GCPC Weekly News | September 24, 2020

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GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
4th/5th Grade Connect Class
Youth Group
Socially distanced Staff Lunch!
YTL break time!
YTL study time
YTL study time
YTL study time
YTL study time
Worship Preview | Sunday, September 27, 2020
Sermon: "As the World Churns" by Marcia Mount Shoop
Scripture: Philippians 2:1-13

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday

2020 Blue Ridge Pride's Virtual Pride Celebration | Saturday, September 26 | 7 – 9 PM
Blue Ridge Pride is excited to announce that 2020 Pride is back on, just virtually. Back in May, after careful consideration from our Board of Directors, we determined as a result of COVID-19, community health, and social distancing, that we would cancel our plans for the Blue Ridge Pride Festival in downtown Asheville. However, we are pleased to announce that on Saturday, September 26 at 7 p.m., we will be hosting a live virtual broadcast of a PRIDE “festival” on Blue Ridge Pride Center’s Facebook page (@blueridgepridecenter).

Our Virtual Fest will have performances and drag shows by Marceline Mashic, Viktor Grimm, Ida Carolina, Jasmine Summers, Katarina Synclair, Alexis Black and more, representation from LGBT community partners, pre-recorded segments focusing on our community’s diversity, health, safety, activities, relationships, and live music featuring Latinx artist MAR.

Everyone is welcome! Do RSVP in our Event page and let us know you will be joining the celebration at facebook.com/blueridgepridecenter. It is free to sign up and attend for all. The Virtual Fest should last approximately two hours, but it could go longer depending on how much fun we have.
Dear Grace Covenant Community, 

Change is the nature of life--something we experience every day in more ways than we can count. But, that does not make change easy, even when changes always bring healing opportunities. 

I want you to know about a change on our GCPC staff that will take effect in December. Sherrie Meehan, our Operations Administrator since May 2016, will be retiring at the end of 2020.  

Sherrie has been a great team member, managing our renovation project and nurturing the remarkable uptick in building use pre-COVID19. She also supported my work as Head of Staff, especially around my efforts to create responsive systems for all of our administrative tasks. I am grateful for Sherrie's dedication to the ministries of this church and all of her hard work these last four and a half years. I know she is excited for the adventure of retirement even as she will miss her work in this community. 

I want you all to have time to send Sherrie a card, give her a call in the church office, or send her an email. With COVID 19 restrictions it won't be possible to see her face to face to share your appreciation for her work. So I hope you will make time these next several weeks to give her your heart-felt thanks! 

In the coming weeks you'll be hearing about new additions to our staff. I am grateful that Sherrie is putting energy into how our staff welcomes new staff members and transitions her tasks.  

Thank you, Sherrie! We love you and are grateful for all you do for GCPC! 

Peace,
Marcia 
Quilt Square Project
Hi GCPC Family,
Worship Council initiated a quilt square project so that when we come back together as a church family we will have a tangible reminder of the ways we found Grace during 2020. We would like to collect them by the end of this month so that our head quilt consultant (Lynne Noble) can forge ahead on designing a banner/final project using our squares. My family still has to do ours, but I have it out, with an idea, and the colors I want to use. Let's get those mailed to the church or dropped off in the mailbox. Better yet, you can drop off completed quilt squares to the church when you come through for the drive through drop off extravaganza on Saturday from 11-11:30!  If anyone still needs a square, please email me at Margaret@weavervillerealty.net or text me 828-506-2742 and we will see to it that you receive one! It's not too late to reflect your visual representation of how your family found grace in a pandemic.
~ Margaret Belk Tierney
There are still a few spots available for Reflection Groups on Sunday nights at 7pm from Oct. 4- Nov. 22 and for a couples group!

Grace Covenant's Session invites you to join in a 2020 study of Lalya Saad’s, Me and White Supremacy.
This 28-day study supports a deep and honest examination into the ways in which we, as a white-dominant congregation, consciously and unconsciously uphold white supremacy through action and inaction.

