Our Newsletter

Services Every Sunday of the Year | Volume 63, Number 07

July Light

Our 63nd Year

Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces

the rev. xolani kacela

Meet the Reverend Xolani Kacela

Expect to see his newsletter articles beginning in August

Xolani has a multi-faceted background. Born in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, reared in Georgia and Lousiana, he grew up moving often since his father was in the U.S. Army as an enlisted man. His mother was a homemaker and funeral director. He spent most of his adult life in Dallas, Texas working for the U.S. government (Army & Air Force Exchange Service) before moving on to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. He was an internal auditor for both organizations.

He received his call to ministry in 1996 and began his seminary work at Perkins School of Theology (Dallas), then transferred to Brite Divinity School (Ft. Worth), where he earned his Master of Divinty and Doctor of Philosophy, Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling. His dissertation is in the discipline of faith development. Additionally, he holds a Masters of Business Administration from Boston University, and Bachelor of Business Administration from Morehouse College.

Xolani was commissioned as a Probationary Minister of the United Methodist Church in the North Texas Conference in 2000 and ordained as an Elder in Full Connection in 2006. He served as chaplain resident in two Dallas area hospitals and as a hospice chaplain for Odyssey Healthcare for six years.

In 2002, he was commissioned in the Texas Air National Guard as a chaplain. During his military career, he has deployed four times, including a 6-month deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, where he served a Senior Theater Hospital Chaplain for the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Tuskegee Airmen. He is currently assigned to 113th Wing at Joint Base Andrews, MD. with rank of Leiutenant Colonel.

He received Preliminary Fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 2008 and Final Fellowship in 2012. Since then, he has been very active in the movement. He served First Unitarian Church of Dallas (TX) as Minister of Pastoral Care and Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Durham, NC) as Assistant Minister. He holds an Adjunct Faculty position of Pastoral Ministry at Meadville-Lombard Theological School. He serves on the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Ministerial Fellowship Committee and is Chair of the UUA Commission on Appraisal.

Currently, he is the Spiritual Performance Training and Education Coordinator for the Henry Jackson Foundation at United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), MacDill AFB, FL.

He is married to Tamara, who has a daughter, Brittany (30). Together, Xolani and Tamara enjoy learning something new every year, traveling, environmental volunteerism, and going to concerts and movies. In his spare time, Xolani enjoys fishing, reading, and studying Spanish.

Board Actions

The purpose of this new 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.

June 12, 2018, Board Meeting

  • Chuck Campbell was officially certified as a church delegate to the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly.
  • Saturday, October 6th, was chosen as the date for a retreat with the Board of Trustees, the new minister, Rev. Kacela, and the representative from Unitarian Universalist Association, Sarah Gibb Millspaugh.
  • The Board of Trustees requested that the Finance Committee create the Annual Budget for 2019 by September 15, 2018.
  • The incoming minister will be afforded complete access to the financial database of the church.
  • The Ministerial Search Committee Final Report was received.
  • The Board approved a contract to repair the irrigation system.

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@uuchurchlc.org.

Sun, Jul 22, 2018, 9:00 AM in the Library
Roundtable: Stand Up, Speak Up, Take a Stand

Presenters Elisa Sanches and Angelica Rubio

With the alarming rise of intolerance, hate and xenophobia, it is time for all of us to take a bold and decisive stand.  What will you do? What can we do together?  How does colonization keep us prisoners? “Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  Elie Wiesel

Sun, Jul 29, 2018, 9:00 AM in the Library
Roundtable: To Be Determined

Featured Articles

UUJEC Webinar Series Second, Thursday of Every Month @ 8pm ET

NEXT UP: A General Assembly Debrief, Thursday July 12, 2018 @ 8:00 p.m. eastern

Join us to share highlights and inspirations from General Assembly. New changes to the AIW process, our Annual Meeting, Networking Session, Table Talk and more. Connect with other justice-seekers for our collective work ahead. Plus: learn how you can join our working groups and become more involved. For Webinar Log-in information, visit our web page: http://uujec.com/webinars

Photographers Needed

Do you enjoy taking photographs? If you do, the Communications Outreach Committee asks you to volunteer to take photographs of our newest church members as well as important activities around the church. If several people volunteer, the work can be shared. It’s an easy way to help support the church’s outreach. If you are interested, please send an email to TheLight@uuchurchlc.org or speak to Lyn Pearson at church.

Newsletter Archive

The Light will now be archived under the website’s News tab. This idea results from a suggestion by Marie Sauter and serves a number of purposes. Since the online newletter is dynamic and services and Roundtables roll off as the weeks go by, the archive will serve as a permanent record of these activities. If you like to print out copies of the Light, you’ll never miss a complete version since they will be kept in the archive. Finally, our Light Editor Emeritus, Elwin Nunn, always kept copies of the Light for historical reference, which we think is an excellent practice.

