July Light

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Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, Vol. 72, Num. 7

Services Every Sunday of the Year
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.

Our church administrator is Nancy Zacarias and the church office is open Mon.-Fri from 10 AM until 2 PM

Join us for Zoom Worship Sunday at 10 AM, See past worship services on our YouTube channel
Deadline for Light submissions is the 25th of every month

Our Minister

The Reverend Rod Thompson

Rod’s Ruminations

I hope you will find some time to rest and relax, and maybe travel to some cool and delightful place this summer. I will be doing just that.

Except for emergencies, you won’t see much of me this month of July. The first half of the month is my half-month off (and I am getting better at not working during that part of the month). I may just catch up on my Cozy Mysteries with cats on my lap or do some touristy things. The rest of the month I will be on vacation riding Amtrak’s Texas Eagle from El Paso, to Chicago,
and then on to Ohio. I’m looking forward to seeing my family, friends, playing some music with the Trumbull Country Dulcimer Society, and attending Sunday Services at the Kent Unitarian Universalist Church. I return to El Paso on August 1st , as I begin my second year under contract with you.

Of course, I will keep in touch while I am gone. The Staff will have my contact information, as well as the Board and Caring Committee. You, my beloved community, will be doing what you always do, taking care of each other.

Stay as cool as you can and have a great summer. Rev Rod

Our President

Susan Hychka

picture of susan hychka

Susan does not have an article this month.

Board of Trustees

Board Officers
President: Susan Hychka
Vice President: Linda Ruchala
Secretary: Rabbitt Loring
Treasurer: Jan Thompson

At Large
Bill Fitzgerald
Kevin Fitzgerald
Rich Richins
Carol Stanfill
1 vacancy

Full board minutes are sent to church members in a private emailing.

Religious Education

Kellie Ingram, Director of Religious Education

“Summer afternoon—to me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in
the English language.” – Henry James

June 2024 Potluck Tower

Religious Education will spend July continuing to celebrate the summer break with
additional weekly events! While I’m sure I sound like a broken record, I’m personally and professionally still trying to navigate the shorter summer vacation. However, taking the time each week to organize fun get-togethers with our church families and friends makes a difference and gives us all a little something to look forward to! Due to our New Mexico desert heat, most of our adventures have been kept inside (museums, church gatherings) although we have spent a couple of outings at the local pool and eating ice cream at the downtown splash pad!

This month we hope to recognize the return to school with a water day on the church campus, by renting a water slide and enjoying seasonal snacks and cold drinks. This event will be open to the community, please reach out if you know of any youths and their families interested in joining us.

June ended on a great note with a wonderful attendance at our monthly potluck. Ten students and their families (and a few extra folks) participated in sharing food, playing games, and building towers! We would also like to give thanks to teacher volunteers Cassie Calaway and Dale Emmert for their wonderful lessons on the Summer Solstice and homemade ice cream! Yum and Fun!

Music and Choir

Catherine Massey, Director of Music

Music Notes

Please notice the following events, coming up soon:

Hymn Sing Service July 21st

Join us on Sunday, July 21st for a good, old-fashioned UU Hymn Sing!  Do you have a favorite hymn?  Is there something that we need to sing or hear right now?  Send Catherine your hymn request and we’ll try to make it happen that day!  If it’s not UU, I need a little bit of lead time, and maybe the music, too.  Deadline for requests:  July 7th.

We will have a Pick-Up Choir that day.  Anyone of any age, whether you’ve sung in a choir or not, is welcome.  Show up at 9:30 that morning and you’ll have the chance to learn something super-easy and fun to sing.  You are safe here!

Instrumentalists:  We’re wide open for your participation in this service (and most others!).  If I haven’t contacted you yet and you are interested, please email me and we’ll get you booked.

Pick Up Choirs This Summer!

