2018 To Be Continued….by Rev. Lori Hlaban

August 23

I highlighted this in last week’s order of service insert, and for those who weren’t at the service…

This year we will once again be using the resources provided to us through our subscription to the Soul Matters Sharing Circle. Soul Matters began with the co-ministers of the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, NY, who created monthly packets of resources for their small group ministry groups. They began sharing the resources with colleagues, expanded into worship resources, and added religious education resources just a couple years ago. Each month we receive an abundance of resources for a relatively small annual fee.

September’s theme is Vision. What does it mean to be a people of Vision? This is the question we will be exploring, and it will be a journey! Come along and explore with us!

If you’re interested in participating in a small group ministry group based on the monthly themes, please contact Rev. Lori. The group would receive some resources – exercises and questions on the theme – for their consideration at the beginning of the month, and meet toward the end of the month. Meeting day/time to be determined, and the group size is limited to 10 people. Questions? Want to see a sample of what the resources look like? Call or email Rev. Lori!

Housekeeping Note on office hours: Nick, our Administrator, is typically in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon, though occasionally he shifts his days as needed. I can usually be found in my office Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, unless I have a meeting or appointment elsewhere. You can always leave a message on the Fellowship phone for either of us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

I hope to connect with you soon!

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

August 16

Dear Ones,

Summer is flying by! I am getting revved up for the new program year!

Our Annual Water Service will be held Sunday, September 16th! This is always joyful, welcoming people back from their summer adventures, whether those involved travel or simply relaxing in the backyard. You are encouraged to bring a small amount of water symbolic of your summer – or simply avail yourself of the water we’ll have available.

You’re also encouraged to invite a friend to UUFB on September 16th! The Membership Committee has designated this as a “Bring A Friend” Sunday, and will be offering their warmest welcome to our visitors.

If you’ve been attending for awhile and would like to learn more about Unitarian Universalism and UUFB, our next Connections Class will be held on Sunday, September 23rd after the service. Our Bylaws do require people to take a class before joining.

If you’ve taken the Connections Class, and have decided to join, please contact either me or Ellen Kelley. We will be welcoming New Members in the service on Sunday, October 7th.

Please note that Nick, our Administrator, is typically in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon, though occasionally he shifts his days as needed. I can usually be found in my office Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, unless I have a meeting or appointment elsewhere. You can always leave a message on the Fellowship phone for either of us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

I hope to connect with you soon!

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

August 2

Dear Ones,

As summer rolls on, I hope you are well!

We are beginning to make plans for the new program year which will commence on Sunday, Sept. 9th. That’s the weekend after Labor Day.

In a small break from tradition, our annual Water Service will be the following Sunday, Sept. 16th. Please be thinking of this, and know you’re welcome to bring a small amount of water from summer travels – or your own backyard – to pour into the common bowl for this service. I’ll be reminding you of this again.

One small change we want to get started this summer. This coming Sunday, Aug. 5th, we will begin including a donation envelope in the orders of service. It’s our hope that this will help us ensure that everyone gets credit for their tax-deductible donations. Please only use the envelopes for cash donations and return unused envelopes to the basket which will be in the foyer of the Sanctuary.

I am currently on medical leave and plan to return to work after Aug. 12th. All will be well!

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

July 26

Dear Ones,

I hope your summer is going well!

I realized recently that we’ve been together for nearly two years! It seems impossible that this much time has passed, and yet – we’ve shared so many experiences in this time. As I reflect on our work together I recall that when I arrived I felt (and still do feel) that this is a warm and welcoming congregation, eager to share the ministry with the minister they called. I also reflect that one of my key personality traits may have hampered my ministry with you.

You see, I am an introvert. For any of you familiar with the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory, you might recall that introverts “recharge their batteries” in quiet and solitude. After we introverts engage in high energy situations or navigate crowds, we then often need some quiet time. I confess to you that one of the ways that my introvert nature manifests is in a preference for email communication over telephone calls.

One of my goals for this upcoming program year is to get better at reaching out to all of you. May I ask that you also try to reach out a little more to me? Often people don’t know when or how to reach out to their minister, so here are a few suggestions. Please do call when…
• You have questions about your religious journey, spiritual practice, or Unitarian Universalism, and would like to discuss them.
• You or one of your family members is about to go into the hospital. (I’m glad to make hospital calls, so please remember that I will not know you’re there unless you tell me.
• You or a loved one is homebound or in a nursing facility, and would like a visit.
• You are either upset or pleased with me. I really do appreciate direct communication.
• You wish to discuss child dedication, marriage, or memorial service plans.
• You are thinking of joining the fellowship, or leaving it.
• You feel called to offer your time, talent, and/or treasure, and would like to explore the options for doing so.
• You need someone to talk with.
• You’d just like to get to know me better.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

July 19

Dear Ones,

I’m continuing this week with brief updates on some of the highlights and learnings from General Assembly. This week’s update is on the composition of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board.

