Thank you to all UUFB members and friends who turned out for the Vigil in support of Charlottesville! It was heartening to see all of you – and so many others from our fine community. Contemplating the violence that occurred last weekend, I was reminded of a quote from Dr. King. I would like to share it with you here:
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Please continue to hold in your hearts and prayers the three killed – and others injured during the events in Charlottesville.
We have three more Sundays of summer services, then we launch into our program year with the annual Water Service on Sunday, September 10th. As always, you’re invited to bring water from your life’s journey to add to our common vessel.
Wishing you rest and peace in these last few weeks of summer.
Thank you to everyone who attended the July 30th service, “All Your Answers Questioned,” where I attempted to answer as many questions as I could during what would normally be the time for a sermon. I admit that I want a do-over on a few answers – and I want to expand on at least one, as well.
This week, though, I want to address one question that I didn’t get to. This was a two part question: “As you approach year 2 at UUFB, what have you learned about our congregation (or) what will you do differently in year 2?”
I’ve learned that the members of this congregation care very deeply for one another – and care for one another in difficult times. I’ve learned our members generally do a pretty good job of welcoming newcomers. And, I’ve learned that our members struggle with change – as do members in every other congregation.
This year we’ve had a few longtime chairs of committees step away to do other things, and it’s not always easy to find someone willing to step into the vacated role. This is complicated by the fact that many of our members leave Beaufort for anywhere from six weeks to several months at a time every year. It can also be hard for members to accept a new person in a role – especially if that person does things a little differently.
So, one thing I want to ask all of us to do this coming year is to think differently about leadership, and leadership vacancies. Consider that volunteering to lead something – a short-term project, a task force, a committee – is part of the deal of membership. And think about how a committee might be able to function with co-chairs, perhaps with CC1 taking the lead for part of the year, then CC2 taking the lead when CC1 goes away for the summer.
One thing that I’m already doing differently for this coming year is planning ahead more – especially worship planning. Unlike last summer, which was consumed with planning to move and moving; I have a little time now to take a long term view of the year. I also have a better sense of what the rhythm of the program year is like. This is much of what I’m working on in August, drawing the lines of the big picture of the year and starting to fill in some of the pieces.
Wishing you rest and peace in these last few weeks of summer
I can hardly believe it’s August already! The last 6 weeks have flown past, though I’ve been gone for three of them: a week at General Assembly, a week of study leave, and a week of vacation at SUUSI – the Southeast UU Summer Institute. As my August vacation plans needed to change, I’ll be in and out through the month, hopefully catching another week of vacation before September and the beginning of our program year.
Coming this Fall:
Another year of monthly worship themes! We will be using the Soul Matters materials again to inspire our worship services.
A sermon series on our UU Principles! We refer to them often – let’s explore what they really are, and how they inform our lives.
Small Group Ministry! We’re looking forward to offering this opportunity to our members and friends for bonding and spiritual deepening. Look for more information soon.
July 13 & 20
“All Your Questions Answered!” – Have you ever seen a show, or a book, that promised this very thing? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen self-help books like this.
The Unitarian Universalist version of this seems to be “All Your Answers Questioned!” And this is the title of the service I’ll be leading on July 30th. Now, for this service to work, I will need your help and participation. My reflection is going to be answering questions! What questions, you ask? – Exactly. I will be answering questions that you ask, as many as I can, as well as I can, in the time we have.
I’ve never done a Question Box Service – which is what this is called – before, so we will learn together.
We will have index cards on which you may write questions. If you choose to ask a question, write your name on the card. I won’t announce who asked, and I also won’t answer any questions without names. I reserve the right to say “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you.” I also reserve the right to say, “I think this sounds like question to be answered in a sermon of its own/newsletter column.” I will answer to the best of my ability.
If you’d like to start thinking about your questions, here are some possible broad topics
Rites and Rituals of our Lives
Spirituality and Growth
Theology, Religion, and Public Life
Life and Death
I look forward to hearing your questions – and learning from the answers – on July 30th!
(FYI: I’ll be on vacation July 16-23.)
Whew! It’s been a couple years since I’ve been able to be present for all of the UU Ministers Association Ministry Days – and the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (G.A.). Our delegates, Jeanine Darville and Jennifer Rhodes, can tell you that there is something to do, to see, to take part in, to talk about, almost every minute of the several days of G.A.
While G.A. itself had many things to offer, there were also many things to do and see in New Orleans. A group of colleagues and I took time out of G.A. to go on a “Hidden History” tour. Our guide took us to many sites in the area, speaking of how New Orleans was held in turn by France, Spain, and France again, before becoming part of the United States. We learned about the prevalence of the slave trade, and the brutality with which enslaved people were treated. The phrase “sold down the river” refers to a fervent hope to not end up in the New Orleans slave markets, or in the sugarcane fields surrounding the area.
Our guide also drove us through the Lower Ninth Ward, the area of New Orleans hardest hit by the floods caused by Hurricane Katrina, pointing out where the multiple breaches of the levees and walls occurred. We learned that half of all fatalities from this tragic event occurred in the Lower Ninth Ward. He asked us to continue to look beyond the generally accepted record for other perspectives on New Orleans’ past and present.
In many ways, this was what G.A. was all about – looking beyond and considering other voices, expanding our knowledge of how others experience the world. I’m proud to report that the delegates passed a Statement of Conscience on Income Inequality – and a responsive resolution asking the UUA to guide us in the work it asks of us. We also overwhelmingly voted to change the language of one of our sources to “words and deeds of prophetic people,” from “women and men.” This will be voted on again next year, as it’s the type of bylaw change that requires positive votes in two consecutive years. We also voted to appoint a study commission to consider adding an 8th Principle!
What a great reminder that our Principles are a living document, meant to be adapted to changing times and circumstances.
New perspectives. Awareness of Unitarian Universalism beyond our fellowship. Come hear more about it on July 16th, when Jennifer and Jeanine will share some of their experiences and perspectives.
Finishing up a month of “thank yous…”
Do you like the new look around the grounds? Jean Stokes and Jay Weidner are primarily responsible for all the lovely new plantings. I think it looks great! Thank you, Jean & Jay!
A year after UUFB was certified as a Welcoming Congregation, the Welcoming Congregation Committee is still going strong. Their efforts prompted the new “All Genders” signs on two of our restrooms (one in each building). They also sponsored a very successful showing of the National Geographic special, “Gender Revolution.” This coming year they hope to provide more opportunities for fellowship and further education on being welcoming to all. Thank you, Chair Jeanine Darville and the rest of the committee!
Writing policies that make our work go smoothly is almost invisible work – until we need a policy! Jean Stokes has been the Policy chair for awhile now, and we are grateful for her good work.
Leaving a legacy that makes a difference to UUFB’s future is the business of the UUFB Foundation – our endowment fund. While you may not know much about it now, I’m sure there will be more information available.
If I missed any group or committee in my “thank you” columns; I’m sorry. Each and every one of you is important to me and the congregation. Remember – the most precious gift you bring is your presence.
As you read this, I’m at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, along with delegates Jennifer Rhodes and Jeanine Darville. We are excited to take part in the business of the Association, vote for the next President of the UUA, and bring home new ideas.
I will be back in the office on July 5th, and in the pulpit on July 9th. Speaking of which, our Fabulous Worship Team™ has created a great series of worship services for the summer. Check it out – and invite a friend!
A big thank you to the Committee on Shared Ministry, a sounding board for the minister and (hopefully) a source of help with leadership development for the congregation. Thank you to Dianne Farrelly, Betty Chamlee Miller, and James Stokes!
Thank you all, for all you do.
This is a month of “thank yous…”
There are several committees who work continually to support UUFB, and I want to highlight – and give thanks for – a few more this week:
Our Membership Committee staffs the Welcome Table each week, greeting newcomers and long-timers alike. They follow up with visitors, co-lead Connections classes, and plan events to help newer members get involved. Thank you to Ellen Kelley and the Committee!
