The Light

Services Every Sunday of the Year ⋅ Volume 65, Number 3

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.

April Light

Our 65th Year

Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces

Note: January 5, there will be only one service at 10:30 AM.

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

Sermons Online
Listen here.

The Church is Cancelling All Events Until Further Notice

As soon as we open our patio door, slide the screen door open and look to the left, we see a mother dove sitting on her nest incubating two eggs. It’s a marvelous sight. She’s been there for about two weeks now. At first, there was just a nest. Then, an egg. Now, two eggs.

The whole scene is a pleasant reminder that nature has its own course and moves, accordingly. The dove is singularly-focused on bringing new life into the world. In the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic, I want to encourage you to focus on new life, too.

We’ve all moved into a new life for the time being. I want to encourage you to look for the opportunities out there to do new things or old things in new ways. Like the dove, there is new life depending on you to bring it into existence.

You know that I love learning new things. Right as the pandemic was beginning to take hold, I downloaded a new Android app called “Lose Belly Fat – Flat Stomach.” Also, Tamara and I decided to adopt a Keto diet (high fat, no sugar & carbs). You think I’m already skinny. But hey, there’s always room for improvement! Update: 4 inches and 4 lbs gone in 21 days.

What can you do within your control during this time? What’s new awaiting you to get started? I imagine with a little creativity, you, too, can bring forth something positive to the world.

Keep your head up and keep a smile on.

Dove eggs on our patio
Dove eggs on our patio

In faith,

Warmly, Rev. Xolani “xk” Kacela, Ph.D., Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces | (he/him/his) | Mobile: 919-949-2002

Board of Trustees

President Ilene Steele


Greetings everyone!  I hope you are enjoying your forced isolation at home.  Me?  I am working on our taxes!  (Cathy Carver tells me I’m a real party animal!)  It sounds like there will be plenty of time for me to cozy up with a book.  It is important that everyone pay attention to the public health alerts and recommendations for what we can do as citizens to “flatten the curve” and protect one another.

UUCLC Board business is continuing.  We have formed working groups 1) to review bylaws and policies, 2) to gather information for a possible line of credit for emergencies, and 3) to plan how to present the new “Open Questions” to the congregation.  The April 15th Board meeting will be conducted online via Zoom.   Cheri will send an invitation to the congregation so you may attend if you like.  The agenda will be in the NUUS April 9th.

The church is continuing its work during this crisis, including virtual Sunday services provided by Rev. Kacela.  These services have been very well done and they have been well “attended.”  Check them out!  Cheri posts information about how to Zoom in a few days before each service.  This is a great way to stay connected with our church community.  We are also exploring other ways to help us keep our community feeling alive during these uncertain times.  Stay tuned!

Remember you can still make your pledge payments by check mailed to the church at 2000 S. Solano, 88001 or through Infellowship (  The church leadership thanks you so much for all your support, not just monetarily, but in other ways too.  We could not continue without you and value your contributions!

Stay well.  Be well.  Wash your hands!

Thank you all for your support,
Ilene Steele, President, Board of Directors



March 18, 2020, 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 Office Manager, Cheri Coffelt. The board meets on the third Wednesday of the month .

The board did not meet in March due to the Coronavirus restrictions.


Choir and Music

Catherine Massey
Catherine Massey

Music Notes

“The Lord is my shepherd, I have all I need, She makes me lie down in green meadows.  Beside the still waters, She will lead.  She restores my soul…” These words from Bobby McFerrin’s adaptation of the 23rd Psalm (Hymn #1038 in Singing the Journey) came to me yesterday when Tammy and I gazed at swathes of yellow poppies across the landscape.  How are you restoring your soul? 

It is a whole new world since the last time I wrote this column.  We are all learning to follow CDC safety precautions and directives from our Governor, and figuring out how to maintain health and sanity and community in the midst of it all.  And Zoom (and perhaps FaceTime) have become vital tools.  In addition to virtual worship and virtual choir rehearsals, I have had a virtual doctor’s appointment and online yoga lessons.

