Messages from the President-Jennifer Rhodes

August 13

Do you realize that Rev. Lori has already been with us for a year? August 1st was the anniversary. Congratulations, Rev. Lori, you’re starting your second year as Minister. I am very glad you are planted here. After two years living in transition, the soil was well-tilled and, now, we will grow together settling into routines such as congregational gatherings and the fall auction and planning for new opportunities. The past year has brought us celebrations and deep sadness. These events draw us together in friendship and community. I am looking forward to the coming year with optimism for our growth and deeper development as a beloved community.
In faith,
Jennifer

 

August 3

How quickly August has arrived. This is a Family Promise (FP) month. In fact, it may be the most valuable Family Promise week of the year. Regular volunteers are around during February, May and November, but August is when most of them are out-of-town. Volunteers are scarce, so it is a wonderful time for a first-time experience. Enough veterans are here to supervise. If you haven’t done it before, you might give it some thought and a try. Back in 1999, I had served homeless folks for about eight years when burn-out smacked me in the face. I didn’t want to do that anymore. Too much deceit and ingratitude filled those days from the men on the street.
Then, lo and behold, I arrived at UUFB in 2013 where Nancy Myers solicited my volunteer service with Family Promise. I wanted to take part here but probably would not have chosen Family Promise; nevertheless, I served a first experience. I was happily surprised at the routine and rules applied to FP families. Boy, it was different from my previous experience. First, we served mostly women and children. Second, everyone had a part to play in clean up and attending to their own children. When that was finished, the families got ready for bed and moved into their private rooms for the night. In the morning, they got up and dressed and went out to meet the van about 6:00AM.
The “serving” part of the evening was minimal. Since then I have served in all capacities. Cooks prepare (or forage) a dish and take it to the church about 5:45PM. That’s all they need to do. At the church are the volunteer dinner hosts who take the food and warm it, if necessary. They also set out the plates and utensils along with the food in buffet style. Guests and volunteers eat and visit together which is very rewarding. Then all of us help clean up. The dinner hosts stay until 8:00PM when the volunteer overnight hosts arrive. Overnight is the easiest shift of all. By the time the overnighters get there, the families are in their rooms. So, the evening hosts can chat or read or unpack their bedding and go to sleep for the night. They are on hand to give assistance or for emergencies, but those instances are rare. Next morning, they get up, pack up and go home. Why not give Barbara Banus a call, and give it a try? What do you have to lose in one night? You may be happily surprised as I was.

 

June 29

Once again, Jim Key served us all well by inviting Rev. Sofia Betancourt, Rev. William Sinkford and Dr. Leon Spencer to unite in leadership of Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Their wisdom and harmony set the stage for a positive and worthwhile General Assembly (GA). It engaged and rewarded our better selves. This year was truly unique. These three, dedicated and talented leaders stepped up to an eleven-week stint as co-presidents of the Association. They were warmly received and appreciated whenever they appeared. UUA took a big step toward recognizing transgressions in racial justice in 2017, mostly in the past three months, but we still have far to go. Our self-awareness will be raised if we take advantage of opportunities to “rip up the carpet” and look at the dark, dank underside of our racial relations. It is work we have to do for ourselves, individually, to become our best selves. It’s not easy because we must honestly look at our worst selves to realize our personal bias and transgressions. As Rev. Sinkford said, “It’s messy work.” The good news is that we are capable of doing this…if we will. All I can say is, if we can stare down and deal with these insidious flaws ourselves, we come closer to forgiveness and reconciliation. We can’t get there otherwise. And that is, surely, a glorious place to live. My hope is that our loving congregants and friends will demonstrate resolve to recognize and correct injustices from the past and present. There is plenty of time to make strides toward this goal before our Kansas City GA. I promise to pursue this revelation for myself. I hope all who read this will resolve to join me in this endeavor

June 22

What an honor for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort (UUFB) to host Jim Key’s memorial service. It’s right in the heart of his Unitarian Universalist life (UU). Many people here have known and loved Jim his entire UU life. Jim dreamed of land and a building to become a sanctuary for more people to know the “love, justice, peace” he found in UUism. As a founding member of this fellowship and part of the Architecture, Building and Construction Committee (ABC), Jim followed his dream and remained a motivating force to accomplish this goal. Since the basic building renovations were completed, we have witnessed people stepping out demanding social justice at the Women’s March on Washington and other marches in Charleston and in Beaufort County. We’ve, also, invited members and guests into this sanctuary to raise awareness such as the Immigration Coalition of the Lowcountry and Planned Parenthood. During the building dedication, Rev. Hurto taught us the meaning of “sanctuary.” It’s not just a place to meet and sing and listen to a message. It is a place that is sacred and reverent. It is a place where we feel the heart beat of love in our community. It is the place we reach out to share this faith with others. I think that is just what Jim had in mind all along.

June 1

It’s time for a note of thanks…

Thank you to Jeanine Darville for faithfully offering Scrip cards for sale for almost two years. She worked consistently to contribute to our Operating Budget, and we are very grateful.

In addition, we have good workers in this congregation who collaborated to host the UUFB Yard Sale. First, thanks to everyone who donated goods for the sale. That covers many people in the congregation. Also, thanks to all the helpers who put the Sale together: Jeanine Darville, Ellen Kelley, Patricia Jaudon, Kate Joy, Beth Moon, Frances Kuzinski, Caren Ross, Evelyn Caldwell, Mal Martino, Frank Anson, David Grim, Bill Culp, Lanny Kraus, Jean Stokes, Diane Schmid, Jean Griffin, Kathy Folsom, Pauline Meija, Judy Beck, Shirley Alexander, Kim Kolton, Jay Weidner. (If I left out a name, please let me know.) You all worked together and made it a success with some potential online donations yet to come. Thanks again, Everyone!

