On Sunday, April 15, 2018, Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church welcomed new members.
Vicki moved to Cincinnati from Georgia in 2013, after retiring from an academic career, to be closer to her son’s family and her two youngest grandchildren. She raised her own two children and two stepchildren and is the proud grandmother of eight grandchildren. Her husband of 40 years passed away in August, and soon afterward she came to Heritage to find comfort and community.
She grew up in a non-religious family and discovered Unitarianism as a young adult. Vicki loves to garden and is a beginning watercolorist. Animals are an important part of her life; she has two dogs, a cat, two cows and five goats! Social justice has been a focus of her professional life, and she has done research centered on understanding and eliminating health disparities. She currently lives in New Richmond but is soon moving closer to Anderson.
Beth began attending Heritage regularly last summer, and after an absence due to recovering from foot surgery this winter, she is eager to resume her connection. She values HUUC as a welcoming community, and feels at home with the UU principles. She is in a Spirit in Life group which she finds most enriching, and encourages everyone to try this experience.
Beth’s extended family lives in Cincinnati – 3 siblings, 8 nieces and nephews, and 2 grandchildren.
By day, she is a Commercial Operations Risk Analyst for Fifth Third Bank. After business hours, Beth manages her creative life as a poet, writer, Soul Midwife and leader of retreats. A lover of the contemplative and monastic traditions, she is also a Benedictine Oblate of St. Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Raised and educated as a Catholic through college, Beth has an undergraduate degree in Theology, a masters’ degrees in Business and Education, and 30-plus hours of graduate Theology.
Her Irish ancestry deeply influences her soul work. She attributes her gifts for love of soul, words, poetry, beauty, music, creativity and nature to her matrilineal Irish ancestors. Formally trained in the Ignatian tradition of Spiritual Direction and standing on the shoulders of her ancestors, she claims the anam cara [Gaelic: soul friend] tradition of soul companionship as her own life work. Beth helps individuals and groups connect with their soul’s essence in order to craft lives full of intention, joy and purpose. She views her ministry as assistive, supportive and alongside the inner work each soul is engaged in as they transform into and become their best and most authentic selves. For more information about her practice, visit her website at www.bethfritsch.com.
Becky grew up in Amelia as a devoted Catholic. In her lifetime she has been a beautician, has worked for 25 years as a factory worker, and has been a college student and honored graduate with a degree in Culinary Arts and Business. However, due to health issues, her career as a chef was cut short.
She has three children – two daughters and a son, ages 27 to 40, as well as seven “grandpuppies” (all of them Chihuahuas but one). She also has her own Chihuahua that keeps her busy. Becky enjoys baking, cooking, gardening, fishing, swimming, hiking and arts & crafts – and of course spending time with her family.
Becky quit going to Catholic Church about five years ago, and since then has been looking for a spiritual community that was “a good fit.” She found several other UU churches large and impersonal, but says that here at Heritage, “I feel so welcomed, respected, loved and a part of a community. It’s like I’m coming home on Sunday, learning new things, perspectives and sharing different outlooks on life.”
Nikki Galea Franz
Nikki went to the University of Cincinnati to study Community Health Education, and originally intended to work in the non-profit sector, but lack of job openings in the field led her down other paths, including real estate and mortgage lending. During the recession she started her own chef service and provided meals for families all over the Tri-State using Crock-Pots.
She lived in Florida for four years and worked as a cheese monger, but is now back in Ohio at Eagle Savings Bank in the mortgage underwriting department. She lives very happily in the Pendleton Arts District downtown with her three Chihuahuas: Gumbeaux, Boodan and Roux. Her hobbies include kayaking, beginner banjulele, karaoke, bowling, and scuba.
Nikki found Heritage upon her return home from Florida and quickly “fell in love” with the church, noting that “I was welcomed with those infamous hugs when I needed them most,” after a six-month illness had her physically and emotionally weakened. “The open arms and open ideas made me realize I had finally found my spiritual home!”
