by Martha Postlethwaite:
Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently, until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know how to give yourself to this world so worth of rescue.
My friend, Martha, read this poem at my ordination. I had her words printed on a beautiful business card with an image of a fern background. This poem feels like a gentle gift of wisdom, it is one that I’ve shared with a few of you over the past month.
I recall giving the printed poem to a member at White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church. A few weeks later I asked her to serve in some volunteer capacity. She said, “no,” citing her daily reflection on this poem as the reason why. I rejoiced in her clarity, recognizing that this did not mean “no” to every request that may come her way from the church. But clearly what I was asking her to do was not connected to the song of her life.
I’ve waited patiently in the dense forest of my own life. Wondering what is next, where to put my dreams and passion, what part of the large and complex world should I give myself to. After several careers I decided to move into the ministry. The years of seminary courses, clinical pastoral education, and a year-long ministerial internship provided time for discernment coupled with ministerial experience, theological reflection, spiritual practice, and clarity. I always imagined myself at a large church serving as part of a multi-staff ministry team. It is still a mystery and delight to feel called here, to be with you.
It is hard to believe that the end of the formal church year is here. I joined you last August and spent the year in observation mode and in the spirit of service. I have to thank all of you for welcoming me, bringing me into the congregation, and sharing stories your lives. I have been stretched, grateful, humbled, challenged, awestruck, and joyful—there is so much joy here!
I am looking forward to an opportunity to step away for a bit during the summer months. My contract includes time for study leave and vacation. I plan to do some focused reading on a variety of topics, create the Worship Associate Program, and plan adult religious education for the early part of next year. I’ll also do a bit of travel including attending an old family friend’s Navy Seal graduation, UUA General Assembly in New Orleans, a service auction weekend in the woods, and a family reunion in PA. I need to have surgery which will require that I devote myself to rest a solid month and take it slow for an additional two weeks. Unfortunately, the steps to arranging the surgery have been a bit of a scheduling challenge so I do not yet have a date. This may impact when I return in August. Needless to say living in such ambiguity is a challenge, but I have enough to do at church each day to keep me distracted and have come to accept that it really is out of my hands.
The MidAmerica grant money for a summer minister could not have come at a better time. An introduction of Lisa Myers can be found below. I’ll be supervising her during the summer and have no doubt that even though she is hired for just 15 hours a week she will carry the Sunday services, limited pastoral care, and adult religious education in a beautiful way. I’ll be present at the June 4 meeting regarding the potential purchase of a new building and am working on the 50th Anniversary Party with the talented Ruth MacKenzie. It will be a fun and inspirational day!
Lisa Myers - Our Summer Minister
Good news! We have hired a summer minister (thanks to the MidAmerica Chalice Lighter grant). Lisa Myers will join us for two months this summer while Rev. Laura is taking vacation and study leave time. She will lead worship, hold adult religious education classes, and be there if you need pastoral care.
Here is a note from Lisa:
I just finished my second year at United Theological Seminary where I am pursuing a Master of Divinity with a concentration on Theology and the Arts, with a further focus on Spiritual Growth and Formation. I'm passionate about finding where the intersection between the arts and our spirituality meets and how it can lead to spiritual growth.
About six years ago, I found my spiritual community within Unitarian Universalism by becoming a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka in 2011. Serving on the Worship Arts Ministry led to a call to seminary. My religious and spiritual path has led me down many roads, but it is Religious Naturalism and Earth-based faiths that feed me spiritually. The UU Church has been an excellent home for developing my own spiritual formation. I look forward with excitement about serving the Michael Servetus community this summer and getting to know you all!