Rev. Yvonne E. Schumacher Strejcek Rev. Yvonne Schumacher Strejcek (pronounced ee-VON SHOO-mocker STRAY-check) is the candidate our Ministerial Search Committee enthusiastically and unanimously recommend as our new settled minister. She will be here with us for Candidating Week from June 6th through June 13th. The week will be full of opportunities for everyone to meet and talk with Yvonne (see Candidating Week Schedule on last page). The vote to call her to ministry at CUUB will take place at a congregational meeting after service on June 13.
Passage from Rev. Yvonne’s Search Packet: “The song I came to sing is imbedded in my lifelong Unitarian Universalist identity and also in my name – its essence is captured in my initials, y.e.s., yes. . . They bespeak optimism, openness, willingness, possibility, affirmation. Yes, yes, and yes! This is the song of my life: a song of hope, a song of promise, a love song. . . My life’s stories are about repeatedly finding myself summoned by the Spirit of Life – invited in one way or another to respond with ‘yes’ to a calling. . . The song I came to ministry to sing is yes. Yes to love, yes to justice, yes to that which holds us together, yes to the sacred, yes to upward and onward and leaping greenly spirits. . . We Unitarian Universalists are a gentle, angry, loving, justice- and truth-seeking people! And we are all singing, singing for our lives. Let us sing our lives, together; let us make of our lives a resounding YES to that which matters most.”
Letter from Rev. Yvonne Dear CUUBies, I can hardly wait to meet each of you in person! I have had such a great adventure with your devoted search committee members, and am so impressed by all I’ve learned about your congregation, that I am feeling quite honored and blessed to have been invited to be your ministry candidate. How exciting to contemplate our time together, upcoming. It may prove to be, in some ways, the culmination of longstanding dreams and hopes for you and me alike. If we determine we are an excellent match, it will be not only a culmination, but a faithful new beginning for us all, for our life in Unitarian Universalist community together. If there proves to be a mutual “yes!” binding us in covenant, you will be my first settled ministry and I will be your first settled minister. I am a lifelong Unitarian Universalist who grew up in the Detroit area and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Until the recent precandidating weekend, though, I had not been back in Michigan for quite some time. It felt wonderful to be “back home” after years in California, the DC area, Harrisburg PA, and Boston. I look forward to sharing with you some of the many stories that together constitute my life and my calling into parish ministry. And I’m eager to hear the stories of your lives, individually and together in this thriving Unitarian Universalist congregation. I said “yes!” to the invitation to candidate here because I see in you the embodiment of the promise of our faith to heal and bless the world, to address and overcome injustice, and to work toward creating a world of sustainable love and beauty. My vision of parish ministry honors truth, justice, love, health, and growth in congregational life. My hope and prayer is to serve well a Unitarian Universalist congregation that aspires to those same ends. Together we might grow our own souls as we address important religious questions and work for justice in the world. I look forward to our time together and to our mutual discernment around growing in ministry, together. Faithfully, and with a full heart,
Rev. Yvonne Rev. Yvonne Schumacher Strejcek
About Rev. Yvonne Rev. Yvonne Schumacher Strejcek, fellowshipped and ordained in 2009, most recently served as Acting Associate Minister at Arlington Street Church in Boston (2009-2010). Prior to that, she served as Intern Minister and then Acting Associate Minister at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, PA (2007-2009). She’s a lifelong UU who earned her MDiv from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley in 2008. She received her BA in sociology and psychology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She grew up in suburban Detroit and began attending the Unitarian Universalist church in downtown Detroit at an early age. She was active in LRY as a teen in the ’60s. She’s been a congregation president, a new congregation organizer, district president, and Acting District Exec in the UUA’s Pacific Central District. She was a board member of the UU Legislative Ministry in California and has served in numerous lay leadership positions in UU congregations and the Pacific Central District. She received three treasured awards from PCD, two for outstanding service at the congregation and district levels and one for speaking the truth with love. Yvonne’s previous careers were in audiobook publishing, editing/ proofreading, and federal civil rights enforcement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the US Commission on Civil Rights. Yvonne lives with her husband Barry and their sweet Havanese dog, Bounder, age six. They have lived together since 1977 and recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. Highlights of Yvonne’s knowledge, skills and experience: • Lifelong UU • Feels strong calling to work with a small congregation that takes its UU faith seriously while having fun at the same time • Experience serving at all levels of UU congregations as well as on the district level; is knowledgable of UUA policies and has connections • Helped launch a spin-off congregation • Experience helping congregations with land and property acquisition • Created and led adult religious educations programs • Supported rapid membership growth in her previous congregations • Helped set the stage for the Breakthrough Congregation Award • References spoke to her many positive qualities including leadership development, conflict management, wisdom, nurturing and compassionate nature, collaborative style • Reference quotes: • “Yvonne is called to ministry” • “She is a gift to our denomination” • “Yvonne was the greatest spiritual mentor I ever had” • “You would be lucky to have her” • “I’d have her back as my minister in a heartbeat” • “She inspires people to spiritual growth” • “Yvonne is very pastoral, approachable, very caring” • “She has the heart of a poet and is very optimistic: • “She puts so much heart and soul into the job; it’s more like a way of life for her” • “If you get her, you’re the luckiest church in the world”
