Cindy Davidson, Ministerial Intern
My last Sunday as your ministerial intern is June 17 – just three services away! In fact, this Sunday will be my last opportunity to serve as your Worship Associate. As we near the end of this chapter in my ministerial formation (the book is long, I’m told), I am remembering that I first met you in that Worship Associate role on March 20, 2016. I arrived from out of town, by Meredith’s invitation and the Board’s approval, helped lead the service (an audition of sorts!), mingled during social hour, and briefly interviewed with several leaders. My presence confirms we struck a deal, and I happily moved to White Plains and began working that August.
Beginning with that first meeting and throughout my time here, and the years of seminary studies, I’ve been asked time and time again, “To what is your call -- Parish or Community ministry?”
My call to ministry certainly has its deepest roots in a commitment to honoring our Seventh Principle and working towards a livable future by addressing environmental and climate injustices. My years of experience serving as a lay leader in my home congregation and as a Board member of our UU Ministry for Earth were important ones in laying the groundwork to my decision to pursue the call to ordained ministry, both within and beyond my environmental “niche.” My two years here at CUUC as your ministerial intern have been equally formative ones; you have challenged me to engage with a broader range of interconnected justice issues, and to grow my skills in worship, education, pastoral care and leadership. You have patiently supported me in my own discernment. And for that, I am grateful.
That question, though, keeps coming up! “So, what are you thinking now? Parish or Community ministry?” These days, I prefer to respond not with a “Parish” or a “Community,” but with a “Yes, and…” (Improv, anyone?). Ultimately, I yearn for a future either blending or alternating between the two and so these days I am considering and weighing the pros and cons of both parish-based and community-based job opportunities as I move forward. Perhaps it pays to be open-minded and flexible!
Perhaps you, too, have experienced the ways our work of justice making can be done from within or outside of a congregation. I suspect our personal best decisions about where to do this work are often led either by the heart or by the circumstances of available opportunities. Our end goals of working towards justice are the same, and we learn how adapt the work to specific audiences and organizational settings. Whatever our justice focus, doing this work requires attention to our spiritual grounding and resilience, taking time for worship and reflection, and the company and support of others equally committed and engaged. I love that we find these things in vibrant and healthy congregations like CUUC.
My question for you, "Where is your heart calling you to work for justice within and beyond CUUC?"