Creating worship is still important.  A small team of worship leaders have made worship possible virtually.  There are special challenges in doing so in terms of music—adjusting microphone positions and adding mics, knowing that sounds from different points of origins have a lag time, and acknowledging the limitations of the space and technology.  While music in virtual worship will not be perfect, we still have it, and we still sing together (in our own places).  There is comfort in that.

One loss is the presence of our choir.  It is just not possible to gather together and make that sound from one point at this time.  Yet we are maintaining our connection as a small group by congregating on Zoom during rehearsal times, singing and sharing.  We will continue to rehearse as we can, hoping to be ready when we have the green light to get together to support worship.  Meanwhile I am thankful for the singers who are willing to help lead congregational singing on Sunday.

How are you coping at this time?  I will share some of the resources I have found that truly feed my soul, in no particular order:



From Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries colleagues:

Keith Arnold and David Burrows are leading an Evensong service each Wednesday at 7PM here:

On Facebook, Sarah Dan Jones (composer of “Meditation on Breathing”) is leading morning singing meditations M-F. Music and/or Meditation:

New York’s Metropolitan Opera is streaming operas every night for free at

Monterey Bay Aquarium has live cams, with dreamy music for all the jellies. My favorite:  Moon jelly cam

They also have guided meditations connected with the jelly cams, the ocean, and other areas posted on YouTube. Miscellaneous:

Don’t forget books!  Podcasts!  And if animals make you happy (as they do me),

Brookfield Zoo in Chicago has a live virtual tour every day on YouTube.                      

Tour the Louvre:

Go to Bryce Canyon  or Carlsbad Caverns National Park:

You probably have found some of these, and I hope you are enjoying them. 

Remember:  “Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land, there is nothing that can shake me, She has said She won’t forsake me, I’m in her hand…and my cup overflows.”

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


Upcoming Services

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: An Overview of Climate Change Issues
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 10:30 AM in the Library

Presenters: Joel Brown and James Caufield

Roundtable: Man-made Climate Change
Sun, Apr 12, 2020, 10:30 AM in the Library

Presenter: Donald Neidig

The full title of this presentation is “Man-Made Climate Change and Man’s Reluctance to Stop It: Why We Don’t Respond to an Environmental Imperative?”

Roundtable: Why Free Markets Are the Best Means of Improving the Environment
Sun, Apr 19, 2020, 10:30 AM in the Library

Rio Grande Foundation

Roundtable: Riskey Business: How Are We Going to Deal With Climate Change?
Sun, Apr 26, 2020, 10:30 AM in the Library

Presenter: Joel Brown

Social Justice

Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters (Amos 5:24)

Barking News and the Cat’s Meow

A big THANK YOU to the members of the UUCLC congregation from the Animal Advocates contingent of the Social Justice Committee for your response to our thank you note writing campaign to our local state senators and representatives.  During the Animal Protection Lobby Day at the Round House on Thursday, February 13, Dave and Ilene Steele were able to deliver a total of…(drum roll)… 112 notes to the offices of three state senators and four state representatives, thanking them for their outstanding support on animal welfare issues.  Over 100 animal welfare advocates and activists converged on the Round House on that day and our presence was noted.  Your letters and notes multiplied the effect.  SB 57 establishing a permanent fund to help income qualified families in New Mexico spay/neuter their dogs and cats has a fighting chance of passing during this session.  We are hoping that by the time you read this report that bill will be on the way to the governor who is committed to signing it. Thank you again for your support in celebration of our seventh principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence…” Dave Steele, Ilene Steele and Jean Gilbert; Animal Advocates of UUCLC, serving animals and the people who love them!

Barking NUUS and the Cat’s Meow has an offer we hope you won’t refuse.

