Monthly Newsletter


Services Every Sunday of the Year | Volume 62, Number 07

July Light

Our 62nd Year

Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces

Your Board of Trustees


Sally Atkinson, President
Joel Courtney, Vice President
Rebecca Richins, Secretary
Carol Winkler, Treasurer

At Large Members:

Lyn Pearson
Chris Ramsey
Charlie Scholz
Sara Stinson

Upcoming Services

From May 28 until September 3, there will be one worship service at 10:30 am.

07/23/2017 10:30 am

Prophetic Imperative: Reclaiming our Spiritual and Moral Bearings

One service only at 10:30 AM. As a religious community, it is crucial that we address the many issues facing this country; the rise of the alt-right and its violence, the erosion of civil rights across the board; the decreasing separation of church and state and the erosion of democracy.  Let’s celebrate, together, what we have done in social action and commit ourselves, as a congregation, to social justice in Las Cruces and New Mexico. Think globally, act locally.


07/30/2017 10:39 am

The Power of the Blues

One service only at 10:30 AM. The Blues Is Alright. This service celebrates a triple crown of American music— Spirituals, Hymns and the Blues.  Spirituals and Blues are first cousins and Hymns are ‘second cousins once removed.’ All three genres come from the same place in the human heart. The Blues are secular Spirituals, or as T-Bone Walker put it, “The Blues are just Gospel turned inside out.” Music by The BLUUS Consortium

08/06/2017 10:30 am

Things I Learned in Childhood

One service at 10:30 AM. Things I learned in childhook that are reflected in our 7 principles. Part 3 –

08/13/2017 10:30 am

Sacred Harp Singers

One service at 10:30 AM. Sacred Harp Singing is a uniquely American tradition that brings communities together to sing four-part hymns and anthems. It is a proudly inclusive and democratic part of our shared cultural heritage.

08/20/2017 10:30 am

Water Communion

One service at 10:30 AM. Many UU congregations hold a Water Communion once a year. Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them. During the appointed time in the service, people one by one pour their water together into a large bowl. As the water is added, the person who brought it tells why this water is special to them. The combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming from many different sources.

08/27/2017 10:30 am


One service at 10:30 AM. The flame of our chalice this morning is a symbol of the warmth and brightness of our connections. The flame lights our way back together again From our separate summer lives, and it lights our way forward Into this new church year of promise and renewal. – Janet Parsons  Today’s service will center around covenants between the Ministerial Search Committee the Congregation and between the Congregation and the Committee about our mutual responsibilities in the process of searching for and calling a new settled minister.

Upcoming Roundtables

The Roundtable Discussion Group meets from 9-10 AM every Sunday from May 28 through September 3, in the church Library. 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

Sun, Jul 23, 2017, 9:00 AM in the Library
Roundtable: Political Correctness-The Evolution of a Concept

Elisa Sanchez will introduce the panel and the topic, including current popular usage of the term.   Martha Loustaunau will give a brief overview of historical evolution, followed by comments from  Peter Goodman, Sureyya  Husain and Bob Hearn.  We will consider how meanings have changed,  the relationship to free speech, perceived excesses, limitations, and political usage of the term.


Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 9:00 AM in the Library
Roundtable: Impact of ACA Replacement on NM

Anne P. Barraza, Consultant, Health Policy Planning and Research is the presenter of “The Effect of Proposals to Replace the Affordable Care Act and Their Impact on New Mexico.”  Because the federal situation seems to be changing daily, it is difficult at this moment to predict exactly how the presentation will be structured.  However, Anne will provide the general principles of health insurance, a brief overview of how the ACA has provided benefit to the State, and how the proposals (as we know them at the end of July) may effect everyone.  Hopefully, the current rush to vote by the Senate will be unsuccessful.

The Tombaugh Gallery

2018 Tombaugh Gallery Call for artists

There will not be a show in the gallery until August 2017.

Regular gallery hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am – 2pm.  The exhibit continues through June 23rd.

For details, contact 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.

Featured Article

Attack in New Orleans

Two Unitarian Universalist General Assembly attendees were beaten and robbed in the French Quarter Saturday night (June 24). They were identified as Tim Byrne and James Curran. Byrne and Curran were in New Orleans for the annual general assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, said UUA spokeswoman Rachel Walden. Byrne remains hospitalized while Curran was treated and released, said Walden. Both men are staff members with the association. Please read this pastoral message from the Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray.

