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RevRussellP

How Did/do People Respond You When You Minister To Them As A Ulc Minis

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Hi all and peace be upon you!

I would like to ask people to share their experiences of begining their preaching as a ULC minister. Especialy the responses of people who may have known you for a time before you became ordained. also do you were a clergy shirt? if so how do people react to this?

kind regards and god bless

Rev. Russell Pearson

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Not surprisingly, the ones who took me least seriously when I was ordained were my own family, which is sad, seeing as I had been in the commissioned lay ministry for almost 20 years prior to the ULC. Now, thankfully, they realize I chose the ULC for the freedom to minister to those the church often forgets: homeless, homebound, ill, mentally unstable, the elderly....

One couple who are the main reason I became ordained were "abandoned" by their church or many years. They became too disabled to make the trip to the church building, and when they requested a clergy visit, they were informed that "father is much to busy for that sort of thing." Sickening.

One needs to reassess one's calling to the ministry if one is not willing to wind up in an ER at 2 am after working a double shift.

Since I follow a Christian path, I always relate my willingness to serve to this: what if the Lord said "Father, I would rather not go to the cross."?

As far as clergy shirts, they have their place, but I tend not to bother, unless I am going to an ER or someplace where one needs to clearly convey the status of minister quickly. Most of my "flock" are just plain folk who take me in whatever I'm dressed in. As a mentor once said, "you are as much a minister in a clerical shirt as you are in sweat pants. It is not the outfit, but the service that makes one a minister."

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I have always been the one that people come to for advice, but people also know my past lol. Many have been receptive to it. The ones who give me the most grief are the ones who try to sit high, mighty, and righteous and aren't living right themselves. People know that I am going to be me and that's what draws people to me. As far as clerical clothes, I haven't but I would probably be a lesser dressed cleric anyways lol...Professional but comfortable.....

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Blackowt...frankly many years ago "black out Al" was a moniker people used for me due to excessive substance and alcohol abuse. As I said...many years ago, but was what got me into counseling substance abusers.

Since I have several aspects to my ministering, I simply wear a nice black or pinstriped suit for formal occasions and then of course for my more esoteric works the brown muslin robe I hand made some 20 years ago, adding my sleeve chevrons, crescents, triskelons and hash marks as I progressed through the Gild ranks. Being on call for "Alternative Religion" duties at the county jail, that only requires my ID badge and casual slacks/shirt. I try not to freak people when out in public in my robe, but the several occasions to do so most people actually have said "monk" before anything else...sorta funny.

Like others have said, it seems family was the worst for being put off by my choice of being ordained by the ULC but some even scoffed when I was studying at Phillips Theological (Universalist/Unitarian)...so be it, their guffaw and bad. Especially those who claimed I was following the "false teachings" or "non-Christian" theologies when in truth, it just wasn't their 'brand'. Actually, I'm going through what seems to be "Round 10" of a never ending prize fight with my elderly mother and her church group of friends, again. I honestly don't mind our differences of opinions regarding "salvation" however it's their hypocrisy that drives me nutz....i.e; banishing LGBT sons and daughters and several other controversial issues. I'm certain this will die out soon, as usual....and until next time! ;)

In the mean time, I simply stick to what I know to be my Truth.

Blessings of Peace,

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Blackowt...frankly many years ago "black out Al" was a moniker people used for me due to excessive substance and alcohol abuse. As I said...many years ago, but was what got me into counseling substance abusers.

Since I have several aspects to my ministering, I simply wear a nice black or pinstriped suit for formal occasions and then of course for my more esoteric works the brown muslin robe I hand made some 20 years ago, adding my sleeve chevrons, crescents, triskelons and hash marks as I progressed through the Gild ranks. Being on call for "Alternative Religion" duties at the county jail, that only requires my ID badge and casual slacks/shirt. I try not to freak people when out in public in my robe, but the several occasions to do so most people actually have said "monk" before anything else...sorta funny.

