Embracing Deeper Ministry and Community Connections

On May 7, DRUUMM member Marianne Jew and her home congregation (East Suburban UU Church), friends, and family covenanted together and celebrated her new role as a Commissioned Lay Minister (CLM). The Commissioned Lay Ministry program is offered through the Central East Region (CER), “… designed to help lay leaders take their ministry and service to a deeper level.” CLMs study and train in many areas, while focusing on those that meet needs of their home congregation and the CLM’s calling and strengths. Marianne discovered DRUUMM and BIPOC community in 2020 after finding UU in 2002 while seeking a RE program for her young kids.

These sincere and deep community experiences, all via Zoom, changed her calling and approach to what she wanted to offer to her home congregation of 35, as well as her personal relationship to UU as a faith and religious community.

When she started the CLM program in 2019, Marianne’s agreement with ESUUC and the then quarter-time minister was to grow in offering shared ministry for adult RE, worship, and to build relations with other faith communities nearby. GA2020 was her first experience with GA and only happened because it was offered on-line. It was the first time she met BIPOC UUs. A new world opened up, with new awareness, learning, tears, and amazing sensations of connection. After meeting and getting to know BIPOC UUs – their experiences as UUs, their perspectives on UUism, their personal ways of being and “doing” UU – she recognized the call to connect in small group and 1:1 settings both on Zoom and on-site, and that it was OK to do heart-ministry more than head-ministry.

She is at the start of a 3-year covenant with her now lay-led congregation. Marianne offers multi-platform Spiritual Exploration opportunities to all UUs who have internet/Zoom access. She, DRUUMM member Leilani Davenberry, and 2 CLMs created “Let’s Build a Multi-Platform Community of Communities” on-demand presentation for GA2023, which invites UUs to co-create communities without geographic boundaries. Her current commitment to this faith is to provide nourishment and healing, to build Beloved Community, and to cherish and co-nourish BIPOC communities that have given her so much.