Also, I am thankful for the congregational surveys created by to the Membership Development Task Force. Once they are completed, we can work and serve more efficiently in many ways. If you have not turned in your survey, please complete it as soon as possible. (A deadline is set for June 15, I heard.) Then, give it to Gary Rakestraw for inclusion. And, thanks to you, we will have a current profile of the interests and needs in our fellowship.

In friendship,

Jennifer

April 27

Well, it’s time again for our annual Yard Sale. Though there has not been a lot of publicity, it will happen on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The co chairs are Frances Kuzinski and Jennifer Rhodes with assistance from half a dozen volunteers. Anyone interested in working on Yard Sale Day, please contact Frances or Jennifer. Donations will be accepted starting the week of May 15 after 1:00 pm. I hope you have spring cleaning planned. We’re looking forward to this event as a successful fundraiser. Many thanks in advance!

In service,

Jennifer

March 2

“Discourse and critical thinking are essential tools when it comes to securing progress in a democratic society, But in the end, unity and engaged participation are what make it happen.“     ~ Aberjhani ~

Aberjhani’s quote makes an important point. In this case, the society I’m referring to is our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Representatives, delegates, are needed to speak for us this summer in New Orleans, LA this June. Our General Assembly will weigh in on important matters such as the increasing economic inequality among Americans. More importantly for UUA, we will determine the future leadership of our organization. If you have been dissatisfied with past leadership and actions, this is the ultimate time to select a new president, one of three, new directions into the future. Those of you interested in serving as delegates this year, please contact me by Thursday, March 9. I am very happy to answer questions. We provide information ahead of time concerning the issues and your duties as delegates. It can be quite a remarkable learning and broadcasting experience. Two lucky individuals can make this experience your own. (The Board plans to determine the delegates in their meeting on Mar. 9.)

 In the bigger picture: World peace and goodwill has been disturbed; we are restless to return to order and stability. Our voice may not be heard in the political arena; however, it can be heard in the UUA. Through active work, the UUA will resist this onslaught of harsh, unfair treatment and bring about a compassionate difference in the lives of marginalized people. We, together, can influence alternative outcomes. Embrace the opportunity to make public statements voicing your opinion and that of our congregation in the meetings. General Assembly is a powerful venue for promoting our ideas about justice for all people. By networking with other delegates, we get things done, we affect change; yet, the strongest action you can take is to simply vote.
J
ennifer Rhodes
803-517-2875 or jrhodes022@gmail.com

February 11

Many people’s voices have been quieted or even silenced these days. Case in point is Sen. Elizabeth Warren during the confirmation hearing for Sen. Jeff Sessions this week. And in the near future we have another election for which to prepare. One thing we know for sure is that the newly elected president will be a woman; you see, all three UUA presidential candidates are women. We would do well to become familiar with these candidates and choose one we think will serve us best at this point in time.

One way to do that is to attend the Southern Region Spring Gathering on April 8, 2017 at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, SC. There, all three candidates Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, Rev. Alison Miller and Rev. Jean Pupke will participate in a panel discussion. You can see them speaking in person and get a feel for how they might lead us in the coming years. It is a convenient opportunity for those of us in the Lowcountry. Another way to learn about them is to visit the website: www.uua.org/uuagovernance/elections/president. You will find information on all three candidates.

After you finish your research, be sure to talk with our General Assembly Delegates when they are selected and share your reasons for the presidential candidate you choose. Your voice is important. Look towards our future and help decide who will speak for us.

 

January 29

The Fellowship Board held its regular meeting on Jan. 19, 2017. A brief summary of some of the items discussed follows: UUFB Board and Rev. Lori approved their covenant created at the Board/ COSM Retreat the first weekend in January. This is an agreement for how we will work and behave together this year. Also, April 29 and 30, 2017 are the dates proposed by Rev. Lori for our new Sanctuary Dedication and her Minister’s Installation. She has coordinated these dates for Rev. Nan White to attend as well. Please mark your calendars for these exciting, celebratory events!

Formation of a Task Force for Membership and Leadership Development was discussed. Jerri Meisner will be its chair. Rev. Lori and Jerri will draw up the goals and details to be accomplished for Board review at the next meeting.

Finally, the Board chose to add an element of learning to our regular meetings. We are collectively reading Dan Hotchkiss’ book, Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership to prepare ourselves for more effective leadership. Our next meeting will be in the Fellowship Hall at 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. You are welcome to attend.

January 22

HEALTHY RELATIONS MAKE A HAPPY HEART

Well, Friends, this is when it happens. Our long awaited Healthy Relations Workshop is Saturday 9:00a.m. until 3:00p.m. (changed from 8:30- 2:30). Lunch will be served free of charge in the Fellowship Hall where we will all share a meal. That’s the point of the day, continuing to get along well and learning new ways to enrich our relationships. This workshop is a natural follow-up to the completion of the proposed “Healthy Relations Process.” Back in May, 2016 the Task Force hosted an Ice Cream Sundae Social to discuss and get ideas from the congregation for drafting this process. Now, those issues have been addressed. The workshop will increase our understanding and answer questions as to how it all comes together.

The Board voted to recommend the “Healthy Relations Process” to the congregation. In late February, we hope to present the proposal for a congregational vote. Once that is done, we will begin to implement the process.

Joining us are two facilitators from the UUA Southern Regional Staff: Connie Goodbread and Christine Purcell. Connie has studied Healthy Congregation development and congregational conflict identification and transformation (Bridgebuilders) with Rev. Dr. Peter Steinke since 1997. She has over 21 years’ experience as a Healthy Congregations and Conflict Consultant and trainer of Dr. Steinke’s process. She wrote a Unitarian Universalist supplement to Dr. Steinke’s work called The Smart Church and  co-authored, with Rev. Susan Smith, an emerging congregation process called The Chrysalis Way. She is informative, inspirational and fun.

