This past Sunday, I shared that I would be accepting a position as Senior Minister of Unity on The River in January 2015. While part of me is saddened by the thought of no longer being a permanent presence here at Unity of Gaithersburg, I’d like to take this time to give a fuller picture as to how and why I became clear this was mine to do.
Unity on The River is in Amesbury, MA. It is located about an hour north of Boston, and is a slightly larger community than Unity of Gaithersburg. Their founding minister recently retired after 20 years, and the church invited me to apply for the position. My plan is to maintain residency in Gaithersburg and commute weekly to the job - it’s a short 1.5 hour plane ride from BWI Airport. I will remain employed here through the remainder of the year, Jennifer will continue to be minister of Unity of Gaithersburg, and yes, we’re staying married (in the absence of facts the rumors had begun to swirl).
Why this church? Why now? I have taught and spoken at this community more than a few times, so a relationship had already been established. Although I was very intrigued when they invited me to apply, my first inclination was to come up with all the reasons it wasn’t a good idea… which I did. Upon further prayerful discernment, I realized that my resistance was centered around fear: I was afraid of the strain it would put on my family; I was afraid I wasn’t ready to be a senior minister; I was afraid I would cause harm to Unity of Gaithersburg; I was afraid to step up into greater leadership. I have repeatedly spoken from the pulpit about living an open-hearted and fulfilled life, and there is no room for fear in that equation.
From a more practical standpoint, Unity of Gaithersburg is not a community that requires, or that can financially support, two full-time ministers. My part-time role here mostly entails administrative support duties. While such a role is essential to the operation of the church, it is not the role I prepared for in seminary. This new job is an opportunity to truly live my potential and my purpose. And what is my purpose? It is as the diagram below suggests: the intersection of my passion, my mission, my profession, and my vocation.
As I also shared on Sunday, my time here has been an experience of love, support, excitement, growth, and the making of lifelong memories. I am truly grateful and humbled by the opportunities you have given me to shine my light. Any successes and accolades I might receive in the future are a reflection of the time I have spent with this community.
Peace and Blessings,
Rev Ogun Holder