Church News and Announcements

From Our Director of Ministries with Children and Youth and Our Senior Minister

Sunday, March 01, 2015
Dear Members and Friends of First Unitarian Church,

As the wheel of the year turns toward Spring and new beginnings, I bring you the
news that I will be retiring from my position as Director of Children and Youth
Ministries at the end of June, 2015. I have served this wonderful congregation for
fifteen and a half years with tremendous support from our families, from the
dedicated teachers and youth advisors who are the locomotion of the program,
and from my colleagues, the other staff of the church. And, most importantly, I
have been rewarded by being part of the faith formation of generations of our
children and youth, people who we can all take great pride in knowing.

I offer you the news now, in early March, so that I can be as helpful as possible in
the transition toward new leadership. As good will has been extended to me for
all the days, weeks, months and years I have been here, so do I want to extend
good will and blessings to this next phase of church life.

My decision has not been a hasty one! I have been actively considering retirement
for a couple of years now, and have spoken with Rev. David, Rev. Robin and the
RE Council about that possibility over the past several months. I’d be ready to
give notice, and something wonderful would happen, like the High School Sunday
service...or a service-learning trip...or an extraordinary lesson on an ordinary
Sunday...or oh, 1000 things, that would postpone the decision.

It is not I who makes these wonderful moments happen. More times than not I have
witnessed the possibility and potential of great things that happen when people
bring their hopes and aspirations to a place where there is room to unfold. With
vision, mission and belief in the potential of Unitarian Universalist religious
education, I open the door to new possibilities, potential, and leadership.

With deep gratitude,

Jennifer Halperin

Jennifer Halperin’s departure as our Director of Ministries with Children and Youth is
a huge loss for First Unitarian Church. Jennifer has served our congregation with
extraordinary skill and devotion for the past fifteen years. She has provided both
stability and innovation in her role, steadily moving our children and youth
ministries program toward greater excellence through her own professional
development, her push to weave social justice and multiculturalism into our church,
her ongoing mentoring of our volunteer teachers, and her warmly welcoming
presence. Moreover, she has provided highly respected leadership for her
religious education colleagues in the Liberal Religious Educators Association
(LREDA) on local, regional, and national levels.

Here at First Unitarian Church, I have deeply appreciated Jennifer’s counsel and
wisdom over many years in many different situations. She has offered
encouragement, challenge, reassurance, and common sense in our conversations. It
has been a great privilege to work with Jennifer for so many years, and I will
always treasure my opportunities to engage in shared ministry with her at First
Unitarian Church.

Later this spring, we will have a couple of opportunities to say Thank You and
Farewell to Jennifer for her distinguished service to our religious community. Plans
for these very special events are still in process, so please watch for

The Board of Trustees and I have agreed that an appropriate course of action
would be to hire an interim religious educator for one or two years. An interim
religious educator would have special training and experience in working with
congregations during staff transitions. Working with an interim religious educator
would give our congregation an opportunity to go through a process of reflection
on what we want our children and youth ministry program to become in future
years. Working with an interim religious educator would also give our
congregation an opportunity to conduct a thorough search for Jennifer’s successor.

Although Jennifer’s departure is a great loss, we also have an opportunity to build
on the remarkable contributions that Jennifer has made to the life of First
Unitarian Church over many years. I trust that this will be a time not only for
appreciation, gratitude, and sorrow with regard to Jennifer’s departure, but also
a time of renewed vision, commitment, and joy as we prepare to begin a new
chapter of faith development for children and youth here at First Unitarian

See you in church!

Rev. David

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First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 621-8008     Map and directions
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