Another delight is having Christine Purcell here. Christine is a talented and capable young woman. She began working as a technology consultant for the Southern Region team in 2011 and was hired as the Southern Region’s full time Communications and Technology Specialist in 2014. She presently serves as the Southern Region’s Transitions Program Manager and the Primary Contact for smaller congregations in Arkansas, Mexico, North Carolina, and South Carolina. She has worked as a workshop facilitator, a corporate trainer, and a videographer/video editor. They are a dynamic team.

Please plan to join us for the opportunity to express your ideas, ask questions and give opinions. You are heartily invited.

January 17

Anything But Complacent…

washington-march-participants-011517

In last week’s article, I spoke of the need to combat complacency…this week our congregation is teeming with life that is anything but complacent. Few of us had any idea how many people planned to ride the bus to Washington to resist the overturn of human rights. I noted sounds of surprise as people kept rising to walk to the front of the sanctuary. The sheer number delivered excitement and hope to those gathered there celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s holiday.

About twenty-five percent…twenty-five percent, the number of people going from our fellowship to the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday, twenty-five percent. These people standing at the front have felt a tug or compulsion to take action protesting a new threat to hard won rights from past campaigns. These rights that seemed to become part of American life are under attack once again. Discrimination against LGBTQ, racial, gender, nationality, religious beliefs, immigration rights and more are at risk.

It is timely that we remember the influence of Rev. King this week. This great American who preached to the masses against discrimination, who modeled peaceful protest as a means for social change, and who gave his all to what he believed was right, is an example to follow. His words must be held in our hearts to motivate and guide our way to a just world. “The time is always right to do what is right.”

January 12, 2017

Last Friday and Saturday the UUFB New Ministry Retreat was held. It was attended by Rev. Lori, the 2017 Board and the newly formed Committee on Shared Ministry. I must say, from my view, this was a very rewarding experience. Led by our facilitator (Rev. Anne Marie Alderman) we openly and honestly discussed opportunities and challenges of the work ahead of us. Much has been accomplished already in this young, 17 year-old fellowship, so the challenge we may face is becoming complacent where we are. The alternative is to stay open to growth and change.

As when we nurture children to grow in mind and body to reach their life’s potential, our hope is kept alive and full of promise. The same is true for nurturing fellowship growth. We develop more assurance to offer a weary world, a welcoming sanctuary for all who need it and supportive fellowship for one another. This year your minister and leadership will be working together to nurture new growth at UUFB. Come, join in as we move into the future together.

Again, this year the Board will meet monthly on the second Thursday, 6-8pm, except for this month when we will meet on Jan. 19. Members are welcome to attend these meetings.

 

Dec 29

As 2016 closes and my term as your president ends I am writing my last column. I have both enjoyed the forum and gotten tired of the weekly demand. Sometimes it felt like I had no audience because I rarely got feedback of any kind so I would like to ask this favor. When you read a column written by your next president, Jennifer Rhodes, or Rev Hlaban, that speaks to you- negatively or positively- please let them know.

On the other hand, I have felt very supported and appreciated. The responsibility of leadership is so much easier when shared by committed team members and appreciated by the people we serve. Your many kind words of gratitude and encouragement have meant so much. Thank you.

The future looks bright for UUFB and we have the leaders, workers, and resources we need to be a sanctuary for the marginalized in our community as UUA President Peter Morales is calling us to be. 2017 will be a challenge for our country and together we will do our part to share love, not hate, peace, not violence, and  acceptance  not exclusion.

Happy holidays to you and yours,
jerri

Dec 22

Many thanks to all who joined us for the Annual Congregational meeting last Sun with a standing room only crowd. The participation of members and interested guests was a sure sign of our vitality as a congregation. For those who did not hear we reached a longtime goal at the end of the meeting, 100 members! We wished that former membership co-chair Betty Slesinger could have been there. Minutes and the final budget will be posted on the website uubeaufort.org or you can request a print copy from me.

During our meeting we were reminded in several ways of our diversity and the need to be inclusive. Language matters and its meaning and impact varies by individual. Saying congregation or fellowship is inclusive. Explaining terms or initials we are using is inclusive. Not making assumptions about others is inclusive. I invite you to join me in finding new ways to be inclusive and make all feel welcome.

To begin here are the terms used and not defined that I remember. Please ask if there are others.

ABC is the architecture, building and construction committee which is just finishing its 5 year work on our campus.

COSM is the committee on shared ministry which has 3 members appointed by the minister and approved by the board to work closely with our minister – and all the ministries of the Fellowship.

RE is religious education and can be for adults and youth although we generally use it to refer to children’s programming.

SEJ is our committee on social and environmental justice. The committee’s work is funded by money in operating budget, 20% of all fund raisers, and special collections on 5th Sundays.

If you have more questions, please ask.

Greetings of the season,

Jerri

Dec 15

Don’t be a consumer because you’re the one that will lose. Throughout my tenure as your president I have continually talked about getting involved is important as you get out of something what you put into it. It’s a very real to me as I look back over the wonderful memories of the past three years.

UUFB is not the public library or a place where you go to survey the free services offered and choose one that you will use that particular day. Things happen at UUFB because someone had the passion or saw the need and made it happen. We are a co-op and we need us all. Working together can bring satisfaction and closeness. Like a family, it sometimes leads to disagreement and working through that can bring satisfaction and closeness. Don’t be a consumer. Come here to find want you can gain AND what you can give.

Having the chance to be your leader has enriched my life. It’s not just because I love telling people what to do; it’s because I love to see people get connected. Please don’t hold back: the more you put into this Fellowship, the more you will get out of it.  Get involved today and you’ll be so glad you did!

In Fellowship and love,

Jerri

Message from the PresidentDec 8

When Larry and I joined UUFB 9 years ago the practice was a January retreat for the whole congregation. We all spent the day together talking about our dreams and plans for the coming year. The retreats were often at Penn and they were facilitated by Rev Nan or an outside consultant. I remember them being fun and inspirational as well as a great way to get to know each other.

