Upcoming Sunday Services - 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, October 1, 2023 - 11 a.m.
An Almost Chosen People
Rodger Payne, PhD

The recent rise of “Christian Nationalism” is the latest manifestation of a recurrent theme in the religious history of the United States. Beginning with the colonization and destruction of indigenous cultures, through the expansionist years of Manifest Destiny, to contemporary calls to “make America great again,” many Americans have expressed a belief that the United States has a divine calling to fulfill. We will briefly examine some historical examples of this idea, as well as consider the implications that arise from it.

Sunday, October 8, 2023 - 11 a.m.
The "V" Monologue
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Why we need them and why we want them. Use your imagination. 

Sunday, October 15, 2023 - 11 a.m.
Joys, Concerns & Sacred Time
Rev. Michael J S Carter

I’d like to talk a bit about time this morning. For me personally, I always think about time and the seasons of our lives (my life in particular), especially as the month of September and the autumn equinox approaches.  I love the fall, it is my favorite season.

As many of you are keenly aware, we speak of the concept of time when we come to the joys and concerns part of our service.

We speak of Chronos time (which refers to a moment, or an exact time, for instance a season, such as harvest time) and we speak of Kairos time (sacred or the opportune time). I want us to continue thinking and feeling about this idea.

Previous Sundays

Sunday, September 24, 2023 - 11 a.m.
Practical Ethics & the Sin of Pride
Andy Reed

Many conservative theologians (not just Christians) consider Pride to be the father of all sins. They view Lucifer’s challenge to god’s supremacy, and his subsequent eviction from heaven, as the origin of sinful behavior and its consequences. When we “woke” Unitarian Universalists apply our personal or faith-based ethics to do good in the world, even those of us who discard the concept of “sin” can taint what we do with pride . . . to the point that we might not anticipate some consequences of our activities that are not so good. Because Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 24, 2023, it seems like a good day for us to consider what we do within our own penumbra of pride . . . and, if necessary, atone for the sin.

Sunday, September 17, 2023 - 11 a.m.
Dwight Mullen, PhD

Humble or grand, home is where your heart belongs. When it is a place of shelter and love, there is no place like home. It is then, one of the sweetest words in any language. It suggests a nest where intimacy and belonging can foster identity and individuality. UUs congregations celebrate "Homecoming" during the month of September to welcome folks back after the summer. We will also have our Water Communion service that Sunday as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2023 - 11 a.m.
Reparations in Buncombe County/Asheville
Dwight Mullen, PhD

Dr. Dwight Mullen, retired professor from UNC Asheville, will discuss the goals, accomplishments, and timeline of the Asheville-Buncombe Community Reparations Commission. The Commission — approximately two dozen Black residents of Asheville and Buncombe County—focuses on both the historical injustices of discrimination (urban renewal, red-lining, private and public discrimination, etc.) as well as disparities and policies that, by design or inadvertently, continue to further disparities in job opportunities, education, income and wealth, and access to power.

Sunday, September 3, 2023 - 11 a.m.
Entering the Silence
Rev. Michael J S Carter

We now live in a culture that embraces continuous sound in the form of white noise, machinery, idle conversation, music and a variety of other forms of media. They can all have a detrimental effect on our mental health and our ability to connect with nature. Have you ever just taken a walk with your pet dog for instance or walked in the woods in silence alone without talking on your phone? Let's discuss as a gentle reminder what it means to enter the eloquence of silence.

Sunday, August 27, 2023 - 11 a.m.
Compassion for the Cries of the World
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Wherever we go, wherever we wake, we are challenged to hear the cries of the world very personally. The cries are unending and overwhelming, and our noble charge to hear them - to hold them and to keep them alive—is how we keep the life force, the eros energy that we need, kindled between us. As Black Elk was once quoted as saying, the reason to lament is that it helps us to realize our oneness with all things, and to know that all things are our relatives. Let's talk about how we can still keep our sanity and our compassion with our world in turmoil.

Sunday, August 20, 2023 - 11 a.m.
Seeking the Spiritual Teacher
Rev. Michael J S Carter

There have been times in my life when I needed to seek the listening ear. I needed to talk to a professional in order to get some insights into my life and how I was choosing to live it. I am an enthusiastic proponent of getting the wise counsel of a friend or a professional to gain some insight and wisdom. Let's excavate what this may look like when seeking a spiritual teacher. See you on Sunday!

Sunday, August 13, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Offering Compassion"
Rev. Claudia Jiminez

An invitation to explore our religious history and theological grounding as members of a denomination that advocates for reproductive justice. In particular, Rev. Jiménez will highlight the Clergy Consultation Service and UU involvement in their work before Roe. How can that history inform us today, post Roe?


Sunday, August 6, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Hello on Earth"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

If within the next 10 years, the next year, the next 30 minutes, the ravages of nuclear war are unleashed upon humanity – murdering billions of people, inflicting excruciating injuries upon countless others, sending civilization back to the Stone Age and destroying most of the rest of the earth, it won’t have happened without much warning.

The first warning was the worst. On Aug. 6, 1945, a United States Boeing B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima instantly killing over 70,000 – mostly civilian – children, women and men.

Three days later, on Aug. 9, 1945, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing at least 60,000 people – again mostly civilians.  A Nuclear midnight for civilization is upon us. The clock is winding down---it is later than we think.

Sunday, July 30, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Joy & Contentment"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Joy, it seems, mostly comes on its own. By that I mean that we cannot plan joy, yet it touches our lives. Joy gladdens our hearts; it eases the mind; it has the feeling of delight and happiness.

We may associate joy with the dramatically happy and intense moments in and of our lives: falling in love, the birth of a child, a reunion with a friend, the beautiful sunset. Yet joy can take us by surprise, born of the simplest of life experiences. Let's unpack this wonderful emotion and see just how we can feel it more deeply in our lives.

Sunday, July 23, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"The Choice"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

In the modern world, time is considered linear and spatial—you   waste it, run out of it, or equate it with money. We are supposed to be making “progress” towards some technological goal. Yet, this is just one way of conceiving time, of exploring its many dimensions. For instance, there is the time we call the dreamtime. Native peoples consider this as an even more valid or legitimate way of exploring time.

Aboriginal people don’t conceive of history, of progress and redemption, or decline and fall.

For them, the universe is a sacred continuum, an ongoing ceremony. These two very different visions of life and the world present us with a choice. Which choice will you make?

Sunday, July, 16, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Do We Really Live in a Cruel World?"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

From time to time, people will ask why a certain tragedy occurred, on either a personal or global scale. They wonder what we can or should be doing to resolve the world’s problems. It is in the nature of life that people we care for get ill or go through times of great difficulty. And it is natural that we feel empathy and are compelled to help in whatever way we can. Often, we wish for such things not to happen, but do we actually know what people truly need? With this in mind, the question becomes... Do we really live in a cruel world? Let's explore.

Sunday, July, 9, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Learning to Pray - A Thousand Ways to Kneel & Kiss the Ground"
Eric Bannan

Using personal narratives from people of different faiths we will explore what it means to pray on our own terms.

Eric Bannan is a vocal explorer, Storyteller, performing songwriter and worship leader based in Pittsboro, NC.  He has been called to share his art to inspire, heal, motivate for positive change and build community.

Sunday, July, 2, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Perseverance With Permission to Pause"
Lyn VanOver

The word “karma” comes from the Sanskrit, the sacred language of India. The oldest language in the world, it fell out of common usage around 600 BCE. It is now a liturgical language that is used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Originally it simply meant “doing” or “action,” but its usual meaning had to do with the law of cause and effect, though with a caveat. Karma means not only that certain causes have certain effects, but that a cause produces good and bad deeds.

Sunday, June 25, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
Rev. Michael J S Carter

The mystic Julian of Norwich, holding an acorn in her hand in the 14th century said, “In this is all there is.” A profound statement to be sure, for in every seed lies the components of all life the world has ever known from the beginning of time. One of the laws of our Universe is that we reap what we sow. 

If this is true, then what kind of world are we creating? In every seed is the gift of life to those seeking life, wanting life, and those denied the kind of life the seed has to offer. Let's talk a bit about seeds.

Sunday, June 18, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Universalism, God & Fatherhood"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

This Father’s Day, I would like to explore the influence of our Universalist theology on our contemporary notion of God and what it means for the holiday of Father’s Day and our spiritual maturity regarding God and Fatherhood.

Sunday, June 11, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Karma & the Power of Forgiveness"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

The word “karma” comes from the Sanskrit, the sacred language of India. The oldest language in the world, it fell out of common usage around 600 BCE. It is now a liturgical language that is used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Originally it simply meant “doing” or “action,” but its usual meaning had to do with the law of cause and effect, though with a caveat. Karma means not only that certain causes have certain effects, but that a cause produces good and bad deeds.

