by Kristen Psaki, Ministerial Resident
One of my favorite ways to describe a minister is as a storyteller. Humans are a storytelling animal, after all. We think and learn and share and grow in and through stories. The story I shared with loved ones a few weeks after joining the ministry team last August was — I jumped into a very fast-moving river.
“You love to swim,” a friend said in response.
It’s true, I do — especially in rivers.
And soon there were more stories. Stories about love and heartbreak, resilience and fear, courage and connection and — community. Your stories. Stories about raising your now grown children in this church, stories about your experiences of loss in life and the celebrations you hold most dear. Stories about what tugs at your heart and the day-to-day struggle to raise a family, invest in your partner/spouse, pay attention to the world around us — and still have any space to breathe, mindfully. Stories about your aging parent in the hospital and your child’s journey to find a place where he/she/they belong(s) and feel(s) seen in a world of rising and widespread loneliness.
Stories about relationships you’ve made at Foothills and the way they’ve changed you — or saved you even. And stories about your choice to commit to those relationships and your own spiritual deepening in new ways. Many cups of coffee shared. Check-ins about your passion for justice, interest in God, love of the earth and journey of loving yourself.
There were jokes, too. And lots of laughter. Tears and singing and — community.
I have served as one of your ministers since August — many of you kindly and curiously asking me throughout these six months — “but what is a ‘Ministerial Resident’”? Credentialed as a minister by the Unitarian Universalist Association, but not yet ordained, I bring stories of hospital chaplaincy, justice work — and a love of church. Because church is one of the places where we get to share our stories — honestly, hopefully — and to make new ones, together.
What I’ve noticed so far is that communities that gather near a river are drawn to life and abundance, hope and possibility, reconnection and regeneration. We are no strangers to the cycles of life, often longing for life but recognizing the necessity of death — and hoping to share about it all with someone.
Perhaps the best part is the stretch of the river just ahead but a little bit out of sight — the yet to be known stories. It’s so good to be in this river with you — with new life (and sure, the occasional white water) unfolding in front of us.