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The Beacon: Your UU News, Right on Time, with a Wink

Issue #1, March 2014

Occasional Visitor to Congregation Receives
Warm Welcome, Every Time
In Claremont, Illinois, the local Unitarian
Universalist congregation is rolling out the red
carpet for newcomers, especially one of them:
Richard Pelham. "Oh," laughs Membership Chair,
Marjorie Salisbury. "Richard's great. Real easy to
talk to, y'know? Just a regular guy. Nice guy."
Board President, Anne Shorter, agrees. "Richard
and I actually have a lot in common. Once, he said
he liked apples as an afternoon snack, and you
know what? So do I!"
Shorter's husband, Peter, says he is concerned that
the Fellowship won't be able to sustain a
relationship with Pelham. "We're just not very
Christian, and I have a feeling that's what he
probably wants out of church. I've told him that,
personally, I've got no problem with Jesus, but he
didn't seem to know what to make of it. Frankly,
I'm worried. We really do like him so much."

Such enthusiasm has arisen at Pelham's occasional
visits to the fellowship that the Board has had to
talk to the congregation about it. There are new
policies. Only two people may talk to Pelham at a
time, and not the five or six that would often gather
around. People are not allowed to have their
picture taken with him, or to take "selfies" with him
to post on Facebook. At the same time, the Board
acknowledges that, of the ten photos on the
Fellowship website, eight include Pelham, even
though he has only attended perhaps five or six
times in the past year. He has also been approached,
multiple times, to sing in the choir, despite his
repeated explanations that he doesn't sing.
"They're nice people," said Pelham, when reached at
his home. "I like being with others who share my
values, as a humanist. I like when they talk about