Sunday, June 4, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
"Building Community through Restorative Practices"
Cynthia Berryman-Fink, PhD

We have a communication problem in our country due to social isolation and divisiveness among people. Today we will examine the extent and effect of this problem as we seek to rebuild community and strengthen communication. We’ll look at the purpose and application of restorative practice, hear examples of how it can work, and consider ways to use this loving and spiritual practice in our lives.

Dr. Cindy Berryman-Fink taught at the University of Cincinnati for 31 years, has published numerous articles and books on communication, and has consulted for many organizations about improving communication practices. She and her husband Chuck retired to Asheville 14 years ago.

Sunday, May 28, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“The Courage to Change Course”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

It has been said that those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. A dying tree branch hits a friend in the head and lays open her scalp. When she recovers from the coma, she says someone was trying to tell her something. A loved one discovers a deadly tumor. An expensive ring is lost, or discovers that the internet stock that was guaranteed to make a fortune is worthless. You awake from a dream; you stumble and fall down and break a leg. Life is messy. What does it take for us to "get it?" What does it take for us to change?

There is a Zen saying: “One accident is worth a thousand meditations.”

Sunday, May 21, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Eastern Thoughts on Happiness for the Western Mind”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

The Western intellectual tradition suggests that in order to be happy, what we need to do most of all is to go out and subdue the world; secure resources, found businesses, run governments, gain fame and conquer nations.

By contrast, the Eastern tradition has for a long while told us something very different. In both its Buddhist and Hindu strands, it has insisted that contentment requires us to learn to conquer not the world but the instrument through which we view this world, namely our minds. Let's explore!

Sunday, May 14, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“A Mother's Day Vision of Healing"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

As you have heard me say, Mother’s Day is a difficult time to write a sermon for clergy. How many times can we talk about our mother s (love them or hate them?) So, this morning, I want to talk about the “mother of all
mothers” if you will, our Mother Earth.

Everyone by now knows that humanity is in crisis… politically, economically, spiritually and ecologically (or any way you want to look at it.) There are many people who see humanity as close to suicide and on its deathbed by way of our own technology and lack of maturity while using it. Many others see humanity as deserving of the wrath of an angry god or nature’s wrath in retribution for our “sins.” Let's explore a different vision for our Mother Earth---a vision of healing.

Sunday, May 7, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
Marc Mullinax

Through culture, philosophy, religious texts, and social conditioning we, who are naturally webbed into all creation, come to regard ourselves as stand-alones: Stand-alone species (human); stand-alone tribes, and stand-alone individuals. This unnatural process leads to the "thingification" of all that we are not. So once-sacred earth, creation, animals, plants, mountains, and rivers become "its" -- thing-ified.

Marc's talk will focus on this thingification process, and show ways to re-enchant time, space, creation, even our enemies!

Sunday, April 30, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Knowing & Being”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

One of the oldest texts in any Indo-European language is the Rig Veda from the Hindu tradition. Let me share a quote with you. “I know not whether I am the same as this cosmos; a mystery am I, yet burdened by mind I wander.”

And now from the book of Psalms (Psalm 8).

“When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, The moon and the stars which you have ordained, what are human beings that you are mindful of them?”

As seekers of truth, the only thing we need to do is to take ourselves seriously. The question of “Why am I here?” naturally will arise eventually. We are naturally interested in both the cosmos and the person, nature & consciousness, flesh & spirit. Let's explore the essence of being human. Let's explore what it means "to know" and "to be."

Sunday, April 23, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Fully Embracing & Sustaining Our Higher Frequencies ”

Despite our highest intentions, we tend to lose momentum, stop, then start again. It can take significant energy to begin anew. We may become disheartened and even self-denigrating. Often, we know what we want to do, so why does it "fall apart"? Why do we allow the world to sabotage us, pulling us down from the beautiful spaces that we've accessed? What are the keys to sustaining a vibrant, pure frequency? As part of the service, we'll sing a few universal mantras as a powerful, joyful way to stay in a higher vibration.

Sunday, April 16, 2023 - 11:00 a.m. 
“Stay Awake”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

The word “woke” has long been used, especially among Black folks, to denote that a person should be aware of structural inequality, informed of the nuances of racism and sensitive to the prevalence of anti-Black violence. 

The word “woke” is now at the center of the battle over books – a war against wokeness has turned into a war against Black history and sharing the true stories of the Black experience. Woke may feel like a term that has lost all coherent meaning or one that has been twisted so much it has bent into a slur, but its roots, undoubtedly, are Black. Woke used to belong to African Americans. Let's explore.

Sunday, April 9, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“A UU Easter”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Long before there was a Jewish or Christian religion... Long before there was a Passover or Easter... Long before any religions as we know them ever

existed... Long before history or sacred texts were ever written down, men and women gathered to witness and to greet the coming of spring with joyful celebration.

Winter could be frightening. Each day the sun gave less-and-less light and stayed in the sky for shorter periods of time. I’m sure this would have given our ancestors pause, and perhaps they asked, what if the sun faded away entirely? What if it slipped down behind a mountain or sea and just was too weak to ever rise again? The waning of the sun brought on extreme cold and vegetation died. Birds and other animals seemed to just disappear.

And yet each year the sun did return and it did become stronger once more, as did the vegetation and fruits and flowers. This meant life would continue and the sun and its great power to make things grow was not only much appreciated, but also much celebrated. Here comes the sun! Let's explore what it means to celebrate a Unitarian Universalist Easter.

Sunday, April 2, 2023 - 11:00 a.m. 
“Inviting Delight”

There are always a multitude of challenges in this world, and the last few years have been especially stressful for many of us. As an antidote to this, how do we stay connected to Source, to Center, to our true selves? One way is to enjoy, appreciate, and cultivate Delight! Jewelsong will share some of our favorite delights through music, poetry, and inspiring texts, and will offer a guided meditation so we can each travel to our own inner Land of Delight.

Sunday, March 26, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Using Our Inner Wealth”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

What gifts are you not using in this life? What of your inner wealth are you not sharing with the world? All of us are wounded creatures. All of us have had wounds to our self-esteem. These wounds have come from family, friends, religions and the world. None of us escape this. These wounds sometimes devastate entire lives.

They have come from poverty, self–identifying with the poverty around them, internalized the racism, the abuse they suffered or witnessed, and thereby collude with victimization. Others find their resolve to achieve triggered by these circumstances.  

Carl Jung observed that there are times when behind the wounds lies the source of a person’s genius. Let's explore.


Sunday, March 19, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“The Evolution of God”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

There is, it seems, a deep unconscious instinct in humanity to recognize and be in reverence of the source of all things. However, this instinct can be, and has been perverted. That religions have been the source of so much conflict and misery throughout human history points to how the instinct to religion (which when it is healthy, when what is experienced in its true and inexpressible dimension, can be a source of strength and profound comfort) has been so often distorted into something very unhealthy and destructive. In short, we have created God in our image. With some assistance from the ideas of Albert Einstein, revisiting a bit of human religious history, and good old fashion common sense, let's explore the possible evolution of God in our life -time. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Sunday, March 12, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“What It Means to be A Sentient Being”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

On occasion you have heard me refer to the animal kingdom as well as human beings as sentient beings. The Dali Lama and the philosophy of Buddhism talks about showing kindness to creation, to sentient life. Native Americans refer to nature and its inhabitants at times as different tribes or nations. The Bird tribe or nation, the Winged tribe or nation, etc. They refer to Extraterrestrial life as people belonging to the Star Nations or Star People. For me, the reasoning is obvious. It shows a connection with all that is, in the hopes that perhaps if we saw others as connected to us, as other nations or tribes or even people, we would treat them better. Today we explore what it means to be sentient---a sentient being.

Sunday, March 5, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Waking Up to Your Dreams”
Tayria Ward, Ph.D.

Dreams are a universal language spoken by all living things. Everything dreams! Babies dream, animals dream, plants, trees, the Earth itself is dreaming. Scriptures throughout the world tell countless stories of dreams that guided the people. Buddha’s teachings are condensed in 5 famous dreams of his. Mohammad received the Koran in dreams. Joseph was told in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt.  

With the dawn of the Age of Reason over the last few centuries, the ways of knowing through the symbolic and mythic language of the dream became marginalized and mostly forgotten. Losing the dreaming, it would seem that we have lost our way. However, we can recover this language, and thereby remember who we are and our connection to the Dreamtime dimension of consciousness available to us at all times, waking and sleeping.  We will explore these ideas, as well as suggestions for ways to work with your personal dreams in this presentation. Watch your dreams! 

Sunday, February 26, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“We Bid You Welcome”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

This morning we acknowledge and celebrate our New Members. New members are the life-blood of any congregation as we attempt to grow not only in numbers, but in our individual and collective lives. Rest assured that we do not take your presence here lightly. Obviously, you felt compelled to join this community for you feel that on some level we reflect your beliefs, opinions and values. To belong means to be suitable and appropriate in the proper situation. We want you to feel that you belong here. And so, this morning, we want to extend a warm and hearty welcome to our free, liberal, religious

Sunday, February 19, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“The Bounty of Our Faith”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

In the book of Matthew, chapter 13:44-46, we are told that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that was hidden in a field and a man discovered it and because of his joy he went and sold everything he had and purchased that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking valuable pearls and when he found that one costly pearl, he sold everything he had and bought it.

