The UFL is delighted to announce the arrival of Rev. Lauren Thomas
as our new interim minister.A graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary
in Chicago, "Laurie" comes to us from a recent internship at the Unitarian Universalist Church
in Flint, Michigan.Since the mid 1980's that she
has been passionately involved in a two-fold vocation--a woman with a disability ministering to others with disabilities, as well as able-bodied "liberal religious folks".During this time she has served as an employee advocate, personal advocate, peer counselor and youth transition coordinator in various settings.She has also held key leadership positions in church settings as a board trustee, in adult religious education, and on an accessibility task force.In addition, she served on a committee to select 2 interim ministers, providing her with unique insights into the process in which she now finds herself with our congregation.
In 1998 she
fulfilled another dream by writing "Proud Voices", a history of the Disability Rights Movement in Michigan.She has been a member of the UUA Accessibilities Committee since 2004, she has also served on the board of directors of The Leaven Centre in Lyons, Michigan, a retreat centre "committed to nurturing the relationship between spirituality and social justice," including a term as board president.
In 2006, she
also authored "Perspectives on Disability: A UU Curriculum for Adults."She
is deeply committed to working as part of a team ministry, and values honesty and openness in these relationships.It is her
strong conviction that we "are to be as leaven, agents of change out in the world, so I would expect myself and the congregation to be a presence in the wider community."At the same time, she recognizes the need to find a balance between this aspect of her ministry, and helping our congregation lay the groundwork for our next permanent minister.She
sees a vital role for intergenerational events in addition to an ongoing program of religious education geared to specific age groups, noting that "we are life long learners and our religious communities should nurture and reflect this."
In describing her
own core belief system, she
has called herself a "mystical humanist".