Humanist Prayers

Seminary changes you. Or at least it has changed me. I describe it as becoming simultaneously more yourself and someone different. My personal theology has not changed greatly, I’m still a Humanist. I do not believe in a supernatural deity. I believe we human beings are the ones needed to change things for the better and those responsible for when they in fact get worse.

I more strongly identify with Unitarian Universalism than when I began this journey, which makes sense and is a positive outcome since I am studying to be a UU minister. I have expanded my religious humanist thoughts to religious naturalism but that feels like a small shift in the grand scheme of things.

Then I started praying. This past summer, I completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in a hospital. I was basically an Intern Chaplain for ten of the most intense weeks of my life. My very first day, I walked into a hospital room to talk to a patient and was asked to pray. The patient was Catholic, I have never been that (but do have many Catholics in my life). She and her daughter were scared of what was about to happen. Scared of the unknown, the possibility of death, the possibility of being separated.

So, I prayed. I don’t remember the words I used but having rarely prayed in my life I held their hands and then didn’t know how to start… and then I said “Dear God.”

After that, I spoke about hope. Hope for the success of the upcoming procedure. Hope for the skill of the medical staff. Recognition of all the lives touched by the life I was praying for. Recognition that so many people not there were impacted by the lives in that hospital room.

I spoke about love, and I spoke about the power of their Catholic faith. I didn’t make promises. And then I ended in a Catholic way “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Not my way but theirs. This prayer was for them not me. Something given by me to them to show that I, a stranger with the title of Chaplain cared about them and recognized their faith as important and powerful in their lives.

I believe prayer calls our attention to what matters in our lives. In this moment what mattered was holding on to hope for the success of this procedure. The delaying of mortality for a day, or week, or month, or longer. What mattered was that I recognized the people whose hands I held we human beings and connected by love and relationship to people that cared deeply for them.

Having now prayed for individuals, congregations, and yes even by myself. I think that the commonality of prayer is that we each need to be reminded and have our attention called to hope, love, and connection to something beyond the individual.

Some call this God, I consider this to be the best of Humanity. I can pray for that.

Originally written as a blog reflection Spring 2017

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/christianoliverharris/

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Bio

Kevin W. Jagoe is a Unitarian Universalist Minister and currently serves BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Warrington, PA as their settled minister. Kevin is also a Humanist Celebrant and holds dual standing with the Unitarian Universalist Association & the American Humanist Association. He holds a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago as well as a Master in Nonprofit Management & BA in anthropology and criminal justice from Hamline University in Saint Paul. Kevin is also a graduate of the Humanist Institute where he obtained a Certificate in Humanist Studies & Leadership.

Past UU congregations & organizations he has served include: First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, the Church of the Larger Fellowship, Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, and First Universalist Church of Minneapolis.

Any writing on this site reflects the thoughts & opinions of Kevin W. Jagoe and do not represent the thoughts & opinions of BuxMont UU Fellowship. 

A Time of Transition

brooklynAs I write this, I am preparing for my spring intensives at Meadville Lombard in Chicago. At the end of this two week period, I will have completed year one of three of my seminary coursework. In that time, my life (and Justin’s) has changed dramatically.

I will be leaving my position at The Humanist Institute at the end of May. I will also be leaving my position at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis at the same time. Finally, I will be completing my internship with the MN Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance. Over the summer I will be in a Chaplaincy Internship (called Clinical Pastoral Education) at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

All of this is in preparation for beginning the next chapter. In August, I will be starting a two-year Ministerial Internship at First Unitarian of Brooklyn and a Learning Fellowship with the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Both of these will see me through to the end of my seminary program.

Justin’s life is also changing, he will be leaving almost a decade with BI Worldwide and completing his MFA in Writing. As we move to New York, he will begin the process of a career change as well. His goal is to pursue writing as close to full-time as possible.

We are both excited about this jump to pursue our passions and explore an exciting new city. We hope to see many people over this last summer (for now) in the Twin Cities!

Thankfulness at the Threshold

As we creep towards the precipice of 2015 and make that leap, step, or quiet sleep into 2016, I thought I would write something on my long-neglected site.

I have been lucky enough to travel throughout the year all around this planet. I’ve shared wonderful times with friends and family. I’ve moved forward in so many ways on my path towards ministry, yet feel like I’ve just begun. And I have been lucky enough to share so much with my husband who both supports me and pushes me to keep going.