What are you willing to do to keep the legacy of UUCSV alive? We are at a crucial time in our culture where a liberal and free religious voice is vital to our community (and the nation's) narrative. What is the bounty of our faith? The time is at hand and we have much work to do. Let's explore.

Sunday, February 12, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Wisdom of the Ancients”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

I want to discuss a few worldviews of diverse cultures that I feel can be extremely helpful in encouraging a healthy sense of a community on a micro-and-macro level. The Native American view of “all my relations” (Lakota) views all reality and life as related and interconnected.

Every aspect of life is seen as part of one intrinsic family. For instance, in the Blackfoot tribe, when people meet, they don’t say “How are you?” but Tza Nee Da Bee Wah? which means, “How are the connections?” If the connections are in place, then we must be ok. If the connections are not in place, we need to tend to our business first. Sound, practical wisdom for everyday life. Let's go further on Sunday.

Sunday, February 5, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Hard Times”
Meg & Todd Hoke

Through music and word, Todd & Meg connect our American and UU heritage from Stephen Foster, Woody Guthrie and Margaret Fuller to our modern time, exploring some common themes and challenges as well as offering hope and encouragement.

Meg and Todd met in the early 90's while serving as full-time volunteers at a residential hospice for people with AIDS in
Baltimore. They have worked in health-care related fields ever since and both currently work at Four Seasons Hospice – Todd as an RN, Meg as a Social worker. 

They are both vegan, enjoy sauntering in the woods, reading, hanging out with their three dogs and live music. Todd is an
accomplished singer/songwriter who has recorded several albums and developed a variety of projects. Meg volunteers at a farm Sanctuary and counts pigs, goats, turkeys and a bunch of chickens, cats and dogs as friends.  

Sunday, January 29, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Aging Is a Gift”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Poem on aging by Maya Angelou:

“When you see me walking, stumbling, don’t study and get it wrong. Cause tired don’t mean lazy and every goodbye ain’t gone. I’m the same person I was back then, with a little less hair, and a little less chin. A lot less lungs and much less wind, But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.”

I have learned that aging is necessary but maturity is optional. However, if Madison Ave. had its way, while living in a culture that fights aging with all the energy it can muster, I wonder if we as a culture will ever really come to accept the gift of aging. This talk is my contribution to that acceptance. Hope you can join us.

Sunday, January 22, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Social Justice in Action”
Hosted by Jim Carillon with Guest Speakers:
Katie Alexander, Fred Littleton & Annie Myers

Pisgah Legal Services provides pro-bono legal and social justice services throughout WNC. Two of their services are helping clients navigate Affordable Care Act Health Insurance enrollment and free tax preparation for lower income families. These comprise their new “Health & Economic Opportunity Programs.” HEOP Regional Director Katie Alexander, volunteer Fred Littleton and client Annie Myers will describe this social justice work in action. Come hear how area families are served and how you might get involved in these vital social justice efforts at Pisgah Legal. A potluck lunch follows this service.


Sunday, January 15, 2023 - 11:00 a.m.
“Broken Hearts, Open Hearts & Trees”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills are the co-founders of Growing a Global Heart, a vision inspired to promote the planting of memorial trees to honor those forgotten souls of our past--- from victims of
urban violence, the Underground Railroad, and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Route in West Africa—as part of a process of collective healing and as a solution to climate change. Their motto is: “Healing the wounds of the past—in the present--- while creating a sustainable future.” I'd like to use their story and philosophy to share their
wisdom, passion, and commitment on this Dr. King Sunday.

Sunday, January, 8, 11:00 a.m.
Rev. Michael J S Carter

On many occasions you have heard me stress to you the importance of cultivating an inner or interior life; to take the time to self -reflect, to not be so “other aided” where everything is focused on what is happening or going on outside of you. Otherwise, you become a mere victim of outer circumstances and the inner life or inner consciousness will produce the outer experience and not the other way around. By cultivating our inner life we create a cultured mind. By cultivating our way of thinking and feeling about life circumstances we develop and cultivate our inner landscape. This leads to a sense of peace in a sometimes noisy and chaotic world. Let's explore.

Sunday, January 1, 2023, 11:00 a.m.
“Born for Just Such a Time as This”
Donna Marie Todd

Donna Marie Todd is a professional storyteller, writer, retreat leader and TEDx speaker. Born in the hills of West Virginia and trained in vocal performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music her authentic and original narratives are funny, poignant, and deeply vulnerable.

It’s been said she can take you on a journey to the center of your heart. “She’s not a storyteller. She’s a movie projector!”

Sunday, July 17, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
Rev. Michael J S Carter

On the path to growth and evolution, rarely do we decide to walk this path unless we have been shoved, pushed or prodded by pain. That pain may be emotional, physical or psychological, but pain can be a great motivator. Joy can also be a great motivator, but it seems that we human beings seem to learn the most through pain. As we evolve, this will change. This morning, I would like to explore with you the benefits of embracing our pain. Many in our nation and on our planet are in great pain, mentally, physically and emotionally. Perhaps we can learn to come to grips with our own pain, and possibly be there for others while they experience theirs.

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Where Are the Women?"
Meta Commerse

Meta Commerse is a former professor of History and English, an award-winning author and healer.  She is a word medicine woman in the Southern Appalachian story medicine tradition inherited from her grandmother.  Her works include five books, essays, newspaper articles, one stage play, and more to come.  A graduate of Goddard College in Vermont, Meta is founder and CEO of Story Medicine Worldwide.  A performing artist and vocalist, she is the mother of three, grandmother to three grandsons, and has since 2009 made Asheville her home.

Sunday, July 3, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“From the Other Side of the Barrel"
John Owens

John Owens worked for more than 40 years in television and video production as a photographer, editor, producer and writer. During that time, he won more than 20 Emmy Awards for story & series production and documentaries. John spent the bulk of his career in Detroit, working for twenty years at WDIV-TV, the NBC affiliate in Motown. That is where he met and married his wife Sara, an award-winning television director at the station. They have been married for 36 years and have one child who still lives in Michigan. Sara and John moved to Hendersonville in 2015 and joined the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Hendersonville. Back in 2005, John was shot and nearly killed while entering the lobby of WDIV by a man with a history of mental illness. Since that time, John has spoken about his experience and recovery at churches throughout Michigan and North Carolina, participated in gun safety forums, lobbied in Raleigh and Capital Hill and wrote Op-Ed columns to support common sense gun legislation in the Detroit Free Press and the Asheville Citizen Times.  John is the Group Co-Lead of Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in Western North Carolina, and also a member of the Everytown Survivor Fellowship; a nationwide community of survivors working together to end gun violence.

Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“What Makes You Happy?"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Let’s start by asking: What do we mean by a “good life”? In many people’s thinking, influenced by Christianity, we think of a good life as one which is devoted to doing good deeds such as caring for others, not hurting others and following the rules (man-made or divine). But is that all? What if one does all that but feels nothing? Doesn’t get any joy or pleasure out of helping others or following the rules. Is that person living a good life? Not according to Aristotle. This Sunday I would like to invite you to explore with me what Aristotelians thought about what makes a good life and what makes a happy life. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Using Permaculture to Design a Future of Reciprocity"
Alison Adams

Alison Adams (daughter of Bette Bates and Robert Tynes) grew up in Black Mountain and attended the UUCA and later the UUCSV. She is a classically trained singer, mother and newly certified permaculturist who spent the pandemic earning her Permaculture Design and Advanced Social Systems Design Certificates through Permaculture Women’s Guild. 

Alison is honored to have been asked to share a little about permaculture as part of the Social Action Committee’s Sunday service. The service will explore the three ethics of permaculture: Earth Care, People Care, and Future Care; how they relate to our own UU principles; and how they can be used to design a future of reciprocity for all.

Sunday, June 12, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
Rev. Michael J S Carter

The power of remembering ancestors is strong and innate. It’s been interesting that living through a pandemic has made many people crave stories and photos from our last great pandemic, 100 years ago.

For many of us, our family scrapbooks are reminders of our ancestors, aren't they? Some would argue that this could be a mild case of ancestor worship. We love to get them out, especially around holidays, and tell the stories, remember those departed and pass on the legacies—and isn't that kind of ancestor worship without the superstition? Most of our families have one or two stories that sometimes seem to border on the supernatural!

One day, we will all be ancestors, and I wanted to muse on the
importance of acknowledging our ancestors, and the fact that we too, will someday, be one of them.

