Our Newsletter


Services Every Sunday of the Year ⋅ Volume 64, Number 06

We gather to inspire spiritual growth, to care for each other and our community, to seek truth and act for justice in the world.

June Light

Our 64th Year

Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces

Office Administrator, Jaylynn Melendez’s hours will be Tuesday-Thursday 9:30 AM until 5 PM.
During the summer Rev. Kacela will be in the office on Wednesday 10 AM until noon, and working at home Mon, Tue, and Thurs, 10 AM until 4 PM.

What Does It Mean to be a People of Beauty?


Reverend Kacela’s articles will resume in July.

Our spiritual theme for June is Beauty. 

Where do you look for beauty?

There is universal agreement that we all must make time to visit museums and sit before stunning sunsets. But seeking beauty there is not enough. Every religion agrees: The secret to encountering spiritual beauty is to visit and observe the unlikely places. Indeed, one could argue that this is the job of religion. It exists to teach us and to help us observe beauty in the less noticed places. Just think of all the seemingly odd advice that religion sends our way:

“Notice your feet!”

There’s a beloved poem by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda about a pair of his socks. In this and other poems, he brings the ordinary things around us to life, helping us see how they so clearly carry the memories and meanings of our lives. Religion does the same. It tells us that these ordinary objects are not just background but beautiful partners. They don’t just enhance our relationship with the world and each other; they are among the most important relationships we have. They are fellow journeyers in and of themselves.

“Notice what’s at the front of the protest march!”

Unitarian Universalist minister Sean Parker Dennison writes, “The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility. What we believe is beautiful we will not wantonly destroy.” With this we are reminded that beauty does more than soothe and heal. It demands. It calls. It creates commitment. It doesn’t just say “Love and appreciate me.” It says “Protect me! Fight for me!” It’s steps out in front of us and points to a precious world that needs our help. It paints a picture of new ways of living and declares, “Follow me there!” It’s not just the thing that nurtures our activist efforts. It is the reason we take to the streets.

“Notice yourself!”

Again beautiful things are not just objects to be appreciated and adored. They are not pretty things we purchase and possess. They possess us. They are containers for pieces and parts of ourselves. We don’t just observe them; we pour ourselves into them. They don’t just sit there; they open themselves up and invite us to spill our longings, memories, hopes and hurts into their care. When we observe them, we observe and re-member ourselves.

“Notice what’s behind it all!”

Our own Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “The world is not painted or adorned, but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe.” The Quaker theologian Rufus Jones writes, “Beauty has no function, no utility… It greases no wheels, it bakes no puddings. It is a gift of sheer grace, a gratuitous largesse. It must imply behind things a Spirit that enjoys beauty for its own sake and that floods the world everywhere with it… Our joy in it shows that we are in some sense kindred to the giver and revealer of it.”

Here we are reminded that beauty is not just an elegantly painted portrait. It is also the artistic force of the universe that is constantly painting us. Pulling out the elegance in each of us and the world around us to create the portrait that is life.

So, yes, friends, by all means, get yourselves to the museum this month. Make time to gaze at the color-laced sky on your evening walks in the woods. But let’s not forget to also visit the unlikely places and the beauty that awaits us there.

Community Quick Hits


Ambiguity In Communications

Reverend Kacela recently posted on KRWG and will be going on the air soon to discuss Ambiguity in Communications. Here is an excerpt.

Ambiguity is a hallmark of American speech today. People ask questions when they might speak clearly. They don’t respond directly. When someone needs something done, they typically ask a tentative question. Avoidance leaves people guessing about others’ intent. Read the entire article here https://www.krwg.org/post/ambiguity-modern-communications.

Religious Education


Susan Freudenthal
Susan Freudenthal

Expanding Love
Building Identity
Exploring Beliefs

Our purpose, in the Religious Education program is to do as written above these lines.  This is how all our programming whether for children, youth or adults is vetted and created. The idea behind these pithy words are to encourage all of us to use them as a means to explain what we do, who we are and what we hope to accomplish.

This summer, using both the Soul Matters curriculum and in-house created programming, each week we will explore a variation on a theme. June: Beauty; July: Joy; August: Simplicity.

The Sunday youth program is offered every week as is our Adult Faith Formation program through the Roundtable. Please note that the children’s program begins at 10:30 a.m. while Roundtable begins at 9:00 a.m. The First Wednesday’s Lunch Bunch Discussion group also uses the Soul Matters themes and is open to anyone wishing to join us in the Library at noon the first Wednesday of every month.

This summer marks a transition for the R.E. program.  Paige Ramsey, a member of the childcare staff is moving to Denver as she begins her graduate studies.  Paige has been with us for nine years! Her last day will be on Sunday, July 28th.

Paige has always been willing to remain flexible and constant in her expanded position and will be missed terribly by all of us in the religious education family.  I know great things lie ahead for Paige, it’s time for her to fly and fly she will! Paige is moving into her first adult home about the middle of August and begins classes soon after.

