Our Newsletter

Services Every Sunday of the Year | Volume 63, Number 03

March Light

Our 63nd Year

Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces

For the Time Being —

Rev. Redfern-CampbellNotes from the Developmental Minister

In last month’s column, I wrote about this church’s transition to “policy-based governance,” one of the developmental ministry goals the Board asked me to work on when they hired me in 2013.  This month, I’ll share some thoughts about another of those goals, to make a transition from a “pastoral-sized” to a “program-sized” church.  Although this goal was modified in 2016, considerations relating to growth are still relevant to the church’s life and vitality.

We have been a program sized church for a long time.

The fact is that you moved long ago towards being a “program sized” church.  You have far too many members, and far too much going on, to think of yourself as anything else.  A few people may long for the days when the church was “family-sized” or “pastoral sized,” but the time for that is long gone.

This church was family-sized in its early days as a fellowship, but in your ministry with Mark Christian it grew to pastoral size.  Then, during Nancy Anderson’s tenure, you grew in size and complexity to a new level, and were working as a program-sized church in many important ways.  Membership numbers declined during the controversy over your next called minister and her departure, and haven’t fully recovered.  Even so, you never went back to pastoral-sized, either in membership or in the way you function.

What does that mean, in practical terms?  It means that the ordained person, the person you call your minister, can never be the church’s only minister.  In other words, that person can never be the exclusive, or even the primary, pastoral care provider, and it’s unlikely they’ll be on close personal terms with everyone.

In a program-sized church, the minister’s role changes.

In a church too large to be pastoral-sized, the role of the ordained person shifts.  Instead of being the professional ministry-provider, the ordained minister is charged with nurturing the congregation’s shared ministry.  This person becomes less a direct care-giver, and more an organizer and facilitator.  She or he helps promote close personal connections in the church without having to be in the middle of each relationship.  Furthermore, he or she develops structures so that everyone needing care receives it.

We are all ministers.

A crucial part of this work is helping church members see themselves as ministers.  Because of this, we might use a different phrase in place of “pastoral-to-program size transition.”  At its heart, this transition is really a shift from being “a minister-centered church” to being a “ministry-centered church.”

This focus on ministry helps promote congregational health.  It de-emphasizes the consumer mentality that characterizes many congregations.  It changes the questions asked about church life from, “What do I want?” or “Is the church meeting my needs?” to, “What can I do?” and “How can I be of service?”  The important question becomes, not “What has the minister done for me lately?” to “What can I do to minister to the world’s hurts and hopes?”

When each of us finds a satisfying answer to that question, then our church moves closer to the vision of Beloved Community.

Love and blessings,
The Reverend Suzanne Redfern-Campbell

Upcoming Services

Good Friday – Tenebrae (Darkness)

The service of Tenebrae commemorates Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.  We will read accounts of ancient and present-day “crucifixions” as we darken the sanctuary by extinguishing candles.  A simple bread and soup supper follows the service.  As with the Maundy … read more.

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, Mar 25, 2018, 10:30 AM in the Library
Roundtable: The Future of Solar Energy in New Mexico

Presenter is Donald Wiklund

Donald Wiklund of SunPower by Positive Energy Solar, Las Cruces.

Dates to Remember

Mar 16 Dining Out

March Dining Out will be at 5:00 pm on Friday, March 16, at Paisano Café, 1740 Calle De Mercado, (which intersects with Avenidas de Mesilla south of I-10). Please sign up by Wednesday, March 14, or send email to DiningOut@uuchurchlc.org.

Apr 27-29 Pacific Western Region Assembly

The four districts of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s -UUA’s- Pacific Western Region -PWR- will gather April 27-29 in Portland, Oregon for the 2018 Regional Assembly. Speakers include civil rights activist, the Rev. Dr. William Barber; Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, advocate for women’s, immigrant, civil, and human rights; and the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, newly elected UUA president. Programming includes workshops, worship, district meetings, and an optional social justice activity. A day-long Professional Day designed for religious professionals is planned for Friday, April 27, before the start of Regional Assembly. Discount lodging is available at the Portland DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, site of the Regional Assembly. Childcare and youth programming will be available. Registration will open by January 4. Watch the PWR website (www.uua.org/pwr) for full details to be posted soon.

