Hello, Dear Ones,
I am Rev. Shelly Thompson, and I am delighted to be your new Assistant Minister for Faith Formation! A little bit about my background: I was raised by wonderful parents along with my two older brothers, in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up going to the Congregational church which was open to questions about faith, but ultimately, was not a theological match for me. In my early twenties, I became a spiritual seeker and avoided organized religion for many years. I went off to college upstate New York, and since then, I have moved quite a lot in pursuit of my passions and my education. Connecticut is state number eight for me, and it means that I will have officially been a resident in all five of the UUA regions! I will be living in Fairfield and happily, I will be within a relatively short commute to church. I bring with me my darling dog, Onyx, a 10 year old Black Lab. If you like dogs, he will be excited to play ball and share his stuffed animals, Teddy and Mr. Cow, with you.
I was first called to the ministry shortly after I discovered Unitarian Universalism at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines Iowa in 2011. I felt as though I had finally found where I belong, and how I am meant to be serving in the world. I earned my Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2016. As a part of that degree program, I completed a 2-year internship in the UU Church of Arlington, VA, a large, active congregation of about 800. I come to you now from First UU Richmond, VA, a vibrant congregation of about 700 people, where I have been serving as the Minister of Membership for nearly 2 years. I have had the privilege of welcoming over 100 new members in that time. I have earned Preliminary Fellowship with the UUA and was recently ordained by the First UU Richmond congregation.
Prior to my call to ministry, I worked for many years in southern Oregon as a youth and family mental health therapist with families in crisis and chronic distress resulting from poverty, abuse, addiction, mental illness, poor educational opportunities and underemployment. My work with disrupted family systems helped prepare me for parish ministry in several ways. Now that I am your Minister for Faith Formation, I hold as sacred the vital responsibility and opportunity I have to support our congregation in nurturing and sustaining a healthy, loving community for all ages.
Here at TUCW, our mission reflects my goals and hopes for our work together. As a people of faith, we will ask questions of ourselves and explore the many ways that we are called to engage more fully and live more deeply according to our principles.
WE INSPIRE and support individual spiritual growth.
Who are we, what values do we hold, and what does it mean to practice Unitarian Universalism in today’s world?
WE CONNECT through worship, music, learning, and caring ministries.
What traditions and wisdom from our liberal religious heritage can comfort and embolden us as we go forward with our mission? What do we learn from the blessings of being a part of our community?
WE ACT in the service of peace and justice.
How do we stay present and hopeful as we face the realities of injustice and oppression with our determination to make the world a better place through our love? How does this work transform us and encourage us to be the change we hope to see?
In addition to the rewarding and fulfilling aspects of this mission, it can also at times be a daunting undertaking that stretches us beyond our comfort zones and demands that we change. Part of our participation in the Courageous Faith Revolution is the discernment process through which I will help us develop our capacities for transformation and encourage us to embrace these adaptive challenges with courage, wisdom and grace. I look forward to meeting you all and getting to know you as we undertake this exciting adventure together.