The Light

Services Every Sunday of the Year ⋅ Volume 64, Number 10

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.

October Light

Our 64th Year

Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces

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

Sermons Online
Listen here.

Life Principles and Work Principles

Before you know it, another holiday season will be upon us. Next, we’ll be faced with creating a new set of New Year’s resolutions. Don’t let the new year catch you looking back with regret for not accomplishing what you set out to do at the beginning of 2019.

Act now to get your goals for 2019 accomplished.

I’ve been reading a fascinating book titled Principles by Ray Dalio. I consider it a real game-changer. It is broken down into two parts: Life Principles and Work Principles. He offers one overarching principle that I find very helpful.

He writes: Think for yourself to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true, and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2, and do that with humility and open-mindedness so that you consider the best thinking available to you.

I believe Unitarian Universalists can appreciate these words of counsel because we are committed to transformation and truthfulness. Ultimately, I believe accepting the truths before us is the key to ending much of our suffering.

There three months left in 2019 to get what you want done. Be realistic and adjust, as necessary. Try to find some joy in what you do.


Rev. xk

Choir and Music

Catherine Massey
Catherine Massey

Music Notes

Recently we debuted some groupings of musicians we haven’t heard together before.  The Breezeway Players were a big success in late September, playing some really nice jazz arrangements.  Laura Humphreys on steel drum, Bob Hull on electric guitar, Scott McLaughlin on trombone, and Cindy McLaughlin on flute rounded out a fine quartet.  Here are a couple of short biographies about Scott and Cindy.  “Scott Mclaughlin is an engineer and works at Spaceport America on business development and operations. He met his wonderful wife Cindy in the Pride Band 32 years ago, and is fortunate to still be making music together.”  And, “Cindy is a retired middle school science teacher and has been playing the flute for 40+ years.  She is also a member of the Mesilla Valley Concert Band.”

Scott, Laura and others will help with the fine music we have planned for Rev. Xolani’s Installation service.  The choir is singing an anthem by the wonderful choral composer Mark Miller.  Mark was our clinician at the Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries conference in July at First Unitarian in Denver.  Our choir in Las Cruces loves “Draw the Circle Wide” and “I Believe,” both by him.

Mark told us about how he was adopted as an infant into a Methodist family.  His father is a Methodist minister and both his parents are white.  They had children, and they also created a multiracial family by adoption in the 60’s.  Mark is of white and African-American descent.  When his older sister unwrapped his baby blanket to look at him for the first time, she said, “He’s not that black!” He got a degree in organ at Julliard and was immediately hired by a Black Baptist church in Harlem.  Both he and the congregation were surprised when they expected that he would know how to play gospel music—he assumed they knew he was classically trained, and they assumed he could just play gospel style.  “He’s not that black!” seemed to be their reaction.  He learned on the fly, and incorporated the style into his compositions.  (By the way, he told us these stories while playing a Bach Toccata at the piano.)

When he came out as gay to his dad, the reaction was, “I love you, and God loves you as you are.” His father officiated a union ceremony for him and his partner long before marriage equality became a reality.  He has worked hard within the United Methodist Church to promote acceptance of LGBTQ clergy, and sadly told us this summer that the church is “imploding.” Mark really spent time with us and loved the work we are doing, and was thrilled with our musical collaboration.  He is one of those clinicians that we will not soon forget.  You will be hearing more of his music this year.

Catherine Massey, Director of Music
AUUMN Credentialed Music Leader

Board of Trustees

President Charlie Scholz

Doing the Work of the Church

Our Pledge campaign, where our Church asks you for a promise to support it, will kickoff on Sunday, October 20 and wind up on Sunday, November 24. This is the shortest Pledge Campaign we’ve had in many years, which means we must concentrate our giving. But before you do that, let me tell you a story.

When my wife, Nancy Anderson, and I were looking for a church where our children could learn the spiritual values that we had, we turned to our local
Unitarian Universalist congregation in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

We knew several members of that Church. They were good people, the kind who were always working for the environment, for social justice, for racial equality, for fair pay, for equal opportunity in education and employment.

But, many of those things could have described a lot of our friends.

What made these Unitarian Universalists different was that they recognized their lives were not complete without some form of spiritual sustenance. Maybe they could have survived by just doing good works. But they knew that the support of the church and the beliefs they held in common with its members were helping to sustain them.

