The Light

Services Every Sunday of the Year ⋅ Volume 64, Number 12

We are a transformational Force for Love and Justice in Our Community.
We gather to inspire spiritual growth, care for each other and our community, seek truth, and work for justice in the world.

December Light

Our 64th Year

Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces

Note: December 1 and December 29, there will be only one service

Office Administrator, Cherie Coffelt’s hours will be Tuesday-Thursday 9:30 AM until 5 PM.

Sermons Online
Listen here.

Things I’ve Learned

In a Year of Living in Las Cruces

♦A green chile cheeseburger is a thing!

♦How to bake a cheesecake (caramel, Grasshopper, and ultimate) and Japanese sponge cake.

♦Clapping in church doesn’t have to be a thing.

♦You can’t escape Cowboys fans no matter where you go, especially if you live with one!

♦How to hunt. Thanks, Dave Carlson.

♦You can’t catch fish in a dry river.

♦It gets cold in this camp! They didn’t tell me that during search.

♦It takes a year to be able to run 3 miles straight through without running out of breath.

♦Buying prescription Oakley sunglasses beats those over-the-frame sun shields any day. Sorry Haney.

♦Exchanging the ocean and beach in Tampa for the mountains in Las Cruces is a sweet deal.

♦Unitarian Universalists in Las Cruces are the best!

Merry Christmas!

Rev. xk

Community Quick Hits

NOTE: We will have only one service on Sunday, Dec 1st and 29th. Both services will be at 10:30 AM.

  1. We have upgraded the exterior electrical outlets on the buildings to make them lockable and prevent unauthorized use. If you need the outlets unlocked while you’re on campus, please see Cheri or Brandon for a key. Be sure to re-lock the cover and return the key when you’re finished.
  2. We are installing an outdoor USB-ready charging station for cell phones and other chargeable devices. The charging station will be located in the breezeway between the sanctuary and the Education Building. The charging station will be available to the public, too, as a way of extending hospitality to our neighbors that pass through the campus. If you see a visitor using the charging station, please extend a welcome. Be on the lookout for the charging stations soon.
  3. In our effort to connect with New Mexico State University students, Rev. Kacela met with the Director of Campus Activities. He’s asked that we encourage our church members who are faculty or staff to help us create a Unitarian Universalist interest group on campus. We need 10 students in our interest group in order to be a member of the NMSU Interfaith Council. If you are faculty or staff, please email Trudy Gallegos ( so she can add you to our roster.

Choir and Music

Catherine Massey
Catherine Massey

Music Notes

This fall has been a season of going up against dragons for me.  I am not sure how this addresses music, per se, but it definitely relates to our congregational movement toward multicultural transformation.  Making the first steps in dismantling white supremacy is a daunting task.  Luckily, we are in this together.  Recently 50 leaders from our congregation and those in Alamogordo and Silver City gathered to do this work, and to find ways to share it.  We did some very deep reflection and listening, and by “we” I refer to those of us who are both white and committed to being allies to People of Color.  With expert guidance from Unitarian Universalist Association’s consultant, the Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong, we considered many issues and worked on antidotes to pervasive aspects of white culture.  Several of us have answered the call to make sure we continue and expand our work.  I trust you will be hearing more about this as the process evolves.

Many of you know that I am very concerned about decisions affecting the local school district’s secondary Advanced Education Services (AES) for Gifted students.  Many of our youth have been served by this program over the years and I have been honored to help them as a teacher and, in recent years, as an AES facilitator.  I continue to do this work because I am fighting to save this program.  It is indeed a social justice issue to make sure our Gifted children—future leaders—get the services they are entitled to. I know a number of you have asked what you can do about it. If you want to know more about the issue and how you can help, I will soon have a fact sheet so please contact me at  Your good wishes and energy are greatly appreciated.

Now is a very good time to remember Sarah Dan Jones’ lyrics:  “When I breathe in, I breathe in peace.  When I breathe out, I breathe out love.”  Of course, we are planning beautiful music for the winter holidays in December.  The Unitarian Universalist season of Chalica (yes, a real holiday!) begins on December 3rd.  This year I have it on my calendar, thanks to Rodney Sauter.  It lasts for seven days, through the 8th, with an observance each day of one of our principles.  There is a funny song on YouTube about it, but this year I plan to take some time to appreciate the strength our faith has to offer, in times of growth and times of standing up to power.  So, Happy Chalica!