Christy was born in Norwood and raised in Anderson, but now lives in Withamsville. She first came to Heritage with her friend Nikki back in November.
She says her father taught her a lot about religion, although the family did not go to church very often. She has a brother and a sister, and is the youngest of three children.
Christy has a degree in early childhood education from Ashworth College, and has been a preschool and kindergarten teacher at a daycare center in Cherry Grove for 16 years. She has four dogs, including a 14-week-old beagle mix that she recently rescued, and loves spending time with her canine companions, her friends, and her family.
Maggi was raised in North Canton, Ohio, and was active in the United Methodist Church throughout her pre-college years. At the University of Cincinnati she met her husband, a practicing Catholic. After many failed attempts to find a church that they both could agree on, she converted to Catholicism so that the family could worship together. But she notes that she was always the rebel in catechumenate classes, regularly and frequently questioning nearly all the doctrine and dogma.
While working for nearly 20 years as a scientist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she found herself drawn to chaplaincy work. She went on to receive a Masters’ degree in Pastoral Ministry from the Athenaeum of Ohio. Later, she worked at St. Mary Church in Hyde Park as a pastoral associate to the sick, aging and bereaved. “I loved serving in this way,” she says, “but found that to preserve my spirit and stand for the social issues I was passionate about, I could no longer be employed by the Catholic Church. In 2011, I returned to laboratory work at Cincinnati Children’s.”
After deep personal and spiritual discernment, she decided to find a spiritual home that aligned with her beliefs, and focused on spirituality and social justice. “At Heritage, I felt at home almost immediately,” she says. “The spirit of love and community nourishes my soul. I leave worship challenged to go and live what I claim I stand for.” She has quickly become a member of our End-of-Life Ministry Team.
Maggi’s husband, Dan, is still a practicing Catholic. They have four grown children and seven grandchildren. In her spare time, she is a proud singing member of Fluidity, A Creative Choral Community for a Cause. She is also an avid reader, loves being creative with crafts, sewing, and cooking, and believes in maintaining a balanced, healthy life through meditation, yoga, good food and spending time with loved ones.
David and Laura Knight
David and Laura have been together for 14 years and have been married for 10½ years. They have a 5-year-old son, William, and now live in Anderson Township in the Turpin Hills subdivision directly across from the church, after moving here from “across the river” in northern Kentucky.
David was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and moved to Toledo, Ohio, when he was five. He lived in Toledo until going off to Ohio Wesleyan University in 1984, then moved to Cincinnati upon graduation from college in 1988. Since 1992 David has worked as the Director of Exhibitions and Collections at Northern Kentucky University, where he also teaches as a part-time faculty member. David was brought up in the Methodist church but stopped going when he went off to college.
He is an avid car enthusiast, loves to do home renovation, and enjoys making things with his hands. He is currently doing a photographic series of work.
Laura is a native Northern Kentuckian, and just “crossed the river” in 2015 after selling a historic home with David. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Northern Kentucky University, and has worked the past 14 years for a home décor manufacturer. She is currently working as a technical project manager with that company.
Laura found Heritage last year on Easter Sunday, and has been coming ever since. She joined the Choir, is now helping with the Spring Plant Sale, and has become active in our Parenting Group. She loves to cook, make things, explore art and music and find peace in nature through hiking and trail running.
Kevin and Laura Palmer
Kevin and Laura were both born and raised in Cincinnati, although on opposite sides of the city. Laura is a Project Manager / Trainer for True Commerce Datalliance, while Kevin is in the Information Technology Department for Downing Displays. They are the parents of three children – William, Sophie and Finn.
The Palmers are avid beekeepers who also enjoy camping with family and friends and simply being outdoors.
Both were raised Catholic, and say they have been searching for a faith that truly believes in the inclusion and dignity of all people, and embraces the power of the feminine. They found Heritage a little over a year ago, and have spent the last year studying and learning what it means to be UU. They have truly enjoyed meeting more of the congregation, and say they are happy to become members of Heritage.