Sunday, June 5, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
What Is “The Promise of Unitarian-Universalism?”
Rev. Claudia Jiménez

Rev. Claudia Jiménez brings to that question four years as Minister of Faith Development at UU Asheville and, prior to that, 17 years as DRE at the UU Fellowship of Vero Beach, Florida. A born teacher and minister, she has taught in Colombia, Brazil, Canada, and Florida, served two terms on the Indian River County School Board, and is a trained Our Whole Lives (OWL) Facilitator and certified sexuality educator. Rev. Claudia plans to incorporate into her sermon haikus that our congregation submits. We look forward to learning what comes to mind to all of us and to Rev. Claudia when we think of the promise and possibilities that UUism has to offer.

Sunday, May 29, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“The Power of Hope”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

I've been thinking about hope a lot lately. Hope isn't rational. Hope doesn't make sense. Hope sees beyond the obvious. Hope may seem naïve. But, without hope, what else do we have?

As life presents to us the challenges of a pandemic, political uncertainty, racial strife, economic strain and it is worth considering the power of hope. Many are suffering physically, emotionally and mentally because they have lost, or do not have any hope regarding the future. It’s a difficult time. Join me as we consider the seemingly indefatigable power of hope.

Sunday, May 22, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“A Living Church, A Living Tradition”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Sunday, May 22, 2022, is an important Sunday on our congregational calendar. It is the Sunday when we will have our annual Board meeting to plan the budget, elect new board members, etc. for the upcoming church year beginning on July 1, 2022. Secondly, we will be celebrating our new members who have decided to join our community. Hope you can join us.

Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Raising World Citizens”
Arlo Yanik, Remy Yanik, Kara Dillow & Evan Yanik

Ireland is the ancestral home of Kara’s family, and she spent a semester in college living in Cork and attending the National University of Ireland.  For her 40th birthday she wanted to go back and bring her family.  Unfortunately, at the time, she could not do so due to COVID-19.  After nearly two years of limited travel and an inordinate amount of time alone at home Evan and Kara along with their two boys finally decided to travel to Ireland to spend a month immersed in another culture.

Having both had very poignant travel experiences in their youth they very much want to ensure their sons inherit the travel bug.  They believe that traveling the world can teach us so many things about humanity and about ourselves.  We can learn where our traditions and customs come from.  We can also learn about how cultural differences help to shape individuals’ lives.  We also build resiliency and empathy for others while travelling.

During their month they got to see many of the island’s traditional tourist spots and many that are off the beaten path and want to show you what they learned on this trip.  This service will hopefully give you insight into a family trying to raise world citizens.

Please also make time this Sunday to stay after the service for a short video presentation with photos and videos from their trip!  12p-12:30p

Sunday, May 8, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.     
“A Mother's Day Proclamation”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

There are some who attribute the Mother’s Day celebration to Unitarian, Julia Ward Howe. Julia Howe began Mother’s Day as part of an international peace movement after the Civil War. Howe believed that Mothers understood the real lessons of loss from the war, where needless deaths occurred for mothers across the land. Howe is also noted for writing the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of The Republic and for her work as an abolitionist.

From these beginnings, I want to trace the celebration of Mother's Day, then, and now, to see if we can make some sense out of a well-meaning yet sometimes difficult holiday for many of us, even in the best of circumstances.

Sunday, May 1, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.   
“Healing Through Music: Body, Mind, Spirit”
Robin Gaiser

Music taps into our most profound and often unrecognized physiological, psychological, and emotional places. It can bring healing, serenity, a sense of peace and joy, and release from pain; it can even alleviate fear for those in the process of dying. For such patients in transition, especially, music that is atonal, arrhythmic, and even non-linear is particularly beneficial.

Having retired from her work as a high school guidance counselor in Fairfax County, VA, Robin Russell Gaiser spent sixteen years as a Certified Music Practitioner providing vocal and instrumental music for the critically and chronically ill, elderly, and dying. In hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and private homes, her music functioned as an agent of holistic healing. You may be surprised about how music affects body, mind, and spirit as you learn, listen, and experience live musical demonstration during this interactive sermon.

Sunday, April 24, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.     
“Love & Oneness”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

This Sunday I would like to explore two topics with you. The first one is on the definition of "Love." I assure you I have more questions than answers to share with you as greater minds than mine have been musing on this topic for millennia. It appears to be something that can be described but not defined. Very well. The second topic is "Oneness." I will use the following story as a lead in:

On January 2, 2007, Wesley Autry, a 50-year-old African American construction worker and Navy veteran, was waiting for a subway train in Manhattan with his two young daughters at around 12:45 pm. Standing there, Mr. Autry was unaware that he was about to become involved in a sequence of events that would change his life, and that would reveal profound truths about the nature of the human mind. I know… It sounds a bit like a Twilight Zone Intro. Perhaps it is... Lastly, I will attempt to tie the two topics together. Oneness & Love. Please join me.

Sunday, April 17, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.     
“Easter Sunday for the Unitarian Universalist”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

"The opposite of life is not death, for life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal." -- Eckhart Tolle

Perhaps the most critical part of the Easter message to UUs is the power within the heart of each person to bring life out of death. In the resurrection story there is both humiliation and death, but in the end, a new life of the spirit. For some, the story is taken quite literally. For others, it means confronting the deep wounds and scars we have suffered along the way, and then allowing ourselves to be transformed. We learn to forgive ourselves and others. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Then the meaning of Easter can become a powerful experience for many UUs, for it is I, you and they who are risen from the dead. The traditional cry of orthodox Christianity of "he lives" then becomes, "we live."  Let's unpack the Easter message together.

Sunday, April 10, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.     
“UUs & the Concept of Miracles”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

For some, but not for all of us, we as UUs shy away from anything that speaks of miracles. This is one reason many of us do not read the Bible. It insults our intelligence. Miracles are something that all religions talk about but for us as UUs, we cannot tolerate stories that contain miracles. Yet whether or not you read the Bible, your life (as well as mine), has been conditioned by these stories and the book of the Bible. In many ways this book is the very foundation of Western Culture. During this season of Lent, let us explore the concept of miracles and the UU attitude toward this idea.


Sunday, April 3, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.     
“The Intercession of Spirituality in Clay”
Charles Freeland

Charles Freeland is the son of a Presbyterian minister, as well as an artist, teacher, and amateur philosopher. He has been visiting the Black Mountain/Montreat area since he was a child and has served as Clay Studio Manager and Instructor at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts for 11 years. In his talk, “The Intercession of Spirituality in Clay,” Charles will speak about a number of experiences wherein the universe has made itself known to him in both his own artistic work, particularly ceramics, and in the work of others.

Charles holds a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Austin College and a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from the University of North Texas. His teaching experience includes Austin College in Texas, Eastern Illinois University, and Lakeland Community College and Bradley University in Illinois. His other positions include stints as a banker and as a resident at the Sally Jones Pottery in Montreat.

Sunday, March 27, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.     
“The Right Kind of Refugee”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

The scenes from Ukraine are heart-wrenching to say the least. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has stunned the globe as full-scale war has broken out and has garnered widespread coverage from around the planet. But this reporting has also lifted the veil of the flagrant racist attitudes toward the value, or lack thereof, of non-European life. A journalist by the name of Lucy Watson proclaimed for I-TV News in Kyiv, "Now the unthinkable has happened to them, and this is not a developing, third world nation; this is Europe." One French commentator on BFM-TV, had this to say: "We are in a European city and we have cruise missiles firing as though we were in Iraq or Afghanistan, can you imagine?"  Let's not forget that Iraq is literally referred to as "the cradle of civilization." The double standards are ludicrous.

If anything, the wave of solidarity with Ukraine across the world has been inspiring. Yet for me as a person of color in this incarnation, it is difficult to not see this as selective solidarity.

When those same missiles landed in Syria and Chechnya, the reactions were more subdued. Let's explore who is the right kind of refugee.

Sunday, March 20, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.       
“Soul Work”
Rev. Carol Hovis

Rev. Carol Hovis has been a leader in faith communities, nonprofits, and community organizing for thirty-four years. Her ministry includes 9 years with youth and young adults in Fairfax, VA, and six years as Community Advocate with the San Rafael Canal Ministry, an educational nonprofit serving a low-income Latinx immigrant community. From 2004-2016, she served as Executive Director with the Marin Interfaith Council, before moving to Asheville, NC, to be closer to family.

After two years of guest preaching and part-time pastoral leadership with a small West Asheville congregation, she currently offers spiritual direction, retreats and enneagram classes, mostly online since March 2020, and previously at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in north Asheville. She facilitates staff workshops at the church and other local nonprofits including the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

Carol lives with her husband, Chris Highland, author, teacher and Humanist Celebrant.  carolhovis.com

Sunday, March 13, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.         
“Spring Forward Towards Growth”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

It’s spring time and we are looking forward. We are not only looking forward to the beautiful weather, but also looking forward to what the future holds. No, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we do know good things lie ahead because of our good intentions.

