Shari coordinated the components of the Sunday service beautifully, using musical segments to complement the effects of her sermon... Fellowship members were still talking favorably about Shari’s preaching skills and her overall Sunday morning service for the several weeks that remained in Chautauqua’s season after her chaplaincy. [Her ministry] leading the subsequent “discussion/talkback” session later in the week was similarly excellent... Overall, [her] performance as Chautauqua’s weekly chaplain was outstanding. ~Marjorie Girth, Coordinator of Summer Chaplains, UU Fellowship of Chautauqua, 2014
Perhaps no activity of a religious community is more archetypal than worship: people of different generations and walks of life gathered together to share community, to glean inspiration and insight, and to return, again and again, to the values that anchor our lives.
I have led worship in various congregations, medical settings, regional UU gatherings, and more. Each instance is a unique time to build community, offer opportunities for hope and healing, and challenge us to grow into our best selves.
Worship is a holistic experience. At its best, it involves all of our senses. It expands the mind and moves the heart. Artfully done, a service can bring peace to those in turmoil or build energy and hope toward our work for a better world. I like to craft services so that all the pieces fit together to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. This may often entail coordinating with musicians, story-tellers, and other talented people to create a compelling experience.
“Shari is truly dedicated to this call and brings the best of the scholarly, the compassionate, and the deeply spiritual self to the role and duties of ministry. She also has uncommon complexity and depth, and is wickedly funny! At her graduation evening speech, she brought me to tears with her beautiful words that demonstrated heart, scholarship, passion for justice, and a deep spirituality missing from so many ministers in formation... I heartily recommend her.” – Rev. Dr. Nicole Kirk, Schulman Professor of UU History at Meadville Lombard
Seasonal celebrations and alternative service formats can add further to the richness of a congregation's worship life, bringing in more music, drama, and pageantry, for example, or offering the intimacy and simplicity of a meditative vespers. I enjoy helping to carry on special traditions in the church I serve, as well as playing with new ways of enhancing worship.