The Animal Advocates would like to remind all of the hosts and attendees at auction events (and everyone else in the congregation as well) that we have a good solution for the problem of what to do with all of the empty aluminum beverage containers that are left over from the fun and frivolity associated with the event.  Collect them, bring them in to the Education Building Great Room and deposit them in the Cans 4 Critters receptacle.  We’ll make sure those discarded aluminum cans get turned into cash to assist with the veterinary expenses of families needing assistance with those bills.  Thanks much to the church family for caring about the welfare of animals and the people who love them!  Questions?  Contact Dave Steele, Ilene Steele or Jean Gilbert.

Please Note

These Items of Interest

Thanks to the Membership Committee

At the January 12th Membership Business Meeting the Leadership Development Committee recognized outgoing church leaders from the Board of Trustees, Committee on Ministry, and the Leadership Development Committee. However, we forgot to thank the Membership Committee for purchasing the Unitarian Universalist Association lapel pins each leader received. Thank you Membership Committee for your thoughtfulness and team spirit! Sincerely, Tom Dormody and Marie Sauter, LDC Co-Chairs

A Brighter Great Room

You may have noticed how bright and clean the Education Building Great Room and Kitchen are these days. Dynamic Painting and Drywall spent three days cleaning and painting the ceiling and the walls of both rooms this past week. Our custodian, Brandon, washed the upper windows and cleaned all of the blinds. The painters also cleaned the white sound-absorbing panels that are on the upper level of the Great Room. It was decided to clean them instead of replacing them because they are glued to the wall. Removal would have destroyed them. Best of all, the painting and cleaning came in $500 below the original estimate. Thanks to Ed Gomolka and Shirley Davis of the Hospitality Committee and all the others who helped to take down the rooms and set them back up.  Charlie Scholz, Chair of Facilities Management

Dining Out

The Dining Out group will really miss Gordon and Frances Hill as they move back to be with family. We thank them for all their time in handling the Dining Out for so long. We are happy to announce that the group will continue on the 3rd Friday, March 20th, at 5:00 p.m. at Enrique’s at 830 W. Picacho Avenue. A sign up sheet will be in the Sanctuary Lobby on March 1st.  You can also e-mail:  Make your reservation each month by the Tuesday before the event. All member or friends are welcome to join us. Your new organizers are Annette Turrentine and Janet Martinique.

Service Associate Training This Month

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

Silver City Program – March 8 and March 22

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Silver City – two Sundays in March 2020 – Free and Open to the Public

Presented by Rev. Claudia Elferdink, Unitarian Universalist Researcher and, since 2013, a Collaborator with the Hungarian Unitarian Church Archives in Kolozsvar, Transylvania. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, she served New England Unitarian Universalist congregations including Amherst, MA, and Madison, CT, and now lives in New Haven, CT and Silver City, NM with her extended family.

Get a head start!  Try this short and highly-recommended background reading: “Our Roots” by Dan McKanan, in the Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, Susan Frederick-Gray, Ed. 2019, pp.93-105. $6. Available at UUA Bookstore, Amazon and in the UUFSC library.

Flyer explains entire program.

Paganism: The Month of March

Ostara is one of 8 neopagan sabbats, or holidays, that make up the Wheel of the Year.

This year, in the northern hemisphere, the spring equinox falls on Thursday, March 19. Ostara marks the time when the sun passes over the celestial equator. Wiccans and other neopagans observe the day as a celebration of the season’s change from dark winter to brightening spring.


Don’t Forget

These Dates

Mar 3 Dining Out

Join us for Dining Out on Friday, March 20th, at 5:00 p.m. at Enrique’s at 830 W. Picacho Avenue. A sign up sheet will be in the Sanctuary Lobby on March 1st.  You can also e-mail:  Make your reservation each month by the Tuesday before the event. All member or friends are welcome to join us. Your new organizers are Annette Turrentine and Janet Martinique.

Mar 8 Spring Forward >>>>

Remember to set your clocks forward >>>> on Saturday night, March 7, so you’ll be ready for Sunday services on March 8. Spring and summer are on the way.

Mar 8 Soup’s On!

