Rev. Diana L. Smith will be coming to be our Interim Minister, starting in August. Diana is a new, second career minister – in fact WUUC sent flowers to her ordination, which was the same day as our annual meeting! She has decided to specialize in interim ministry, so this is not a step toward a hoped-for settlement, but a chosen focus. Before going into the ministry, Rev. Diana had a career at the WA Dept. of Ecology and considers Olympia UU to be her “home church.”  The Search Team was impressed with Rev. Diana’s background in bringing stakeholders to be part of planning processes. She admits to being a ‘policy & governance geek’ and said she was drawn to WUUC because of the congregational issues we named in our application. The Team was also heartened to hear that Rev. Diana has experience working as part of a multi-racial team during her time at First Church Boston.

Here’s a letter from Rev. Diana:

To the members and friends of Woodinville UU Church:

I am delighted to be joining Woodinville UU Church as your interim minister beginning this August! My conversations with the interim search team about who you are, your questions and yearnings, and the work we can do together during the interim have been moving and evocative. I’m looking forward to working together for the next two years as we claim and honor the past, share and heal, reflect on who you are together as a covenanting religious community, and discern where your journey is taking you.

I’m a Unitarian Universalist minister who’s called to working with congregations that are in transition to build communities within the church’s walls and in the wider community that speak to our deepest values, our individual and collective ways of experiencing the sacred, and hold all of us with love and accountability. I’m beginning the process of becoming an accredited interim minister, which is a call that brings together my skills and loves in ministry, as well as my background prior to ministry.

This May I’m completing my ministerial internship at First Church Boston where I’ve worked with a diverse congregation and multi-racial staff and ministry team to develop new worship services and strengthen our environmental and racial justice engagement. One of my passions is working with people to connect or justice work with spiritual development. Simultaneously, my interest in ministering to groups in transition was developed at Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS), where I earned my Master of Divinity. Over the past three years I’ve deepened and grown my ministry at ANTS, helping the community build fellowship, find closure, and engage in transitions work as ANTS has closed in Boston so it can become part of Yale Divinity School.

Before being called to ministry, I earned a BA in Psychology from Oberlin College and an MA in Environmental and Community Planning from the University of British Columbia. After receiving my MA in Planning, I had a career as an environmental professional in the Pacific Northwest. As a community planner and later working for the WA Department of Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program I engaged with diverse communities and agencies around challenging, multi-stakeholder processes. I also developed, implemented, and oversaw programming and policies that brought together psychological research with environmental and public health research and needs.

Outside of my environmental career, I worked with a crisis intervention phone service for about nine years. It was as a crisis line volunteer, trainer, and then leader of the organization as it re-structured that I developed what came to be a love of pastoral care. Between volunteering there and being a lay leader at Olympia UU Congregation I found my call to ministry. I’m an avid hiker, backpacker, camper, and bike commuter. When I have a garden, I love gardening (vegetables, native plants, and flowers). I also love cooking good vegetarian, gluten-free food. Expressing my creativity through art is very important to me. I’m an artist working in ceramic and fiber arts, and I love appreciating and even participating in others’ theater, dance, and music. Finally, I love travelling internationally, although I haven’t had much opportunity to do that in the past few years.

In Faith,

Rev. Diana