The Rev. Jen Crow delivered this sermon to the First Unitarian Church of Rochester in July of 2005. I find her reclaiming of the word and very concept of “God” to be powerful and provocative.
Rev. Crow has also created a marvelous “Soul Deepening” program at her church called Wellspring. The website states, “Wellspring is based on the concept of a five spoke wheel that keeps spiritual seekers in balance and spinning with grounded principles. The five spokes are: spiritual practice, spiritual direction, covenant groups, UU history and theology and faith in action.” In addition to the full curriculum, there is also a blog at the site focused on spiritual practice. Good reading.
Her presentation at General Assembly in Portland with two lay-leader facilitators was extremely well attended, and I felt privileged to just sit on the floor at the front of the room. I’m already bugging that minister I know to get the program going in his church ASAP.
Anne Lamott, deepening, God, Jen Crow, prayer, process theology, Rebecca Parker, spiritual practice
Wholly, Holy, Holey
Rev. Jen Crow, Associate Minister, First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY, July 17, 2005
Several years ago, during my ministerial internship at Unity Church — Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota, I sat with one of my mentors in his study. For weeks, we had discussed my spiritual practice of prayer — how often did I pray, he asked, what did I pray for, how did the act of praying feel, why did I return to it day after day and night after night. Each week the questions got a little bit harder, and I began to both welcome and fear my time in that office.
On this particular morning, my mentor asked me to offer a sermon to the congregation on my spiritual practice and how it impacted my life. A seemingly reasonable request, you might think, but the butterflies began working in my stomach immediately. In that moment, I wanted to push my friend away, push the question away, push even my own life-saving experiences away — anything to save myself from the admission there before someone I respected that I did not know why prayer had worked in my life, that I did not know exactly whom I was praying to or if that entity - if it was indeed an entity — heard my prayers or had any power to impact my life.