Now is the Time

By Joan Van Becelaere

“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. (W.E.B. DuBois)

For me, now is the accepted time and the appropriate season to retire from my work with the Central East Region as a congregational life consultant as of April 15, 2018. This was decision was not made lightly. There are a number of personal, health and deep family issues that have combined to make this the right decision for me and my family at this time.

Don’t give up hope. You’re not alone. Don’t you give up. Keep moving on. (Melanie DeMore)

There have been amazing changes in the Central East Region since I first came in 2007 as the District Executive for Ohio-Meadville District (OMD).  There is more support for our congregations and resources to draw upon than we dared dream about 10 years ago. The Central East Regional staff, along with other Congregational Life staff, provides and will continue to offer outstanding service to our congregations and our movement. The Central East Region will continue to keep moving on in partnership with each other and with the talented UUA professionals who serve our congregations and UU movement.

Lift up your eyes Don’t you despair. Look up ahead. The path is there. (Melanie DeMore)

I will certainly miss working with you all - the congregations and the church leaders I have come to admire and love. I count many of you now as friends. While I will be retiring from the UUA, I will continue to serve our UU movement as the part-time Executive Director of UU Justice Ohio. This is another decision that was not made lightly. But this new ministry path will fit within the limits of my family’s needs and concerns.

It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. (W.E.B. DuBois)

I am excited to walk this new path of life as well as move into a new part-time justice ministry in Ohio. I believe strongly that the times we now live in call us to lift up our voices and values in the public sphere.

If we truly want to build the Beloved Community we dream about, we must dare to experiment, to risk, to organize and even engage in new strategies of nonviolent confrontation to speak a very necessary truth to today’s chaotic power.

I hope to try and respond to this call as best I can with my (post-retirement) work in UUJO.

Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.” (W.E.B. DuBois)

I have been proud to serve the Ohio-Meadville District and Central East Region.

I feel I have been part of an great effort to plant seeds of an increasingly powerful, effective and healthy Unitarian Universalism in our region. You gotta put one foot in front of the other And lead with love. (Melanie DeMore)

Not only do we lead with love, but we leave with love – And I leave carrying love for all of you and our UU movement deep in my heart.

Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Columbus, OH

The Central East Region is pleased to announce that the Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe will join our staff team as Congregational Life Staff starting August 6, 2018. We'll be making adjustments to who is managing which programs and some primary contacts may be shifted as Sunshine joins our staff so stay tuned!

The Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe is an Accredited Interim Minister in Training currently serving their third interim congregation- May Memorial UU Society of Syracuse, NY. Ghe hails originally from Indiana where ghe learned to sing, dance, and cause trouble- the social justice kind. Ghe is currently a member of TRUUsT (Transgender Religious professional Unitarian UniversalistS Together) and DRUUM (Diverse Revolutionary Multicultural Ministries).

Sunshine is committed to helping congregations become the healthiest versions of themselves so that they can do their important work in the world. Ghe has served many congregations throughout the country first as Spiritual Development Director at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. Ghe served as intern minister at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Cleveland, OH and then completed a Chaplaincy Residency at Indiana University Health Hospitals. Ghe has also served as Interim Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery, AL and First Unitarian Church of Alton, IL in the St. Louis metropolitan area. During gher service in Alton, Sunshine was active with the resistance movements in Ferguson, MO. Before seminary, Sunshine worked for five years as a Case Manager with homeless adults searching for employment in Tucson, AZ. Sunshine has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, and a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry.

Sunshine enjoys silliness, board games, music of all kinds, and thunderstorms. Ghe particularly likes to go hiking, color mandalas, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where a small handful have gone before. In other words, ghe’s a science fiction geek with a specialty in Star Trek.

Sunshine identifies as genderqueer and transgender and uses any third gender pronoun including they/their, ghe/gher, and zi/hir.

About the Author

Joan Van Becelaere

Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is the Executive Director of UU Justice Ohio. She served as a Congregational Life Consultant for the Central East Region from 2007-2018. Previously, Rev. Van Becelaere was Vice President for Student Services at Iliff Theological School in Denver, CO where she also taught...

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Rev. Sunshine Wolff

Rev. Sunshine Wolfe
Joan VanB 2017