I am so excited to begin developmental ministry with you this summer. I discerned months ago that I would only explore a new congregational ministry if I had a strong sense of calling to the work. When it was shared you were looking for a new developmental minister, I began to learn more about the community and started speaking with the appropriate leaders within and beyond the congregation. It became clear to me that I had a very strong sense of calling to the opportunities, challenges, and aspirations of this ministry. I was especially impressed with the skillful leadership of your Board of Directors, the progress you’ve already made in 2 years of developmental ministry, and the identified developmental goals. I was delighted to meet many of your leaders and was inspired by their commitment, wisdom, and love.
The compelling ministry before us will touch upon the very heart of congregational life. We will explore mission, vision, and the covenants that bind us to each other and to the larger world. We will learn to deepen our relationships, explore matters of the heart and emotional intelligence, practice good communication and setting appropriate boundaries in congregational life, and create spaciousness for an affirmation and celebration of the diversity inherent to our pluralistic spiritual life. We will also work to examine systems and structures of the congregation and continue the important work towards increased financial vitality and sustainability. We will be in deep conversation around these goals and others in the coming months. This is truly a time for a holistic reflection on the essence of beloved community and what is required of each of us to be transformed by liberal religious community.
My most recent ministries have been serving congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area and teaching multireligious philosophy and theology at Starr King School for the Ministry – our Unitarian Universalist seminary at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. At Starr King, I also served for many years recruiting and preparing our next generation of Unitarian Universalist ministers and progressive religious leaders. In addition to being a UU minister, I am a practicing Sufi in the lineage of Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé and Moinuddin Chishti. In the larger community, I’ve been especially invested in the Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Climate Justice, Disability, Refugee and Aslyee, Transgender/Queer and Feminist Liberation movements. Before entering the ministry, I was a social justice activist, educator, nonprofit professional, and community leader.
We will have a lot of time to learn more from each other and I look forward to ministering with each of you!
With love and gratitude,
Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae