From some of the most prominent voices in Unitarian Universalism today come these 50 poems, prayers, and prose reflections to support and celebrate congregational leaders. These meditations—alternately serious and funny, tender and frank—portray an understanding of congregational leadership as an avenue for spiritual growth rather than an administrative chore. They inspire and affirm the work of all kinds of leaders—professional and volunteer, lay and ordained. Suitable for both private reflection and public worship, this collection holds up the role of leader as vital to healthy congregational life and honors those who serve in this capacity.
Blessed are those who welcome the quirky, the lost, and the unwanted, the ones whose sweetness usually goes unseen.
Blessed are those who treat the fearful with gentleness and can see the face of the child in the one who is unkind.
Blessed are those who do not use sarcasm as a weapon when their feelings are hurt and who tell hard truths with the intent to heal and not to wound.
Blessed are those who hold in their keeping whole books of stories that can never be told, stories of betrayal and shame and sorrow, stories of how life shatters into pieces like glass.
Blessed are those who offer comfort and hope in the face of the wreckage, who show up as soon as the news goes out, who meet the police on the doorstep, who hold out their hands.
Blessed are those who sit with the upwelling of grief and the aching emptiness, who do not flinch back from pain, especially when it is raw and angry and new.
Blessed are those who dare to find words to speak of such fleet, shimmering things as hope and grace and who know to speak of faith quietly and mostly in poems.
Blessed are those who hold such stillness in their spirits that it radiates outward for others to rest in.
Blessed are those who minister.
Table Of Contents:
Long-Haul People  Rudy Nemser
Just Regular Folks  Jane Rzepka
Song for the Unsung  Steve J. Crump
Hansel and Gretel  Lynn Ungar
Dragon Lady at the Chalice  Vanessa Rush Southern
How to Be a UU Leader  Denny Davidoff
A Sweet Mystery  Sarah Lammert
Charge to the Parish Minister  Laurel Hallman
Messy and Imperfect Beloved Community  Laila Ibrahim
Start Right Here  Gary E. Smith
Losers  John Corrado
Something Left Over  John Buehrens
The Church That Doesn't Matter  Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson
Theology of Inclusion  Janice Marie Johnson
The Power of Truth  Mark Belletini
A Prayer for Leaders  William F. Schulz
The Paradox of Organized Religion  Dan Hotchkiss
Let the Wrong Ones In  Susan Ritchie
What Is Your Ministry?  Bruce T. Marshall
Ask Someone Else  Peter Morales
Prayer for the Stubborn  Vanessa Rush Southern
The Unseen Spiritual Discipline of Administration  Sue Phillips
What We Love, We Empower  Patrick T. O'Neill
The Exceptional Moment of Our Unique Faith  Doug Zelinski
Nothing Is Static  Manish Mishra-Marzetti
Stepping Back, Moving Forward  Robert McKetchnie
Three Poisons in Leadership  Wayne Arnason
Leadership  Ned Wight
Wait  Bruce T. Marshall
Reading for the Standing Committee  Phyllis B. O'Connell
Everything in Nothing  Sue Phillips
Keep Your Dreams Alive  Hope Johnson
The Rabbis  Dan Hotchkiss
A Prayer for This Gathering  Laila Ibrahim
Spiritual Practice in Leadership  Kathleen Rolenz
Meant to Serve  Denny Davidoff
What About That Courage?  Anne Principe
Deliver Us to Evil  Annette S. Marquis
As If God Were Ther  Terry Sweetser
Tolerance for Repetition  William G. Sinkford
The Mosaic Makers  Alicia Forde
How Will You Use Your Gifts?  Don Southworth
Theology of Accompaniment  Janice Marie Johnson
Transformational Leadership  Meg Riley
Facing Fear, Trusting Love  Manish Mishra-Marzetti
Get in the Game (Show)!  Vanessa Rush Southern
We Covenant  Janice Marie Johnson
We Are the People Who Choose  Jane Rzepka
Letter to the People of the Future  John Cummins
A Blessing for Those Who Minister  Elea Kemler