Ministry is Everything We Do!

Members and friends engage in a number of activities to fulfill the mission and vision of UUFA. When worshiping, learning, having fun, and serving our Fellowship and local communities we deepen our understanding of life and our place in the world.

To support our shared ministry, our programs (or ministries) are led by our Parish Minister, Rev. Alison Eskildsen with the Music Director, Amber Fetner, Director of Religious Education, Morgan Watson, and a team of Lay Ministers (see below). Together they form a Ministry Council that typically meets once a month to discuss ongoing programs, collaboration, and Fellowship concerns. Lay Ministers serve for two years following one year spent in training.

Ministry Council

The Ministry Council consists of Rev. Alison Eskildsen, Lay Ministers, and program staff (Amber Fetner, Dir. of Music, and Morgan Watson, Dir. of Religious Education). The Ministry Council meets monthly to discuss ‘big picture’ programming opportunities, connections, and concerns of the Fellowship.

Leadership Council

The Leadership Council consists of the Lay Ministers (who share coordination of the Council), committee chairs, team leaders, event coordinators, and others who self-identify as leaders in the Fellowship. These people have stepped up and taken responsibility for specific ministries or programs of the congregation.

Current Lay Ministers

Karen Solheim, Vivian P. Sellers, Ange Kahn (back row); Herb West, Hilda Kurtz

Ange Kahn, Fun & Fellowship

TERM: 7/2014 – 6/2016, renewed for 7/2016 – 6/2018  CONTACT:

Ange Kahn became a Unitarian in 1972 after researching a way to provide religious education for her children that would open their minds to the awe and wonder of the universe and teach them to explore great teachings and philosophies to help them create their own spirituality. After belonging to fellowships in Norman, Oklahoma, and Denton, Texas, participating actively in programming for children and teens and in choral programs, she was dormant for a few years due to relocations. When she moved to Athens in 1987 with a toddler and a teenager, she was thrilled to find this Fellowship on Prince Avenue. She is grateful that she got to know many of the founders of this Fellowship and benefit from their wisdom and life experience. She continued to be active in choir, social action and taught a generation from toddler to teen years including her two youngest daughters, her goddaughter and a whole bunch of wonderful, creative, mischievous amazing kids. She continues to participate in the Halloween Carnival, Nifty Gifty, mentoring, and Mystery Friends. After her children left the nest she wanted to be more involved as a way of paying a debt of gratitude and decided to complete Lay Ministry training. As Lay Minister for Fellowship she assists Hospitality, Membership, Pastoral Care and many ‘Fun and Frolic’ activities at UUFA.

Hilda Kurtz, Connections & Outreach

TERM: 1/2017 – 12/2019   CONTACT

Vivian Preston Sellers, Lifespan Development (Education)

TERM: 7/2014 – 6/2016, renewed for 7/2016 – 6/2018  CONTACT: vpsellers@gmail.com

When her second child was a year old, Vivian was introduced to Unitarian Universalism while looking for a place for her family to go to church. Vivian felt immediately at home at the UU Congregation of Gwinnett, and became a member soon afterward. Her entire family became very active, and Vivian served on the RE Council, taught RE for many years, was a board member at least twice, served on the Ministerial Search Committee, and became DRE for a year. She and her family were a part of that congregation for about 18 years, but when her younger child left for college, Vivian left the congregation and spent several years “unchurched.”  After retiring from teaching middle- and high-schoolers for 22 years, she decided to spend time and energy re-creating a spiritual life, and began attending UUFA on a more regular basis. She chose to join the congregation in February of 2013, and began to become more involved. She moved to Athens in 2015.

When the opportunity to become a Lay Minister became available, she felt “called” to do this, and the choice has proven to be the right one for her. She now serves as the co-ordinator of the ushers and of Small Group Ministry and serves on the Worship Arts Committee and Leadership Development Team. Her duties as a lay minister include that of helping to guide the Adult RE programming. She teaches Adult RE classes as well.