Some of you may remember moving out for the first time.  Perhaps you were really lucky and had everything you needed to start? Or maybe you didn’t?  As young adults do nowadays, Paige has an Amazon wish list with needed household items listed as well as few Grad student wishes. For those of us who wish to give Paige a few more flying feathers for her wings, please contact me for a link to her wish list.

I am very proud to have known Paige and grateful for her time here.  My family and I will miss her a great deal. Watch out world, Paige Ramsey is coming!

Susan Freudenthal, Director of Religious Education

Adult Faith Formation Program

Faith formation is a team effort. Lead by staff, members and friends of the congregation, our mission is to help people grow by offering experiences that further the congregation’s mission.  In the coming months there will be a variety of things to participate in and should you feel the call to offer something yourself, please let me know.

Coming in August; two daytime programs I’m calling The Dog Days. Both classes will be discussion based. One is a book discussion group and the second is an exploration of philosophy based on the series “The Good Place”. Look for details next month

Have you a great idea? A Passion or skill to share? Contact Susan Freudenthal and let’s talk about what you might do in Adult Faith Formation.

Adult Exploration depends on you!  What interests you?  Are you willing to lead or co-lead a book study?  A conversation? A class?  Fill out a request/proposal and I’ll help you make it happen.

Choir and Music


Catherine Massey
Catherine Massey

Music Notes

MUSIC NOTES, by Catherine Massey

This is my annual vacation time, and I will soon be in Boston for a week to celebrate my birthday.  Among our plans are to attend Arlington Street Church (where Rev. Sue and Chuck Campbell met), ride the swan boats, and go hear the Boston Pops.  Leslie Odom, Jr., who played Aaron Burr in the original production of Hamilton on Broadway, will join the Pops for a tribute to Nat King Cole’s 100th birthday.  I’m looking forward to going back to some of my favorite places:  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s garden in Cambridge, and John Adams’ birthplace and farm retreat in Quincy. First Parish (Unitarian) in Quincy, MA holds the tombs of John and Abigail Adams, and John Quincy and Louisa.  And I am hoping to explore for the first time the Boston Harbor Islands.

Later we will head to our cabin in Northern New Mexico for some quiet time away from almost everything.  I purchased Rev. Charles Harvey’s poetry book on the Psalms and am inspired to read that as well as the actual Psalms while there.  Taos Opera Institute’s season will be in full swing when we get there, so we will get to hear a couple of concerts and attend their annual fund-raising gala.

Before all of that happens, our choir and I travel to Alamogordo to sing with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Otero County for one Sunday worship service.  Several of our choir members will be providing a great deal of help with music for worship during the summer while I am away, for which I am deeply appreciative.  And you will be, too, because they have some fabulous music planned!  In July I will join my colleagues for the annual American Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries conference.  I will tell you more about that next month.

Catherine Massey, Director of Music
UUMN Credentialed Music Leader

Words From Our Board President


President Charlie Scholz

On the Way to a Great Church!

I’ve heard it said that the health of a Church Congregation can be measured in two ways: by attendance at Sunday Services; and by the participation of its members in the work of the Church.

I’ve had a good view of the Congregation on most Sundays this year because I sing in the Choir. And invariably I will count the house. While I haven’t seen any great surge in attendance, I have seen more people, on average, in both the 9 AM and 10:30 AM Services.

I’ve also seen increased participation in the work of the Finance, Stewardship, Membership, and Hospitality Committees and a continuing high level of participation in Social Justice, the Roundtable, and the Sunday Service Committee.

But the Leadership Development Committee, which recruits for both Board and several Committee positions, has indicated that they have found it difficult to find people for some positions.

I know we are a Congregation who believes in acting on our Principles. And I know that we support the Church financially. So, to increase the health of our church, we need to increase our participation even more. This is a good church on its way to becoming a great church. That greatness depends on each one of us to do our part.

On September 15 we’re going to have a Fair, to allow Committees to explain their missions and recruit new members. That will undoubtedly help us to increase our participation. But you don’t need to wait until then. Volunteer now. Let us know what you can do for our Church.

In faith, Charlie Scholz, Board of Trustees President

Board of Trustees Actions


May 15, 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 on the following:

  • To discontinue the church’s relationship with AVID (Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention in the Chihuahuan Desert)
  • To ask the finance committee to create a new budget line item to accommodate the contract for a temporary office employee.
  • That Mark Sokontarak and Robert Floyd be appointed to join Carol Winkler as signers to Unitarian Universalist Association Common Endowment Fund.

Upcoming Services

What Does Humanism Mean Today?

Revisiting an award-winning sermon by Rev. Dr. Barry M. Andrews that explores the meaning of humanism and its various forms and how we might use it as a means of good and positive change.

Upcoming Religious Education Classes

All sessions include a Chalice lighting, time to share Joys and Sorrows, centering, stories and projects (STEAM). For more information about each week’s session, click on the links. All are welcome!