This year UUFB has the chance to relive that group experience. Every single member and friend is invited to join us on Saturday Jan 28 for the  Healthy Relations Workshop. We are extremely fortunate to have two UUA Regional Staffers, Connie Goodbread and Christine Purcell, to facilitate. All who have met them agree that it will be a worthwhile and fun experience. The purpose is to get to know each other and to improve our communication skills. We will build healthy relationships and have fun. There will be a catered lunch just to make it even more relaxing. Please make plans now to attend. I am sure that the board president 9 years from now will be writing about what a great retreat UUFB had in 2017 so don’t miss it!

Nov 24

On Wed. night your Board met for over 3 hours to discuss the 2017 budget. Treasurer, Jim Miller, had worked hard to prepare a draft for us and the conversation was animated. We are a harmonious group that disagreed without being disagreeable as we were forced to make some hard decisions.

Basically we can have a balanced budget with funding remaining the same as past years if our members and friends will step up and make their financial commitments. It is hard to make solid plans without solid support. At the time of our meeting only 50% of members had responded.

We are being cautious, careful stewards of our money and are not adding ANY new expenditures. We can have a balanced budget if pledges match the same level as 2015.

However if we can be generous, together we can raise giving to social justice, fund religious education programs for adults and youth, expand outreach to the community and fund the projects that stir your passions. In these times, especially, we need to be a strong presence in Beaufort. We need to be a sanctuary and to spread our loving message of the inherent worth and dignity of all.

Each of you is a vital and valued member of our beloved community irrespective of the size of your pledge. Let us all renew our commitment to give our time and talents. There are many tasks large and small that are needed to live out our mission in the world. Come, let us “create a joyful sanctuary for spiritual and intellectual growth, embracing all souls in a nurturing community from which we go forth as activists for social justice and as stewards of the natural world.”

In Fellowship and love,

Jerri

Nov 10

Our wish has come true -last year we sang for children that we hoped would come and now they have!  With the addition of 2 new families we have 5 students in our elementary class. Our teens have joined youth groups in UUCLC in Bluffton which meet on Sun afternoons. There are 3 families with young ones in the preschool (0-5 years) class with Ms Debra Smalls. We are growing and welcome more children. If you have  friends you have wanted to invite, please do it now.

With the move into our beautiful new space, the preschool class is beside the Sanctuary and the elementary class is in the room beside Rev Lori’s office. Once our new signs are in place, it will be easier for visitors to find their way. As a safety measure for the class that will be held in Fellowship Hall during the worship service, the doors will be locked.

The elementary class uses a curriculum with the same theme as the worship service. We have 5 volunteer teachers who prepare the lessons on  rotating Sundays. This is where you come in. You are invited to spend one Sunday morning every month or so in either the preschool or elementary class. Your job is to show up with your smile and extra pairs of hands. Be prepared to be amazed at the discussions you will have with our next generation of Unitarian Universalists. You will learn a great deal!

To find out more, talk to Rev Lori or any of the teachers: Deena Culp, Kathy Folsom, Tim Joy, Jerri Meisner, or Nancy Stroupe.

Until next time,

Jerri

Nov 3

As our Stewardship Campaign continues, I’d like to share more food for thought. In his article, “On What Foundations Do We Build Our Stewardship? Part 1”Bill Clontz, UUA Stewardship Consultant, addresses giving. Here are some of  his additional PRINCIPLES FOR HEALTHY STEWARDSHIP

  1. For each person or household there is a contribution amount that is both affordable and represents a serious commitment. 
One of the goals of a stewardship ministry is to help each member find that number.  We don’t want members contributing more than they can afford; that isn’t sustainable or healthy. We also don’t want members contributing far less than they can afford because that shows a low level of commitment, and the existence of our institution depends on the commitment of our members. Some people already know “their number”, and that’s fine. Others need information, such as the giving guide and statistics like the median gift amount, to help them find a place on the scale of giving that is affordable and demonstrates their commitment. 
 3. Commitment follows involvement. 
The more a member becomes involved with the church, the more their commitment will grow. The ministry of stewardship encourages members to become more involved. 
 4. All contributions are important, and must be acknowledged by leaders.  
Some gifts are important because they are large; we depend on these lead gifts to keep the budget balanced. Other gifts are important because they are numerous: in addition to helping balance the budget they demonstrate to the outside world and ourselves that we are a broad, committed religious community. We need to make sure that every member understands the importance of their gift, regardless of size, and how it fits into the overall structure of contributions.

The November board meeting has been changed to Wed. Nov 16, 5:30- 9:00 PM with dinner break. We are combining our regular business meeting and our budget prep into one session. Members are welcome to sit in although you may be asked to leave as we discuss personnel issues. During the next month you are invited to give input and to ask questions about the budget. The proposed 2017 budget will be available to you 2 weeks prior to our Congregational Meeting on Dec 11.

We are grateful for the thoughtful consideration you give to your gifts to UUFB. Please give until it feels good!

Until next time,

Jerri

 

Oct 27

Whose bad idea was it to have the Yard Sale, Auction and Canvass Drive all at the same time? It’s like asking, “Whose bad idea was it for a hurricane to strike?” We have three major fundraising activities in our calendar year and, for this year only, all three are occurring in the fall because the building project limited access to our campus.  It has been a sorry situation, but we are counting on each fundraiser to be successful. That’s how we will meet our budget obligations to live out our world mission.

At its meeting October 20, the UUFB Board discussed the budget planning process.  We will be sharing some additional information with you over the next few weeks. There will be information on the website, and even printed handouts available to you on Sunday mornings. Please learn about our finances and how you can help. If you have any questions please contact Jim Miller, Treasurer. Mark your calendars now for the Annual Congregational Meeting December 11.

In his article, “On What Foundations Do We Build Our Stewardship? Part 1”

Bill Clontz, UUA Stewardship Consultant, addresses giving. Here is his first PRINCIPLE FOR HEALTHY STEWARDSHIP

“ Every member is both a “customer” and an “owner” — and a steward. 
We are customers because we receive services, such as worship, religious education, and the newsletter. We are owners because we make decisions about the future of the church at congregational meetings and as lay leaders. 