Nancy and I knew we were in the right place when we walked in the door of that congregation in Iowa. And as we listened to the messages and participated in the work of the Church, we felt a sense of completion in our lives.

The Bible says that ‘faith without works is dead.’ In other words, even if we have strong spiritual beliefs if we don’t act on them, then our faith alone doesn’t count for very much. I believe that.

But I also believe that a life of works without faith is incomplete. Isn’t that why you’re here? Because you’re looking for that spiritual place where
you feel accepted and complete? A place where you can contribute your time, your talent and your treasure to meaningful goals?

I’ve been a member here since 2002. And I’ve participated in every Pledge campaign because I do believe that faith without works is dead. Or, to put it
another way, I believe I should put my money where my heart is. I hope you do too.

I’ll see you in Church, Charlie Scholz, Board of Trustees President


September 18, 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:

  • Take no action on a Food Lending Pantry at the church.
  • Initiate two sub-committees in response to suggestions and observations at the recent workshop with a consultant on non-profit entities and issues. Consequently, the BOT opted to work on finalizing the Human Resources Policy and updating the Board Policy.
  • Modify church bylaws to include consistent language when describing the budget.
  • Ask the Finance Committee, in consultation with Rev. Kacela, to develop policies and procedures for holding programs and committees accountable for remaining within their allocated budgets.
  • Require all members of the BOT to be present for the annual BOT budget meeting.

Upcoming Services

Sermon On the Amount

We kickoff our annual stewardship campaign by exploring the meaning of giving for the future. How can we extend more generosity to the church to ensure our congregation’s mission is sustainable and fulfilled in our community? This is one of our #1 imperatives.

Gender Equity

“Gender Equity” was the focus of this year’s Unitarian Universalist United Nations Organization (UU-UNO) Intergenerational Seminar.  Caitlyn Calway Stein and Sally Atkinson participated as representatives of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, and will reflect on lessons learned during the conference.

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: Covering Everyboty-Selling Our Own Health Care Plan in NM
Sun, Oct 20, 2019, 10:30 AM in the Library

Presenter: Davena Norris, pharmacist

Rising health insurance premiums, higher costs for care and prescriptions, restrictive doctor networks. New Mexico can lead the country with a statewide solution! Come hear about the Health Security Plan, which would provide comprehensive, affordable health care coverage and freedom of choice of health care provider.

Roundtable: Sustainable Research & Extension Program (SARE)
Sun, Oct 27, 2019, 10:30 AM in the Library

Presenter: Dr. Stephanie Walker, Extension specialist, NMSU

Projects funded by Sustainable Research & Extension program (SARE) in New Mexico. The SARE program begin in 1988 and was designed to have farmers directly involved in designing and implementing farming practices that are profitable and protective of land and water resources. They work with scientists and extension specialists at land grant universities—like NMSU. Stephanie will discuss projects she is involved with in New Mexico as part of the Western Region (WSARE). Examples include soil sampling and analysis, selection of cattle genetically suited for grazing in the desert range, and weed and disease management in chili fields through natural biofumigation.

Please Note

These Items of Interest

We Mourn the Loss of John Wilson

With tender sorrow we wanted to notify you of John Wilson’s passing on Saturday, September 21. John and Lois were members of the Unitarian Universalist Church for 7 years before moving to Sisters, OR. in 2014. John was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2015. John had fallen recently, and was in the care of the Partners in Care Hospice House in Bend. The sun was shining on Saturday, and the hospice staff moved his bed outside to a shady spot near the koi pond and water fall. It was a beautiful setting, where John’s wife, Lois, and other family members had gathered round. If you wish to send Lois and the family your condolences, please contact Cheri Coffelt, our office administrator, or Lyn Pearson for her address.

Giving For Our Future

The 2020 Pledge Drive, “Giving for our Future,” officially kicks off on October 20 and runs through November 24, 2019.    The pledge drive is shorter than last year, so we’re hoping everyone will return their pledge card as soon as possible and make a generous pledge that reflects their value of our church community.  The pledge target of $310,000 will balance the proposed budget submitted by the Finance Committee and staff.

As co-chairs of the pledge drive, Karen Hall and Linda Peterson have planned some traditional as well as some new events during this pledge drive.  Please join us for a light lunch on October 20 (outdoors, if weather permits) immediately after the second service for the Kick-off Luncheon.  Pledge Packets will be distributed that morning, or they will be mailed to your home if you aren’t at church that day.