If you’ve wanted to sing in a choir, but can’t commit to anything long-term or regular, we have some opportunities for you this summer!  On any of the dates listed below, show up at 9:30 for a quick rehearsal to learn something super-easy and fun.  No obligation, no age limit, and no previous experience necessary!  Two more:  7/21, 7/28.

Choir Retreat and In-Gathering Rehearsal:

The UUCLC Choir will start our 2024-25 season with our annual Choir Retreat.  This is a pot-luck dinner with opportunities to get to know each other, catch up on summer news, and envision our work for this year.  Our first (In-Gathering) rehearsal will be two weeks later.  If you are a current choir member or are considering joining the choir, these two events are highly recommended for giving us a good start to the year.  

Requirements for joining the choir:  Willingness to attend rehearsals, sing at worship services, and commit to the choir’s covenant.  

Tentative dates and times are:

  • UUCLC Choir Retreat–Tuesday, August 13th–6:30-8:00 PM in Lobby
  • UUCLC Ingathering Rehearsal–Tuesday, August 27th–6:45-8:30 PM in Sanctuary

(Definitely subject to change.  Stay posted in weekly announcements and in the August Light.)


Nancy Zacarias, Church Administrator

picture of nancy zacarias

Office hours are Mon.-Tues. 10 AM until 2 PM, Wed. 2 PM until 5 PM, Thurs.-Fri. 10 AM until 2 PM, and the library is open Mon-Fri 10 AM until 1 PM. You can email the .

Committees and Programs

Communications by Lyn Pearson

There is a new calendar on the website. You can see it if you click on Events on the main site menu. It’s easier to read and search and it can be printed out too. Committee chairs and program leaders, please check your entries in the calendar for accuracy. NOTE: Events end on December 31, with the exception of Choir. In late November or early December, you will be asked to confirm the dates, times, and locations of your events for 2025.

CUUPS by Cassandra Calway –

“Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.”

The Sixth Source of Affirmation of the Unitarian Universalist Association

Lughnasadh is the first harvest festival on the wheel of the year. It was established by the Celtic God Lugh to honor his mother. In modern Paganism it is a time to reflect upon and follow through with any plans that you may have “ planted” in the Spring.

Desert Spirit CUUPS will celebrate on July 20, we gather for potluck at 6 and ritual will begin at 7. Everyone is welcome to join us!

The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by a range of modern pagans, marking the year‘s chief solar events (solstices and equinoxes) and the midpoints between them.

Yule: Celebrates the winter solstice.
lmbolc: An ancient festival welcoming the first wave of spring.
Ostara: Celebrates the spring equinox
Beltane: Celebrates May Day
Litha: Celebrates the summer solstice
Lughnasadh (Loo-nas-ah): Celebrates the beginning of the harvest season
Mabon: Celebrates the autumnal equinox
Samhain (saa-wn): Celebrates the end of harvest season

The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) is an organization dedicated to networking Pagan-identified Unitarian Universalists (UUs), educating people about Paganism, promoting interfaith dialogue, developing Pagan liturgies and theologies, and supporting Pagan-identified Unitarian Universalist religious professionals.

Facilities by Charlie Scholz –

Our big news this month is the A/C repair in the Library/Office wing. Though it took a while for Aire Serv, our HVAC supplier, to get the parts, the repair was a real relief to all of us. We are still waiting on a motor for the A/C in the Foyer, but we now will have a regular service inspection of all the units each year.

The new parking bumpers in the North Parking Lot are scheduled to be painted this July. And we are still planning to upgrade the lighting in the Gallery.

Finance by Ed Long –

We, and our bookkeeper Joanne Loliet, are in the middle of transitioning from a desktop version Quickbooks to an online version. We’ve into some glitches, so reports are running a little behind. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved soon. Committee chairs should be receiving a request in mid-July for 2025 budgets. The Finance Committee will host a budget session for committee chairs in August to review the requests as a group.

Generous Giving by Jack Welch

We extend a warm thank you to Jean Gilbert and Janet Pitt and Steve Welch for their memorial gift in loving memory of Marion Asche. Jean, also, made a generous donation in support of our Little Pantry.