Mar 6 Factionalism and Risks for Democracy

There will be a lecture in the Department of Government at NMSU by Dr. Ben Cole (Simmons College, Boston) on the theme of factionalism and risks for democracy in the US and around the world. The presentation will be on Tuesday, March 6, at 4.45 pm – 5.45 pm in the Nick Franklin Seminar Room, Breland Hall, room 179. Please note that campus parking is free and open to the public after 4.30 pm. See the NMSU news release for further details: https://newscenter.nmsu.edu/ Articles/view/12956/nmsu-to- host-lecture-on-risks-to- democracy-in-us-and-around- the-world

Susan Freudenthal
Expanding Love, Building Identity, Exploring Beliefs

We agree to nurture an intergenerational community that fosters the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental growth of our families with safety and love.

Our children, youth and families are committed to the principles and Sources of Unitarian Universalism through;

Expanding Love
Building Identity
Exploring Beliefs

Dear Friends,

The last three years have brought changes to the world of traditional Sunday Schools.  Following patterns observed by larger denominations, Unitarian Universalists have struggled to hold existing programs steady and relevant.  Many of my colleagues have adapted Family Ministry strategies and we are no exception having explored several pedagogical trends here in Las Cruces.  The focus of my professional continuing education has been on Family Ministries programs attending two conferences and a seminar on the topic.  What have I learned?

  • We are not alone.. Many congregations, both larger and smaller are seeing reduced numbers of children attending on Sunday mornings.  Having a quality program for one hour each Sunday has neither the impact or relevance it once had on people’s lives. There are any number of reasons for this.

Sunday Schooling Our Kids

The Death of Sunday School

  • We need to communicate our vision well.  Do you know what our vision is for religious education?  It’s written above, can you tell someone else clearly what is means?  No?  Then we need to do a better job. Everything we do must reflect our vision.
  • We must recognize that parents are the primary religious educators for their children. Parents do not necessarily want to spend Sundays apart from their children. How do we accommodate that? How are we feeding and supporting their faith formation as a family?  How concise and coherent is our message and how do we help them make real the values and faith in their lives?
  • We need to work out how to fully enculturate all ages as one faith community. Where to start? With worship.  There are reasons, some of them good ones, why we don’t fully worship together.  Fully integrated worship is often messy and loud.  For those seeking quiet reflection, sitting behind a vocal four year old can be a stretch.  But unless we choose, by example, that all ages deserve the wonder and awe of worship, we are holding one of life’s most profound experiences out of reach to all but a few adults.  How does this promote our faith?  Some congregations have begun to have child friendly areas in their sanctuaries. Small tables and chairs are right in front. They add quiet objects to play with, crayons and paper to draw and a rocking chair or two for those who need them. What a radical shift that would be for us!

Feeding the Spirit, one week at a time.

Adult Enrichment

Adult Enrichment programs this spring will continue on Sunday mornings as well as traditional evening programming. Details of each program will be printed in the weekly NUUS.

First Wednesdays Lunch Bunch; bring you lunch and join in the theme based facilitated conversation in the Library at Noon.

Conversations about Race and Unitarian Universalism; meets in the Orange Room of the Religious Education building at 9:15AM through February.  Based on the essays from the UUA Common Read, Centering, a small group is exploring how people of color in leadership have experienced this faith.

Coming this Spring

Building the World We Dream About supports Unitarian Universalists and our congregations to build the multicultural world of beloved community we dream about by cultivating participants’ knowledge, skills, and capacity to address issues related to race, ethnicity, and cultural identity as individuals and congregations.

Susan Freudenthal will facilitate Adult Enrichment programs unless otherwise noted.

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.https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ldBkScTcz8T6wl_t68EbJ8O-FdxD9RI1rDXx991mMko/edit?usp=sharing


Catherine Massey

MUSIC NOTES, by Catherine Massey
I was looking through past “Music Notes” columns and found this one, from March, 2011.  It still applies today, in terms of describing how we decide to schedule the choir for worship.  For example I am writing this before a Sunday in which the choir will sing at the 10:30 service and then meet at Bethel Second Baptist Church at 5:30 for the annual Spirituals Concert.  It turns out to be a long day—but that is how our choir members serve this congregation.  The earlier column follows:

Why doesn’t the choir sing at all services?

