Pathway's former minister, Rev. Tony Lorenzen has started his second year at Hopedale Unitarian Church in Massachusetts.
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After eight years teaching in urban Catholic high schools in Massachusetts, Tony F. Lorenzen was persuaded to run for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 2002.He and fellow Green-Rainbow party candidate Jill Stein, who was running for the governors office, had a respectable showing, but finished third behind Mitt Romney and Kerry Healey.
Tony Lorenzen has since received a higher calling and is serving in a higher office as the 16th settled minister of Hopedale Unitarian Universalist Church.
The reason I was involved in politics is the same reason Im in the ministry there are values that I care about, said the Rev. Lorenzen, 49, who will be formally installed at a public ceremony at the church on April 3.
People shouldnt be hungry, they should have food to eat; they should have education; they should have housing; they should have healthcare, he said, adding they also shouldnt be treated differently for practicing a different religion, speaking a different language, looking differently, or being of a different gender or sexual orientation.
All those values are what we do in the ministry, said Rev. Lorenzen who was born in Fitchburg and grew up in Leominster.He attended Leominster public schools and earned a bachelors in English from Fitchburg State College.A 1994 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, he was raised Catholic, but left the church in 2003 to become a Unitarian Universalist minister.He was ordained on June 3, 2007.
Rev. Lorenzen said he was attracted to Unitarian Universalism because he felt the churchs values and traditions better aligned with his own ethical and moral grounding.
I just wanted it all to line up, and I thought it really lined up with the Unitarian Univeralist, which lives by its creed, he said.
Before coming to Hopedale in August, Rev. Lorenzen served in churches in Billerica and Weston.
He also spent time in Houston, Huntsville and Southlake, Texas, where his message was not always embraced outside the church walls.
He said when he first arrived in Texas in 2008, it was into a church that was trying to do more activism around LGBTQ issues.
The church took part in a nationwide campaign for equal rights for seven nights at a city center in Southlake, a community of about 27,000 people north of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Rev. Lorenzen spoke at the gathering.
He said the local paper that week contained a tirade against him, referring to him as a so-called reverend who was leading everybody to hell.
He said he called one of the local activists the church had worked with from the gay community to discuss what the newspaper had done.
The activist asked whether there had been any death threats, yet.
I said, no, theres no death threat, and he said, OK, good; youre still a rookie, then; theres really nothing to worry about there, Rev. Lorenzen said, recounting the incident with laughter.
He said while there was certainly that conservative element, the totality of his experience in Texas, particularly the urban centers, was that there are diverse people across the political and cultural map, and a growing liberalism.
Rev. Lorenzens Southlake congregation was recognized by the Tarrant County Faith-based Homelessness Coalition for its work helping to move homeless people into permanent housing.
He served as director of the South Central Alliance of Churches, which provided various services to people living in the southside neighborhood of Fort Worth, and he served on the board of the Keller (Texas) Farmers Market.He has worked for Amnesty International and as a pastor in Huntsville, the Texas city whose prison is home to the most active execution chamber in the country.
Rev. Lorenzens congregation staged regular protests outside the prison.
Here in Massachusetts, he has worked as a canvasser for MassPIRG and Mass Equality, served on the board of the Montachusett MLK Coalition and is currently involved with community efforts as part of the Milford Area Humanitarian Coalition.
A divorced father with a son in college, Rev. Lorenzen spends some of what down time there is writing for his Unitarian Universalist blog at sunflowerchalice.com.
He plays guitar and loves reading, chess, cribbage and geocaching.
He said he is hoping to place a greater emphasis on the latter of the 148-year-old churchs twin roles of gathering and sending.
He said Hopedale is really good at the gathering function, bringing people in and encouraging, inspiring, counseling and supporting them.
Sending has kind of fallen off the map a little bit.
So my thing is sending, he said, which involves dispatching the congregation out to forge community and develop relationships with diverse people.
Leadership - Thoreau Woods Unitarian Universalist Church
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