February 2019 Newsletter
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Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
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This month's theme: Trust
A Letter from Your Lead Minister
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.          –Stephen R. Covey

Dear Folks,
Welcome to February and to our monthly theme of Trust. If Stephen Covey was right in saying that trust is the glue of life, then it’s no wonder that we’ve all felt a little–or perhaps more than a little–unglued in recent months. When I first began this letter, we were on day 33 of a government shutdown.

When the powers that be betray us at the highest levels of our society, we feel as though we have little recourse, but our power lies not only in speaking up against travesties of justice but also in uniting in favor of a system that upholds our Unitarian Universalist Principles...


Rev. Sadler
Guest Speaker and New BLACK LIVES MATTER Banner Dedication* Sunday, February 17th
( A Combined Service for Salisbury and University Gatherings)
Join us for a special service with author and professor Dr. Rodney Sadler on Sunday, February 17th, at the University Gathering.

Dr. Sadler is an Associate Professor at UNION-PSCE and Associate Professor of Bible at Union Presbyterian Seminary. He is also the forme r Assistant Project Director at the Congress of National Black Churches. He will speak on the intersection of black history, social justice, and where we need to go as people in this world today. Join us for the service and for a dedication of our new BLM (Black Lives Matter) Banner immediately following the service.

*Following the dedication of the banner, we will take a group photo.
Yeshe
Vajra Romance – Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon
A Saturday Workshop on Feb. 23rd, 2:00 p.m. at Piedmont UU Church University Gathering
Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal will introduce the practice of Nyi-da Mélong, a Dzogchen tantra which through practice in our daily lives gives rise to the poignant possibility of remaining in love indefinitely and ultimately being in love with everything.

Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal is a teaching disciple of Ngak'chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, holders of the Aro gTér, a Dzogchen lineage whose unusual characteristics make it singularly appropriate for many Westerners. The Aro gTér Tradition is principally concerned with transforming our experience of everyday being, rather than achieving an esoteric or spiritualized mode of existence.

Freely offered—no charge
Piedmont Meditation Sangha: 413-358-2626
Volunteers -- Migrant Assistance Project
Migrant Assistance Project
Update from Vivian Lord

For January, our shift alone, Tuesday 6:40 PM, we helped 44 people who included 20 children ranging from infant to adolescent. These families are from Guatamala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicauragua. We have had 18 volunteers primarily from Piedmont UU Church (Vivian's brother and two people who wanted to see how the "pros" set up). Doug and Pat Wall are becoming regulars! And an enormous amount of supplies from the entire Piedmont UU congregation, which is so appreciated. Please keep it up! 

Information that we learned from the Migrant Plight presentation:
Charlotte Greyhound bus station is the largest hub between Washington DC and Atlanta. The migrants are currently being denied entry, given a number and have to wait on the Mexican side for 2-3 months, but some are entering across the Rio Grande in Texas.  When they are let in to the Texas detention centers, the family unit often first spends a minimum of 72 hours in the "ice box" and then the "dog pound" (so called by the migrants–not hard to imagine why the names). The migrants, who eventually come through Charlotte, are then housed in Karnes or Dilley detention centers, which are in the middle of nowhere, but relatively comfortable. They, as most, are run by GEO-for profit. There are support volunteers, and attorneys who help the migrants prepare for their "Credible Fear interview," reasonable probability that they will be persecuted in their home country based on specific criteria (these have been narrowed since Trump.) These interviews are done by Asylum officers by phone with translators 1-3 weeks after they are put into the Detention Centers. If they are allowed to remain in the US with a sponsor while awaiting their "removal hearing," they must wear an ankle monitor sometimes for the entire time (2+ years). When released from the detention center and awaiting their bus journey, they are given nothing. A Respite Center is operated by volunteers who feed and provide them a place and pad to sleep on. Once at their destination, they must keep up with their court dates as well as reporting to ICE, almost impossible without an immigration attorney.

Charlotte has one of the worst records for immigrants. The judges here deport 85%, while up north, the judges only deport about 15%
Service Time Changes in 2019
Stay tuned for information regarding new service times beginning in March!
Social Justice Issues in which YOU want to be involved in 2019
Unitarian Universalists strive to reduce harm to the world and its people by intentionally learning, and partnering with groups who serve those most impacted by injustice. The Social Justice Collaboration at Piedmont UU strives to gain 100% membership involvement. To meet this goal, we want your input into the Social Justice Issues that you feel most passionate to learn more, provide service and/or resources, and/or actively become an advocate. Visit https://goo.gl/forms/CDBMmKQzCQN3qJIv1 to take the survey.
Improvements around the University Campus

Thanks to a very kind volunteer (non-member friend of our congregation), our long broken fence is now mended and our Meeting House door knobs have been replaced with a more accessible-friendly lever handle. You may have noticed that two storm doors were removed from the kitchen and parking lot entry areas of the Meeting House. Thanks to Sam Treadaway for completing that project. Removing those doors makes for an easier and safer entry and exit.

You will continue to see improvements around our campus in the months ahead. Details matter, and we want to be good stewards of the property as well as make the best possible impression on visitors as well as members. Thanks to those who made contributions to our Piedmont UU Church “30th Birthday” fund in 2018. One of the next projects will be improvements to the Meeting House restroom. It’s not too late if you’d like to make a donation to help with improvements.

Grateful and excited about the new year,
Rev. Mary Frances
B&G Collage
Meet Up with UUs at HKonJ

On Saturday, February 9, 2019, hundreds of UUs from all across North Carolina will join 100,000 women, children, and men in Raleigh for the 13th annual HKonJ Moral March & People's Assembly to rededicate ourselves to the cause of justice and democracy, and call on our elected government officials to "give life the shape of justice" by implementing the HKonJ Coalition's 14 Point Agenda and the demands of the Poor People's Campaign of North Carolina. 