Click here to register and read about all the ways
to get involved.
Equal Exchange - No Contact Bulk Sales
*ENDING SOON!*

We are accepting orders of the in-stock products and will arrange for no contact pick up/payment during the building closure. You can find the current list of available products here or by going directly to http://bit.ly/EqualExchangeGCPC. If interested in purchasing, please email Natalie with the types and quantities of each from the inventory sheet that you'd like. She will respond with the total due, available pick up dates/times, and payment options. 

These orders will require a minimum of 1 case of coffee (6 bags) OR 1 case of chocolate bars (12 bars) per order. Pending availability, you can mix and match your favorites of each and add on additional items once the minimum has been reached.  
How to Access New Church Directory!
As you may have heard, our online Directory is now integrated with our new database software, Realm. Staff has finished updating profiles for the new Directory. Below you will find instructions for how to access the Directory both on a desktop and on the mobile app.

Desktop:
  1. Log in to Realm on your desktop. (Please email Anna Louise if you need to reset your password.)
  2. Click on Directory at the bottom of the left hand menu.
  3. Search for a person and click on their name to access more info.

Mobile App:
  1. On the bottom menu, click on More (with the 3 dots)
  2. Choose the first option, Groups
  3. Choose Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
  4. Click on the top bar that indicates 2,000+ participants
  5. Search for a person and click their name to access more info.

*If you do not have a Realm log in, our staff can provide a PDF version of the family directory. Please keep in mind, the Realm database will be the most accurate and updated version.
Recurring Weekly Zooms:

  • Sundays "Adult Education" @ 9:15 am
  • Sundays "Pre-K - 3rd Grade Sunday Morning Check-In" @ 10:15 am (email Anna Louise for zoom info)
  • Sundays "4th and 5th Grade Connect Class" @ 5:00 pm (email Anna Louise for zoom info)
  • Sundays "Youth Group" @ 5:00 pm (email Cat Kessler for zoom info)
  • Wednesdays “Zoom Bible Study@ 3:00 pm
  • Wednesdays "Choir Chat" @ 7:30 pm
  • Every other Thursday (beginning 9/3) "Men of GCPC" @ 8:30 am
If you are a part of a group, Team, or Circle at GCPC and you want to have a Zoom meeting, let staff know. We will help you get set up on our GCPC Zoom account for group gatherings and meetings. You can schedule your meeting on the calendar with Sherrie, and any staff member can help you get set up for your meeting if you have questions. 
Spiritual/Pastoral Support
Deacon of the Week
In this time of physical distancing, the deacons of Grace Covenant continue to be available to talk and pray with you by phone or online and to coordinate care. If you have difficulty reaching your assigned deacon or if you do not know who your assigned deacon is, please feel free to reach out to our deacon of the week.
This week (9/20 - 9/26): Gordon Gaiser email: gordongaiser@yahoo.com
Next week (9/27 - 10/3): Lynn Milner email: lynnmilner@charter.net
Prayer List

Prayer requests will stay on the GCPC Prayer List for one month. Please let any staff member know if you (or your loved one) would like to remain on the list for longer.
 
Iglesia Jerusalem congregation
Marcia Zuzel (friend of Kim Hottle and Melissa Shook)
Jonathan Hettrick and family (friends of Mary Craig)
Ryan Lockett (nephew of Denise Lockett)
Eveline Damiano (Daughter of Lisette deGroot)
Jennifer Martin (Yvonne Smith's daughter)
Travis Heck (Brian Cook's brother)
Hettie Lou Garland
Bob Higgins
Cory Hartbarger
Florence and Steve Riedesel
Roslyn Carney
Susan Smialowicz
Laura Ross
Bill Williamson
Queen Mother Maggie Belle Gladden
Marilyn Schmidt
All those participating in the “Me & White Supremacy” study

Formation/Education
Fall Adult Education

Drawdown: Engaging our Faith to Reverse the Climate Crisis | Sundays | 9:15-10:15 AM | September 20-October 25
“We are squarely in the middle of the greatest transition in history.”
“Distress signals are flashing throughout nature and society, from drought, sea level rise, and unrelenting increases in temperatures to expanded refugee crises, conflict, and dislocation.”
“There are reasons to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.”

These quotes come from the workbook DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.  It offers 100 solutions to understand the “substantive ways we can REVERSE global warming.”  
Drawing on the Drawdown text, as well as Scripture and our own spiritual experiences with creation, we will examine several concrete solutions to the climate crisis. During our six weeks together, we hope to foster interactive discussions with one another while also inviting community leaders and activists to share their wisdom and practical advice. Come to learn, to recharge your commitment to our good earth, and to fellowship with fellow earth lovers in our community. 
Facilitators: Susan Presson and John Curry

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 899 4201 3301
Passcode: 789
Pre-K - 3rd Grade Sunday Morning Adventure | 10:15 am | Zoom
Hey GCPC Kids,
Did you see worshio last week--where our elephant friend showed up? Well, guess what! Another friend will be appear this week in worship. When one of our animal friends shows up in worship, it's a chance for us to pay attention in a new way. 

At our weekly check in Sunday mornings at 10:15am you'll get a clue about what animal we're looking for together and what we might see or feel or say when we see that animal friend. 

It's easy, you'll get an email every Friday with the Zoom link for our Sunday 10:15am check in. Then at the very beginning of worship there will be another chance to get a clue about our animal friends. What fun! We can't wait for this adventure together these next several weeks! Email Anna Louise if you did not receive the link.

We hope you got your "God Out of the Box" boxes. If you didn't get one, please contact Tish Anderson and we will be sure to get one to you. 
4th & 5th Graders CONNECT Class | Sundays | 5:00-5:45pm | Zoom
This Fall, our 4th and 5th graders will be diving into "CONNECT," a project-based curriculum that helps children connect with Bible stories in today’s time. Children will meet with teachers for virtual gatherings on Sunday evenings and complete hands-on activities. Materials and Bibles were dropped off to homes last week.

Each week, families will receive an email with a unique login for class. If you did not receive the email and would like to be on the list, please email Anna Louise. If you have questions or still need materials, please contact Samantha sgblock@gcpcusa.org.

Let's get ready to creatively connect with church friends and explore God's amazing Word!
Youth Group: Creation Celebration! | Sunday, Sept. 27 | 5:00 – 6:30 PM on Zoom (**Please arrive between 4:45-5:00 PM!**)
Come join us for fun and fellowship as we dive into themes of creation and creativity! We'll also finish our board game inventions and have an opportunity to play each other's games. Can't wait to see you there!

Important things to know for Sunday:
  • Please plan to log on between 4:45 and 5 p.m. We will be getting started promptly at 5 p.m.!
  • If possible, we ask that siblings please join the Zoom meeting from separate devices, as this helps us to facilitate small groups.

Email Cat Kessler to request zoom information.
September Enneagram Sessions for GCPC Parents

Our last September enneagram Zoom gathering is Wednesday: September 30th, 6:30-8:30PM 

Facilitated by Carol Hovis, all parents are welcome. If you don't know your enneagram type, contact Carol. Email Carol if you would like to participate.

PART (Power & Race Team)
Tema Okun is an author and facilitator who has been helping organizations, communities, and individuals dismantle white supremacy culture for several decades. You can find more about her work here and a full list of her "Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture" here. PART has been engaging for some time with these characteristics and exploring how they show up at GCPC and in each of us. 

In a recent sermon Marcia shared not only Tema Okun’s list of white supremacy norms but additional ones she wanted us to consider In ourselves and in our community.
PART went deeper to feel the effects of the white supremacy norm of transactional relationships. We concluded: It leaves us feeling empty, depleted, drained. Sadness became deep when we sat with the fact that it is about what people get from you. “You give this and I will give that."

Marcia read from the book, “Your Resonant Self” by Sarah Peyton:

"Emotional warmth is the experience of being met or meeting others with affection and welcome. . . We experience warmth when we know we matter. Resonance then comes into the picture. . . Resonance is the experience of sensing that another being fully understands us and sees us with emotional warmth and generosity. It is the sense that we know that they could try on our skin and that our feelings and longings would make sense to them."

Resonant relationships are about love and they start with self-love.

We will continue our work on October 8 at 6pm.
~ Liz Huesemann, PART member
Our PC(USA) Leaders’s statement on the Breonna Taylor Grand Jury decision expresses heartbreak, anger, and our great responsibility to humanity.
 
