Special/Signature Issues » Young Catalysts

Alane Cameron Miles, 38

Membership and Outreach Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond


The Rev. Alane Cameron Miles already knows the title of her autobiography: “Life, Death, Love and Whiskey.” Assessing her life's accomplishments, it also makes an appropriate epithet. Miles knows a thing or two about all four of life's constants — as well as about epithets.

Miles may be the city's most down-to-earth deliverer of eulogies and devoted nurturer of Richmond's spiritual side. She's served as a steadying rock of support for the better part of the Richmond community through some troubling times, presiding over some of the past decade's most notable local funerals: “I've done more than your average minister of murders, mayhem and high-profile deaths,” she says. Most visibly, she helped Richmond grieve after the brutal quadruple murders of her friends, the Harvey family, in 2006.

Miles got her start as a hospice chaplain after seminary. There, she says, “I showed a comfort with death and grief that I didn't know I had in me — and that communicated to other people.”

Also aiding in her powerful communication skills, Miles says, are the Bible (a love not necessarily shared by her Unitarian Universalist congregation), rock 'n' roll (she's a part-time door chick and occasional bouncer at Shenanigans pub) and that devil's water called whiskey.

“I think more of the unchurched would be down with some [church] customs if they included more whiskey,” she says. She prefers her own home-brewed beer.


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