First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia ~ Welcome home!

Please join the Board of Trustees and the Interim Ministerial Search Working Group in giving a warm welcome to our interim minister, Rev. Dr. Susan V. Rak. Rev. Susan will be joining us on August 1, 2014, to guide us through a two-year interim ministry as we prepare to call a new settled minister.

She writes:

Dear friends,

I am delighted and honored to serve the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia as its Interim Minister. How lucky am I to be coming to such a vibrant, historic, diverse congregation located in the heart of one of the finest cities! My conversation with your selection committee gave me such a positive vibe about who you are and what we might accomplish together.

And this is also a kind of homecoming. In the 1990s, I lived in northern Delaware and then South Jersey while working at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Philadelphia was my cultural hub and I came into the city as often as I could. Now I will have the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the city and to share a vibrant and caring ministry with you!

Interim ministry builds relationships, and even though it is temporary, it can be a source of strength for Unitarian Universalist communities. We will be bringing our whole selves into this process as we practice the attributes of the Roman god Janus, standing upon a threshold looking back while also beginning to turn our gaze forward. It will be hard work but also a ministry we’ll share with compassion and joy.

I’ll be arriving on the scene in August and will begin preaching in September. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn a bit more about me before we meet face-to-face, here’s my personal ministry website:

In the faith, with hope and love,
Rev. Susan

Rev. Susan comes to us from The Unitarian Society, a UU church in East Brunswick, New Jersey, where she has served since 2005. A UU since the 1970s, she was ordained as a UU minister in 1996. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary and her Doctor of Ministry degree from Meadville-Lombard Theological School. In addition to her work as a settled, interim, and consulting minister, Rev. Susan has also served as a program consultant for the Joseph Priestley District and as a Director of Religious Education for congregations in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. She is also active within the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, wrapping up a three-year term on the Board of Trustees at the helm of the collegial development portfolio.

Rev. Susan and her spouse, Dr. Mary Chinery, recently purchased a home in Asbury Park, New Jersey. They share their house with three cats and lots of books. Rev. Susan also has two grown children: Abigail in New York and Seth in southern California.

In her spare time, Rev. Susan enjoys traveling, visiting art museums, watching all kinds of film and theater (everything from the classics to science fiction), and listening to music.

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