Upcoming Sundays

Sunday February 23, 2020
"Prayer"
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter

This morning I would like to talk a bit about prayer. All genuine spiritual traditions talk about the practice of prayer. We have all heard the many pithy sayings about the act of prayer. A minister I knew in New York said that “prayer does not change things. Prayer changes people, and then people change things.” Some people have said that the difference between prayer and meditation is that prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening to God. I believe prayer and meditation are both talking and listening and you can define “God” any way you choose.

One thing is for certain, our words and thoughts reflect and affect our reality because quantum physics is just catching up to the fact very recently that thoughts are things. They are forms of energy.

Sunday March 8, 2020 11:00a.m.
"To Recieve Our Good"
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter

One evening a Hindu ascetic was just getting ready to sleep under a tree when he was approached by a villager who came running up to him asking that he give him a precious stone. “What stone” the ascetic asked? “Lord Shiva appeared to me in a dream last night and told me that if I came to this place at dusk tonight a very devout holy man would give me a precious stone that would make me unbelievably rich. The sannyasi rummaged in his bag for a moment and, smiling, said, Lord Shiva probably meant this one. I found it in the forest today and you certainly can have it. The villager gazed at the stone in wonder. It was as large as his fist and, even in the fading light, filled with luminosity. He took it and walked away. But, that night he couldn’t sleep. He was deeply troubled. Next morning at dawn he rushed back to the sannyasi, and thrust the diamond back into his hands. “I don’t want it,” he said. “What I want is whatever you have that makes it possible for you to give it away so easily.”

This story, brings us to the heart of stewardship. Stewardship is not primarily about money. It’s about gratitude and what we think we really deserve in order to make our goals and dreams a reality. It's Canvass Sunday. Let's talk.

Sunday March 15, 2020
"The Wit and Wisdom of Anne Lamott"
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter

Anne Lamott was born on April 10, 1954. She is an American novelist and non-fiction writer.

She is also a progressive political activist, public speaker, and writing teacher. Lamott is based in Marin County, California. Her nonfiction works are largely autobiographical. Marked by their self-deprecating humor and openness, Lamott's writings cover such subjects as alcoholism, single motherhood, depression, and Christianity. She is also a very profound and wise woman. I would like to share with you a bit of that wisdom by exploring her insights about life, death, family, relationships, and the writer's life.

Past Sundays

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Sunday, February 16, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
"Gandhi, Dr. King, and Buddhism on Suffering"
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter

My goal this morning is to provide you with a Christian and Buddhist  (and Hindu) understanding of suffering, using Dr. King to represent the Christian perspective. The Hindu perspective will come from Gandhi. In this way perhaps you may see suffering differently—your own as well as others, especially since suffering is not going anywhere anytime soon, and for those of you with an activist spirit, this may assist you in weathering the storms which most assuredly will come your way in your work. Bear in mind that although Dr. King learned this perspective from Gandhi, that unearned suffering is redemptive, this is still an Eastern teaching, as is Buddhism’s perspective on suffering. See you there!

Sunday, December 22, 2019 11:00 am
“Loving the Darkness, Loving the Light”
Rebecca Williams & Annelinde Metzner

In honor of the winter solstice, Rebecca Williams and Annelinde Metzner with members of the congregation will examine and celebrate the beauties of the two complementary poles of time and existence, the darkness and the light. Can we accept this beautiful duality without seeing one as good and one evil?

Join us as we center ourselves in the dark time of the year in our hemisphere.

Sunday, December 1, 2019  11:00 am
“Whose Inherent Worth?”
Rev. Robert Hughes

Who are we talking about when we “affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity…” Really? We  will consider who is included and reflect on some ways we might carry out the “affirming and promoting.”

Rev. Hughes is a retired UU minister who currently lives in Matthews, NC. He previously led worship here in May 2017. He has particular interests in therapeutic storytelling, holistic living, and enjoying his grandchildren.

