45 minutes | Oct 17, 2019
S02E02 The Starting-At-The-Start Salon
As promised, our first Salon! This season, we’ll be alternating between interviews – where I talk to folks thinking deeply about worship – and salons, where previous guests join for roundtable discussion. The conversations will feature various folks in various combination, but will always be lively and interesting. This week’s salon features the Reverends Gretchen Haley and Madelyn Campbell. We talked about ministerial authority in our sermons, who’s worship for, and how we make space for everyone; we begin with a conversation about how our services begin. Like what you hear? Consider leaving a tip, which helps support editing and hosting costs.
1 minutes | Oct 10, 2019
Do Not Despair! More Episodes Coming!
It's been a month, y'all... illness, travel, and a new ministry. But we'll be back soon with great new content. Thanks for your patience! Kimberley
70 minutes | Sep 19, 2019
S02E01 Sarah Jebian & Laura Weiss and Staying Curious
Season Two Starts Now! My guests this week are Laura Weiss and Sarah Jebian, music directors, performers, and amazing co-conspirators. Their album, "Not Your Mama's Hymns" is taking the UU world by storm. We talk about worship, collaboration, hymnody, and big versus small worship. Link: Their project - notyourmamashymns.com Bios: Sarah Jebian is the Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville and is a proud member of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM), where she serves on the Conference Planning Committee and as Secretary of the Board of Trustees. In addition to her performing career, Sarah is a recording artist, theater director, producer, choreographer, and voice teacher. Her debut album, Love Songs & Lullabies was released in April of 2012. Sarah is a soloist at many DC Metro area churches and is the lead singer of Keltish (Irish band). Laura Weiss is the Director of Music and Arts and Worship Coordinator for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax and the Band Director for the 2019 UU General Assembly in Spokane, Washington. She has served as Music Minister for South Church, UCC in Andover, MA, was the Interim Director of Music & the Organist at St. Albans on the campus of the Washington D.C. National Cathedral, served as Director of Music for St. Cyprian’s Episcopal in Boston, MA, and she holds a Masters Degree in Education from the Center for Creative Teaching and a Bachelors in Music. She is a former K-12 faculty member of the Andover Public Schools and Lynn Public Schools where she served as instructor for The Boston Music Center, The Kittredge School of North Andover, Musical Theater Director for the SMARTS Collaborative on the South Shore and piano instructor for Bennington College.
2 minutes | Aug 22, 2019
Mini Episode 4 - Sofia Betancourt
This summer, some of my favorite Unitarian Universalists answer one of the Five Questions for your enjoyment! This week, my guest is the Rev. Sofia Betancourt, who - among many other amazing things - is the Assistant Professor of Unitarian Universalist Theologies and Ethics at Starr King School for the Ministry. The new season starts September 12th!
3 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
Mini Episode 3 - Eric Posa
This summer, some of my favorite Unitarian Universalists answer one of the Five Questions for your enjoyment! This week, my guest is the Rev. Eric Posa, who serves as the interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, CO.
2 minutes | Jul 25, 2019
Mini Episode 2 - Jessica Clay
This summer, some of my favorite Unitarian Universalists answer one of the Five Questions for your enjoyment! This week, my guest is Rev. Jessica Clay, minister at First Parish UU Church in Brewster, MA.
2 minutes | Jun 27, 2019
Mini Episode No. 1 - Misha Sanders
This summer, some of my favorite Unitarian Universalists answer one of the Five Questions for your enjoyment! This week, Rev. Misha Sanders, newly called to Northwest UU Congregation in Sandy Springs, GA.
82 minutes | May 24, 2019
S01E17 - Kimberley Debus and Putting It Together
We turn the tables with Michael Tino interviewing me for the final episode of this podcast season! We talked about my ministry, the influence of theater on my theology of worship, and trust. We began by noting that Michael and I spent many years actively avoiding meeting each other for years in North Carolina. My Bio: Rev. Kimberley Debus is a community minister based in New York’s Capital Region, where she works to inspire Unitarian Universalists throughout the denomination to be more artful and art-filled in their worship, congregational life, leadership, stewardship, and public witness. Ordained in May 2017, Kimberley has served One Island Family UU Congregation in Key West, Florida, and the First Universalist Church of Southold, New York. She also serves as chair of the board of directors for the UU Wellspring Spiritual Deepening Program. Kimberley was raised by Unitarian parents and returned Unitarian Universalism in the 1990s during her years as an activist in North Carolina’s LGBTQ community. As both lay leader and minister, she has presented workshops on generational theory, the worship arts, and stewardship. She has been known to burst out in song (particularly show tunes and standards); will wax poetic about British panel shows, mysteries, and The West Wing; and is staff to two tabby cats named Huck and Molly (they didn't come with hats). At the heart of Kimberley’s ministry is a call to foster creative, collaborative, and spiritually grounded approaches to the challenges and blessings of our faith, which inspire all of us draw the circle of love ever wider.
