Get To Know Piedmont UU Church Members

Bill R. has lived a long life. For the past twenty-three years, that has included his loving wife, Kelly. He has many educational and professional achievements. After graduating from Baylor University in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree, he served as an officer in the US Marine Corps from 1962 to 1965. He has two children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

In addition, Bill earned  Masters and Doctoral degrees from Baptist seminaries in Texas. Those earlier years included 31 years as a professional Baptist minister and professor serving churches and seminaries. By that time, Bill had broken with the Southern Baptist Convention and changed direction in theology. The years that followed were filled with studies in neuroscience and the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism. He was influenced by a lifelong suspicion of sacred documents and the example of a valued family member who had
transitioned to being a UU.

Several years later, his wife Kelly’s accepting a position as assistant director of the McCrory Y in Charlotte brought Bill and Kelly to Charlotte. He was involved both before ad after his move with years of volunteer activities that included packing up and donating food to low income families.

In 2010 Bill stopped at Piedmont UU campus to walk around the campus and look at the buildings. Rev. Robin Tanner, the church’s new minister, came out to talk to him and after multiple conversations, he joined Piedmont UU. Over the years he has served on the Religious Services Council (now known as the Worship Team) and participated in many Chalice Circles.

Good friend Michelle M. wrote this describing Bill’s value to these small groups.
Bill’s involvement in chalice circles has lasted for many years. His interest and dedication to this small group discussion ministry has enabled him to be comfortable in meetings without an agenda, or a need to make decisions. “Chalice circles offered space for us to be together,” in deep thought and in jest. “I don’t give a fig” became Bill’s best known quote. On the other hand, he could lead us from the witty to the profound during a single session. He has been a gift to our chalice circles, and we are grateful for his presence.

Bills comments about Piedmont UU were both informative and revealing. He believes strengthening the church’s music program is of vital importance. Music, including both instrumental and oral, are critical components of outstanding services.  He commented on the Piedmont UU membership that is composed of the diaspora from more traditional denominations and religions.

On a personal note, I was very impressed by the extensive network of contacts Bill has maintained over the years and the many people he stays in contact with frequently. Foremost among them are family, of course, but also colleagues and students from his many years of teaching, old classmates and his fellow Marine Corps officers. He has lived a long life of engagement, devotion and service.

—Anne L.