April 2019 Newsletter
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Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
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This month's theme: Wholeness
A Letter from Your Lead Minister
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
We need to see...that what we seek already lives within us and we within it. Now we know our one great task: watch for whatever promises us freedom, and then quietly, consciously refuse to see ourselves through the eyes of what we know is incomplete. Then we live wholeness itself, instead of spending our lives looking for it. ~Guy Finley

Dear Folks,
Welcome to spring and to our monthly theme of WHOLENESS. I believe Guy Finley is correct in that what we seek in our search for wholeness already lives inside us. The answers we look for with a gaze fixed upon things outside ourselves can certainly bring us knowledge or even wisdom, but there is a certain wholeness that can only be experienced when we are in touch with our deepest selves — from the core of who we are.

Take moments to check in with yourself this month...

A Covenant of Right Relations
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Greetings, Beloved Community.
Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal faith. “We covenant to affirm and promote” the Seven Principles. We also create covenants of purpose in forming churches--as when ours was formed long ago. The Covenant of Purposes names what we pledge to do or offer as a church. It’s part of who we are...

Creating New Spaces: Meet the Yurt!
Becky Schisler, Board of Trustees President
Illustration of a Yurt
It has long been a dream of the Piedmont Progressive Preschool to be able to expand their enrollment to include a multi-age or transitional kindergarten class. Because the classrooms within the church building house the three classes the school already offers, another space is needed. A creative and functional solution currently being explored in detail is the possible construction of a yurt on church grounds...

Social Justice Survey Results

Thank you to the 40+ individuals who responded to our Social Justice Survey. We asked you to rank your interest in eight areas. Your three top choices were, in order, 
#1 - Earth Justice 
#2 - Refugee and Migrant Justice, and 
#3 - Race Justice and Xenophobia

The other choices were homelessness, literacy education, food security, LGBTQIA+ issues, and personal/interpersonal violence. You’ve completed the survey. Now what?

Please plan to attend a service on April 28th, Social Justice Sunday. On that day, I will mix my sociology and ministry hats to offer a sermon on the intersectionality of these critical issues. Following the service, the Social Justice Team invites you to a Listening Session, followed by a potluck at the University Gathering and a film showing at the Salisbury Gathering.

We look forward to your participation in “giving life the shape of justice.”
Mom's Demand Action

On April 10th, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers from all over the state will converge in Raleigh at the General Assembly, advocating for stronger gun safety laws, with our focus on the newly proposed Extreme Risk Protection Order bill and ensuring that NC Senate Bill 192 does not allow our teachers to be armed in the classroom.

Please RSVP here: https://every.tw/2TiG675 

We strongly encourage carpooling, for those outside the Triangle. You do not need to be present for the entire day, but if possible, please be available for the afternoon portion, beginning at 12pm at the General Assembly. We also have free housing options, if needed!  

Starting at 9am, we will welcome folks at the Church of the Good Shepard, located within walking distance from the General Assembly, where we’ll hear from speakers from our Survivor Network, Students Demand Action, and Moms Demand Action volunteers, as well as from Representatives Clark and Morey, co-sponsors of HB86. In addition to having opportunities to view the survivor quilt, and write legislative Thank You notes, volunteers will be offered training on speaking with State Legislators directly from our Everytown State Legislative Affairs Team.

Midday, we will have an enormous group volunteer photo in front of the assembly and then the fun begins: scheduled meetings with elected officials! Finally, at 2pm we’ll be welcomed into the House Gallery, where Moms and Students Demand Action volunteers will be acknowledged from the floor. While lunch will be on your own, there will be plenty of guidance provided throughout the day. Please wear your Moms or Students RED shirt. If you do not have one, we will have some for you!

Finally, while we really do want to see you in Raleigh, if you cannot make it, please consider writing a letter of support.

Please let me know if you have any questions, at all.  
Teresa Rowell can be reached at tchristinerowell@gmail.com

An Invitation from ADORE (A Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity)...

Levine Museum of the New South Field Trip - Join us on April 20th for a trip to Levine to hear historian, Dr. Will Griffin, offer a lecture related to issues of racism and Civil Rights in the south. The speaker is reserved for our group, and his presentation also includes the price of regular admission. For only $10, you'll be able to tour the museum as well as hear the presentation by the historian. Please RSVP to adore@puuc.org early for planning purposes.

Here’s a bit about Dr. Griffin from the Levine Museum website:
Dr. Willie Griffin is a civil rights scholar, educator and Charlotte native. recently served as Assistant Professor of African American History at The Citadel. He holds a doctorate in U.S. history from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he produced a groundbreaking biography of Trezzvant W. Anderson, an unsung Charlotte native, journalist and remarkable national civil rights figure. Griffin also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history and African American studies from Morgan State University and Morehouse College respectively.
April Pancake Dinner
Wednesday, April 24th, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
University Gathering Sanctuary

Join us for food and fellowship at the next Pancake Dinner. For questions about dietary restrictions, email Ali at  all.star@mac.com .

Upcoming Membership Events

April 24th at 6:30 - Newcomer Orientation at the University Gathering
Come at 5:30 for pancakes, and stay for this information session led by our minister. RSVP to membership@puuc.org.

May 5th - New Member Recognition Service
If you are a newer member who has not participated in a new member service, please RSVP to membership@puuc.org to be a part of this special day, to sign our membership book, and to receive a token of our appreciation for your presence.