67 minutes | May 9, 2019
S01E16 - Aaron White and Remembering Job Is Here
I had an amazing time talking with Rev. Aaron White - we share a background in theatre and a love of preaching and worship. We talked about aesthetics, ensembles, protecting white boards, and preaching without a net. Bio: Rev. Aaron White has served for 10 years as the Associate Minister at First Unitarian Church of Dallas, TX. He received a degree in religion and theater from Austin College before attending Harvard Divinity School for seminary, with an academic focus in Sanskrit and Indian studies, comparative religious ethics, and aesthetics. Aaron is a gardener, science geek, and amateur UU historian. He blogs each week at possibilityconspiracy.com and is the host of the upcoming podcast, Possibility Conspiracy, which will launch soon.
59 minutes | Apr 25, 2019
S01E15 - theresa rohlck and a Sense of Balance
Another fascinating conversation, this time with one of our up and coming ministers, theresa rohlck, whose experience in music and dance informs a beautiful understanding of the work we do in worship. We talked about music school, what we can learn from Indonesian art forms, and the challenges of finding balance. Lots of links for you today: Yogyanese style gamelan and dance from central Java (the city of Yogyakarta) John Cage's 4'33" The Singing Neanderthals by Stephen Mithen "What Wondrous Love" as performed by Chelsea Moon "Yes" by Shekina Glory In the Beginning Was the Meal by Hal Taussig Bio: theresa rohlck is a third year seminarian at Meadville Lombard Theological School; she expects to receive her MDiv in May 2019. She will do a one-year chaplain residency in her hometown of Ann Arbor Michigan after graduation. She holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, where, as a violist, she had extensive orchestral and chamber music ensemble experience. However, it was during that time she first heard a Javanese Gamelan and began learning how to play many of the instruments in the ensemble. This led to further musical studies in Indonesia after graduating. A Fulbright grant supported her study there, and she spent three and a half years becoming an accomplished gamelan musician and dancer. Returning to the U.S. she began work at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute, which led to a Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Currently theresa conducts the Handbell Choir at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, where she is also a member of the choir, and has served as a worship associate. She is a member of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM) and Handbell Musicians of America.
58 minutes | Apr 11, 2019
S01E14 - DeReau Farrar and Inching Toward Humility
What a delight it was to talk to DeReau Farrar, the Director of Music at First Unitarian Portland! I have admired him since I first heard his new arrangement of a popular hymn (no spoilers!), and it seems we just got started when we had to wrap up our engaging conversation. Among other things, we talked about urban congregations, musical whiplash, musical diversity, and the Association for UU Music Ministries (AUUMM). Links: Association for UU Music Ministries Come Ye Disconsolate (Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway) The theramin: Grégoire Blanc, playing Debussy Theme from Midsomer Murders (Celia Sheen) Bio: DeReau K. Farrar is Director of Music at First Unitarian Church of Portland, Oregon, which houses the denomination's largest music program. He is also President-elect of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries and a member of that organization's Conference Planning Committee. He has previously served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles, California, as well as the Unitarian Universalist Association's Commission on Institutional Change. DeReau is also a regular contributor for WorshipWeb's Braver/Wiser publication and has written for UUWorld Magazine. Prior to leaving Los Angeles for Portland in 2016, DeReau worked as a freelance music director and vocal contractor for the theater/opera, film, recording, and touring industries. His last films were HBO’s All the Way (2016) and Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017).
59 minutes | Mar 28, 2019
S01E13 - Beth Norton and the Sound of Vulnerability
Programming Note: If you were expecting this last week, you weren't wrong... I had some non-technical issues that caused a delay. But with this episode, we'll be back on track for alternate Thursdays through May. Yes, I'll be taking a summer break - be warned - but the Worship Whisperer will come back for Season Two in late August. In this episode, I chat with Beth Norton, music director at First Parish UU in Concord, Massachusetts. We had a wonderful time talking, about singing congregations, the Association for UU Music Ministries, things they don't teach you in music school, and the Concord Music Book. Bio: Beth Norton has been Music Director at First Parish since 1994. Beth believes in the power of music to express what is beyond words, to deepen our spiritual experience and to build community. As a singer, conductor, violinist and folk musician, Beth enjoys making music in a wide variety of styles with people of all ages and abilities. She received her BA in Music from Smith College and her MM in Choral Conducting from the Hartt School of Music. Beth has served as the president of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (now the Association for UU Music Ministries), the professional organization for UU musicians and remains an active member.