Like others have said, it seems family was the worst for being put off by my choice of being ordained by the ULC but some even scoffed when I was studying at Phillips Theological (Universalist/Unitarian)...so be it, their guffaw and bad. Especially those who claimed I was following the "false teachings" or "non-Christian" theologies when in truth, it just wasn't their 'brand'. Actually, I'm going through what seems to be "Round 10" of a never ending prize fight with my elderly mother and her church group of friends, again. I honestly don't mind our differences of opinions regarding "salvation" however it's their hypocrisy that drives me nutz....i.e; banishing LGBT sons and daughters and several other controversial issues. I'm certain this will die out soon, as usual....and until next time! ;)

In the mean time, I simply stick to what I know to be my Truth.

Blessings of Peace,

thank you for sharing your experiences with us here. i am happy that you have come through what must have been extremly difficult times and found a way to cellebrate your faith and LIFE and help to empower other people. May the lord smile upon you and grant you strength to continue your work.

peace be with you

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People don't do anything after I have ministered to them because I am a Ninja Minister and they don't even realize it. I plant my seeds and move on as I know truth cannot fail but to bring forth fruit. I let my light so shine so that others are drawn unto the love of God.

Edited by Fawzo

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I have a bachelor's degree in psychology, and by profession I am a counselor at a mental health facility. I generally adopt the same demeanor when presenting myself as clergy and people tend to be respectful. (People respond well to calm and confident.) When you are respectful to others they tend to show respect to you. If you take your role as a minister seriously, most will take you seriously. (As we all know, a title in and of itself does not always command respect.) I would have to say that I have have had mostly positive experiences :). Most accept me in the role of minister, more people have a problem with the actual path I follow.

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Gwydion- "calm and confident"...that's excellent and ever so correct. When we are confident we will get to the bottom of an issue, or help a situation in any way at all, that truly does seem to get results. You've probably seen what I have and that is getting the people with the problem involved in their own healing or progressing forward. Once they take the interest and know they can be in control of their own destiny, it's usually not long before handing over the reins to them and letting them drive themselves into a positive future.

Fawzo- "Ninja Minister"...love it and also inspiring. When someone comes to the crossroads of Self discovery it's a beautiful thing. When we have the opportunity to hear of their struggles and then eventual healing... but they don't know exactly when it began... it always puts a smile on my face. Usually, it's like you said, they heard something or a single thought (seed) was implanted and things began to change in a positive way.

I don't think there's very many of us who want fame or notoriety or credit for helping our fellow travelers on this planet. I think one of the fundamentals of being a ULC minister (or ?title?) is simply a sower of many good seeds. As we progress, we look back and see many, many healthy crops...and that has to be the biggest reward!

Blessings Be,

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Gwydion- "calm and confident"...that's excellent and ever so correct. When we are confident we will get to the bottom of an issue, or help a situation in any way at all, that truly does seem to get results. You've probably seen what I have and that is getting the people with the problem involved in their own healing or progressing forward. Once they take the interest and know they can be in control of their own destiny, it's usually not long before handing over the reins to them and letting them drive themselves into a positive future.

Fawzo- "Ninja Minister"...love it and also inspiring. When someone comes to the crossroads of Self discovery it's a beautiful thing. When we have the opportunity to hear of their struggles and then eventual healing... but they don't know exactly when it began... it always puts a smile on my face. Usually, it's like you said, they heard something or a single thought (seed) was implanted and things began to change in a positive way.

I don't think there's very many of us who want fame or notoriety or credit for helping our fellow travelers on this planet. I think one of the fundamentals of being a ULC minister (or ?title?) is simply a sower of many good seeds. As we progress, we look back and see many, many healthy crops...and that has to be the biggest reward!

Blessings Be,

I can tell from the few short years of conversing with you on-line my friend that you have helped to plant many a splendid garden indeed.

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Ya know, ya'll's bring up a good point. I left the church of my youth because there was so much emphasis on the wrong things. It all came to light one Sunday morning as the rector said to me, "Ready to put on the show?" The light went on then and there - to him there was no longer a reverence or a call to service. It was just another performance in a series, and he was there to entertain the audience instead of enlightening the congregation. I knew in that instant that I was never going to minister like that.

