A Letter from Rev. Kent Matthies, January 19, 2022

Dear USG friends and members,

I hope this letter finds you healthy and well as the latest pandemic surge continues.

I write to inform you that this church year will be my last serving as Minister at the Unitarian Society of Germantown. Serving as your Minister for the last twenty years has been one of the most incredible blessings of my life.

I have discerned that this is the right time for me to complete this ministry and to say goodbye. I am not in search of another church job. Professionally, I do not know what I will do next. Currently I am taking courses at the Council for Relationships, which could prepare me to be licensed as a couple and family therapist. I find the studies exciting and work enriching. Hence, it is possible that I will walk the path of becoming a therapist. It is also true that I feel very open to whatever professional opportunities may come next.

I am thankful to so many: from the Search Committee that gave me a chance all the way through to the people I am working with today – and everyone in between – Gracias!!

I am deeply grateful for and proud of all the ministries we have engaged together in our church and in the city we love so much.

A hallmark of high quality ministries, shared between minister and congregation, is transformation. During our time together, our congregation and so many of us, absolutely including myself, have been transformed into higher levels of living our best lives.

With strong communal interdependence, we have lived out our mission of Building Beloved Community with compassion, service and empowerment. We have celebrated life and lifted spirits. We have celebrated birth of babies, weddings, graduations, and moments of enlightenment. We have helped each other get through divorces and the deaths of loved ones. We have helped each other get back up from addiction and rejection.

We have cherished this congregation’s history, we have lived out our UU principles, and we have stood for prophetic truth and promise. We have sung and danced, laughed and loved.

When I came to USG in 2002, I was a 34 year-old, single minister with lots of green behind my ears. In June I will leave this ministry as a 54 year-old, married man with two children. Kristin and I were married here, with you. Micah and Ellis have been dedicated and grown up in the Children’s Spiritual Development programs here, with you. The meaningful connections go deep.

The 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi wrote a poem which is one of my favorite hymns. “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. Ours is no caravan of despair. Come, yet again, come.” For many years I was puzzled by the term “lover of leaving”. However, endings are important and potentially beautiful experiences. The church teaches us to say goodbye with grace.

I am working closely with USG President Andrea Barsevick and the entire Board with the goal of ensuring a smooth and successful transition this coming summer. In the coming months, I want to wish each of you well, hoping I can do so in person, and to say goodbye with great heart and hopefulness. This is how we have been a caravan of love and hope from the beginning to the end.