“To Everything there is a season…”

By Patricia Infante

Patricia Hall Infante

The days are getting shorter and after a hot summer, the nights are blessedly cooler. Here in New Jersey the smell of autumn is in the air and with it the anticipation and excitement of a new congregational year. This fall marks my 14th season as Congregational Life staff at the UUA. If you include my two years as staff for the Joseph Priestley District and nine years as a religious educator in a congregation, I’ve reached the quarter century mark of serving my Unitarian Universalist faith.

As the seasons of the year move inexorably to the next, so it is for me as I prepare to move into the season of retirement later this year or early in 2023. My transition is a happy one – part of a life plan that includes more time for beloved family, days spent camping and visiting as many beautiful places as I can and, yes, a return to my own congregation as more than an occasional pew-sitter.

As this change approaches I have been reflecting on what brought me to this work lo those many years ago. As a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, I have cherished congregational life for as long as I can remember. Warm memories of Sunday School, memorable music, enduring relationships, and an abiding commitment to the values and principles that hold our communities together are all part of what makes church matter to me. It is a sacred gift that was given to me that I wish for everyone who comes through our doors.

Over my years serving as UUA staff in the field, I have witnessed the struggle that many congregations face to create safe and vital communities of faith in a world which is increasingly hostile to people we love and to the life-giving, life-saving message that we bring. Though the work has changed over the years, it has been my privilege to walk alongside many congregations as they grow, grieve, adapt, and deepen, offering tools, compassion, and connection.

My transition leaves an opening on our fabulous Central East staff team that is ready and waiting for someone new to bring their unique story and experience to the work of companioning and championing congregations as they grapple with the work of faith development and creating beloved community in an a rapidly changing world. The position will be filled sometime this fall or winter and there is still time to consider whether this is something that you might aspire to (but hurry!).

The position description (PDF) has the details, but I am not sure it fully captures the incredible opportunity this position offers for personal challenge and growth. Did I mention that your heart will be broken as often as it is filled by the people, the stories, the children, the youth, the history, the generosity, the messiness, and the amazing acts of faithfulness you will encounter along the way? It is truly life-changing work and maybe, just maybe, it’s your season to serve.

How to Apply: People with disabilities, people of color, Indigenous people, Hispanic/Latinx, and LGBTQ candidates are encouraged to apply. The UUA is committed to developing a diverse and talented staff team. If you are excited about this role, but are unsure whether you meet 100% of the requirements, we encourage you to inquire and/or apply. Send cover letter and résumé— indicating “Congregational Life Field Staff-Central East Region” in the subject line—via email to careers@uua.org, via fax to (617) 948-6467, or to Human Resources, UUA, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210. E-mail submissions preferred.

About the Author

Patricia Infante

Patricia Hall Infante is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist who grew up in a large New York City congregation. Her first career as a contract negotiator was put on hold while she took the job of full-time mother to two wonderful boys (an investment that continues to pay dividends)....

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