Our New Affiliate Minister, the Rev. Dr. Jean Heriot
What drew you to the AUUC?
I moved to North Augusta, SC after retiring as a college professor. I wanted to be much closer to a Unitarian Universalist Church than I had been able to be while living in Nebraska. There, the nearest UU church was an hour’s drive to a very small fellowship or two hours (one-way!) to the church in Lincoln. It has been a blessing in my life to be so close to a congregation and to finally be able to meet routinely in person!
What’s your history with Unitarian Universalism?
I grew up United Methodist in Pinewood, SC. I was a dedicated church goer and resonated strongly with the justice principles. Yet, I couldn’t accept their salvation theology (sound familiar?). When I was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1990, I became a UU at All Souls Unitarian Church. I would sit in the pew and cry because I was finally able to say and sing all the words in the service. Later, while attending the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, New Jersey, I became committed to the faith as a leader. I went to Pacific School of Divinity in Berkeley, California, from 1995 to 1999, did an internship at First Unitarian Church of Dallas (1997-1998), and was ordained in 2001 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, California. As a UU community minister, I taught at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, and at Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska.
What are you doing now?
It is with deep gratitude that I thank the board for voting to have me be an affiliate minister with AUUC for the work I am doing with the South Carolina Unitarian Universalist Justice Alliance (scuuja.org). An affiliate minister is generally a minister who works out in the community on behalf of Unitarian Universalism. Your recognition means the work I do is supported by the congregation (in official recognition, not in monetary terms) and that I, in turn, help support the congregation through preaching occasionally and teaching a class or two. I work part-time as the co-founder and director of training and organizing for SCUUJA. We are focusing on connecting and amplifying the voices of UUs and of marginalized groups throughout the state. Right now, our two issues of focus are LBGTQ Rights (especially as transgender persons are under attack in our state) and Voting Rights. Other issues we focus on are education (especially anti-Critical Race Theory bills), immigration, environmental, and health care. Contact me for more information on SCUUJA and our work.
What about your family and interests?
My mother is living on our farm near Pinewood, SC. Fortunately, my brother lives close by. I have a sister and two nephews in Aiken, a sister and her husband in Townville, SC (on Lake Hartwell), and a niece and her husband in Greenville, SC. I have many, many other relatives throughout the state. My main hobbies are learning to paint with oils (I’m taking a class at USCA) and writing.