We had no less than eight gifts to our Change 4 Change Fund. The generous donors were Jane Asche, Dan and Deborah Hawkins, Angela Keady, Elwin Nunn, Dave and Ilene Steele, Jan Thompson,  Marie and Karuna Warren, Jack Welch and Gayle Trantham. Change 4 Change recipient for quarter ending in June was La Casa, a non-profit organization that advocates for victims of domestic violence. We thank each for their thoughtful generosity.


Thanks to the various covenant groups and committees that take turns supplying the goodies, setting up and cleaning up for fellowship after our Sunday services. You may have noticed the plexiglass box on the serving table inviting your free will donation. Your donation helps cover the cost of tea, coffee, creamers, cups, etc. that the Hospitality Committee ensures is on hand each Sunday so we can concentrate on the goodies and each other! Thanks for your generous support. Ed Gomolka and Bill Fitzgerald

Hospitality Rotation Schedule

This schedule is now permanently located on the Members page of our website under Sunday Hospitality Rotation. A new addition to the hospitality rotation is the Caring Committee, which will be handling 5th Sundays throughout the year.

Library by Rabbit Loring

Weeding Out Your Books

Has anyone ever told you that you have too many books? I personally think that notion is ridiculous! However, there does come a time when you need to thin out your collection. Perhaps you are moving to a smaller home. Perhaps one of your bookshelves collapsed under excessive weight of books. Maybe you need space for exciting new books and there is not a spot left on any of your shelves. So out with the old! But how do you do that? How do you get rid of books that have been your companions, your solace, your lifeline perhaps? Books that have taught you new things, given you new perspectives, created new insights in your mind?

I love my books. I read titles on the spines of the books in front of me on the shelf and remember fondly my relationship with them. I think of my favorite authors and all the different books they have written. I think of sharing them with friends and my keeping them seems less important. I have donated many of my books to the church library so others can read them, with the added benefit that I have not lost them. I can always see them on the library shelves and it warms my heart to know that others can enjoy them, too.

One way you can share your love of your books is to donate them to the library, either to put on our shelves or to sell in our gigantic summer reading sale. In coordination with the church yard sale, August 17, we will be selling a wonderful variety of books. Add your book overflow to help out the church. Then you will have space on your shelves for the books you buy at the sale!

See you in the library!

American Apartheid by Stephanie WoodardOnce I Was You by Maria Hinojosa
Breathe by Imani PerryStamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
Caste by Isabel WilkersonThe Sum of Us by Heather McGee
An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-OrtizTen Lives, Ten Demands by Solomon Jones
How To Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. KendiUprooting Racism by Paul Kivel
I Never Thought of It That Way by Monica GuzmanWaking Up White by Debbie Irving
My Grandmother’s Hands by Menakam ResmaaWhite Fragility by Robin D’Angelo
On Repentance and Repair by Rabbi Danya RuttenbergWidening the Circle of Concern by UUA Commission on Institutional Change

Remember that library hours have been expanded to include the hours that the office is open. Checkout is with the card box near the door. Instructions are posted there. Please remember to return your book and then tear up the card. Our library has a lot to offer. Come check it out!

Our two book carts, one in the lobby and one in the library, are always available for you to find a wonderful book to purchase. Proceeds from sales are donated to the church library fund.

Membership by Lyn Pearson –

Covenant Groups

Watch this space to learn more about this exciting program soon!

Eating Out

In June we had 10 people eating great food and getting to know each other better. 

On July 19th Eating Out will gather at 5:30 at Si Señor Mexican Restaurant. For over 40 years Si Señor has been the family restaurant for Award Winning and tasty New Mexican cuisine. The restaurant is located at 1551 E Amador. Reserve your spot not later than Wednesday, July 17.

Email or text or call Janet Martinique. 