Catherine A. Massey,
Director of Music
AUUMN Credentialed Music Leader


Board of Trustees

President Charlie Scholz

Doing the Work of the Church

If you own a house, as I do, you know that maintaining your property is an ongoing thing. I was reminded of this when I started raking this week. And while I was contemplating the falling leaves, I was also thinking about my job as a member of our Board, which is another ongoing operation.

We’ve been busy this year. Our Agenda has included work on financial transparency, facilities management policy, human resource policy, the proposed 2020 budget, communication policy, Board operations and a review of the By-Laws. Despite our best efforts, we’re still not finished with all that we wanted to accomplish, and the new year is fast approaching.

However, as a Church, we have made good progress, installing our new Minister, getting a grant to help the Asylum Seekers, demolishing the Rental Property, hiring effective custodial and grounds keeping help, raising more money for our operations and holding the most successful auction in our history, just to name a few things.

But like our work on the Board, there still is a lot for our Congregation to do. And like my perpetual yardwork, I still have a lot to do, too.

See you in church,
Charlie Scholz, President, Board of Directors



November 13, 2019, Board Meeting

The purpose of this column is to keep you informed about recent Board of Trustee actions. Complete minutes of all Board meetings may be viewed in the office; please contact the Congregational Administrator. The board meets on the third Wednesday of the month .

The board voted to:

  • Table approving the proposed 2020 church budget until the December 18, board meeting.
  • Postpone the December 7, budget informational meeting until December 15. At this session, president Charlie Scholz will update the congregation about (1) meeting budgetary goals, (2) getting in remaining pledges, and (3) what items will be removed from the budget should we not reach our pledge goal. The budget vote will be taken at the January 12, 2020, congregational meeting.


Upcoming Services


When the days grow colder and the nights grow longer, we light candles and recognize the sun will again warm us. At this time of year, we bring evergreens indoors to symbolize life, rebirth, and renewal. The holly leaves represent hope, and its red berries … read more.

Christmas Eve Service

This is our annual Christmas Eve celebration of readings and Christmas carols. We’ll get you good and ready to welcome St. Nick for sure! Catherine Massey and friends will provide some wonderful music.

Upcoming Roundtables

Education never ends. Come join our discussions. Our goal is to learn more about all sides of issues and more about each other. If you have a comment or suggestion, email it to

Roundtable: Liberal Principles
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 10:30 AM in the Library

Presenter: MerrieLee Soules

Although the modern usage of the word “Liberal” is confusing there are a few definite and fundamental concepts. At its root, liberalism is an ideology about the meaning of humanity and society. English philosopher John Gray identified the common strands in modern liberal thought as being individualist which supports the ethical primacy of the human being, egalitarian which sees the same moral worth and status in all individuals, the belief that successive generations can improve their sociopolitical arrangements as well as the moral equivalence of all humans.

Roundtable: A Search for Optimism
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 10:30 AM in the Library

Presenter: John Lazaruk, Pessimist/Cynic

We will examine the current state of Democracy in the United States. The current rising social and economic inequalities, and the changing climate are a direct result of failures in our political systems over the last 50 years. If we are to find ways to deal with these system failures, we must find a way to address our political problems. We will have a chance to discuss what is needed to produce a political system that can deal with our current predicament.

Please Note

These Items of Interest

Housekeeping Reminders (2nd reminder)

  1. Please do not attach signs, notes, bulletins, or any announcements to the painted portion of doors on our church buildings. It is very difficult to remove all of the tape and it damages the paint. There is a bulletin board in the Library for materials and you can always tape them to door windows. You may also discuss your publication needs with the Communication Outreach folks (nUUs and Light) and Cheri Coffelt, our office administrator who can publish announcements for you (if there is room) in the Sunday order of service. Thank you for your consideration.
  2. A gentle reminder to church members and groups that meet on campus. Please be sure to adjust the thermostat in the room used before you leave the room. Turn off the A/C or heating, accordingly.

