Ministry and Theology

Epiphany

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Still with the goal of seminary swishing around in my thoughts, I decided to take some graduate courses in literature.  With my bachelor’s degree in English, I chose a liberal studies program focusing on gender, religion and social issues, while also working to improve my writing skills.

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Needing to write about an epiphany in my life, I was facing a deadline and had settled on something plain-Jane to get the job done.  But when I began writing, the story was not so plain at all.

What fell onto the page was my early steps to finding my own religion, or even so, finding Unitarian Universalism.

From my early years as a veritable latchkey kid, spending more time tromping between school and (insert name of the latest-independent-fundamental-Baptist-church here) than I did getting my ass home.

It all spilled out, bouts of brimstone by greased old men in cheap suits, missed Sunday evenings with Mickey and The Wonderful World of Disney, and years of over-involvement, prayers for heathens, and groups of righteous people joining to discuss the second coming while eating ambrosia salad with tater tot casseroles, always ending our prayers with the name of Jesus because only heathens prayed only to God.

It was the awareness of an awakening.  A growth that I hadn’t acknowledged.  The discovery of my faith in the joining of words, in poetry, in writing, in essays and speeches, and my transcendence beyond the faith of my fathers.

I was 16-years-old, and I had taken the first step to my own freedom of religion.

 

Call me Ms. Delegate

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Just found out that I get to attend Regional Assembly as a delegate!  Okay, so it was kind of by default, but I’m still honored!  Apparently, MidAmerica Regional Assembly has 11 delegate seats open for the CLF (Church of the Larger Fellowship) and 11 or fewer CLF members attending so I’m a shoe-in.

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Seriously though, this will be a wonderful opportunity for me to attend a regional UU business meeting.  While I have many years of non-profit management under my belt, I don’t have them in the field of ministry.  I’m truly looking forward to the experience.

Don’t think I’ll be so lucky for General Assembly in Providence, but I will be there with my eyes and heart wide open!  😀

A very Loving January

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Hope everyone is having a loving January!

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Student of the Prophetic Sisterhood

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So I am applying to a few seminaries for Fall 2014.  I’m signed up to attend January convocation at Meadville Lombard in Chicago and am planning on visiting the Harvard Divinity campus.  But with so much time before I can even make my final decision, I decided to be proactive by beginning the UUA ministerial required reading list.

Many of the seminarians I’ve already met often post on social media about the difficulty in attending courses, internships, writing papers, and all the while, attempting to read and absorb the rather large collection of writings meant to introduce ministerial candidates to the expansive world of Unitarian Universalism.

Prophetic Sisterhood, TuckerWith a random spattering of documents and books, I’ve chosen as my first reading, a book that touches close to home in my personal journey.  The Prophetic Sisterhood: Liberal Women Ministers of the Frontier, 1880-1930 by Cynthia Grant Tucker (Authors Choice Press, 1990.)  The women in the book are independent, strong, and always choosing a path with love, difficulty, and leadership in the face of male dominance.

Always one for the unique path in life, and after competing in a few beauty pageants in high school, I graduated early and joined the Marine Corps at the age of seventeen.  I was attending boot camp while my friends were attending prom, and I was at my first duty station during our high school graduation ceremony.  If that wasn’t enough, I served as a C-130 (Cargo) aircraft mechanic and later did a tour in the Army as a heavy wheeled vehicle mechanic, spending all eight years of my tours as the only female in my workspaces.  I followed these with now twenty-plus years in the social work field, working for the American Red Cross in multiple countries and volunteering for many other groups.

Now, much older and wiser from my veering paths in life (I say as I laugh half-heartedly!)  I find my faith and family as the touchstones to my life–now merging my social work past, my love of literature (theology is strongly interpretation of the written word, is it not?) and my humble beginnings as a religious lay leader to my fellow recruits while in boot camp.

My path has lost its twists and turns and is now a single road before me.  Dusty, rocky, and assuredly over more mountains than I’ve already climbed, but single and chosen by my life’s experiences and my heart’s longings to guide, love, and support my fellow human beings.

So, with the Prophetic Sisterhood, I begin.

Writing for Worship

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Since beginning my travels in January, I’ve been wanting to write a book based on what I’ve seen and experienced  in the many worship services I’ve attended.  Although a topic was elusive to me before now, I magically awoke this morning with not just one, but two book ideas that I could begin on today!  Excited and eager, I’ve already begun blocking out one and writing topic points for the other.  I guess this will be a simultaneous project in the works, but I’m not complaining, I’d rather be working two projects than none.

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Part of what I’ll be working on is listing things that all congregations should either be doing, or not be doing, when it comes to worship services.  This comes from the many pages of notes I’ve taken while attending in the different locations.  Whether I felt welcome.  Whether I felt lost during the process of the actual service, etc.  All things, even simple, create either a warm community or a place to avoid.  And while I’ve not found a place to avoid, I have noticed little things here and there that could be shared among the many congregations as a means of improvement to all.

What I would like to hear is what all of you feel is a pet peeve when attending a service, or what makes a special moment when attending a service.  Was the signage bad when entering and you felt lost?  Did you feel awkward because the order of service didn’t say when to stand or when not to?  Did joining in with a certain aspect make you feel more spiritual or accepted?

If used, your name will appear in the book with your comments so please feel free to join in!  You can also share on our Facebook page, traveling tUUsome, with a link to the right.