The Board of Trustees voted unanimously today, July 7th, to hire Rev. Ben Atherton-Zeman as our Interim Minister. Before his move into UU ministry, Rev. Ben had a 30-year career in the feminist movement, working in a number of organizations to prevent sexual and domestic violence. With a background in theatre, he wrote and performs a one-man play, “Voices of Men,” about sexual harassment, abuse, and domestic violence, a performance that he’s delivered around the world. As a long-time Unitarian Universalist, Rev. Ben felt called to UU ministry several years ago.
While working on his Masters Degree in Divinity at Boston University, he served for 2 years as a part-time ministerial intern with UU Nashua NH. After successfully completing that internship, Rev. Ben was ordained in May and anticipates receiving his Masters of Divinity degree in September so ours will be his first full-time ministry…. and we are super excited.
The Interim Minister Search Committee was impressed with Rev. Ben’s thoughtfulness, enthusiasm, energy, and a strong commitment to Unitarian Universalism. He noted that “social justice is the soul of my ministry and covenant is its heart” and believes that social justice work and individual spiritual growth go hand-in-hand. It is clear that Rev. Ben is committed to the shared ministry model across the three primary areas of his responsibility: church administration, transitional work, and ministerial responsibilities for worship, pastoral care, and adult education. He’s experienced in conflict resolution, “you start by listening,” and is trained in the use of conflict resolution circles. Throughout his divinity school training and internship, he’s developed a wide web of relationships with ministerial colleagues who he’s turned to, and to whom he will continue to turn, for advice and guidance.
The Committee talked with the chair of his internship committee and his supervising minister at UU Nashua, and with the minister of his home congregation in Stow-Acton MA. Each person was wholly supportive of Rev. Ben, affirmed his enthusiasm and energy around ministry, his love of people and easy ability to make connections, and his commitments to social justice and shared ministry.
We have hired Rev. Ben on a one-year contract with an option to renew. While we eagerly await Rev. Ben’s arrival, you can watch his sermons at UU Nashua by clicking here. ~ Sharon Winters