We must have intentionality as we spring forward into the new church year. Nothing happens without intentions and nothing on this planet happens without it. Look around at the world you see. All of it began with an idea. The present (and future) social, cultural, economic and political climate needs this congregation. Our 8 Principles are sorely needed in this time of change and transition. Let's explore what it means as we spring forward towards growth---in our congregation, in ourselves, in our community and in the larger world.

Sunday, March 6, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Kissing Cousins: The shared values of Ethical Humanists and UUs”
Jackie Simms

In 1926, fifty years after establishing the New York Society for Ethical Culture, founder Felix Adler wrote, “We [of the Ethical Movement] share an implicit religion created by each person, following their own reason and experience, insight and understanding. We seek to retain what is vitally true in the moral teachings of the past; but we restate what is morally true, in terms that are meaningful and relevant today.”

Our guest speaker, Jackie Simms, is the current president of the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville, which she co-founded in 2001. She first became a member of Ethical Culture in her native St. Louis, MO, so as to ensure her daughter had a strong grounding in ethical, nontheistic thought. Today we’ll hear how members of both the Ethical Humanist Society and the Unitarian-Universalist faith go about re-imagining, and re-creating, “our implicit religion” and moral teachings each day—and how similar we are in doing so.

Sunday, February 27, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Surviving A Pandemic - Stoically"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Many of us have seen, or experienced what a pandemic can do to members of a society, both physically and mentally. This morning I want to focus on how we may learn from our past from those who have lived before us in calamitous times, but with a more balanced and realistic perspective.

The Book of Revelations describes an end-time scenario where the world suffers from infectious disease, divisions in empires, social oppression, and finally, the downfall of an empire. Does this sound familiar to any of you? Some would argue that John the Revelator was prophesying about the times that we are living in today. Yet this time is not the first scenario in human history to be called apocalyptic. Rather than finding dread in such a situation, perhaps with a Stoic (and/or Buddhist) approach, there is room to grow and an opportunity to be had in such a crisis. Let’s explore.

Sunday, February 20, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“John Brown"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

John Brown was charismatic, inspiring, confounding, courageous, mysterious, intimidating, given to religious zealotry and even at times a bit boring. Harriet Tubman met John Brown in Canada in 1858. He nicknamed her “General” Tubman because of her command skills in leading escaped slaves to freedom. Brown told her about his plans to create a slave uprising and requested her help. Had she not fallen ill in the fall of 1859, she may have been convinced to accompany Brown on the Harper’s Ferry raid and perhaps she would have added martyrdom to her legend as The Moses of African Americans. Frederick Douglass, who also was a friend of John Brown, decided not to accompany Brown and his little group to Harpers Ferry, Virginia on those ill-fated days from October, 16, 1959 - October18, 1859.  In the time allotted, let's explore the life and legacy of John Brown, a willing ally in the struggle to free America's enslaved population in those fateful years before the Civil War... by any means necessary.

Sunday, February 13, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Nature and the Sounds of Silence"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

As most of you know, I was raised in a predominantly urban environment. My rural friends, every now and then, remind me that I am a "city boy." I've come a long way from the streets of Baltimore and New York and have become quite appreciative and extremely comfortable in my new environs here in North Carolina these many years.

I'd like to share with you some lessons I've learned while living so near the woods and in nature on the topic of, Nature and the Sounds of Silence. Hint: It's been mostly about the “L” Word… listening. Hope you can join us.

Sunday, February 6, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“It's Sunday Morning; Why Are You Here?"
Eric Thomas & Helen Wolfson

Today, more Americans than ever identify as religiously unaffiliated. What is it about Unitarian Universalism that compels theists and non-theists alike to show up at a church-like place (church, fellowship, society, you name it) instead of staying home, relaxing, reading the paper or engaging in any number of other competing possibilities?

Eric Thomas has been playing guitar since 1965. He began by playing the Rock ’n Roll, Rhythm ’n Blues, and “Beach Music” tunes that were popular in the mid and late ’60’s. More recently, his collaboration with Helen has launched him into the world of Celtic music, lyrical waltzes, and other music that he never imagined he would play.

Helen Wolfson began playing the hammered dulcimer in 1993. Her initial, fairly traditional hammered dulcimer repertoire has been greatly enriched by her collaboration with Eric. She is also certified by the Music for Healing and Transition Program(TM) as a Music Practitioner(R) and plays therapeutic music at bedside for people in physical or emotional pain.

Sunday, January 30, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Caring and Sharing"
Congregational Care Committee

Considering the beautiful, compassionate people who make up our congregation you might wonder why UUCSV even has a "Caring Committee". Don't we all care about each other and show it in myriad ways? Absolutely! So, let's explore what your "Congregational Care Committee" is, how they can serve you and how you can participate. Beyond that, we'll consider the deep compassion for the Oneness that was so eloquently called for by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 16 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“A New Year's Covenant”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

I wanted to speak on this topic earlier in the month, but scheduling did not allow for it. I also wanted to speak about MLK, Jr. on his holiday and we accomplished that, but not exactly on his birthday. So, here we go! It's been a rough two years dealing with COVID among other things. I felt that this New Year calls for something bigger than resolutions (that is, if any of us still bother to make them). It calls for a covenant. What’s a covenant? When you love somebody, and they love you back, that’s a covenant. Covenant is love shared, when people join together in love. Love can't be legislated, but it can be a conscious decision to at least try to love. Covenant is also about taking a stand. To stand together in love is to be a covenant people. Shall we talk about a New Year’s Covenant? What might such a covenant of love among people of free faith look like?

Sunday, January 9, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“We Need More Martins”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

The Book of Exodus tells us the story of the Israelites as they fled from the oppression of Pharaoh and the Egyptian government. It was a time of great fear and trepidation and many Israelites lost their lives and there was no Hebrew religion until after the Exodus. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been called the Moses of African Americans, and remember, Moses had a difficult task before him and was a reluctant leader (initially). Moses did not get to see the promised land with his people. As you may recall from the story, Aaron had to come behind Moses to lead the people and then more leaders after that, until finally the Israelites arrived in the promised land. So, if we know that we too are not fully out of the structural oppression King saw, more leaders are needed. We need more Martins.

Sunday, January 2, 2022 - 11:00 a.m.
“Conscious Life, Conscious Death”
Aditi Sethi, MD

Aditi Sethi, MD is a hospice and palliative care physician, end-of-life doula, and executive director of the Center for Conscious Living and Dying. Soon to be featured in the forthcoming film The Last Ecstatic Days, Aditi is an emerging and important voice for shifting our culture’s understanding and approach to dying, death, and bereavement care. As a child under the guidance of her parents (Kapil and Ranjit Sethi) and grandparents from India, Aditi studied devotional music from the Sikh and Hindu traditions.

Her other music pursuits include playing music with her husband, Jay Brown, a musician and hospice music therapist. Aditi and Jay recently formed a group called The Appalucians, with Angie Heimann and Cas Sochaki. Releasing their first CD, “Bright Hills” in 2018, the Appalucians play music from the mountains of Western North Carolina.  Their music features spirited songwriting, tight harmonies, and a lovely layered interplay between dobro, guitars, harp, bass and banjo. Aditi and Jay are the parents of three children and live in Black Mountain, NC.

Sunday, December 26, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.
"Yuletide Reflections

The time of darkness is a time of deep rest in nature.  Join us to explore your own places of deep rest, via song, Yuletide meditations and dance.  Rebecca Williams and Annelinde Metzner have collaborated on many celebrations around the Celtic Wheel of the Year.  This Winter Solstice, we will have new music by Annelinde, sung by Alison Tynes, with dance by Maggie Moon, readings by Rebecca and other surprises.

Friday, December 24, 2021 - 5:30 p.m.
"Living In the Light
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Whether or not one is lighting candles, this season for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza, there is an emphasis on light. This time of year is often referred to as "the season of lights." The Winter Solstice acknowledges the light that diminishes this time of year and the need to embrace darkness, and still the language of light is involved.

We have all heard the old adage that "I would rather light a candle than to curse the darkness", which is sage advice for sure, at least to my mind. This Christmas Eve, I would briefly like to explore what it would mean for each of us to take this saying seriously. I want to explore what it would be like "living in the light."

Our Christmas Eve Service will begin at 5:30 pm on December 24th, 2021. All COVID safety protocols remain in effect. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 19, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.
"When Are We Enough?”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

I have known many people whom I would classify as healers… hands on energy healers, massage therapists, body workers, psychics, therapists, counselors, social workers, health care professionals and everyday folks, who have a knack for making people feel better about

themselves and the world. All of them are good listeners. And yet, most of them, at one time or another, did not know how or when to take care of themselves. They could not seem to listen to what their mind/body/spirit was trying to convey to them.  I call them “wounded healers”. And let's face it, many of us are. This begs the question, when do we slow down and look inward? Or to put it bluntly, when are we enough? Let's explore.