Save the Date: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Presentation
University Gathering

Please join us at 11am on April 28, following the service at University Gathering for an hour on gun violence prevention by Charlotte Group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense leaders Shannon Scruggs and Grace McClain. Shannon and Grace will explain how we can all "Be SMART" in our homes and communities, and let us know what's being done right now in North Carolina to prevent gun violence and make us all safer. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. Moms Demand Action campaigns for new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. Moms Demand Action has established a chapter in every state of the country and, along with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Students Demand Action and the Everytown Survivor Network, it is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with almost 6 million supporters. 
Find out more online at https://momsdemandaction.org
For more information, you may also contact Teresa Rowell.
Before and After Brush Removal Photo
Piedmont UU Church Financial Health: February 2019

February Income   $18,819
February Expense  ($21,046)
February Cash Flow   ($2,227)

Year to Date Income   $53,733   22.5% of FY
Year to Date Expense  ($37,553)  14.0% of FY
Year to Date Cash Flow   $16,180
Highlights of Board of Trustees Meeting, March 21, 2019
The board is planning a leadership retreat on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., to which 33 church leaders of teams and committees, as well as members of the board, have been invited.

The Meditation/Memorial Garden Committee reported on progress with developing policies for the garden and preparing a brochure.

The board thanked the following members:
  • Michael Demby, Building and Grounds Team Leader, and other members who worked on building and grounds improvements on March 9. They also thanked the PPP parents who helped on that day.
  • Vivian Lord, Social Justice Team Leader, and all members who have assisted with the Immigrant Project.
  • Lucy Neel, for her work in establishing a Fellowship Team for Sunday morning refreshments after the service.

Board of Trustee members Becky Schisler, Glen McLaughin, Sam Treadaway, Anne Laukaitis, Lou Gardiner-Parks, Lynne Godfrey and Merry Overholser. 
Minister's Report to Board of Trustees, March 21, 2019
In her Minister’s Report to the Board of Trustees on March 21, 2019, Rev. Mary Frances thanked the following members:

  • Becky Schisler for her work on planning the leadership retreat. We have had two planning sessions and have secured a retreat location offsite.
  • Lou Gardiner-Parks for his excellent work in his new role as Treasurer on the Board of Trustees.
  • Lou Gardiner-Parks and Anne Laukaitis for their work in honoring Margaret Edwards in the form of a dedication and plaque.
  • Teresa Rowell for sharing from her leadership in Moms Demand Action and for securing a speaker to share with us around issues of gun violence and safety.
  • Elaine Deck for helping lead a service in Salisbury and to Alan Davis and Teresa Rowell and Erik Hake for volunteering to assist once per month with music in Salisbury.
  • Michael Demby for his leadership in Building and Grounds.
  • Elaine Slaton for her outstanding work around policies.
  • Karen Dutton for her attention to detail and work on researching sustainable candle options for our services.
  • Vivian Lord for the follow-up work after our social justice survey and for arranging a guest to share more information with us on March 31st.
  • Deb and Ali for their dedicated service.
  • Our interview team as we seek to fill the position of Music Director in the near future.
  • The entire Meditation/Memorial Garden Committee for their ongoing work.
  • Lucy Neel for her coffee scheduling and fellowship planning.

April Services
9:45 a.m. at the University Gathering
12:30 p.m. at the Salisbury Gathering
Sunday, April 7th, 2019

“What is Your Spiritual Algorithm?”
Sam Treadaway, guest speaker
We cherish diversity. So much so, that it is espoused and celebrated in our church's mission statement. As we explore the theological theme of wholeness in April, how can one church serve all the varied needs while intentionally casing a pretty wide net when it comes to its congregants? But first, assisted by Siri and Alexa, we must map out our own personal spiritual journeys.
Sunday, April 14th, 2019

"The Paradox of Wholeness"
University Gathering, Rev. Amy Brooks, guest speaker
The idea of being whole suggests completeness or perfection but what if that isn't the case? Wendell Berry writes "We . . . come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of ones partiality". Let's us explore this paradox to see what wisdom it might hold for us.

“For the Good of Humanity"
Salsibury Gathering, Shakeisha Gray , guest speaker
We welcome Shakeisha Holton Gray who will share her experiences from the Humanist Collaboratory 2019 and talk about what it means to see humanism in action.
Sunday, April 21st, 2019

“Beauty Blazing. Our Annual Flower Communion Service”
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Today is Easter Sunday, and it is also our annual ritual of Flower Communion during which time we celebrate new life, beauty, diversity, and community. Bring a flower or flowers today for our ritual of sharing and celebration.
Sunday, April 28th, 2019

“The Struggle to Be Whole; Social Justice Sunday”
University Gathering, Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Today we consider what makes us whole and what hurdles prevent many individuals from experiencing a full and joyful life. Today's focus is on the intersectionality around issues of social justice. Following today's service, the Social Justice Team invites you to a Listening Session followed by a potluck.

“The Struggle to Be Whole; Social Justice Sunday”
Salisbury Gathering, Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Today we consider what makes us whole and what hurdles prevent many individuals from experiencing a full and joyful life. Today's focus is on the intersectionality around issues of social justice. Following the service, members of the Social Justice Team invite you to a Listening and Planning Session.                                                                      

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Quick Links
Piedmont UU Church website:  www.puuc.org  
Piedmont UU Church blog:  https://puuc.org/blog
Contact Us: 
Ali Allen, Administrative Assistant --  ali@puuc.org  
Rev. Mary Frances Comer, Lead Minister--  maryfrances@puuc.org
Deb Davelka, Congregational Administrator --  deb@puuc.org
Dr. Carl DuPont, Music Director --  carl@puuc.org
Sean Glover, Religious Education Lead Teacher -- sean@puuc.org