By Dr. Nori Rost, Leader
As I write this, in the wee hours of July 25th, I am about to begin the last leg of the journey that is taking me to NYSEC to be your newest Leader. It has been a long and winding road for both NYSEC and me to reach this point.
When Leader Emerita Dr. Anne Klaeysen announced her retirement in 2019, the Leader Search Team was activated, applicants were interviewed— Bada-bing, Bada-boom!—a new Leader candidate was found! But then the process was changed and came to a halt… and then it resumed.
Once more the Leader Search Team sprang into action, this time selecting three excellent candidates for the Board interview. Dates were set for them to come out with the expectation that the membership would ratify a new Leader in Spring of 2020. And then—Bada-bing, Bada-boom!— COVID-19 changed all plans. Once again, the search process was put on hold until such time as in-person meetings would be possible.
This past Spring, at long last, because of the availability of vaccines for the virus, it was deemed safe enough to bring the candidates out for weekend interviews and the opportunity to give a Platform for NYSEC. I can only speak for myself when I say how thrilling it was to meet in person the people whom I had only met over Zoom and to stand behind a podium for the first time in over a year, in front of an in-person and virtual assembly, to share my Platform with you.
I was, of course, equally thrilled to be named as the newest Leader of NYSEC.
I started traversing my own long and winding road 32 years ago today when I became a minister in Metropolitan Community Church. MCC is a queer Christian denomination and the first church I had ever joined. I served two congregations during my 20-year tenure as an MCC minister; first with MCC Long Beach, in California where I was a staff pastor, and then Pikes Peak MCC in Colorado Springs, where I was the solo pastor.
Together, we will continue to journey on the long and winding road to justice for all, to mitigating the effects humans have had on our planet, to restoring hope and creating new ways of being.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to seminary: I outgrew the box of Christianity and found a new home in Unitarian Universalism. A year after I received my Doctorate of Ministry, I became the settled Minister of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs, entering an organization where I knew no one and had to learn a whole new UU vernacular, which was decidedly different from that of the MCC.
No matter; I knew I was being authentic to my growing, changing faith. I moved from faith in a deity to faith in humankind. And, in the course of the past 13 years, I have focused on how we can create room at the table of justice, of hope, of peace for all people.
Today, in just a few hours, I will take to the road with my son, Sam, as my co-pilot; my golden doodle, Rubi; and orange tabby, Wham! nestled in the back seat of my Jeep Cherokee, the rear filled with things too precious to be trusted to the movers.
As I drive to New York, I feel as if the long and winding road I’ve been on has always been leading to your door. I just wasn’t aware of it until September 2019 when I first read the description of NYSEC and applied for the Leader position.
Together, you and I will map out a new journey for NYSEC and for our world. Together, we will continue to journey on the long and winding road to justice for all, to mitigating the effects humans have had on our planet, to restoring hope and creating new ways of being.
Unfortunately, as we all know by now, change doesn’t happen Badabing, Bada boom! It takes time; it requires patience; it needs commitment; it creates community. As we embark on this road together, I am thrilled to be on this journey with you, and I can’t wait to see what good trouble we get into along the way.
See you soon!