September 18th – Ministerial Intern Andrew Chirch

Andy spoke to the congregation for the first time on September 18.  Here is part of that service:

Background

We celebrate the arrival of a new ministerial intern, Andy Chirch. In addition to his prophetic name, Andy brings considerable experience, talents and skills to the job. After fifteen years as a Unitarian Universalist, and 25 years in finance—in investing and banking—he realized his calling was to be a UU minister.

He jointly enrolled in the Master of Divinity and Interfaith Studies Program at Starr King. He has completed course work focused on developing a personal ministry of economic counter-oppressive work; Unitarian Universalist history, traditions, theology; and, cross-cultural, interfaith, and counter-oppressive theologies. Originally from the Midwest, where he was raised on a farm, his first UU church was the First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati. There he was member and chair of the music committee, co-chair of a joint worship/music committee, and member of the Board of Trustees.

He also became a trained OWL (Our Whole Lives) educator and served as a district junior-high OWL facilitator. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg, Florida he served on the Buildings and Grounds committee and its Board of Trustees.

Andy chose to become a UU after rejecting his mainline Protestant church experiences growing up. He regarded his rediscovered religious practice as one of embracing the free and responsible search for meaning. That led him to spend time as a volunteer in Guatemala, become conversant in Spanish, and develop a deep respect for the country’s culture and people. He has also spent time in Southeast Asia and Appalachian communities.

These multiple professional and world experiences led Andy to commit himself to countering economic and social oppression. He has done extensive community service. He worked with the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Cincinnati to counter homelessness and on voter registration drives and in polling places to forward voting rights. He provided small business and financial literacy counseling for inner city residents through SCORE and worked on several initiatives for the GLBTQ community, including pride day activities. Welcome, Andy.