Message from Janine Larsen, July 2016
Here I am, discovering UUC from the inside as a member of your church staff! When I began on July 1, I devoted a bit of time to simply roaming around the building, peeking into rooms, soaking up the sights and sounds, and appreciating or imagining the stories these walls hold. Your church looms large in Unitarian Universalism, not only in the Pacific Northwest but as an important part of the legend and impact of our national and continental Association. I still marvel to find myself here, following a dozen years on UUA staff serving our congregations in the Pacific Northwest District and more recently our Pacific Western Region. I’m excited to think of the coming years here, and all we will create together as UUC’s next chapters unfold.
We’ll get to know one another over time, and you can read more about me on the staff page of the UUC website. To give you a quick summary, I’ll say three things: I’m a Seattle native and have lived here all my life except for a brief stint at the University of Missouri right out of high school (I missed the mountains and Sound too much to make that stick) and not quite 7 years in Mammoth Lakes, CA, in the ‘90s. After about 20 years in the nonprofit sector – as a fundraising professional and executive director – I quit work when a surprising spiritual awakening called me to leave employment in order to be fully open to whatever was to come next. I live in Woodinville with my spouse Jamie, love to cook, enjoy golf with the benefit of a high handicap, and both delight in and worry about our grown kids, a daughter in Portland and a son in Ellensburg.
Jon and I intentionally chose the title “Director of Ministries” for my position at UUC. I like it because it reminds us that the work of a church and its people is the work of ministry – of service, of attendance. I also like it because I’m a lay person. My hope is that this title will also be a reminder that all of us are called to serve, not just the ordained clergy. The ministry of UUC is shaped and shared and led by all of us, each according to our gifts and our discernment.
I join the Executive Team in the ministry of supporting and guiding the programs and efforts of the church to intentionally carry out our Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan. I’ll relieve Jon of some administrative burden by taking on supervision of our program staff. My particular charge is to help our staff align our ministries with our Mission and to bring faith development to life in all we do, so that each person at UUC may find and offer inspiration, encouragement, challenge, nurture and spiritual vocation. In addition, I’ll work directly with the Leadership Development Committee, support Covenant Groups, extend a balancing hand to Rev. Beth as she jumps into justice ministries, pastoral care and worship assistance, and partner with our ministers on Sundays to help however I may.
Over the summer, I’m going to pore over our Strategic Plan and subsequent reports to get a good picture of where we are at this mid-point in its 2012-2020 projection. I’ll look forward to checking in with the many leaders who have advanced the vision and goals of the plan over the coming months. And I’m very much looking forward to meeting and getting to know our church’s greatest treasures – you and all of my new partners in this great ministry we affirm and create.
Janine Larsen, Director of Ministries