of power are for the spreading of democracy and human rights and well-being. This self-righteous attitude has led and still leads to disastrous consequences: needless wars, secret or overt interventions and overthrows of governments, etc. We will look at ways a critical application of the principles derived from Christian faith could lead to a more just and peaceful world.

Dr. David Kaylor taught Religion and Humanities at Davidson College from 1964 to 2000. He has been active in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a teacher and speaker in local churches, supply preacher, and participant in mission trips. His interests in retirement include travel, woodturning, and spending time with family. He and his wife, Dorothy (Dot), have five children and 8 grandchildren. They have recently moved to Black Mountain.

Sunday, 21 July 2013, 11 a.m.
On the Field of Sacred Duty–The Bhagavad Gita Today
Stephen Wilkerson

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the world’s great philosophical and religious texts. It was composed approximately two thousand years ago, roughly the same time as the New Testament scriptures. And, like the New Testament, it has a variety of contemporary interpretations and applications. This presentation will focus on important and relevant similarities between the Bhagavad Gita and the psychology of the unconscious as understood by C. G. Jung and suggest how they may provide some practical guide to our everyday life.

Stephen Wilkerson was born in Shanghai, the son of medical missionaries to China, and grew up in Taiwan. He has a Ph.D. in history from Duke University, but has spent most of his professional career as a physician in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army. Most recently, he completed a Ph.D. in mythology writing on the role of alchemy in Goethe’s Faust. He and his wife, Rose, live in Black Mountain.

Site Design by MaxWebGear.com