Will You Volunteer in Religious Education?

Time Commitment: Sundays,  3-4 months for three weeks each month;volunteer in re

10:30AM-11:30AM Your choice of age group!

We provide curricula along with a weekly outline of the day’s session; outlines include goals for the day, chalice lighting words, suggested activities and the day’s theme.

We aim to provide everything you need for each session.  Art supplies, storybooks, snacks, games and more!

There will be a short orientation and training session in August where you’ll learn about the mysterious supply closet, how to be reimbursed, how we monitor attendance, an introduction to the developmental stages of your chosen group, an introduction to the theory and philosophy of Lifespan Faith Development.

  • The Rainbow Children, this class is for our youngest ones, intended for ages 3-6 years.
  • The Emerson Class, our elementary aged group, ages 7-9 or 10 years.
  • The Junior Youth are our middle school aged tweens, ages 10-13 years.
  • The Senior Youth are our high schoolers.

Contact Susan Freduenthal,

*All of our volunteers must pass a criminal background check and be regular UUCLC attendees for six months prior to working in the classrooms.

Headline Articles

Jul 20 Social Justice Film — Pride

Thursday, July 20, 7:00 pm, free popcorn, donations accepted.

Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners’ strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign.   The National Union of Mineworkers was reluctant to accept the group’s support due to the union’s public relations’ worries about being openly associated with a gay group, so the activists instead decided to take their donations directly to Onllwyn, a small mining village in Wales, resulting in an alliance between the two communities.  The alliance was unlike any seen before and was ultimately successful.”  “R” rated for occasional strong language and two scenes of a sexual nature.
The Social Justice Committee welcomes everyone to join our monthly meetings held on the second Tuesday of every month from 1-2:30 in the library.  Our next meeting will be July 11, 2017.

July 21 Dining Out

July Dining Out will be at 5:00 pm on Friday, July 21at Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria, 1321 Avenida de Mesilla  Please sign up by Wednesday, July 19. For more information, please send email to

July 28-30 Annual Church Camp-out in the Gila

Contact if you plan to join in the fun so we can have an attendance estimate for planning purposes. We are now in the process of reserving a suitable site and getting the necessary permit. We’ll keep you informed and will put up signs to lead the way on July 28.

Sep15th-17th WomenSpirit

WomenSpirit will be held this year from Friday to Sunday, Sept. 15 th -17 th , 2017. We welcome adult women from the community and the Las Cruces Unitarian Universalist Church to join us again at the Sacramento Methodist Assembly grounds near Cloudcroft. There is an option to come a day prior to the retreat, Thursday Sept. 14th if you want more time to relax or explore on your own. The retreat starts Friday afternoon with activities to wind down, socialize and enjoy the beautiful natural setting. There will be a formal opening ceremony after dinner followed by gathering around the fire inside or out. Saturday is packed with choices for movement, creativity, sharing, exploring, and relaxing. Take advantage of a massage for a reasonable fee. The meals and company are amazing. The traditional Saturday Night Talent/No Talent Show is bound to bring tears, reflection, appreciation, joys, and laughter.

Please review the registration materials. We must received your registration not later than August 30, 2017. There is an early-bird discount and scholarships are available too. This year, you can purchase a special, designed for us, t-shirt. The application for the shirt is at the end of the registration packet.


heartKUUDOs is an ongoing feature to recognize people who have given something special to the congregation. If you have a nominee, contact Joel Courtney, Vice President.

This month we have Kuudos for Jan Thompson who spearheaded our church’s Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM), which focuses on welcoming, embracing, integrating, and supporting people with disabilities and their families in our congregations. It’s sacred challenge for congregations is recognizing the humanity and gifts of all people. Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, Congregational Life Staff, Pacific Western Region, sent this note:

I just wanted to extend to you my excitement to learn you have received certification as an AIM congregation. That’s wonderful. Congratulations – this represents a lot of work and a strong commitment.

