The Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah

            311 East Harris Street, Savannah, GA 31401 (MAP)             912-549-0326            
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Sunday Morning Worship
Sunday, December 15, 11:00 AM

Our Worship Theme in December is Awe

Rev. Susan Karlson preaching

"When the Flame Won't Burn Out"

Many Faiths lift up this season as a time of hope, renewal and celebrating the value of freedom. Jewish people everywhere celebrate the eight days of Chanukah beginning next week. Unitarian Universalists too need stories of courage and compassion that help us kindle the flame within even as the shorter days of winter approach.

Our Worship Associate will be Jessica Leavitt

Our Storytellers will be Luke Higgins

Music by Kelly Blackmarr, Oliver Flaherty and The Choir.
Hospitality by Carolyn Upton

Buildings & Grounds Info Meeting

following the service, led by Judy Dinehart.

An informational meeting and discussion of the last two projects to be funded from the Building Fund, i.e, the new sound system, and the Rahn Hall renovation.

What's new this Week?  Read on for details

  • Part Two of Joel's interview of Rev Susan Karlson, our newly announced half-time contract minister and links to previous columns about the Transition.
  • We have a Social Media leader!
  • Who wants to co-curate the walls of Rahn Hall?
  • The UU Book Club meets January 19, 6:00 pm, Rahn Hall.

RE Reflections
Eva Newbold, Director of Religious Education 

This time of year has always been my favorite. I love everything about it, the spirit of giving, the gathering together. I love the lights, the decorations, even the 24 hours of Christmas music. My favorite church service of the year has always been the candlelight Christmas Eve service. And my favorite part that service is the moment when we light our candles and sing Silent Night. That moment fills me with such a sense of peace and calm, and I look forward to it every year.

In RE this year, we have been learning about religions around the world, and the curriculum reminds us about how many religions and spiritual practices have holidays this time of year. For millennia at this time, when the nights grow long, soon to be the longest of the year as we near the winter solstice, we gather inside against the cold, give thanks, celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, and marvel at the great unknown.

I am so excited for the year ahead of us and so grateful to be able to serve the church as DRE. I hope your holiday season is filled with love and light.

Next Sunday Worship

December 22, 11:00 am

Jane Rago preaching

“The Power of Awe”

A billboard on Tybee Island proclaims, “Awesome is our God.” This reminds me that we often think of awe in terms of awe-struck: jaw-dropped, looking up to the heavens, to the stars, to a savior. There is power in this awe. There is also power in the awe of looking down, deep into the earth; looking around, at each other; looking inward, to our own awesome seeds that are curled in the dark starting to grow. At this time of solstice, let’s find the awe that surrounds us, in our light that can and must illuminate dark times.

After the service we'll sing carols in Troup Square, then coffee hour!

The Christmas Eve service will be led by Luke Higgins at 6:30 on December 24.

We'll enjoy carols, candles, Luke's message and the talents of a number 

of guest musicians as well as the Choir.