When we talk about stewardship, we are not talking to members in their role as customers. We are not asking if Sunday worship was a good value this month or whether we “exceeded expectations” with our hospitality. Instead, we are talking to members as owners. We are asking how to best meet our mission and vision, and how each one of us can contribute to that success.

In short, the ministry of stewardship does not present stewardship as “payment for services;” rather, stewardship is our commitment to build and sustain a healthy religious community. We are first and foremost stewards of what has been entrusted to us.”


Mr. Clontz gives a useful analogy to clarify our roles as members. Think about ways we, together, can meet our goals for this challenging, productive year.

 

October 16, 2016

As we continue our reentry and clean up from hurricane Matthew, there have been so many stories and heroes. Let us begin by thanking the intrepid crew of Wes and Debra Davis, Sue Fritts and Peter Penniman who delayed their own evacuation to board up and secure UUFB. We are grateful.

On Sat morning a large work crew cleaned the parking lot and roof! (ASSUME THESE NAMES ARE LISTED BY WES.)

We are grateful.

Many thanks to the worship team for a beautiful, healing service. The songs and words, from Ms Nancy’s story about Jeannie Meanie to Carol’s closing reading of simple and spot on advice were terrific. Thanks to Ben for sharing his gift of song and Chris’s beautiful playing. Kathy and TZiPi inspired and comforted us. We are grateful.

Afterwards a group of over 20 UU’s joined the work crew from Healing Waters Methodist Church which was already at work in Delores B Nevil’s yard. What was accomplished was amazing and we celebrated afterwards by sharing a wonderful picnic lunch provided by Dianne Farrelly. Special thanks to Jan Spencer for her coordination. Delores is grateful.

The board will be looking at an emergency response plan for the next time we hope never comes. We welcome your ideas about what worked well and what did not. We are particularly interested in where you looked for and received information. Suggestions are welcome.

Proud to be part of this Beloved Community,

Jerri

Oct 6

This week’s column is devoted to answering your questions. Thank you for asking because generally many others are thinking the questions you ask.

Why do we need 2 adults to be in class with 2 or 3 children?

UUFB Has a Safe Congregation Policy and Code of Ethics which all members read and sign. All of those who work with our children and youth need to review and sign every year. If you have not done so, please go to https://uufbtest.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/safe-congregation-policy.pdf to read policy and to sign the code of ethics. There is a printed copy in the preschool room if you prefer. Basically we agree to have two adults with children. Even though it requires more volunteers, it is important. As we move into our new space, there will be Religious Education (RE) classes in both buildings so we are working on additional measures for our children’s safety. There are 5 teachers who rotate teaching the elementary class and Ms Smalls is in preschool room each week so we are asking for volunteers to be the second adult. You just show up to be the second pair of hands and have fun.

What is the big deal about the auction? Why is it called World Tour?

Actually the annual auction is a big deal for many reasons. It is our biggest fundraiser of the year with 20% of profits going to social justice in local community and the rest to our operational budget. It is our biggest “ funraiser” because the auction evening is great time to bring your friends with you to enjoy great food and entertainment. Then you have fun all year attending the events or using the services you purchased at the auction. We need everyone to participate to make the event a success. Working together on tasks is a good way to meet new people and the jobs require a short term commitment. There will be silent and live auctions with items for all budgets and delicious food from around the world. Contacts co-chairs Kathy and Davis Folsom to join the fun.

Sept 29

Get more out of your experience with UUFB! Throughout my presidency of the congregation, I have said, “the more you put into something, the more you get out of it.” People who work together on common goals get to know each other better, share a feeling of accomplishment and usually have fun. One way to deepen your personal connection to our shared faith is to connect with the people and activities.

If you are waiting to be asked, I am asking you now to consider volunteering to help with Sunday morning refreshments, or services, or assisting Ms Deborah and the RE teachers with our youngsters. Help us live out our mission by  getting involved in our many social justice activities including the new ones of voter education and food distribution at Penn Center. Behind the scenes activities are grass mowing and yard work, reaching out to visitors and members who have not been seen lately or who need care. More spiritual or educational activities are offered by participating with affinity groups, book discussions, and various committees including the new one on Denominational Affairs. This list is just a sample of the many opportunities you can find at UUFB. Get involved in something new today. You will get a lot out of it!

In Fellowship,

Jerri

Sept 15 Column

The Fellowship Board held its regular monthly meeting on the second Thursday as usual and here is a brief summary of some of the items discussed. Contributions to the operating budget were down over the summer so if you were away, we hope you will have the chance to catch up soon. We appreciate your support.

We voted to purchase a copy of Ken Burns new documentary, Defying the Nazis:The Sharp’s War, which tells the story of Rev. and Mrs. Sharp who rescued and smuggled Jews out of Europe during WWII. If you cannot watch it in September 20 on PBS there will be future showing dates. Rev Lori has the UUA Study Materials for interfaith social justice work. Let her know of your interest.

The Denominational Affairs Committee is being reactivated. Its purpose is to strengthen our connections with other congregations, the regional and national UUA, and the wider world. Watch for their first report to you soon.

Rev. Lori wrote Draft Policies & Procedures for Committee on Shared Ministry combining the previous procedures at UUFB, information from UUA, and her colleagues. She did an excellent job of melding the resources and the Board had only a few suggestions. The purpose of the Committee on Shared Ministry (COSM) is to promote and advance healthy shared ministry among the membership and professional staff of the UUFB in service of its mission. It is composed of the Minister and three visible and trusted fellowship members who are or have been actively committed to our mission. The members are selected by the Minister and approved by the Board. In case you wonder why you haven’t heard about it in recent years, Rev Nan had a COSM as our settled minister and Rev Kevin did not as an interim. He had a Transition Team.

Board members’ names are listed on the Order of Service. You are welcome to contact any of us.

