On the plus side of ministry

Before General Assembly got underway, clergy and other religious professionals arrived a day or two early for our own meetings. I scarcely had time to check messages among workshops, worship, conversations, and occasional meals. Time with colleagues is so precious to me!

One highlight from Ministry Days:

The annual “25/50 year service” honors ministers who were ordained 25 and 50 years ago in a very meaningful worship service. Each “class” selects one of their own to deliver a short sermon that usually looks back over the decades and into the future challenges of ministry. This year Lindi Ramsden and Richard Gilbert were so honored.

Lindi Ramsden helped her San Jose congregation grow from 30 to 300 members over a 17 year span. Among other accomplishments, she started a Spanish-language service and the UU Legislative Ministry in California (UULM). She has now left the parish and works full time as Executive Director of UULM.

Dick Gilbert served several churches, with his longest tenure in Rochester, NY. Always a prophetic minister and a renowned preacher, he wrote Building Your Own Theology, including a series on Ethics, and How Much Do We Deserve?  These are both wonderful curricula designed to generate conversation among us so that we come away with a stronger sense of our own beliefs. He also wrote a meditation manual, In the Holy Quiet of This Hour.

It is such a joy to recognize and celebrate successful ministry over decades of faithful service. During the Service of Living Tradition, another beloved tradition, we celebrate ministers who have achieved Preliminary Fellowship, Final Fellowship, retirement from full-time ministry, and those who have died in the past year. Thus our names are called into sacred space four times, if we are so fortunate. Each year we scan the lists and note the names of our beloved friends and colleagues. Bless them all!

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