I love how in the course of my work at the facility families are initially shocked to learn that I am a minister. Usually, the shock wears away quickly, especially with family members of residents near death. One family member was very pleased to learn that I had had extensive conversations with one of my residents prior to her passing, and this resident's faith path was such that she had no doubts what the next step in her life was. I had no problems discussing this with the resident. The key is to be sensitive and to let the resident take the lead. I do not attempt to impress my values on the situation, but I will be honest when asked if I believe ... or ... . I will state that either yes, I do share that belief or leave it simply that my belief is different. I have found that my residents often want to talk about death, but have a hard time finding people who will listen. They usually get the perky "Oh, let's talk about something happy...," or a change of subject. I am not afraid of tough talk. And I have enough love and respect for my residents to talk about things that no one else is willing to take on, and I have the professional wisdom to tell them when it's time to take the discussion to someone better equipped to assist. I have gotten my residents mental health care when it was needed. It is my obligation not only as a minister but as a worker in a facility dealing with the elderly to ensure their welfare is always primary.

I also minister to families - not directly, as in quoting scripture, but indirectly, such as caring for their emotional being. Tonight I have a resident who is near death. His daughters are at his side. I know they are not going to leave, and I also know they have not had a chance to eat. Since I work in dietary services, I made certain to chat with the chef and had a tray of sandwiches, something to drink, and a few snacks put aside in the nurse's station that they can bring to feed the daughters as an opportunity arises. I have done this many times with many family members over my two years at this facility. It has been 25 years since I lost my father, but I have never forgotten those who were there for me when I needed the most care. Now it is my turn to pay it forward - sometimes multiple times over. I am not seeking any special recognition, but I do appreciate that many times families have written to the corporate offices mentioning that I have made a difference to the resident and also to the family, especially as a resident came to the end of their life.

I think it makes it easier on many people that I have a different relationship with death than most. I don't fear it, and I don't think of it in negative terms. If anything, for those with Christian beliefs, I should be called upon to celebrate their joining their creator in Heaven. But beliefs aside, I do want every resident to feel loved, and sometimes I am the closest thing to family they have. My management sometimes gets angry with me (tough!) because I have been known to shed more than a few tears with or about a resident. If I have learned nothing more about people, I can offer this: you can not honestly say you love someone and not be willing to have your heart broken. I am willing to have my heart broken over an over, because I can not do what I do, and certainly can not do it with any integrity unless I offer my whole heart, and love these folks unconditionally. Yes, I admit I have favorites - I am human - but even the ones who are difficult to love are in fact loved.

Management has finally given up on trying to correct me for two things I have said to residents: "I love you," and "God bless you." The former because they need to hear it, and I truly do feel that way (if I don't I am not going to say it), and the latter if their beliefs are such that they believe in a loving God who cares for them, there is nothing wrong with reinforcing what they believe. I am happy that my executive director is not a jerk and the corporate mentality of the parent company for our facility has a strong respect for the spiritual aspect of life as one of the life quality issues we directly address. We are allowed to embrace spirituality in the presence of our residents, provided we are respectful of differences in path and do not attempt to steer a resident in any specific direction. Usually the advice of the house is if you don't know how a resident believes or you can't keep your own opinion to the side, don't talk of spiritual matters. I have had plenty of residents who do not share even a shred of my belief set. And that is their right, and I do respect that. I am not the one to talk to them about matters of faith. I am happy to have appropriate clergy called in for them if they want, or leave it alone as benefits the resident.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to remember it is never about me. It is always about those I serve.

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From friends I got- "You're a WHAT?" From family I got- "You're kidding, right?" Strangers are skeptical, but God seems to be OK with it.

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I had one friend I told. This is the sort of friend who I would listen patiently as he told me all about his Pentacostal type evangelical beliefs and church he spends so much time in. I would give this guy an audience for his faith discussion for a while.

When i told him, he said something like: "Well I have faith that my Pastor is properly qualified and ordained".

He made his thoughts known loud and clear.

I tend not to have much to do with him any more. I think a friend acts like a friend, they don't put you down.

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Most of my family stopped talking ti me. Most of my friends stopped talking to me. The few family and friends that remain are "proud" of me leaving my "old life" behind are having issues with my beliefs. Most people im meeting since becoming a pastor seem to like me and have no issue (except for the guy mentioned in the "Honest Question" topic) with me being ordained through ULC.

As far as clergy-wear, no i dont. I dress fairly conservative and clean. Im a "come as you are" type of minister. Most people like me for the reason i "look" like them.

I mainly have problems from other pastors of different denominations, but they have problems with each other anyway.

Basically, most people arent concerned how I was ordained.

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