This is a message about joy. Ministry and religious leadership are not easy paths in life. You open your heart to difficult realities of human suffering and injustice and labor to make a difference-often in the face of insufficient resources, entrenched systems of oppression, and apathy, or even active resistance. Whew! Why would anyone choose this?
For the joy of it! Joy bubbles up over and over again as people prepare for religious leadership at Starr King School. Entering student, Lauren Way, writes:
"There is laughter and joy and lightness is almost everything we do at Starr King. There is also respect and gravitas, but everyone here embraces all sides of ideas, including the light and the laughter."
Fall 2013 Entering Class
Advanced M.Div. student, Abbey Tennis, who has just been granted preliminary fellowship by the Unitarian Universalist Ministerial Fellowship Committee, posted:
"I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this call, this faith, and for all of you who have supported me along the way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
As a seminary president, I have the privilege everyday of witnessing the undergirding joy that impels people to come to seminary, sometimes risking everything to devote their lives to a deep purpose.
Spring 2013 Class
Join me in welcoming this year's entering Starr King students. Wish them joy! Send a gift to support! Hear their stories of the call that brought them to seminary. Laurel Gray writes, "To me, ministry is the choice to participate, the choice to engage with religion's capacity to propel positive change." Jessica Clay writes, "I love volunteering and have volunteered all over the world." Lauren Way says, "Starr King trains its students to be a force for fierce good and love in the world."
If you know of someone called to the ministry or to religious leadership for society, encourage them to answer the call to the joy of a life devoted to deep purpose, the joy of drawing on the fullness of the life we are given to be of service to life, the joy of fierce love and resistance that says "No" to the forces of evil and injustice that betray life's beauty and goodness, the joy of religious leadership.