To the members, friends, youth, and staff of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson,
I am thrilled that your Ministerial Search Committee has asked me to be your Ministerial Candidate. From the moment I began reading your Congregational Record, I felt like our dreams for Unitarian Universalism were cut from the same cloth. A cloth which is woven from threads of spreading love, seeking transformation, and building Beloved Community. When I met with your Ministerial Search Committee online, and then eventually in person, I felt a synergy that is best summed up by what ministers often refer to as “call.”
A call to do ministry alongside a people whose dreams and vision echo my own. A call to do ministry alongside people whose strengths and gifts complement (and amplify!) my own. A call to do ministry alongside a people who genuinely wish to grow into a 21st century congregation – and are willing to do the experimentation and collaboration that that growth takes! This is a vision I will be happy to live out alongside you all, if you vote to call me as your next settled minister. There will be time to talk more about that vision during Candidating Week from April 29th - May 6th. I hope to see you a few times that week!
For now, I want you to know a little more about me and my family. I was raised Unitarian Universalist in Lexington, Massachusetts. That community taught me to love beyond belief, ask tough questions, and prioritize justice in my thoughts, words, and actions. I first felt a call to ministry while I was delivering my credo as part of my Coming of Age service. Since that day, I have been on the track towards ministry. In college, I created my own major and studied religion and social engagement. Soon after college, I began attending Andover Newton Theological School. Not too long after that, I started working full-time as the Social Action and Youth Programs Director at First Parish in Concord, Massachusetts, an historic 700+ member Unitarian Universalist congregation. I worked there for four years before starting a two-year part-time ministerial internship with two Unitarian Universalist churches in Syracuse, New York. While completing my part-time internship in Syracuse this past year, I have also served as the Consulting Minister at a small congregation in Cortland, New York. You can learn more about me, my work, and my vision for ministry at my website: www.revbethany.com/.
My husband, Bryan, will be joining us for the second half of the Candidating Week. Bryan is a talented musician and sound engineer, and he also works at Trader Joe’s (we hear you have a few of those in Tucson). He is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Audio Arts at Syracuse University. He will graduate in mid-May. Bryan also grew up in Eastern Massachusetts, where his family still lives. My immediate family lives in Northern Vermont where three generations of my family – my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and niece – attend the Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington. Bryan and I currently live with one cuddly mutt named Isbell and two exceptionally friendly felines named Shakes and Theo.
Bryan and I are beyond excited to come to Tucson later this month to meet you all! Until then, keep imagining that world and church you dream about…and give some extra love and gratitude to your Ministerial Search Committee. They deserve it! I look forward to meeting you in person and imagining what we might learn, create, and build together in the years to come.
See you soon!
Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe