Dear Seeking Congregation,

When I first discerned my call to Unitarian Universalist ministry, I was sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Washington, DC. My wife and I had just come from a Sunday worship service, and I said dreamily, “I so wish I could have the ministers’ job.”

I stared off into the middle distance, imagining the life and work I yearned for. Thus began a conversation that would lead years later to my entry to seminary and on toward my ordination in April 2015.

I intuited then, and I know now, that supporting individuals and congregations as you discern and grow your relationship to the Spirit of Life is where my heart’s deep joy meets the needs of the world.

I am excited to offer you the fruits of my work:

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 meaning making happens is during Sunday worship, and it’s true that few things delight me like a well-done, transformative worship celebration. These powerful worship services require more than inspired sermons: They involve music and other 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 happens in more places than just worship.

Meaning making happens all over our lives. And it happens during religious and spiritual education. 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 receives what you need and gives what you are able 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 call to what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr  named Beloved Community. Beloved Community what we strive to create in our congregations. Beloved Community—the loving, justice-seeking community—happens through our everyday relationships. It happens in connection with members of the larger community. It happens when we work through a difficult conflict and come to a transformative solution.

Beloved Community happens when we make calls, have lunch, ask questions, and listen not to respond but to hear. Beloved Community happens when and only when we work toward it. It is not only about protesting injustice-—though that work is indispensable—-it is most profoundly about relationships. In fact, one of the great joys of my ministry has been engaging and sustaining relationships across significant differences of identity.

As the famous Theodore Parker/Dr. King quotation says, “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I align myself 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 pastoral care—the everyday work of sustaining community—is sacred work. It’s easy to connect sermons,justice, and spiritual and religious development to vision and meaning-making.

It’s sometimes harder to believe that simply being together, and learning how to hear one another deeply can change the world, move it towards health, sustainability, and peace.

All of our work together is sacred. All of it. And so I invite you to join me in a spirit of reverence for one another and our work.

In the final analysis, 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.

In love,

Rev. Catharine