When to Call the Minister

As the church year and the school year wind down, as things get somewhat less busy (I know, it’s wishful thinking!), it seemed like a good time to post my annual reminder of When to Call the Minister — or when to contact a Pastoral Visitor. There is a Pastoral Visitor on call every week, and that information is posted in the order of service and our This Loving Community (TLC) email blast. Also, stop by the Congregational Care table on Sundays and you’ll find cards to sign for congregants who may be experiencing a crisis or hospitalization.

  • When you don’t know your minister, but would like to…
  • When you are facing a problem with your job, children, parents or anything or anyone else where a sympathetic conversation might be helpful…
  • When you’ve lost your job…
  • When you’re considering a new career…
  • When you’re having trouble in your relationship or marriage…
  • When someone you know is interested in the church…
  • When you’d like to invite a friend to church but you’re not sure how to go about it…
  • When there is illness or hospitalization. Remember that hospitals can no longer legally notify a church when you are in the hospital. We won’t be able to visit and offer support if you don’t let us know you’ve been hospitalized…
  • When someone close to you has died, is critically ill, is struggling or is facing an operation…
  • When there is a wedding planned…
  • When you are considering a divorce…
  • When you must make an important decision…
  • When you are pregnant and glad you are or wish you weren’t. When you would like to have children but can’t.
  • When you feel ready to join UUCA…
  • When you are unhappy about UUCA…
  • When you are delighted with UUCA…
  • When you need someone to talk with in confidence…
  • When you are facing a religious struggle…
  • When you have religious questions…
  • When you want to have your child dedicated…
  • When you are feeling joyful and want to share your joy…

Remember, we are a congregation that cares for one another, and these are some of the ways we do that.

See you on Sunday!

Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper, Associate Minister

 

 

 

 

Where Do We Come From?

These lines, from one of our most well-known UU hymns, also circumscribe the questions we have explored–and keep asking– about our program of religious education and the wider role of faith development at UUCA. At the end of three years as your Director of Lifespan Religious Education, I believe the work of a shared answer to these questions is the most essential task before you as a congregation.

 

More coming soon from your favorite Director of Lifespan Religious Education!

Thoughts On Inspiration

The Board of Trustees recently wrapped up our Values Project. With the help of the congregation, we identified UUCA’s core values. Connection, Inspiration, Compassion, and Justice express who we are and guide what we do. Wow! We are such an awesome community! I love the fact that we value INSPIRATION!
What does it mean to be inspired? Where do we get inspiration, and how can it guide what we do? The sermon and worship service each week is one source of inspiration for a congregation. Here at UUCA we are blessed with gifted ministers and talented members who get us thinking and engaged. The music and readings can motivate us with the beauty and wisdom imparted. Sitting together, in community, can be inspiring. Knowing that there are like-minded people that we can lean on and learn from is energizing!
By volunteering in our congregation, we can gain inspiration from and encourage others. Have you ever worked with youth in RE or served on a committee at UUCA? If so, you know how these things can strengthen your spirituality beyond belief. If not, I certainly hope you will feel INSPIRED to do so. You don’t have to be “good” at these things to do them. Your community needs you, expert or not! And you will be pleasantly surprised by how much more you receive than give.
Most of us are also inspired by the natural world. The sense of awe and wonder that a sunset gives can be moving beyond words. The circle of life, with its beauty and pain, can give rise to a greater understanding of our world, and ourselves. And while we are inspired BY Mother Nature, we are also moved to care for our environment, to protect this amazing planet for our future generations. In this way, our value of inspiration could very well save the world!
Figure out what inspires you and how you can be an inspiration to others. Share it. Teach it. We have decided that this community values and needs the creativity, insight, and vision of each of us in order to strengthen us as a whole. Let’s really live this value and give the gift of inspiration to each other and the larger community.

Mariah Wright, Board of Trustees

Thank You For “What’s Happening”

In my role of Sabbatical Coordinator, one of the things I do is to put together a report for the Board of Trustees on all the work that staff has been doing with the Congregation over the past month. Although I had received these reports from Mark when I was on the Board in the past, I now realize that he has always had to really distill what is happening since there’s so much great work going on in our Congregation. As I put together the “What’s Happening” report over the past week, I was struck that sometimes as we are so busy that we need to pause, smile at how lucky we are and say Thank You to everyone who helps out in the work of the Congregation. You folks are amazing.

So go ahead and indulge and reward yourself. Go outside, sit in the grass and take in the beauty of the Asheville spring. Mara and I are particularly thankful to the Pastoral Visitors who, a year ago, came and sat with her as she was dealing with a brain tumor in Mission Hospital. I’m sure each of you has a story of thankfulness for acts of kindness or compassion, inspiration or insight, someone going out of their way to help. Take just a moment out and feel good if you’ve been on either the giving or receiving end. Feel better? Good, you deserve it!

