Upcoming Sundays (virtual services)

Sunday April 11, 2021
"Earth Day Spirituality from Taoism"
Marc Mullinax

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music: Spence Foscue & Family

 

We are celebrating Earth Day for the 51st time this year, on April 22. How are we doing? We can point to progress, yes! And…we can point to many places needing improvement. Today, Marc Mullinax will supply us with a different philosophy to help us understand the necessity of Earth Day. Last month he published his new translation of Tao Te Ching: Power for the Peaceful. Taoism has much to teach us about this Earth and Universe, out of which we have grown, like apples out of an apple tree, and not placed here by some deity. How do we live in flow, peace, and harmony with the Earth. Please join us!

Marc Mullinax has spent the last two years translating Tao De Ching from Chinese. Does a 2,500 year old text written in China have anything to say to today’s world and its ways? You bet!

Marc Mullinax is Professor of Religion and Chair of the faculty at Mars Hill University. He is a frequent guest speaker at this and other Unitarian Universalist congregations in the area. It is in these faith communities that Marc is able to s-t-r-e-t-c-h his faith and spiritual muscles, and bring insights from his own Christian practice, but also from compassion practices around the world.

Danu Macon Foscue (derived from his given name Daniel Macon) and Chelsea Spitzer-Morton met in a song circle a few years back and found that they were soul mates. They sometimes include the Old Man in their musical forays. They won't be performing together this time, as the pandemic finds us sheltering in different places but we are there in spirit! libero, sollicitudin aliquam, dapibus eu, faucibus eget, libero.

Sunday April 18, 2021
"The Beloved Community"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

The term “Beloved Community” was coined by the early twentieth-century American philosopher Josiah Royce (1855-1916). But most of us learned it not from Royce but from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who often spoke of the “Beloved Community” as his ultimate goal.

As an early example, after the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in speaking about the larger movement toward which they were building, Dr. King said:

"The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends… It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men."

But notice as well what King is not saying. He is not saying what we are often accustomed to hearing in our highly competitive society: that the end goal is a decisive — or even crushing — victory over our opponents. For King, building Beloved Community requires the even harder work of reconciliation. Let's Explore!

Sunday April 25, 2021
"What Makes a Unitarian Universalist?"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Sue Stone, piano
Annelinde Metzner, choir director
UUCSV Choir performs

 

By exploring the Greek tale of The Sphinx and the riddles within that story proposed to Oedipus, along with the UU commitment for learning to accept and to live with the mystery of existence, I will suggest to you what make a Unitarian Universalist -- maybe. I hope. We'll see.

 

Sunday May 9, 2021
"Stay Woke"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music

 

When the Buddha began his ministry, he traveled around India and began to teach. Shortly after his enlightenment experience, he encountered several people who recognized him to be an extraordinary individual. They asked him, “Are you a god?” “No,” he replied. “Are you a prophet or Holy Man?” “No,” he said. “Are you some sort of celestial being?” Again, the Buddha answered "No." "Well, sir, then what are you?" The Buddha answered, “ I am awake.”

In the context of today's advice on "staying woke" let's explore what it takes to really stay awake as we walk our path in this life. On this Mother's Day, we can perhaps give the gift of a life well lived.

 

Previous Sundays

Sunday April 4, 2021
"Songs of Hope"
The UUCSV Choir During the Pandemic

Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

Immediately at the onset of the pandemic of 2020, our choir director Annelinde Metzner jumped at the opportunity to expand her knowledge of mixing, editing and video. She continued choir rehearsals and monthly performances online, each singer recording themselves on their own smartphones. Now for Easter 2021, Annelinde and the UUCSV choir offer a review of their year of creativity featuring nine of their virtual songs and special seasonal readings introduced by choir members.

 

Sunday March 28, 2021
"When Elephants Weep"
Rev. Jeff Jones

Sue Stone, piano
Annelinde Metzner, choir director
UUCSV Choir performs

 

In his sermon, Rev. Jones will use the book "When Elephants Weep" as the starting point to explore the complex emotional lives of non-human animals. Most importantly, he will ask how we are to act in the absence of complete information, why most of us are challenged to consider the plight of factory-farmed animals, and how our Unitarian Universalist values inform us.

Rev. Jeff Jones has served as pastor at the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Marietta, Georgia, from 2010 to 2017. He left parish ministry in 2017 to become a UU Community Minister in Asheville, NC. He has taught nonviolent communication at UU congregations, and at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville. He is an Affiliated Community Minister with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville.