Sunday, December 12, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.       
“The Contradictory Life of Jane Seger
Rev. Michael J S Carter

As most of you know, I am a voracious reader and always have been. Many of you also know that Dr. Howard Thurman is one of my spiritual teachers and heroes. On occasion, I like to do what I refer to as an autobiographical sermon about an individual who I believe has a message for the world and that their lives reflected upon this message.

While reading some of the thoughts of Dr. Thurman for some inspiration that I sorely needed a few weeks ago, I came across a woman whom he held in high esteem because of her deep spirituality and insight. In today's parlance we would label Jane Steger a mystic, among other things. I would like to share as much of her life as possible on this Sunday morning. Make of it what you will, for I will not tell you what to believe, only to say that it will serve as an important reminder to us all.

Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.           
“Community As Communion”
Pam King

Nourishing environments don’t just happen.  Each of us has the opportunity to contribute to the local culture that feeds the common good and the individual spirit.  We’ll explore what each of us must ask ourselves: “What is mine to do?” in our special corner of this earth.  Our contributions are more than a list of chores or obligations, however.  Our contributions to our community are gifts to be valued and revered as the treasures they are.  Large or small, public or private, all of our efforts toward building a positive community spirit create a space for satisfying our spiritual hunger.

Pam King is an eight year resident of Black Mountain, currently serving as a member of the Town Council.  She is also the Development Director for Helpmate, Buncombe County’s domestic violence advocacy organization.  Pam has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Religious Education from Loyola University, New Orleans. She has three sons, five grandchildren, and two cats, Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Nancy Pelosi.

Sunday, November 28, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.           
“On Caring”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Out of solitude comes the need for care, and all genuine spiritual and humanistic paths are one and the same, to me. What many human beings like to see is care and change.  Many do not see (nor do they want to) the care, the participation in the pain, the solidarity in suffering and the sharing in the experience of the broken. Perhaps this is why Dr. King had to remind us that real caring is sometimes more than just tossing a coin at someone who is begging for money. I would like to take the time this Sunday to explore what it means to actually care. I trust you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday. Let us continue on with the journey together!

Sunday, November 21, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.           

“To Whom It May Concern”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Music:  Annelinde Metzner, piano

Well, it’s that time of year again -- Thanksgiving.  It’s only fitting that I should begin with a word of thanks. This time of year, it is hard not to dwell on gratitude, which is a topic that just keeps continuously unfolding, like one of those paper-engineered cards. I’m not going to attempt to cover all the facets of gratitude in one sermon, you will be glad to hear, but it is something that we are more acutely aware of as the end of November approaches. As UUs, coming from various theological backgrounds and life experiences, to whom we express our gratitude is important. Let's explore this topic for the Thanksgiving Holiday and beyond!

Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.           

“In Praise of Darkness”
Rev. Michael J S Carter 
Music:  Annelinde Metzner, piano 
Science and technology has developed and flourished and has become the central focus of much of Western civilization. And as technology flourished, we literally became enlightened. The invention of the light bulb and ability to harness electrical power has had a powerful and profound effect on the way we live our lives. We moved from being a primarily agrarian society; living in tune with the rhythms of day and night, dark and light and the seasons of the year, to an increasingly industrialized society with the ability to light our lives 24 hours a day. This morning, especially in light (pun intended) of daylight savings time on this past November 7th, I would like to unpack the pros & cons of this so called, "enlightenment" and perhaps contribute some thoughts and
ideas, In Praise of Darkness.

Sunday, November 7th, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.
“Differences Not Diversity”
Rodger Payne Ph.D.

Music - Sue Stone, piano

In 1996, Harvard Professor of Indic Religions Diana Eck wrote about her findings in her classrooms “Muslims from Providence, Hindus from Baltimore, Sikhs from Chicago and Jains from New Jersey” rather than Protestant students who had numerically dominated the ivy-covered institution for so long. For scholars in the field of religion in America, Eck’s discovery of religious diversity in this country – which was celebrated in the pages of Harvard Magazine – was somewhat akin to that of Columbus; we knew it was there all along. While Puritans from England, Huguenots from France, Pietists from Germany, and Catholics from Spain may not have represented the array of religions in Eck’s classroom that fateful fall, they are a reminder that religious diversity has long been a fact of American life. As renowned American religious historian Edwin Gaustad once commented, complexity in religious matters was there from the beginning, and that complexity has remained. What were the roots of such
diversity? What type of challenges does diversity present us? Does such
diversity benefit society, or does it only create tensions and problems? Join us for a meditation on these questions.

Sunday, October 31, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.
“The Celtic Celebration of Samhain”
Peggy Moore

Music - Linda Metzner, piano

On the Celtic day of Samhain, the final
celebration of harvest, the end of the traditional Celtic year, we open the door to winter and to our own inner darkness. We are at a time where the veils between this world and the Otherworld are thin. Our ancestors call us to look into the darkness and face our shadow-side, release our regrets and burn away all that we need to release. The clearing and the burning can help us heal and prepare us for the birth of our Light within, celebrated at the winter solstice.

Peggy Moore has been a life-long student of metaphysics, spirituality, and religions. She studied the pre-Celtic, old Irish ways with an Irish medicine woman. Personal pilgrimages, as well as leading formal tours to mounds, standing stones and sacred sites of Ireland, Wales and Egypt have
informed and expanded her energy work, healing practices and teaching. Her connection with the Earth called her toward Celtic Spirituality, and throughout the year she leads ceremony for the Eightfold Celtic Holy Days and the Irish Spirit Wheel.

Sunday, October 24, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.
“Sly As A FOX”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Music - Linda Metzner, piano

At the outset I, want to say that I do try to stay informed as a citizen as to what is going on in my country. I must also say that my desire to stay informed also conflicts at times with my desire to stay sane (at least what I consider sane, for myself). This means I also take breaks from time-to-time regarding what I let into my consciousness from the news media.

As cynical as this may sound, I do realize that in my quest to stay informed, I am also being misinformed. The mere fact that most of the major news channels are run by corporations, and that they all have the same “top stories” each and every day is suspicious at best. I mean, what are the chances of this happening every day? I get it. Please indulge me this Sunday if you can find it in your heart. There is one news station that I must rant against. Yes, it's political sermon. I just ask for a few minutes of your time… actually, 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 17, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.
“Making A Difference”
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Music - Linda Metzner, piano

“There is nothing worse than indifference; indifference to God, or humans, to life, to suffering or unhappiness. If I were to give you one word that encompasses all the evils in life, it would be ‘indifference.’” --- Ellie Wiesel

This morning I want to use another biblical story, as I occasionally do, to draw attention to what is going on in contemporary times. The story is taken from the book of Genesis 18: 23-33. It is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. You know the story... Sodom is eventually destroyed. Imagine it. If there had been just 10 righteous people, the city would have been saved. The people of Sodom probably weren’t all bad people. They most likely weren’t all wicked people. Surely, some were, but what about the rest? This was a big city. The story tells us there were not even 10 righteous people in the whole city. Are we to believe that not even 10 people gave a flying “you know what" about what would happen to the city? Let's explore.

Sunday, October 10, 2021
"Indigenous Peoples' Day"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Music - Second Sunday: Susan Hurley, Heidi Blozan & Rochelle Broome, voice; Deb Evanchick, Native drum; Linda Metzner, piano

Today, as we acknowledge this congregation's first Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we offer our deepest apologies to those human ancestors of old who saw themselves not separate from, but rather a part of these lands that had birthed them.  They desperately wanted to preserve their environment as well as their way of being and living in it, but they were summarily removed from this Creation that they loved and respected. We humbly offer them our deepest gratitude.  The legacy of their oral traditions and understanding of the web of life continues to teach us the ways of the medicine wheel - if only we are open to its wisdom.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

"Radical Joy: A Buddhist Perspective on How to Live in the Present Moment"
Sarah Vekasi, M. Div

Sue Stone, piano

Sarah will talk about how finding time for the profound within the mundane helps us live in the present moment. She will contextualize her talk around living in these trying times, and offer suggestions that can help us survive and thrive while everything changes around us. She will bring her experience living as a Buddhist monastic in a Japanese monastery, and her work as both an activist and a Chaplain into focus in regards to learning to find radical joy even in the toughest situations.
Sarah Vekasi, M.Div., is a Buddhist Chaplain, and the founder of Eco-Chaplaincy - spiritual support for environmental and social justice activists. Sarah is an activist and organizer who practices Zen Buddhism, has lived in a monastery in Japan for three years, lived in a tree for one year and has lived in Black Mountain for the past eleven years. She also makes a living as a potter with Sarah Sunshine Pottery.

