“We Begin Again in Love“
Ponderings of the Spiritual Life Director
Welcome to my new column! Here is where I will offer you insights into church life, theological ponderings, and my hopes and aspirations for our Unitarian Universalist community. This column will be published in our weekly newsletter, on our website, on our Facebook page, and posted on our hallway bulletin boards.
Let me start by introducing (or re-introducing) myself to you: I am Heather Norby, the Spiritual Life Director for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lakeland. I have been a member of this church for 11 years and was the Director of Religious Exploration for 8 of those years. During those years as DRE, the calling to ministry grew strong within my heart and soul. I attended many trainings and workshops which taught me about Unitarian Universalism and congregational leadership. I knew that ministry was THE thing that I wanted to do. Of course, life is complicated and sometimes the path we choose leads us to meander in unexpected ways. While I still hear seminary calling my name, there was a more immediate call to serve unfolding itself before me. I am so blessed that the opportunity to serve this congregation as the Spiritual Life Director opened up for me this year. I will be providing the congregation with ministerial services in the areas of Worship and Programming, Faith Development, Pastoral Care, and Leadership and Administration.
My educational and work experiences are many and varied. I graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1995 with a BA in Anthropology. I then went to graduate school at Florida Atlantic University and focused on Caribbean Archaeology. Although I did do work in the field as an archaeologist for a short time, I have also worked in retail management, floral design, substitute teaching, started my own green cleaning business, and am a vendor at a local antique mall. Additionally, somewhere in the midst of all this, I obtained my teaching certificate in Elementary Education and taught Kindergarten in Polk County schools for 5 years.
I clearly remember an assignment I was given in the 5th grade in which we had to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said I was undecided but was thinking about archeologist, teacher, and minister. I have certainly meandered down the paths to all three of these, as if I needed to try it all out before figuring it all out. Thirty-five years later, I have found the path that my heart truly yearns to travel down, and it was this UU congregation that helped me get there. I don’t regret taking the long, complicated way to get here. I traveled through light and through storms, and certainly it has all put me exactly where I should be.
Here I am, ready for a new beginning with all of you. What a joy it is to be together and to think about the many ways we can nurture our souls and heal our world! I am ready to listen to all of you as we walk this path together.