Worship and Preaching

The Sunday service is an anchor point, something to return to week after week. In it, we remember what it means to be in community, we experience interconnection and perhaps mystery, and we reaffirm our place in the web of life. For so many of us, it is the only hour in our lives where there is space and room to seek out our sense of something larger than ourselves. Worship renews us for our vocations, whatever they might be.

Worship should be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. While that includes literally increasing the forms of access, such as multiplatform worship, it also includes integrating worship styles and approaches. Just as there are multiple learning modalities to offer multiple entry points to knowledge, all of which we engage with in different ways over the course of our lives as learners, there are multiple worship styles that offer pathways into our shared experience as a worshipping community. A worship experience that includes stories and songs, ritual and practices, and yes, different lengths and styles of sermons, has the capacity to bring as many people as possible into our shared spiritual time. I am an advocate for increasing the time children and youth stay in the worship service, and making a variety of services fully open to the participation of children and youth, to incorporate all of us into the full life of our community.

Beyond Sunday morning, there are a variety of other ways for us to worship together, such as contemplative services, musical gatherings, dinner church, and vigils. I love to incorporate seasonal worship practices into any and all of these settings, grounding them in the particular moment and place.

Liturgy is the work of the people, inherently a shared ministry with many participants in various roles. For all that a minister is responsible for the worship life of the community, the work is inherently collaborative. I love collaborating to build creative experiences of song and story with educators and musicians, and facilitating congregational participation, so that worship expresses the depth and breadth of the community.

Please see my Sermons and Services to explore more deeply.

Spiritual Care

We come to church because we are seekers, but we stay because we found companions on our journey. Ministry is embedded in community, living life with others and being together in moments of celebration or sorrow. Spiritual care is those moments, but it is also all the other encounters along the way, in conversation or silence, formal and informal. The relationships that grow over time become pieces of the holy, places to sense the sacred nature of our time together on earth. This is shared ministry: sometimes a person wants their minister in a moment of crisis, but often we all just need a friend. Every person needs to tell our story, to be understood by others, and sometimes those stories are co-created, as we rebuild them together.

Faith Exploration and Formation

Human beings are always works in progress. Children and adults alike continue to grow, and we are shaped by all our experiences, not only the ones that occur in a classroom. Our more formal education experiences may offer us the skills and knowledge to interpret our experiences, but those experiences happen everywhere. In our worship services, in our small groups, in our coffee hour conversation, and in our justice work we continually grow in how we understand ourselves, understand human life, and understand the world we live in.

Caregivers are the primary religious educators, helping children navigate the world on a day to day basis. Part of the work of faith exploration is to offer tools and resources to families to connect what is happening in church to daily life. Part of the work of the church is also to weave children and families into the full life of the congregation, so that there are multiple people supporting parents and helping our children become more fully themselves.

Adults too are always in formation, learning through classes and lectures, but also in worship and teaching, service and action. Small group ministry is a vital avenue for many of us to deepen our spirituality and learn from one another, a place where spiritual care and spiritual formation meet.

It is important for a minister to be present to all parts of the church. I pursued OWL training in order to provide not only support for the teachers, but presence for the youth. In my internship, I frequently attended family worship and youth group. Children and youth should feel that I am their minister too, and that I am available to them and engaged in their lives.

Social Justice and Action

Social justice and anti-oppression is the fruit of all our spiritual experiences and growth. If we truly know, in our bones, the depths of our interdependence and the wonder of the wide universe, how can we not respond to that knowledge? When I have shared those spiritual experiences with others, in spiritual solidarity, I must be with them in solidarity in their lived experiences too, showing up when action is needed. Social action does not come from duty, or guilt, or shame. Social action arises out of love and relationship.

After growing up in Texas, reproductive justice and expanding democratic processes and access is a passion of mine. I did not expect it to become even more urgent, but the times demand it. At the same time, my particular passions cannot be separated from the larger web of oppression and injustice. Climate and economy, gender and orientation, class and race–these are all entwined. A faith that calls us to bring our spiritual convictions into our daily lives demands that we pick up whatever work is directly in front of us, knowing that it is connected to the whole. To pull on one thread is to begin to unravel it all. The work of a particular congregation will vary to meet the moment, the local context, and the passion of the people within it. A minister can provide leadership or support, all the while connecting what happens within to what is going on without. Unitarian Universalism must continue to take a strong role in organizing and acting for justice and liberation, acknowledging that our faith and values are no less than other political actors, and that we too are called to live out our faith.