Thanks to Our June Greeters

Carol Casavant, Peggy Devlin, Diane Lee, Janet Pitt, John Seeley, Lucy Silva, Carol Stanfil, Mark Sukontarak, Greg White, and Julie Woody.

We can always use more greeters and it’s one of the best ways to become more familiar with our members who love to see a smiling face on Sundays. If you’re interested in becoming a greeter, contact Mark Sukontarak at .

Join Us In The Membership Committee

We want to add two people to the Membership Committee. We meet once a month on the third Monday but do some business by email too. Meetings are an hour and a half and we end on time! Our work is very rewarding and often a lot of fun. If you want to learn more or join the group, please contact us at , or talk to any member of the committee (look for the “Membership” ribbon on their name badges), or contact Lyn Pearson directly.

Social Justice –

Cans for Critters

Don’t forget to bring your aluminum cans for the “Cans for Critters” program! There is a collection bin in the library. Let’s see how many times we can fill and refill the collection bin. Remember the money we raise through reclamation is used to help animals in need of veterinary care or in meeting basic expenses OR special donations to one of the many excellent animal rescue groups in town. Contact Dave and Ilene Steele or Jean Gilbert at , if you have questions.

Change for Change — July-August-September

Cat’s Meow to receive Change for Change offering this Quarter

Please contribute to the Change for Change (C4C) offering.   Cat’s Meow is a cat only, no kill sanctuary originally set up for 38 cats.  At the present time there are over 100 cats and kittens in residence.  All cats are available for adoption, but if they are never adopted they may remain there for their whole life.  The medical costs to keep that many cats healthy, chipped, spayed and neutered is extremely high.  Your Change for Change contributions will save lives and improve lives!

If you have questions about Change-for-Change, please direct them to David Rice at .

Climate Action Group by James Caufield

There will be an article next month.

The Little Free Pantry

Please, donate usable, up-to-date foods to the pantry. If food items are unusable or outdated, we only have to dispose of them and that makes extra work for our volunteers. Please make sure your donations fit within these parameters:

  1. Small size
  2. Easy to open
  3. Shelf-stable foods (that can be safely stored at room temperature) that are NOT expired
  4. Canned or boxed beverages
  5. Toiletries in travel-size containers

Clients of our Little Free Pantry continue to clean it out daily! Jan Thompson’s 7-member crew restocks the pantry daily and demand is brisk. Your donations of useful items or money are greatly appreciated. This is one way we serve those in our community in food stress. You can donate to this worthy cause by clicking here or on GIVE at the top of the website.

Sunday Services by Katie Fitzgerald –

Well, folks, the Sunday Service committee did the unthinkable, they took the month of June off. So our update only includes the first three Sundays of July– but these will be wowsers!

We start off the month with The Beacon on the Hill a discussion of independence and responsibility led by Charlie Scholz.  Following that on July 14 Kevin Fitzgerald has crafted a service on the theme of renewal.  This service will include music provided by David and Nancy Carlson!  On July 21, Catherine will lead a Hymn Sing, so now is the time to be considering your favorite hymns to include in this service.  As a reminder, some of us will be at the Church Campout on the 21st and will have our own service in an open air setting.  For the 28th, stay tuned or checkout the church website. We will update once the committee meets again on July 10th.  We are ALWAYS looking for new members for our committee and anyone who would like to serve as a service leader or associate.  Just contact Charlie Scholz or Katie Fitzgerald, co-chairs, at or contact us directly.  Our contact information is in the directory or we can be found at the hospitality after the service.

Tombaugh Gallery by Lurene John –

Searching For Artists

We are looking for artists to feature in our Gallery for next fall and winter. Do you have a favorite local artist that you would recommend? Call Lurene so we can make contact or drop an email to

Requests and Items of Interest

Gallery Volunteers Needed

The Gallery Committee is still in need of volunteers to help manage the art gallery, mostly to serve as docents. You will be fully trained. Many volunteers have expressed joy at spending some quiet meditative time in the gallery. The shifts are just two hours.  Cathy is our Docent Wrangler, email her at .

