At our staff meeting last week we mapped out the year—we call it calendarizing.
We were delighted to prop a photo of Manish Mishra, our interim Associate Minister, on a chair in my office so we could be reminded that he will be present in person beginning in mid-August.
Manish (pronounced man-eesh) will bring a wonderful combination of talent, experience and enthusiasm to us. Everyone on the staff is pleased and looking forward to working with him.
He has expressed his appreciation at the opportunity to work with me, the staff, and with you. He said that he already feels the warmth of this congregation–several folks have sent email messages to him.
His previous diplomatic career holds him in good stead—diplomacy is an essential ingredient in all of our lives, and none more so than in ministry in a Unitarian congregation like ours.
He has been serving the Unitarian congregation in Marblehead, MA as Director of Religious Education for the past two years, on a part-time basis, while he completes his seminary work at Harvard Divinity School. He’ll graduate next month, and he will be ordained at All Soul’s Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C. where he was a member of the Board of Trustees while working in the Clinton Administration there.
He’s a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has worked in U.S. embassies in Oman and Helsinki as well as a Political Affairs Officer in Washington, D.C.
Manish was born in Pittsburgh, the first-born child of Hindu-Indian immigrants. He spent his final year of high school in New Delhi, India and says, “I discovered that I was more American than I was Indian. This was a shocker, as a young 17 year old, but it helped me better understand how both my American and Hindu/Indian heritages simultaneously inform who I am.”
I’m looking forward to hearing how he ‘deals out his life’ from our pulpit. I think of the way Emerson challenged the graduating class at Harvard Divinity School in 1838, when he said “The true preacher can be known by this, that he (sic) deals out to the people his life,–life passed through the fire of thought.” Then Emerson said, “There is a good ear in some listeners that draws supplies to virtue…” out of sermons that may not be perfect but are ‘wisely heard.’ That’s where you come in. Are you ready?
Manish has told me that he’s looking forward to working with me as he continues to hone his professional skills in preparation to having his own congregation within the next few years. He will certainly have lots of opportunity for honing here!
In talking about his transition from a career diplomat to ministry Manish says, “I found that the idealistic vision that led me to public service was not in fact my reality. I was a bureaucrat with glamorous titles and travel privileges, but nonetheless a bureaucrat. I had wanted my life to have meaning, to help shape the lives of others in a positive way, and yet this was not happening in the career I had so doggedly devoted my life’s work to.” We’re glad to have him on board.