The history of youth on our UUA Board is a little confusing. The Board itself used to be huge, as there was a Board member from each District (of which there were 17 or 18, if memory serves), and a couple at-large members. In order to streamline the Board, and with the advent of regionalization, there are now 10 at-large adult members, with staggered terms, elected by the delegates to General Assembly.

Sometime in the 1990’s pressure from the Continental organization for UU youth, C*UUYAN, resulted in the addition of two youth observers to the UUA Board – elected at large with staggered two-year terms. In 2003, this shifted to one youth observer and one youth trustee. A former youth observer elected in 2001 told me that the original idea was that the observer would serve as an observer, then move into the youth trustee position. This former observer, now a UU minister, also recalled that “[At the time]…being at the table, being listened to as if my voice mattered, meant a lot. It was a powerful statement about whose voice matters and how we value underrepresented voices.” (personal communication with Elizabeth Carrier-Ladd)

With the streamlining of the Board, the voice of youth on our Board were lost for a time, but were re-instituted in 2015 as two “youth observers.” These youth attended Board meetings, and participated in discussion, but had no vote. The Board has four major meetings a year, several meetings at General Assembly, and then separate meetings of committees and working groups.

Delegates to this year’s General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to convert the youth observer positions to youth trustee positions. This adds two voting members to our UUA Board and ensures that they have a voice AND a vote in our governance.

Given that experience has shown that UU youth who are valued and involved as youth become involved UU adults, I think the delegates have made the right choice.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

July 12

Dear Ones,

Last Sunday Jennifer Rhodes and I enjoyed bringing just a taste of the UUA 2018 General Assembly to the congregation. It was interesting to hear those in attendance ask questions, offer information, and consider one of the several amendments to the UUA Bylaws which were passed by the delegates.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be offering brief updates on some of the highlights and learnings from General Assembly.

Two of the Bylaw changes involve gendered language. The major change is to the Sources section of our Principles and Sources. This section of our Bylaws actually requires a 2/3 vote in favor by delegates in two consecutive years to go in effect. This was the second year delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor to change the words “prophetic women and men” to “prophetic people.” This change expands our source to include prophetic words and deeds of people of any gender, and any age. Here’s a link to the changed section at the UUA website: https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/sources.

The other change removed all gendered pronouns from the Bylaws and Rules. To quote from the update: “The pronouns “they” and “their” are used in these Blaws and Rules in place of the singular pronouns “he,” “she,” “his,” and ‘hers,” and refer to a single individual unless the context indicates otherwise.” While this may cause flashbacks to a stern English teacher in one’s past; a quick check of dictionary websites reveals that using “they” as a singular pronoun is long-established. Merriam-Webster has a whole article on it, here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they.

These changes may be difficult for some. However, they are made in the spirit of inclusiveness, expanding our welcome to everyone – regardless of their gender.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

July 5

Dear Ones,

It’s hot here in Beaufort. If you’re here, you know this. If you’re somewhere farther north, I understand you may be experiencing a warmer than usual summer as well.

If you’re here, I hope you’ll attend our Summer Service Series! The two we’ve had so far have been well attended and generated lively responses and coffee hour conversation!

Speaking of coffee… It is available during coffee hour this summer – and proving to be as popular as the cold beverages!

Jennifer Rhodes and I will be presenting this coming Sunday service, on the events of and learnings from this year’s UUA General Assembly. A new Congregational Study Action Issue was passed, as well as several other business items affecting all UU congregations.

Stay cool, and stay connected with UUFB!

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

June 28

Dear Ones,

Every year the UU Ministers Association Ministry Days and the UUA General Assembly leave me exhausted and exhilarated.

Exhausted from meetings that reveal us in both our grumpiness and our grace. Exhausted from walking what seems to be miles from one end of an over-air-conditioned convention center to the other, to nearby cafes and restaurants for quick meals between sessions, and from hotel to meetings to hotel, repeatedly. Exhausted from trying to take in and appreciate all the sights, sounds, singers, speakers, and more.

Exhilarated from reconnecting with far-flung colleagues and friends. Exhilarated from being present for well-crafted worship that touches my heart, enriches my mind, and stirs my soul to action. Exhilarated from learning, and falling in love with our shared faith all over again.