Sunday, September 26, 2021
"Making Dry Bones Live"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Music:  UU Choir performs 2 virtual hymns, Sue Stone, piano for prelude, postlude and 1 hymn, Linda Metzner, piano for 1 hymn

Let me begin with a reading from the book of Ezekiel 37:1-14:  “The hand of The Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in a valley. It was full of bones. He led me all around them, there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘Oh Lord God, Thou knowest.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophecy to these bones, and say to them, ‘Oh dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’  Thus said the Lord to these bones, ‘I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.  I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover your skin, and put breath in you and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel was a priest and prophet of Israel, who according to the Hebrew Bible, lived as a prophet almost 2600 years ago. He began his mission as a prophet during the last years of the kingdom of Judah, and at that time, threats of destruction were coming rapidly. Ezekiel has a message and a challenge for our times as well. Let's explore.

Sunday, September 19, 2021
"Living With the Contradictions of Life"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano


With today's theme I want to share with you my journey since I have been your minister here. I hope to possibly shed some light on the contradictions of life that I wrestle with (especially as I get older and being an older parent) but also to illuminate those places in each and everyone of us where the contradictions of our lives can be shared, articulated, and, hopefully, contemplated. The stuff of our lives requires us to live with ambiguity, contradiction, and even disappointment, in ourselves as well as others. Yet these contradictions are never ultimate contradictions, and so we press on. We press on with the foundations of this community undergirding, and the love of this us through the good and the not so good. Let's explore.

Homecoming Sunday 2021

Sunday, September 12, 2021
"We Are Still Learning"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano


Well. Here we are back together again after our outer and inner summer journeys. A new and exciting church year is ahead of us and hopefully you have had at least some time for rest and at least a bit of rejuvenation. Some of us had vacations and some of us had “staycations.” Perhaps over the summer you have had eureka moments of insight into yourself and the world around you as we enter the last quarter of the year. On this day many UU churches across the country are having their annual Homecoming Services. I love the idea of Homecoming Sundays because we gather together for fellowship after our summer sojourns to share our travels and stories about what life lessons and experiences we’ve had over the summer. It’s a great way to begin the new church year—together. I love the Homecoming Sunday idea because it lifts up the primary human need in all of us and that is the need to belong—all of us and all parts of us. We welcome everyone here with a warm, embracing, and rejoicing spirit, knowing and encouraging you in the belief that you can find your sense of being at home in the world while on your life journey. We invite you to come as you are. We invite you to get involved. We also invite you to be gentle in these post-COVID days. After all. It's a new day and we are still learning!

Sunday, September 5, 2021
"Labor of Love Day"

Jim & Aline Carrilon

Sue Stone - piano & guitar

Have you wondered what it takes to become a foster parent?  Might you consider becoming a foster parent or a child advocate in the courts?  Hannah Moore from the foster agency, Caring for Children will speak about how this non-profit trains, certifies and supports foster parents throughout WNC.  Molly Keeney will describe the vital role she provides as Guardian Ad Litem.  Jim and Aline Carillon will share their recent foster parenting experiences as they now embark on a second journey fostering a new infant son.  And Susan Enwright Hicks will welcome Lucas to our UUCSV community.  Please come meet Lucas for the first time and learn more about fostering as a Labor of Love.




Sunday, August 29, 2021
"Christian Unitarianism"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Sue Stone, piano


No matter how much Theodore Parker is honored by almost all of Unitarian Universalism today for his radical stands on slavery and his bold defiance of traditional Christian Theology, it is a fact that many UUs are still not familiar with this Unitarian minister. In his sermon, "The Transient and Permanent in Christianity," Parker articulated a Unitarian Christianity stripped of the traditional reliance on miracles and supernatural events to validate and to stress its ethical teachings and approach to living a committed life. I'd like to riff just a bit on Parker's sermon and delve into the roots of Unitarian Christianity. There is much to unearth for us living today.

Sunday, August 22, 2021


Andy Reed

Sue Stone, piano; UUCSV Choir Anthems; Annelinde Metzner, choir directory


Unicorns. Griffins. The Sphinx. A Manticore. Mythical beasts all. Or are they? Here in our small UU Congregation, and across the entire denomination, you might find one or another of these creatures of myth and magic—if you know where to look. What do they think, do, and believe? We’ll explore some of the values and beliefs that guide or challenge iconoclastic UUs as we hear from one of our own unicorns—that rare creature, a native of Asheville, and, even rarer, a birthright Unitarian.

Andy Reed joined UUCSV in 2018, where he sings in the choir and enjoys the occasional opportunity to preach to the choir as well. An editor and publisher, he has also been a theater director and manager, corporate television marketing hack, political activist and gadfly, and a perpetually “optimistic cynic.” A birthright Asheville Unitarian, a U-U since the denominations’ 1961 merger, and an Ethical Humanist since 2008, Andy has faced the challenge of defining, refining, and sometimes confining his belief system throughout his life.

Sunday, August 15, 2021
"Replacing Me with We"
Rev. Dr. Neal R. Jones

Annelinde Metzner, piano


The insurrection at our Capitol on January 6 was a graphic reminder of the fragility of democracy, even our American democracy. But the threat runs deeper than politics and ideology. It’s spiritual. It's the inability to put the common good before self-interest.

Rev. Dr. Neal R. Jones is a psychologist at the Pisgah Institute in Asheville. Born and raised in North Carolina, he earned his B.A. from Wake Forest University, his M.Div. from Southeastern Seminary, and his Psy.D. from Baylor University. He has served as the minister of five congregations in North and South Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania, most recently at Main Line Unitarian Church near Philly and at the UU Congregation of Columbia, South Carolina. He also serves as the chair of the national Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church & State. Rev. Dr. Jones teaches and practices a spirituality of personal wholeness, relational respect, and social justice.

Sunday, August 8, 2021
"The Arc of Justice"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

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

What does a 19th century UU minister have in common with a 20th century Baptist minister? Probably a lot more than you can imagine. I'll give you a hint. One minister was an American Transcendentalist, a reformer, and an abolitionist who would inspire speeches by Abraham Lincoln and MLK, Jr. The other was a reformer as well and a leader of one of the greatest human rights movements in history. Join us this Sunday as we explore the visionary insights of two larger than life historical figures. Let's take a look at two firm believers in "The Arc of Justice."

Sunday, August 1, 2021
Tim Perry
"How to Know When You've been Had"

Annelinde Metzner, piano


As Unitarians we are committed to the search for truth and meaning. An indispensable tool in that search is the ability to discern and dispense with falsehood. Yet most, if not all of us have friends who believe things that any rational person over the age of six ought to find laughable, while dismissing out of hand the sage advice of highly trained professionals. How does an otherwise seemingly intelligent person fall victim to such obvious shenanigans? And how do we know that you and I have not done the very same thing, though perhaps with different errors? Let's play around with this. It might be fun.

Tim Perry has explored many avenues in his search for meaning and wholeness. His desire for honesty and truth has led him on a journey through various forms of Christianity, including Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic denominations. Leaving these and "wandering in the wilderness" as he put it, Tim ended up here among our Unitarian Universalist Congregation, much to the delight of all the UU's who have come to know him.

Sunday, July 25, 2021
"From Endings To Beginnings"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

UUCSV Choir video performance
Annelinde Metzner, choir director
Sue Stone, piano


We now know, through scientific research in physics and other metaphysical disciplines, that what we focus on we create, and we can collectively and individually co-create an end time scenario because of where we focus our energies. However, is that what we really want to do as a species? You see, every ending is a new beginning.

For most of us, good stories or events are things we don’t want to end. For instance, if a good book makes us laugh or cry, we love that book and we want to hold on to those feelings. Yet even a happy ending can bring heartache. And we know that no story is complete without its ending, for a good ending can be the best part of the story.

Endings in our own lives are sometimes much harder to appreciate, because we resist them, not wanting to let them go. In many ways life itself is a series of learning when to hold on and when to let go. Let's explore and glean some much needed wisdom regarding beginnings and endings in our lives.

Sunday, July 18, 2021
"Joy in One’s Beliefs"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano


I’d like to ask you to think with me this morning about the feeling of joy in one’s beliefs, especially joy in one’s spiritual or religious beliefs. At the outset, I want to state that there is no prescription on how to attain joy. It's just a thought, but perhaps most of the joys and sorrows of living are not of our making, and that it is only the faith with which we respond to life that is our lot in life. For it is only natural to want to avoid sorrow, grief, misery. But as the poet Shelly reminds us, joy and woe are strangely and persistently interwoven with life.



Sunday, July 11, 2021
"An Interdependence Day Holiday"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Live-stream via YouTube also available

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music: Sue Stone, vocals and guitar


This month, as we do every July, we celebrate "Independence Day" as the birthday of our nation. I really never have given much credence to this holiday for all of the obvious reasons but I do enjoy the leisure time the holiday provides for me. I'd like to talk about this holiday, even though I was not in the pulpit during this year's July 4th weekend. Perhaps we can envision a different way to co-exist together, as individuals and as a nation.