During the next 4 regular church services, you will also hear long-standing and newer members explain why they make a pledge to the church.

This year, everyone is invited to attend one of 8 casita meetings in members’ homes during November.  During the ministerial search process, members voiced an interest in having more opportunities to participate in smaller, more intimate gatherings to reinforce their sense of “church community.” This year, you are invited to attend one of these gatherings and to facilitate the pledge process at the same time!  You can choose between day and evening events.  Thanks to our generous hosts and hostesses, refreshments will be provided.  Please note, the Fitzgeralds have planned a Teriyaki Dinner potluck at their home on Nov. 15.

Please check your calendars and sign-up for one of the following casita meetings:

Casita Meetings

Nov 2Noon - 2:00 PMDave and Ilene SteelePizza
Nov 86:30 - 8:30 PMElwin NunnDessert and coffee
Nov 85:00 - 7:00 PMNancy Anderson and Charlie ScholzWine (or not) and cheeseq
Nov 102:00 - 4:00 PMMarie and Rodney SauterFinger foods
Nov 1511:00 AM - 1:30 PMLyn and Haney PearsonLight brunch
Nov 155:30 - 7:30 PMKatie and Bill FitzgeraldPotluck Teriyaki dinner
Nov 1611:00 AM - 1:00 PMSusie Ostrem and Doug LoomerLight brunch
Nov 175:30 - 7:30 PMChris RamseyHomemade soup supper

Sign-up sheets will be in the sanctuary lobby during each Sunday in October.   Please choose the event that fits your calendar and sign up as soon as you can;  our hosts have designated a limited number of attendees for each event.  You can also sign up by calling Linda Peterson at 252-337-4926.

Leadership Serving our Community

You may have asked, what does the Leadership Development Committee do? The LDC seeks church members annually to serve in congregationally elected positions for the Board of Trustees, Committee on Ministry, and the Leadership Development Committee.  In addition, the LDC helps the church identify potential leaders and provide leadership training for our church community.  All three, the  BoT, CoM and LDC are identified in church bylaws as standing committees within our structure, foundational in the operations and ministry of our congregation.

You may ask, what can I do? Well, as a member of the congregation, consider how you might serve our community in one of these bylaw organizations. Your unique blend of perspectives, life experiences, enthusiasm, and personal interest make you a great candidate for one of these important roles.  If you are not ready now, consider taking a leadership course to prepare as well as speaking to a member of one of these organizations and learn more about its role and function. If you are interested, please contact any of the LDC members, Maggie Locatelli, Joy Goldbaum, Carla Campbell, Robert Severance, Marie Sauter, and Tom Dormody who will be happy to chat with you.

Have Your Forgotten Your Auction Bill?

Auction events are so enjoyable, but now we have some outstanding bills. We’ll send out notices to the forgetful folks, but if you’ve forgotten your bill, please pay it as soon as you can. These payments help make the auction a successful fundraiser for the church and warm the hearts of our generous event, service, and gift certificate donors. Please call Shirley Davis of the Finance Committee or our office manager Cheri Coffelt if you have any questions.


The 18th Annual WomenSpirit Retreat took place in the beautiful mountains of Sacramento, NM just south of Cloudcroft on September 6-8th, 2019. Thirty-seven adult women from our church and the community gathered around to celebrate the theme of “Interconnectedness”. Registrants received a free WomenSpirit tote bag designed by Bonnie Hosie.

Eight people arrived early on Thursday this year for a little R & R before the festivities began. After dinner and the opening ceremony, shopping began in the Funky Fun Shop. Our Funky Fun Shop made $218 and $181 donations were made to the scholarship fund; plus, the yard sale earlier in the year brought in $444 for a total of $843. This year the WomenSpirit committee awarded five full scholarships and has funds to award several more next year.

As the weekend progressed, women gathered around a table to make mandalas for a community book project. Some people were seen completing a very complex 1000-piece puzzle while others kept busy with classes about healing within, belly dance with zills and drumming, creative writing, making lotions and potions and silk painting. Teams of two to four people worked hard to answer the questions to the scavenger hunt by taking crazy photos and videos and finding answers from other participants. Each morning several people went on sunrise hike, witnessing deer and elk all around. A massage therapist offered massages all day Saturday.  In short, there was something for everyone!

