Our church was alive with celebration when, on Sunday May 28th, we ordained our intern minister, Lara Fuchs, to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry. Forty eight ministers and over a hundred congregants were in attendance as we witnessed this sacred event. Ordination in our tra- dition can only be done by a congregation, and it was our honor to ordain Lara and send her with our love back to her home in Europe and her emerging entrepreneurial ministry there. You will find more about Lara’s future plans elsewhere in this edition of Currents..
We have now become a “teaching congregation; a congregation dedicated to the formation of ministers. TUCW has had the good fortune to send fifteen of its former members into our ministry, and Lara’s ordination is the tenth so far celebrated in our church. But unlike those who have risen up through our ranks to ministry, Lara came to us intentionally to learn the ways of parish ministry. Her internship, the first of what I hope will be many, was a new kind of engagement with Unitarian Universalism. Her internship was a formal learning program that we were a part of as teachers and learners. From here on out, internship candidates will be nominated to us by our seminaries and selected by both myself as the teaching minister and the internship committee as the lay body responsible for the candidate’s education. I thank Kristen Leddy, the chair of the internship committee and the other lay members, Lyn Hamilton, Bob Welsh, and Jerusha Vogel for all their hard work this past year. We are still waiting to hear if we will have another intern minister next year.
It has been my dream that our congregation would be a center of learning and liberation. We are already becoming a learning congregation. Our status as a training site for ministers not only teaches ministers but teaches us in new ways to be in community and to explore new and exciting avenues of spiritual development. We have long had a commitment to Lifespan Faith Development (“Religious Education”) for our children, but this year and into the future I also hope to see us grow our adult learning ministry. I taught a class on the After Life, this spring and plan to teach a class on Transcendentalism in the fall. Also this fall, we will be offering the first of several programs to develop leadership skills for those willing to learn. We learn in so many ways. These are just a few.
We are liberated when we can apply what we learn to our lives and the world in which we live. Our many social justice programs are the most obvious examples of helping to liberate others and ourselves, but so is our learning to lead others, to lead worship, to sing, and to serve the greater cause of our faith. We liberate ourselves when we live out the principles of Unitarian Universalism. We liberate others when we make opportunities for others to follow. We are liberated when we share our struggles and grow spiritually from them.
As you enjoy your summer sojourn I leave you with this bit of wisdom from Albert Einstein. “Once you stop learning, you start dying”. Lets keep living and learning into our future.
Yours with Grace and Grit, Rev. John