“Thanks, Kayla!”

UUCM President’s Column
June 2016

We start the summer of 2016 with Kayla Parker, a newly minted M.Divinity from Yale University, moving on from her two years as ministerial intern at UUCM. Our Congregations’s  first experience as a teaching ministry was a great success for us.  I think it was for Kayla too!

Kayla participated as an active positive presence and offered thoughtful counsel on the whole range of matters over the past two years of her internship. She demonstrated real talent as a facilitator in a variety of settings including retreat and training sessions. She often helped focus the attention of the group on the issue at hand and at the same time encouraged and guided participants to open sharing. Worship services that she prepared and conducted were always very well received. Kayla’s services could be counted on to include a creative insightful sermon, active engagement in a lesson for the children, thoughtful meditative silences, and a keen appreciation for the power of music through it all.  I’m convinced that Kayla has a bright future as a Unitarian Universalist Minister.

Thinking of Kayla’s graduation and entry into her chosen profession, indeed her calling, this spring has me thinking of the broad contours of her millennial generation’s position in the new economy.  Precarious and contingent are the terms of this new day for bright young people destined to fill positions in middle-class professions- journalism, law, education, health care, social services—  that no longer offer a middle-class standard of living. Many will live pay check to pay check with little or no savings as large student debt payments crowd out dreams of home ownership. They will hustle multiple and mobile part time jobs in the “gig economy” while keeping an anxious eye on securing health benefits. Never mind pensions. Caring financially and emotionally for aging parents and their own children, while still paying off student debt, is a squeeze many can anticipate.

Unitarian Universalist religious professionals face these same difficulties. And so, it follows, do the congregations they minister to or hope to when called. The sharp inequalities of an unjust global economy offer few safe harbors.  Kayla knows this, of course. And it will be the strength of her presence in facing these troubles that can move people beyond despair to hope, to solidarity, and to overcoming.  We are pleased to have been an early part of this long term, critically needed mission of standing on the side of love with her. 

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