Kelly Schlageter

by Kelly Schlageter, Lay Minister for Caring and Wellness.

In July 2013, I became Lay Minister for Caring and Wellness. I was looking for a way to serve, to learn about the more practical aspects of operating a campus our size and, most importantly, to get more connected and to know more of you.

I couldn’t have known at the time that we were about to embark on a period of significant transition. First, Director of Music & Arts Mark Vogel announced he and his family were moving. Then, Parish Minister Mary Katherine Morn announced she was leaving UUCF to take a position at the Unitarian Universalist Association in Boston. We welcomed Jennifer Brooks into our community as interim minister and we welcomed Pawel Jura as our new music director. During that year, we experienced profound loss when Pawel died, followed by the excitement of selecting our new senior minister. Just a few short weeks ago, we installed Rev. David Miller in a ceremony full of anticipation and joy.

I learned a great deal during my time as your lay minister. I learned that deep sorrow and loss don’t only happen to individuals, but can happen to whole communities. I also learned that just as it is with personal loss, the depth of our sorrow reflects the depth of our connection. I learned that we are incredibly resourceful. We comfort each other through words and deeds, yes, but also through song and dance. As I stood there looking out across the Sanctuary during our Banding Together concert, I saw people intentionally choosing joy. Through sheer force of will, we were choosing hope, dammit.

What I wanted most when I took on this role was to get to know more of you on a deeper level, and I have. You have a cavernous capacity for kindness, talents beyond measure and a willingness to share them, and a resilience that gives me great faith in our shared future. Thank you for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. It has been a great gift.