59 minutes | Mar 7, 2019
S01E12 - Matt Meyer and the Speed of Trust
Matt Meyer has quickly become a household name, with a busy worship and workshop schedule, frequent appearances at General Assembly and other UU gatherings, and his role as Director of Community Life at Sanctuary Boston. Mat sat down with me to talk about that unique community, songleading, the act of singing together, and how we create context for singing together. Links: Sanctuary Boston AUUMM Main Conference UU Songleaders Convergence Bio: Matt Meyer works professionally as an itinerant UU musician and preacher, having led hundreds of services for UU congregations around the country. He is a founding member and Director of Community Life at the Sanctuary Boston. Matt is also a founding member of the Lucy Stone Cooperative and is a dedicated knitter.
74 minutes | Feb 21, 2019
S01E11 - Jason Shelton and the Liturgical Imagination
Good news, everyone! I have a new editor, fellow West Wing fanatic and all around great guy, Alex Boruff! His help with the editing makes the show sound better and give me more time to curate and interview amazing guests. And speaking of amazing guests, you’re in for a treat today – a long treat, because the conversation was just too good. My guest today is the Rev. Jason Shelton.We talked in late November about the radical shifts we’re seeing in Unitarian Universalism, creating worshipful experiences outside of Sunday morning, and the power of music to engage our faith. Links: Jason Shelton Music Portara Ensemble Portara and Carrie Underwood at the Country Music Awards Hymn: Love Has Already Won Bio: The Rev. Jason Shelton is a Unitarian Universalist minister, musician, and consultant. He served as Associate Minister for Music at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville from 1998-2017. In addition to Jason's work as a composer (The Fire of Commitment, Answering the Call of Love, Life Calls Us On, and many more!), he is an active choral conductor and worship leader, and an advocate for using music as a means of creating community in multi-faith, multi-cultural environments. Formerly a Franciscan brother, Jason received an MDiv from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2003 and was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2004. Jason is also an active participant in Nashville's vibrant music scene as Artistic Director of Portara Ensemble, a 32-voice auditioned chamber chorus which presents a wide variety of concerts throughout the year and is in-demand for recording sessions and televised performances with some of Nashville's biggest stars.
54 minutes | Feb 8, 2019
S01E10 - Christian Schmidt and the One Hour a Week
Sorry for the one-day delay, folks! Life happens and time is not constant, so there it is. And here it is. Fortunately, I think the wait is worth it, because my guest is my friend Christian Schmidt, a great minister, a good friend, and a really insightful guy - even if he did call something "very unique." In this podcast, we talked about co-ministry, sermon length, the festival of homiletics, his love of James Luther Adams, and language choices. Links Referenced: "Revenge" by Elisa Chavez The Essential James Luther Adams Festival of Homiletics Bio: The Rev. Christian Schmidt is, with his wife Kristin, one of the senior co-ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, and lives in nearby Pinole, CA. He’s a father, husband, native Texan, singer, football fan, and devotee of barbecue, not necessarily in that order. He’s convinced it’s better to preach for 15 minutes than 25, and nothing you can say will change his mind on this. This is his first-ever appearance on a podcast.
58 minutes | Jan 24, 2019
S01E09 - Joanna Fontaine Crawford and the Whole Church
I imagine Meg Riley beams any time two of her former fellows do something together - so get ready, Meg, because two of us have conspired and the result is today's podcast! My guest is the Reverend Joanna Fontaine Crawford, who serves Live Oak UU Church in Cedar Park (a suburb in North Austin, Texas. We talked about technology and what we learned as fellows with the Church of the Larger Fellowship, verboten words and growing up with Unitarian parents. Last fall, Joanna wrote about the way Live Oak does "whole church worship" at her blog, Boots and Blessings, and we talked a lot about what that looks like in practice. Bio: Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford is a second-generation UU and a seventh generation Texan, a Venn Diagram not often seen. The church she serves, Live Oak UU Church in Cedar Park (a suburb in North Austin) has taken the hashtag #ThatKindOfChurch as their motto, and they're that kind of church that has children in the entire service at every service, with children and youth often leading hymns, doing readings, and other liturgical elements (as well as spontaneous dancing in the aisles). She and her spouse Tom have four children, but she realizes there may be more effective ways to grow Unitarian Universalism.
