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
June 6, 2019
On behalf of the Developmental Ministry Search Team, I am pleased to introduce you to the Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, who will join us beginning Thursday, August 22, 2019.
It’s challenging to welcome a new minister and talk about all the great skills he will bring without implying somehow that there is a comparison to our current minister, so let me make clear that when we went looking for a new minister we did so only with the intention of moving forward the developmental work we began with the Rev. Greg Ward in fall 2017.
We wanted someone who would help us connect more deeply to our Unitarian Universalist values. We needed someone who could work in a complex organizational system to help us find a common purpose and a way for us to engage in new ways to fulfill our mission as a community of faith. And we knew our next minister was coming to UUSM at a pivotal moment in our history when we need to decide how we will adapt for literal and figurative “climate change.”
Rev. Jeremiah is described as “remarkably intelligent and insightful.” According to one of his references, “he has a tremendous spiritual depth and great passion around public witness, social justice, and spiritual growth, deepening, and discipline.
He has a wry wit and he’s an extraordinarily gifted teacher and worship leader. His grounding in spiritual principle and discipline, along with his insight into institutional systems, helps him move people and groups through [difficult situations].”
Over the past decade, Rev. Jeremiah has served congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area and as a member of the adjunct faculty of our Unitarian Universalist theological school in Berkeley. He completed a Chaplain Residency in the Heart Center and Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and was a McElroy Scholar and intern minister at the largest congregation in our movement, All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa.
He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry, a Master of Science in Social Work degree from Case Western Reserve University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Baldwin Wallace University.
I will let Jeremiah tell you more about himself, beginning with his letter above, but I speak for all of us who served on the search team: we are unequivocally enthusiastic about the intellect, positivity, spiritual grounding, and skill that he brings to our community, and we have the utmost confidence that he is the right person for our congregation at this moment.
Next week, we will introduce you to our new Director of Religious Education, who will also join us mid-August. Thank you all for walking this path with us.
Jacki Weber and the Developmental Ministry Search Team (Ed Brand, Beth Brownlie, Ron Crane, Eileen McCormack, and Kikanza Nuri-Robbins)
P.S. Feel free to contact us, or any member of the board, with questions!