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Community Compass2024-03-19T15:17:41-04:00

About Us

Next Service

Community Sunday- Planting Seeds

Sunday, May 19, 2024 10:00 a.m.

Service Leaders:

Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper, Interim Minister
Paula Gribble, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

John Herrick, Director of Music

Community Compass

Board of Trustees Announces Results of Settled Minister Vote

Amanda Weatherspoon 2023_by Lauren Photography 110276On Sunday, May 5, 2024, the UUCC Board of Trustees conducted a Congregational Meeting during which members had the opportunity to vote on whether to call Reverend Amanda Weatherspoon as our full-time settled minister.

Your Board of Trustees is delighted to announce that the congregation voted overwhelmingly to call Reverend Amanda Weatherspoon as the new Settled Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte. 

The vote tally was 271 in favor and 1 opposed, a margin of 99.6%.

This meeting was the much-anticipated culmination of the year-long search to call a settled minister that was led by the Settled Minister Search Team, a group of UUCC members who dedicated innumerable hours to bring members a candidate for Settled Minister who has the personal qualities and professional experience required to fulfill members’ high expectations for our next minister. If you would like to read more about the Search Team and search process, click here.

Rev. Amanda will join us on August 1, 2024. You can learn more about her on our website (click here).

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Candidating Week events and who voted.

May 9, 2024|Tags: , , , |

Life RE-examined: Interfaith Youth Panel – More Alike Than Different

There are a lot of ways to participate in community outside the congregation. But my favorite so far has been a bridge between the work I do here and drawing the community circle ever wider. The Mecklenburg Metropolitan Interfaith Network (MeckMin) is our local Interfaith organization, bringing together people from all manner of religious traditions. When I was asked to serve on the Youth Committee at MeckMin, I was thrilled to have this connection and further serve Youth within and outside UUCC walls.

But I was blown away on April 14, when I attended the Interfaith Youth Panel. Teen representatives from Sikhism, Hiduism, Baha’ism, Unitarian Universalism, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were on the panel. They fielded questions about the core beliefs of their traditions, as well as what was meaningful for each of them in their faith tradition (and how it plays a part of their daily lives). I was deeply moved by each of their passions for their religions, and how each of them participates pretty fully in their Faith.

The thing that really got me, though, was that everyone came away with a sense that we are all more alike than we are different. They all spoke of a sense of deep service to humanity, of making the world a better place, and of how we can come together in community. Despite diverse spiritual practices, and differing ideas of God or prophet, each of the Youth panelists felt that what was most meaningful for them was their connection to the wider world and commitment to making it better. I came away with a larger sense of hope and a deeper understanding that I wasn’t expecting, and it brought me to tears. Note: There is a link to the highlight video at the bottom of this article.

Another part of it that moved me (of course) was what a great UU representative our own Dylan Lauderbaugh was on the panel! Dylan shared from his heart, and demonstrated a strong desire for community and connection in the world. Additionally, he made it clear that UUism is loving Faith, and one that has changed his life!

Following the panel, I was curious to hear (and thought you would be too) what Dylan got out of serving on the panel. So I asked him to answer the following questions.

What was the best part about participating on the panel?

Dylan: The best part about the panel was definitely the other people on it. It was so cool to be around people with different faiths than me, and it was especially wonderful to notice our differences and our many, many similarities.

What did you learn about other Faith Traditions?

Dylan: I learned that even though we believe different things, our roots really are the same. For example, Hinduism is very special in that there are multiple gods and goddesses, but each person chooses who to believe in. I feel like that’s very similar to Unitarian Universalism because I can choose my religious traditions and beliefs but we’re all still brought together by our faith.

What surprised you the most about what the other Youth said?

Dylan: Even though I knew it, I guess I just wasn’t aware of how truly similar all of us are, even if we differ in certain things like ways of worship or holy books (or, for us, the lack thereof).

Do you think people learned more about UUism, and what were you trying to make sure they knew about it?

Dylan: I like to hope that they did! I was mostly trying to convey our open-mindedness, both religion-wise and personality-wise.

What was the biggest takeaway idea you have from participating?

Dylan: Again, it’s really just that we’re all similar, even though we differ in our own ways. It’s so awesome to see the ways we can connect, even coming from different backgrounds.

If you would like to hear more about MeckMin, contact me or check out meckmin.org!

In Faith,

Paula Gribble

SOUUL Summit Conference in Atlanta

Moving Forward in Challenging Times – With Joy and a Focus on Your Mission!

by Kathleen Carpenter

To change your church/community culture will require you to be uncomfortable even as our culture encourages comfort.

Sometimes you have to get out of the way because this place does not belong to {just} you.

There are lots of people who don’t feel comfortable in our congregations even if we do. If we want to grow and attract younger, more diverse groups of people who would love Unitarian Universalism, we must first get them through the doors.

We can create a place of love where everyone has a chance to feel more whole and seen.

Stay focused on your mission. Consider those not already members who need us. Think of where we are going not where we’ve been.

Kindness eases change.

Know your personal boundaries. Just because you are triggered doesn’t mean you are wrong.

As a leader, your goal is to stay in relationship not to win an argument.

These are among the dozens of quotes I wrote down after hearing speakers share them at the SOUUL Summit conference I attended in Atlanta in mid-March, along with five others from our congregation. The conference’s stated goal was Cultivating Missional UU Leadership and Resilience.

I have attended some mighty powerful conferences, workshops, and trainings for Unitarian Universalists in my time, both as a UUCC staff person and as a UU volunteer. I know inspiring/motivating/spiritually powerful/edifying when I experience it. And I know what’s … not. The SOUUL Summit conference was all of these things.

