Working with UUFA’s Volunteer Recognition Team, the Ministry Council is launching its 2015 appreciation of volunteers by focusing on the Fellowship Lay Ministry cluster in February. The other 5 clusters will celebrate their volunteers in alternate months through the year.
Led by Lay Minister Ange Kahn, the Fellowship cluster includes Sunday Hospitality, the Membership Committee, weekly and monthly social get-togethers, and Pastoral Care and Care Rings.
Since taking on the cluster in 2014, Ange has been working to build involvement in Sunday hospitality volunteering twice each Sunday and thanks Kate Blane, Connie Bruce, Lee Cornell, Sunnie Dempsey, Dan Everett, Linda Gilbert, Bob Kobres, Jane Kobres, and Cory Taylor for their working to have refreshments ready for everyone. To help make sure members, friends, and visitors can enjoy coffee and tea, please contact Ange at Fellowship@uuathensga.org or 706-318-2250.
Thanks also to members of the Membership Committee – Larry Dendy (chair), Lynn Rinker, Gary Rinker, Larry Petroff, Sherri Tanner, Kip Tanner, Betsy Bean, Carol-Lee Baker, Linda Kjelgaard, Mary Jean Hartel – who manage the Visitors Table, welcoming newcomers at every service, and present the New UU programs.
As part of the February celebration, on February 8 Ange and the Volunteer Recognition Team are highlighting the ongoing efforts of the Pastoral Care Team and the Care Ring Coordinators.
The Pastoral Care Team supports the minister by providing a ministry of caring, support, and hope so that no member of our congregation need be alone. Based on the first UU principle, to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the members visit/call the sick or injured in the hospital or at home; visit/call members who live in nursing homes and retirement communities or are homebound; contact those who are dealing with terminal illness or bereavement; stay in touch with members who are affected by chronic mental or physical conditions; and respond to the joys and concerns of the congregation. Serving on the Team are volunteers Carol-Lee Baker, Jean Bleyle, Albie Smith, John Huff, Debby Perry, Rev. Dr. Don Randall, and team leader Susan Ponsoldt, all working with Rev. Alison Eskildsen.
In addition to the team members, many other volunteers provide transportation to UUFA services and medical appointments and reach out with visits, cards of caring and celebration.
In 2014 team members and helpers provided 12 medical rides, made 40 home visits, talked by phone or at the Fellowship with over 100 people, sent 50 cards of concern and 48 birthday cards to members over 75 years old, and provided at least 58 rides to Sunday services.
UUFA also provides pastoral care to members through its seven Care Rings. Upon joining the Fellowship, all members are assigned to a Care Ring. Each Care Ring has its own coordinator(s) and is composed of seven or more families/single households in the same vicinity. Care Ring members offer support in dealing with crises or stressful situations. They also share members’ joys: a new child in the family, special birthdays, anniversaries and honors.
This year the Care Ring coordinators are Blue – Anna Eidsvik (Peggy Horton had coordinated for a number of years), Fuchsia – Gini Carter and Vivian Preston-Sellers (Suzanne Murphy had coordinated for a number of years), Green – Rosemary Woodel and Fabiana Hayden, Yellow – Jane King and Carol-Lee Baker, Orange – Penny Oldfather, Silver – Kay Fors, and Purple – Debbie Hardegree and Michael Martin. Many UUFA volunteers work with their Coordinators to help each other. Contact Susan Ponsoldt at 706-548-4821 for more information about the Care Ring Program.
Martha Phillips of the Volunteer Recognition Team is coordinating the February 8 celebration which will feature a song she has just written to celebrate UUFA volunteers. Also helping are team members Carol-Lee Baker, Diane Bridges, Barbara Leissner, Jane Mayer, Herb West, and chair Susan Curtis.
Fellowship image by Barbara Leissner