Just a few weeks ago, Laura Solomon and I led worship together to share the stories of our callings to ministry. (If you missed it, you can check it out here: https://uucolumbia.net/sermons/this-is-for-saying-yes/) We used a song in that service, “We Shall Be Known” by MaMuse, that has resonated along this journey for us both.
For the last week I have been in Spokane, Washington attending first a retreat hosted by the Ministerial Formation Network, then the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, then General Assembly – the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations. Folks gathered from far and wide in this beautiful corner of the country, the “upper left” as some call it. The same song was chosen as a theme for the week, tying in the work of ministry, the calling to be a people of faith in challenging times, and the hard work of staying in community.
“It is time now, it is time now that we thrive
It is time we lead ourselves into the well.”
Everyone’s well – the place where we find ourselves filled up, renewed, and refreshed – is different. Some folks gather their energy from quiet meditation and alone time. Some folks feel full and alive after a large gathering (such as General Assembly!). Some folks love the excitement of travel, and for others nothing fills them up like arriving home.
We’re all on a journey to thrive – each of us as individuals, all of us as members of UUCC, and all of us in the larger denomination and the larger world. “Failure to thrive” is a serious medical diagnosis and also feels as though it is at the heart of the unrest so many of us feel in this world right now. I invite you to take time to consider not only your OWN well of renewal, but the ways in which we can achieve a world where ALL can thrive!
Beloved family of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, you have all helped me to thrive and grow in ways I never thought possible. I found a path here seven years ago and you have all supported me and loved me into being able to walk forward on that path, even when I was uncertain where my steps would land.
At the end of June, I will end the part of my journey where I have gladly and gratefully served as your Youth Director. I will separate from the congregation for a while (about a year, give or take a little) in order to allow new relationships to form both at UUCC and for myself at my new ministerial internship congregation in Frederick, Maryland. You will never be far from my heart, and I will remain a member of this community, and I will return in time. Relationships always change and grow, and change and growth can be painful. I will miss y’all so much, and I’m also so excited for what’s next.
I could never possibly thank everyone that needs thanking, but I must extend deepest gratitude to Rev. Paige Getty, who has been there for me every step of the way, leading always with such tremendous love. For Rev. Anthony Jenkins, who has been a friend and a mentor and an inspiration. For Robin Slaw, who has been a steadfast and loving guide in the wider world of religious education. For Kelli Dannaker, who brings joy with her wherever she goes. For Maureen Harris, who is grace and competence personified. For the inimitable, shining, and glorious music ministries of Dr. Tom Benjamin and Michael Adcock. For the fierce and tireless energy and work of Amanda Bates. For Hannah Nelson, who has embraced the life of this congregation with such gusto. HUGE thanks to every youth and young adult who has brought their amazing grace and gifts into the youth program here at UUCC – you continually challenge, uplift, and inspire me and you have taught me more than I can say. And for all those who have served UUCC in the past, for every volunteer, for every handshake and hug, for every tear shed and hearty laugh, I could never finish naming my gratitude to this congregation. Be well, be at peace, and be the blessing to the world that each of you are.
In faith, with love,
Thank you for your amazing support and assistance this year with my first Quest class. You have been amazingly present, aware and on top of things even while you continued with your ministerial studies! Where do you get such energy?
Thank you. For your ministry and reminding us of this song.
Richard w Gates
Thank you for supporting our kiddos on their journeys!
Thanks, Jen, for sharing with us your transition to an internship with the Frederick congregation. We will miss you at UUCC. Also, I want to say that both you and Laura did a fantastic job telling your stories of being called to the ministry. Finally, I want to say that you write beautifully! Your words are genuine and clearly from the heart.