The six of us who attended included four volunteers (Kurt Merkle, Michael Amy Rodriguez Cira, Ken Smalley, and me), our Lifespan RE Director, Paula Gribble, and Interim Minister, Lisa Bovee-Kemper. It was a great representation from one of our denomination’s largest congregations. Yes – despite the membership losses resulting from the pandemic, staff retirements, ministerial resignations, and the stress of the search for a new minister – the UU Community of Charlotte is still a power player in our denomination. Or can be. Our UU community is on the edge of great things and this conference reminded us why our success matters. The world needs Unitarian Universalism and its messages of love and acceptance and commitment to (spiritual, social, and environmental) transformation. This conference also reminded us that it takes work to get there but that it can be joyful, mission-centered work. I learned a lot and hope to apply those lessons in my role as one of your Board members.

I asked the other UUCC attendees to add any takeaways they had from the Summit. Here is Kurt’s response: “The most meaningful thing for me was just creating relationships with leaders and members of other congregations; learning similarities and differences of challenges facing other congregations. {I} also {enjoyed} experiencing services (music, preaching, lessons) different than UUCC, and spending more informal time with our UUCC folks.”

I’ll end with two quotes that Ken says “stuck with him.”

It is difficult, but we need to stay in the struggle – there is still a lot of work to be done (in a conversation about systemic racism).

We have to do a better job of finding ways to remain in community with our emerging adults after the Bridging ceremony. It probably won’t be the Sunday service; but there are lots of opportunities to maintain contact.

Report on SOUUL SUMMIT 2024

by Ken Smalley

Six people from UUCC – Rev. Lisa, Paula Gribble, Kurt Merkle, Michael Amy Cira, Kathleen Carpenter and myself, spent two and one half days at the UU Congregation of Atlanta for an event called Souul Summit, a conference for enhancing leadership skills in UU congregations. We participated, with over 100 others, in workshops, worship, small group discussions and one on one conversations with UU’s from all over the southeast US.

Some of my take away notes:

Worship:  UUCA has a high energy, theatrical style of worship. A large media screen, theatrical lighting, a small band, high energy music and preaching – all presented with professional level stagecraft are a part of most Sunday morning services. They have recently added a second service (at 9:30AM) that is described as “ more traditional “.

The transition from a more traditional service (similar to our own) has taken place mostly over the last four years. Atlanta leadership believes this updated worship format has been a major factor in their successful emergence from some very difficult times for their congregation. The service is designed to appeal to a more contemporary attendee.

Emerging Adult ministry:  Emerging adults (18-25yr) were the subject of one workshop. It was noted that the bridging ceremony held in many UU congregations is called the “cliffing ceremony “ by many young people and those who work with them. Cliffing – in that the young people walk off a cliff – never to be seen again. A number of ideas and possibilities were presented to try to stay in community with this cohort.

Direct engagement with other UU’s:  There were a couple times each day for intentional small group engagement. We met with the same seven or eight individuals for reflection and discussion. These times were the most impactful for me. All UU’s – but from very different backgrounds.

The Physical Plant of UUCA:  The completely renovated campus offers a number of interesting ideas.

  1. An all gender bathroom setup that actually works – makes good use of space and moves people through – even at higher demand times.
  2. Motion controlled lighting in most spaces. Environmental/ Energy use considerations were part of the design process from the early stages.
  3. The public space (hallway) on the first level houses a curated art exhibit. The collection features local artists, is rotated every ninety days, and all pieces are available for purchase.
  4. The sanctuary has no fixed pews. The space can be configured to accommodate up to 300, but still feels intimate with 100 or so people. There is no designated choir area. The space feels similar to a “theater in the round “ setting – with about 180 degrees of seating around the chancel. Hymnals are only available in an anteroom; words are displayed on a large media screen (a bit larger than ours). The screen is used for all information purposes ie; no bulletins and no announcements during the service.
  5. There is a “fidget room” immediately adjacent to the main gathering space.
  6. The chancel incorporates an integral ramp in addition to several sets of stairs (with hand rails).

Summary:  The entire weekend provided inspiring speakers, differing viewpoints, and opportunities for personal growth and development. We need to “live in” to what we want our community to be and become.

Life RE-examined: Another Look at Article II

This month, we had another great discussion session on the UUA Bylaws changes to Article II. We looked at the layout of the proposed values and two new values that have been put forward as amendments.

Among the changes in the piece with the values (where the Principles currently are), are the statements of covenant. In the current language, before the Principles are listed there’s the line, “We covenant to affirm and promote.” Then after the Principles there’s a longer statement of covenant that says, “As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.”

In the proposed language, each value is listed with a defining statement and then there’s a covenantal statement with each value. While both the old version and the new version have statements of covenant, it’s a change to have this covenantal statement with each value. This change reflects the Commission’s work to make these values action-oriented and grounded in our aspirations to live out our values. You can see how each are laid out in this document. People in the discussion found this layout helpful.

In addition to the six proposed values, amendments have come forward to add two values to this section of Article II. These two amendments would add two new values, Peace and Reason. These amendments will be put forward at General Assembly in June to be voted on before the larger vote for the full proposed version of Article II.

Here’s the language of each of these:

Reason

We search for truth and meaning, informed by reason, evidence, and the results of science, motivated by wonder, curiosity, and compassion.

We covenant to listen to and respect the views of others, and to remain open to new ideas.

Peace

We dedicate ourselves to peaceful conflict resolution at all levels.

We covenant to promote a peaceful world community with liberty and human rights for all. Whenever and wherever possible we will support nonviolent means to achieve peace.

We will continue our discussion in May! In the meantime, we hope you will look at the information and come back and look again as we prepare to vote on the changes. Engaging in this work is important to our faith and faith identity.

In Faith,

Paula Gribble

Paula Gribble, DLRE

March 14, 2024|Tags: , , , , , , |
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