A Letter on Kent Matthies’ Post-USG Ministry Boundaries

Dear USG members and friends,

We are writing to you regarding Rev. Kent’s upcoming departure from service as the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Society of Germantown, effective June 30, 2022.

Many of us have been wondering, and asking, about keeping in touch with Kent after his departure. Kent and USG leadership have been discerning what will be best for the overall health of USG and for Kent and his family. We hope this letter will provide clear guidance for everyone in our beloved community.

The boundaries we lay out here are in alignment with the guidelines and ethics of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA), to which Kent and all UU ministers commit. (Anyone who would like to read UUMA Guidelines for the Conduct of Ministry can find these on the UUMA website, here: uuma.org/page/guidelines.)

Our goals includes the following: respect and care for the health of our congregation, to honor Kent’s commitment to the interim minister and settled minister who succeed him, and to allow Kent time to reframe the next chapter of his life. With these in mind, Kent will not initiate any contact with any of us for some time after his departure. In turn, we need to refrain from initiating contact with Kent, whether through phone, text, email, or social media. 

Many of us at USG have built deep and meaningful relationships with Kent, as well as with Kristin, Micah, and Ellis. We want to acknowledge that his departure, and the boundaries around communication afterward, will stir sadness in some of us and in Kent. 

Although Kent’s wife Kristin is not bound by the same UUMA covenants as Kent, Kristin has decided to take some space from USG activities for some time as well. 

Unlike recent previous ministers who have retired from their service at USG, Kent and his family will remain in Philadelphia and thus continue being part of the local community. Many of us are likely to encounter them at places like the grocery store, or anywhere around town. In such contexts Kent, of course, welcomes greetings and brief chats. However, he has an obligation not to discuss USG church matters with us during these conversations.

The USG Board and Committee on Ministry are happy to answer any questions you may have about this or any other aspect of the upcoming leadership transitions.

In Faith,
Andrea Barsevick, Board President
Shobhi Kanal, Chair of Committee on Ministry
Rev. Kent Matthies, Minister