Amen Corner

WHAT: New pastor of Augusta's Unitarian Universalist Church

HER STORY: The New Jersey native comes to Augusta from a Unitarian church in Port Charlotte, Fla.

She fills a post that was held by interim Pastor Roy Reynolds, who has moved to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, Ga.

IT'S A FACT: The Rev. Beard was ordained in 2007 after spending 20 years in social work.

She attended Chicago's Meadville Lombard Theological School part time until earning her degree.

QUOTE: "I knew I wanted to help people, so I became a social worker. I really started being drawn to working with people in a more holistic way."

LOOKING AHEAD: The Rev. Beard said she wants to expand the church's community outreach programs and work with other faiths on Habitat for Humanity projects to foster relationships with other faith groups.

FINAL WORDS: "We, too, believe we have a saving message because of our broad inclusiveness. There's a tremendous healing power in love."

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