 

 

Sunday March 21, 2021
"The Moral Struggle"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

It is not always easy to be a human being. However, it is easy to forget this simple fact. It is even easier to forget this when engaging with our fellow human beings. This is not to suggest that we must allow people to run roughshod over us, to not have healthy boundaries. No, not at all. It is just a fact that we all are dealing with our own struggles, our own moral struggles while in this body, in this place, on this planet, at this particular time. I want to talk about this from various angles. To be human is to be frustrated. No, not all of the time. The teachings of the Buddha tells us that life is suffering. Another word for “suffering” can be the word “frustrating.” I want to use the works of the Greek Tragedian Aeschylus and the poet Shelly and the myth of the god Prometheus to shed light on the Moral Struggle of being human. Hope you can join us!

 

 

Sunday March 14, 2021
"Another Kind of Force"
Nancy Hastings Sehested


Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

Nancy Hastings Sehested is a pastor, teacher and writer. Currently she serves as a co-pastor of the Circle of Mercy Congregation in Asheville, NC. She is an ordained Baptist minister. She has pastored churches in Atlanta, Memphis and Asheville. She served as a state prison chaplain in NC for over a decade. She is a graduate of City College of New York and Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Pastor Hastings Sehested will be offering a few stories from her own experience as a state prison chaplain, hoping it will be a reminder of our common humanity and our on-going commitment as peacemakers toward the common good.

Sunday March 7, 2021
"Reclaiming The Sacred in Our Daily Lives"
Eric Bannan

 

Eric Bannan is a husband, father, songwriter, storyteller, Coast Guard rescue flight crew veteran, back country adventure racer and cancer survivor with a masters in computer science. He has been called to share his art to inspire, heal, motivate for positive change and build community.

We explore ways to maintain our spiritual lives in the absence of in person worship.

 

 

Sunday February 28, 2021
"Are you Serious?"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Sue Stone, piano
Annelinde Metzner, choir director
UUCSV Choir performs

 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not saviors.

I sincerely hope we are not expecting far too much of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris if we think they can fix all of the damage Donald Trump and the Republican Party have done to this democratic experiment. Presidents and vice presidents are flawed human beings and they cannot rewind history. They cannot single-handedly make us better people.

However, they can help us to take things like democracy, our social contract, health care, climate change, social justice, seriously again. Democracy is hard work and we have witnessed just how fragile it can be. Let's explore what it means to take this experiment called "democracy" seriously again.

 

Sunday February 21, 2021
"The 8th Principle"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

As you may recall I had preached a sermon on the 8th Principle. I had also mentioned last year that we would revisit the idea of the 8th Principle for our congregation. Some of you have already weighed in with your opinions and many have not. The plan is to bring this before the congregation before the end of this church year to see if we would like to adopt it. Please visit the UUA website and familiarize yourself with the history and creation of this document. After much thought I have come to the conclusion that it would be a great idea to adopt this principle, but again this is my opinion. It makes a clear statement about where we stand as a congregation.

The UUA is encouraging congregations to adopt an 8th UU principle. It reads:

“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

Thank you for doing this.

Sunday February 14, 2021
"Shake the Dust Off Your Feet"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music: Phil Fryberger, piano

 

I have been pondering this topic off and on for the last 4 years regarding how to deal with those folks who simply will not reach across the isle in any sense of the word to promote conversation and possible political action to make this a better nation to live in for ALL Americans. I have heard some folks in this congregation show much concern and even worry about what to do regarding these fellow Americans.
For myself, it is part of having healthy boundaries and staying healthy emotionally to say that sometimes one simply has to move on. To shake the dust off your feet and leave a blessing (if one is so inclined) as Jesus told his disciples to do when visiting various towns on their journeys and preaching the good news of the gospel. Those who refused to listen were left to their own resources. He told the disciples to just shake the dust off of their sandals and to move on. ( Matthew 10:14).

 

Sunday February 7, 2021
"Unity Of Purpose Is Within Our Reach"
Oralene Anderson Graves Simmons

Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

When Asheville first celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday in 1982, people came from many different walks of life, and Oralene Simmons was confirmed in her belief that “How different we all are, if we allow ourselves to be, and how alike we are!”

She writes, “We can see each other as equals, and as equal participants in a great cause, if only we work toward our goals with love. If we turn away divisiveness that comes toward us and repay it with love, as Dr. King told us we must; if we love our neighbors as ourselves, and seek achievements that don’t benefit us alone, but all of us; if we care for each other as we hope they would care for us, and act accordingly, then unity of purpose is within our reach.”

Dr. Oralene Anderson Graves Simmons, internationally recognized lifetime civil rights leader, is the award-winning visionary founder of Asheville’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Prayer Breakfast. She speaks and teaches widely, inspiring audiences locally, nationally, and globally, about her journey in civil rights along a path of non-violence in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Sunday January 31, 2021
"From India with Love"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

Einstein once commented about Gandhi, “Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked the earth.” Nelson Mandela was another such soul. History has a way of offering up genius, at times in the most desperate of situations, and the majesty of a soul on fire, of a soul force, a force of truth crashes the deteriorating foundations and rekindles flame of hope.

