Last modified by Janice Zazinski - 6 months ago
I grew up in the United Methodist faith tradition, and happily my home congregation was a progressive congregation in NJ. I attended Drew Theological School in Madison, NJ and graduated with a Masters of Divinity in 1988. While my goal was to enter ordained ministry at that time, I chose not to because of the UM denomination’s decisions to disallow the ordination of LGBTQ persons. I could not in good conscience support the United Methodist position, nor my ordination in the United Methodist Church at that time. I continued as a member of Methodist congregations until 2000 when I started to attend an UU congregation in Montclair, NJ, eventually joining the UU church in Cherry Hill, NJ, which continues to be my home congregation.
From very early in my life, beginning in high school, I felt called to professional ministry. Due to my decision not to get ordained in the Methodist Church I created a career in academia and non-profit work. I enjoyed both immensely, but I am internally compelled to circle back to my spirit’s true desire of ordained ministry. I believe that both my academic work and my non-profit work in various social justice areas will enrich my ministerial work.
My sense of ministry has always been about truly caring about people and our world, rather than “what to believe.” My “caring” takes the shape of authentically paying attention to others, and to radically hear them and affirm their being. A ministry of “presence” was really imprinted on me very early. “To be with” another without advising, correcting, or questioning is a fairly radical act and a very deeply meaningful one for me. This ministry of presence is based on my real belief in our connectedness and that our connectedness can be healing. My “caring ministry” also includes paying attention to and interacting in our world so that systems and structures and meanings are created to promote justice, health, and dignity, for individuals and for us communally.
I am also a musician. I play the cello and sing. Both my parents and all my siblings are also musicians of various levels. Music has always been in my life and it is a significant joy for me and helps me connect with the “spirit of life.”
A few of my hopes for my internship include deepening a ministry of “presence” and all its facets and creating a radical practice of self-care. I tend to “over do it.” An intentional and continual search for self-awareness is important to me, and seems key to my own well-being as well as an authentic ministerial praxis.
I am so excited to be with you for the coming year and I am grateful for your warm welcome support, and your willingness to help teach me and shape me for ministerial practice.
In peace and faith,
~ Andrea Spencer-Linzie