Halloween deserves universal celebration because the secret of life is at its heart. We must carve away at life to get to the heart of it. What is that secret? It would be wonderful if you would wear your costume to church. (But the secret will still be there behind the mask!)
The UUSP Board of Trustees has a special announcement. Several months ago, as we planned for the church’s fall season without a minister, UU minister Jack Donovan contacted us at the suggestion of the UUA Office of Ministerial Transitions. Jack and his wife Alisun had just moved to St. Pete from Gainesville to be close to family (especially two small grandchildren).
Since then, Jack has met with our board, the worship committee, and a variety of members, including at a service he attended in July and at our Blessing of the Animals service which he led for us on August 17. A number of his past sermons have also been circulated for the congregation.
Given this exposure and supportive congregational feedback, the board has asked Jack to serve as our minister on a contract basis. Hiring by contract is short of an official “call”, which requires a lengthier process of congregational reflection and search. Having a contract with a minister on a year-to-year basis allows the congregation to have on-going ministry while it continues deepening its understanding of its vision, mission, and ministry. The contract may be extended as the congregation and minister prefer.
So the Board of Trustees is excited to announce contracting with the Reverend Jack Donovan as our new (contract) minister, officially starting with the Sunday service on September 28, 2014. He will be starting on pastoral care and setting up office space at the church as early as next week and would love to start getting acquainted. Given the realities of our current budget, Jack’s contract is for half-time service. Given the realities of ministry, Jack observes, half-time is generally 30-40 hours/week. So please don’t hesitate to call for a visit at the office, over coffee/tea/lemonade, or at home or hospital, or for a walk in the park.
A Bit of Background about Jack and Alisun
In Gainesville, Jack served as minister of the UU congregation for 17 years, as a Hospice chaplain for several years, as a Gainesville City Commissioner for two terms, as pastor of two Presbyterian churches for a sum of eight years, and for a year and a half as director of the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless.
Before entering the ministry, Jack served as a Peace Corps teacher in Micronesia, a USAID Refugee Officer in Vietnam, a staff member of Boston’s Community Action Agency, and a consultant on Federal social programs. He also spent five years trying, but failing, to write the great American novel.
Alisun is an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUSA). She served thirteen years as an Associate Executive Presbyter and coordinator of church missions, seven years as pastor and director of the Presbyterian/Disciples of Christ Student Center at the University of Florida, and several years as pastor and Minister of Education for several PCUSA congregations.
Jack’s educational background includes a BA in literature from Dartmouth College, a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Master of Divinity from the Starr King School in the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. He was trained in, but can no longer speak, Vietnamese and Trukese (a Pacific Island language). The same is true of Latin (despite three years of study in high school) and ancient Hebrew (despite an intensive on-line course from Dubuque University Seminary). Jack’s greatest interest is in contributing to spiritually healthy communities.
Alisun’s educational background includes a BA in education and a BA in fine arts from the University of South Florida and a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological School in Decatur, Georgia. Alisun’s greatest interest is in the arts and art’s contribution to the human spirit.
Please join us in welcoming Reverend Donovan to our church, and both he and Alisun to the St. Pete community. We will have an opportunity to do so at a meet and greet event after service on September 28. We look forward to this new chapter at UUSP and to the spiritual growth and guidance we can gain from our partnership with Reverend Donovan.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg is very proud to be officially recognized by the UUA as a Welcoming Congregation.
As a Welcoming Congregation, we celebrate and support the lives, the relationships, and the individual and group contributions of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members and friends. We affirm and promote their full participation in the life of the congregation and community.