What is Community Ministry?

Over the last week, there have been a few questions about community ministry and what it entails.

Community ministers are ordained Unitarian Universalist (UU) ministers who take our message and care beyond the walls of an individual church. Each community minister affiliates with a UU congregation.

There are many examples of community ministry. Rev. Barbara Molfese is now a retired community minister who has been affiliated with UU Church of Boulder (UUCB) for many years as she served our faith tradition as a chaplain. Rev. Amy Rowland is a community minister affiliated with UUCB as she serves as a professor and consultant. Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray is a community minister serving as the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

I am not changing careers; I will still be a Unitarian Universalist minister. I will affiliate with a UU congregation once I get established. Pete and I plan to stay in Boulder for the time being. As many of you know, our family members (all but one) are in Denver, so we may end up moving there.

I am not exactly sure what my future looks like. When I shared this uncertainty with my interfaith religious leader group, one of the ministers said, “Oh, you’re falling into the arms of mystery. That’s what mystics do!”  That’s right. I am feeling Spirit’s call, and it certainly is mysterious and not always very comfortable, especially for a planner like me. “Falling into the arms of mystery” is the spiritual work I’m doing personally right now.  However, here is what I do know.

Right now, my plans are to be self-employed and do what the UUA calls “innovative ministry”. Unitarian Universalists have always taken a creative approach to religion. Today that creativity is more important than ever as we adapt to the changes happening with religion in America. The key element for me is more time focused on direct ministry, and less time on administration. I can imagine an entrepreneurial ministry where I find people who would never set foot in a church. I see myself meeting with them one on one for spiritual counseling/direction. I can imagine speaking and writing and leading retreats. I can imagine lobbying at the capitol. I can imagine leading vigils and prayer before protests. I am forever committed to loving the hell out of this world, as our Universalist ancestors taught us to do.

Watching you have that same commitment to courageous love is one of my great joys. The world needs more Unitarian Universalism!

Much love,

Rev. Kelly


PS – When I mention an article or book in a sermon, I link to it here: http://uuchurchofboulder.org/kellys-reading-list/. That way you can explore if you would like!