I first met my Minister at a Quaker Peace & Service Committee meeting. I was new in the area, and quickly hooked up with what I knew to be a liberal, friendly (literally), congregation that would accept my path to the truth, unblocked by ideology. I was also looking for a congregation that would do what any right-thinking person would do, that is, work for peace, and justice. Hence, my interest in the Peace & Service Committee, which I was active in for quite a few years.
I didn’t know who she was, but she was there along with a few greats, some of whom are now gone, and who became my mentors and role models through the years, even after I left Quakerdom.
I was immediately impressed that this Clergy, this Minister, was actually interested in the Quaker cause of Peace, and I needed to follow through.
I was simply amazed that a woman was leading this U/U congregation, that she was so worldly and knowledgeable and that this U/U place tolerated so many different kinds of religious beliefs, beyond anything that I saw in my current faith.
For it was the fact that Peace and Justice, Marriage Equality, Earth Religions and Atheists all thrived together in one place, that led me to my faith.
I have only Reverend Hepler to thank for my eventual conversion to Unitarian/Universalism.
She was always there for me, and of course for anyone in the congregation who sought help, support or advice.
She laughed and cried with us for 14 years, through thick and thin, much of which I was not even aware of until the final day of crying and sighing over her departure. She always had some great way of expressing something. I am now a big fan of using words that are meaningful to me. For instance, I now practice “radical awe” perhaps at the majesty of the natural world, or some beautiful insight or work of art.
But for you and you family, I hope the greatest success and happiness. All my wishes and thoughts cannot make up for your absence in my life, now. I will always cherish your sermons and laughter ringing in the halls during Sunday services. Whatever happens, it is for the best.