Soup’s On Luncheon on “Spring Forward Sunday” March 8 at 11:30 am. Church members and friends, please join as we celebrate the spring forward to Daylight Savings Time with a “Soup’s On” luncheon.  Beginning at 11:30 AM, members of the Hospitality Committee and other volunteers will provide a variety of soups, breads and desserts for you to enjoy.  All you need to do is remember to move your clocks forward one hour and come to your favorite service at 9:00 AM or 10:30 AM. For those who come to the first service, there will be coffee available at 10:00 AM. Then enjoy the Roundtable discussion, coffee and conversation, or a walk in the sunshine before we gather with the second service folks at 11:30 AM to enjoy food, fellowship and a fine early spring day.

If you want to contribute your culinary skills, that would be great! Please contact Susan Hychka, Ed Gomolka, or Shirley Davis at, to offer a soup, dessert or bread for the occasion.

Mar 14 Creating a Safe Space

On March 14th at 4 PM in the Library there will be a discussion group on “Creating a Safe Space.”  The idea for this discussion grew from the group who met to discuss the book White Fragility. However, it is not necessary to have read this book to participate on Mar 14th. Those who attended the Intercultural Development Inventory workshop given by Jonipher Kwong are particularly encouraged to attend, though all are welcome of course. The list of antidotes generated from the workshop will also be discussed as possible next steps.  If you have questions, please contact Shirley Davis or Sara Thomas.

Mar 21 Worship Leader and Associate Training

Saturday, March 21st,  8:30 AM until Noon. Breakfast provided!! The Minister, Director of Music, and the Sunday Services Committee invite you to Worship Leader and Associate Training. Sign up in the Sanctuary lobby or contact Haney Pearson or Maggie Locatelli if you are interested in helping with worship services. We will provide a tasty and nourishing breakfast immediately before the training begins. Come and learn “the ropes” for assisting in or leading worship services. See you then!

Apr 1 Watch For Your Census Packet (2nd reminder)

We are calling all superheroes to protect the future of Las Cruces. The US Census takes 10 minutes of your time and shapes 10 years of your life. By April 1, all homes should receive an invitation to participate in the Census and you will have three options to respond: Online – Phone – Mail

Questions call:  575-541-2100

Apr 25 Annual Auction

Dress for the Event

We want to see lots of hats and dresses, bow ties and jackets, crazy patterns and colors a must, and some jockey fanfare too at the 2020 Auction, “An Evening at the Derby”. Come donning your favorite Derby Garb on Saturday, April 25th from 5-9 PM.

March 15 Donation Deadline

Personal Donations for Events, Services, Baked Goods, Meals, and Gift Certificates are the essential components for the auction to happen. There are only 2 weeks left until the March 15th deadline for donation forms. Please turn in your donation forms to the lobby, library or great room trays as soon as they are completed. The deadline to submit your donation form is March 15th.

No Space?

If you don’t have enough room at your house, the Education Building is available. Please check with Cheri in the office to schedule your event before you turn in your donation form.

Need Ideas?

Donated events are really fun and build congregational community relationships with other members. You could host a themed dinner event, a happy hour with tasty tapas, a fun brunch or an entertaining game or movie night.

Perhaps you could provide a service such as cooking a nice meal and delivering it or offer a dessert several times during the year. Have a truck, you could offer to haul off discarded items. You could offer pet sitting for members on vacation or away from home for medical reasons.

Will You Volunteer?

Thank you to our Sunday helpers who lassoed in so many volunteers for the night of the auction, Ilene Steele, Linda Peterson, John Seeley, Katie and Bill Fitzgerald.

Help needed: there are some open shifts on the volunteer schedule and help needed before the auction. Bid sheet preparation Friday, April 10th from 1-4 PM; Bid sheet preparation and table set up Saturday, April 11th from 10 AM -2 PM; Pre-bidding Monitor Sunday, April 19th from 11:15 AM to 12 PM; Trash patrol the night of the auction, Saturday, April 25th from 7-9 PM  If you can help please contact Kathy Willoughby, in the church directory. We appreciate our volunteers!