Dates to Remember

Jul 15 The Last Goodbye

Join John Northcutt, Rev. Sue and Chuck at the High Desert Brewery to hoist a couple of beers, munch on a few snacks, and say a final goodbye to Sue and Chuck. This is a great opportunity to add to the church’s coffers while spending a little more time with them before Sue and Chuck head north. The $15 per person cost will be added to your auction bill. You can add your name to the list that will be in the church lobby on Sunday or email Lyn and ask to have your name(s) added to the list.

Jul 20 Dining Out

July Dining Out will be at 5:00 pm on Friday, July 20 at Lorenzo’s, 1753 E University. (East of McDonald’s)  Please sign up by Wednesday, the 18. Direct questions to DiningOut@uuchurchlc.org.

Jul 20-22 Church Campout

Sign-up Sheet

For planning purposes, we need an estimate of how many people are coming to the campout, even those who are driving up for the day on Saturday. We need to know how much pancake batte­r to make for the Saturday morning breakfast.

There will be a sign-up sheet every Sunday in the Religious Education Building great room. You may also let Jim Basler know if you will attend the campout, sending email to basler36@gmail.com..

Your signup information will also be used to contact you to provide you with information you request or need such as a map, directions, and a list of things you need to bring with you.

This is the signup information we must have:

  • Contact information (name, phone #, email address)
  • Number of adults & number of children in your group
  • Comments: any additional information you would like us to know.

Watch the nUUs for more information. Contact Charlie Welch or Jim Basler if you have questions.

Camp-out Activities Schedule

Friday July 20

The camp-out team will: Meet the people delivering our Port-a-potties from Silver City & escort them to our camp site. Put up signs by the highway and along the dirt road leading to our campsite so you can find it. Tie some large tarps between trees to provide shelter from sun & rain. Place tables under it for snacks, drinks, games, & meals.

As people arrive, they will pick where they want to put their campsite, set it up, visit with other, and maybe explore the area. Near dusk everyone will grab their chairs and gather around the campfire, visit, maybe sing, while the children roast marshmallows.

Saturday July 21

  • 7 AM – 9 AM Pancake breakfast
  • 10 AM – 12 PM Group Hikes: An easy one suitable for children or a little harder suitable for teenagers & healthy adults.
  • Noon – 5 pm Free time. You have lots of opportunities for using your free time.

The children can help create an effigy of Sam McGee using old clothes, tree branches for arm & legs, pine needle stuffing, a paper plate on which to draw a face. Their effigy of Sam will be used at the evening gathering around the campfire.

You can join a group of UUs and add your tall tales, adventure, & interests to those of the others.

Explore the many hiking trails in the area.

Go fising or boating at Lake Roberts

Make a side trip to the Cliff Dwellings

Take the scenic drive to Lake Roberts store for an ice cream fix.

Sit in the shade with a good book while watching the wildlife around you.

  • 6 PM – 7 PM Potluck supper
  • 7:30 pm – ?? Gathering around the campfire. The children like to roast hot dogs, marshmallows, and make Smores. It has become a tradition to read the humorous poem The Cremation of Sam McGee while grouped around the campfire. At the appropriate time in the poem, the effigy of Sam created by the kids is placed in the campfire so poor Sam can finally get warm. If you play the guitar, please bring it to the campout. It’s more fun singing with accompaniment. The singers aren’t experts so you don’t have to be one either.

Sunday July 22

10 AM Church service circle under the pines. If you have a poem or reading you would like to present, please bring it.

Sep 14-16 WOMENSPIRIT Retreat

WomenSpirit Taking Shape will be held this year from September 14-16, 2018.  Registration is now open! Click here to be taken to the registration form.  Depending on your browser, the form will immediately open on your screen or it will download to your computer. You should print the form, complete it, and send it to the address noted on the form. Be sure to check out the option to come a day early.  If you have questions, please contact Sara Thomas.

REGISTRATION needs to be postmarked on or before August 31st, 2018.

Register by August 11, 2018 to obtain a complimentary T-Shirt.WomenSpirit

Workshops this year include: Eco Print and Dye,Tai Chi Chih, Singing Meditation, Metaphysical lecture, Hiking, Writing, and Dancing.