Writing letters, raising money, organizing for issues, and working in the larger community – putting our faith in action is the business of our Social and Environmental Justice (SEJ) Committee throughout the year. On Fifth Sundays, the SEJ designates a nonprofit community organization or agency to receive the undesignated monies received in our Sunday offering. One ongoing project is our partnership with the Penn Club, distributing rescued food from Second Helpings at the Penn Center cafeteria every Friday. Thank you!
Our Lifelong Spiritual Growth and Learning committee has devoted their efforts this year to teaching the fledgling Religious Education classes on Sunday mornings. For much of the year, we had a handful of children in class hearing stories, engaging in activities, and making friends. Thank you to chair Megan Bieniek, and all the teachers (as well as Ms. Deborah Smalls)!
More next week…
Thank you all, for all you do.
Continuing my ‘Thank Yous’ from last week…
I want to say Thank You to our Spiritual Affinity Groups, who offer a place for people to explore and claim/reclaim a spiritual identity within a Unitarian Universalist framework. We currently have these affinity groups: the Buddhist Affinity Group offers Monday Night Meditation weekly; the Christian Affinity Group held successful monthly programs open to the entire congregation this program year; and the Earth-centered Ancient Sea Island Continuum offers the Year-and-a-Day class in pagan spirituality. We also had a fledgling Jewish Affinity Group, which met during this year.
And a big Thank You to our UUFB Board. Our Board members work tirelessly to care for our Fellowship, creating policies and protocols that support our By-Laws and keep us on firm footing. They also try to have fun while they’re working! If you’ve been with UUFB for awhile, and have interest, I encourage you to speak with one of our Board members and see if you might be called to serve a term on the Board.
For this week, I’ll close out with a hearty Thank You to our Fabulous™ Worship Team! Led by Kathy Folsom this past year, this team was responsible for the Sunday services on my Sundays off. They have also put together a great line up of services for the summer! See a separate article in this Headline News for more about this!
More next week…
Thank you all, for all you do.
I can’t believe it’s June! It feels like just a few weeks ago I was moving into a little rental house off Ribaut Road and beginning my ministry with this congregation. We’ve now been through almost a whole ‘program year’ together.
I want to say Thank You to all the wonderful volunteers who quietly work behind the scenes to make things happen every week. These include our welcoming Hospitality Team, and the people they’re training to take over this important function; our diligent Facilities Committee, including our unsung (by his choice) volunteer who tidies up the sidewalks every Sunday morning; and the artistic Aesthetics Committee, who continue to consider how to make our surroundings more beautiful.
I’ll say more “thank you’s” next week. For now, I want to sing the praises of a team that is really an example of shared ministry: the Caring Team. Now chaired by Jennifer Ojulewa, the Team includes all the Neighborhood Circles’ Care Captains, and me. When Jennifer or I are notified of someone who could use help, we first notify that person’s Care Captain. In turn, the Care Captain contacts the person, then seeks assistance from other members of that Neighborhood Circle. Only in rare circumstances is the entire congregation asked for help.
I know that members have provided meals, rides to appointments, visits in the hospital, even shelter from a hurricane, for other members. And many more have sent cards or made friendly phone calls to members who were grieving or convalescing. I love how wonderfully supportive we are of one another. Thank you, everyone, for all you do for one another.
One more word on support. We held a quiet prayer service recently, lifting up the names of a number of members, friends, and family members who are struggling with serious illness. Of course, one of those names was Jim Key. When I spoke with Liz recently, she asked that I let the congregation know how very much your cards of support and prayers are appreciated.
Jim has quite a journey ahead of him, and the best way to stay up to date is to visit the Caring Bridge set up by their son. Updates are posted when there is news. Here’s the link to the Caring Bridge site: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jimkey
Thank you all, for all you do.
As I write this the Fellowship Hall is being filled with treasures for our Annual Yard Sale! Thank you to all who have donated to the sale. It’s one of our important fund raisers. Be sure to stop in on Saturday, May 20th between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00a.m. and pick up some great deals for yourself!
I know that many of you are concerned about Jim and Liz Key. The family has set up a Caring Bridge website where they are posting frequent updates on his condition. At the site you may post messages to Jim, or comment on the journal updates. At this point, they have asked for no drop in visitors, and for cards to be mailed to their home (their new address is in the online directory) – not the hospital. Please respect their wishes, and keep holding them in the light, in your prayers, in your hearts. Here’s the link to the Caring Bridge site: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jimkey
If you haven’t heard the news about Jim’s health before, here’s a link to the UU World online article announcing his resignation as UUA Moderator: http://www.uuworld.org/articles/uua-moderator-jim-key-resigns
Most questions you may have can be answered by reading the article and visiting the Caring Bridge site.
One column was just not enough for all the Installation/Dedication thank you’s.
I know I mentioned the cooks and bakers last week – however, I failed to say that all the wonderful hospitality was accomplished under the able leadership of Julia Peters, Paula Savary, Sally Timms, and Grace Drake! They organized others, cooked and baked themselves, and organized the set-up and clean-up crews. As anyone who has EVER managed any event from a dinner party for four up to a banquet for hundreds knows, this is a huge job. Thank you all.
I also mentioned the great people who spruced up the exterior of the buildings – and still need to thank the wonderful people who made the interiors shine! However, here I don’t know all the names. I will note that Julia Peters chairs the Aesthetics Committee, which includes Mary Mack, Betty Chamlee Miller, Barbara James, and Liz Key. Everyone who signs on as a “Happy Mopper” – thank you for paying attention to the floors, your efforts make them shine and will make them last.
Special note to whoever arranged for – and hung – the gorgeous photos of Nan White and Kevin Tarsa, along with the document naming Nan as Minister Emerita. Well Done! See, you’re already making the walls reflect UUFB!
Thank you to all who gave generously at the Installation to the Living Tradition Fund. Jim Miller tells me he’ll be sending a check for over $1100 to them. Our Fifth Sunday Collection netted another $1000 for Lowcountry Immigration Coalition and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. Thank you for those gifts as well.
UUFB Board President Jennifer Rhodes and I are sending special thank you notes to a few people for significant donations. One I just want to mention came from a local – non UU – congregation, with a note that the money should be considered seed to sow into the good works of UUFB. This is a testament to the power of interfaith connections that we work hard to foster and maintain. Well done, everyone!
If I missed thanking you by name, please forgive me, and consider yourself thanked. I could just list all the names of our members – but that would make a boring column!
It is a blessing to minister with you, and a privilege to serve.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
When Rev. Kenn Hurto led us in singing this five-fold blessing of gratitude (which is how I know it) last Saturday, my heart was full to overflowing. Every piece of the service to install me as your Settled Minister worked, and so did our service to dedicate our new worship space.
Thank you to all the people who helped with both services, named and unnamed in the orders of service, and this column. I will try to mention just a few here… I’m sure there are more names that I just don’t know!
Thank you to all who cleaned up, and made the place sparkle. Thank you to Wes Davis, who spruced up the exterior of the Fellowship Hall – and to Jay Weidner, Jean Stokes, and James Stokes, who brightened the pathway between buildings with new plantings (and removing the old picnic table).
Thank you to Jerri & Larry Meisner, who borrowed a clothing rack so all the guest ministers had a place to hang their robes, provided home hospitality for Rev. Nan & Annette Marquis, and arranged for overflow parking nearby.
Thank you to other home hospitality providers – Frank Anson & Mal Martino, and Cori & John Hoffman – for welcoming out-of-town guests. Thank you to the greeters who made sure everyone was warmly welcomed and seated comfortably.
Thank you to the cooks and bakers who provided such a wonderful spread of food for the reception! Our guests remarked on the amazing variety, and deliciousness of everything.
Thank you to all who had a part in the services, both our own members and the colleagues who came to celebrate with us. Thank you especially to Rev. Nan White, UUFB Minister Emerita, for her heartfelt Charge to the Congregation – and thanks to Nan and Sam for their gift of a Peace Pole.