This year was no different. I remind you that you can still view the worship services, business sessions, and the electrifying Ware Lecture at this link:  https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2018

I posted some updates in the UUFB Beloved Community Forum Facebook group – and there are so many photos I wish I’d taken. I wish I had a photo of the Domestic Violence Care Packages, assembled by volunteers throughout the week. I wish I had a photo of a group of UUs singing hymns of love and justice, across the street from the tiny group from the Westboro Baptist Church which showed up to protest our gathering.

Most of all, I wish each of you could experience GA – even just a day of it – to know that we are part of an amazing life-affirming, life-giving, love-expanding faith tradition!

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

June 21

Dear Ones,

As you read this, Jennifer Rhodes and I are in Kansas City, MO for the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (GA). What you may not know is that you can view much of GA online!

All of the Business Sessions will be livestreamed, as will the early morning worship services, the Service of the Living Tradition (Thursday night), the Ware Lecture (Saturday night), and the Sunday Worship service! Be sure to note that all times listed at the following link are CENTRAL time, and plan accordingly. Here’s the link to choose to view various portions of GA: https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2018

I highly recommend viewing one or more of the morning worship services, and the Service of the Living Tradition which celebrates the life stages of ministry. The music and preaching is sure to be moving. If there’s one thing I could wish for every one of you, it would be that you have the chance to experience the Sunday morning worship service at GA in person. It’s amazing to worship with 3,000+ UUs! If you can’t be there, though, viewing online is a good option. Our UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Grey will be leading worship, supported by the stellar GA Choir! (But watch this one AFTER attending the great service David Hudson will be leading at UUFB!)

Beyond business and worship, the annual Ware lecture is also livestreamed. The Ware lecture has a long history of welcoming speakers on current or cutting-edge topics. This year’s speaker is Brittany Packnett, who served on President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and currently serves as Teach for America’s Vice President of National Community Alliances. She is an activist working on social change and empowerment.

May you be well,
may you enjoy the gifts of
each minute of each day,
may you know the peace and tranquility
of being grounded right where you are.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

June 14

Dear Ones,

This coming Sunday I will lead our second “All Your Answers Questioned” service!
It is a joy – and a blessing – to serve as your minister. This is your chance to ask the question(s) that are stirring in your heart – and my opportunity to learn what people are thinking about, or wrestling with, in their faith journeys. So come prepared to write down your question(s), and to the best of my ability I’ll speak to as many as I can in the time we have. If you were with us last Sunday you know I don’t throw away unanswered questions! It might pop up in a future service!

Next week I will be in Kansas City, MO for the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly. This is where delegates from congregations across the continent gather to vote on matters affecting us all. We also attend workshops, network with others, shop in the Exhibit Hall, and (hopefully) return to our congregations with some new ideas and insights.

Our Summer Series of services begins Sunday, June 24th! See the separate article on this in this newsletter!

I’ll close for now with a blessing from Joan Boryschenko:

“May you be at peace,
May your heart remain open,
May you know the beauty of your own true nature,
May you be healed and whole.”

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

June 7

Dear Ones,

We are living in difficult, stressful times. Whatever your political leanings, checking the news these days seems to require a suit of asbestos to protect one from the flames.

A friend of mine recently wrote about simple practices they cultivated, to keep theirself grounded. These included: noticing sirens, and offering a prayer for the best outcome; noticing police officers, and offering a prayer that they will be safe from – and will not commit – violence; and typing “Blessings” at the end of most emails – and offering a silent blessing to the intended recipient(s) before sending.

Since our theme this month is blessing, I thought I’d remind us of a simple blessing of loving kindness that we can repeat silently, or speak quietly, or even sing. The simplest I know is hymn #1031, Filled With Loving Kindness, written by Rev. Ian Riddell, patterned on the Buddhist metta meditation, which we sang last Sunday. It begins:

May I be filled with loving kindness – May I be well
May I be filled with loving kindness – May I be well
May I be peaceful, and at ease – May I be whole

Like metta meditation, the hymn then repeats, changing “I” to “you,” and then to “we” – offering loving kindness first to self, then another person, then to all.

We can choose to curse these times, or we can choose to bless the world. I hope we will choose blessing; and that we will bring those blessings into our work of building the Beloved Community for everyone.

It is a joy – and a blessing – to serve as your minister.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

May 31

Dear Ones,

The heat of summer is here. We just experienced some heavy rain from Sub Tropical Storm Alberto. Some of our members have already left for their summer adventures in cooler climes.

For those of us still here, June will be an interesting month. Our Soul Matters theme is “Blessing.” We will explore the meaning and act of blessing on June 3rd. On June 10th I will finish the series on UU Principles with a look at the proposal to add a new one – the eighth. June 17th will bring a second – perhaps annual – Question Box service. What have you always wanted to ask a minister? Bring your questions, and I’ll attempt to offer answers – or at least my own thoughts & questions!