Awe is an intuition for the dignity of all things, a realization that things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme… Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine… to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. What we cannot comprehend by analysis, we become aware of in awe. 

 ~~~ Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Worship Service Reflections (Yours!)

How was church on Sunday?

The Worship Team wants to know what you think. 

Please take a moment to respond to THESE THREE QUESTIONS.

Religious Education

Eva Newbold, Director

Call for Toys
We're revamping our nursery and are looking for donated toys. We'd especially like a chalkboard easel and play kitchen. If you have any gently used toys you'd like to donate for our little ones to use, please contact me at

RE Wishlist
I've created a RE Amazon wishlist with supplies that are needed for our classrooms. Please take a look and consider donating to our RE program. 

Thank you to everyone who has already donated, it is so appreciated!
Find it here:  WISHLIST

We're in need of volunteers!  A
nd we are requesting that every parent volunteer at least one Sunday to assist in RE. The curriculum and activities are all planned out, and we'll have a lead teacher in the classroom. We only need a second pair of hands. Please reach out to Eva Newbold at to sign up for a Sunday.

Social Justice and Action

Contact: Jim Rosch or 518-232-1005 




Santa's Pantry - collection box in Rahn Hall for next several Sundays

We're collaborating with TechSav, Voices for Schools, and LB4 & After Foundation to provide bags of non-perishable food items to as many families as possible, whose children attend Title I schools in the Savannah area. Each year, food-insecure families face a long winter break without the breakfasts and lunches served at school.

Inner City Night Shelter  (every third Sunday)
January 19, 4:20 pm, 124 Arnold St.   Sign up at the link above or in Rahn Hall.
Every third Sunday of the month we supply soup and sandwiches and serve the meal for the Shelter. We need people to make sandwiches and serve and to bring soup or a dessert for the homeless.   Thanks to the RE kids, Nick and Rochelle Holtzman, Tammy Smith, Judy Saucerman and Christine for covering this coming Sunday, December 15th!

Martin Luther King Jr parade and concert
January 20
Plan on joining us for the parade and concert on January 20. Last year we won a recognition for our participation in the parade. We plan on making our presence felt even more this year. The concert will be a city wide event and it will be spectacular - you don't want to miss it.


The Family Justice Center on Waters Ave will be opening soon. This is the wonderful center that will operate many different agencies to help people who are in situations of domestic abuse. They are getting some furniture donated and need some help with assembly. If you would like to help, let Jim know.

Interview With A Minister, Part Two

So, what's a half-time contract Minister?

Interview, Part One

Joel Matulys

This week we continue our interview with our new Minister, Rev. Susan Karlson, and learn more about her career in Social Work and the influences that led her to the UU Ministry.

How and when did you become interested in Social Work and what insights did your professional work give you?

I think I was always interested in social work. Giving back, collaborating and forming partnerships have been important to me as long as I can remember. In college, I had a mentor, Marian (Mackie) Hamilton who unleashed this liberal spirit and taught me about many things I had not considered before (I found out much later, she was a member of the Unitarian Church of Norfolk). I began to volunteer with Fair Housing, the United Farm Workers (I actually got to meet Cesar Chavez as president of the Sociology Club and worked with a migrant family organizing in Norfolk), the Juvenile Courts Friend Program and the VISTA volunteers who were doing lead paint abatement (where I first discovered the Unitarian Church of Norfolk that housed the VISTA volunteers). All of these experiences inspired me to go into social work as a result of the people I met and the ideas that sprang from working with them. 

When I first entered the social work profession, I worked at the Gateways halfway house under the Mentally Disordered Offenders program (not politically correct title at all) in Los Angeles, California. The men I worked with had been judged not guilty by reason of insanity and came to the halfway house after being in state mental hospitals. I learned about the legal system, self-care and universal love through this program. The position that most inspired me was my work as a Child Sexual Abuse Services advocate, working with children and non-offending parents through a Victims of Crime Assistance grant. I facilitated groups as well as trained group leaders and did play therapy with many of the children. That position allowed me to work with the whole community—therapists in many different organizations as well as Child Protective Services. It was a powerful experience to assist a whole community and watch the community's various components come together to help children and their families heal and realize their own natural resilience come alive again.

What caused you to decide to be a UU minister?

There is a background to my call to the Unitarian Universalist ministry that you should know. When I lived in California, I had been ordained as a minister of yoga and had a yoga teaching center in our house where I taught classes and held meditation sessions. My ex-husband, our daughter and I moved to an ashram in central Virginia where we lived for four years. When my marriage ended and my daughter and I moved to Charlottesville, I eventually found the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church in town and became an active member of the church, involved in the Pastoral Associates, Worship Associates, Undoing Racism and the Social Justice committee. I also was chair of an Intern Committee and worked with another intern on Pastoral Care. When I attended the Ordination of one of our interns, I was moved to tears. I remember singing “Spirit of Life” and "Rank by Rank”. I lay awake that night, tossing and turning, feeling that initial call to the Unitarian Universalist ministry. At that time, I was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice. I knew that going to seminary and working towards becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister were going to demand much from me. I talked to a number of ministers who had all kinds of advice for me—from "if you can do anything else, then do that. But if you can't, give it your all" to "you can always say no and if you are meant to be a Unitarian Universalist minister, you will keep getting the call". I thought that I had done every kind of lay ministry and I just kept feeling the call. I entered seminary in the fall of 1999, and graduated in 2003 after an incredible experience at Wesley Seminary and an awesome internship at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis. 

UU Book Club

January 19, 6:00 pm, Rahn Hall

Contact:  Caitlin McRae

This month's read is Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, the controversial sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird.

Would you like to co-curate the walls of Rahn Hall?

Now that Rahn Hall is complete there are walls to fill with beauty.  It's been proposed that two people co-curate those spaces so that what's on the walls changes monthly or as needed.   An opening reception could be added to our events.  It's up to you to be creative with the space!

Ideas for displays include: 

1. Works from the RE classes.

2. Artist members of the congregation in a group or singly.

3. Themed shows that invite community artists.

4. Church history and its Founders with info drawn from our Archives

5. Other ideas as they arise!

Please express your interest to Alan at

Social Media Leader Steps Up! 

Recently Rachel Walman volunteered to manage our two FaceBook pages.  If you're on Facebook and follow either page, you should be seeing more activity there.  Of course if you're a part of the member's page you can post your own content and if not, but you want to spread the news about something interesting, then feel free to send it to Rachel at

The members page is for things you want to communicate to fellow members that might not be a fit for the newsletter, such as activities in the larger community, family announcements, and more.  We do reserve the right to edit for appropriateness.

Do you want to recognize someone else who's stepping up?  Use this link to recognize

“Unsung Heroes” in our congregation 

Lee Alexander has passed

 at 100

Noma Lee Goodwin Alexander passed away on November 23, 2019, in Savannah, Georgia. She was 100 years old.   Go HERE to read her obituary and memories from friends.

This photo was sent by Ardis Wood.

Hospitality Host

Contact: Judy Gauthier -

Dec 15 - Carolyn Upton

Dec 22 - Bob and Sylvia Shuey

Dec 29 - Karen and Chuck McHugh

Jan 5 - Open

Jan 12 - Open

Jan 19 - Open


Another Way to Painlessly Support UUCS

Did you know that when you shop via Amazon that there are two ways to support the church?  

Amazon account holders can choose to use Amazon Smile to designate the "Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah" as the recipient of a small portion of each purchase (remember to save an Amazon Smile bookmark (  You can also simply link through to Amazon via the text at the top of the right column on our website home page and when you order UUCS then also receives a small portion.

                                                                     UNSUBSCRIBE Me, Please