A related Kuudo goes to Lyn Pearson who quietly turned our church’s website into a model for other churches in the Unitarian Universalist Association. We are one of only three churches that received this note from Michelle Avery Ferguson, AIM Administrator:

I wanted to draw your attention to the following webpage: We’ve used your congregations’ websites as examples of websites that are welcoming to people with disabilities.  Well done!

We are sited an example of a congregation that has a website that is both welcoming and accessible to screen readers,

Many Thanks

greetersThank you to all our greeters!

The greeters for June were Nora Brown, Diana Taylor, Peggy Devlin, Shirley Davis, Ilene Steele, Robert Severance, Lyn Pearson, Tom Packard, Beth Bannister, Carol Winkler, Sara Stinson, and Warren DeBoer. Peggy Devlin and Joan Dormody, Greeter Coordinators

Generous Giving

Our thanks go to Virginia Beattie for her generous support of our KRWG fund, our local NPR station.  Donations to KRWG support our advertising on public radio. Anyone wishing to make a similar donation may write a check to the church with KRWG entered on the memo line. Virginia’s help is much appreciated.  (Jack Welch)

Thanks to all, we are a generous giving congregation. (Jack Welch)

Please consider a gift to the church on behalf of a loved one or to celebrate a special occasion. It’s very easy to make a gift contribution through

Donations in memory of members and friends become part of our Endowment Fund. These are gifts that keep on giving.

For the Time Being —

Rev. Redfern-CampbellNotes from the Developmental Minister

I’m writing aboard the Sunset Limited, currently traveling through the bayous of southwestern Louisiana.  Chuck and I are returning from the 2017 General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), held by the banks of the Mississippi at the mammoth New Orleans Convention Center.  Our bellies are full of muffulettas and gumbo, our ears are full of the strains of traditional jazz, and our hearts are full of the wonder that was this year’s GA.

Traveling by train gives me time to reflect on what happened there.  This time last year, few could anticipate the dramatic changes that would alter the face of the world at large, such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.  Even fewer could have foreseen the changes within our religious Association:  The vigorous protests when a Latina religious educator was passed over for a regional lead position, and the abrupt resignations of President Peter Morales and two white male UUA executives in response.  The decision to appoint three interim co-presidents, all people of color, including former UUA  president Bill Sinkford, Starr King professor Sofia Betancourt, and psychologist Leon Spencer.  The call for White Supremacy Teach-ins, in which 700 congregations participated.  And finally, the revelation that beloved moderator Jim Key was gravely ill, and his death a few weeks later.

Thus our meeting began with mixed emotions.  There was deep grief, combined with trepidation that GA would erupt in angry confrontation. But there was also hope that something new and life-giving might emerge from the crucible.

It’s too soon to predict the lasting impact of GA 2017, but my sense is that it an important shift has happened, from which there’s no going back.  Racial justice was the overarching theme of the week,  beginning with two days of training in “Undoing Racism by the veteran organizers of the Peoples’ Institute, and culminating with the riveting Ware Lecture by Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization working to combat racist practices in the criminal penal system.

I’ve attended General Assemblies for many years, starting in Boston in 1978.  This year’s seemed relatively free of the parliamentary maneuvering, “fake fights,” and general white defensiveness that have marked so many past GAs.  There seemed a greater willingness of Unitarian Universalists of color to engage with white Unitarian Universalists, and a greater willingness of white Unitarian Universalists to listen, even when it was painful.  There was also a greater sense of “we” over “I.”  I credit many people for this, most notably the three co-presidents, all of whom combine deep spiritual grounding with a fierce passion for justice.  The container they created, supported by many others, allowed for transformation.

I can’t conclude without mentioning two additional signs of change.  First, our church was recognized for its work in creating access for people with disabilities, becoming certified as an Access and Inclusion Ministries (AIM) congregation.  Credit for this goes to Jan Thompson and the EqUUal Access Team, who  worked tirelessly to make it happen.  Second, for the first time ever, the UUA has elected a female president!  She is the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, who has served our Phoenix congregation for the last nine years, leading them in a significant Immigration Justice ministry.  As she was born in 1975, her election represents a most welcome generational as well as gender shift.  Her election, and the presence of so many youth and young adults at GA, help guarantee our faith a bright future.

Infinite Possibilities

Sally Atkinson

Board Report

Let’s Celebrate our Abundance!!