From Yvonne’s Search Packet Theological orientation: What is your dominant theology, and how do you deal with other Unitarian Universalist theologies with which you may not be in sympathy? I am a life-long Unitarian Universalist whose own theology has evolved over her lifetime. For this reason, I respect most theological stances and encourage everyone to cultivate open minds and open hearts. Each has something to teach others; none of us knows the whole truth. I strongly believe that “we need not think alike to love alike,” and that one of my primary roles as minister is to encourage us all towards compassion and empathy, learning to love ourselves and each other better than we have. I would describe my own personal theology, at the moment, as a combination of process panentheism and humanism. I believe that everything is interconnected, holy, and in a process of becoming. Our actions matter; not everything is in our hands but much is. We are capable of creating more justice, kindness, and beauty with our precious, limited lives. What we do with our lives creates a legacy; it matters forever. There is much theological wisdom to be gained from all the world’s global religious traditions. Through our church life, individual spiritual practices, and engagement in family and community life, we can choose to do God’s work: that which is filled with beauty, awe, justice, power, and love. We can choose to aid and abet healing and wholeness instead of evil and destruction. And even as I say that, I realize a part of the theological journey for all of us is countering that tendency towards good & evil polarization, understanding a more complex truth in shades of gray and loving more unconditionally, which is not easy.
The Gifts I Would Bring to This Ministry Among my gifts as a religious leader in a small congregation are these: • I am interested in ever deepening my own spiritual practices, improving my own walk in the world, and growing in my understanding of the human spirit. • I love people, all kinds of people. I love to hear their stories, and I have great curiosity about how people’s lives have unfolded. I have particular interest in knowing about individual’s faith journeys and spiritual practices. • I love to sing, particularly in small-group harmonies. • Even though I will be a “newly minted” minister fresh from seminary soon, I bring years of experience as a lay leader: board presidencies; teaching and directing religious education programs; helping to create and fund new staff positions; district involvement in extension, community ministry strategizing, legislative ministry, and growth programming; leading worship; fostering a deeper sense of inclusivity (through leading programs such as Welcoming Congregation, ministries for countering racism, examining our own privilege, street ministry, and more). • I have been told by many different kinds of people that they like to listen to my voice. I see this as a great asset for pulpit presence, story telling, small group leadership, guiding meditation and prayer, and so on. • People come to me for advice; they seem to feel heard and empowered by talking with me. I believe I listen well. • I am mindful of the tendency of most people to shy away from conflict, either by keeping it to themselves or by talking with a third person about the person that’s a problem, or the like. I am aware of how important it is to speak directly, but kindly, and to attempt to resolve a problem instead of letting it fester or become a source of dysfunction in a small group. • Being reliable matters to me. I am devoted. • I thrive on the process of being creative as individuals and as a group. • I am looking forward very much to sharing pieces of what I’ve learned in seminary and fostering similar enthusiasm about the faith journey and religious community in a small congregation setting. I look forward to building a shared ministry, rooted in intimate community, compassionate openness to each other, and faith in the source of life, love, and everything.
CUUB Candidating Week Schedule
Candidating Week June 6-13 Candidating week has finally arrived. We are all warmly anticipating Rev. Yvonne’s visit to CUUB. The Ministerial Search Committee has done its work: and now it’s up to us as a congregation, and to Yvonne, to determine whether Yvonne will be called as our minister. The purpose of Candidating Week is to confirm that a minister and a congregation are a good fit for each other, and to prepare for a congregational vote to call the minister to settled ministry. The UUA, our congregation’s governing body, advises ministers not to accept a call unless a congregation’s vote is effectively unanimous. After the service on June 13, the congregation will gather, voting to call Yvonne as our settled minister. Sunday 6/6 10:30 am — Service with Rev. Yvonne 11:30 am — Congregational Luncheon 12:00 pm — Open Forum with Yvonne Friday 6/11 6:30 to 8:30 pm — Meet & Greet at the Church Office Saturday 6/12 3:00 to 6:00 pm — Ice Cream Social at Janet Joseph’s Sunday 6/13 10:30 am — Service with Rev. Yvonne 11:30 am — Open Forum with Yvonne 12:30 pm — Congregational Meeting & Vote 2:00 pm — Farewell Picnic for Rev. Karen Contact Tabitha Metreger at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information