Thank you for the music! Chris and the Choir did a wonderful job, and Jan Spencer’s gifts of song were fabulous! The congregation sounded terrific – all my colleagues remarked on how good it felt to hear everyone singing so strongly!
Thank you for the lovely new stole, depicting the beauty of the Lowcountry (Jean Stokes, you done good with this!). I will treasure it, and wear it often!
Thank you, UUFB, for all your gifts and challenges. It is a blessing to minister with you, and a privilege to serve.
Most days it doesn’t feel like I’m “new” anymore. Then something comes up to remind me that I am, in fact, still “new.”
The other day I was asked if we were going to have flower communion this year, because “it’s always been on Easter.”
I don’t know if it’s always been on Easter here, though I find that interesting. I’ve never been in a congregation that celebrated flower communion on Easter before. For that matter, I’ve always been in congregations that called it “communion,” though I am aware that many call it a flower “ceremony.”
At any rate… YES, there will be flower communion! We will celebrate on Mother’s Day – May 14th – with a special musical guest! It will probably be a little less formal than usual, more stories, music, and – of course – flowers.
If this will be your first flower communion, here’s the deal: it’s a uniquely Unitarian tradition. I’ll tell the story during the service.
Each person is asked to bring a flower, or two, or a bunch. They can be from your garden, or picked in the wild, or bought at the grocery story. We’ll remind you a couple of times. We’ll make sure we have extras here, too.
The basic ritual is that everyone brings a flower (at least one), and they are gathered in vases either before, or at the beginning of the service. At some point in the service, everyone is invited to come forward and take a flower. We all bring gifts to the community – and we all receive gifts from it.
Or, as the hymn says: “From you I receive, to you I give; together we share, and from this we live.” (Joseph & Nathan Segal, #402 in Singing the Living Tradition)
If you missed service on Easter Sunday, you missed the debut of our upgraded audio-visual system. While there are still a couple things we need to work out, it is fabulous! Images are crisp and clear, projected words are larger and clearer, and the sound is better with the speakers mounted on the walls. Come and check it out!
To this Northerner it already feels like summer – and the calendar will soon say it’s summer. Rest assured that your Fabulous Worship Team™ is working hard on a great series of summer services. This summer will include several services presented by your settled minister (that’s me) as well. If you’re in town any part of the summer, UUFB will still be open and services will be fresh and awesome. (And: If you’ve ever wanted to try out being part of the worship team, summer is a great time to do that!)
Speaking of services – we have two special services coming up. On Saturday, April 29th at 3:00p.m., the members of UUFB will formally install me as your second settled minister. You might have wondered “Why now? Rev. Lori’s been here since August, isn’t she already settled?” Yes – I’ve been your settled minister since last fall. The installation service is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate, and for our covenant with one another to be spoken aloud.
The installation service will include members of the search committee, special music from the choir and Jan Spencer, and several colleagues as special guests. Our Hospitality Team is planning a special reception afterward. It’s going to be a special day, and I hope you will make time to attend.
The next day, Sunday, April 30th, we will dedicate our renovated Sanctuary building during the regular service. We will also have special guests for this service, celebrating our beautiful worship space – and the other upgrades to the property. If you haven’t been here recently we’ve improved our accessibility with a concrete walkway between buildings! We’ve also re-routed and widened the driveway to the rear parking lot; and I’ve been hearing plans for landscaping are in the works…
It is a joy and privilege to be here, serving this great congregation.
April showers have certainly come to Lady’s Island in the past week or so! Thunderstorms provided sound and light effects that rival the special effects I’ve seen in some movies!
In addition to the unplanned weather events, our Unitarian Universalist Association Staff and Board have been working overtime dealing with crises great and greater. I was able to observe one of the recent Board meetings conducted via the Zoom teleconferencing, and I was impressed with the respect the Board members obviously have for one another – and the deliberate care with which all are treating the issues before them. While the way through is not completely clear at this point; I’m confident that we will find our way and emerge as a stronger Association.
Closer to home, this month holds several special events for UUFB members and friends. There are, of course, the holidays that are on our calendars: Passover, Easter, Earth Day, and Holocaust Remembrance Day. We will mark Easter and Earth Day during Sunday Services, and Rabbi TZiPi Radonsky and others from the United Interfaith Coalition are hosting a Sing In for Peace, Justice, & Solidarity on April 24th (Holocaust Remembrance Day) at 6:00 p.m. at United Church – located at 1801 Duke Street in Beaufort.
Once again, UUFB is hosting the reception for Penn Center’s 1862 Circle Inductees on Friday, April 21st from 5:30 – 7:30p.m. If you can help out, please say “yes” when asked. The Annual Penn Center Gala will be on Saturday, April 22nd, contact Barb Banus for more information on that.
Finally, on Saturday April 29th at 3:00pm, UUFB will formally install me as your settled minister. We will have special guests participating in the service, and celebrating this joyous occasion. I’m thrilled that your Minister Emerita, Rev. Nan White is one of our special guest participants! The next day, Sunday April 30th, we will dedicate our Sanctuary space during our regular Sunday service time. The Rev. Kenn Hurto, Lead Staff Person for the UUA Southern Region will offer the homily.
This past Sunday, April 2nd, UUFB members unanimously approved our Healthy Congregation Policy. As noted at the meeting, our Healthy Relations Task Force worked hard on this document, devoting countless hours to studying best practices and policies developed by other Unitarian Universalist congregations. I want to thank the members of the Task Force for their dedication and good work. They are: Deena Culp, Carole Gunter, Rob Jones, Betty Chamlee Miller, and Jennifer Rhodes.
Every Sunday we can read our UUFB Covenant, printed in our order of service. Keeping the covenant in front of our membership is, itself, a healthy choice. It reminds us of the ideals for which we strive. In fact, the Covenant outlines how we agree to be – and behave – with one another.
The Healthy Congregation Policy goes a bit deeper. As Jennifer Rhodes wrote in last week’s newsletter, the policy offers several things:
- It offers us tools to use when we’re faced with potential conflict, at several levels.
- It defines and describes a Healthy Relations Team to work with significant conflict.
- It defines disruptive behavior, and offers best practices for managing serious disruptions.
Now, it may seem strange that we’ve worked on this at a time when there is no sign of conflict on the horizon. However, this is the *best* time – when we are able to calmly digest all this information, and make the best decision for our Fellowship.
And – more thanks! Thank you to Wes Davis, Larry Meisner, and Betty Chamlee Miller, who have worked to bring the new, smooth walkway between our buildings! This makes it much easier for everyone. Soon the new driveway will be completed, and new signs for our handicapped parking spaces near the front of the Sanctuary.
It is a joy and privilege to serve this congregation.
Many of us walk around with computers – otherwise known as smartphones – in our pockets or purses. Most of us either own a laptop or tablet – or use the computers available at the library – to check email, read the news, look for employment, research topics of interest, print out tax forms, and much more.
If you’ve attended one of our worship services lately, you know that technology is present in our sanctuary in a limited way. We typically use a laptop and projector to project the lyrics to songs, some unison readings, and occasionally photos during our services. As I write this I just attended the Worship Team service on immigration, which used a music video to help underscore the message. Technology has greatly enhanced our worship experience, and yet we are just scratching the surface of what’s possible.
We are planning to upgrade the technology we use for worship soon, and are exploring the possibilities with a friend of UUFB who has expertise in the field. Going forward, though, it looks like we will need a “Tech Team.” This would be a small group of people able to help troubleshoot problems with the system we have, advise us on any future updating/expansion of our system, and help us develop an overall plan for worship technology.
Do you have an interest in, and/or experience with, the kinds of technology we use, and might want to use, at UUFB? Or – do you know someone who does, or might?
Let me know! Thank you!
There are several events coming up in the next several weeks, and we want to be sure that every UUFB member and friend is aware of them!