The commercial dishwasher is installed and in-use. It washes a tray of dishes every two minutes, using less than a gallon of water per load! We can come together in community for Thanksgiving Dinner,  Seder Luncheon, or another community meal event, and the dishes will be clean before we leave the Great Room! No more sitting around waiting for the 2-hour cycle of our old residential dishwasher, no more coming back on Monday to wash more dishes, no more carrying dishes home in a bus tray to wash and return  – because it washes a tray of dishes every two minutes, using less than a gallon of water per load. The water is heated internally to 180°F, which sanitizes the dishes. No, it doesn’t dry the dishes, so we’ll set the trays out on the counter for 5-10 minutes before emptying them and putting the dishes away.

A tray of dishes every two minutes using less than a gallon of water per load!

Yes, this dishwasher cost more than a high-end residential dishwasher but we’re getting a lot more for our money.  Most commercial dishwashers have a life expectancy of 15-20 years with every day use! We look forward to at least 15-20 years of meals in community, coffee and tea out of reusable mugs, washable plates for our Sunday morning snacks, and knowing we’re leaving a clean space behind at the end of the event.

Patrick is demonstrating the use of the new dishwasher – just ask! There’s also an instruction sheet on the cabinet above the unit, and it’s important to follow all the steps.

Many thanks to all of us for making this a reality.

Now, about the shade structure for the play area. We have the funding, and the Facilities and Religious Education Committees are looking at bids; it will be installed soon. Won’t it be grand to see a huge shade structure over the area where our children play?

The Solano strip looks amazing! Our street-side entrance looks so much more inviting without all the overgrowth. The original plan for the Solano Strip called for ground cloth and rock, and that will come in the next year or so. Between the efforts of our Sexton and our church members who gather for yard work and fellowship, all our grounds are looking very well.

The Ministerial Search Committee asked for new signs. They want to make a video of the campus and frankly, our signs have seen better days – many, many days ago! You may have noticed the absence of the old wooden signs around campus. These will be replaced, as will the big sign on the corner of Solano and Wofford.

Your generosity of time, talent and treasure makes all this possible. Thank you, thank you.

Your Board of Trustees and Sally Atkinson, Board of Trustees President


Catherine Massey

MUSIC NOTES, by Catherine Massey

“Love me tender, love me sweet
Never let me go…”

During our yearly pilgrimage to Northern New Mexico for time at our cabin, we were able to attend a beautiful June wedding for our great niece.  It was held in a hay field in Cortez, Colorado, with the reception dinner and dance in a barn.  The wedding processional they chose was Elvis Presley’s recording of “Love Me Tender.”  It was a very sweet wedding, with groom and groomsmen in denim and red bandanas, and bridesmaids in red dresses and boots.  We sat on hay bales with the beautiful blue sky above and cows beyond.  At the reception, couples danced to the music of a country and western band as sunset fell on the mountains surrounding us.

The sounds of nature are the main musical backdrop to the beginning of my summer vacation at the cabin.  The ravens gathered and croaked this morning, and later a Steller’s jay fussed about.  The enchanting songs of hermit thrushes are especially poignant at dusk.  Sometimes there are fierce thunderstorms, and sometimes those storms bring rain that splatters on the tin roof.  There are daily sounds of the rushing creek, buzzing insects when it’s hot, and our dogs barking when a wild turkey hen strolls through the yard.

During weekly forays into town we catch up on email and the outside world.  At the Questa Public Library, I watched the semifinals and finals of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition live streamed.  (I got to see most of the early competition before we left Las Cruces.)  Fabulous pianists, all—and videos of all the performances are available at  Select any one of the recitals, ensembles or concerti, and you will enjoy an hour or so of excellent, transporting music, and captivating performers.

My other musical indulgence is attending concerts by the Taos Opera Institute—28 opera singers working on the transition from college to professional opera apprenticeships.  These concerts are free and presented at various locations in Taos, and they are like attending a marathon of vocal masterpieces in several languages.

Soon I’ll be home and leading a UU Hymn-Sing service with Haney Pearson on July 16. This is the music that sustains us all through the year, together with memories of all the sounds of our cabin time.

