Rev. Nathan Ryan Ministerial Search Page
Dear Ministerial Search Committee,
It is with great humility that I express my interest in the senior ministry position at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge. I have been lucky enough to serve this great church for 8 years. You deserve a senior minister who can help elevate Unitarian Universalism in and around Baton Rouge. I hope my ministry will assist in that.
In my 16 years working in Unitarian Universalist churches I have never seen a congregation more kind, more compassionate or more spiritually mature. Serving under your Minister Emeritus, Rev. Steve Crump, was an honor. Steve was generous enough to share the ministry with me in ways that allowed my ministry to thrive. The role of second minister is complicated. It requires prioritizing the vision and expertise of the Senior Minister over your own. If you understand this, and you have a good senior (as I did), then a second minister's job can be vibrant and fulfilling (it was).
As such, the congregation may not be aware that I am a Credentialed Religious Educator. There are only a few hundred of us in our association. As a DRE I ran a program of 150 children and youth. I was the Lay Ministry Director at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas where I oversaw a membership of more than 1100. I saw the impact of professional worship in a church that takes itself seriously. I've modeled much of my ministry on those standards.
I was a director on the Southwestern District Board when we made the transition towards policy based governance. I worked at First Dallas (a congregation operating fully under policy governance) as Rev. Laurel Hallman, their long serving Senior Minister, retired and they transitioned their 8 year tenured Associate Minister, Rev. Daniel Kanter, into the senior role. I know the transition is hard and complicated. This church has made great strides, and it is time to take the next step in this transition.
I have three wishes for a shared ministry with the church:
1. I want the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge to be a keystone church. I want it to be a spiritual destination in and around Baton Rouge. I think we can do that together. This church is built on a solid foundation of pastoral care and a commitment to community. It has the inertia and the grounding to do so. It just needs a little nudging to get there.
2. I want a church that truly reflects the diversity of Baton Rouge. This church has work to do (all churches have work to do). I've already seen this congregation take the work of racial reconciliation seriously. I've been honored to brag about this church's work to colleagues and fellow Unitarian Universalists all over the country. I think it's a model. I want to be a part of creating a beloved community where all cultures are welcomed and celebrated.
3. I want a church that takes Unitarian Universalism seriously. This is a life changing, salvific faith. I want to be a part of a congregation that understands the awesome power and responsibility that comes from being a part of this religion.
I know we still have a long way to go. This is a great church, and anyone would be lucky to serve it. I hope that you will consider me as your next senior minister. I've loved the work we've done together and am excited about what may come.
Rev. Nathan Ryan, CRE