Events of Note

Jul 9 at 7 pm – Sound Meditation

Tuesday, July 9, at 7 PM in the sanctuary. After July, we will be moving to the to the 2nd Thursday of the month, so please mark your calendar.

If you want to feel all of your stress wash out of your body, join us for this sound meditation. Using crystal and brass bowls, and a variety of other instruments, John Gruenburg creates gentle, soothing waves of sound for a full-body, immersive experience.

John uses crystal and brass bowls, and a variety of other instruments to create gentle, soothing, waves of sound. You may sit during the meditation or bring your yoga mat and lie on the floor. Be sure to bring water with you.

If you are interested in knowing more about sound meditation, here is a YouTube video from Las Angeles.

Pick Up Choirs This Summer!

If you’ve wanted to sing in a choir, but can’t commit to anything long-term or regular, we have some opportunities for you this summer!  On any of the dates listed below, show up at 9:30 for a quick rehearsal to learn something super-easy and fun.  No obligation, no age limit, and no previous experience necessary!  7/21, 7/28.

Call for Instructors for Fall Adult Enrichment

Fall UUCLC Adult Enrichment classes will be starting in September, with the catalogue going out in August. That means instructors need to respond now with their course offering. Previous classes have included: Tai Chi, Silk painting, Hiking, Knitting and Crocheting, Mahjong, Memoir Writing, Intro to Technology, Swedish Death Cleaning, and Mindfulness, to name a few.

If you have an idea for a class you’d like to offer, please provide a one paragraph course description. Include a start date, number of classes, start time, end time, class location, minimum and maximum number of participants, and materials needed. Lastly, if open to all ages (like to our RE kids) add: Open to all ages. An INSTRUCTOR PROPOSAL FORM with all the above requirements is available in the church Library, or an electronic form can be sent to you by asking Sara Thomas.

Deadline for submitting your class proposals is Aug 10th , but please submit earlier if possible. After Aug 10th , a catalogue of all offerings will be sent in an e-blast to the congregation. Classes will have a charge of $15 to register, payable to UUCLC.

Classes are open to the community through word-of-mouth (invite a friend) and possible local postings. This outreach would bring more people in contact with UUCLC. Adult enrichment has many benefits: new skills, fellowship, possible new members, and more visibility for our church.

If you are interested in teaching a class or have more questions, contact Sara Thomas, Adult Ed Coordinator.

UUCLC Yard Sale News

Interested in joining Katie and Sara in organizing the church Yard Sale? A one-time meeting will be held Tuesday, July 12 th at 2pm in the church Library. Join the camaraderie and help the church at the same time.

It’s definitely not too late to donate to the Yard Sale. The Yard Sale date is coming up on Saturday, August 17th . As you collect items for the yard sale, you have two choices: 1) sell them yourself by renting a table for $10 from the office, or 2) donate directly to the church for proceeds to go the general fund.

If you choose option two, drop items off in the donation bins in the Orange Room of the religious education building, located under the window, next to the refrigerator. For larger items, like furniture, needing a pick-up, contact Carol Stanfill.

If you’d like to volunteer to work the yard sale, see Sara Thomas for a shift on Friday set up or on Saturday to help with sales. Workers get a great preview and may buy early!!

WomenSpirit Registration

WomenSpirit 2024 will be held on Sept 13th– 15th in the lovely mountains of Sacramento, NM. The theme this year is Circle of Women – Together We Grow.  Workshops include Yoga, Paper Stars, Line Dancing, Kumihimo (circle weaving), Singing Meditation, Circle of Women Writers, and of course, Hiking.  

The registration form in the Members tab of the website and will also be sent to past participants by mid-June. There will be paper copies available in the Library. You can register right now and get the early-bird discount. Just click here to register.