Sunday, November 24, 2019, 11:00 am
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
A Seat At The Table

Music by the UUCSV Choir, Linda Metzner, Director

The year 2020 will mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower and the colonization of New England. This history is not entirely negative. There are aspects to be honored as well. The pilgrims are some of the people Unitarian Universalists recognize as forebears. Many churches established by pilgrims and early colonists in New England in the 1600s later became Unitarian Universalist churches. The pilgrims came to this country in search of religious freedom and provided models of community that have informed our understanding of living in covenent communities.

Let's explore the myths and realities of that first Thanksgiving, where we are today, and how we can make more room for all to have a seat at the table as we strive to create a "Beloved Community"  for this Thanksgiving Holiday, and for Thanksgiving Holidays to come.

Sunday, November 17, 2019, 11:00 am
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
Religion as Politics by Other Means

The idea of politics being informed by religion is a thorny one in American society. We were established as a secular democratic republic where religion and politics were meant to be kept separate. Science and religion were also distant cousins who rarely if ever spoke to one another.

It is the law that there shall be no established religion of the state, and all are free to practice their religion as they understand it, providing it does not transgress the laws of society. From the very beginning, however, and certainly continuing today, people’s religious convictions have been deeply intertwined with their political views and the establishment of law in this country. Let's explore what happens when religion becomes politics by other means.

Sunday, November 10, 2019, 11:00 am
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
War is Obsolete

Music by "The Black Mountain Community Band Sextet"
with Linda Tatsapaugh
Second Sunday Pot Luck Luncheon

I have heard it said that God created War so that Americans would learn geography. Our Emperor has been quoted as saying  that sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war. Perhaps. I have never attended West Point and so my insight is limited in these matters.

We have the most expensive and lethal military force in the world, but we face no existential threat; nonetheless, liberals and conservatives alike declare the defense budget sacred. It is difficult for me personally to believe that at the moment, ISIS, an organization that could not fill up a football stadium on a Sunday afternoon is the threat the media makes it out to be. Now that can change, but I’m not buying it for now. And yet we are here at another Veteran's Day Holiday. Let us take the time to explore honoring the warrior, and being against war. The nuclear clock is ticking....

Sunday, November 3, 2019, 11;00 am
Rev. Chris Andrews
“YOU Are So Needed!”

There has never been one like you in this world and there will never be another one after you’re gone. So, live your life in affirmation of your uniqueness. YOU MATTER and the world needs the gifts you bring to the fount of healing and wholeness.

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, October 27, 2019 11:00 am
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
Halloween, All Saints and All Souls

I thought it would be interesting to explore Halloween, and the Catholic Holy Days of All Saints and All Souls. We as UUs may not canonize or commemorate "saints" but we all have individuals who have touched our lives in some way, who have inspired us to create happiness and joy our own lives as we bear witness to theirs, for there is much truth to the adage that nothing is as motivating as a life well lived. With the help of a recovering Catholic friend of mine whose conversations prompted my exploration of this topic, I want to discuss the significance of Halloween, The Roman Catholic Holidays of All Saints and All Souls Day--- and if you will bear with me this Sunday, our Unitarian Universalist Faith. It promises to be quite the journey!

Sunday, October 20, 2019  11:00 am
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
"Langston Hughes

This Sunday I would like to present another biographical sermon. The person presented will be poet Langston Hughes. I loved his poetry growing up and was even fortunate enough to have met some individuals that had known him. In his younger days, his nomadic spirit led him to travel to Mexico, Africa, Japan, the Soviet Union, and other stops around the globe. Associating with political activists, patrons, and fellow artists, and drawing inspiration from both Walt Whitman and the vibrant African American culture which he loved so much, Hughes soon became the most original and revered of African American poets. Yet his life was not an easy one. He never amassed great sums of money, and he was called to testify before The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and senator Joe McCarthy, (as did W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson before him.)

In 1989 a resurgence of interest began for Langston Hughes and his works and at that time many young and gay African American men claimed him as their mentor and role model, although Hughes had died in 1967.  Hughes' sexuality continues to this day for many to be the source of much controversy.  It appears that like most human beings, Langston Hughes was many things to many people. Yet for sure he was a man, and we shall not look upon his like again. Join us as we explore the life and genius of Langston Hughes.