Until next time,

Jerri

Sept. 8

The saying goes that “many hands make light work”. It took many hands and much hard work to make the yard sale such a huge success. Heartfelt thanks to Jeanine and all of you that assisted her. Not even a tropical storm stopped us from recycling hundreds of items into new homes and raising $2,000 for our operating budget. Remember that 20% of the profits goes directly into SEJ (Social and Environmental Justice) work in our community. Well done!

Speaking of justice, there is another opportunity to experience a taste of history. Over the years, a number of people from UUFB have participated in the Living Legacy Tour. Last year’s group also marched across the Bridge in Selma for the 50th anniversary crossing to commemorate the struggle for voting rights.  Registration is open now until Oct 17 for the Fall 2016 Living Legacy Pilgrimage (LLP), November 12-19, 2016. You will meet the people, hear the stories, and visit the sites that changed the world in the Civil Rights Movement more than 50 years ago. The eight-day bus journey begins in Memphis and ends in Birmingham. It is a profound experience which I personally highly recommend. For more information about registering and financial assistance go to www.uulivinglegacy.org.

In Fellowship,

Jerri

Sept. 1st

Every Sunday we recite together, “Our mission is to create a joyful sanctuary for spiritual and intellectual growth, embracing all souls in a nurturing community from which we go forth as activists for social justice and as stewards of the natural world.” We live our mission in many ways and here are 2 more opportunities for us to partner with our friends at Penn Center to help feed the hungry and to help people to vote.

Arrangements are being completed for Second Helpings, the food rescue program supported through the years by many UUFBers, to deliver at Penn Center.  Ethel Sumpter, president of Penn Club, and David Grim, on behalf of UUFB, are coordinating plans for our two groups to staff the delivery site once a week.

Here’s how it will work. When the Second Helpings truck rolls in, boxes and crates of food donated by grocery stores that day are off-loaded and immediately made available to the waiting public to take home.  The volunteer staff facilitates the process and cleans the area after.  The distribution station will be open only one day a week, probably Fridays from 12:30 to 2:30 PM.  The process requires approximately two hours a week. We need volunteers to help with:

  • Organizing foods for access
  • Coordinating
  • Working with neighbors from the Penn community
  • Carrying things
  • Helping feed needy people

Last fall with the Chalice Lighter grant we received from the district, UUFB joined with partners from Penn Center to complete the UUA curriculum on racial justice, Beloved Conversations. After completing the conversations some of us committed to continue meeting to get out the vote in Beaufort county. We formed the group YOUR VOTE MATTERS.

YOUR VOTE MATTERS is a nonpartisan, interracial, interfaith group of friends who have come together to promote voter registration and education in Beaufort. We believe that helping all people in our community to vote will improve participation in our democracy and increase justice in our local area and our country. We are all local residents who originally came together for Beloved Conversations to promote racial understanding and justice. 

We have many activities planned and have developed a fact sheet for distribution in Beaufort county. Click here to print out copies.  There are blank registration forms under the voting poster in the foyer. Please consider keeping both papers with you to assist people to register and vote. As a congregation, we cannot promote individual candidates or political parties. Educating others about early voting, absentee ballots, etc., promotes our Fifth Principle.

To help with voter education or food distribution and to do your part to live our mission in Beaufort County, contact me or David Grim.

In Fellowship, Jerri

August 25

Our building seems to be on everyone’s mind as we get closer to the long-awaited completion and move. Stay tuned for how you can be involved in the actual move. We need lots of hands in setting up for the Sept 3 yardsale and then transforming our space for worship on Sept 4. Keep fingers crossed that we will be able to celebrate in new sanctuary soon.

The board has designated the buildings be referred to by function so back building and front building will now become Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary. These names are used in our newly adopted Facilities Use Policy which will be posted on the homepage of our website. The procedures have been simplified to make it clearer how to rent our space. There is no rental committee so check with the executive committee of board officers if you have questions. As always check the UUFB calendar https://uubeaufort.org/calendar/ to see if space is available.

As our policy committee was researching policies of other UU congregations, they discovered that policies and rental procedures are in the public space. We will work to move much of the information now found in our For Our Members section out to the public space over time. The directory and personal information will always be protected.

When you see Debra Davis and Jean Stokes please give them a heartfelt thanks for the hours they have spent on policy work. The entire board has a better idea of what service Dianne Farrelly provided during her years as policy chair. Many thanks to all three.

Looking ahead:

  • The next board meeting is Sept 8 at usual time.
  • The informational congregational meeting Sept 17 is cancelled.
  • The board and newly formed COSM (Committee on Shared Ministry) will have a New Minister Start-up Retreat with Rev Ann Marie Alderman October 14 and 15.
Good news: we have had a number of children at our services. We need volunteers to help Ms Debra in the preschool room. Volunteers just play and read books. Experience with legos and puzzles preferred. Sign up in preschool room. Our safety policy requires 2 adults with groups of children.

August 18

Just as school children are preparing for the beginning of a new school year, it feels like UUFB is also embarking on a new year. Rev Lori is here and our building project is almost finished. People are beginning to return from travels. We are reconnecting and looking forward. You are invited to come and to be involved as we dedicate ourselves anew to living our mission. Please come to:

  • Yard sale Sept 3 with collection of items beginning Aug 28
  • In gathering service and water ceremony Sept 11
  • Move to new space
  • Congregational meeting Sept 18
  • Membership potluck Oct 8
  • Founders and Finders Dinner Oct 22
  • Canvass drive – month of October
  • Auction Nov 19

You noticed no date attached to the move into the renovated Sanctuary building. However, plans for furnishing and using both buildings are being developed by the newly appointed Aesthetics Committee chaired by Julia Peters. If you are willing to serve with her, please let me know jerri.meisner@gmail.com.

To streamline care of our building, you are asked to submit a repair request form found on the website or counter in the foyer. Submit forms to the administrator uubeaufortadmin@gmail.com.

