About Community Ministry
The traditions of Unitarian and Universalist ministry have included centuries of prophetic ministerial service beyond the walls of congregations. In 1991, Community Ministry was formally recognized as a specialization within Unitarian Universalist ministerial fellowship.
Community Ministers serve needs and serve Unitarian Universalism in many ways: as chaplains in hospitals, prisons, or the military; as counselors with a spiritual or pastoral orientation; as leaders of community service nonprofit organizations; as spiritual directors or teachers; as social justice activists; or other forms of Ministry outside a congregational setting. Informed by the Unitarian Universalist tradition and theology, UU Community Ministers serve peace, justice, compassionate relations, and spiritual growth and depth.
Unitarian Universalism informs, grounds, and constitutes the primary religious identification for many spiritual leaders who are providing healing and transformative service in our world. CUC celebrates these ministries as vital parts of the liberal religious movement to which CUC is dedicated.
Community Ministers are encouraged to affiliate with a congregation to nurture their spiritual maturity and keep them grounded in Unitarian Universalism. At CUC, affiliation with a Community Minister is an unpaid arrangement.
Affiliation with a congregation provides the Community Minister with:
- ongoing grounding in Unitarian Universalist faith and an ongoing home for worship, practicing Unitarian Universalism, and deepening in liberal religious spirituality -- within a context of recognition of a ministerial calling and identity.
- a sense of expanded ministry. The Community Minister's ministry out in the world becomes, through affiliation, in some small way the congregation's ministry. Insofar as CUC gives moral support and spiritual nurturance to the minister who carries it out, the community ministry is part of CUC's ministry.
- Community Ministers typically also offer their affiliated congregation such services as leading adult or children's RE, offering workshops, maybe preaching a sermon once a year.
CUC's Community Ministers
Rev Deb Morra
The Rev. Deb Morra has been, since 2002, affiliated with our congregation as an ordained minister whose calling is to work in the wider world rather than in the parish. She makes her living as a therapist and social worker, and CUC provides her the context in which she can view that work as ministry. She preaches occasionally and provides other leadership.
Rev LoraKim Joyner
Rev. LoraKim Joyner, DVM, is a veterinarian specializing in wildlife avian medicine. Since 2001, she has also been a Unitarian Universalist minister (MDiv, Vanderbilt University, 2000). She served as a parish minister for 10 years -- most of them as co-minister with spouse, Rev. Meredith Garmon -- before switching to Community Ministry. Her ministry encompasses two areas: multispecies ministry (deepening understanding and appreciation between human and nonhuman species) and nonviolent communication (she's a certified NVC trainer).
Rev. Joyner entered into affiliation with CUC in 2014. See more about Rev. Joyner at her website: ONEEARTHCONSERVATION.ORG
The Rev. Dr. Kelly Murphy Mason is a Community Minister who now works for the Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute, where she serves as Director of Programming and also as a clinical supervisor and a pastoral psychotherapist. She seeks to provide clients with emotionally literate, psychologically sound, and spiritually informed psychotherapy. Additionally, she teaches graduate students in psychology at Columbia Teachers College. Kelly was ordained by the Community Church of NY, Unitarian Universalist, in 2006, and since then, has held a number of different posts and leadership positions throughout this region – at Union Theological Seminary, the Blanton-Peale Institute, the Association for Spirituality & Psychotherapy, the Murray Grove Association, and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. For the past few years, she has acted as the coordinator of the Metro NY Chapter of the UU Christian Fellowship; previously, she was vice-president for the national organization of the UUCF. Kelly lives in Riverdale with her husband, CUC member Benjamin Unger, and their two tomcats. She frequently provides guest preaching and mental-health consulting to various faith communities. Her public programs, seminars, and workshops explore the many intersections between spiritual wisdom and psychological insight. She occasionally volunteers for the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry.
Rev. Mason was in affiliation with CUUC for two years, 2014-2016. She is now affiliated with First Unitarian in Brooklyn -- though she and husband Ben can still be seen occasionally in attendance at CUUC. See more about Rev. Mason at her website: KELLYMURPHYMASON.COM