Greetings from Texas! As you prepare for this exciting moment in your collective congregational life – meeting your Ministerial Candidate – I am meeting with 35 or so other Unitarian Universalist Interim Ministers for professional development and anti-racism training. There is so much wisdom here, and I am delighted to glean what I can and to share what I know. We gather together each spring to reflect on where we’ve been and to look ahead to where we might be going next.
As your Candidating Week approaches, I simply want to thank you for the opportunity to have served with you as your Interim Minister for these last almost 2 years. Yours is a remarkable congregation, filled with gracious and gifted and committed people, and I very much look forward to seeing where you go from here.
I want to encourage you to show up this week – in body, mind and spirit – for what will be a week full of opportunities to meet Rev. Jolie and to begin to get to know her better. I encourage you to share yourselves with her generously, and to help her get to know you. Tell her about who you are, what you most care about, and what you envision for your collective future. Ask her questions about her calling and gifts and about how she envisions sharing them with you as you imagine building a future together.
Candidating Week can be a profound and transformative time in the life of a congregation. There are so many opportunities for sharing ideas and hopes and dreams, it can become a wonderful time of cross-pollination and creativity and a launching pad for what is yet to come.
So have fun! Enjoy yourselves!
I plan to be back in Sharon the week of May 6th (and with you through the end of the year) and I look forward to seeing you and hearing about your week!
Our Interim Minister Rev. Wendy L Bell’s bio:
The Rev. Wendy L. Bell received her Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1997 and was ordained jointly by the First Church in Jamaica Plain and the First Parish in Chelmsford in 2000. She served as the Interim Minister of the First UU Society of Rockport, MA, before being called to the Harvard UU Church, Harvard, MA, in 2001. After completing 14 years of successful ministry in Harvard, Wendy returned to interim ministry, most recently serving the First Parish in Malden for two years before being hired as the Interim Minister of the Unitarian Church of Sharon.
Wendy grew up as a United Methodist in the Washington, D.C. area, and went to college at Grinnell in Iowa, where she studied Russian language, literature and history before graduating as a Religious Studies major. While at Grinnell, Wendy learned more about the Hebrew Prophets, World Religions – especially Eastern religious traditions – Feminist Theology, and Liberation Theology, all of which helped prepare her for a vocation as a Unitarian Universalist minister.
Wendy is passionate about climate justice. She is a graduate of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, which was created to educate, equip and empower religious leaders of all religious traditions to become better environmental leaders. She was involved in efforts to try to stop the construction of the high pressure gas pipeline in West Roxbury. And she recently presented a paper on the prophetic role of pastors in helping to facilitate climate grief in local congregations.
Wendy currently lives in Arlington, MA, with her wife, Cathy, and their daughter, Katelynn. In her free time, Wendy loves to read, hike, camp, kayak, and spend time with her family, including her Cockapoo puppy, Winnie, and her cat, Wendell Berry. She also volunteers at a therapeutic riding program in Lincoln, and is learning to play the bagpipes.