He was a human being, flawed as we all are. Yet he was saintly at the same time. His influence on not only his own nation, but on African Americans sparked a revolution of non-violent resistance and soul force. This morning we explore the life of Mohandas Gandhi.

 

Sunday January 24, 2021
"What We Believe"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Sue Stone, piano
UUCSV Choir performs

I wanted to begin the year with a very basic sermon about what UUs believe and to get back to basics in a manner of speaking. It's always good to revisit why we are here and what it is that we believe as UUs.

Among several other books, I’m reading another bio about my favorite philosopher William James. It’s entitled "William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism" by author Robert D. Richardson. Mr. Richardson has written wonderful biographies on Emerson and Thoreau. I commend his work to you.

In one chapter (number 26) the year is 1876, one of James’ friends says to him "if you attend a meeting with me, I will introduce you to the woman you ought to marry." James goes along and the meeting consisted of “ Unitarian ministers and liberal lay people formed to discuss the abolishing of all vestiges of supernaturalism in the Unitarian religion and finding ways to make the human religious experience more spiritual." (p. 168) Now, I am not going to get into what is supernatural and if that is wrong or right. But the later part of the statement rings true, at least from a Unitarian perspective. Making the human religious experience more spiritual. Universalist were not mentioned in this chapter. Let's explore.

 

Sunday January 14, 2021
"Yellow and Blue Make Green"
Friction Farm

 

If we can love the broad spectrum of nature, its primary and blended colors, why can't we appreciate that in each other? More than a half century after the Civil Rights Act was passed, Americans still don't know how to talk about color, equality, or the great lie about race. On the eve of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., maybe it's time we really try to learn how to talk to each other. This song-based service shares some insights from growing up green.

Modern-folk duo Friction Farm, is a husband and wife team of traveling troubadours. Aidan Quinn and Christine Stay, combine storytelling, social commentary and humor to create songs of everyday life, local heroes, and quirky observations. Their lyrically rich, harmony-driven songs earned them spots as Kerrville New Folk Finalists, Falcon Ridge Emerging Artists, and South Florida Folk Festival Songwriter winners. Friction Farm’s latest CD, “So Many Stars”, which reached #6 on the Folk Radio Chart, was inspired by travels across the country witnessing the collision of strong political polarity with personal kindness, the intersection of fragility and breathtaking beauty.

 

Sunday January 10, 2021
"What is True for You?"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music: Jewelsong

As UU’s, we affirm and covenant to promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This is our fourth principle. What does that really look like?

How do you recognize truth? How do you recognize truth in your own mind? Are there categories of truth? Are there pieces of truth that you use when it is convenient? Are there parts of the truth that you have not been able to accept?

Is there:
Real truth? Some truth? Big truth? Your truth? Their truth? World truth? Religious truth? Spiritual truth? Social truth? Economic truth? Part truth? Foreign truth?

Where’s the truth then?
Is “Fake News” the truth? Let's explore!

Sunday January 3, 2021

Tim Perry

Annelinde Metzner, piano

 

Recent events have left many of us feeling as if the rug has been pulled out from under our feet, emotionally, socially, philosophically, etc. Let's take a look at where we are, and where we might need to head from here, and see if either Hopeful Agnosticism or a curmudgeon with a sense of humor has any advice to offer along the way.

Tim comes to us from a very conservative Christian background (but not recently.) His traditional faith evaporated one day when he was beginning to admit to himself that it didn't really work for him the way it once had. After "wandering in the wilderness" for a while, spiritually, he found a home here with us. Today, he considers himself a Hopeful Agnostic, a Recovering Fundamentalist, and half a dozen other weird and mutually contradictory things.

 

Sunday December 27, 2020
"Dance in the Desert, Bring Your Tambourine"
Rev. Erin J. Walter

Annelinde Metzner, piano

The new year starts with renewed energy and purpose, even in a pandemic. Drawing upon scripture, spiritual practice, and original music, Unitarian Universalist Rev. Erin Walter will reflect on how to foster joy and gratitude in the midst of our ongoing struggles.

Rev. Erin J. Walter (she/her/hers) is a minister, activist, and musician based in Austin and winner of the 2017 Sermon Award from the UU Women’s Federation. A former YMCA director, Rev. Erin is the singer/songwriter for band Parker Woodland, whose music you’ll hear in this service. She serves as a board member for the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry and the Affiliated Community Minister of Wildflower (Unitarian Universalist) Church in Austin. You can find more about her music and ministry at ErinWalter.com.

 

Thursday December 24, 2020
"Christmas Eve; A Testament of Hope"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano

Come join us for our virtual Christmas Eve Service. We will begin at 5:00 p.m.. As usual the service is about an hour. There will be plenty of great music and a brief homily on what I'm calling "A Testament Of Hope." Looking forward to seeing you then. Please have a candle with you at home as we close with the traditional Christmas hymn, "Silent Night."

 

Sunday December 20, 2020
"A COVID Christmas/Holiday Season and a Message about Hope"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Sue Stone, piano
UUCSV Choir performs

After months of wearing masks, forgoing hugs and keeping six or more feet apart from others, some are complaining of COVID fatigue — and they may be the lucky ones. For people who have lost a family member or job to the disease, who are separated from frail relatives in poor health, or who must supervise the virtual schooling of several children while somehow simultaneously doing their own work, coronavirus is an acid that corrodes their lives.

"In the beginning, there was energy around making it work and facing the challenge, "There's kind of a depletion that comes from going on and on. The longevity of it is draining in and of itself, let alone the uncertainties in so many aspects of our world."

Despite all of this, there is hope, for after all, this is the season of Hope and Light. Let's explore. Don't despair. We're still in this fight!

 

Sunday December 13, 2020
"Hanukkah"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music: David Reid, voice, guitar and piano

Hanukkah is The Struggle for Liberation in the Face of Oppression.

One of the most prominent themes of Hanukkah is the ongoing struggle for liberation in the face of oppression. In the case of Hanukkah the oppression was complete, in that it attached to both religion and nationality. The Syrian-Greeks forbade Jews to practice their religion, declaring mere identification as a Jew to be a crime punishable by death. The question of a strong identity and the freedom to express it therefore became central to the holiday of Hanukkah. Let's explore this holiday and to realize the power of "light" in our world.

 

Sunday December 6, 2020
"Getting out of our heads; Listening to the wisdom of our bodies"
Diana McCall

Annelinde Metzner, Piano

Diana McCall will share practices based in yoga, mindfulness and somatic awareness to help ease the stress and anxiety of our times. She'll share insights on how to become an active listener of your body and the deep learning that is possible when we do.

Diana McCall has served as a community organizer and educator for over a decade in Western North Carolina. In her role as manager of the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden, she has facilitated partnerships with numerous agencies and institutions to educate her community on how to grow, access and prepare healthy food for themselves and their families. Her work as a consultant and facilitator supports community driven growth and development. Her techniques emphasize Asset Based Community Development and participatory engagement strategies, nurturing the seeds of strength and wisdom inherent within every group of people. Diana has been a practitioner of Kundalini Yoga for 20 years and a teacher for the past 10. She is the proud mother of Cyrus, Eden and True and powerful wife to Brett McCall.

 

Sunday November 29, 2020
"When Thank You is Enough"
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter

Sue Stone, Piano
Annelinde Metzner, Choir Director and Piano
UUCSV Choir performs

One day a friend commented and complimented me on the suit I was wearing and I responded that it was old. My friend immediately said to me "Why can't you take a compliment? I didn't ask how old the suit was, I just said you looked really good in it. All you needed to say was 'thank you.'" By not saying "Thank you" I was refusing the gift of the compliment. I was not only denying myself a gift but also denying the giver. No gifts are received when they are being judged. While the gift is still given, the judgement changes the nature of the gift by limiting its ability to be of service. A gift (or compliment) that one feels cannot be used is discarded. How many of our treasures have we discarded because we thought they could not be of use or that we did not deserve them? That simple statement by my friend awakened me to the fact that sometimes stealing is not only taking, but it is sometimes refusing to give. Just say thank you. Meister Eckart once said that if the only prayer we ever said was "thank you" that would be enough.

 

Sunday November 22, 2020
"The Lion's Whisker"
Becky Stone

Annelinde Metzner, Piano

Becky Stone, a native Philadelphian, moved to the mountains 40 years ago with her husband to start their family. With a background in theater, reading stories to their four children came quite easily. A librarian heard her reading to her children and asked Becky to volunteer to tell stories at Pack library. Becky said “yes”, and a storyteller was born! Becky has told at schools, libraries, universities, churches, festivals, and private events in the region for over 30 years. Becky, Janet Oliver, and the late Rocky Fulp worked together as Thrice-Told Storytellers, a group that specialized in African-American history and stories. She has appeared with Asheville Community Theater, SART, Asheville Contemporary Dance Theater, HART, Montford Players and in plays in Greenville, SC and Lexington, VA. Her storytelling skills have served her well as, since 2003, Becky has portrayed Pauli Murray, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Maya Angelo for Chautauquas in Asheville, Greenville, Spartanburg, Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio.