September 2019 Newsletter
Piedmont UU Church Chalice Logo
Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
Multicolor Stripe
This month's theme: Expectation
A Letter from Your Minister
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about. 
~Margaret Wheatley

Dear Folks,

Welcome to September and to our monthly theme of Expectation! A year ago this month, our theme was Vision, and I asked you to consider what you’d want our beloved community to look like in one year, five years, ten years. Are you moving in the direction of your vision for yourself and for Piedmont UU Church? 

Expectations play such an important role in all we do—and all we are—as individuals as well as a church body. As we begin a new church year/school year, I wish you...

Group Singing…And The Top 10 Excuses I’ve Been Given For NOT Joining The Choir
Kaarin Record Leach
Kaarin Record Leach
Choir season is starting up this month and I couldn’t be more excited. As someone who’s been a lifelong choir member, I can assure you that singing with others provides benefits that go far beyond simply making music for enjoyment. Studies show that choral singing improves your mood and offers a decrease in stress and anxiety (these effects are often attributed to the deeper breathing associated with singing - similar to the breathing used in meditation). Singing in a group offers you a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself – it helps us feel needed in the larger community. Group music making results in measurable changes in the brain that positively impact our ability to heal after illnesses. The heightened emotions that come from making music together produces an enhanced sense of altruism; perhaps as we join with others to create an experience of great beauty, we diminish any sense of inadequacy while augmenting our connection to all in a way that is self-affirming.

I recently read a study that reported only 33% of Americans described themselves as ‘happy.’ A full 40% said they ‘rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy.’ Let’s turn those numbers around and get connected through group singing! And if you’re STILL not sure, or If you find yourself saying the following things, I can assure you you’re not alone. Here are some of the top reasons I hear for not joining choir…and my sincerest of replies.

10. “I can’t..."

This Year’s Generosity Campaign Theme: Raise the Sails in 2020!

Ahoy! Are you onboard?

The Generosity Team has been busy at work for many months preparing for the unveiling of our 2020 stewardship theme! Perhaps you’ve noticed some nautical themes or posters. You’ll see more of that this week!

We will kick off our Generosity Campaign Saturday night at the Gala (University Gathering location). Haven’t RSVP’d yet? No problem! Click here to join us for fun, food, fellowship, and some entertainment you don’t want to miss. 

This annual giving campaign officially begins on Sunday, Sept. 8th and runs through the last Sunday of the month. During this time, we’re seeking to reach our aspirational budget goal of $255,000 to sustain and grow our ministry in the new year. You’ll receive a pledge letter at the Gala or at church the next day asking for a generous renewal of your pledge. We will also update our records and your contact information during this process. 

If each of our members pledges at least...

Newcomer Orientation—Wednesday, September 25th, 6:30-7:30 p.m., University Gathering 
If you're a newcomer to Unitarian Universalism or to Piedmont UU Church and would like to learn more about either, or if you're interested in becoming a member, we welcome your participation in this event led by Rev. Mary Frances. RSVP to

Salisbury and University Gathering Beautification
Salisbury Gathering Spiff Up
Looking good!

Thanks to Teresa Rowell and Pema Tara for their help last week in spiffing up our Salisbury Gathering space!

Garden Clean Up
Garden Clean Up

A big shout out to Calvin Chavis and Connie Byrne for their work on tackling the garden weeding! The Kale bed is cleared out now, but it provided many healthy meals. The carrots were delicious, and our neighbors (the deer) report that the strawberries were delightful!

Campus Clean Up
THANK YOU, Piedmont Progressive Preschool Staff and Parents 

Wow! Look at that beautiful trail, playground and zen and rock garden. The trail is cleared and looks amazing, thanks to PPP volunteers who came out for a preschool workday. Thank you for sharing this space with us, and thank you for being such good stewards of our campus trail. 

If you've never been on the trail, it begins below the patio of the University Gathering sanctuary and circles around to the other side of the church. If you move calmly and quietly, you might even catch a glimpse of the deer we share our woods with. Or more accurately, the deer who share their woods with us!
Fun was had by all at our Musician Drop-In!
Music Mixer
Thanks to our Director of Music, Kaarin Record Leach, for hosting a fabulous music ministry fellowship in August, and thanks to all who attended. There was food, fun, song title Pictionary, and, of course, music-- from banjo to trumpet!

Thank you, Religious Education Teachers and Volunteers
RE Volunteers
Pictured from left to right: Sean Glover with Autumn, our youngest volunteer; Jeri Edwards, Geo Johnson; Amanda Howard; Emma Gardiner-Parks; and Karen Dutton

The group you see pictured above recently attended our RE Teacher/Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Planning Session with Rev. Mary Frances. Each month, we'll be featuring one or more of our teachers and volunteers. 
Jeri Edwards
Meet RE volunteer, Jeri Edwards:

Jeri joined Piedmont UU Church in 1997 and has been volunteering with RE ever since! She is certified to teach Spirit Play which is a Montessori program. She and husband Kyle have been married for 30 years. She has one son, Joseph, who is in college. Jeri's volunteerism is not limited to PUUC. She also does pet therapy (Children Reading to Dogs program with her certified therapy dog, Charli). Jeri also helps build dog fences with Heart of the Carolinas UU Animal Ministry - She notes: "This is a spiritual experience for me because I can see the immediate transformation in the dog's life which directly transforms the dog owners' lives and makes the world a happier place." In her spare time she attends three different book clubs. Thank you, Jeri Edwards!!!
Charlotte Pride 2019
Pride booth
Fan from Pride
Much gratitude to all who volunteered at Charlotte Pride this year, and a special thanks to our youth who also sold t-shirts (pictured left). The photo to the left is a fan designed by Deb Davelka. The other side of the fan had information on our Principles and Sources. "Fan"tastic! 

Thanks to the following folks who signed up to spend time at our booth:
Connie Byrne, Calvin Chavis, Sophia Collins, Allie Daum, Diane Daum, Amanda Howard, Cady Gardiner-Parks, Emma Gardiner-Parks, Lou Gardiner-Parks, Caroline McGuckin, Doug Moore, and Merry Overholser. 

You can still sign up for Chalice Circles this week

Click here to sign up for a Chalice Circle. 

Chalice Circles run from September through May and provide an opportunity for members of Piedmont UU Church to participate in a small group ministry. The structure of this small group which meets monthly offers the opportunity to...

September 15th — Chalice Circle Fellowship
If you participated in Chalice Circles last year or would like to join a circle in September, you are warmly invited to attend this night of fellowship and information. Stay tuned for more details in our weekly announcements or RSVP here if you want to sign up now.

A Cup of Courage
Sept. 21st from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

You may have seen Brave Step's Cup of Courage featured on WBTV in August. We are privileged to host this women's workshop in September at our University Gathering. 

Presented by Brave Step and Survivors to Thrivers ~ Going Forward, this workshop will be held at the University Gathering (9704 Mallard Creek Road, Charlotte, NC) from 9-11 a.m. on Sept. 21st. Come hear inspirational speakers with the opportunity to engage in conversation around this important topic. Join us to bravely explore the impact sexual abuse has as survivors, loved ones, community advocates, and those wanting to learn more.

RSVP to Rev. Mary Frances Comer, or register online at If you'd like to help with hospitality for this event contact Rev. Mary Frances. There is no charge for this workshop.
Fall Equinox Celebration

The Fall Equinox or Autumnal Equinox falls on our calendar year opposite of the Spring Equinox. Again we can observe equal hours of daylight and dark. But now the nights become noticeably longer and the days become cooler as winter slowly approaches.

This time of year is celebrated with harvest festivals and fairs. The fruits of our labor are now a cornucopia of abundance and we are filled with thanksgiving and gratitude. As we fill our tables and bellies with the largess all around us may we also reflect on the goals and seeds we started earlier this year with our thoughts and deeds. 

Join us Sunday, September 22nd at 6:30 in the University Sanctuary to celebrate the Fall Equinox. We will honor the fruits of our actions both physically and spiritually. You can expect some meditation, some chanting, a little crafting and an opportunity to reflect on all that you have reaped. For more information about this event contact Cosette Blackmer at Blessed Be
Global Climate Strike Logo
Social Action News: Global Climate Strike

This September, join young people in the streets for global climate strikes and a week of actions to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for everyone.