2015 has been an amazing year of change and continuation, here are my highlights:

  • I rang in 2015 in Jerusalem as part of a Conflict Resolution class focusing on religious identities.
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  • I celebrated my 30th birthday on a cruise with one of my dearest friends Ryan and a whole group of our created family.
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  • I presented at the national NTEN conference in Austin, TX with the amazing Cary Walski about emotional intelligence in online fundraising.
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  • I celebrated one year of marriage and eight years of amazing relationship and adventure with Justin.
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  • I graduated from Hamline School of Business with a Master in Nonprofit Management Degree.
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  • I led a First Unitarian Society youth trip to Portland, OR for the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly. I also became an Aspirant for UU Ministry.NYE_JuneImage
  • I began my new Master of Divinity program at Meadville Lombard Theological School with Tony Pinn’s African American Humanist Theology and met a group of amazing new friends/colleagues.
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  • I said goodbye to my aunt Barb after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
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  • I said yes to amazing and challenging new opportunities – my community studies site at the Salvation Army & creating programs with the MN Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA). NYE_SeptemberImage
  • I attended my first Continental Gathering of UU Seminarians in Chicago, IL.
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  • I taught a class of graduate students about Humanist Morals & Ethics along with Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons at The Humanist Institute. (image is from my class at the Institute):
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  • I led my first full service on Christmas Eve at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.
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2016 is already shaping up to be full of adventure, promise, and challenge. I hope your new year is as well!

I’m Consolidating My Online Life!!

digital_lifeUPDATE: I am now moving back to HumanistNotes.com as my primary digital home. One day, I hope to settle in a stay somewhere long enough to develop a solid following. Lets hope this is that time for the foreseeable future!

Hello loyal readers!

If you are seeing this, I am moving this blog’s posts to my primary website – http://www.KevinWatson.me

It is also a WordPress.com blog so you can subscribe to me there!

I’ve been doing a whole host of things the past few years:

  • blogging about humanism and other topics that catch my fancy
  • doing graphic and web design
  • branding and marketing for nonprofits and small businesses
  • performing non-theistic weddings
  • doing community building and volunteer work in humanist, atheist, and lgbt communities

Now, I’m trying to put all of that information in one place. I will blog there, have portfolios of work there, and have information about hiring me for various things there. This makes it so much easier to find me and for my business cards be reasonably legible all at the same time.

I’m doing this all under my tagline:

Kw: speaking, writing, designing
www.KevinWatson.me

…and I’m back!

Hello my faithful unbelieving readers (I know you are out there because I’ve actually heard from a couple folks during the past few months, so thank you!). Life got hectic and unfortunately this blog fell to the wayside for a time. There were summer travels, a few speaking gigs, a couple amazing humanist-related projects, and settling into my new job.

I’m back now, and just wanted to give a brief update of where I’m at with things Humanist and otherwise. In upcoming posts I plan to talk about a recent event with Chris Stedman from the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard; an update about where things are at with the Humanist Institute; and some potential new work around interfaith organizing.

Since my last post:

  • Shortly after my last post I presented “It Matters How We Communicate” on a panel of amazing Unitarian Universalist folks at the Prairie Star District of the Unitarian Universalist Associasion’s (PSD-UUA) annual conference entitled “It Matters What We Believe,” there is a reason acronyms exist! Out of this speaking experience I have begun the process of networking my way into more Communications/Marketing speaking gigs, more on that below.
  • I completed my first of three years of the Humanist Institute in April as well. The final gathering of year one was about world religions and I will have an upcoming post about that experience as well.
  • Also in the past few month’s I’ve been speaking about nonprofit communications, social media, and fundraising to a variety of audiences.
  • I’ve been a part of conversations happening in Minnesota on the 2012 anti-marriage amendment that would write discrimination into my home state’s constitution.

Upcoming Excitement:

  • I’ve been working on a special project as well which is due to be completed by December, online introductory courses on a variety of topics from the humanist perspective.
  • I’ve begun some great conversations around Humanism on college campuses and high schools here in Minnesota.
So, stay tuned friends. The good news about my lack of writing is that I now have a stockpile of topics to get some new posts created!