At one time we used to say and believe, “Give me a fish and I eat for a day, teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.” This used to be a pretty popular sentiment. We hopefully know by now that this isn’t enough. As the late UU Minister, The Rev. Lee Reid once said: "We must also make room at the pond. There are still those people in the world whose only hope is that the powerful will be humble, merciful, and just." Let's explore what it would mean to have a holiday called Interdependence Day!

Please bring a flower or flowers from your garden or elsewhere for our flower communion as part of the service. This will bring back the beauty of the sanctuary but will be a wonderful way to begin to come together again as a congregation.


"Music always has been a part of my life. I started piano lessons at age 7, taught myself guitar at 35, have sung in church choirs and community choruses, and led sing-alongs at nursing homes. I even took a detour into mountain dulcimer when I lived in Arkansas. I live in an ecovillage, and love the mountains, gardening and bird-watching."
-- Sue Stone

Sunday, July 4, 2021
Rev. Ruth Vann Lillian
"Make America Again!"


Annelinde Metzner, piano


Rev. Ruth Vann Lillian is an Alabama native and graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the Iliff School of Theology in Denver who started out serving Methodist churches, spent some years on leave to homeschool her children, and transferred to the Unitarian Universalist Church during that time. She celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of her ordination and her UUA Preliminary Fellowship at the same General Assembly in 2019! She will begin serving the UU Fellowship of the Emerald Coast in August. She and her husband Bill Malone keep their home base in Birmingham with two marvelous sons and an incorrigible cat.

Sunday, June 27, 2021 - 12:00 noon
UUA General Assembly
Virtual Service 

Live Stream from UUA.org
Watch on YouTube
Order of Service (PDF)


The UUA strongly recommends that congregations attend the virtual service from the UU General Assembly via live video. The worship will be streamed on UUA.org as well as YouTube and will include DVR functionality that allows you to play, pause, and rewind during the live steam. Five-ten minutes after worship ends the recording will be available for on-demand viewing. We recommend that you test your setup in advance.

With that in mind, we are not holding our own Sunday services this week. Please tune in to the service above instead. We will continue with our regular services next week.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. It is deeply appreciated.

In Faith,
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Sunday, June 20, 2021
"UUs and The Concept of Fatherhood"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annual Congregational Meeting after the service


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

Our culture tries to tell us men what is women’s work, or mother’s work and what is not. Women and mothers are supposed by our culture to be more aware of the needs of others; after all, it is women who can give birth, which seems the most intimate connection that one person can have with another person. Perhaps there is some truth in what our society tells us, but the real point is that men are also capable of deep sensitivity to the needs and interests of another person. We, too, are capable of treating other people as ends in themselves, rather than as means to our own ends; we, too, are capable of unselfish love towards others. This Sunday, let's explore the early roots of Unitarian Universalism and its influence on the concept of Fatherhood.


Sunday June 13, 2021
"Commitment and Stability"
Rev. Michael J S Carter

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music: Andy Gwynn, singer-songwriter


I think about this liberal church community often. I think about our commitment to the stability of this community and how to maintain it. Hopefully, we are entering into a phase of our church where we are moving into a time of BC (Before Covid) and AC (after Covid).

In dwelling on this, I am so appreciative and grateful, exceedingly so, that we still exist as an organization. Many businesses and institutions have folded under the weight of this pestilence. We are indeed fortunate, blessed, call it what you will. In this Sunday service, I want to explore our quest for commitment and stability to this congregation.

See you there!


Sunday, June 6, 2021
"The History of Racism"
Fritz Casey-Leninger


Annelinde Metzner, piano


Fritz Casey-Leininger is a life-long Unitarian Universalist and a retired American History faculty at the University of Cincinnati. He was raised in a family actively committed to Civil Rights and grew up with a Black cousin. This led him to study the history of race in America in graduate school and to researching, teaching, and writing about it for nearly forty years. He continues this work in retirement. He and his spouse Ginny are longtime members of the First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati where she is just completing a three year term on its Board. Fritz is currently advising a group of congregation members in studying the church’s history with an emphasis on how race and class have influenced its past and present.

In his talk, Fritz Casey-Leininger will explore the history of White racism in America starting with its invention in the 1600s as a justification for the enslavement of Africans and for the genocide against the indigenous peoples of North America. The talk will then look at the changing face of racism from the nation’s founding, through the Civil War, the Jim Crow period, and the rise of the modern Civil Rights movement, followed by an examination of efforts over the last 50 years to roll back the racial justice victories of the 1950s and 1960s, at first covert and now increasingly open. He will conclude with a personal reflection on the persistence of his own racial bias despite nearly a lifetime of efforts to eliminate it.

Sunday, May 30, 2021
"Who is My Neighbor?"
Tom Neilson


Annelinde Metzner, piano

Artist Tom Neilson's presents “Who Is My Neighbor?”, contemplating who our many neighbors are in the world. It begins with Tom’s farm neighbors from childhood and follows him as he leaves the country to include our global neighbors, many of whom are fighting for human rights. The message includes our neighbors with a shared mission of peace and justice; neighbors who do not follow societal conventions or who are in some way marginalized and our shared responsibility with them.

Tom Neilson combines art with activism. Performing since the age of 3, he has played his music in 22 countries on 5 continents. He has received 30 awards and nominations, to include two song of the year awards from Independent Musicians. In 2017, he received the Arab American Women Association Award for Human Rights work for Palestine through performance art. In 2015 he was nominated for the United Nations Nelson Mandela Award for Lifetime Achievement in Peace and Justice. This past December Tom won two awards from Just Plain Folks International for best Traditional Folk Album and best Social Commentary album.

One reviewer says, “Tom does a great job of reminding people of what is really important, and the power of folk music to say it. Tom will tell you he is just a farm boy with a guitar who likes a good ball game and human rights.”

Tom’s wife, Lynn Waldron, joins him in this Sunday service. Her activist work includes most currently working with the Wendell State Forest Alliance to prevent logging in public forests in Massachusetts. She has joined Tom as actress and singer in the Jobs With Justice annual “Voices of Labor History” production to celebrate and honor May Day. She also performs in a hospice choir singing at bedside for the critically ill and dying. They live in Greenfield, MA.

Sunday, May 23, 2021
"A Way of Life That is Worth Living"
Rev. Michael J S Carter


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


All human beings are on some deep level are seeking a way of life that is authentic, good and beautiful, a way of life that is true. Some people may not even know that this is what they seek, some do and don’t know how to get there. The difficulty is that this journey is different for all of us. Similar? Yes. Different? Yes. Because we are all see things differently, we interpret our experiences differently. Yet we are all human beings.
This morning I want to examine what it is that makes a life worth living.


Sunday May 16, 2021
"YES! to Diversity"
Rev. Chris Andrews

Annelinde Metzner, piano


Rev. Chris Andrews is a Creation Spirituality theologian. He is a minister connected to Jubilee! in Asheville and leads a Jubilee! community in Baton Rouge. The defining marks of this accepting community are love and compassion, and all are welcomed regardless of creed, color, orientation, or any other label.


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

Annelinde Metzner, piano
Second Sundays Music: Sue Stone, guitar and voice


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.


"Music has been a part of my life since the beginning - piano since starting lessons at age 7, singing in choirs and community choruses, teaching myself guitar at 35, singing for church and community events and leading sing-alongs at nursing homes. I even took a detour into mountain dulcimer when I lived in Arkansas. I live in an ecovillage, and love the mountains, gardening and bird-watching."
Sue Stone


Sunday May 2, 2021
"The Ripple Effects of Simple Actions"
David Roth

Annelinde Metzner, piano

We are happy to welcome David Roth back to our virtual pulpit for a sermon-in-song.

David Roth is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, and enthusiastic instructor who has taken his songs, experience, and expertise to a wide variety of venues in this and other countries full-time for more than three decades. His work has found its way to Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the Kennedy Center, Peter, Paul, & Mary and Kingston Trio CDs, the Kerrville and Falcon Ridge Folk Festivals (top honors at both “Emerging Artist” competitions), NASA’s Goddard Space Center (his song “Rocket Science” sailed on the space shuttle Atlantis in 2009), the Rise Up Singing and Rise Again (sequel) songbooks, and 15 CDs on the Wind River and Stockfisch (Germany) labels. The former artist-in-residence at New York’s Omega Institute has taught singing, songwriting, and performance at Summersongs (NY ~ where he serves as Executive Director), the Augusta Heritage workshops (WV), Common Ground on the Hill (MD), the Woods Dance & Music Camp (Ontario), WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week (NH), Moab Folk Camp (UT), Rowe Center (MA), Pendle Hill (PA), Lamb’s Retreat (MI), the National Wellness Institute (WI), the Swannanoa Gathering (NC), and for many other songwriting groups and associations around the country. David is also creator of the Cape Cod Songwriters Retreat and organizer/host of the Cape’s Full Moon Open Mic which since 2005 has provided a forum for musicians to connect and be heard while at the same time collecting donations (cumulatively nearing $16,000 to date) for local non-profits to help neighbors in need.

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 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 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.