Dear Seeking Congregation,
When I first discerned my call to UU ministry, I was sitting in a coffee shop in downtown DC. My wife and I had just come from a Sunday worship service, and I said, dreamily, “I wish I could have the ministers’ job.” I wanted their job, their work, and their calling because they brought together all the threads of my experience, my passions, and my hopes.
Most of all, I yearned for pastoral ministry—and still do—because supporting individuals and congregations as you discern and grow your relationship to the Spirit of Life, however you understand or define it, is where my heart’s deep joy meets the needs of the world.
I am excited to offer you the fruits of my organizational experience and my spiritual seeking.
I have twenty years of leadership experience in a variety of religious traditions. As the coordinator of pastoral care for All Souls Church, Unitarian, (Washington, DC), a lay leader at All Souls, and the intern minister at First Unitarian Church of Portland, Oregon, I have been immersed in and energized by the many different roles necessary to sustaining congregations. As a music and education leader in a Roman Catholic church, I internalized the rhythms of liturgy and the power of multisensory experience. As a worship leader and educator in Earth Religious communities, I learned the value and limits of ceremonial innovation and how to provide effective multigenerational worship. As a participant in Quaker meetings, Buddhist sanghas, and Jewish services, I listened to the many different ways people are spiritually fed. I know in my bones that all paths to truth are sacred, and thus I can translate among different beliefs and share and support those paths as part of our greater Unitarian Universalist identity.
I have a deep and abiding love for congregational ministry. At its center, congregational ministry is about supporting you, individually and collectively, as you make meaning and put that meaning into action to change the world.
The most visible way that happens is during Sunday worship, and it’s true that few things delight me like a well-done, transformative worship celebration. Well-done transformative worship celebrations are more than inspired sermons: They involve music and the arts, they reinforce the connections we have with one another, and they speak to the passions, dreams, hopes, and challenges of this particular group of people.
But meaning making also happens during children’s RE and during adult spiritual development. It happens in the conversations I have with individual congregants as you navigate the eddies and currents of life. It happens in memorial services, in baby blessings, and in union celebrations. It happens in the congregation’s articulation of and living into a vision of the future. It happens in the relationships we build with one another.
Putting these pieces together into a joyous whole, so that each of you receives what you need and gives what you can, is what I love to do.
I have a passion for creating the spiritual ground from which effective, sustainable, life-giving justice work can spring. Work without sustenance burns out. Spirituality without engagement remains sterile. Together, action and spirit can change the world.
I have a particular call to what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. named Beloved Community. Beloved Community is the place we are judged by the content of our character, not our identities, where we are not only tolerant of difference, but authentically invite, welcome, and celebrate it. As the famous Theodore Parker/Dr. King quotation says, “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I stand with the all those prophetic women and men who remind us that if the arc is to bend towards justice, it is our hands that must do the bending.
I believe administration and stewardship–the everyday work of sustaining community and meaning making–are sacred acts. It’s easy to connect sermons, pastoral care, and spiritual and religious development to vision and meaning-making. It’s not a stretch to see how social justice actions enact love in the world. It’s sometimes harder to believe that balancing the budget, figuring out functional processes for committee work, or getting the boiler fixed are themselves part of how we make meaning and community together. All of our work together is sacred.
My call blossoms from seeds planted in the close and holy darkness of my heart—seeds of yearning, longing, and seeking. These seeds have grown and strive toward the Light of Life more strongly every day. My desire for intimacy with the Ultimate, for knowledge of the Spirit that invented black holes and butterflies, for understanding the Love that will not let me go, is the origin and circumference of my call to religious leadership.
I am honored by this opportunity to share my ministry with you.