First – Please note Jennifer Rhodes’ article about the Congregational Meeting on April 2nd. This is an important meeting with one major item on the agenda: The Healthy Congregation Policy.
Our Healthy Relations Task Force has been working on this for over two years. They’ve studied policies from other congregations, evaluated our congregation’s needs, and painstakingly drafted a policy that upholds our UU Principles as it offers us ways to maintain cordial, safe, relationships within the Fellowship. Please review it and make plans to attend the Congregational Meeting on April 2nd.
Next – April 7-9 is the UUA Regional Meeting! Jennifer Rhodes and I (at least) will be attending this meeting in Charleston. We will attend workshops, a congregation Presidents’ meeting, and a candidates’ forum with the three women hoping to be our next UUA President: Susan Frederick-Gray, Allison Miller, and Jeanne Pupke. We are sure to bring back useful information!
Finally – Nearly a year after UUFB voted to call me as your settled Minister, I will be formally installed on Saturday, April 29th. The next morning, we will formally dedicate our new Sanctuary space during the regular worship service. I’m pleased that UUFB’s Minister Emerita, Rev. Nan White, will be here for both services. I look forward to meeting Nan – and Sam – and celebrating UUFB! I hope you will plan to attend!
How do you get your information? Most people these days spend a great deal of time on the internet. They communicate – via email, Facebook, and other social media sites; they read newspapers; they watch “breaking news” clips from traditional and alternative sources.
Many of the newcomers who walk through our doors have either discovered UUFB through research on the web – or have looked at our website to learn more about us – or both, before they visit.
So – UUFB’s website is being reviewed and updated, a little at a time, with a view to making it more attractive and easier for new visitors to find the information they seek.
If you are a committee/team/ministry chair, take a look at the information that is on our website. Ask yourself these questions:
Is this still accurate? If not, make a note of what needs updating.
Does this represent Unitarian Universalist principles and values well?
What would make this more appealing to the casual website visitor?
The answer to the third question may be “pictures.” Visitors to the websites of faith communities want visuals more than a lot of words. Digital photos of your committee, or team, or event, could do a lot to enhance our website. We see a lot of photos posted in the closed UUFB facebook group, for example, and would love to use some of them on the website!
SO – Here’s the Important Part: If you do NOT want a photo of you, or including you, to appear on the UUFB website, please let me know at minister AT uubeaufort DOT org. (AT = @, and DOT = .)
In my last column, I wrote: “In times like these, we must be sanctuary for one another – and for those coming through our doors for the first time.”
I did not know that, within days of writing those words, First Unitarian Church in Denver, Colorado – would be quite literally a sanctuary for a Latina facing a deportation order. Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother of four who’s lived in the United States for two decades – a homeowner and taxpayer – is currently living in makeshift quarters inside the church. My colleague who serves that congregation, Rev. Michael Morran, has been on TV and in the newspapers, talking about his congregation’s history of serving as a sanctuary church – and about this as a matter of morality for them.
I don’t know if UUFB would ever undertake the responsibility of housing someone – being sanctuary in this extreme way.
However, I believe our Unitarian Universalist faith is a saving faith, a sanctuary of sorts for many. Coming into a UU congregation for the first time has often been described as feeling like coming into safe harbor – or coming home.
This coming Sunday, Feb. 26th, you have the opportunity to help someone come home to Unitarian Universalism. It’s “Bring a Friend” Sunday, and our Membership Committee will have special welcome packets available for newcomers on this day. In addition to formally recognizing our newest members, two of our members will share special music, and I’ll be offering a message on “Who We Are” as Unitarian Universalists.
Most people hear about Unitarian Universalism from friends and neighbors – and come visit when invited. I hope you’ll invite someone to visit us next Sunday – or any Sunday!
“Do not fear, for I am with you.”
This has been running through my mind for the past couple weeks, and I finally looked it up. I thought it was from one of the Gospels, but it’s actually from a much earlier prophet – Isaiah. The prophet is telling the people of Israel that they are not alone, that God is with them.
This reassurance of God’s presence doesn’t work with every person’s theology. And that’s okay. Personally, I think admonitions to not be afraid are pointless as well. Fear is a natural and normal response to threats of harm – whatever the harm might be.
As part of my ministry and professional development, I’m currently taking an online class with about 60 or so colleagues. The class is taught by Dr. Sharon Welch, the Provost of Meadville Lombard Theological School – one of our two Unitarian Universalist seminaries.
Our first session focused on understanding authoritarianism. Social scientists estimate that about one-quarter of any given population is authoritarian in nature. These individuals desire order and stability, are most comfortable within a hierarchical system, and want strong, decisive leaders who say they will protect their people. Another half of any given population easily becomes authoritarian when they feel threatened. These threats could be physical in nature – like a potential terrorist attack; or more abstract – like a change in the status quo.
As a faith community with a deep commitment to social justice, we are often engaged in advocating for change. Historically, Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists were on the front lines of work for abolition, for women’s suffrage, for the availability of contraception, abortion, and comprehensive sex education, for the protection of our environment, for gay rights, and for marriage equality.
In these times of rapid social change, Unitarian Universalist faith communities across the country are experiencing a rise in the number of people seeking us out, as a place where their lives are valued and their beliefs honored. You may have noticed a few more people at UUFB lately, visitors looking for an accepting faith community. For times like these, we must be sanctuary for one another – and for those coming through our doors for the first time.
Be not afraid, for we have each other.
This past Sunday I was so pleased to announce that our seating had been rearranged, very carefully, with much measuring and effort, to meet the standards set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The good news is that, as a result of this determined effort, we now have 99 chairs available in the Sanctuary for people – and spaces for a couple wheelchairs/scooters! I’m proud of the commitment this congregation has to pay attention to these things!
I’m also thrilled to note that there were over 80 people attending the service on Feb. 5th, including several newcomers. This creates a small problem – but it’s a good problem to have. Most of the front seats had no people sitting in them, so some of our late comers had difficulty finding places to sit. Dear members, it would be hospitable of you to take those front seats, and leave some of those seats toward the back of the room available for those who arrive just a few minutes late. Thank you.
Finally, I want to remind you of our Connections Class which will be held after the service on Feb. 19th from 11:30am – 1:30pm. Instead of the three-session series of classes we’ve had before, Ellen Kelley and I are experimenting with a single two-hour class covering the same material in an abbreviated way. If you’ve been attending for a while and would like to learn more, or if you’re thinking you might like to join UUFB, I hope you’ll come to the class.
As I write this we have 35 people registered to attend our Healthy Relations Workshop at UUFB on Jan. 29th! This is fantastic!
My first experience with creating a covenant, such as the one you can read every week in our order of service, was shortly after my home congregation was begun in 1997. We called it our ‘Covenant for Times of Disagreement.’ Most of our leadership had experience in the nitty gritty work of faith communities, and wanted us to set our intentions for how to be together from the start – before any hint of a crisis or disruption. I learned more about creating behavioral covenants and right relations policies several years later at a workshop on the topic at a District Assembly. The room was packed with people interested in and curious how such covenants might work for them.
Since those days, many congregations have done the sometimes-difficult work of creating covenants, and policies to help leadership handle times when conflict arises – or a person or group refuses to abide by the group covenant. Conflict is never easy, but these covenants help us by setting out clear guidelines for everyone.
As most of you know, the Healthy Relations Task Force has worked very hard, researching Healthy Relations (a/k/a Right Relations) policies and best practices from the Unitarian Universalist Association and other UU congregations. At its last meeting, the Fellowship Board voted to present the policy created by the HRTF to the membership for approval at its next congregational meeting. I hope you will take time to get the policy, read it, think about it deeply, and make plans to attend that meeting.
On a completely different topic, I am thrilled that the Board also approved dates for my Installation as your settled Minister and the Dedication of our Sanctuary building. The Installation service will likely be held on Saturday, April 29th. The Dedication of the Sanctuary will be incorporated into the regular Sunday worship service on April 30th. I am also pleased that your Minister Emerita, Rev. Nan White, accepted my invitation to offer the Charge to the Congregation at my Installation!
