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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

the work of a church


Here's our minister, Rev. Michael Carter.  I don't know how many other white congregations have a black minister, especially in Southeaster US...but we do.  We're currently working to be able to have a full time minister in the next 5 years.  At this point we have increased Rev. Michael's time from half time when he started a little over a year ago to 3/4 time now.

As a congregation that is tolerant, accepting, eager to help others, and diverse as all get out, we have lots of energy going different directions.  We are proud to be a Green Sanctuary, and a Welcoming Congregation to all LGBT folks. We look hard and seriously at racial issues since Rev. Michael has been here.  We look hard and seriously at many issues that require standing up against injustices.

I'm on the Board of Trustees this year, and for at least another one following, and I have the office of Secretary to the Board.  I also sing in the choir...when my coughing is under control. This week I'm helping while the Office Administrator is on vacation.

Each week I meet new people and welcome them to become part of this growing community.  And most important, I see friends who have become close in the 6 years I've been here.  I've jumped in and done several interesting and sometimes challenging tasks for the congregation.  Now I'm trying to keep my activities in balance with my physical limits.

Look at the pretty red and white cloth that is on a table under the daffodils.  The cloth was made by women who are members of our Partner Church in Transylvania (now Romania, but formerly Hungary.)  The Unitarian Church is the official church in the tiny town where our Partner Church is located.  There are very few members in that church, and the town is gradually diminishing as well.  Nobody knows how long they will continue to have their visiting minister come on the long and poorly paved road to give them any services.  Our women's group has had an annual "yard sale" that is much more than that term, in order to raise funds to support our partner church.

Our church is on a growth swing at this point.  We are moving toward renovations and improvements to the building, as well as more programming for the interests of the community.  I'm glad to be part of a monthly LUUnch bUUnch, a discussion group that Rev. Michael facilitates.  He and another member have also provided a weekly evening series of classes about Transcendentalism (which had a lot of Unitarians in that movement.).  Another evening program has been a monthly series of videos and discussion of various TED talks, facilitated by various members (including myself.)

The latest interest for me is an upcoming series of classes called the "Wild Quest" for Women and Girls, focusing on the Divine Feminine.  (This class still has a few openings and starts next month.)

I encourage you to check out our web page if you want more information about our little congregation.   Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley (UUCSV)

But I'm not writing to proselytize.  (Hey I spelled that right the first time.)  Well maybe I am a little.  I have no idea who my readers are, if any live within driving distance, besides friends who either already go to this church, or maybe have their own faith homes.  I just talk about lots of things here on my blog, and today I felt like sharing this important part of my life.

How do I know it's important?  The amount of time I spend there - the rich relationships that are founded around activities and friends who I've made there - and my own spiritual growth which continues to have stimulation there.

Next Sunday a dear friend, Cathy Holt, will give a workshop on Heart Speak, a way to have improved communication at 1 pm (March 23).  I'm looking forward to immersing myself in this, to remind myself of things I probably already know, but could sure use a refresher course.

The service on Sunday morning on the 23 will be by another dear friend, H. Byron Ballard, who will give us a real Pagan celebration of the earth changes that this season brings.

Tuesday night is a program with Rev. Michael talking about membership.  He may show the DVD I've seen before about a church that grew and grew and grew.  Honestly, I would be happy to stay about this size, maybe twice the current number in members, but that's about as much as I can feel comfortable with.  I already don't know all the people who are members...and I know that's going to continue unless I'm busy after church on Sundays meeting many of the newcomers.  They are our growth, our life as an organization, and besides, I find such interesting people come to UUCSV!

I also hope more young families with children will check out our liberal religious education.

I raised all three of my sons (from the 70s till the 90s) in Unitarian Universalist congregations.  It was really important for me to have them learn about all world religions before they chose as young adults what they would believe in for their own spiritual paths.  This just doesn't happen in any other church that I know of.

Why would any parent not want their child to have all the information available for this important choice?  I hear uproar coming from those who are firm believers that theirs is the ONLY WAY.  Do you know how many people are now UU's who were raised in that "Only Way" system?  Think about it for a moment.

You can subscribe to our weekly news (Current) and our monthly Newsletter on line...in case you want to know more about what is going on.

Lee and Robert
These goofy guys (and their wives and children) were among those who first started our congregation about 14 years ago.  We moved into this building 10 years ago July.  I'm gathering up some of our history in the stories of the first people who started the organization, to honor their efforts, and to record their words for archives.










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