Calendars for Casa de Peregrinos (2ns reminder)

Have you begun receiving 2020 calendars? – More than you can use? – Don’t put them in recycling or throw them away! Jan Thompson is collecting calendars to distribute to families at Casa de Peregrinos. The families LOVE these calendars.

Good News From the Facilities Committee

Our Irrigation system is up and running. After replacing the pump and the storage tank at the well, and some diagnosis and repair by Wasser and Wasser, the system comes up to pressure and all the sprinkler heads work. Lorenzo Luhan, our Groundskeeper, will repair the few small leaks that remain.

2020 Pledge Drive Update

Giving For Our Future

Karen Hall and Linda Peterson extend their sincere appreciation to all church members who pledged for 2020 and for the future of our church.

Before we close this annual event, we want to acknowledge the many members who said “YES” when asked to help with various aspects of this pledge drive. It’s amazing how many people it takes to manage the details!

  • Kick-off Luncheon – Susan Bagby and Gayle Trantham
  • Pledge Packet Distribution – Joel and Peggy Brown and Joan and Tom Dormody
  • Casita Event Hosts – Rev. XK and Tamara Kacela, Charlie Scholz and Nancy Anderson, Lyn and Haney Pearson, Elwin Nunn, Chris Ramsey, Katie and Bill Fitzgerald, and Marie and; Rod Sauter
  • “Why I Pledge” Sharings – Katya Gonzalez, Katie Fitzgerald, Rod Sauter, Robert Floyd, Gillian Leng, Jack Welch, and Sally Atkinson
  • Phone Follow-Up – Jack Welch, Charlie Scholz, Robert Floyd, Shirley Davis, and Chris Ramsey
  • And special thanks to Cheri Coffelt, office administrator, Shirley Davis, and Charlie Scholz for all their “behind the scenes” support throughout this pledge drive to manage the many “moving parts”!

Service Associate Training Coming Soon

Have you ever imagined yourself assisting with a Sunday worship service? What is holding you back from making that daydream a reality? The Sunday Services Committee is always eager to include new volunteers in our ranks of Service Assistants and Associates. Early in the new year, we will be having training to prepare volunteers to be service assistants and service associates. Please contact either Haney Pearson or Maggie Locatelli if you would like to help with Sunday worship. Co-chairs: Haney Pearson and Maggie Locatelli

Searching for Two Lost Items

We are searching for two items:

  1. The 911 Memorial Quilt
  2. The UUC Banner that hangs in the sanctuary and was used at the UUC General Assembly in June. If you have knowledge of where these items are, please contact Cheri at the Church Office at or 522-7281.

And We Found These Two Items

Two sets of car keys in our lost in found in the church lobby. If you are missing your vehicle keys, please check with the greeters on Sunday, or call Cheri at 522-7281.

The Dale Arnink Sermon Award

As Unitarian Universalists, the sources of our living tradition include Humanist teachings, which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.  Have you preached or heard a good sermon reflecting Humanist teachings lately?

Submit it for the Dale Arnink Sermon Award.  This award is granted in recognition of a sermon that best explores the place or use of critical reason in examining religious experience within the Unitarian Universalist tradition. The Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, New Mexico, where Reverend Arnink served for 24 years and is currently Minister Emeritus, sponsors the $300 award.  A representative committee using a blind process with standardized criteria makes the selection. Entries must be submitted as a Microsoft Word Document to no later than 5 p.m. Friday, February 28, 2020, in order to be considered. You can read and download complete instructions for submitting a sermon for this award here.

The Mountain Desert District “Walk the Talk” Award

The Mountain Desert District (MDD) “Walk the Talk” Award is given to a Unitarian Universalist lay person for living a life that best exemplifies Unitarian Universalist principles. Completed nomination forms should be returned by 5 p.m. February 28, 2020, to Felicia Orth, MDD Awards Committee, 20 Barranca Road; Los Alamos, NM 87544 or You can download the submission form here.