This event is open to anyone who identifies as a woman and is at least 18 years of age. About half of the attendees in the past have been Unitarian Universalists and the rest are members of the community, so invite a friend. Half scholarships are available for those in need. Please ask Sara Thomas if you have any questions.

T-shirt Sale Begins August 1

You’ll have an opportunity to order your very own church t-shirt beginning August 1. The sale will end September 15. T-shirts come in sizes S through 3X in neon pink, lime green, or yellow. More details to come in July.

The Tombaugh Gallery

The Tombaugh Gallery

The gallery is closed in July and August while we do repairs, painting, and install new lighting. We look forward to reopening in September.

The Tombaugh Gallery will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 AM until 2 PM and Sundays 11:30 AM until 2 PM beginning in September. The Gallery is located at 2000 S Solano Drive inside the Unitarian Universalist Church. For details, call the church office at 575-522-7281.

Regularly Scheduled Activities

Every Tuesday

T’ai Chi, 10-11 AM in the Religious Education Building great room.

Mindfulness, 3-4 PM in the Religious Education Building great room.

T’ai Chi, 5:45-6:45 PM in the Religious Education Building great room.

Every Wednesday

Caring Conversations meets on Zoom from 9-10 AM. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87064121421?pwd=QmNhYVlrUTltK1cxRDhSRVdOU01rdz09, Meeting ID: 870 6412 1421, Passcode: 564007

Weight Watchers meets at 9:30-11:00 AM in the Religious Education Building great room.

The Bridge Group plays bridge every Wednesday at 2 PM in the church lobby. If you want to play, contact Nancy Anderson by email, phone, or at church to let her know you would like to be on her weekly contact list.

Every Thursday

T’ai Chi, 10-11 AM in the Religious Education Building great room.

T’ai Chi, 5:45-6:45 PM in the Religious Education Building great room.

Every Friday

Yoga, 12 noon until 1 PM in the Religious Education Great Room.

T.G.I.F. – Zoom Together. A great way to end your week with your fellow Unitarian Universalists. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5755227281?pwd=OEp3RTNkcWNid0tTNHFDNHEzUFNIUT09
Meeting ID: 575 522 7281
Passcode: 7777777

1st Thursday – Vegetarian/Vegan Support

Join us at 7-8:30 PM in the Religious Education building great room. Everyone is welcome — vegan, vegetarian, or just curious about food choices!

2nd Tuesday – Sound Meditation

Join us in the sanctuary at 7 PM every 2nd Tuesday of the month. Remember, beginning in August, Sound Meditation will be on the 2nd Thursday of the month.

2nd Friday – Game Night

Join us at 6:30 PM in the Religious Education Building Great Room. Bring a snack to share and a favorite game. Hope to see you there!

3rd Thursday – Death Cafe

Please join us the third Thursday of each month for an opportunity to sit with others and share your experiences with death and grieving.  In the church Library 6:30-8:00 PM.  Contact Brooks Lewis at or leave a voice message at 512-826-1472. 

3rd Thursday – Vegetarian/Vegan Support

Join us at 7-8:30 PM in the Religious Education building great room. Everyone is welcome — vegan, vegetarian, or just curious about food choices!

2nd Saturday – UU Crafters

The UU Crafters Group meets the second Saturday of each month at 1:00 in the Religious Education building. Come join us to learn new crafts, share your projects, and have fun. All are invited, guys, gals, teens, members, non-members, new crafters, and experts. We share project ideas and always learn fun new crafts. Carol Stanfill and Sara Thomas. Questions? Email

3rd Friday – Eating Out

A group of members and friends meet for dinner at a local restaurant on the 3rd Friday of the month. Please contact Janet Martinique at to make your reservation the Wednesday before the dinner.

3rd Saturday – Desert Spirit CUUPs

This is the 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 .

2nd Saturday in Feb, May, Aug, Nov – Fine Dining Experience

Dinner at the J Paul Taylor Detention Facility with a group of 14-21 year-old young men. Contact Haney Pearson if you would like to participate.