Click here to join.
Yard Sale
Save the Date!
Salisbury Gathering Yard Sale at Temple Israel
Saturday, October 19th, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

If you are interested in helping to plan this annual fundraising event please contact Beth Foreman at:

Your cast-offs are someone else's treasures!! Stay tuned for more information.
Board of Trustees
Meeting Highlights
August 15, 2019

The Board of Trustees met on Thursday, August 15, 2019.

Meeting Highlights

1.   The new lights in the sanctuary and the classrooms have been installed.
2.   Plans were developed for the town hall meetings in both locations for Sunday, September 8. Announcement and agenda will be sent to members closer to the event.

Board Thanks
1.   The Board of Trustees thanked Jim Craig for his help in coordinating with the lighting company for the new LED light installation. They thanked Jeff Jennings and Karl Hesse for their help with the scaffolding so the lights could be installed.
2.   The board thanked members and youth for volunteering to staff our booth during the PRIDE Festival in Charlotte on August 17 and 18 and our youth and young adults for their planning and work in advance of the event.

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

Fellowship Events in September
Table setting
Monthly Fellowship Dinner: Soup, Salad, and Breadsticks
Wednesday, September 25th, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
University Gathering Sanctuary

Join us for food and fellowship as we resume our fellowship dinners in September. Our menu for this month will be soup, salad, and breadsticks. Please email Ali ( for information on dietary restrictions, or to help with set-up or clean-up. Donations are accepted but not required.
September Game Night
Friday, September 27th, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
University Gathering Sanctuary

Join us for fun and fellowship. Bring a game to share, or choose something to play from the game library. Youth 12+ are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Questions? Email Ali at
Piedmont UU Church Financial Health: July 2019

July Income   $16,582
July Expense $18,131
July Cash Flow ($1,549)

Year to Date Income   $136,020
Year to Date Expense  ($131,350)
Year to Date Cash Flow   $4,670

Would you like to contribute to the financial health of our congregation?  Click here to make a donation now. Thank you for your generosity.
September Services
9:45 a.m. at the University Gathering
12:30 p.m. at the Salisbury Gathering
Sunday, September 1, 2019

“The Path of Hopeful Expectation”
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
As we journey life's path with hopeful expectations, in what do we trust? Can we really fashion our own realities–as individuals, as beloved community, and as a church body? Join us today for the first Sunday of this special month of services.
Sunday, September 8, 2019

"Raising the Sails: Our Annual Ingathering and Water Communion Service"
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Today's service is a special time of coming back together after summer travels, beginning a new church and school year, and celebrating our reunion with a ritual of Water Communion. Members and visitors alike are invited to bring small amounts of water that hold special meaning for them (whether from a favorite location or a special occasion), and during our service we will place the water into a single bowl in a shared ritual. Today is also the official kickoff of our Generosity 2020 Campaign. Join us after the service for a Town Hall meeting.
Sunday, September 15, 2019

“The Spirituality of Abundance”
Elizabeth Ann Terry, guest speaker
The first lines of Alberto Rios' poem, "When Giving Is All We Have" are
"One river gives its journey to the next. We give because someone gave to us. We give because nobody gave to us."
Giving, generosity, and believing in abundance are the beating heart of Unitarian Universalism.

Let's explore how practicing the Spirituality of Abundance can shape our interactions within our congregations, inform our connections to our neighborhood and community, and foster deep relationships with other Unitarian Universalist congregations.
Sunday, September 22, 2019

“Raising the Sails”
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Today's service is inspired by the words of Helen Keller who said: "No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." May we be optimists as we determine to raise the sails and move in the direction of our collective missions and visions!
Sunday, September 29, 2019

“Living the Change: Social Action Sunday"
Today we wrap up our Generosity Campaign for 2020 and hear from Rev. Mary Frances and members of our Social Action Team as we contemplate a shared focus on issues related to environmental/Earth justice, and the Migrant Assistance Project.  
Multicolor Stripe
Quick Links
Piedmont UU Church website:  
Piedmont UU Church blog:
Contact Us: 
Ali Allen, Administrative Assistant --  
Rev. Mary Frances Comer, Lead Minister--
Deb Davelka, Congregational Administrator --
Sean Glover, Religious Education Lead Teacher --
Kaarin Record Leach, Director of Music --