Thank you for your “Top 40 Under 40” (Cover Story, Oct. 8). It's refreshing to know there are folks under 40 who are not, contrary to a popular song, “... waiting on the world to change,” but are, as you have defined them, “forces of nature.”
Although glad to see my neighbor, friend and minister Alane Cameron Miles included (and by the way, the photo was stunning!), I was surprised by your description of her. I think a person should be judged by her relationship with people, not by her relationship with the bottle. I have been with Alane at Kitchen 64, O'Toole's, and many times at Shenanigans, and she drinks club soda, or, golly gee, an iced tea (that's Lipton, not Long Island).
Alane is a dancer, a singer, a lover of live music (all kinds — not just rock 'n' roll), a mother, a wife, a blogger, a quilter, a minister, a caretaker for her grandmother and a very good listener. Whiskey does not define the woman. She is tall in body and dizzyingly soaring in spirit, yet down-to-earth. She is young at heart, but an old soul, full of wisdom beyond her years. She has a wicked sense of humor and a fashion sense all her own (somewhere between a courtesan and Cyndi Lauper). She is tops because she is a minister to the masses, often officiating at both weddings and funerals of those outside her church, outside her religion, and, often, outside whom society deems is OK. She has officiated when others could or would not. Her ministry extends outside those whose faces, faith, and finances look like hers.
Because Alane understands death and grief, she is comforting. Because she embraces life, she is exhilarating. She believes there is good in every person. The main things you need to know about Alane, are not related to barley and hops, the main things you need to know are: She is welcoming, she listens, she helps, and best of all for River City, she's here.
Your profile of the Rev. Alane Miles, while entertaining, failed to capture what an extraordinary person she is. Just this year alone, she spoke for the Network of Spiritual Progressives, led prayer for the General Assembly, met Hillary Clinton, introduced Ralph Nader at his appearance in Richmond, and went to Mississippi to participate in the rebuilding effort from Hurricane Katrina.
As a seminary student, she is an inspiration to me through her work with ethics committees and in the areas of nonviolence and community healing in times of grief. She promotes her church and Unitarian Universalism through clever YouTube videos and has expanded her ministry through an online blog.
It is through the latter that I got to know her. My 3-year-old daughter is going through treatment for relapsed cancer and I continue to find spiritual sustenance from Miles' writings. She reached out and offered comfort to me that was invaluable. She is an amazing and dedicated minister.
Joanna Fontaine Crawford