Finally, if you’ve been attending for a while and are considering becoming a member – or would like to learn more about Unitarian Universalism, please sign up for our next Connections Class after service on Sunday, February 19th. Ellen Kelley and I look forward to seeing you there!
What an exciting week! There was some excitement I didn’t really need – a small retinal tear which needed laser repair. I’m fine now.
More exciting, though is about 25 of our members and friends participating in the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. on January 21st. This is a prophetic act – joining with others to call the powerful to account. As I write this, reports are that the March in D.C. and all the sister marches around the world greatly exceeded estimates. I’ve seen estimates as high as 1.2 million for the D.C. March. Wow.
As I listened to the speakers in D.C., I was struck by two things. First was the breadth and depth of the diversity of participants. Ages ranged from toddlers with parents to women in their 90’s. All genders, colors, religions, and ethnicities seemed represented. Particular attention was paid to the intersectionality of oppression, how sexism is linked to racism, is linked to homophobia, and so on.
The second was the call to take the March home. By this I mean – speakers asked participants repeatedly to go home and organize, to be vigilant about monitoring what the elected officials are doing. If this March is to be truly successful, all the effort must be continued.
As I said before, our Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist ancestors stand firmly in the prophetic stream of history. It is our duty to keep pushing the moral arc of the universe to bend toward justice just a little more, just a little faster, to bring forth the Beloved Community. None of us can do it alone – together we can move mountains.
So may it be.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remains an iconic figure of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. A powerful orator, it’s said he spoke with the Bible in one hand and the United States Constitution in the other. His words reflected his deep Christian faith – a faith rooted in love and justice – and the ideals of liberty and justice for all expressed by this country’s founders.
This coming Sunday we will honor Dr. King’s memory, offering some of his prophetic words for consideration. How fitting for our theme of ‘Prophecy.’
Prophecy is interesting. Many may think of the predictive aspect of prophecy – determining the outcome of future events through some means of divination or clairvoyance. Dr. King was prophetic in the tradition of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures – standing in the public square, crying out against injustice, holding the powerful accountable.
We need our prophets like Dr. King. We also need individuals bold enough to be prophetic in our faith tradition. A number of our members and friends will be boarding busses for the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. later this month. This, too, is a prophetic act – joining with others to call the powerful to account.
Our Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist ancestors stand firmly in the prophetic stream of history. It is our duty to keep pushing the moral arc of the universe to bend toward justice just a little more, just a little faster, to bring forth the Beloved Community. None of us can do it alone – together we can move mountains.
So may it be.
January 5, 2017
I’m just back from vacation, and jumping into the New Year! This coming weekend the Fellowship Board and I will be engaged in our Annual Board Retreat – and our delayed New Minister Start Up Retreat – with the Rev. Ann Marie Alderman, staff person with our Southern Region.
The Worship Team is pleased to welcome Natalie Daise as a guest in our pulpit, with a presentation on “Meeting the Bear: Facing Fear,” on January 8th! I’m looking forward to experiencing worship from the other side of the pulpit, as well.
Our Soul Matters theme for this month is “Prophecy.” As with most of the themes, this can be approached from several angles! What prophecy (prediction) are you making for the new year? What prophetic word do you need to hear – or speak? Come explore the theme with us!
Dec. 29, 2016
It will soon be a new year – and a new month with many great events already planned!
We’ll start the New Year right with our Fabulous Worship Team™ presenting a service to encourage reflection on the past year, looking forward to the new, and setting our intentions for the coming year. Later that same day, our Annual Peace Vigil is scheduled for 4pm on January 1st.
Our worship on January 8th will be very special. Natalie Daise will be our pulpit guest, presenting a service titled “Meeting the Bear: Facing Fear,” with the Fabulous Worship Team™ coordinating her visit. That same afternoon the Christian Affinity Group is offering a fun opportunity to learn about the Amish faith tradition. AND also on Jan. 8th, the United Interfaith Community Coalition of Beaufort is sponsoring an Interfaith Intercultural Celebration with a potluck at 4pm at the First Presbyterian Education Hall on North Street. (see flyer elsewhere in this newsletter) So much to learn/do/enjoy!
Save the Date for our Healthy Relations workshop on Jan. 28th! There’s no charge for this day-long workshop, so be sure to RSVP so we have enough food for lunch.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Dec. 22 – Just a day past the Solstice, and each day is a little longer than the one before. It’s almost Christmas – and Hanukkah – and Kwanzaa – and the New Year!
Wait. What? The year is almost over?
Yes – the turning of the year is upon us. After all the holiday hoopla hullaballoo, the month of January will stretch before us… and there are lots of good things coming!
We’ll start the New Year right with the annual Peace Vigil in Cannon Park at 4pm on January 1st. Our Fabulous Worship Team™ is presenting the service that morning – a time to reflect on the past year, look forward to the new, and set our intentions for the coming year.
Our worship on January 8th will be very special. Natalie Daise will be our pulpit guest, presenting a service titled “From Civil War to Civil Rights,” with the Fabulous Worship Team™ coordinating her visit. That same afternoon the Christian Affinity Group is offering a fun opportunity to learn about the Amish faith tradition. AND later that same day the United Interfaith Community Coalition of Beaufort is sponsoring an Interfaith Intercultural Celebration with a potluck at the First Presbyterian Education Hall on North Street. So much to learn/do/enjoy!
Don’t forget to Save the Date for our Healthy Relations workshop on Jan. 28th. There’s no charge for this day-long workshop, so be sure to RSVP so we have enough food for lunch.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
“An-ti-ci-pa-tion…” The Christian season of Advent is the time leading up to Christmas – the four Sundays meant to be spent in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. While we’re not formally honoring each Sunday in Advent this year, we will consider waiting and being present in our service on Dec. 18th.
I promised that this week I would reveal how the Unitarians saved Christmas!
The Puritan settlers of the New World brought their disapproval of Christmas revelry to the colonies. Effectively, this meant that Christmas in the earliest years of colonial America was banned. No singing of carols, no wassail, no Christmas goose, no gifts… There were laws against such celebrations, and severe punishments for those who indulged.
However, this just drove the parties underground – and those celebrations became outrageous. Think: 18th Century “Raves.” Hoodlums bent on forbidden activity roamed the streets at night, engaging in all manner of unlawful activities. Then, 18th Century progressive religious leaders decided that they would try to “tame” Christmas, rather than squashing it entirely.
Unitarian and Universalist churches began to schedule worship on Christmas Day. They urged banks and shops to close on Christmas so families could spend the day together. Unitarian minister Charles Follen introduced the Christmas tree with lights and ornaments. Several beloved Christmas carols were written by Unitarians: Jingle Bells (James Pierpont), I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Rev. Edmund Hamilton Sears).
However, it was probably Charles Dickens who did the most to transform Christmas and its traditions into the holiday many of us celebrate today. In 1842, Dickens visited Massachusetts where he met Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing and discovered Unitarianism. When he returned to England he left the Anglican faith and became a Unitarian. His classic tale, A Christmas Carol, contains no explicit religious references – yet it reflects his embrace of this faith which, “is a religion which has sympathy for men [sic] of every creed and ventures to pass judgment on none; who would do something for human improvement if and when it could; and would always practice charity and toleration.”
So, if you trim a Christmas tree, lift a cup of mulled wine to your lips, sing carols, or enjoy reading or viewing a production of A Christmas Carol – give thanks to our Unitarian forebears!
First things first: Don’t forget the UUFB Annual Meeting on Dec. 11th after the service. It’s an “eat & meet” meeting, and I hope you’ll be there!
We have a tree! As I write this, it has yet to arrive, but we will have a tree for the holidays in our new Sanctuary this year. I look forward to the familiar sight.