49 minutes | Jan 10, 2019
S01E08 - Madelyn Campbell and the Story on our Lips
I chat with one my favorite fellow michief makers, the Reverend Madelyn Campbell! We chat about showing up, deepening our experiences, and of course Madelyn's passion, storytelling. Links: Network of Biblical Storytellers Madelyn's book, Guide to Storytelling for Military Chaplains Bio: Rev. Madelyn Campbell has been serving as an interim minister in UU congregations for the last four years. She’s currently serving as Interim in the Channing Memorial Church in Ellicott City, Maryland. She’s a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary, where she also earned a certificate in the arts and theology, with a concentration in drama and storytelling. She is a Certified Master Biblical Storyteller, currently the only UU who is a certified biblical storyteller, but she’s hoping to change that. In her spare time, Madelyn is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree through Wesley Theological Seminary at Wesley House in Cambridge University, England. She’s pretty sure her project will involve storytelling. She loves Harry Potter and Doctor Who, and has definitely used both in worship.
49 minutes | Dec 26, 2018
S01E07 - Tim Atkins and a Time for ALL Ages
It was so much fun hanging out with religious educator and UUA Board member Tim Atkins! We chatted about children in worship, storytelling, thinking orange, umbrellas, and the thing that brings Time and I together every May, the Eurovision Song Contest. Links referenced in the Podcast: Eurovision Dance Break: https://youtu.be/d4Pim6d6R9Q (and bonus link to my favorite Eurovision Song Contest winner of all time: https://youtu.be/5sGOwFVUU0I) Think Orange: http://thinkorange.com/ Andy Stanley's Communicating for a Change: http://a.co/d/acGLRrX BYU CHoir and Orchestra performing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: https://youtu.be/5-a1VI7Q0g8 Bio: Tim Atkins serves as the Director of Lifespan Religious Education at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church. Tim worked for an educational services company in Atlanta for eight years before joining the Morristown (NJ) Unitarian Fellowship, where he served as instructor, curriculum writer, and regional teacher trainer. He previously served the Church of the Larger Fellowship as their Director of Social Media, and as a youth advisor and Religious Education teacher at his former home congregation in Atlanta. He spends his spare time writing, playing board games, trying to change the world, and attempting to reason with his cat Dorothea.
52 minutes | Dec 13, 2018
S01E06 - Erika Hewitt and Tending the Energy
Get ready for another great episode! Rev. Erika Hewitt and I didn't talk about a ton of things she knows a lot about - like officiating weddings, or multi-generational worship, or designing large scale worship, or life in small town Maine... this time. But we did talk about creating moments, holding energy, theological fights, the challenges of itinerant preaching, and intimacy. Bio: Erika Hewitt is the UUA's Minister of Worship Arts and Editor of Braver/Wiser, a weekly spirituality series. In addition to serving the UUA half-time, Erika also serves as the recently installed minister of the Midcoast UU Fellowship in Daramiscotta, Maine, and is a terrific wedding officiant. Her book of theme-based ministry resources, co-written with educator Becky Brooks, will be published in 2019. Erika's previous books are Story, Song and Spirit and The Shared Pulpit.
56 minutes | Nov 29, 2018
S01E05 - Gretchen Haley and Breaking Through Expectations
I first knew of Gretchen thanks to her amazing calls to worship, but wow I didn't know she was some kind of clerical super hero! We talked about creating worship that meets folks where they are, what it means to try new things, generation gaps, surrender, and dance! Here's the Rev. Gretchen Haley's bio, in her own words... "I'm in my 7th year serving the Foothills Unitarian Church where I am lucky to be a part of an incredible staff team that creates and leads worship and a bunch of other mission-driven ministries together, and where we all feel committed to discovering and creating the liberal church that will serve the emerging future. I have a couple of degrees and some foundational experiences in theatre, which shape my passion and understanding of worship - especially the justice fueled experimental fringey work of new play development. Equally influential was an encounter with the amazing Kay Northcutt in 2011 that shifted what I understood what we were doing in worship, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime worship experience (think: labyrinth, feet washing, Dr. Seuss, Rosa Parks prayer stations, and more) in the chapel at Candler School of Theology in 2008. If I could get paid to just write calls to worship for people, I might say yes to that."