Winter Solstice and Yuletide

Yule (“Christmas” ). Yuletide is the celebration of a pre-Christian festival associated with the (northern) winter solstice, later absorbed into the festival of Christmas.

The following is excerpted from What Does The Winter Solstice Mean Spiritually? It’s Celebrated In Tons Of Religions And Cultures, by Jessica Booth, December 18, 2017

For many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice means one thing: a few long, cold, dark months are ahead of us, with seemingly no end in sight. While the winter solstice might not be something worth celebrating to you, to others, it’s an extremely spiritual day full of sacred rituals. In fact, to some, all of that extra darkness isn’t a bad thing at all — it actually adds to the spiritual significance of the day. The winter solstice has so many spiritual meanings that make it so much more than just the shortest day of the year.

For many cultures around the world, the winter solstice (which falls on Dec. 21 this year) marks an important milestone. It’s the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year and signals a powerful transition point between seasons that is impossible to ignore. Because of this, it has been celebrated and revered in ancient civilizations, indigenous cultures, and various religions, all of which have their own rituals for taking advantage of the unique energy.

Each year, the winter solstice falls a few days before Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This isn’t just a fun coincidence; in fact, there’s a much deeper meaning there. The spiritual and energetic significance of the winter solstice is multi-layered, but the most direct relevance is that it symbolizes the birth of the sun. The birth of the sun is representative of the birth of Jesus. The birth of higher beings at this time of the solstice was symbolic of the birth of the spiritual sun within, that we are not separate from the creator, as we have been conditioned to believe to feel that we are less than divine beings. That’s where the religious aspect comes in.

If you aren’t particularly religious or spiritual, you might feel like this has nothing to do with you. Actually, it does! The winter solstice is a time of quiet energy, where you get the opportunity to look within yourself and focus on what you want and need. It’s a time to set goals and intentions for the coming year, to examine and let go of our past, and to make changes within ourselves. The solstice is essentially tied to a personal awakening.




Don’t Forget

These Dates

Dec 1, Dec 14 Greeter Appreciation and Training

Calling all Greeters!
The Membership Committee is hosting two Greeter Appreciation/Training sessions in December for all of our wonderful greeters and anyone who is interested in becoming a greeter. The first is scheduled for this coming Sunday, Dec 1 at noon in the Education Building. The second will be on Saturday, Dec 14th at noon in the church lobby. A light lunch will be provided at both. All are encouraged to attend one or the other of these sessions. If you have not yet done so, please RSVP to Joan Dormody

Dec 8, Dec 15, Dec 22 Holiday Gift Boxes 

Beautiful Holiday Gift Boxes Help the Church and Animals!!

Artistic holiday gift boxes in a variety of sizes will be available for a donation through project coordinator Jean Gilbert. Proceeds from the hand-wrapped and individually designed boxes go to the church’s Social Justice Committee and the Humane Society. The reusable boxes are designed for easy-open by sliding off a sash or ribbon to put gifts inside.

Please see the gift box display in the Education Building great room on December 8th, 15th, and 22nd at 10 a.m. following the first service and at 11:30 following the second service. Please contact me if you need further information. Thank you! Jean Gilbert, Social Justice Committee/Animal Advocates and HSSNM member

Dec 15 Informal Budget Meeting

On December 15, after the second service, the Board will hold an Informational Meeting about the Proposed 2020 Budget. The final proposal will be approved by the Board of Trustees on December 18, and present to the Congregation at the Annual Business Meeting on January 12, 2020.

Dec 18 Dining Out

December Dining Out will be at 5:00 pm on Friday, December 20, at Aqua Reef Restaurant, 141 N. Roadrunner Parkway. (North of Lohman)  Please sign up in the church lobby by Wednesday, December 18. Contact for more information.

Jan 12 Church Election

Our 5th principle is, “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” We are a democratic society and therefore have annual elections for important church leadership positions.

View or download the biographies of people running for 2020 church leadership positions.

NOTE: This is the first of several notices you will receive about the election.


