2018 To Be Continued….by Rev. Lori Hlaban

April 26

This week we bid Gary Rakestraw, our longtime Administrator, a heartfelt farewell and thanks for his service.

We also welcome a new Administrator, Nicolas Ashford. Please offer Nic your patient support as he learns the myriad of things included in this job!

April 19

Dear Ones,

If you’ve been involved in Unitarian Universalism for some time, you may recall a 2009 article in the UU World about the remnant of the flock of an African American Pentecostal preacher – branded a heretic by his own denomination – becoming enthusiastic members of All Souls Unitarian in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Pentecostal preacher was Bishop Carleton Pearson, who built a megachurch in Tulsa called Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center (aka Higher D), with thousands of members. After a 1996 revelation of the nature of universal salvation, Pearson began preaching what he calls the gospel of inclusion. We Unitarian Universalists recognize it as classic Universalism – God is love, all are saved.

Pearson lost everything. And All Souls Unitarian’s senior minister reached out to him, and the congregation embraced the Higher D members who chose to join All Souls.

This past weekend, Netflix began streaming a new movie about Pearson called Come Sunday. Disappointingly, the story of Pearson’s relationship with All Souls Unitarian is only mentioned at the very end in a printed coda to the movie. However, for those who have Netflix, I do recommend viewing it to get a glimpse into a religious system some of us know little about.

It is good to be reminded what a blessing this faith is.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

April 12

Dear Ones,

When I perform weddings, I almost always offer a homily on marriage and relationships. It varies from couple to couple, depending on their story, their relationship, and the sense I have of their partnership. I always include something about the inevitability of change.

Change is the one constant in our lives. We tend to not like change, because it often heralds a shift in our routine. It shakes us up, makes us uncomfortable. Often, though, change brings new and positive things.

UUFB is about to enter a time of change. We didn’t ask for it, but it’s here.

Our erstwhile and efficient Administrator, Gary Rakestraw, let the Board and me know some time ago that he intended to resign in July, 2018, to pursue other interests. That has been moved up to the end of April.

Gary will be sorely missed, as he has created many of the systems we rely upon. He has graciously agreed to train the new administrator, and to be available for questions as needed.

We are asking members first: Do you know anyone who would be a good fit for this position? A detailed job description is available upon request.

Please join me in thanking Gary for all he’s done and wishing him well in the future!

Blessings to you,

Feb. 25:

Dear Ones,

I am on medical leave, recuperating from surgery and allowing myself the time necessary to heal. Tom and I are grateful for all your prayers, well wishes, and offers of assistance. If you’d like to get updates, we have set up a Caring Bridge page: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lorihlaban

If we need help, we will post that to Caring Bridge as well.  All will be well. You and UUFB are a blessing to the world.

Feb. 18:

Dear Ones,

This past Sunday, Feb. 11th, was my last worship service before my medical leave begins on Feb. 18th. Have no fear, though – the Fabulous Worship Team™ has an incredible line up of guest speakers and worship team-led services in store for you.

Feb. 18th was already planned to be my Sunday out of the pulpit for February, and we are delighted to be welcoming Ms. Shaundra Scott, Executive Director of the ACLU-South Carolina! On Feb. 25th we will welcome community activists Ed and Adrian Helm.

In March, Rev. Susan Karlson, a hospice chaplain in Savannah will return – and Rev. Debra Guthrie, who serves the UU Congregation in Aiken, will visit UUFB for the first time. Lay speaker Ginny Sassaman will bring us greetings from Vermont – and a service on happiness! And we will round out the month with Jim Taylor, who is affiliated with Interfaith Partners of South Carolina – and an ambassador for the World Parliament of Religions.

Until I return, please – be well, and be good to one another. Always remember that you, and UUFB, are a blessing to the world.

Blessings to you,

Feb. 1:

Dear Ones,

I’m grateful for so many kind wishes and offers of help regarding my upcoming surgery and recovery. Currently, I’m in limbo as to when this will occur with the surgeons working out a date. Until I need to take time off, I am on duty! This week I just have a few random notes for y’all…

This Saturday night, our own TZiPi Radonsky becomes Dr. Ruth Westheimer in the play, Becoming Dr. Ruth, right here in our Sanctuary! This is sure to be a great time – and proceeds go to UUFB!

I hope that some of you will sign up to be part of the Race4Love supporting Hopeful Horizons. New organization name, same event!

