From the beginning, I felt like I had a new job, and I imagine that is the point it is preparation for the real world. What has been most interesting is witnessing the dramatic differences between my home church, Unity Chicago, and my mentoring church, Unity North Shore—big church, lots of money vs. small church with a tight budget and thrifty treasurer. This felt like a trip into the real world.
It begs the question– what should I expect as a new minister? I am manifesting a compromise. I was born a middle child, and I have found being centered to be my safe place, my God space. Adding to this somewhat loosely structured experience, I am regularly a guest speaker at a third Unity church—Unity of Des Plaines, a center that is currently searching for a senior minister. I realize that as I write this, I chose the word “center” to describe it.
I continue to receive promptings about the path being laid out before me. I was really blessed by the close proximity of all three churches, but without a senior minister in Des Plaines, Unity North Shore with Rev. Kurt Condra was the only really viable option for me. Rev. Kurt’s
decision to postpone his sabbatical for a year so that I could intern close to home was a grand gesture that never escaped my awareness throughout the entire term. His tireless efforts and the dedication with which he approaches his ministry inspired me and made me wonder how I might possibly be able to do the job. His Sunday messages are delivered with authenticity and ease that I am consciously striving to achieve.
Rev. Kurt has a very different relationship with his board of trustees than Rev. James Parker at Unity Chicago. I served on the board for four years at my home church and comparing the two organizations has shown me that Spirit’s demonstration offers growth opportunities in
every conceivable way. Boards grow, ministers grow, and the key to oneness is the presence of Spirit energy in every exchange. The essential element for success is maintaining this awareness as a priority.
Besides speaking at three different churches on holiday and Sunday services, I’ve also been allowed the experience of creating special event services, such as the World Day of Prayer, Everlasting Life (a Christmastime memorial for loved ones who have passed), New Year’s Day
virtual, Good Friday, and my first baptism which was for a 12 year old young woman who requested that she be baptized with water. I had the congregation bless the water during the meditation preceding the baptism.
I enjoyed teaching classes in my own style of interactive discussion more than delivery of information. We went through the books together—including, Finding Yourself in Transition by Robert Brumet, and—YES! Wait for it!!– Talks on Truth by Charles Fillmore. The Fillmore
study was about as challenging for me to facilitate as it was for the attendees to absorb. The real affirmative takeaway was that the whole group stayed with the class for the full six weeks!
Serving my third term on the UMSA Board has been a confidence builder for me especially this year as president. I wasn’t feeling too sure that I would be able to lead effectively but with the support of my colleagues on the board I have been allowed to stretch my leadership
muscle and stand up to the challenge. The most interesting aspect and perhaps the greatest challenge I have faced has been wearing the hats of board president while simultaneously the cap of a class of 2023 intern. Our final class project of becoming a not-for-profit board with the goal of establishing a scholarship fund in support of ministerial students in need of a bit of extra funding has proven to be a real balancing act for my allegiances. The outcome was yet another growing edge explored between my ego and my Christ. Time in prayer and meditation continue to keep me moving forward in the right direction. Knowing when to let go and when to step into action will be my most useful tools as I transition now from student to novice.
Elisha says in 2 Kings 2:9 “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” Remembering this always carries me through any challenge.