Friday night, attendees congregated around a campfire with s’mores. The unusually warm sun made the mountains picturesque and a few people wore shorts around the fire, but on Saturday we had a torrential rain storm and horseback riding was cancelled. Fun was still had, despite the rain!

The annual Talent-No Talent Show highlighted Saturday night. Individuals and small groups entertained with performances of dance, song, poetry, and even ukulele playing–plus jokes galore! There was “no talent” involved where one participant shared the odds and ends that were taking up room in her brain and it was boundless fun and laughter!

The kitchen crew at Sacramento Methodist Assembly filled everyone’s bellies with offerings like potatoes, peas, chicken, with cornbread with cinnamon butter.  A fresh fruit bar was fully stocked every breakfast and salad bar accompanied every lunch and dinner to boot. The crew prepared dessert to delight the palate every night; one favorite was apple crisp. It was a struggle not to overindulge with three squares a day!

As the weekend wound down with the traditional closing ceremony, a beautiful community had formed over the three days with much compassion and hugs shared by all. The dates for next year have not been finalized, but stay tuned for a save the date notice.

Are Links To the nUUs and Light Broken?

No, they are not broken and the web pages are not missing. We share an Internet server with a lot of other 501 charitable organizations and it appears that traffic on the server is occasionally very high. We believe this interferes with the link working properly. However, if you wait a few minutes, you will be able to read the nUUs or Light.

Don’t Forget

These Dates

October 4 Artists’ Reception

The exhibit, “Charcoal and Steel” continues at the Tombaugh Gallery, with a second reception on Friday, October 4th, 5 to 7 pm. The artists, Michael Nail and Mary Lou LaCasse, will give talks about their process at 5:30. Patrons can enjoy wine and snacks as well as acoustic guitar music and some reduced prices. The Tombaugh Gallery, located at 2000 S. Solano, inside the Unitarian Universalist Church, is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm. The exhibit continues through October 18th.

Oct 5 Pride On the Plaza

Show your Pride by helping staff the Unitarian Universalist booth #41 at this year’s Pride Festival. The 4-6 PM shift is full, but there are still openings for the 6-8 PM or 8-10 PM shifts. Volunteers will be provided chairs, water and a chance to promote our UU values! We will also have a children’s activity. Please call Sara Thomas to sign up.


Oct 5 Pagan Pride Day

In conjunction with the international Pagan Pride Project, the Las Cruces Pagan Pride will hold it’s annual celebration, fostering pride in Pagan identity through education, activism, charity. and community. Admission is free, but we encourage everyone to bring a donation for Mesilla Valley Community of Hope. Please take a look at the Pagan Pride Facebook page

Oct 6 Rev. Xolani’s Installation Celebration

Please keep Sunday, October 6, free in your calendar so that you can celebrate Reverend Xolani’s installation ceremony and congratulate him at the reception afterwards. Both ceremony and reception will be at Peace Lutheran Church beginning at 4 PM. The Installation Committee welcomes all contributions to the Minister’s Installation fund to help offset the costs of the event. If you desire to make a contribution, you may put a check, clearly labeled “Minister’s Installation,” into the Sunday plate. Members may give online through their InFellowship account, persons who do not have an InFellowship account may give here. In all cases, select “Minister’s Installation.”

Oct 20 Giving for Our Future

The 2020 pledge drive “Giving for our Future” will officially kick-off on October 20. Be sure to save the date for our annual Pledge Luncheon following the second service. Your pledge drive co-chairs, Karen Hall and Linda Peterson

Oct 11 Multicultural Transformation Day – Last Day to Register

The last day for registration is October 11.   This is critical in order to give people the time to take the online inventory and view the 6 short videos in preparation for the Nov 16 workshop.

A Multicultural Transformation Day
Date: Saturday, November 16, 2019, 9:00 – 4:00 PM
Location: Education Building

In a polarized society where differences divide rather than unite us, what is a faithful response to building Beloved Community? What tools can we use to dismantle White
Supremacy culture and curb micro-aggressions when they arise? How can we foster inclusion and equity by both increasing our intercultural competency and practicing cultural humility? There are a few seats left in this special workshop in which we will design our church’s plan to create this community of inclusion and equity in our church and the community at large. To learn more about this opportunity and get the link to register, you can email or telephone Jane Asche.

Oct 18 Dining Out

October Dining Out is not yet settled. Look in the nUUs for more information soon.