Will You Be a Beverage Sponsor?

Beverage Sponsors needed, envelopes may be found on the back of the chairs in the sanctuary and can be put into the collection basket on Sundays. You can also donate to be a beverage sponsor on the church website and pay with a credit card. Just select Your 2020 Auction Beverage Sponsorship. Here is the link:


If you would like to volunteer or if you are a new member and would like to know more about joining in the fun at our annual auction; please contact the Auction Chair, Kathy Willoughby in the church directory. Directories are available on the church website and in the lobby.

Jan 9, 2021 Watch For this Event at the Auction

Celebrating Gregor Mendel and Beans!

Date: 2021-01-09
Time: 12 noon until 4:30 PM
Location: Education Building
Open to 22 people

Auction event offering bean-based foods for folks to try. A variety of beans will be showcased. Gregor Mendel passed from this life on January 6, 1884, and is best know as the man who founded the modern science of genetics. His pea plant experiments led to a clearer understanding of heredity. Beans (relatives of peas!) are part of the 3-Sisters-Food-Trinity of the Southwestern Native Peoples, and are a major source of protein. Join us as we explore several heirloom varieties using interesting and different vegetarian recipes. Bring your appetites. Non-alcoholic beverages provided. Families welcome. Beano will be available. Hosted by Jo Ingle and Sally Atkinson.

Thanks to Our Greeters


Our March were:  Jack Welch, Gayle Trantham, Tom Packard, Peggy Devlin, Joan and Bob Pipkins, Judy Licht, Jan Thompson, Nora Brown, Diane Lee, Mary Anne Ford, and Joan Dormody. Thank each and everyone of you for greeting this month.  — Peggy Devlin & Joan Dormody, Greeter Coordinators



Generous Giving

We encourage you to remain committed to your annual pledge for 2020. It is a scary time and the market does look troublesome. Remain calm and remember, we have made it through difficult economic conditions before. We’ll make it through, again. Stay resilient!

Jeanne Gilbert and Jan Thompson made special gifts in memory of Lance Gambrell. Lance is the late beloved son of Lori Miller and Len Gambrell. It is good of Jeanne and Jan to remember Lance in this thoughtful and generous way.

Elwin Nunn made a generous donation of a HP Laptop to help with the Zoom Virtual Services.  The computer will be used to help during the “virtual” services, but also when we are back in the sanctuary.

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

Call For Artists

Beyond Words – One Word Two Visions

The Tombaugh Gallery features artists C. C. Cunningham and Noël Sandino with the exhibit “Beyond Words – One Word Two Visions’’.  The show opens on Sunday, March 8, with an Artist Reception, 11:30 am to 1 pm. There will be a second artist reception on Friday, March 27, from 5 – 7 pm, with A Collaboration Paint Event.

Noel and C.C., both abstract artists, admired each others’ work and came up with a unique idea for the Tombaugh exhibit. They decided to create a list of 18 words and challenged each other to paint their own vision of each word.  C.C. described the process, ”with a sense of discovery, playfulness, emotion, and thoughtfulness, we developed a body of work illustrating how we as process, abstract artists responded to our challenge.”

Noël, a native of California, moved to New Mexico in 2017.  Drawing has always been a part of her life.  She taught art at the elementary level and worked as a professional decorative painter and muralist, building a lucrative business.  After retiring she began printmaking studies and started painting on canvas.  She teaches printmaking workshops and has many shows and awards to her credit. She is currently president of ArtForms of Las Cruces and is a member of the Agave Artists co-op in Mesilla.

C.C. Cunningham grew up in eastern Oklahoma exploring the hardwood forests and rolling hills, creating small sculptures out of local red clay and pastoral scenes from moss, twigs, and pebbles. After working in social services, rearing children and building a successful business in Denver, she moved to New Mexico in early 2000.  Inspired by the beauty of the desert Southwest, she started her career as an artist, including incorporating red desert sands in her highly textural pieces, recognizing the connection with her earthy childhood creativity.

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.