HOLE-Y GROUND: In a mechanical room below the sanctuary of Asheville’s First Congregational United Church of Christ, pumps circulate water through a closed geothermal heating and cooling system. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Beyond belief: Faith communitie­s embrace environmen­tal stewardshi­p

Churches are a special type of building — funded, operated and occupied by a community of users who must balance such priorities as care for the community, evangelism, education and worship. Even as these considerations remain crucial, many faith communities are also increasingly aware of ethical and faith-based imperatives to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. As Asheville’s […]

LIMITLESS LIGHT: Through Phowa training, one learns to use a special technique for dying without fear or regrets, explains Dr. Hun Lye (pictured). Photo courtesy Taylor Johnson

Taking it to the streets: Urban Dharma brings Buddhist teachings to the heart of Asheville

Take one look at the “spirituality” section of our calendar, and it’s easy to see that the Asheville area aims for wellness of mind and heart in a variety of ways — meditation, mindfulness, earth medicine, prayer, peacefulness, the metaphysical and Zen listings abound. One of those gems is Urban Dharma, where Hun Lye welcomes those seeking to practice and learn more about Buddhism. (Pictured: Hun Lye; photo by Taylor Johnson)

The future’s agape: Swimming the Blue Ocean in a post-Christian culture

Blue Ocean Faith will hold its 2013 Southeastern Conference Thursday-Saturday, March 7-9, at the Blue Ridge Vineyard Church in north Asheville. Curious about the ideas and folks behind the conference, I asked Tom Camacho, pastor of the Blue Ridge Vineyard, whether we’re experiencing a contemporary reformation. (Pictured: Tom Camacho; photo by Jordan Foltz)

Keeping the faith: Historic Asheville churches confront religion’s changing role-attachment0

Keeping the faith: Historic Asheville churches confront religion’s changing role

At a time when growing numbers of Americans have abandoned traditional religion, Asheville residents still fill the pews in Church Street’s three historic sanctuaries every Sunday. Clergy from Central United Methodist, First Presbyterian and Trinity Episcopal tell Xpress how they’re responding to sweeping spiritual change. (Cover design by Emily Busey)