The board is continuing its policy development with a newly revised Facilities Use and Rental Policy. It will be on the agenda for the board meeting August 18, 2016 6-8 PM. Members are welcome to attend and if you wish to speak please let me know in advance.

In Fellowship,
Jerri

July 7

Sunday, July third’s service was a beautiful farewell to our beloved Interim Minister, Rev. Kevin.
It is difficult to release him from covenant and to say good-bye. For those of you not lucky enough to have been there, we presented the portrait of him that will hang in our minister’s gallery, the completed memory book, and a love offering to send him on his way. It was a day for thank-yous, hugs, tears and, of course, meaningful words and beautiful music.
After the service  we gathered on the front porch for a group shot.
You have seen in Rev Kevin’s farewell column, the protocol for cutting off contact with him. Basically we have said our goodbyes. If you have a pastoral emergency between now and when Rev Lori arrives on  August 1, 2016  please contact me until July 15 by calling or texting 919.931.4673 and Jennifer Rhodes at 803.517.2875 after that. Any other requests or questions for Rev Kevin such as, “what was the name of that song?” or other practical matters need to be emailed to me before August 1 and then to Rev Lori. Thank you for understanding.
Please join us at the discussion over brunch next Sunday. We need each other in this transition.In fellowship and love,
Jerri

June 2, 2016

How can it be June already? You may have noticed that there have not been President’s columns for the last couple of weeks and thought that perhaps the Board was taking a break after the congregational meeting at which we called Rev Lori as our next minister. Well not so, we have had two board meetings in the last two weeks and have been quite busy carrying out our commitment of doing the congregation’s business.

Interim Ministry
The Interim Ministry period has specific goals and we as a congregation identified additional goals that we hoped to accomplish with Rev Kevin. The Board has to evaluate UUFB’s progress and to complete an appraisal for the Transitions Office. We had an exit interview conversation with Rev Kevin and took copious notes to assist us as we prepare for what’s next. We will be sharing more with you and inviting all members to join the dreaming and planning for our future. Now we are concentrating on the time we have left with Kevin, looking forward to his concert June 4, and his farewell party June 10.

Policies
Working on our 2016 goals led to many questions members have about how things get done, who to ask, and other matters of authority and responsibility. The Board has returned to the policy development work that got pushed aside by other priorities. On Tues May 24 we passed policies on 1) Borrowing Equipment and Furniture and 2) GA Delegates. The policies are posted on the website CLICK HERE. We are currently developing a policy on fundraising for adoption at the June 9 Board meeting (6-8PM). You are welcome to send your comments and board meetings are open for members to observe. If you want to address the board, please notify the President in advance.

Humor
Two of the characteristics of UUFB discussed by Rev Kevin and the Board were its friendliness and sense of humor. In the recent issue of UU World we are reminded that shared stories and inside jokes can strengthen the bonds of groups and families and that it is important to share our history with newcomers. The article continues, “You are 30 times more likely to laugh if you are with somebody else then if you are alone. Laughter can be strong medicine for hard times. It can break tension, affirm our relationships, and help us live longer, healthier lives.”

In this time of transition for UUFB, come share laughter with us.
I’m not joking,
Jerri

May 5, 2016

It is with a great deal of excitement that UUFB has welcomed Rev Lori Hlaban and her husband, Tom, to Beaufort for her candidating week. We hope you have had opportunities to get to know Rev Lori. You still have access to her search packet by clicking  http://revlorihlaban.weebly.com/  and use the password UUFB (all uppercase) to listen to some of her sermons.

The Board has scheduled a called congregational meeting for Sunday May 8, 2016 at 11:30 AM. The sole purpose of the meeting is to vote to call Rev Lori Hlaban as our next settled minister. It will be a simple yes or no vote taken by secret ballot. Our bylaws require a 50% quorum of our membership and a minimum affirmative vote of 90%. We are hoping for higher percentage and need everyone to participate!

Please make participation a priority. The decision of our next minister is key to the future of our Beloved Community. Also join me in thanking the MSC: Jeanine Darville, chair, Betty Chamlee Miller, Brendagael Forrest-Beasley, Liz Key, Larry Meisner, Ben Sellers for their hard work in finding our next best minister.

In Fellowship,

Jerri Meisner on behalf of your Board

April 7

Do those of you who are parents remember wishing that your babies were older so that they could talk, or remember a special time with a grandparent or something important only to blink your eyes and find that the episode passed too quickly?

I find myself feeling that way about UUFB these days. In some ways it would be wonderful to have the building complete and to be meeting in our new worship space. It will be such a relief to have the search process complete with our new minister under contract. The flipside of the end of the uncertainty is that Rev. Kevin will be gone. The message to myself is to live in the moment and to enjoy this time.

The Board is working hard to articulate the steps we need to take to complete the interim process.
Our goal is: To finish the Interim process and to say goodbye to our interim minister well. I invite you to think about what that means to you. What do you think we need to do to complete the transition between ministers? How will you say good bye well? Board members welcome your thoughts.

Remember to live in the moment and to enjoy the next three months!

In Fellowship,
Jerri

March 24, 2016

Many thanks to all of you who attended the Congregational meeting. The big news was our unanimous vote to ask the Unitarian Universalist Association for Welcoming Congregation status. Updates were given on the construction, search for next minister, and the interim process.  In order to communicate clearly with you we are including the reports given at the meeting in the Headline News. When the minutes are approved all of the information will be posted on the website, but we did not want you to have to wait. The main goals of the UUFB board this year are the transition in ministers, developing healthy or right relations, and financial sustainability. There are many people working hard in a variety of ways to help us live out our mission. Thank you for your service.

In our next congregational meeting which we hope will be the call for our next minister, we want to include as many people as possible. There are those of you in our beloved community who are not yet members and I invite you to take that step.

Our bylaws say,
“Following an introductory course of instruction, any person desiring to become a member of the Fellowship shall sign the membership roll in the presence of other members of the Fellowship. Individuals shall become “Voting Members” thirty (30) days after having signed the membership book. Youth members may become Voting Members at sixteen (16) years of age.”

