News – June 14, 2024

Dear Beloved Community,

I am honored to be serving as your Director of Religious Community.  Many across the U.S and Canada who hold a position similar to mine in Unitarian Universalist Churches are called Director of Religious Education (DRE), or Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration or the like.  I have served our church, here in the museum district of Houston on two different occasions, totaling about 18 years.  In 1996 I began sharing the position with a wonderful colleague who is still a dear friend, Kris King.  We both had pre-school children and new babies.  I continued to serve three-quarter-time when she moved to another city, for a total of 7 years.  Later, in 2013, I returned to serve the congregation full time in the same capacity and have done so now for 11 years.

In this time, as your Director of Religious Community, I have overseen our Sunday morning programming for children and youth, nursery care, three levels of Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education, Coming of Age, regional youth programming, a dozen or so special annual Religious Education (RE) events, our Spring Retreat, aspects of multi-generational worship, Adult Programs and few other areas of our church life.

In a year’s time, in early June 2025, I will be retiring, stepping aside for a new chapter in the church’s ongoing religious education life.  During this coming year, I will work diligently with our newly created Religious Education Support Team (Elsa Kapitan White, Jon Naylor, Johanna DeYoung, Donald Poole, Kathy Kinson, Asim Sundrani, Jennifer Kapral and Adriana Gil-Wilkerson) and all our volunteers to shift detailed information on every aspect of our shared work in order to create a smooth transition.  The church will hire a new Director of Religious Education/Community in 2025.

Our church has amazing volunteers, including about 60 of you that serve all the different pieces of our Religious Education programs.  Together, we will continue to honor the important tasks of caring for our children and teenagers as well as providing experiences for adults in small groups this year.  And at the same time, step by step, the RE volunteers and I will also prepare for the future through sharing information, shifting responsibility and creating new co- leadership opportunities.

If you are interested in getting involved in the next year to share the fun and joy we have in working with children (or teenagers or adults), or want to step up to help with leadership during this transition year, please contact me, or one of the members of our RE Support Team to talk about your particular interests and skills you might share. (

At this juncture, I find myself reflecting on the meaning of our church community and why what we do matters. At our church, we support each other through the struggles of this complicated urban life.  We have much to offer each other…like the soulful reflections we share on Sundays, the care we provide in times of trouble, the way we speak up to make things fair in our community or provide support to those neighbors who are hungry or suffering.  It’s in the ways we work together that we can provide this kind of community and meaning.  I look forward to talking with you in the coming months about what you care about and how we might create a vision going forward.  In the spirit of these very real struggles we regularly face as human beings in this kinda crazy world, I want to share this poem that I love, written by Julian Jamaica Soto:

There are a lot of ways to stay alive.
You can wear soft clothes and focus
on brushing your teeth and hydrating.
You can ask yourself what you need
and not be mad when you don’t have
an answer, only a shrug.  You can breathe in.
And then, with care, you can also breathe out.
Taking the thing one single breath at a time.

You can give yourself a chance.  Remember
not only your mistakes, but also all the ways
that you matter.  From eyelash to shoelace, you
matter.  You matter when you are sad, when
the world is heavy, like wet laundry, dragging from
your arms.  You matter when you are angry
and you use your teeth like welded prison bars
to keep the words that might cause harm from
escaping past your lips.

There are many ways to stay alive.

You can come, heart wrapped in
several layers of foil, mashed into a plastic
box with an ill-fitting lid, to a place where
people say your name like it is good news.

You can always fight your way toward freedom.
I recommend that you decline the option
of struggling by yourself.  The point is to get
your life.  There was this wise ruler
who said once that by ourselves we are all
unprotected, but two people together can
face the worst: [the failure, the heartbreak,
the upending of the worlds we hold in our
hearts, and the secret shame that we will
shed like the skin of a smooth snake,
though it will take some time.]  And with three people,
you being one of them, you may find that
eventually, all will be well.
       -There are lots of ways to stay alive by Julian Jamaica Soto


Together we will make this year and the next year a place where people will experience their name like it is good news and where all will be well.  Let’s do it.

See you on a Sunday soon,