Susan FreudenthalYouth Religious Education

Expanding Love, Building Identity, Exploring Beliefs

A Hogwarts Summer begins on Sunday, June 3rd.  Core Hogwarts subjects such as Potions, Herbology and Defense Against the Dark Arts serve as a place to explore Unitarian Universalism. We will begin with an introduction to the Harry Potter series and get sorted!  Each session can stand on its own, no prior attendance (or knowledge of the books) is required.  Please register your child on the weeks you attend.

Sessions will include a focus on the following themes:

  • Celebrating the magic we find in the world
  • Moving beyond tolerance
  • Acceptance and love
  • Racism and discrimination

The summer program ends on Sunday, August 12th. Sign-in will be required for all who attend.

Hope to see you all soon!
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.https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ldBkScTcz8T6wl_t68EbJ8O-FdxD9RI1rDXx991mMko/edit?usp=sharing


Catherine Massey

MUSIC NOTES, by Catherine Massey

For me it is vacation time, usually giving me space for reflection before a new school year and choir season begin in August.  Literal circumstances have given me a perfect metaphor for this time:  Tune out the noise.

Fire danger, due to heat and extreme drought, delayed our usual foray to our summer cabin.  Simultaneously, work began on remodeling two rooms in our house.  This meant we were not only not relaxing in a quiet place, but staying at home while our contractors pulled up the last of the carpeting and used machines to chip out the last old linoleum underneath.  Since our dog, Ringo, had hurt his back and wasn’t feeling very well, we stayed home a couple of days with him, the noise, and the heaped contents of two rooms into our common spaces.  I was tired enough from packing and moving those contents to be happy just to relax, read, and do crosswords for awhile.  To do that, I had to tune out the noise.

Summer is a good time to hear soul-affirming sounds, above the din of the chaos in our world.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be—although it was somewhat exhausting, as I realized later.  I focused on other things, listened to music or watched Red Sox games, with the knocking and grinding in the background.  Even the dogs got used to it and just settled down.

Then we got away during the day and spent time in public places:  the library, Spirit Winds.  The library was pretty loud!  I was surprised.  Lots of activity, people, conversations and phone sounds.  At Spirit Winds was the usual cool music as soundtrack, but also fascinating conversations everywhere.  Still, I read a whole May Sarton book and wrote this column.

It is great to get away from it all, when it’s possible.  But when it’s not, practicing “tuning out the noise” is good to do.  Much of the time I cannot focus on current events.  If I think too hard about immigrant families, or the people of Syria, or any of a myriad of issues, I can’t even get out of bed in the morning.  I have to select what I can think about in the moment and how to respond.

I acknowledge right here and now that that ability to choose and select is a result of race and class privilege.  Yet I remember a time long ago when I worked in a factory, and allowed myself to ignore the constant mechanical sounds around me while working with my hands and daydreaming.  And I engaged in lively, long conversations with the other women who worked all around me.  It was a useful skill that helped us survive soul-killing jobs.

Summer is a good time to hear soul-affirming sounds, above the din of the chaos in our world.  I hope we can all take a moment to do that.

Catherine Massey, Director of Music

UUMN Credentialed Music Leader

Our President

Change is On the Way

When I was working as an educator, I always looked on Summer as a time to recover, to relax and refresh. Even if I was teaching a short course or keeping the department office open, the pace was different. The last half of May, the months of June and July and first half of August were slower and easier to deal with than the rest of the year.

But this Summer at the church is a little different. While we are in the lay-led single service mode on Sundays, with staff members taking well-deserved vacations, and our Developmental Minister in her last few weeks with us, there is a tension in the air, because change is on the way.

Our new settled minister will be with us at the beginning of August. And we know that a new minister will have a new vision about who we should be and how we can work to get there.

Are you ready?

I have a feeling we may be ready for this. In the past few weeks I’ve already been approached by several members of our congregation who have ideas about how things could be changed. I usually say to them, let’s wait for the new minister. He should be included in this conversation. We probably cannot make effective change without his input or support.

But I would also say we cannot put this all on the new minister. As he shares his vision with us, we must also share our vision with him. And through this shared vision we will become the agents of change. Are you ready?


In faith, Charlie Scholz, President, Board of Trustees

Many Thanks

greetersThank you to all our greeters!

Greeters in Greeters for June: Jo Ingle, Rita Decker, Chuck Campbell, Lyn Pearson, Chris Ramsey, Susan Bagby, June Miller, Beth Bannister, Carol Winkler, Diane Lee, Jan Thompson, and Shirley Davis.. — Peggy Devlin & Joan Dormody, Greeter Coordinators

Generous Giving

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 for 2019 shows

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.

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 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 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 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 Susan Wells for more information or visit the group’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/342484072516356/

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 see our events calendar or contact Laurel Irwin-Atchison (LaurelIrwin@comcast.net or 575.650.0705).

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.