The evergreen tree is an ancient symbol of life in winter. Roman citizens would decorate their homes with evergreen boughs and candles during their mid-winter celebrations. By the second century, Christian theologians were condemning the pagan practice. By the Middle Ages, however, the legend had grown that when Jesus was born in midwinter every tree in the world shook off its coating of snow and ice and brought forth green shoots! Evergreen trees were recast as symbols of the love and mercy of God!
Our Puritan ancestors who came to these shores from England believed that Christmas was a sacred holiday; and they actually outlawed many of the celebratory practices around Christmas. In my next column I’ll tell you about how the Unitarians saved Christmas…
I hope to see you at one or more of our services this month! Remember we’re also celebrating with lessons and carols at 5:30pm on Christmas Eve, and YES, there will be a Sunday service on Christmas Day.
December 1, 2016
Today, Dec. 1st, is the first day of the last month of the year! I can’t help but think “how did that happen?”
With all the holidays celebrated during this time, I hope you will take good care of yourself. Make sure you get enough rest, and eat food that’s good for you. Once again – I’m preaching the sermon I need to hear…
We have a wonderful series of worship services planned for December. Our theme is presence. We’ll consider how to live in the present moment, look at the presence of absence, and think about the activity of waiting. We will work in celebration of various holidays as well: Advent, Solstice/Yule, Hanukkah – and St. Nick’s!
Neither Tom nor I grew up celebrating St. Nicholas’ Day, but our children insisted on it when they discovered it was a common ritual among their classmates. Children put a pair of shoes outside their bedroom door on the eve of Dec. 6th, and St. Nick leaves a few small treats – some candy or fruit, a book, a pair of mittens or fancy socks. It’s fun! Kind of like a warm up for the major event a few weeks later.
We’ll also celebrate with traditional (and maybe new?) lessons and carols on Christmas Eve, and YES, there will be a Sunday service on Christmas Day.
Don’t forget the UUFB Annual Meeting on Dec. 11th after the service. I hope you’ll be there!
November 19, 2016
I’m writing this on the day of our annual service auction – and I’m looking forward to the fun this evening!
As you give thanks for all the blessings in your life, I hope that UUFB is near the top of your list. I know that I’ve been grateful for all the congregations I’ve been involved with, whether as a member, ministerial intern, employee, or minister. Unitarian Universalism is a faith for times such as these – a healing faith that seeks to bring people together in the face of division.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to facilitate an adult religious education curriculum which required a $10 workbook for each participant. The Director of Religious Education and I debated whether to just provide the workbooks, or request that participants pay a $10 fee to cover the cost. We decided on the latter. One person asked for a waiver. Everyone else paid the fee – and we had 100% attendance for all the sessions of the class.
The lesson seemed clear to me – if someone invests in something, they feel a deeper commitment.
Our Board President has written elsewhere in this newsletter about the Board’s work to establish a balanced budget for this coming year. There is no requirement that a member make a financial pledge. I understand that about half of our members have made a pledge, and we’re hoping the rest will soon. UUFB is dependent on the regular contributions and generosity of its members and friends.
I’ve made my financial pledge for 2017. Please join me in supporting the Fellowship if you’re able.
November 15, 2016
What a wild month! Between Hurricane Matthew and the elections, we’ve been through a lot together!
Together – that’s the key word in that first paragraph. We are all in this together – whatever “this” is. We are not all the same. We don’t all think alike. We don’t all believe the same things. We are all in sympathy with the UUA Principles and Sources, and we covenant together as members of this Fellowship. I believe we will weather whatever comes, as long as we remember our deep bonds of fellowship and covenant.
When you read this, I will be at The Mountain, the UU Retreat Center, attending a UU Ministers Association Chapter gathering. These collegial gatherings are an important part of any minister’s ongoing education and networking. I often get ideas from colleagues which become part of a worship service – help me think about an issue differently. I will return to attend the Auction – and to lead worship on Nov. 20th with our wonderful Welcoming Congregation Committee.
Heads Up for Parents: The story for all ages on Nov. 20th is I Am Jazz, which tells the true story of a transgender child on about a first-grade level. In the book Jazz describes herself as having “a boy body and a girl brain.” I could not find this book in our local library; however, it is available through interlibrary loan if you want to take a look at it before Sunday.
Wishing you a good week – and safe travels if you’re going away for Thanksgiving!
Just a couple things this week:
Get your ticket for the Auction on Saturday, Nov. 19th! It’s going to be The Event of the Year.
Is anyone interested in having a potluck Thanksgiving meal here at the Fellowship on Thanksgiving? Dinner at about 2pm? I’m willing to make a turkey (just one – no stuffing inside), if others sign up for all the trimmings. I’ll put a sign up sheet on the counter in the Fellowship Hall.
I will be away Nov. 14-17 for the Southeast UU Ministers Association retreat at The Mountain. I’ve been told that cell coverage is almost non-existent, and wifi only available in some areas. Y’all be good while I’m gone, okay?
We have much to celebrate here at UUFB!
As I write this column, there is a flurry of activity on the UUFB campus. Chairs are being moved into the new sanctuary. The piano and refurbished pulpit are already there. All the bathrooms are equipped with paper products and soap.
We’re prepared for glitches – even as we don’t quite know what we’ll encounter. Your thoughtful comments and questions are welcome during the coming weeks. Aesthetics Committee has been charged with directing comments and questions to the appropriate sources. For these early days, the building is furnished minimally. Seating arrangements are experimental. We will use our old sound system for now. There are no “treatments” on windows and doors. And so on. Aesthetics Committee members are: Julia Peters (chair), Barbara James, Liz Key, Mary Mack, and Betty Chamlee Miller.
Our low key Stewardship Campaign is underway. Jerri Meisner has some good information to share in her column, which I hope you will read and consider. In our tradition our congregations are entirely self-supporting. The pledges of our members, and estimates of funds raised through other means (e.g., the yard sale and auction) are how our Board builds the budget each year. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to talk with Betty Chamlee Miller, or Larry or Jerri Meisner. I’m pledging! I encourage you to do so.
Our theme for November is Story. Our lives are made up of stories. Family stories – “remember when Aunt Myrtle…;” cultural stories – “our people are…;” and faith stories – those our traditions tell, and those of our faith journeys. Stories shape – and are shaped by – our culture. The musical “Hamilton” is currently one of the biggest hits on Broadway, partly because of the way Lin-Manuel Miranda chose to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life with contemporary music and a racially inclusive cast.
I love to hear the stories of how UUFB began, and moved from one place to another, and all the joys and sorrows encountered along the way. The stories are often told with a warmth and affection by those who have been here from the beginning. I hope there are written records of these wonderful stories for future generations!
I hope you’ll come share stories with us!
We have much to celebrate here at UUFB!
At long last, we have been granted a certificate of occupancy for the renovated building now known as the Sanctuary. (The building we’ve been worshipping in is now the Fellowship Hall.)
This news arrived just a day before the annual Founders & Finders Dinner, and made that evening extra special. I know our Architecture, Building, and Construction (ABC) Committee is happy to have this project cross the finish line!
As I write this, the date of our first service in the new building is still uncertain. Furniture needs to be moved – including our wonderful piano – and some equipment and supplies need to be placed and stocked. We are all eager to make this happen!
More immediately, this coming Sunday – October 30th – I will be presenting a service with the support and participation of the Ancient Sea Island Continuum, our pagan affinity group. Several traditions mark the honoring of one’s ancestors in some way this time of year, and we will be doing so as well. There will be a shorter message, and a ritual during the service.
If you’d like to help create our altar, we invite you to bring a photo or two of ancestors or other loved ones who’ve passed.
Our theme changes to Story the following Sunday. We’ll be looking at the stories we’ve told, and been told, about our country, about war and peace, and about our lives.
I hope you’ll come tell stories with us!
October 15, 2016
Years ago the late Rev. Gordon McKeeman wrote a meditation on ministry which reads, in part, “Ministry is all we do together.”