Thanks to Our Greeters


Our November greeters were: Jack Welch, Gayle Trantham, Nancy Anderson, Skip Shelton, Rita Decker, Judy Licht, Susan West, Vijay Bhalla, Diane Lee, Martha Loustaunau, Mary Anne Ford, Joel and Peggy Brown, Tom Packard, Jo Ingle, Jane Asche, Carol Winkler, Robert Severance, Nora Brown, Jean Gilbert, Janet Pitt, Joan Dormody, and Tamara Kacela.  — Peggy Devlin & Joan Dormody, Greeter Coordinators



Generous Giving

We thank our church patriarch, Clayton Flowers, for his continued generous support. Clayton recently made special gifts to our Women’s Alliance Scholarship Fund as well as to the Religious Education program. He and his late wife, Evelyn, have been strong financial supports for more than thirty years. If you are not already aware Clayton will celebrate his 104th Birthday December, 25.  Thank you, Clayton. (Jack Welch)

It is very easy to make a gift to the church through InFellowship. Donations in memory of members and friends become part of our Endowment Fund. These are gifts that keep on giving.


The Tombaugh Gallery

Soul of Silk

Tombaugh Gallery presents the exhibit “Soul of Silk” featuring the silk art of Judy Licht.  The exhibit opens with a reception on Sunday, December 1st, from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.  There will be a second reception on Friday, December 13th, from 5 to 7 PM, with a demonstration of the silk painting process.

In this exhibit, Judy has explored the many ways to work with silk, including silk scarves, Nuno-felted scarves, eco printing on silk, collaging with silk, quilting with silk and a variety of techniques in the wall paintings.  She says “From the first time I watched dye flowing from my brush onto silk, I was captivated by this medium.”  Working with dyes and silk brings wonderful surprises, as she explores the intense colors of the dyes and the sensuous quality of the silk.  Her lifelong passion for color and her feelings for the natural world continues to inform her work.  Painting plein air has deepenedthe connection she feels toward landscape, light, shadows, air, and desert plants.

Judy’s art career included practicing art therapy in a variety of settings and teaching art in public schools.  Her retirement from both fields allowed her to pursue her own art.  “The many ways of working with silk keeps me challenged”.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 – 2. For details, contact, or call the church at 522-7281. The Tombaugh Gallery is located inside the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2000 South Solano Drive, Las Cruces, NM and is open Wednesday – Saturday 10 am – 2 pm. Visit the gallery on Facebook.

Regular Monthly Activities

Unless otherwise stated, all events will be held at the church. Please check the church’s online calendar to ensure the most recent times and places for these events. Newcomers are invited to participate in these activities.

Bridge Group plays bridge on the first, third and fifth Thursdays at 1:00 pm in the church lobby. If you want to play, be sure to contact Nancy Anderson a few days before so we know the number of players.

Desert Spirit CUUPs is a Las Cruces chapter of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. We practice and educate others on Earth-centered spirituality. We gather monthly on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 6 pm for a potluck and either ritual or an informative class. All events are open to everyone interested in learning and/or growing in their spiritual path. Events held at the church unless otherwise noted. Visit or email

Dining Out: A different restaurant every month and dinner with church members. Signup sheets are in the church lobby on the welcome counter. You should sign up not later than the Wednesday prior to the dinner. Look in the church newsletter “The Light” for the exact time, date and location or contact for more information or to reserve a place for the dinner.

Lunch Bunch is a weekly lunch-time get together. Everyone is invited to bring a lunch to the church library every Wednesday at 12:00 noon and enjoy the company of fellow Unitarian Universalists.

MoonSisters Group: This women’s group meets once monthly. Contact Cass Calway for more information or visit the group’s Facebook page:

Quilting Bee: The UU Bee Welcome, meets every week in the church lobby. The Bee is open to all levels of quilters, both members and non-members. It welcomes all styles of quilting work from machine-quilting to hand-quilting to appliqué. The purpose of a quilting bee is to provide an opportunity for quilters to spend time together as they work on their individual quilting projects and exchange tips of the trade, encourage and support each other, share new ideas, deepen friendships, and generally have a good time. A $1 donation per quilter will be given at each session to cover the cost of utilities. The contact person is Kris Northcutt.

Monthly Calendar: To get the information you need about the many and varied activities of our church, go to and scroll down the page to the calendar and events listings.