Karen Solheim, Justice

TERM: 7/2014 – 6/2016, renewed for 7/2016 – 6/2018  CONTACT

Although born in Jacksonville, Karen spent her youth in Omaha, where she participated in a Lutheran church by teaching Sunday school and singing in the choir.  Moving with her parents to the South to finish high school, Karen came to Athens to attend the University of Georgia. “Unchurched” for a couple of decades, she arrived at UUFA in 1999, quickly becoming a member and being quite active at the Fellowship.  Not only serving as a lay minister, Karen is currently a member of the Social Action Committee, FREE (Food Responsibility and Enjoyable Eating), the Palms of Fire Drumming Group, and the Forum Committee.  Her involvement with the Justice Cluster encompasses the Social Action Committee, Exploring Racial Justice Task Force, FREE, Green Sanctuary, and Our Daily Bread.  Karen is retired after teaching secondary English in public school.

Herb West, Spiritual Arts

TERM: 7/2014 – 6/2016, renewed for 7/2016 – 6/2018  CONTACT

Herb grew up in Atlanta in the Presbyterian Church, but became a Unitarian Universalist in 1976 when he joined the worldwide Church of the Larger Fellowship. After helping start two UU churches in North Georgia, he & Myrna moved to Bogart in 2001 and joined UUFA.  At UUFA he served twice on the Board of Trustees, teaches adult religious education classes, sings in the Chalice Choir and in the BlUUgrass Folks band, and serves on the Worship Arts Committee. For many years, he served on the Annual Pledge/Budget Drive Committee, and is currently Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee and a member of the Steering Committee for “Expanding Our Vision,” our building expansion project.  As a Lay Minister, he recently moved from the Stewardship Cluster to the Spiritual Arts Cluster, which includes Worship Arts, Music Ministry, Spiritual Practices, Religious Affinity Groups, and the Foyer Art Gallery.  He also continues to serve on the Leadership Development Team. Herb retired in 2013 after working in construction, fire and emergency medical services, and most recently as a tax professional with H&R Block.

Lay Ministry Training

The most recent Lay Minister candidate was trained during 2016 and was installed on January 22, 2017. She is Hilda Kurtz. She joins Lay Ministers Ange Kahn, Vivian Preston Sellers, Karen Solheim, and Herb West who served their first term 2014-2016 and have chosen to continue serving for a second two-year term. Three Lay Ministers from the first class (Michelle Leebens-Mack, Aleta Turner, and Myrna Adams West) became Emeritae in January 2017, joining the three other Lay Ministers from the first class (Patty Freeman-Lynde, Nancy MacNair, and Jane Mayer) who chose to become Emeritae in June 2014.

Another training will be conducted beginning in Fall 2017. Candidates for Lay Ministry must be proven leaders of the Fellowship who seek deeper commitment to their own spiritual development and service to the Fellowship. If you are interested in becoming a candidate, please inform Rev. Alison of your interest. You may fill out the Lay Ministry Application (below) at any time.

For information about committees that report directly to the Fellowship (congregation), go here.
For information about committees that report directly to the Board, go here.

Past Lay Ministers

Jane Mayer, Patty Freeman-Lynde, Nancy MacNair, Michelle Leebens-Mack, Aleta Turner and Myrna Adams West.

Monthly Themes for 2016-2017

To encourage deeper engagement and understanding of a topic in Worship, Small Groups, Committees, and other UUFA activities, we offer these themes to focus on each month:

Jul 2016- Re-Creation/Recreation       Jan 2017- Commitment

Aug 2016- Interdependence               Feb 2017- Listening

Sep 2016- Balance                             Mar 2017- Brokenness

Oct 2016- Awareness                         Apr 2017- Transformation

Nov 2016- Reconstruction                  May 2017- Revelation

Dec 2016- Illumination                      Jun 2017- Adventure