Religious Education: The Beauty of the Summer Solstice
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 10:30 AM in the Edu. Bldg. (entire)

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice is the day when we have the most daylight of the year. The word “solstice” means “sun stands still.” It’s when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and seems to stand in the same place before it begins moving toward the winter solstice. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/june-solstice-customs.html

Religious Education: Yeh Shen, the Chinese Cinderella
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 10:30 AM in the Edu. Bldg. (entire)

“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.” Confucius. Introduction to the story: Do you know that a version of Cinderella can be found all over the world? Read the Chinese Cinderella story.

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@uuchurchlc.org.

Roundtable: What Are Dona Ana County Specialty Courts?
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 9:00 AM in the Library

Presented by Joel Cano, Magistrate Judge.

Specialty Courts in Dona Ana County.  What are they and what is their purpose?

Spiritual Odyssey: Jane Asche
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 9:00 AM in the Library

Jane will  talk about how this church has been a key player in her Spiritual Odyssey. Being born into a Universalist church in 1939, she has wandered far and wide in her religious experience. She will discuss why she has returned to the spiritual home she was born into.

Social Justice

Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters (Amos 5.24)


Change for Change

$492.68 was raised for AVID,  the Change for Change recipient for the first quarter of 2019.  All change collected during Sunday services and Roundtables is donated recipients selected by the congregation every year.  The recipient for the second quarter will be the LCPS ProjectLink program.



Church Member Appointed Interim Director

Church member Billy G. Garrett, a former Doña Ana County commissioner in District 1, has been appointed interim director of the New Mexico Museum of History and Palace of the Governors by Debra Garcia Griego, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. Congratulations to Billy on his appointment.

Church Community Yard Sale Thank You

The Unitarian Universalist community Yard Sale on May 11th earned nearly $900 which was split evenly between WomenSpirit and Hospitality for Refugees. Two charities picked up our leftovers, Habitat for Humanity Restore and Savers. A huge thank you to all our hardworking volunteers: Susan Bagby, Linda Peterson, Rabbitt Loring,  Rene Adams, Joy Goldbaum, Mary Whittemore, Rebecca and Stephanie Richins, Nancy Anderson, Charlie Scholz, and Judy Holmes. An All Star Crew! Thanks also to our many donors of items to be sold.

We Are an AIM Congregation!

Did you know that our congregation is AIM certified?  In fact, we were the second congregation in the entire Unitarian Universalist Association to become certified as having met the requirements for being an Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) congregation.  We spent a little over 2 years with a Task Force of 6 to 8 people plus the minister and the religious education director presenting a series of workshops, Roundtables, and Sunday services that focused on learning about ableism and how to welcome and include people with physical, mental and cognitive disabilities in the fullness of congregational life.  We made some improvements to the building and grounds, bought some equipment (PocketTalkers, sound equipment, TV monitors, large-print hymnals), re-designed seating in the sanctuary, added a few more parking spaces reserved for people with mobility limitations, and then took a congregational vote to seek final certification.

Being accessible and inclusive is an ongoing ministry.  There are always new things to learn and more improvements needed.

I invite you to join our AIM Team to evaluate our progress, seek input regarding current needs, and ensure that our church will be re-certified for AIM at the end of this year.  Please contact me if you are interested.  People with disabilities (visible or unseen) are especially urged to join the Team, but those of us temporarily able but keenly interested in the subject are also very welcome. Jan Thompson

Don’t Forget These Dates


June 21 Dining Out

June Dining Out will be at 5:00 pm on Friday, June 21 at Aqua Reef Restaurant, 141 N. Roadrunner Pkwy. (North of Lohman)  Please sign up by Wednesday, June 19. For information contact DiningOut@uuchurchlc.org.

Thanks to Our Greeters and Hospitality Hosts



Our May greeters were: Carol Winkler, Lurene John, Robert Severance, Jo Ingle, Rita Decker, Judy Licht, Vijay Bhalla, Jack Welch, Vickie Freeland, Joan and Tom Dormody, Tom Packard, Joel and Peggy Brown, Chris Ramsey, Linda Peterson, Diane Lee, Jane Asche, and Martha Loustaunau.– Peggy Devlin & Joan Dormody, Greeter Coordinators

Generous Giving


Our thanks go to Jan Thompson for remembering two of our late beloved members, Chuck Campbell and Jack Soules. Jan made generous contributions in memory of each and we thank her for these, her latest of many, special gifts. (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


The gallery will be closed in June, July, and August.

When shows resume, gallery hours will be Wednesday through Saturday, 10 – 2. For details, contact Gallery@uuchurchlc.org, 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 bridge@uuchurchlc.org 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 http://www.facebook.com/desertspiritcuups or email lascrucescuups@gmail.com.

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 DiningOut@uuchurchlc.org 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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/342484072516356/

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 Chris Ramsey.

Unitarian Universalist Children’s Playgroups (all are welcome): Parents/caregivers must remain on site with their children. The members of the group plan outings, holiday celebrations and other activities together. Contact Susan Freudenthal, DRE, for more information.

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