Rev. Stephen D. Edington
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In June of 2012 I concluded a 24 year ministry with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, New Hampshire.  This has been followed by Interim Ministries with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, New Hampshire, the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, Vermont, the First Church Unitarian of Littleton, Massachusetts and, currently, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast, ME. My Interim Ministry with the Belfast congregation will conclude in July of 2019.  

When I reflect on my religious and spiritual journey, including four-plus decades in the professional ministry, I find some of the late Jerry Garcia's words in his song Truckin' sum it up about as well as anything:

Sometimes I think the light is shining on me

Other times I can barely see

Lately it occurs to me

What a long, strange trip it's been.

It is a trip that has gone from the sin-and-salvation revival meetings in the evangelical Baptist church in which I was raised and where I first heard the call to ministry, to nearly 30 years in the UU ministry. Taken altogether it has been a strange--at times--but wonderfully positive road to have traveled thus far.

The first person I wanted to be like when I grew up was the minister of the Baptist church in St. Albans, West Virginia where I was raised--along with my three sisters (one of whom is now a UU minister herself). My college years at Marshall University in Huntington, WV were especially formative and transformative. Theologically speaking I moved from the right to the left wing of Protestant Christianity. Upon graduation, rather than heading south to Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY--which was the original plan going in--I went to the Colgate Rochester Divinity School of Rochester, New York in the fall on 1967.

It was quite a time to prepare for the ministry! Racial tensions ran high and the Vietnam War had come to be a seemingly unending folly. For those of us in seminary at that time, our mentors were people like Martin Luther King, William Sloane Coffin, and the Berrigan brothers. While my divinity school was an almost exclusively male preserve at the time, the gender walls were beginning to come down. One of my seminary classmates became the first woman Bishop in the United Methodist Church.

Thanks to a very liberal minded ordination review panel in Rochester, I was ordained to the ministry of the American Baptist Churches in 1971. My first six years out of seminary were spent as an interfaith campus minister at a couple of Mid-West universities: DePauw University and the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

It was during my time at UWSP, while my early 30s, that I found myself doing some intense spiritual and theological soul searching as I moved in a more humanistic direction, while still seeking a Reality greater than myself--however named.

I loved the ministry, however; and my interest in matters of religion and spirituality, along with a commitment to social justice, held me back from pursuing a strictly secular career. With the help and support of the (then) senior minister at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin I changed my religious affiliation and became a Unitarian Universalist minister. I was granted UUA Fellowship in 1978.

Since then I have served three Unitarian Universalist congregations: The first one was in Rockland, Maine (1979-84), followed by an Extension Ministry with a UU congregation in Stony Brook, New York (1984-88), and then I settled in for a long term ministry in Nashua, New Hampshire which concluded, as noted, in 2012.

That's the view from 30,000 feet of my life travels. Some of the more on-the-ground particularities of this journey, my time in the UU ministry in particular, are addressed at other places on this website. Some of the sermons I've posted help to fill in my personal odyssey in more detail.

I'm enjoying the move from settled to interim ministry (and/or to a more short term kind of ministry). I'm finding that while certain kinds of transitional skills are called for in an interim, or in a more short-term, setting many of the attributes of the professional ministry remain basic: Worship leadership/sermon preparation and delivery, matters of administration and governance, staff supervision, pastoral care, and representing our UU values and principles in the wider community in which the congregation is located.

I have completed the initial Foundations of Interim Ministry training that our UUA's Transitions Office requires for those pursuing its Interim Ministry track, as I continue to do.

Among my personal interests are research and writing. I have published four books: Kerouac's Nashua Connection (1999), The Beat Face of God: The Beat Generation Writers as Spirit Guides (2005), Troubadour and Poet: The Magical Ministry of Ric Masten (2007),  Bring Your Own God: The Spirituality of Woody Guthrie (2012), and  God is Not God's Name--A Journey Beyond Words.


                                                                  I  have on occasion taught a course as 
                                                   
an adjunct faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell on "The Literature of the Beat Movement."

 
My wife and I will have been married for 41 years in June on 2019.  We continue to reside in Nashua with our two dogs, Dakota and Xena.  We have one son, Gordon Michael--born January 9, 1984--who is a civil engineer.  He and his wife Crystal Cassidy Edington, reside in Kennebunk, Maine.  Gordon works in South Portland.  Michele and I have two granddaughters: Alexa Nicole Edington, born May 14, 2014 and Grace Lynn Edington, born April 15, 2017.  It has been my joy to officiate the Dedication and Naming Ceremonies for each of them and their parents--Gordon and Crystal.

 


To return to Mr. Garcia's words, the past seven decades have seemed long at times and a flash-by at other times. There have been times of enlightenment and great blessing: "The light shining on me;" and there have been times of challenge, testing, and wandering, when I could "barely see." And however strange some of the turns may have seemed at the time, they have turned out to be the right ones over time, and have brought me to place in my life where I can say "yes" to all that has brought me here.

 

The journey goes on. I look forward to continuing to share it.

Rev. Stephen Edington
Minister Emeritus of
The Unitarian Universalist Church
of
Nashua, New Hampshire

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