I have been so impressed and humbled by the efforts of our members helping other members and friends in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. I fear that if I list names here, I will forget someone. You know who you are, please know your fellow UUFB members and friends are grateful beyond words. And I am grateful for your ministry to and with one another. Ministry is all we do together.
If you’ve been with us for a while and interested in learning more, please consider coming to our series of orientation classes coming up for newcomers and others considering joining. I encourage you to attend all three if possible, good information to be gained! Child care will be provided, IF you let us know at least a week in advance that you’ll be coming. If you’d like to register, click on the link or check the sign up sheet on the counter in the office.
Here are the dates and times:
October 25, Tuesday evening, 6:30 – 8:00p.m. : Our Faith Journeys
October 30, Sunday midday, 11:45a.m. – 1:15p.m. : All About Unitarian Universalism
November 6, Sunday midday, 11:45a.m. – 1:15p.m. : Pathways to Membership
Come November, our theme will change from Healing to Story. We’ll be looking at the stories we’ve told, and been told, about our country, about war and peace, and about our lives. Come tell stories with us!
October 9, 2016
Hello, everyone! Not long ago I was looking at houses with a real estate agent and asked about the likelihood of a hurricane. I was told there was little chance, the last hurricane was in the early 1960’s. So the events of the past week were surprising – as I’m sure they were for many of you. Few of us had ever had to leave our homes behind, packing only what we could fit into our cars, trying to make choices about what to take – and what to leave – in a very short time.
Many UUFB members did leave the Beaufort area – some shortly after the evacuation order was issued, and some a day or two later. As far as I can tell, those of us who evacuated headed for points west and/or north. Some stayed to ride out the storm. I’ve been grateful for an old friend’s hospitality over the past few days.
I’ve tried to keep in touch via Facebook and text messages. I didn’t always know if a phone number in the directory was a landline or cell – but tried sending texts anyway. Unfortunately, the home where I’ve been staying is a ‘dead zone’ for my cell carrier. Text messages could be sent and received, but calling service was usually not available. As I write this, I know many are returning to assess damage and begin clean up. I’ve heard from a neighbor that my rental house is intact. I’m still waiting for the word that it’s safe to return.
There are many people to thank for their commitment to UUFB in the face of the storm:
- The neighborhood captains who did their best to contact people.
- Wes Davis, Sue Fritts, and Peter Penniman, who boarded up the Fellowship Hall before leaving for safe ground.
- Debra Davis, who helped locate and contact some members.
- Jeanine Darville, who got the cancellation notice up on our website as soon as I asked.
- Gary Rakestraw, for his HLN “Special Edition,” announcing the cancellation of all events at the Fellowship.
- Nancy Polstein & Bruce Donatuti, for checking on the UUFB buildings and reporting that all looks good from the outside!
- All those unknown to me, who offered shelter and rides to other UUFB folks – or just kept in contact. I’m sure there were many acts of service and kindness I’m not aware of!
We are a strong, well-connected community! It’s a good feeling to know that someone cares to send a text, or an email, or make a call – just to make sure you’re going to be okay. I’m grateful to serve, even through a hurricane; and, I’m eager to return to a more normal schedule with all of you back in Beaufort.
Do let your neighborhood care captains – or Beth Moon – or me – know if you need assistance with anything.
September 29, 2016
Healing waters, healing circle, healing hands…
Our theme for the month of October is healing. I confess, when I first saw this as a topic, I was apprehensive. My mind went to “faith healers” – those charlatans who convince someone they can cure them of myriad ills, in the interest of draining the person’s bank account and getting out of town as quickly as possible. I was…and still am…a skeptic.
Then I remembered a conversation I had recently. I was talking with someone who does shamanic healing, shared my skepticism, and also shared that my women’s circle was responsible for healing my spirit – even as the doctors were responsible for curing me of a serious illness.
As a minister I know how powerfully healing simply listening to someone’s story, holding someone’s hand, and offering support in difficult times can be. I know, too, that many times (though not always) newcomers walk through the doors of a Unitarian Universalist church or fellowship when they are in times of transition – needing support, needing healing. It’s important that we all be ready to minister to one another, according to our abilities, and the others’ needs.
If you are a newcomer who’s been curious about formally joining us, we have a series of orientation classes coming up. Child care will be provided, IF you let us know at least a week in advance that you’ll be coming. If you’d like to register, CLICK HERE.
Here are the dates and times:
October 25, Tuesday evening, 6:30 – 8:00p.m.: Our Faith Journeys
October 30, Sunday midday, 11:45a.m. – 1:15p.m.: All About Unitarian Universalism
November 6, Sunday midday, 11:45a.m. – 1:15p.m.: Pathways to Membership
“…And the light will shine in, this is where we begin
The magic work of our healing…” (from “Healing Circle” by Julia Hikory)
September 22, 2016
I cannot believe we’re almost at the end of September already! As I write this I just spent the better part of a morning enjoying coffee and conversation with the Blue Neighborhood Circle at the home of Mal Martino and Frank Anson. Over Labor Day, Jean and James Stokes opened their home for a Neighborhood Circle potluck meal. I’m so grateful to the hosts. It’s a real gift to get to know members better in a casual setting. We talked about a number of things – and one I want to address here.
UUFB uses the internet heavily. We send out Headline News via email. We have a website anyone in the world can access and learn about our Fellowship. Some of our committees, ministries, and the Board use Google groups to communicate quickly and easily with one another. Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets stored online are easily accessed by committee members or others with whom the links have been shared.
And, there’s Facebook. (There’s also Twitter, Snapchat, and a lot of other platforms that I don’t personally use!)
Some of you know we have a presence on Facebook in two ways. If you didn’t know this, or haven’t checked in a while, here’s a refresher.
Our main Facebook Page is here: https://www.facebook.com/Unitarian-Universalist-Fellowship-of-Beaufort-278938825507578/?fref=ts
This is the Fellowship’s public face on Facebook. You do not have to have a Facebook profile to access this public page. Upcoming events are posted, as are lots of photos of UUFB folks doing good things out in the wider community. You can like the page, like individual posts, comment on posts – but you cannot create a post here unless you have administrative privileges.
Then there is the UUFB Beloved Community Forum, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/uubeaufort/
This is a closed group, for UUFB members and friends only. You do have to have a Facebook profile to access this group. You can ask to join the Forum by clicking on the “Join Group” button. After an administrator approves your request, you may post items you think are of interest to others in UUFB. I’ve been posting links to UU events and opportunities – and I’ve posted when I decided to work from home during regular office hours. The group is monitored by the administrators, and we do have the ability to delete inappropriate postings.
Those are the official UUFB Facebook venues. I also have a public Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/revhlaban/
As with UUFB’s main Page, you do not have to have a Facebook profile to view this page. If you are on Facebook, you can view the Page, like it, and comment on posts. Only I can create posts, and I will delete inappropriate comments. Here’s where I often post new graphics for services or events for the first time, occasionally offer graphics with poetry or quotations, photos from events, etc.
I hope you’ll take a few moments to check out these avenues of communication with one another – and those members and friends we have yet to meet!
September 15, 2016
Welcome to the 2016-17 program year!
This past Sunday we celebrated our annual Water Service, and honored the memory of those lost in the tragic attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
We will be delving into the idea and practice of covenant for the rest of this month. Many of you know that covenant is part of the foundation of Unitarianism. It is part of our ecclesiology – part of how we organize our congregations – and our theology. We may not all think alike, but we all agree to be bound by our covenants. I’m grateful to be thinking more deeply about covenant as our Fellowship Board and I prepare for the New Ministry Retreat we will have about a month from now.
Over the next couple weeks I will be talking to some of you about various leadership openings, including the opportunity to serve on our Committee on Shared Ministry. I am the person you’ve called to be “The Minister.” But “Ministry” is all we do together in the service of this Fellowship and its mission. We minister to, and with, one another – and to our community – in ways I’m still learning about.
I’m grateful to be in Ministry with all of you, and to be your Minister.