-­-­Catherine Massey
Director of Music
UUMN Credentialed Music Leader

Religious Education Matters

Susan Freudenthal

Dear Friends,

This fall and winter, the Religious Education program is using selections from the Tapestry of Faith curricula written through the Unitarian Universalist Association,  adapted as needed.  Our primary theme is Love.  How we live, how we make meaning, how we come to believe what we do are all a process best done in love.  Join us this fall!

Curricula Choices Fall/Winter 2017

Rainbow Children: PreK-1st grade ages; Love Surrounds Us  

This program explores all the Principles in the context of Beloved Community of family/home, school, neighborhood. Participants engage in activities that emphasize the love they feel in community.

Emerson Class: early elementary ages; Love Will Guide Us

In this program, participants learn to seek guidance in life through the lens of our Unitarian Universalist Sources, with an emphasis on love. Together we ask questions such as, “Where did we come from?” “What is our relationship to the Earth and other creatures?” “How can we respond with love, even in bad situations?” “What happens when you die?” Sessions apply wisdom from our Sources to help participants answer these questions. Participants will learn that asking questions is valued in Unitarian Universalism, even as they begin to shape their own answers.

Junior Youth: middle school ages; Love Connects Us

Celebrates important ways Unitarian Universalists live our faith in covenanted community. Moved by love and gathered in spirit, we embrace our responsibility toward one another and the world at large. We encourage one another’s search for truth and meaning. We strive to be active in peace-making and other efforts to improve our world.

Senior Youth: high school ages; A Place of Wholeness

Youth, like adults and children, need to be able to talk about what it means to be Unitarian Universalist. Whether delivering an “elevator speech,” taking part in an interfaith dialogue, or conversing with friends at the lunch table, youth need practice in describing our multifaceted faith in terms that are personally meaningful and true. Building upon the faith development of Coming of Age and other UU identity programs, this curriculum encourages youth to look inward for a clearer understanding of their personal faith and guides them to express that faith outward into the world.

Fall sessions will begin on Sunday, September 10th at 10:30AM

In gratitude,
Susan Freudenthal, Director of Religious Education

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.

Naoma’s Notes


Happy (belated) Summer Solstice! I was in a seasonal yoga class on the solstice – and the instructor spoke about how solstice is actually a time of “gradually closing back in.” A time of wrapping up, of introspection, of slowing. Isn’t that an interesting thought? Seasonally, of course, that is accurate. The fields have been planted, the school year has ended, we are going on vacations, or hosting visitors – and we are preparing for long, slow summer days – and for harvests which have already begun (onions), and those which will soon arrive (chile!).

With these thoughts in mind, I am being mindful of my work and how to gently ease the cycles of the church, my position, and the season into one another. Since you last heard from me, I’ve been meeting with contractors galore, and getting estimates on the work proposed in the top 24 facilities priorities. At this time, they are almost entirely collected – and now, comes the time where the Facilities Committee, along with Finance, the Board, and others, will be getting introspective about how to prioritize these as we progress into the coming years, and into our ministerial search.

As a final note, I want to thank you all for your patience and forbearance with getting the commercial dishwasher installed, and with getting the AC unit in the Education building repaired. With transition, so often comes a bit of discomfort – and y’all sure were graceful with it all! Many, many thanks.

With a Steady Heart,
Naoma Staley, Congregational Administrator

If you are interested in being a part of the Facilities Committee, would like to learn more about the project prioritization process, or is simply interested in seeing the full priorities list, please contact me! Email:, or (575) 552-7281.


Monthly Events

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 Bridge at Anna’s, the UU bridge club, plays bridge on the first, third and fifth Thursdays at 1:00 pm in the church foyer. If you want to play, be sure to contact Pat Temple 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. For more information, 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 signup 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 Susan Wells for more information or visit the group’s Facebook page:

Navigators USA Chapter 55, Las Cruces is a coed, secular and inclusive educational and outdoor activity program. Our local group offers an alternative scouting experience for children and youth that emphasizes diversity, inclusiveness and all the lessons that Nature has to offer. For more information, contact Patrick Igo ( or 860.751.9150) or Laurel Irwin-Atchison
( or 575.650.0705).

Quilting Bee: The UU Bee Welcome, meets every Wednesday from 10:00 to 4:00 pm in the Foyer. 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 and scroll down the page to the calendar and events listings.