LEADERSHIP

Board of Directors
Staff
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Carla Couret

Administrator

Carla Couret, the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship Administrator, is a Florida State Graduate in Psychology, with a minor in Philosophy and Spanish. After graduate school, she managed three group homes for mentally disabled individuals: a girl's home, boy's home, and co-ed home. Following that experience, she entered nursing school and completed her Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing. In the future, Carla endeavors to combine her Psychology and Nursing background as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Along with being a registered nurse, Carla is also a human rights advocate, a lover of all things beautiful and macabre (as you can't have one without the other), and a wife and mother.

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Linda Ables

Director of Youth Services

A long-time member of the Fellowship and former student of its youth education program, Linda Ables finds joy in leading the Fellowship youth in educational fun and exploration. Linda is currently in her 2nd year of study at University of South Alabama and is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice as well as a minor in computer science.

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Carl Couret

President

“You are welcome,” is Carl’s message for visitors to the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship, “regardless of age, religious or political beliefs, or gender identification.” The Fellowship is, he says, “a safe place for inquiry and learning.” Carl should know. He has been finding community in the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship for over 30 years. As a field biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, before settling in Fairhope in the late-80s, Carl lived all over the world—from nearby Louisiana and Florida, to far afield in New Mexico, Hawaii, and even Japan. These days, in addition to extensive work for the Fellowship, Carl devotes his energies to the Eastern Shore Ukulele Club, the Fairhope and Spanish Fort Libraries, various Senior Centers, and the Eastern Shore Institute of Lifelong Learning. He also delights in spending time with his daughter and growing grandson, playing his ukulele, woodworking, kayaking, and traveling.

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Thelma Topper

First Vice-President

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Dana Roberts

Corresponding Secretary

Organization personified defines Dana which is only natural as she previously served as SSDC Director of Stage and Artistic Director. Her professional career centered in NYC and the Jersey Shore. Today, Dana’s primary focus is the stability of FUF, and to that end, she has developed operational procedures, handbooks, etc. Her hobbies are as varied as her directing and acting roles: ballroom dancing, swimming, walking, hiking, reading, and - shooting pool (thanks to the tutelage of an FUF member). She was born in Arkansas but was raised with one younger sister in New Orleans. Summer weeks included exposures to a family farm in Berryville, Ark and a family restaurant in Eureka Springs, Ark. She attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas and earned a B.A, in Acting and M.A. in Directing. Dana encourages prospective visitors to FUF “to visit several times, mingle after services, ask questions about the UU philosophy. We welcome questions.” She finds the Unitarian symbol of the chalice particularly meaningful: “two circles enclosing a flame signifying the acceptance of and commitment to a continual journey toward growth, tolerance and honesty.”

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Maggie Joffe

Treasurer

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Harvey Joanning

Chairman of the Board

Describing himself as a “born again heathen,” Harvey encourages visitors to “attend our services a few times to see if our philosophy fits yours. We are more a philosophical association that welcomes individuals of all persuasions. We subscribe to seven humanistic principles and do not have a creed or required set of beliefs.” “We value each other’s company, share progressive principles, value science, and use reason as well as emotion to guide our beliefs and actions. The Fairhope UU has a long history of service to the people of our community and has helped to make Fairhope a truly unique place to live.” Harvey is an Emeritus Professor at Iowa State University, currently heads the Neurobiology of Relationships Research Program at the University of South Alabama and is an instructor for the Institute for Natural Resources, a non-profit organization that provides continuing education in neuropsychology for mental health professionals. He received his PhD from the University of Iowa in counseling psychology with a specialization in marriage and family therapy. Harvey serves as a professional volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Tinnitus Association, and does consulting work for the US Department of Defense. He has three children and four grandchildren and is married to Dana Roberts. His hobbies are distance running (he recently completed 60,000 miles!), hiking, singing, playing ukuleles, and ballroom dancing.

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Sarah Fischer

Second Vice President (Programs)

“I enjoy being part of a community deeply rooted in curiosity and respect for growth and knowledge–a community in which, even if not everyone agrees with my perspective, most will fight for my right to hold and express it.” Artist. Attorney. Advocate. Sarah brings dynamic energy to every aspect of her life and to those she encounters. You may have seen her art exhibited throughout Fairhope and Mobile, taken one of her courses at the Eastern Shore Art Center, taken private lessons or even admired her mural at the Fairhope Brewing Company. She serves as a Founding and Emeritus Member of the Black Life Arts and Culture Coalition; a Board Member of Editorial Advisory Board of Focus MidSouth Magazine; and Second Vice President of the Watercolor and Graphic Arts Society of Mobile. Her art extends to the art of persuasion through advocacy as Site Director for Prism United Fairhope, which responds to the comprehensive needs of LGBTQ+ youth in Mobile and surrounding areas. Her effective passion for justice is backed by her Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law and her BA with Honors in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. She is licensed to practice law in both California and Alabama, though, as she is no longer actively practicing, both licenses are held in Special/Inactive status. She and her partner, Brandon Fischer, parent 8-year-old Lucas; two dogs, Murphy and Tanner (both rescue mutts); 3 upside down catfish; and 4 aquarium snails. Lucas's betta fish, momma snail, and 2 baby snails add to the menagerie. Life is never, ever, boring in Sarah’s world. FUF benefits from her energy and intense focus. Fresh ideas, backed by research, are her forte. She is known and respected for innovative program development as well as for listening as diverse opinions emerge while seeking for new ways to address old issues. A community builder by nature, Sarah seeks to expand awareness of FUF and engage more of the community. No matter how busy she is, Sarah always makes time for another conversation.

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Don Joffe

Recording Secretary

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Michael Patrick

Member at Large (Past President)

“Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship is a place of goodwill and good friends with opportunities for intellectual and spiritual growth.” Michael speaks from experience: he has been a Unitarian for 60+ years and a member of FUF for over 25 years. If asked, he will impart his thorough knowledge of the history of the Fellowship with the same grace he used with students at the University of Missouri, Rolla where he served as Associate Professor. His gentle, easy-going manner are much admired and appreciated. His interests are varied, and his knowledge is deep. He has held virtually every position in the Fellowship. FUF’s College Scholarship Fund is a particular priority of his as are lively discussions. “Intellectual stimulation and grand people” are what Michael finds meaningful about being a part of FUF. He sees “making people socially aware” as the Fellowship’s role in the community. He and his wife Sheena have two daughters, Kathy and Shannon; son-in-law, Gary Finch; and two grandchildren, Katelyn Finch and Christopher Finch. When not engaged with family or FUF, you likely will find Michael swimming.