As this statement says: "Let’s stop sitting on the sidelines and get busy doing the work of transformative justice in the US so all people can be free.” 

We must continue our work at GCPC of addressing white supremacy in our world.
Presbyterian Women’s Circles are Zoom meetings.
Please join us.

Circle 1: First Tuesday of each month, 10:00 a.m.

Circle 2:  First Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m.

Circle 3: Second Thursday of each month, 7:00 p.m.

Circle 4:  First Thursday of each month, 7:00 p.m.

Circle 5:  First Monday of each month, 11:00 a.m.




Community Working Together
From CST and PART


VOTE 2020
  • October 9th - Voter Registration Deadline if you plan to vote on November 3rd. However, you can same-day register during Early Voting.
  • October 15th - Early Voting sites open.
  • November 3rd - Election Day. You can ONLY vote on this day at YOUR Precinct location.

Three ways to vote
(1) Absentee
  • Vote absentee for any reason.
  • You can order an absentee ballot online. Go to this link from the NC Board of Elections to fill out the request. Once completed, you will get a confirmation email.
  • If no access to computer or unable to print absentee ballot, call BOE at 828-250-4200 and they will mail you an absentee ballot.
  • Return absentee ballot in person to the Board of Elections at 77 McDowell St., Asheville, 28801 (open M-F, 8am-5pm) through Election Day, Nov. 3. (This is the probably the most reliable return method.)
  • The state is now requiring Buncombe County to wait until 9/29 to start approving the absentee ballots. Track your ballot progress on this link

(2) Early Voting Oct. 15-31. Same day registration is available at early voting locations. Dates, times, and locations Early Voting schedule

(3) Election Day Nov. 3. On this day you can only vote at your precinct location.


Candidate Information Common Cause NC and Democracy NC have produced a candidate guide for federal and statewide offices. Review the online version here


Be a Poll Monitor Poll monitors, also known as vote protectors, monitor for long lines, confusion, misinformation, etc. Democracy NC provides virtual volunteer trainings, t-shirts, and sign-ups in your region. https://democracync.org/take-action/election-protection/


Help 5-10 Friends Cast Their Ballot Visit this Democracy NC link to join their #WeVote Squad campaign to help 5-10 of your friends cast their ballot https://secure.everyaction.com/hp_WG8WJuECa35HsbbSEdA2

~ Submitted with support of CST and PART
Do you have a passion to Serve?

If you have a passion for reaching out beyond the church walls to carry out Jesus’ mission in our world, please think about how you might join in the work of the Serve Council in 2021. Serve Council is committed to walking alongside our ministry partners at home and abroad and is charged with the work of dispersing GCPC funds in an equitable way. In addition, Serve seeks to contribute to the long-term work of dismantling white supremacy by striving to more equitably share power, resources, and access with directly impacted people through authentic, mutual relationships.

The Serve Council has three working groups to allow members to use their gifts in certain areas and tasks. Suggestions from the working groups are brought back to the full Council for further discussion and decision-making. 

If you can’t commit to being on the full Council and attend monthly meetings, you could participate by serving on a working group. Working groups only convene for their specific tasks. The groups are: 1) Vision and Justice Working Group, 2) Events and Engagement Working Group, and 3) Sharing Cycle Working Group.

Contact any member of Serve to learn more about this opportunity to support relationships and justice in our city and beyond. Members are: Rick Noble, Christi Mobley, Amy Weisner, Keaton Hill, Tammy Bradley, John Huie, Lynne Meacham, and Melissa Hicks (chair) mmhicks1h@aol.com