If you’ve been to services lately, you know we’ve been treated to some wonderful musical surprises! You never know when another will happen, thanks to our wonderful Music Director, Chris, and the network of musicians in the Fellowship.

We’re also working on integrating a little more video into our services, when appropriate, utilizing the newer sound and projection technology!

It’s a joy to serve this congregation!


Jan. 25:

As I write this the sun is shining and it’s warm enough to be outdoors for a good long walk! After the snow early in the month, this is a pleasant change. I’m also seeing photos from Women’s Marches around the country, and proud of our UUFB’ers who marched last year – and are marching again.

This coming Sunday we will wrap up the theme for January, Intention, with a service on spreading “More Kindness in the World.” If you’ve been coming to services regularly, you might remember singing this song, and you’ll get a chance to sing it one more time. It’s a great, upbeat, “zipper” song.

Also coming this Sunday is an after-service movie sponsored by the Welcoming Congregation Committee: Denial. The filmmaker began making a movie about energy and climate change, and there is a lot in the film about these topics; however, it diverged a bit when a family secret was revealed. I’m looking forward to viewing it!

Finally, we are in need of a Care Captain for the Yellow (downtown) neighborhood circle, and maybe one other. This is a vital job, though it doesn’t usually involve much time. Please let me, or Caring Committee Chair Jennifer Ojulewa, know if you’re interested!

Many blessings to you,

Jan. 18:

By now, most UUFB members should have heard about my upcoming health challenges. For those of you who haven’t heard, last month I was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer. My spouse and I are currently negotiating the process of making a plan to address this challenge.

Be assured: During the coming months I will continue to serve as your minister, in Sunday services, pastoral care, and administration as much as possible. I will be working with the Worship Team, the Caring Committee, and the Board closely to ensure full coverage during necessary absences.

I expect that this news will be difficult for some of you. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. I ask that you continue to be the caring and compassionate Beloved Community I know you to be, for one another and for me.

In the meantime, I’m continuing my Seven Principles Sermon Series this coming Sunday, with an exploration of how we responsibly seek truth and meaning in our congregations. Our after-service Sunday Brunches will return in February. And the Welcoming Congregation is making plans for another after-service movie!

Many Blessings to you,

Jan. 11, 2018

Happy New Year!!

I understand Beaufort had some *unusual* weather while I was gone on vacation. Tom and I returned to find snow all over our yard and driveway. Too bad we left all our snow shovels behind in Wisconsin when we moved. We were fortunate, though – no damage to our house or its utilities. And we are grateful for the time away to visit family and friends in the frozen North.

I am back, and I am eager to begin the work of the new year, with our new Board!

I was sad to miss the Unified Interfaith Coalition’s celebration on Jan. 7th; however, I have been invited to offer the closing blessing/benediction on Jan. 12th for the one year anniversary of the establishment of the National Monument to the Reconstruction.

Our theme for the month of January is “Intention,” which is a good way to begin the year. It’s a good time to think about our intentions, what projects we might want to accomplish, what qualities we might wish to bring to our endeavors together.

Our service this coming Sunday, “Keeping the Promise,” is intended to help follow through on promises – intentions – made by our Unitarian Universalist Association to Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU). As many of you know, the late Jim Key was an enthusiastic supporter of BLUU when he was the UUA Moderator. The “Promise and Practice of our Faith” service materials are written by UU ministers and seminarians of color, to center Black voices in worship. In addition, our special “Fifth Sunday” collection (postponed from Dec. 31, 2017) will go to support BLUU. I hope you will give as generously as your heart and circumstances allow.

I’m so glad to be back in Beautiful Beaufort. Let’s make 2018 a wonderful year, together.


Dec. 24, 2017

Happy New Year (almost)!!

As the year winds down, I want to offer one more thought on hope – our theme for December. This comes from historian, Howard Zinn.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. … To live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

This coming Sunday our Fabulous Worship Team™ will be facilitating the service on Embracing the Unknown. It’s planned as a participatory experience – you won’t want to miss it. Then, to begin the new year, Frances Kuzinski will lead a service on Jan. 7, 2018 called Walking the Path: Buddhism’s Melody. Several UUFB members will be supporting Frances with their musical gifts! Finally, the Unified Interfaith Community Coalition of Beaufort will be holding a second annual interfaith new year gathering on Sunday, January 7, 2018. There should be more information in this order of service on that.

Wishing you a safe and peaceful holiday season…