I’ve had a number of questions lately from members of the congregation about the choir:  Why didn’t they sing last week?  Why were so few of them at the 9:00 service today?  And others along those lines.  Those are good questions to hear.  They show that people notice when the choir is there, and when the choir isn’t there, they are missed.  Our choir is a hard-working group of volunteers who bring a lot of energy to the services they’re a part of, in addition to enhancing worship with choral music.

Because these people work hard and put in time each week for rehearsal, it is a lot to ask of them to always sing for both services.  Being at both services and warming up beforehand is a four hour commitment on a Sunday.  While that is ideal in terms of having two identical worship services, choir members are not able to do that all the time.

The choir is flexible but they’re “off” when I’m off.

We have tried to be flexible and have a variety of strategies that we use to fit the occasion and the season.  One is to sing at alternate services:  the first service on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month, and the second service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays.  This provides opportunities for other kinds of music and the involvement of other musicians in the non-choir service.   For very special dates, such as Easter, MLK Sunday and New Member Sundays, the choir is scheduled for both services in advance.  Sometimes we may be singing music that does not require the whole choir, so we split into two smaller groups to cover both services.  And the choir is always off (as a choir, anyway) on my days off, normally once a month.  The choir season is from mid-August through mid-May.

Hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion about why sometimes you may not see the choir there on Sunday.  The choir and I are grateful to all those musicians who provide music in our absence.

Catherine Massey, Director of Music
UUMN Credentialed Music Leader

Infinite Possibilities

A Time for Celebration

It’s often easy to dwell on the challenges we have instead of celebrating our accomplishments. This is as true is our personal lives as well as in the life of our congregation.

But right now, at the church, we have two big things to celebrate, our new sign out front in the parking lot and our new shade structure, in back of the Religious Education Building.

Several years ago, at a congregational meeting, our congregation decided that two of the top three priorities for infrastructure improvement were a new dishwasher, and a shade structure. Last year we purchased and installed the new dishwasher, which has been faithfully humming away in the Religious Education Great Room cleaning the dishes after every meal and coffee hour. It was funded by monies from the budget and by special contributions during last year’s service auction.

The shade structure project started with a request by the religious education folks for a shelter from the sun in the play area. A design suggested by the Facilities Committee was refined by the architect for Metal Structures. They created the building and erected it. This was paid for by board-designated funds, by religious education funds, and by a generous donation from Cliff Pelton.

The new sign came about from a request by the Ministerial Search Committee, who were concerned about the look of our campus when ministerial candidates were here. The MSC came to the board with their ideas, and the board approved a sum of money for the Sign project. The initial design was created by Naoma Staley, our Congregational Administrator, with the help of Rachel Courtney. Presley Printing and Mailing printed the acrylic portion of the sign, and Fluorescent Signs did the installation.

Do we still have challenges facing us? Yes, we do. But, with the completion of these two projects, we now protect our children from excessive sun and bring about a higher level of visibility to our church. I think that’s cause to celebrate.

In faith, Charlie Scholz, President
Board of Trustees

Many Thanks

greetersThank you to all our greeters!

Greeters in February were: Jane Asche, Gail Trantham, Jack Welch, Jo Ingle, Peggy Devlin, June Miller, Susan Bagby, Judy Licht, Chuck Campbell, Susan West, Lyn Pearson,  Mederith Durr, Joel Brown, Tom Packard, Lurene John, Dianne Lee,  Linda Peterson, Skip Shelton, Robert Severance, Carol Winkler, Beth Bannister, Gillian Leng, Jean Gilbert, and Nora Brown , Greeter Coordinators

Generous Giving

GENEROUS GIVING:  Our thanks go to Rod and Marie Sauter for their continued support of our Minister’s Discretionary Fund. This fund is dedicated to providing money to our minister to use in assisting individuals for are experiencing hardship and in need of temporary support. (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

Call for artists for 2019 shows

Oh, I See

Photographer Karl Kohl and artist Peg Brown are collaborating in an art exhibit opening Sunday, March 4 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM in the Tombaugh Gallery. The artists’ talk and reception will be Sunday, April 1 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM Kohl’s photos of urban cityscapes are in the modernist style. Shot with color film but mainly black, white, and gray they play with perspective and subject. The title of the show “Oh, I See” is in reference to the reaction to the explanation of how the works relate to each other. Brown’s mixed media constructions and her collage works reflect her response to Kohl’s photos.

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 Pat Temple 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.