One or both co-ministers usually lead Sunday morning worship. Recognizing that the social, experiential, theological and cultural assumptions of our community are broader than any two people can faithfully represent, our ministers work with a cadre of Worship Associates.
Responsibilities of Worship Associates
Each Worship Associate assists the minister in planning, preparing and presenting the Sunday morning worship. Each Worship Associate conducts approximately 6-8 services each year. Some experienced Worship Associates may also work with speakers besides the minister. Finally, a Worship Associate may also have opportunities in the summer to be Worship Leader where they craft the central message (sermon) and work with another Worship Associate supporting the liturgy.
Together, members of the Worship Associates Team meet monthly to 1) reflect intellectually, emotionally, socially and spiritually on each month’s themes and share ideas for upcoming services; 2) engage in experiential learning opportunities to understand the art and intention of worship theory, design and practice; and 3) do logistical planning regarding putting together the congregational Sunday and Vesper worship.
Current Worship Associates
Cynthia was raised in a devout Catholic family in New Orleans. While she appreciated many aspects of her religious experiences as a child, she came to reject Catholic doctrine when she was a young adult. For more than a decade, she resisted the notion of organized religion. After moving to the Bay Area with her family in the mid-1980’s, she and her partner, Maryann, recognized a need to provide their young child with a faith community consistent with their beliefs and values. As Cynthia has often commented, she came to UUCB for her daughter, then stayed for herself. Cynthia was particularly drawn to Sunday morning worship, which she considers a deeply spiritual experience.
Jeanne Foster grew up in the First UU Church of New Orleans, graduated with Honors from Tulane, received an MA in philosophy from University of Texas, Austin, an MDiv. from Starr King, and served as minister in Modesto. She earned her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Religion, Literature and the Arts. Currently Professor of Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, her poems have appeared in numerous journals. A Blessing of Safe Travel won the QRL Poetry Award. Among her other books are Appetite: Food as Metaphor, A Music of Grace: The Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry, and Goodbye, Silver Sister. Her passions are ballroom dancing and Tuscany and, in particular, ballroom dancing in Tuscany.
Raised in the Episcopalian faith, Jim found the “confirmation classes” his home church taught adolescents enlightening, to the point of dis-confirming his belief in many tenets of the Apostles’ Creed. After a long period of disinterest in organized religion, an intense mystic experience in Nepal led him to search for a spiritual home. He explored Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Sufi forms of worship before finding the UU Church of All Souls in Manhattan. He joined UUCB soon after moving to California. He has facilitated Chalice Circles, sings in the choir, prepares service slide presentations, and serves as Webmaster of uucb.org.
The reincarnation of a Roman gladiator, Sarah is currently the last living devotee of the mystic cult of Mithraism. While on a spelunking trip in the Pyrenees, she witnessed the emergence of Mithras from the rock wall of the cave, carrying a dagger in one hand and a torch in the other. As flames shot from the god’s Phrygian cap, he commanded the astonished Sarah to lead a revival of his devotion.
Unable to find any other Mithraists to lead, Sarah wandered far and wide, attempting to convince others of the reality of her vision. Finally someone made a suggestion that changed her life: “Why don’t you join the Unitarians? They’ll take anybody.” Finding her way to UUCB, she soon realized that she had found a spiritual home.