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Joking, Fiddling Flavor Sermons

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Joking, fiddling flavor sermons

Unitarians enjoy newest pastor


News Staff Reporter

Her background is in United Methodist ministry, but Peggy Garrigues-Cortelyou now sings the praises of Lodi Township’s First Unitarian Universalist Church - both literally and figuratively

In July, Garrigues-Cortelyou, of Manchester, took on a two-year post as assistant to senior minister the Rev. Ken Phifer at First Unitarian Universalist with big plans and big energy.

Born in Scotland and raised just outside Chicago, Garrigues-Cortelyou said she likes to incorporate singing and fiddling into her sermons and pastoral visits. She has even produced a CD of songs that include Scottish fiddle playing.

Garrigues-Cortelyou said she admires the tolerance and open-mindedness of the Unitarian Universalist denomination and one of its principles that there exists an interdependent web of all life.

“I want to encourage others to be sharing of their spirituality,” she said. “I’m a very good listener in trying to get into the other person’s perspective.”

She said she wants to “help people along their spiritual journeys,” while helping them bridge the rational and the spiritual. An environmentalist, Garrigues-Cortelyou said she is excited about joining church members in their environmental stewardship, caring for the 45 acres of land surrounding the church.

She also teaches a four-week course at the church titled “Nature’s Healing Connections,” and she might organize a sequel to the course in the coming months.

Phifer said Garrigues-Cortelyou is already an asset to the congregation.

“Peggy is terrific and we’re very pleased,” Phifer said. “She has integrated herself very quickly into the operations of the church and is much beloved with the congregation. She has delightful ideas and is an excellent pastoral minister and has a good feeling for the spirit of this particular religious community.”

Alberta Rogers, who frequently attends the church, said Garrigues-Cortelyou helps to make church services exciting and meaningful.

“She has a lovely voice and she tells jokes during sermons,” Rogers said. “It is a healing type of thing. Laughing is healing.”

Katherine Lowrie can be reached at or (734)482-2263.

Peggy Garrigues-Cortelyou, a pastor at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Lodi Township, likes to incorporate singing, fiddling and humor into her sermons and pastoral visits.