~ contributed by Lynne Meacham
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued Call to Action in observance of Native American Day
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) celebrated Native American Day by hosting two of the first events in an ongoing series. The events were created to bring attention to the Church’s involvement in the unjust practices that have been imposed on Indigenous people in this country for centuries, as well as its more recent commitments to join in solidarity with Native Americans in their efforts for sovereignty and fundamental human rights.
  • The Speak-In, titled “Turning from Anti-Indigenous Practice and Theology in the Church,” featured members of various Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Native American committees. They included Fern Cloud (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Tribe), Stated Clerk of the Dakota Presbytery; June Lorenzo, J.D., Ph.D. (Laguna Pueblo/Navajo [Diné]); the Rev. Holly Haile Thompson (Shinnecock), the first Native American woman to become a minister of Word and Sacrament/teaching elder in the PC(USA); and Anthony Trujillo (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), M.Div., Ph.D. candidate in American studies at Harvard University. Click here to watch.
  • Elona Street-Stewart, Co-Moderator of the 224th General Assembly (2020), leads a "Worship Service: Living in a Land of Delight, Destiny and Disease." Watch the service on the PC(USA) Facebook page.
YMCA September Updates
MEAL SITES EXTENDED!
We are so grateful that our summer meal sites are able to continue providing meals for kids 18 and under through partnership with Asheville City Schools through December 31st (for now). You can find the schedule on Asheville City School's website for the sites below. We have also included Buncombe County School's schedule. Please share with families you work with. If you have any questions please reach out to Veronica at vodette@ymcawnc.org.

GCPC Still Growing
GCPC Community Garden News

Harvests from the garden continue to be bountiful!

 On Saturday, Team 4 harvested 233 pounds of produce for Southside Kitchen. 
GCPC Diaspora
Dispatches from GCPC scattered around the globe
We have been members of Grace Covenant for many years, having joined in 1966 shortly after we moved here from Ft. Lee, VA. The next 30 plus years we were both quite active at Grace Covenant -- teaching Sunday school, playing handbells, serving on the Session, etc. All three of our daughters were married at GCPC by minister Jack Laughlin during these years. Then as Nat was considering retirement from his orthopedic practice in 1998, we opened Sourwood Inn and began working there with our daughter Susan and son-in-law Jeff Curtis. Until the final days of 2019 after the sale of the inn, we rarely "darkened the door" of the church as we were so involved with innkeeping--Sundays were especially busy.

Beginning in 2020, we were so looking forward to returning to active life at Grace Covenant--being GCPC friends; meeting and working with "new" members (those who had joined since 1998); and especially, Sunday morning worship. Then, as we all know, COVID 19 hit. Since we are both in our 80's, we have been pretty much stuck at home.

This "alone" time has compelled us to contemplate the fact that, among other things, growing older is really a time of letting go. We don't hear or see as well as we used to. We can't walk as fast or as far as we wish to go. Sadly for us, at least five really good friends have died during this time--not from the virus. They had lived long and rewarding lives; still, they are greatly missed. Our minds are not as quick as they used to be. We are finding new technology (which is increasingly more necessary in our lives) frustrating and more time consuming to learn than we want it to be.

But, we are so thankful that we are in good health for our ages and that we can still negotiate the flights of steps that we must travel several times a day in our home of 54 years. We are so fortunate to live in a very walkable neighborhood. It has been a joy to watch the whole area change with the seasons; and to admire the handiwork of all the gardeners and their yards, and especially, to taste the bounty of their gardens so generously shared. We have strengthened ties with longtime neighbors and made new friends as we stroll.

We had a great camping trip this summer with all of our family. It was wonderful being with children and grandchildren for two nights in the great outdoors. As an extra, we all zip-lined Navitat. Speaking of the outdoors, we were really surprised by a black snake last week. It wasn't outside, but in our kitchen, having climbed a flight of stairs to get there!

The Covid pandemic has had both a physical and spiritual impact on everyone. Our Grace Covenant staff has done a remarkable job of keeping us in touch with our church community, thanks to their creative technical digital communication. The Deacons have really added a wonderful personal touch. 

Like everyone else, we miss the physical connection; the singing of hymns together; the reading of another's presence; the unspoken communication. This calls us to use our creative and inner resources to keep us together. So many members of Grace Covenant are doing this, and it means so much!