As he did last summer, Mike Partain will return on June 17th as our summer musician. We are looking forward to having Mike with us again; and we’re looking forward to his occasional surprise instruments!

On June 24th we begin our summer service series. Our theme this year is “Considering Big Ideas.” There will be a mix of lay-led and minister-led services, but they will all follow the same general – and more informal – format. Here’s what’s planned so far:

June 24 – “God” – Dave Hudson
July 1 – TBA – Rev. Lori
July 8 – “General Assembly Recap” – Jennifer Rhodes & Rev. Lori
July 15 – “Friendship” – Frank Cummings
July 22 – TBA
July 29 – “Forgiveness” – Rev. Lori
Aug. 5 – TBA
Aug. 12 – “Nature” – Jay Weidner
Aug. 19 – TBA
Aug. 26 – TBA – Rev. Lori
Sept. 2 – “Gratitude” – Carole Gunter

It is a joy – and a true blessing – to serve as your minister.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

May 24

Dear Ones,

I’m excited about the service the Worship Team will be bringing to you this coming Sunday! For Memorial Day weekend, they’ve chosen to remember some unsung heroes. These are people you may not know about, but you might know their work – or your life may have been unknowingly affected by theirs. I hope you will join us, hear some interesting stories, and enjoy some great music from UUnstrung!

As I noted last week, there are just a few more Sundays before we begin our summer services! Rev. Linda Slabon and Toni Tollerud will be here again to share music with us on June 1st, as we explore the theme of Blessing. On June 10th we’ll explore the possibility of adding an Eighth Principle to our UU Principles. Remember to get your questions ready for the June 17th Question Box Service!

Next week I hope to announce the topics for our summer series, the theme of which is “Considering Big Ideas.” We will have some interesting discussions, I’m sure!

It is a joy – and a privilege – to serve as your minister.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

May 17

Dear Ones,

As I write this it’s Mother’s Day weekend, a time when most of us think about our mothers – and others – who have nurtured us throughout our lives. This is a joyful day for many, a reflective one for others, and a painful one for some.

Because this time brings up so many different emotions, I have generally chosen to share a message about something else. Since coming here to UUFB I’ve scheduled the annual Flower Ceremony on Mother’s Day. I find the story of Norbert Čapek and the Flower Festival inspiring every time I read it – or tell it. I love the beauty of bringing flowers, and sharing them to symbolize the gifts we bring and receive.

What you might not remember is… It was on Mother’s Day two years ago that this congregation voted to call me as your minister. The actual date was May 8th, but I don’t always remember that. (I had to look it up, in fact.) But I always remember it was on Mother’s Day, and what a joyful day that was.

It is still a joy – and a privilege – to me, to serve as your minister.

As we move forward together, and especially as we begin planning UUFB’s long-range future; I hope we will remember the joy and strive to have some fun as we tackle some serious work.

In the short-term, there are just a few more Sundays before we begin our summer services! I’m excited to let you know Linda Slabon and Toni Tollerud will be here again to share music with us on the first Sunday in June! I’m also looking forward to presenting another Question Box service on Father’s Day, right before the UUA’s General Assembly! Get your questions ready!

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

May 10

Dear Ones,

What a time we’re living in! A time of change and possibility. A time when everyone is called upon to be our best, most creative selves!

As I write this we just had a service that celebrated creativity. We heard members speak and write of their creative process, another member sang a song for Hurricane Matthew, and Rebecca Folsom led us in some exercises to help counteract the Fear responses (Freeze, Flight, Fight, or Faint). Tied together with words from Robert Fulghum, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Kenneth Robinson.

I love when members volunteer to be involved in a service! And next week is one we all get to participate in.

This coming Sunday – May 13th, Mother’s Day – we will celebrate our annual Flower Ceremony. Please come with a flower (or a bunch) to share. Everyone gets to give – and to receive – in this uniquely Unitarian ritual. It is one of my favorite Sundays of the year. I hope you’ll be there!

It is a privilege to serve as your minister.

Blessings to you,
Rev. Lori Hlaban

May 3

Dear Ones,

In case you missed this:

We have a new Administrator in the Fellowship Office! Please join me in welcoming Nicolas Ashford.

Nick has a lot of experience with computers, which was high on our list of qualifications for this position. Much of what we do these days is online, or at least created on the computer.

Our former Administrator, Gary Rakestraw, spent time going over our systems with Nick this past week, and will be available for consultation as needed.

Speaking of… Gary was very touched and surprised by the cards – and generous gift cards – to which many of you donated. Your thoughtfulness was much appreciated.

It is a privilege to be here, ministering through change.

Blessings to you,
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!

Blessings,

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.

Blessings,

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…