In Another’s Words….

Rev. Heather Janules

 

“Deborah is an insightful, inspiring and highly-skilled architect and leader of worship. Whether she is contributing in a collective process towards planning a service that someone else will lead or designing her own service, Deborah is incredibly intentional about the message of each element of the service. Deborah does not just focus on the content of the text but also on how instructions are given, meditations are led, the connections between words, music and silence and the leading of rituals. She is clearly emotionally present during worship services, noting how energy ebbs and flows in the community in the moment, and brings this sensitivity to worship’s creation.”

Rev. Heather Janules, Winchester Unitarian Society, Winchester, MA

Rev. Sam Trumbore

 

“Deb comes to our ministry with many skills and talents.  Her organizational and managerial skills from running a kitchen and a restaurant well prepare her for the administrative and organizational development work that happens in congregations.  Managing a large, diverse staff has also tuned her ability to work with all kinds of people and attend to their personal, pastoral and spiritual needs.  Her diverse religious training at Kripalu has given her wide experience with different methods of spiritual practice that UUs today are hungry to adapt and use for their own growth and development.  The maturity developed through her experience and the life she has lived is evident in the engaging quality of her pulpit presence on Sunday morning.  I wish I had the resources to hire Deb to work with me in my congregation.  I recommend her highly.  She brings so much our movement needs for its continuing evolution and development.”

Rev. Sam Trumbore, First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, Albany, NY

Rev. Jake Marvel

 

” Deb brings confidence and awareness to her work as a chaplain. She embraces and welcomes different people’s experiences to such a degree that patients and staff feel very safe and comfortable with her. Deb focuses not only on providing care and comfort in the moment but intentionally seeks out opportunities to bring hope for growth to patients and staff. With peers and staff this guides her ability to nurture and seek change both for herself and in others. She does not shy away from being an advocate for patients and is able to communicate clearly, appropriately and professionally to those involved in a patients’s care to ensure a patient is being heard and receiving accurate information and appropriate care.”

Rev. Jake Marvel, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator, Pastoral Care Department Manager Albany Medical Center, Albany NY

Megan Dowdell

 

“Deb’s steady spiritual presence, persistent inquiring mind, and devotion to an informed and still fully-felt Unitarian Universalist faith were gifts to our entire group during our travels through Transylvania. Both the warm ease in Deb’s voice and the spiritual grounding I found in her presence was a particularly reassuring experience for me as a co-leader of this trip. It was a joy to witness Deb’s skills as well as to receive her ministry in this way.”

Megan Dowdell, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Society, Starr King School for the Ministry and co-leader of the Mindfulness Walk Across Transylvania, 2018

Sara Delano

 

“As a Pastoral Care Associate, I have experienced firsthand how Deb is able to connect with congregants and provide a compassionate presence during times of uncertainty or illness. At the same time, she is also able to provide ministerial leadership and insight as our PCA team wrestled with ways to deal with conflict and tension within our group. Deb has a light touch and sense of humor, combined with intuitive sensitivity and deep understanding of people and of organizations, that make her a remarkable minister.”

Sara Delano, Pastoral Care Team, Winchester Unitarian Society

Sheila McKenna

 

“When Deb Bennett came to our church as a ministerial intern, she brought a refreshing new approach to our services, creating meaningful exercises to open us up to new ideas, and dare I say it? Actual interaction.  We are an older congregation of very smart, occasionally radical social activists, who have that New England spirit of a impervious, outer protective layer, with a touch of the mid west, “Show me” thing going on inside.  Deb showed us.  She showed us her heart, her spirit, her dauntless humanity in the face of the political chaos, and hardship.  She inspires.

She opens her heart and our minds, and is the sort of person that even die hard introverted intellectuals start smiling at, and, yes, it can be told::  Some even have gone up and hugged her. Right here in Western Massachusetts, where that usually only happens after 10-12 years. People felt inspired, intellectually challenged and came away brim full of peace and warmth. And in a cold place, that is a damn fine thing.”

Sheila McKenna, Board member, Sunday Service Committee Chair, Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield, Pittsfield, MA

John Kramer

 

“As a music director I enjoy collaborating with Deb, she is very easy to work with. She is able to plan ahead and has clear and creative ideas. Deb is also flexible in her planning, allowing for dialogue between ideas and providing an opportunity to choose music that best matches her themes and the abilities of the choir and congregation. I find this last part so useful when choosing hymns together. In brief Deb is an excellent collaborator, able to project her service ideas in a way that support my ability to program and produce suitable music at a high level.”

John Kramer, Music Director, Winchester Unitarian Society, Winchester, MA

Rev. Rebecca Kelley-Morgan

 

“Deb has the dual ability to organize her time, and activities and to set aside “business” while being fully present to the human interactions.  She has genuine concern for the welfare of others as well as healthy regard for the covenantal relationships within the congregation’s setting.  She is at ease with individuals and groups and can establish boundaries with grace and humor–for example, she suggested that our parking signage be written thusly ‘Parking for (church) and (pre-school) only.  All others will be towed with loving kindness.'”

Rebecca Kelley-Morgan, Director of Religious Education, Winchester Unitarian Society, Winchester, MA,

Rev. Jan Hutslar, UU Congregation of Upper Valley, Norwich, VT

 

“Deb is a grounded, passionate person whose ministry is rooted in love. Her generous spirit and genuine warmth make her approachable and easy to connect with. She is a caring, holistic minister.” – Rev. Jan Hutslar

“I wanted to let you know how meaningful your services have been to me.  It’s obvious to me how much thought and feeling you put into them.  It seems to me, too, that you go beyond conventional approaches to life, and I appreciate that.” – Katherine Hoak, member, Pittsfield UU Church

I want to tell you how delightful I found your “Little Quill” story this week.  Your animation and depth made the adventure of the porcupines come alive.  You’re a wonderful storyteller!  I was smiling throughout the entire rendition, for I love stories where little animals come out ahead.  Thank you for bringing us your lovely talent.”  – Marion Jansen, Worship committee, UUMSB, Housatonic, MA

 

 

Reference contact information available by request.

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