Summer Seminary Applications Open 2/13/2015
Summer Seminary Applications Open 2/13/2015

Explore the Call

“Welcome to the club!” is what my former boss, Nancy Bowen Regional Lead for the Pacific Western Region, said to me when I responded to her question of “what do you want to do with your life?” with “I want to run a spiritual retreat center.”

“I know so many ministers who have that as their end goal,” she said.

Ministers? I share a goal with ministers? OMG, does Nancy think of me as a minster? I’m nowhere near ordained. I am as close to a minister as a kid in a sandbox is to famous Barcelonan architect, Antoni Gaudí.

And yet, when I was a teenager, although I would outwardly say I wanted to be a teacher, inwardly I always added the word “spiritual” before “teacher.” But how audacious was I to think that one day I could be considered a spiritual teacher? Jesus of Nazareth was a spiritual teacher. Muhammad, Buddha, Rumi, Pete Seeger, Margaret Fuller, they were spiritual teachers. Eckhart Tolle, Erykah Badu, Rev. Dr. Thandeka, they are spiritual teachers. And yet, when I work with teenagers, young people often tell me that I've inspired them and they want to be me when they grow up. ME?! Well, me is already taken but I tell them I want to support them in becoming the awesomest “them” they can be. So I guess spiritual leaders come in all shapes and sizes. They even appear as people who don’t see themselves as spiritual teachers. I’m reminded of a poem by Marianne Williamson that United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities grad, Leslie Mills, shared at Summer Seminary 2014 while we sat around a tiny chalice in a gargantuan chapel at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago.
“We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
(See the whole poem here: So in honor of the young people out there who identify as “church geeks,” or who’ve said they want my job when they grow up, or love worship, music, serving others and building community; in honor of all the young people I’ve met who are as tortured as I was at the prospect of ending up in a job that wasn’t serving the world and building a new reality; in honor of all the young people who are kind in a cruel world, want to heal brokenness, want to be heard and maybe whisper to themselves that they one day may be a spiritual teacher, I’ve collected a series of posts on people like you who are considering a religious vocation:                                    

 If these stir something in your heart, consider applying for Summer Seminary 2015.

Applications open Friday, February 13th.

About the Author

  • Jennica has worked in UU religious education and youth ministry since 2008. Since then, she has served as Youth Advisor, Program Coordinator and Religious Education Assistant (First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake), District Youth Ministry Consultant (Mountain Desert), Regional Youth...

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