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Chair: Dolores Perez Heilbron


The Rheiner Award was established by the UUSF Board of Trustees in 1989 to recognize and celebrate a member of this Society for social justice activism and community service. 

We seek to increase public and congregational awareness of the activities of members who carry their Unitarian Universalist values outside the church into the larger community.  The award was named in honor of the Rev. Conard Rheiner, an activist member of this congregation from 1961 to 1987. 

He pioneered services for people with mental health issues living on the margins of society; and was one of the founders of Conard House, a neighborhood center.  He inspired and empowered others with his commitment, enthusiasm and demonstration of dedication to others.

Read More About Rev. Rheiner Here




April 23 Presentation & Reception

Lori Lai was acclaimed the Rheiner Awardee for 2023 this past Sunday, April 23, during Worship Service. This award is presented to members of our congregation who have distinguished themselves by their actions outside of our congregation, that exemplify our Unitarian Universalist values in different areas of social justice.

Backed by the other Rheiner Award Committee members, Chair Dolores Perez Heilbron made the presentation describing Lori’s most unusual life and her activism. Lori was handed a beautifully carved chalice by Howard Oringer, as a symbol of our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. Lori’s involvement and successes in supporting lesbian women and girls both in Asia and the United States is a remarkable history and an inspiration to all of us. See presentation HERE.

After the award ceremony in the sanctuary, a reception celebrating Lori’s award was held in the Thomas Starr King Room, with a delicious lunch and cake. Many friends of Lori and her wife, Shulee, attended. Bob Bacon was the Master of Ceremonies. Reverend Vanessa Southern and other speakers congratulated her and commented on her life and accomplishments.




The Rheiner Award was established by the Board of Trustees in 1989 to recognize and celebrate a member of our Society for their social justice activism in the larger world. We seek to increase public and congregational awareness of members whose work outside the walls of this community reflects Unitarian Universalist values.

The award is named in honor of the Rev. Conard Rheiner, an activist member of this congregation from 1961 until 1987.  He was a pioneer in developing new services for those with mental health problems and the elderly. He inspired and empowered others with his commitment, enthusiasm and demonstration of dedication to others.

The Rheiner Committee is soliciting nominations from you, our congregation, to tell us who you think deserves this award. The person you nominate must be now or soon-to-be a member of UUSF, who has done outstanding justice work in the larger community.

Please submit your nomination with following information by November 1, 2022

  • Name of person nominated.    

  • Your name and contact information.

Why is the person nominated?  Relate information on all or some of the following criteria, along with dates, and description of:

  • What you most admire about the nominee’s work and in what specific social justice area they have been involved.

  • Name(s) of organization or group where nominee has succeeded in accomplishing specific positive outcomes or goals.

  • How nominee has developed, or has strengthened an institution.

  • How nominee has challenged the status quo.

  • What specific leadership abilities, organizational skills, group development and empowerment of others the nominee has exhibited.

  • Names of significant recognitions from other groups, employment or other life experiences.

Submitting your Nomination:

You may submit your nomination by (1) putting it in a sealed envelope addressed to the Rheiner Award Committee and place it in the church office mail box; or (2) mailing it to Rheiner Award Committee, First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, 1187 Franklin Street, SF 94109; or (3) emailing it to the Rheiner Cmte chair at  Thank you!

Rheiner Award Cmte chair:  Dolores Perez

Committee members include: Bob Bacon, David Jones, Mary Jane Mikuriya, Rochelle Fortier Nwadibia, Jan Oringer, Howard Oringer, and Julia Wald.


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2021 Award Winner

Shirley Gibson (1972-2021) was presented with the church's Conard Rheiner Award, "for devoting her legal career to advocating for low-income tenants seeking to maintain safe, adequate, and affordable housing in some of the most affluent communities in the world, on the staff of the Eviction Defense Collaborative and the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County."

View The 2021 Rheiner Award Presentation


2018 Award Winner

The Rheiner awardee for 2018 was recognized for her legal expertise and accomplishments in winning significant court cases ensuring the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, immigrants and other persecuted individuals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and other courts. 

