My Ministry, Part 2 of 10

Despite being embedded in the
Unitarian Universalist Association’s largest lay-led congregation, over 350
children, youth, young adults, adults and elders, one that was publicly known
for being anti-clerical since the 1960’s, my interests in the ministry were
nurtured and supported in significant ways. From an early age I learned intellectually and experientially about the
ministry we all provide to one another in our congregation. 

This was often coded in terms of leadership,
but the opportunity was readily available and I took it in leading discussions,
retreats, fundraisers, clean-ups, cook-outs and yes, worship and spiritual
reflection with the warm encouragement from peers and elders in the
congregation. When I was recruited into
leadership for youth in the Pacific Northwest District (UUA) I had not only the
regular opportunity to be a faith based leader but was now in a position to
empower, educate and build relationships with other leaders, both youth and
adults.

When I think of my understanding of
ministry, I find the beginnings go back to experiences and hopes I had far
before I officially stepped into the path towards ordination. I lived many of the principles that make up
my understanding of ministry, worship and church in Unitarian
Universalism. That is to say, the
ministry is open to all persons regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation,
and ability. All persons do ministry in
their lifetimes and can become excellent as lay ministers through their own
personal development shy of becoming ordained. These people have immense value in our Unitarian Universalist
Association, and was particularly true in my home congregation which had no
ordained minister. As a member of the
Board of Trustees during my mid 20’s, I marveled at the depth and breadth of
shared ministry at the West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (having
added Universalist in the early 1990’s). There was intentionality about pastoral care for all ages, appropriate
ethics and boundaries with children, and a culture where everyone felt expected
and respected for contributing time and energy to the life of the Unitarian
Universalist congregation.

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