So in order to assure that you can vote to call our next minister please join before March 31. Contact Ellen Kelley, membership chair, misswuv@gmail.com. If you have not attended New UU classes yet we will look for ways you can undertake an “introductory course of instruction.” You are welcome here.

In Fellowship,

Jerri

March 17
UUFB is looking for members to represent us at this year’s General Assembly. We do pay for registration and will provide a letter of endorsement for our two delegates to apply for scholarships. Keep watching for more information on how you can watch GA online and if you want to attend please complete the application form and return to Jerri.meisner@gmail.com by March 25.

General Assembly 2016 June 22-26, Columbus, OH
The theme for GA 2016 will be Heart Land: Where Faiths Connect. The faith world is increasingly multifaith. People are crossing borders of religion and spiritual practice to create wholeness in their lives individually and collectively. The labels—Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, theist and non-theist—no longer define who or what we love, or how spirit moves in our lives. General Assembly 2016 in Columbus Ohio will assemble leaders and communities of many faiths to worship together, learn from one another, and create a new vision of faith that no longer divides us, but connects us to an interdependent future that works for all.
•Most events will be held in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215. Google Map
•Housing reservations are open
•Registration is open
•Apply for financial aid between March 1 and March 31
The General Assembly (GA) Office and Planning Committee are committed to the goal of making the General Assembly accessible to the maximum number of attendees possible. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Web Team provides extensive coverage of the General Assembly through our website so that those who are not able to join us in person may still participate.

General Assembly Unified Scholarship Application.
All applications must be submitted by March 31.

CLICK HERE for the registration form.
Priority will be given to applicants who:
•submit a letter of endorsement with a pledge of a specified amount of support from a congregation (not required for youth and young adult funding)
•will serve as delegates from a congregation
•are members of historically marginalized communities (people of color, LGBTQ, differing ability, etc.) and who share that identification on their application
•represent congregations that have not previously or recently been represented at General Assembly
•are leaders in their congregations
•have financial hardship
Applications and accompanying letters of endorsement must be submitted no later than March 31.

February 11, 2016

The UUFB Board meets the second Thursday of each month from 6-8 PM. Meetings are always open to members, but you must request permission in advance to address the board. We always have extremely full agendas carefully timed out. This month, for example, board members were sent 17 documents to read before the meeting next week. In addition to usual business, we will be discussing the Welcoming Congregation application, Affinity Group covenants, and goals for 2016. Jennifer Rhodes will be leading the meeting and can send individuals a detailed agenda upon request. Minutes are posted on the For our Members section of the website within 2 weeks of the meeting.

Speaking of meetings, the date of the Congregational meeting has been changed toMarch 13 immediately following the service. It is important for all members to attend and vote.  We covenant in our Fifth Principle to promote, “ The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” Come, listen, and participate as we decide together to be a Welcoming Congregation and to learn the progress being made to find our next best minister. If you have questions about the search process or the timeline please contact Jeanine Darville, chair of the MSC, or fill out a card found on the membership credenza in the foyer.

Want to know what is going on and how to get involved?

  • Check the website or the calendars posted in the back of the main room to see what activities are coming up.

  • The beloved Community Forum Facebook page is the closed group for members with discussions and community events that may be of interest to you.

  • The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort Facebook page is open to all.

  • There are many ways you can take it to the streets with our Social and Environmental activists.

  • Our next fellowship-wide social event is the annual Valentine’s Day potluck on Sat February 13 at 5:30PM.. Sign up in the foyer to attend and to help. It is an anarchist potluck with no coordination of food which is always plentiful and delicious.  Come alone or bring a friend.

  • Check with your neighborhood circle for upcoming social events or folks who live near you that may need a little care.Contact information is posted on the bulletin board in the foyer.

  • Talk to any board member. We want to hear from you. Board members are thoughtful, caring leaders but we have not started our mind-reading courses yet.

Until next time,

Jerri Meisner, President

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Feb 4, 2016

Have you noticed the small dots on members’ nametags? They represent the neighborhood circles that all members and friends of the Fellowship can belong to. If you do not have a dot and want to participate please ask at the Welcome table in the foyer or contact the Fellowship office uubeaufortadmin@gmail.com.

The Goals of neighborhood circles are:

To provide opportunities for members to get to know each other better

To provide care and support for members in times of need

To better welcome new members into the UUFB community

To provide a structure for smaller group conversation and communication

To encourage carpooling

    Each Neighborhood Circle has designated Social Captain(s) and Caring           Captain(s) that help plan social events and provide short term care. The map of circles and contact information of captains is posted in the foyer. Going to a social event in your area is a great way to meet people who live near you. You do not have to be a member to participate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Message from the President  1-24-16 The UUFB board had a successful retreat and is busy finalizing our 2016 plans and goals. Please watch the Headline News for additional information.

The program council is helping us plan the 2016 calendar so please look in the meeting room to see the calendar pages posted there. All committee chairs are invited to add their regular meetings and  special events to the calendar. In addition if people who have auction events planned could add those to our group calendar, it would help those who need to schedule their events.

Then add events to your personal calendar so you won’t miss that committee meeting or event you have been intending to attend.
Also mark your calendar now for our next congregational meeting, March 20. The MSC (ministerial search committee) will give us an update on the progress of our search for a settled new minister. Watch upcoming issues of Headline News for their articles. You are invited to ask questions at any time about the process. There are index cards available in the foyer or you may talk directly to anyone on the board or MSC.

One task we need to complete as part of our interim ministry process is to organize our archives. Gather your notes, newspaper articles and pictures in print or digital form – anything from  our 16 year history. Your items can be copied and returned to you if you wish. The second need is for people willing to sort, copy and organize. Please let me know how you can help and join me at 10 AM on Feb 24 for our first work session.

Come, get involved and get to know our beloved community. You’ll be glad you did.