~ Anne and Nat Burkhardt, GCPC Members


Stewardship & Sustainability GIVE HERE
Thank you for your generous giving! Your gifts are enabling the church to continue our important work in our community. If you have not signed up for online giving, you can do that here. You can also mail your checks to the church. Without you, the church could not continue its ministries in these difficult times. Thank you, again, for your generosity and your faithfulness! 
Remote Giving & Paperless Statements 

Here are a few different ways to stay up-to-date on your pledge remotely:

  • MAIL gifts to the office at 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
  • BANK BILL PAY mails checks remotely, one-time or on a recurring schedule - contact your bank to set this up
  • ONLINE at https://onrealm.org/gcpcusa/give/now
  • TEXT "giveGCPC" and AMOUNT to 73256 (i.e. giveGCPC $100)
  • MOBILE through the Connect - Our Church Community app


Please note, the church office is closed and staff is not there to receive payments left on-site or in the mailbox.

To sign up for paperless statements or if you have any questions, please contact Natalie in our Finance Office at 828-254-3274, ext 202 or nweaver@gcpcusa.org
Realm eGiving Transition | Self Set Up How To
Did you know that you can now to manage your directory profile, register for events, view contribution records in real time, and manage online giving, all in one place? Our new software, Realm, is a one stop shop!

Interested in setting up online recurring giving for the first time? Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to self-manage eGiving through Realm or return this signed authorization form to have our Finance Office set up on your behalf.
GCPC Out and About Online
PechaKucha Night Asheville | Climate: Beyond the Crisis | Friday, September 25 | 7:30 - 9:30 PM | Online Event
PechaKucha Night Asheville and The Collider are teaming up to explore climate and environmental justice.

Our presenters will bring a variety of lenses, including art, humor, race, gender and faith, all through the beautifully simple 20x20 PechaKucha format — a presentation with 20 images, shown for 20 seconds each.

Registration for this livestream event is free and donations are encouraged.

All donations benefit the NC Environmental Justice Network, a grassroots, people of color-led coalition of community organizations and their supporters who work with low income communities and people of color on issues of climate, environmental, racial, and social injustice.

Presbyterian Hunger Program hosting virtual workshop to learn about the Green New Deal
For the next four weeks, the public will have a chance to learn about the Green New Deal in a virtual workshop being offered by the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

Based on a curriculum by the Unitarian Universalists, the video-and-discussion-based series kicks off Thursday, Sept. 24, and continues each Thursday through Oct. 15.

“It covers what is the Green New Deal, why it has been proposed, solutions, and what people can do,” said Andrew Kang Bartlett, PHP’s Associate for National Hunger Concerns. The workshop exploring the Green New Deal is open to anyone who is curious about the platform or has an interest in related topics, such as care of Creation, green and renewable energy and shifting to a more-equitable economy, Kang Bartlett said.

Presbyterian Hunger Program’s free workshop series begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday, Sept. 24, and continues on Oct. 1, Oct. 8 and Oct. 15. You can register at http://bit.ly/php-gnd.
Autumn Lecture Series:
A Story Medicine Fundraiser
We all carry our stories within us. When we use them for stewing, ranting or giving up, we get stuck in this gooey energy and wonder why we cannot move forward. Our Indigenous ancestors knew that the stories of humanity, of the human condition, would heal the earth and the world. During these days of contagion, we have had to forego our annual Gala Fundraiser, the financial life-blood of Story Medicine Worldwide and its healing work. Instead we are offering this Lecture Series with presentations by two artists and two scientists, all Story Medicine certified facilitators. Join us in an interactive exploration of how story can guide us through the deep troubles of our times.

Each Lecture Topic will be in two parts, Monday nights, 6:30-7:30.

Click HERE for more information about each topic.

For each lecture, the suggested donation is $25 or more. No one will be turned away, any contribution is appreciated. Click HERE for flyer.
Crossroads Antiracism Training | October 23-25, 2020 | Online or in Montreat!
What’s Essential: Discerning the Church’s Work Amid the Twin Pandemics of Structural Racism & COVID-19
Our goal is to provide participants with capacity-building tools and resources to work for antiracist transformation in their churches and institutions. Participants will finish this antiracism training with concrete action steps for their congregations and local communities.

This Crossroads antiracism training will specifically address the political challenges facing the church in light of how the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the acute structural inequities of the USA and their impact on communities of color, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Immigrant communities. Given the coronavirus pandemic and its disproportionate impact, our antiracism training will also address how the church is called to be a political actor. What and where is the Church being called to do and be?
STAY CONNECTED
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274 
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804