Here's the plan:

UUs are invited to gather between 8:30 and 9:30 am near the corner of South Street and S. Salisbury St. in Raleigh for the pre-march rally (9:00 - 10:00 am). Bring your congregational banners, wear your yellow Stand With Love (or blue UU Forward Together) tee-shirt, and make a justice sign (or pick up one of our rainbow UU Forward Together signs).

HKonJ Moral March & People's Assembly (10:00 am - 12:30 pm).
UU Forward Together Gathering (12:30 pm - 2:30 pm) at Christ the King Presbyterian Church, 117 S. West St., Raleigh with a light lunch, worship, singing, networking, and more! We'll be joined by 50 or 60 UUs from All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC (and other UU congregations in the Viriginia and Maryland suburbs). Non-UU guests who are coming to HKonJ with you are also invited to attend if they register for the gathering. During the gathering we'll learn how UUs in North Carolina can work with the Reeb Voting Rights Project, the North Carolina Poor People's Campaign, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, and UU Forward Together on voting rights, gun violence, immigrant justice, health care, and other important issues in the coming year.

The registration deadline has passed to attend the UU HKonJ Gathering after the march and rally. (There's no need to register if you're coming to the HKonJ Moral March and Peoples Assembly but can't stay for the UU HKonJ Gathering.)
February Pancake Dinner
Wednesday, February 27th, 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 .

Piedmont UU Church Financial Health: December 2018

December Income $18,021
December Expense ($30,896)
December Cash Flow ($12,875)

Year to Date Income $253,794
Year to Date Expense ($200,684)
Year to Date Cash Flow $53,111

Note: A gift of $5,000 was sent to the UUA at the end of December. 

THANK YOU for creating and sustaining not only a very stable but also a very successful year in terms of our finances! We ended 2018 on a very positive note and are moving into 2019 with that same positive, generous spirit. 
Onward and forward from a place of abundance!
–Rev. Mary Frances
Board of Trustees Meeting – January 17, 2019

Highlights
  • The BOT will hold a board retreat on Saturday, January 26, 2019.
  • The BOT has scheduled a church leadership retreat that will include the board and leaders of all committees and teams on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
  • The Installation Service for Rev. Mary Frances on December 30, 2018, was a very successful and memorable event.
  • The church’s financial condition at the beginning of 2019 is improved over the beginning of 2018 and the beginning of 2017.

Board members Becky Schisler, Glen McLaughlin, Sam Treadaway, Anne Laukaitis, Lou Gardiner-Parks, Lynne Godfrey, and Merry Overholser.

Thanks
  • The Board of Trustees thanked Krissa Palmer for delivering food donations to the Student Food Pantry at UNC Charlotte in January.
  • The board thanked Vivian Lord for her work in organizing assistance for immigrants stopping in Charlotte on their way north.
  • The board thanked all of the members who assisted with the Installation Service for Rev. Mary Frances on December 30, 2018.
February Services
10:30 a.m. at the Salisbury Gathering
11:15 a.m. at the University Gathering 
Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

"Studying the Unitarian Universalist Fifth Principle"
Salisbury Gathering, Bob Voelker, guest speaker
Today, Bob Voelker will lead us in an interactive sermon on our Fifth Principle: The Right of Conscience and the Use of the Democratic Process within our congregations and in society at large.

"The Glue of Life: Answering the Call of Love"
University Gathering, Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Stephen R. Covey states: "Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships."         
Sunday, February 10th, 2019

“Showing Up for the Muse”
Salisbury Gathering, Sam Treadaway, guest speaker
Recently, I spoke about how we find wisdom in those we encounter in our everyday lives. But often the answers to the most important (and most persistent) questions we confront are found from within. How is it possible to heed that still small voice while immersed in today’s very loud, chaotic world?

“A Bag of Trust”
University Gathering, Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Our monthly theme for February is Trust. Today we consider the combined wisdom of author George MacDonald and poet, Maya Angelou. MacDonald wrote: “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved,” and Angelou encouraged us to “have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” Join us as we consider the relationship between love and trust and our own capacity to trust others
Sunday, February 17th, 2019

“Black Lives Matter”
Combined Service at the University Gathering, Rev. Mary Frances Comer and guest speaker Dr. Rodney Sadler
Today, Rev. Mary Frances is honored to share the pulpit with Dr. Rodney Sadler, Associate Professor at UNION-PSCE and Associate Professor of Bible at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Rodney is also the former Assistant Project Director at the Congress of National Black Churches. He will speak on the intersection of black history, social justice, and where we need to go as people in this world today. Join us for the service and for a dedication of our new BLM (Black Lives Matter) Banner immediately following the service.
Sunday, February 24th, 2019

"Trust — A Buddhist's View"
Salisbury Gathering, Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal, guest speaker
…an interesting concept to our Western trained minds where we question everything and fall into a well of despair when the answer we have settled upon unsettles us.
Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal, a teaching disciple of Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, the lineage holders of the Aro gTér, will speak about how her failed concepts taught her about trust.

The Aro gTér is a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist lineage whose unusual characteristics make it singularly appropriate for many Westerners. The Aro gTér Tradition is principally concerned with transforming our experience of everyday being, rather than achieving an esoteric or spiritualized mode of existence. Our aim is to engender cheerful courage, perceptive consideration, sincere determination, natural gallantry, graciousness, creativity, and spaciousness.

"Trusting the Journey"
University Gathering, Piedmont UU Church Board of Trustees
Join us today as our Board of Trustees members lead our service on the February and March themes of Trust and Journey!
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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