Oct 31 Samhain

As October turns to November, CUUPS members will observe the sacred time of Samhain. Samhain is a festival of the Dead. Meaning “Summer’s End” and pronounced saah-win or saa-ween, Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest half of the year. Many Pagans celebrate Samhain over the course of several days and nights, and these extended observances usually include a series of solo rites as well as ceremonies, feasts, and gatherings with family, friends, and spiritual community. Samhain is not the same as Halloween even though they fall at the same time. Although observances may include merry-making, honoring the Dead is central to Samhain and is a serious religious practice rather than a light-hearted make-believe holiday.

Nov 6 Community and Family Night Postponed Until November

The first five days of October (which includes the first Wednesday of October) are super busy with preparations for the Installation of Rev. Kacela and the annual Pride Celebration. So that week won’t feel anymore crammed with activities, the first 2019 Community and Family Night is postponed to Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 6:00 PM in the Community Room of the Education Building. Thanks for your understanding, and see you then!

Thanks to Our Greeters


Our September greeters were: Jo Ingle, Nora Brown, Jane Asche, Diane Taylor, Kris Northcutt, Jan Thompson, Peggy Brown, Tom Packard, Diane Lee, Vickie Freeland, Chris Ramsey, Carol Winkler, Judy Licht, Lurene John, Janet Pitt, Jean Gilbert, Lyn Pearson, Robert Severance, Susan Bagby, Joan Dormody, and Tom Dormody.   — Peggy Devlin & Joan Dormody, Greeter Coordinators

Generous Giving

We extend our sincere thanks for those members who have generously contributed in support of our October 6, Installation of our minister, Rev. Xolani Kacela. These are contributions made in July-September: Jane Asche, Dick and Susan Bagby, Jim Basler, Vijay Bhala, Jerry Black and Judy Licht, Nora Brown, David and Nancy Carlson, Cathy Carver, James and Katya Gonzalez, Bob and Shirley Davis, Madge DeFee, Peggy Devlin, Joan and Tom Dormody, Robert Floyd, Vickie Freeland, Jean Gilbert, Joy Goldbaum, Ed Gomolka, Karen Hall, Jo Ingle, Rabbitt Loring, Martha Loustaunau, Benjamin and Ingrid Luchini, Catherine Massey and Tammy Schurr, Beverly Nelson, Elwin Nunn, Haney and Lyn Pearson, Cliff Pelton, Linda Peterson and Skip Shelton, Chris Ramsey, Linda Robers, Ron Ross and Carla Campbell, Elisa Sanchez, Rod and Marie Sauter, Robert Severance, David and Ilene Steele, Gayle Trantham and Jack Welch, Roy van der Aa, Judy Waite, Steve Welch and Janet Pitt, Mary Whittemore, Carol Winkler, and July Woody. Contributions may be made by check payable to UUCLC installation fund or log onto

In addition we are thankful for these gifts: Hospitality for Refugees – Ed and Rorie Measure, KRWG advertising – David and Nancy Carlson, Tents to Rents – Ed Gomolka, Simon Hughes, Rabbit Loring, Carol Winkler.

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

Charcoal and Steel

The exhibit “Charcoal and Steel” opens on Sunday, September 8th, 11:30 to 1:00,  at the Tombaugh Gallery.  Artist Michael Nail shows his pencil and charcoal drawings, and artist Mary Lou LaCasse  presents her steel sculptures.  A second reception, with artists talks, will be held Friday, October 4th, 5 – 7 pm. The show continues through October 18.

May Lou LaCasse

After retiring as a scientist, May Lou LaCasse was

able to pursue her life-time passion for art.  She has enjoyed exploring and working in many art mediums throughout the years.  Classes in welding put her on her current path of welding steel into 3 dimensional objects.  She says, “I love repurposing old, often discarded steel objects into outdoor steel sculptures.”  Inserts of fused glass and ceramics contrast with the hardness of the steel and add an extra dimension to the work.

Michael Nail

Michael Nail is a lifelong New Mexico resident and has lived in Las Cruces for 30 years. A self-taught artist with little or no formal training, Mike has loved drawing and painting from an early age but until his retirement from the City of Las Cruces as a senior construction inspector, did not have the time to pursue his passion full time. Mike works primarily in pencil, charcoal and ink. He says “I find that Western, Native American and wildlife themes are the subjects I am most “drawn” to.”

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.