In the Unitarian Universalist denomination, congregations “call” their ministers. Between 2004-2012, we were delighted to have Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd as our minister, before she moved to River Road Unitarian Universalist in Bethesda, MD.
BRUU will call its next full-time, settled minister to start service in the summer of 2014.
As our interim minister until then, we are delighted to have Rev. Greg Ward (starting August 15, 2012). He is a life-long Unitarian Universalist who grew up in East Los Angeles, in a racially divided neighborhood.
He was a pharmaceutical engineer, after graduating from University of California – San Diego with a BS in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology. He received a masters of divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in 1996. most recently, he was minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula, in California. Before that, he served congregations in Atlanta (Georgia), Toronto (Ontario), and the San Francisco Bay area.
- Here is how he describes his religious perspective:
- One of the reasons that Unitarian Universalism is my chosen faith is because it has the openness to welcome and appreciate the breadth and paradoxical nature of my theological perspective. And it calls me to be theologically multilingual in my relationship with my fellow religious seekers.
I see myself as a humanist in that I feel that humanity’s destiny, and our salvation as a civilization, is squarely in the hands of what human beings do, or fail to do. I also feel drawn to mysticism in the sense that most understandings of separation, independence and isolation are illusions born of fear. I believe that when the sanctity of life is upheld anywhere, its effects are felt everywhere. And when one life is devalued, everyone’s living is cheapened.
I am influenced by the traditions of Judaism and Christianity because of how they tether our current movement to the history of our culture’s dominate religious sources. I see the power of these traditions’ stories and the way that our culture has incorporated them into the ethos of our society. I feel it is important that we understand these traditions if we are to be successful influencing the dominant ethical structure.
However, I have also experienced how western culture has framed religious exploration in the masculine context of transcendence and force often at the expense of the feminine immanence and intuitive transformation. My own personal spiritual practice draws from Buddhism in that I find my own grounding in a practice of meditation and my belief that we become more of our true selves when we let go of unnecessary attachments, many of which we end up holding onto out of fear.
Finally, I believe that psychology holds many of the keys toward deeper relationships – through greater awareness of the feelings, the needs they are reflecting and our history of experience and response-ability around certain basic needs. I believe that understanding ourselves is the key to understanding and serving others and the world around us.