John Bates-Sabbatical Convenor

 

Words Worth Repeating

Sometimes, someone else says what you want to say so precisely that it isn’t worth trying to reinvent the wheel. I recently came across a terrific article by Erin Wathen about volunteering in church (Joy also posted it in the RE News. It’s that good!).

The article is provocatively titled, Your Church Does Not Need Volunteers. “What??” you say! That’s crazy. That’s not true! It’s not a short article, so I will excerpt some key points in this blog. If you’d prefer to read it start to finish, click on the article title above.

I know I’m not the only one who cringes when someone sees me, without kids in tow, and asks if my husband is “babysitting.” Well, no. I mean, yes, he is at home with the kids tonight. But I do not think you can effectively say “babysitting” when it is your own dang kid. I’d say we could just call that parenting.

I feel the same when people talk about “volunteering” at church. And yes, I know it’s just a word. But it’s the wrong word, for a lot of reasons…

…I balk at the secular nature of what it means to volunteer. To volunteer means that you are an outside resource, stepping in to help an organization in need. Volunteering is what we do when we pick up trash at the park, or build a house with Habitat, or help sort food at the local food pantry. Volunteering is what I do at my kids’ school on Fridays.

In other words, it’s what you do at a place that is important to you–but not at a place that belongs to you…

…You cannot volunteer at your own church, in the same way you cannot babysit your own kid. Because the church belongs to you in the same way your family does. It’s your own place, your own people. So of course you help take care of it. Of course you do yard work and make coffee and teach the kids and sing in the choir and whatever all else it is you do for the home and the people that you love…

…Ultimately, the language of volunteerism is secular, and more to the point, it is corporate. The notion is rooted in consumer culture, in which we can swoop in and give or take a measure that we deem fit, and then dart out again feeling we have done our part. We do a disservice to our faith, and to the gospel itself, when we reduce the work of the church to something you can mark on a time card…

…Call it serving. Call it discipleship. Call it the priesthood of believers, or mission, or the ministry that we all share together. Admittedly, “Priesthood of Believers” does not look great on a t-shirt. And it maybe doesn’t invite visitors to ask you where the bathrooms are… But whatever we do, we should remember that we don’t just belong to the church–it belongs to us.

And we do not babysit that which is ours.

Truly, what more can I say? What a beautiful and powerful way to articulate what the congregation means to us. It is ours. It belongs to us.

May it be ever so.

So Many Ways to Show Up for Faith Development

As we move toward the end of the regular church year, the calendar really fills up. We wanted to give you a short list of the special events coming up in RE so you can save the dates! You are invited to show up, share, support and sustain the ministry of faith development at UUCA for any and all of the following:

Gather for our final All Ages Worship, celebrating Earth Day, this Sunday 4/23

Join in witnessing a rite of passage: our graduating seniors’ Bridging ceremony on 5/14

Celebrate our Coming of Age students in a special worship service sharing their credos on 5/21
 
Plan for and recruit leaders (especially children and youth to share their skills!)
for Mission: Makers, our Summer Sundays programming
 
Create the teams of helpers and teachers needed for Fall faith development offerings:

9:15 All Ages RE, 11:15 Spirit Play Storytellers/Centers, and 11:15 4th-12th grade classes

Join in considering how we can reduce and limit our religious education offerings so that there is a better match between what is offered and what the congregation can support: look for an opportunity to share in that conversation

Joy Berry, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

How Am I Doing?

As a former New Yorker this phrase is firmly associated in my mind with Mayor Koch who loved to ask it – particularly when his ratings were favorable. Less so when he wasn’t doing that well. It’s the question many of us encounter in a variety of settings but for sure in our annual employment review process. It’s a particularly tricky one when we consider ministry.

The role of a called minister in a large congregation is complex and multi-faceted. The expectations outlined in the Letter of Call encompass a wide range of responsibilities. Any effective review process for a called minister needs to be broad enough to assure an accurate performance review yet not become daunting or cumbersome. To conduct an ongoing ministerial review process the Board has created the standing Task Force on Ministerial Review.

The Task Force on Ministerial Review is composed of five members of the congregation, serving staggered two-year terms. Members of the current Task Force are Wendy Seligmann, Chair, Nora Carpenter, Laura Hansen, John McGrann, and Amy Moore.

Ministerial reviews will be an ongoing annual process with focus on half of the areas of responsibilities as outlined in the minister’s Letter of Call each year so that all areas of responsibility receive a biennial review. Areas that will be under review this year are: worship, rites of passage, pastoral care, spiritual development, and leading the faith into the future.  After the review process is completed the minister will advise the Board of his/her specific biennial goals for the areas of responsibilities most recently reviewed. These goals will form the basis for the next review of these areas.

It is not the purpose of this Task Force to mediate individual complaints regarding one of the ministers. A congregational member with an issue regarding one of the ministers is encouraged to discuss the matter directly with the minister. If the member feels uncomfortable doing this, they may contact the Board President who will follow the policy regarding complaints to the Board as outlined in the Governance Document Section II Board of Trustees, Policy K.

Kay Aler-Maida, UUCA Board President