September 8, 2016
Take Me to The River! Our Ingathering – Annual Water Service is this coming Sunday, September 11th! If you can, please bring a small amount of water with you that holds some spiritual meaning for you. Perhaps it comes from a special place, or a special time, or represents something significant in your life. If you forget, or can’t bring water from a particular place, don’t worry. We’ll have a bowl of water available to use as “virtual” water.
We will also ask that you jot down two things on a note card at the beginning of the service: (1) where/when your water – real or virtual – is from; and (2) what significance it holds for you. I’ll be collecting those cards before we begin the mingling of the waters, and use them in my meditation on water. This is a bit of an experiment, and I hope you’ll enter into the spirit of exploring new ways of doing things with me!
As I write this, many of our members and friends are busily preparing for the UUFB Yard Sale. I am astounded by the number and variety of donations for this great event! The Fellowship Hall is bursting at the seams! Many thanks to everyone who contributes in any way to this important fundraiser for our Fellowship.
Must-See TV: Mark your calendars! On September, 20th, 9:00p.m. Eastern, PBS will broadcast “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War,” a documentary co-directed by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky. The film tells the story of Unitarian Minister, Rev. Waitstill Sharp, and his wife, Martha Sharp, and the risks they took during World War II to smuggle people out of Eastern Europe. The Sharps are two of only five Americans to be honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
September 1, 2016
Just a couple quick things this week:
- Yard Sale on Saturday! Tell your friends & neighbors & come shop yourself!
- Ingathering/Water service on Sept. 11th! Bring water that has some spiritual significance for you. We’ll have water, too, if you forget. We’ll be asking you to write down where it came from and how it’s significant on note cards, too.
- Children’s Religious Education! Touch the future – instill UU values – have fun. Contact me for more information!
Blessed to be with you,
August 25, 2016
The dog days of summer are wearing on – and on. The heat will subside, eventually – but other aspects of life are heating up.
Our new program year is beginning with the annual water ceremony and ingathering scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11th. Please bring some water with you that is spiritually meaningful to you in some way. There will be cards on which to note what meaning your water has, and these will be read during the service.
As I’ve noted before, we will be using theme-based ministry resources from the Soul Matters Sharing Circle this year. Soul Matters provides resources to inspire sermons, discussion questions for small groups, AND lesson plans for children’s religious education. UUFB member Jim Koerber is interested in facilitating a once-a -month, after service discussion using the thematic questions. We’re still working out the details, but look for more information on that soon. September’s theme is “Covenant.”
I know this congregation is eager to have young children in its midst again. In order for that to happen, parents and others who bring children need to see a program in place when they arrive. The Soul Matters lesson plans are user-friendly and engaging – now we need some volunteers willing to be ready every Sunday with a lesson. Please contact me if you’d like to see the resources, and/or are willing to teach.
Finally, with the political scene heating up as we near the elections in November, I like to recall 16th Century Unitarian Francis David’s statement, “We need not think alike to love alike.” Please be aware that any partisan campaign literature left at UUFB will be disposed of.
August 18, 2016
I never thought I’d live by the sea. I’ve been a landlocked Midwesterner all my life – though always near water. I grew up across the street from Turtle Creek; lived in cities on Lake Michigan; and in a city on the Mississippi River. About 20 years ago a friend recommended I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea, which captured my imagination. I’m a skeptic when it comes to believing in destiny or fate, but as I look at the handful of shells on my desk – collected over many years – and remember Lindbergh’s writing, and I wonder. Every time I cross the swing bridge, I feel my soul expand.
I’m also a skeptic about the existence of souls. It’s hard to believe in something one cannot see – hard to believe in a part of one that exists beyond this mortal life. But it’s not hard to believe in soul. I might not have *a soul,* but I endeavor always to *have soul.* Soul is breath, soul is life, soul is a quality of depth and beauty in one’s life. Soul matters.
This year UUFB has joined the Soul Matters Sharing Circle. Soul Matters is a theme-based ministry, through which we will have access to a broad range of resources. There are suggested lesson plans for Religious Education. There are suggested questions and topics for a sharing circle or covenant group. There are suggested resources for worship elements. There’s a lot of soul in Soul Matters.
I’m excited to begin our program year with the theme of “What does it mean to be a Community of Covenant?” As we begin living our covenant with one another, I’m mindfully considering how we are called into relationship with one another, and how covenant and call are related.
Before we delve deeply into covenant however, we will celebrate our annual Water Service/Ingathering! On September 11th, please bring some water which has meaning for you to the service. We will mingle the waters in a common vessel, symbolizing our coming together in one body as the rivers and streams flow into the great oceans.
August 11, 2016
As I write this I’ve been in Beaufort for two weeks, and am beginning to find my way around. I’m happy in my little temporary house, though I look forward to finding a more permanent, and larger place. For that, we’re waiting until after (a) my spouse actually retires on September 1st, and (b) our house back in Wisconsin sells. For now, I’m halfway across the threshold, still dancing in the in-between. I have confidence it will all work out!
I’m enjoying having a few Sundays to worship with everyone, with little or no actual worship responsibilities. AND – I look forward to sharing my own reflections on the summer theme at the end of the month.
There’s a lot to learn about the UU Fellowship of Beaufort, so I’m taking time these first few weeks to look through the files that Rev. Kevin left, and set up times to meet with people. If you would like to meet me for a chat, please call the church office, 843 522 1765.
August 4, 2016
I know many UUFB members and friends are not in the immediate area right now, but I am here – and ready to get to work. I want to take care of a few housekeeping matters in this column.
For the time being I will designate Monday as my Sabbath, as Rev. Kevin did during his time with you. It may be that I find another day works better. But for now, Mondays are my sacred time away.
Candidating Week in May was rich with opportunities for me to mingle with many different groups of people. Now that I’m here, I’d like to get to know people individually. In a week or so, I will be posting appointment times for anyone who wants to have a conversation with me one-on-one.
And: Soul Matters is Coming!
Soul Matters is a sharing circle of congregations, using a theme-based ministry approach. Through the Sharing Circle, we receive resources for congregations for worship and small groups – and have the opportunity to offer resources to others. During the program year resources will be available online for us to review at least one month ahead. We may use these resources as we choose.
Congregations of all sizes have utilized these resources in different ways, according to their needs. This year, UUFB will have the opportunity to experience the Soul Matters themes.
I am eager to explore the resources for worship, and to share ideas and insights with colleagues who are part of the Soul Matters Sharing Circle. I’m anticipating that our primary engagement with this resource will be in our worship services. Please feel free to ask me questions, or visit the Soul Matters website for more information: http://www.soulmatterssharingcircle.com/
Finally – I’m looking forward to marching in the Charleston Pride Parade on Aug. 13th! If you haven’t signed up to go, please do so today!
July 28, 2016
Hello, UUFB Members & Friends!
Sea Islands, boardwalks, a sanctuary full of lively Unitarian Universalists singing joyfully… These and other images have been in my mind over the summer as Tom and I have been making preparations for our move. I don’t officially begin until August 1, but I will be around and about a week beforehand.
I have enjoyed seeing photos from the interfaith events with Rev. Kevin – and your wonderful send-off for him. I wish him all the best in his new ministry.
I am excited to finally be moving to Beaufort! I’m eager to begin my ministry! I look forward to exploring the area, learning more of its history, and making connections within UUFB. I plan on joining the UUFB contingent for the Charleston Pride Parade on August 13. I hope you will also be part of the joyous celebration of LGBTQ Pride.
I’ve conversed by phone with the worship committee co-chairs, and we’re going to have a great year. I look forward to worshipping with you beginning on July 31. My regular office hours will begin August 2, and my first Sunday in the pulpit will be August 28.
Remember that Sunday, September 11 is our Ingathering/Water Service! I encourage you to bring water from a place or event that holds meaning for you, for the mingling of the waters. We will also have water available in the sanctuary for the ritual.
If you see Tom or me around, please do say “hello!”
Rev. Lori Hlaban