She has acted as a trial attorney and held advisory positions for various associations such as the Organization for Refugees, Asylum and Migration and currently leads the Human Rights Working Groups of our UUSF.

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2015 Award Winner

Julia and  Sam Thoron received the 2015 Rheiner Award for their 25 years of local and national leadership PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays); and their very visible campaigning and speaking out for equal rights for the LGBTQI community.


2013 Award Winner

Jan and Howard Oringer received the Rheiner Award because of our activity in the community focused on Criminal Justice Reform. 

They operate as the Omnia Foundation and our funding supports many California based organizations led by formerly incarcerated individuals with a mission to reduce mass incarceration, improve prison conditions, and provide more acceptable re-entry opportunities.

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2009 Award Winner

Received the Rheiner Award in 2009, for his 20 year commitment to defending the most imperiled individuals in our legal system in death penalty appeals; for representing criminal defendants in state and federal habeas corpus proceedings; and for his educational and activist efforts to end the death penalty through work with the Unitarian Universalists for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and other organizations.


2008 Award Winner

Don Williams and David Jones received the Rheiner Award in 2008 for educating Sonoma County protestant churches to accept and support LGBTQ people in their churches.

Don and David visited 25-30 congregations between 1989 and 1995.

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2007 Award Winner

The Rheiner honor for 2007 has been an activist for peace and social justice work for many years.  She was a leader in the "School of the Americans Watch" national movement, seeking to stop U.S. training and support for military forces of undemocratic governments in Latin America. 

She is an organizer in efforts to end the war in Iraq and a founding member of UUs for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. 


2005 Award Winner

Mary Jane Mikuriya was the 2005 Rheiner Awardee for her leadership in United States Servas and Servas International to help build peace and understanding among people of the world. 

Servas is an interracial, interfaith network of 15,000 volunteer hosts who offer free, open conversations and brief homestays in over 120 countries to approved travelers.

US Servas has over 1000 volunteer hosts of which Mary Jane has been one since 1977.



2003 Award Winner

Julia Wald is honored for her compassionate involvement with children at Clara House, the Hamilton Family Center, and in our own Up On Top After-School Program.  She is also recognized for her work with homelessness and the Faithful Fools, work that demonstrates UU principles in the City outside the doors of our church.

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CONARD B. RHEINER (1902-1987)

"Take a stand for something worthwhile, raise a banner in behalf of truth, health, justice, beauty, or morality. Each will inevitably be joined by others, so that truth shall prevail, so that health shall be abundant, so that justice shall be established, so that beauty shall dominate over ugliness, so that morality shall thrive among our people."

~ Conard B. Rheiner, October 1, 1967

Here is further info on Rev. Rheiner’s biography:

Born in Philadelphia, Conard Rheiner was ordained into the Universalist ministry following his graduation from Tufts University in 1928. Conard continued to lead and further the Unitarian Universalist cause until his death in 1987. He served churches in Massachusetts, Iowa, Maine and Denver, Colorado. His life was deeply concerned with the never-ending struggle for justice and peace. As just one example, in his early ministerial work, he was threatened, blindfolded, and kidnapped because he defended members of his church who had organized a labor strike at a local plant!. He was outspoken, sensitive and compassionate.

It was in Chicago in the 1940s and early 1950s that Conard decided to make social work his life career, social work as embodied in settlement houses and neighborhood centers.  He and Anne, his wife of nearly sixty years, eventually settled in the Bay Area. They were also founding members of the Unitarian Universalist Church in San Mateo.

His sense of values and integrity were a model for, among others, Elaine Mikels, who said, "I couldn't have found a better person to work for than Conard Rheiner, a kind and gentle man who had been the minister of several Unitarian churches … and director of the Center for the Blind in Seattle, Washington."

Elaine, an early “out” Lesbian, met Conard during their association with the Mission Neighborhood Centers. When she created the first "halfway" house in San Francisco, she named it “Conard House” in honor of his accomplishments, leadership and most especially because of his influence on the fearless, politically radical activist she was becoming. Conard House continues its work in San Francisco’s Mission District. At the core of Conard House’s mission to Empower People and Restore Hope.

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